Year in Review: Queens’ top arts and entertainment stories of 2022

Macy's 4th of July fireworks
The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks return to Long Island City’s waterfront parks next month. (QNS/File)

In Queens, 2022 marked a big year for arts and entertainment. Another year removed from the COVID-19 pandemic, several events returned after a two-year absence.

QNS is looking back at the events that unfolded this year in arts and entertainment in Queens. Here are some of our top arts and entertainment stories of 2022:

Queens Night Market returns

“I honestly can’t believe we launched seven years ago,” Queens Night Market founder John Wang said. “It feels like yesterday but also like a lifetime ago. Little did I know that this would become such an all-consuming, inescapable and integral part of my life. Even more unimaginable back then, considering the countless amazing things this city has to offer, is that some people would come to call this a ‘New York City institution.’ In any case, we’ll work through the jitters and plan for contingencies the best we can because we are so, so excited to see the beautiful smiles and to hear the wonderful laughs of New Yorkers here again.”

Over its first six years, the Queens Night Market has welcomed nearly 2 million visitors, helped launch approximately 350 brand-new businesses in New York and represented more than 90 countries through its vendors and their food. In 2021, the event averaged over 15,000 attendees each Saturday night. Food vendors averaged nearly $2,500 per night in sales in 2021.

One thing reintroduced in 2022 was children’s games. This year also included Afghan mantu and chapli kababs, Indonesian kue pancong and ote ote, Portuguese pastéis de nata, Filipino balut, dinuguan, lugaw, Romanian kürtőskalács, Mexican huaraches, Indian tandoori barbecue and many more.

Where to watch the fireworks on July 4 in Queens

Astoria Park fireworks in 2019. (Photo by Dean Moses)
Macy’s held its annual 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. People gathered at Hunters Point South Park and Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City to enjoy this show. Additionally, Event Cruises NYC offered cruises during the show, complete with food and drinks for a complete celebration. The show was also covered live on NBC.
People were also invited to gather at Astoria Park Great Lawn on Shore Boulevard for an Independence Day Celebration fireworks event on June 29. Hosted by the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Inc., the event also featured a performance by Long Island-based Swingtime Big Band.

These Queens eateries are participating in 30th anniversary of NYC Restaurant Week

Food at Queens Bully in Forest Hills (Photo courtesy of Queens Bully)
In total, 440 restaurants across the city took part in the event, including 21 restaurants based in Queens. Throughout the event restaurants offered multi-course, prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner for $29, $39 or $59, dependent on an establishment’s price point.

“NYC Restaurant Week has become a treasured tradition,” NYC & Company Culinary Committee Co-Chair David Burke said. “I’ve participated since the first one in 1992. It’s always been a tremendous way for people to experience restaurants they’ve never been to, including some of the top restaurants in the world, by making them so accessibly priced. This year it takes on a new role as being the perfect reason for people to connect and communicate in person over a great meal, while supporting the hard-hit restaurant industry.”

Astoria was represented during the event by Addy’s Barbecue at 30-94 Steinway St., Anassa Taverna at 28-10 Astoria Blvd., Burger Village at 40-17 Broadway, De Mole Astoria at 4220 30th Ave., Fresco’s Cantina at 12-14 31st Ave., Hutch Astoria at 35-07 31st Ave., Meet the Meat at 23-92 21st St., Sac’s Place at 35-11 35th Ave. and Vite Vinostera at 31-05 34th St.

Forest Hills restaurants that took part in the event this year include Guantanamera Restaurant at 110-80 Queens Blvd., Keuka Kafe at 112-04 Queens Blvd., MoCA Asian Bistro at 107-18 70th Rd., Queens Bully at 113-30 Queens Blvd. and Tuscan Hills at 110-60 Queens Blvd.

Ricky’s Cafe, located at 75-02 37th Ave., represented Jackson Heights. Long Island City was represented by Adda, located at 31-31 Thomson Ave. London Lennie’s, at 63-88 Woodhaven Blvd., was the lone Rego Park restaurant to participate. The one Rockaways restaurant to take part was Bar Marseille, found at 190 Beach 69th St. Senso Unico, located 43-04 47th Ave., was the only Sunnyside restaurant to participate. Finally, Woodhaven was represented by Neir’s Tavern, located at 87-48 78th St.

Additionally, Bareburger had five locations across Queens take part in the event. These spots included 33-21 31st Ave. and 23-01 31st St. in Astoria, 42-38 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, 7149 Austin St. in Forest Hills and 48-19 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City.

Hit CBS show ‘Blue Bloods’ films in Rego Park

Vanessa Ray (r.) was spotted filming scenes for the hit CBS show “Blue Bloods” in Rego Park. (Photo via Twitter/@BlueBloods_CBS)
The popular CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” spent some time this year filming scenes in Rego Park. The scene was filmed March 23 on 63rd Drive and the surrounding area.
According to a resident in the area, he was told by the production assistant that the scene would be part of the show’s season 12 finale. The film shooting occurred outside the Lot-Less on Queens Boulevard.
The scene featured Vanessa Ray’s character, Eddie Jenko, walking into the store with her patrol partner. Extras were also included walking around the sidewalk in the shot.

“I’m an old hand at catching TV/movie filmings whether in the city or in my area,” said Rego Park resident Andrew Sklover, who captured a video of the scene being filmed. “It’s exciting when Hollywood comes to your ‘hood. There’s a buzz in the air.”

Starring Tom Selleck as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, “Blue Bloods” follows a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to law enforcement in New York City. The show premiered in September 2010.