The neighborhood surrounding the Kaufman Astoria Studios has been known as the Cultural Campus, home to seven institutions like The Museum of the Moving Image, The Queens Council on the Arts and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. On Friday, the 24-block area will be officially designated as the Kaufman Arts District, the first of its kind in Queens.
The area was neglected and rundown until George Kaufman took over the abandoned property, at 34-12 36th St., in 1980. When the studio opened the city’s first open-air soundstage in December, Kaufman said, “I knew that we had the potential to turn this neighborhood into a thriving production, arts and cultural district for the city.”
The institution leaders approached Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) with the idea and as chairman of the City Council Cultural Affairs Committee he was able to make it happen. He will sign the proclamation Friday at the Kaufman Astoria Studio making the neighborhood between Steinway and 31st Streets and 34th and 37th Avenues an Arts District similar to the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, the area that surrounds the Brooklyn Academy of Music.