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Bike Tour Will Explore Queens’ Jazz History This Saturday


Illustration by Daniel Fishel

May 3, 2016 By Michael Florio

Queens cyclists can take a ride through jazz history this weekend.

The Queens Bike Initiative will host a bike tour through some of Queens’ jazz landmarks, such as the Louis Armstrong House Museum, on Saturday.

Participants will meet at Cannelle Patisserie, a French bread and pastry shop located at 75-59 31st Ave., at 10 a.m, according to Cristina Furlong a member of QBI.

From there, the tour’s first stop will be at the grave site of Scott Joplin, a ragtime composer and pianist, in St. Michael’s Cemetery.

The next stop will be at 43-30 46th St. in Sunnyside, where jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke died. Here, tour participants will hear from jazz educator and Sunnyside resident Paul Maringelli. The group will then travel to Travers Park in Jackson Heights for a bathroom break.

The tour will continue to the Langston Hughes Library (100-01 Northern Blvd.), where participants can view a collection of African American Art and the library’s mural of famous East Elmhurst personalities. Bike parking will be provided.

Cyclists will then venture to the former Corona home of Dizzy Gillespie, a jazz trumpeter and composer who died in 1993. His home is located at 105-19 37th Ave.

Another famous trumpeter will be highlighted with a stop at the Louis Armstrong House Museum (34-56 107th Street) for a tour of the musician’s former home. Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, purchased the house in 1943. He lived there until 1971, when he passed away while sleeping in the master bedroom, according to the museum’s website.

The house has since been land marked and turned into a museum. There is a $6 entrance fee for those who want to visit the museum.

Museum volunteer Robert McMinn will be the group’s tour guide. The group will take a lunch break at the museum garden, McMinn said.Route

The ride, which is approximately 10 miles, will end with a live jazz band performance at Terraza 7, located at 40-19 Gleane Street in Elmhurst. The event is expected to end around 3 p.m.

The Queens Bike Initiative is hosting this ride to showcase the unique places to visit in western Queens, particularly those accessible on bikes.

“Queens has a very rich jazz tradition, and some of the most famous jazz musicians in the world called – and still call – Queens home,” QBI member Yi-Ling Tan said. “We want to bike the streets that may have inspired Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie, and others to compose their greatest songs.”

This ride will also help showcase what QBI sees as a need for additional bicycle lanes in western Queens, particularly 31st Avenue.

“It is all about showing people where they can get to on a bike,” Furlong, of QBI, said.

“We want to show how these bike lanes will help and that Queens needs more of them,” she said. “The current set up of these lanes is disappointing.”

The Department of Transportation has proposed a bicycle lane running the length of 31st Avenue that is waiting on Community Board approval.

More information and registration for the QBI jazz tour is available online here.

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