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Cunard celebrates 175 years

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    A preview of Coney Art Walls last month showcased a new food-and-art experience on Coney Island, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Coney Art Walls features colorful street art and vendors from the popular Smorgasburg food festival that’s been drawing crowds in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood since 2011. Coney Art Walls, located just steps from the boardwalk, beach and thrill rides, will be open through the summer.
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NEW YORK >> Cunard cruise line marks its 175th anniversary this year with a crossing by the Queen Mary 2 commemorating the trip that Cunard’s first ship, Britannia, made in 1840.

Queen Mary 2 is scheduled to leave Liverpool, England, on July 4, then travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, arriving July 10, and Boston July 12. Another leg will be added to this year’s route, with Queen Mary 2 going on to New York. The ship will be saluted with fireworks, light shows and cannon shots in all four harbors, with the New York event on July 14.

Although Cunard was founded in England, its ships have also been connected to U.S. history. Cunard ships brought hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Europe to the U.S. during the last part of the 19th century. Cunard vessels also served as troopships in World War I and II, carrying soldiers and cargo.

Noah’s ark being built in Kentucky

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. >> In a rolling Kentucky pasture, the first few wooden ribs of a giant Noah’s ark tourist attraction have begun to sprout up.

For now, there’s only a foundation, some concrete pillars and the ribs. But the Christian ministry building the ark says the public will be awestruck by the size of the 510-foot-long ship when it’s finished next year.

“This is going to be a huge attraction just for the structure itself,” said Ken Ham, founder of the Kentucky-based group, Answers in Genesis.

On Thursday, journalists were allowed to tour the site for the first time — following a hard rainfall, as it turned out.

The religious theme park project that was announced nearly five years ago is still afloat, after hitting a stretch of rough waters. The ministry had to break the project into phases after private funding stalled a few years ago due to a soft economy. The ark is the first phase, and plans for other attractions at the site were put on hold.

Answers in Genesis says it will pour nearly $90 million of private donations and bond funding into the attraction, which will be called the Ark Encounter. So far, Ham said, about $70 million has been raised.

Ham’s ministry opened the Creation Museum in 2007 a few miles from Williamstown. It has drawn criticism from science educators for exhibits that challenge evolution and promote a view that Earth is about 6,000 years old.

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