Some Say Recession, Queens Says Arts Festival

What: Queens Art Express Festival

Where: Along the No. 7 Subway Line

When: Weekends of June 6th & 7th, June 13th and 14th

Why: For two weekends, from Jackson Heights to Sunnyside to Flushing and Long Island City, the beer garden-filled borough will make staycationing seem like a smart choice, at least for the month of June. Instead of moping about hard times, ride the No. 7 train through 20 cultural spaces representing more than 100 different cultures within a seven-mile radius.

In partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Queens Council on the Arts launched the Queens Art Express Festival (QAX) as a community response to the recession. Cultural itineraries planned along the stops of the 7 will include a remarkable slew of events celebrating, arguably, the city’s most ethnically diverse region. An all-female Mariachi Band, a Polish-Balkan-Spanish-Japanese-African-influenced dance, a Queens Museum of Art exhibit featuring talent from the Middle East and Central Asia, a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge (for which Martha Graham’s famous contemporary dance piece, “Steps in The Street” will be recreated), and a Music in the Garden series in the recently renovated Noguchi Museum are just a few must-sees in the program. “We organized the QAX with the perspective of the entire borough,“ said executive director of Queens Council on the Arts, Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer. “We’re builders and our job is to let the community grow.”

When summer is in full effect next weekend, seize the day with activities like an open rehearsal of John Jasperse Company at Topaz Arts studio, a tour of urban animal life along the 7 line, and a romp through America’s first planned garden at Jackson Heights Gardens. At night, the Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City will host a concert on the East River, and a short walk from the park, the Creek restaurant and bar will close out the festival on June 14 with a QAX party. All aboard.

How to get there: To catch the 7 train into Queens take the A/C/4/5/6  to 42nd street. For maps, updates and more information visit