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Queens is getting a $1 million planetarium by 2026

Space is racing towards the outskirts.

In just four years, Senate Deputy Chairman Michael Gianaris announced this week that Queens will soon have its own planetarium.

“If we want our children to reach for the stars, they have to see them first. This project will make science more accessible to the kids in our neighborhood and will open their minds to exciting new possibilities for their future,” announced Gianaris, a self-proclaimed “astronomy fanatic,” according to a press release. “It’s nice to have the big one [Hayden Planetarium] at the Museum of Natural History, but children in Queens have to travel far to have this type of education and we thought it would be great to offer it right here in Queens.”

The Space Museum will be built at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, a youth center in Astoria, between the Queensbridge Ravenswood and Astoria houses. The planetarium — the first in Queens — is expected to serve more than 10,000 young people annually when it opens in 2026.

Queen's Planetarium 2026
The new academic facility is being built as part of the expansion of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, a nearly 70-year-old Astoria facility created to provide a safe learning and play environment for the community’s children.
Senator Michael Gianaris
Queen's Planetarium 2026
Senator Gianaris announces the funding of the planetarium on Thursday September 22nd.
Senator Michael Gianaris
Queen's Planetarium 2026
Gianaris, seen here in November 2020.
Hans Penink

The Intergalactic Learning Center is being constructed as part of the club’s expansion into a new five-story, approximately 116,000-square-foot “state-of-the-art clubhouse.” In addition to containing replicas of the sky, the new clubhouse will include approximately 229 affordable housing units, a portion of which will be reserved for newly aged residents of the care system.

The state-funded center will also feature a 1,000-seat basketball arena, a regulation-size swimming pool, a research facility and laboratory, art studios, a technology center for career training, a 175-seat community theater, a teaching kitchen — plus a greenhouse, garden, and solar-panel-equipped roof .

Gianaris hopes NASA will participate in the planetarium’s programming and that Christopher Walken will comment on its feature programs, Gothamist reported.

Construction on the new addition to the nearly 70-year-old Astoria Club is slated to begin next year and funding will come from the 2022-2023 New York state budget, the publication added.

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