Have you ever heard of Elinor Smith? Our fall “Fly By” show was a fantastic way to learn about this teenage pilot who beat out Amelia Earhart for “Best Woman Pilot in America” in 1930.

For this special show hosted by Ellie Dvorkin Dunn and produced in partnership with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, we provided our storytellers with a visual prompt depicting Elinor Smith’s legendary 1928 flight under four East River bridges—Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg … and Queensboro!

The animated image created by Queens artist Annie Shi inspired a modern-day story swap of a very different kind of airplane dare and a gutt-wrenching attempt to bridge the divide between father and son. WATCH the full show here on our YouTube page.

Lowell Stephens performs Robin Gelfenbien’s story

Donate here to support No, YOU Tell It!, and we’ll send you an electronic copy of Annie’s zine, “The Flying Flapper,” that we gave out to the audience at the show so you can learn more about Elinor Smith and her historic flight.

No, YOU Tell It! “Fly By” was on September 28, 2023, at Grove 34 in Astoria. Podcast introduction by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and features:

  • Connecting Flights by Robin Gelfenbien, performed by Lowell Stephens, directed by Erika Iverson
  • Liquid Mercury by Lowell Stephens, performed by Robin Gelfenbien, directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons




The Greater Astoria Historical Society is the place to learn and celebrate Long Island City and its neighborhoods. Learn more at astorialic.org.

This project is supported by funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, Statewide Community Regrants Program (formerly the Decentralization program) with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and administered by Flushing Town Hall

This project is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts.