According to New York Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianari, a $1 million state grant will fund Queens’ first-ever planetarium. The announcement was made alongside Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens’ (VBGCQ) Executive Director Costa Constantinides and NASA Headquarters program executive Amy Kaminski.
The million dollar project will be located at the 30,000 square foot Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens in Astoria. The VBGCQ was first established over 60 years ago as “a safe and supportive alternative to the streets” in response increasing gang violence in Astoria and Long Island City. The Club now serves 4,000 kids annually, with future hopes to reach 16,000 kids.
Queens’ first-ever planetarium is expected to serve more than 10,000 young people annually when it opens in 2026. “This space will allow our children to explore the galaxy right here in Queens further training the scientists of the 21st century for the challenges of the 21st century,” said Costa Constantinides, CEO of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens.
The new state funding will aid in the redevelopment of the Club, making its free/low-cost programming more accessible to local families.
“If we want our kids to reach for the stars, they must see them first. This project will make science more accessible to the children of our neighborhoods and open their minds to exciting new possibilities for their futures,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “With this first-of-its-kind planetarium, Queens will not only be the world’s borough but the universe’s.”