Museum of the Moving Image

Edification value  4/5
Entertainment value  
Should you go?  4/5
Time spent 147 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned The Jim Henson exhibit features an immense screen-of-screens which shows, continually, every episode of the Muppet Show.

Muppet Exhibit, Museum of the Moving Image, Queens
Every Muppet Show Ever

Each sub-screen is big enough that you can see what is going on individually and in patterns…it converts nostalgia TV into video art. Look, there’s Carol Channing! Look, it’s a very young Steve Martin! I’m not sure anyone after Gen X will get anything out of it, but it mesmerized me.

Museum of the Moving Image, QueensIn reviewing the Bayside Historical Society I noted the brief historical moment when the eastern reaches of Queens might’ve become Hollywood. In our universe, the film industry eventually centered itself in balmy Los Angeles. However, a chunk of it did remain in Queens. The Kaufman Astoria Studios is our answer to the great factories of movie magic out west. And the studio lot is also home to the Museum of the Moving Image.

Museum of the Moving Image, QueensLocated in a fairly unprepossessing building, the museum’s interior isn’t what I expected — very contemporary with a small back garden behind its cafe, airy, with a great staircase that leads up to an open screening area where you can take a break and watch…well, whatever they happen to be showing. The museum also has a ground-floor auditorium which I didn’t see, and a smaller screening room upstairs, the exterior of which is done up to evoke an old style Egyptian revival movie palace. I imagine this place is great for screenings. Continue reading “Museum of the Moving Image”

Bayside Historical Society

Edification value  2/5
Entertainment value  3/5
Should you go?  2/5
Time spent  24 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned Theda Bara, Bayside Historical SocietyIn 1915, Theda Bara, about 30, so-so looks, minor acting credits, exploded into the Madonna of her time. She ranks as the first ever “vamp” in cinema, playing a succession of seductresses and destroyers of men. Every femme fatale since traces her lineage back to Ms. Bara, Bayside resident.

Bayside, Queens, is a neighborhood at the far frontier of New York City, just before it turns into Nassau County.  Today it’s not known for much, except for nice houses and high property values.

Bayside Historical Society, QueensBut just in case anyone is curious about Bayside’s past, it does have a Historical Society, which occupies a little castle of a building on the grounds of nearby Fort Totten.

Originally the officers’ mess and meeting rooms for the Army Corps of Engineers, the building looks excellent today. It shows its age, but is clearly lovingly maintained. And it boasts a modern HVAC system, which I appreciated on a warm summer day. The museum tells essentially one story, that of Bayside’s sole claim to fame. Which is, in fact, fame itself. Continue reading “Bayside Historical Society”