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Things To Do in Queens This Weekend

PS1 Warm Up Party, Shakespeare in the Park, Noguchi Sculpture & No Clay Club Block Party in LIC

queens things to do* August 16, 2019 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

* Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the mid 80's and the lows in the mid 70's all weekend. Precipitation. There's a 50% chance of a about /10th inch of rain Saturday dropping to 30% by 3 pm, and generall clear skies the rest of the weekend. Winds will be between 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be about 90% Friday dropping to 80% for the rest of the weekend. Click for Queens Weather.

* MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

* The photo at right shows folks enjoying the day in the Gantry Park last year. This weekend Shakespeare in the Park returns to the park - see details below.

* Enjoy yourself this weekend and go out to a farmers market, attend the Festival of Cinema, the PS1 Warm Up Party at MoMA PS1 in LIC, or bike around the borough / city this weekend - see details below.

* Scroll down to see our free summer theater page for performances in your neighborhood in Queens.


Friday - Art

The photo at right shows a well known local jazz saxaphone player entertaining the crowd at the Jamaica JAMS Concert & Festival in Jamaica in a prior year. The festival was held last week.

* The Noguchi Museum at 9-01 33rd Road at Vernon Boulevard in LIC / Astoria has on exhibit Changing & Unchanging Things [Hasegawa & Noguchi in Post War Japan] and Gabriel Orozco: Rotating Objects through July 14, 2019 and August 11, 2019 respectively. The first Friday of each month, admission is free from 10 am -5 pm and there's a 2 pm gallery tour [art / $5 & $10 donations welcome].


Saturday - PS1 Warm Up Party & Shakespeare in LIC

queens things to do* The photo at right shows Hip to Hip Theater Company performing a Shakespearean play last year. On Saturday they return to Gantry Park in LIC - see details below.

* Saturday, August 17, 2019 beginning at 4.30 pm [kids] & 5 pm / Hip to Hip Theater Free - A Midsummers Night Dream - The play entwines three separate groups into one convoluted comedy with Puck as the protagonist in the center of all the chaos. The first group is of lovers escaping the tyranny of the court, the second is comprised of fairies who just began a war amongst themselves and the third is of an amateur theatrical performance group. At Gantry Plaza State Park located at 4-09 47th Road along the East River.

* The sixth PS1 Warm Up Party begins at 3 pm in the afternoon in Long Island City at Jackson & 46th Avenue and runs until 9 pm [art / $18 - $22].

* The Noguchi Museum at 9-01 33rd Road at Vernon Boulevard in LIC / Astoria has on exhibit Changing & Unchanging Things [Hasegawa & Noguchi in Post War Japan] and Gabriel Orozco: Rotating Objects through July 14, 2019 and August 11, 2019 respectively. The first Friday of each month, admission is free from 10 am -5 pm and there's a 2 pm gallery tour [art / $5 & $10 donations welcome].


Sunday - Art

queens things to do* The photo at right was taken at the Flushing Night Out last year. The event returns next week.

* The Noguchi Museum at 9-01 33rd Road at Vernon Boulevard in LIC / Astoria has on exhibit Changing & Unchanging Things [Hasegawa & Noguchi in Post War Japan] and Gabriel Orozco: Rotating Objects through July 14, 2019 and August 11, 2019 respectively. The first Friday of each month, admission is free from 10 am -5 pm and there's a 2 pm gallery tour [art / $5 & $10 donations welcome].


MOSTLY DONE. ASTERISKED events have been updated.

On Sunday 3/25, the Flux Factory at 39-31 29th Street in LIC, is hosting a 'Soul Brother Circle' from 12 noon to 5 pm. It includes drum beating and tai chi [art / music / dance / $10 suggested donation].

The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is hosting a special Queer Urban Orchestra Mothers Day concert from 3.30 - 4.30 pm [art / music].


Week Beginning 8.19.19 - Movies in Astoria Park & Shakespeare in Sunnyside Gardens Park

* The Godfather will be shown in Astoria Park from 8.30 - 10.30 pm on Monday. Click to Member Calendar for details.

* Wednesday, August 21, 2019 beginning at 7 pm [kids] & 7.30 pm / Free - A Midsummers Night Dream - The play entwines three separate groups into one convoluted tale with Puck as the protagonist in the center of all the chaos. The first group is of lovers escaping the tyranny of the court, the second is comprised of fairies who just began a war amongst themselves and the third is of an amateur theatrical performance group. At Sunnyside Gardens Park located at 48-21 39th Avenue at 49th Street in Sunnyside.


Farmers Mkts, Street Fairs & Member Events Calendar

* August 2019 - Click here for Queens farmers markets, or here for Queens Events Member Calendar or click for reports about Queens street fairs and other weekend events. Also click here for free summer concerts in Queens, free summer movies in Queens and free things to do and free summer theater in Queens & things to do.

CLICK here for Queens holiday markets & shopping and here for Queens Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa holiday events and click here for Queens New Years parties and here for shopping venues in Queens.

BOOK REVIEW NEXT WEEK: Under the Mets Grandstands by Seymour Butz.

Queens Swimming Pools - Swimming Pools In Queens | Queens swimming pools swimming pools in astoria long island city sunnyside pools woodside swimming pools in queens flushing jamaica ny swimming pools in glendale fort totten east elmhurst jackson heights swimming pools bayside
Queens Swimming Pools - Swimming Pools In Queens

Queens Swimming Pools - Swimming Pools In Queens

August 6, 2019 / Queens Parks / Queens Buzz NYC.  

This provides the hours for Queens public swimming pools, as well as info about a number of other swimming pools that are run by non-profit organizations that are also available to the public.

