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There is a lot more to living in Kew Gardens than enjoying leafy streets, stately houses and superb transportation. Hard at work behind the scenes are three civic groups, the Kew Gardens Civic Association, the Kew Gardens Improvement Association, and the Kew Gardens Council for Recreation and the Arts, each representing different interests — homeowners, apartment owners and tenants, and the promotion of cultural and recreation events for all.

In addition, groups such as The Friends of Maple Grove, which promotes the historic Maple Grove Cemetery on Kew Gardens Road, are playing a growing role in bringing concerts, workshops and the gamut of other entertainment, from Victorian teas to star gazing, to the neighbourhood.

An example of what our thriving community has to offer to both residents and visitors was the month of October which featured two outdoor events, a Community Arts Day on October 5 sponsored by the Improvement Association, and a flea market on October 18 held at the Long Island Rail Road parking lot with fee proceeds donated to the Jamaica Hospital Emergency Pediatric Fund.

Arts Day, now held for the second year in a row, brought together about two dozen artists who exhibited their work in the Kew Gardens Cinemas Park on Austin Street, as well as along Lefferts Boulevard. Among them were fine artists, pottery makers, jewelry craftsmen, and photographers. Each paid $30 for a table with most of the proceeds donated to the Queens Council on the Arts.

Representatives from groups that included the Queens Public Library and the Kew Gardens Community Center were on hand to provide information and literature. Free chalk was provided for sidewalk artists, a trio of musicians performed at the New Homestead, the seniors residence on Grenfell Street, and photographs in postcard form of local sights and scenery submitted earlier this year to celebrate KGCA's 100th Anniversary were exhibited. Also, lining the fence at the Homestead was an intergenerational exhibit of artwork that included contributions by Homestead residents and children from Kew Gardens.

The flea market, originally begun 30 years ago by the proprietor of a neighbourhood café and now held four times a year, attracted almost 30 vendors this October who paid $35 for a table. Participants, whose wares included pottery, jewelry, books and handmade quilts, came from as far away as New Jersey, said Christine Barros, a local potter who is one of the current flea market organizers.

The Richmond Hill Public Library was on hand, offering free books in return for donations to the library. Major attractions for the kids and other animal lovers were the cats and kittens being made available for adoption by the Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue group located in Ozone Park.

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