Nothing can keep a determined creatives down — not even a freaking pandemic.
If you’re a local artist of any flavor, who’s been feeling creatively stifled, now’s the time to spread your wings and fly — ‘cause Queens’ arts scene is finally coming back.
And that means you may be looking for a unique place where you can do your own thing. If so, get thee to Genesis Underground, a newly launched, much-needed rehearsal and performance space in the heart of Queens that is also available for art exhibits, personal events and more.
“Special programs throughout the year will feature artists, whose work is representative of their cultural background and heritage, and we give preference to Queens-based artists,” co-creator Rene David Alkalay told QNS. “In conjunction with the Genesis Society, our primary goal is to establish inter-cultural dialogue within our community.”
And participation by folks in surrounding neighborhoods — whether they’re artists or arts lovers — is encouraged.
Located at 102-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills (with their main entrance on the lower level of 71st Avenue), Genesis Underground will be offering various cultural projects presented by choreographers, dancers, visual artists, singer-songwriters, poets and writers, according to Alkalay. He also noted that audiences for performances are welcome.
Meanwhile, the Genesis Underground House Band is already rehearsing there, and sometimes other musicians come by and sit in with the band for a set.
“After a lifetime of involvement with music and dance, it became very clear that there were few places available in Queens for rehearsal and performance,” Alkalay said. “There are, of course, major stages, but smaller venues are indeed at a premium, and now more than ever, we believed it would be of great service to the arts community.”
Alkalay and Steven Cornell, who collaborated on this joint project, both said they have “a strong commitment to the arts” and share in the belief that “it is the arts that bring people together,” and that it is by the arts that “cross-cultural dialogue finds meaning.”
Genesis Tree of Life, a yoga and wellness center, is located there, too. This separate entity has been offering yoga classes, meditation and holistic wellness services to the New York community for 26 years.
“Many of the students who have been with us for so many years, are very much our family,” said Alkalay, who runs the wellness center. “We have been the home of many exceptional teachers during the course of these years, and hundreds of people have told us that our center and our services have been life-transforming and, in some cases, said that we have saved their lives.”
Indeed, Genesis Tree of Life distinguishes itself with its diversity of programs. And now, Genesis Underground is in the spotlight.
Rob MacKay, director of marketing for Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), told QNS that he wishes all the new and established programs well, “for the sake of the employees and the stores in the general area.”
“COVID hit Metropolitan Avenue hard, and it’s time for a renaissance,” MacKay said. “Who better than David Alkalay to lead it?”