Click here to view our report on Queens Swimming Pools - swimming pools in Queens.


Free Summer Theater in Queens Parks - Free Things To Do In Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Corona Flushing Jamaica Long Island | free things to do in queens free theater in astoria park athens square park gantry park lic sunnyside park windmuller park woodside travers park flushing meadows corona park king park jamaica free theater in queens parks free plays to watch in queens
Free Summer Theater in Queens Parks - Free Things To Do In Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Corona Flushing Jamaica Long Island

Free Summer Theater In The Park - Free Things To Do In Queens 

Free Theatrical Performances / Summer Theater In Queens

August 1, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Free Summer Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in Queens this summer, including free theater in Queens parks.

Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free summer theater in Queens - Shakespeare in the Park.

Queens Fireworks Celebrating July 4th

Queens has Fireworks Displays in Bayside, Astoria & in the Rockaways - but the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks has Moved Down River

June 25, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Holidays NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens 4th of july fireworks astoria bayside rockaways long island city fireworks in queensThe following are the dates and locations of the legal fireworks displays in Queens over the next week or so leading up to and just beyond the July 4th holiday.

It begins in Bayside on Wednesday, June 26th beginning around 9 pm when the fireworks will be shot into the air off a barge on Little Neck Bay which you can get a good view of from the Bayside Historical Society.

The next evening on Thursday, June 27th in Astoria Park there are fireworks which are preceded by a concert that begins around 7 pm on the Great Lawn. The fireworks begin about dusk, which is just past 9.30 pm but each year more people attend this event, so I recommend you go early.

The big event is of course on July 4th, beginning just before 9.30 pm, when the Macy's 4th of July fireworks takes to the sky. But this year the fireworks have been moved south of the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River [Between Pier 17 and Manhattan Heliport], so the view from Long Island City in Queens won't be what it has been in prior years.

And last, but not least, are the Breezy Point fireworks in the Rockaway Inlet on July 5th beginning at 9.30 pm. The Breezy Point Co-Op is the sponsor and you might want to leave early to find a good spot.

Election Day Tuesday 6/25 - Please Vote

Queens District Attorney Race to be Decided Today

June 25, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Buzz NYC.

nyc poll site locator queens poll site locator manhattan polls locations

The Queens District Attorney primary election is Tuesday, June 25th. Whoever wins the Democratic primary is likely to win in November.

The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Tuesday.

To find your poll location click on the graphic above.

Once on the website, input your address, and then click the icon to the right of it to get the results of the search. You have to look for the super-tiny icon near the lower right corner of the screen.

Queens District Attorney Candidates - Queens DA Office Election

Why do Real Estate Developers Favor Katz for Queens District Attorney?

Tenants Pay Heed: Katz Became a Real Estate Development Lobbyist for Greenberg Traurig After Chairing the Land Use Committee in the NYC Council

This report covers campaign tricks, the phony Queens Library 'corruption scandal', the alleged Curtis Sliwa affair and something about a Katz Fundraiser at restaurant with Alleged Mob ties ...

queens district attorney candidates queens da race queensJune 17, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

We’re a week away from Election Day for the Queens District Attorney Office. Melinda Katz, whose candidacy was once believed to be a shoo-in - based on her Borough-wide name recognition and the unmitigated support of the Queens Democratic machine.


Is Melinda Katz Candidacy for District Attorney Faltering?

It now appears that her candidacy may be in jeopardy as the Queens Democratic machine called upon Governor Cuomo to help raise funds to either stop or slow Katz’s accelerating slide in the polls. It’s worth mentioning that the Cuomo’s June 10th fundraiser was not held in Queens – where it should have been – but rather in Manhattan [where the real estate developers are?].


IT'S NOT FUNDING - The Real Estate Cash has been Pouring In

Is Melinda Katz’s Candidacy Faltering Because she doesn’t have the Qualifications or Because she has shown little interest in Criminal Justice until she Began Running for the Queens DA Office?

queens district attorney candidates queens da candidates melinda katz tiffany caban gregory lasak queens district atty candidatesBut it’s not funding that Katz needs help with. It’s her lack of criminal justice education, her complete lack of experience in the criminal justice system, and her lack of interest in criminal justice issues over her entire career until about six months ago.

As a point of contrast it’s worth noting that Queens District Attorney candidate and NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman also lacks a criminal justice degree and experience – but at least he served on committees that focused on the topic and dealt with the issues – which Melinda Katz has not. The focus of Katz’s early political career was on women’s and health issues, and the rest of her public career largely centered on Land Use / real estate development, as she was Chair of the Standing Committee on Land Use during her time as a NYC Councilmember.

Both she and Lancman are in term limited positions which expire at the end of 2021, which in political terms, is just around the corner. The Queens District Attorney Office is not term limited and the last Queens DA, Richard Brown, served in that position nearly three decades [28 years]. Richard Brown recently died, at age 86, at home on May 3, 2019.


Real Estate Development Lawsuits in Queens

In recent years there have been a myriad of lawsuits involving real estate developers in Queens. These center around harassment, contested evictions and around safe work practices for contractors and employees. Unfortunately I don’t have time to enumerate them, but you can do a search on this yourself using the search string ‘Queens real estate developers lawsuits’.

queens da candidates rory lancman betty lugo jose nieves mina malik queens district atty candidates queens district attorney race

Queens Voters have a Couple of Other Very Qualified Candidates – One Conservative & One Liberal

queens da candidates rory lancman betty lugo jose nieves mina malik queens district atty candidates queens district attorney raceThe two leading candidates with criminal justice degrees and experience are former Judge Gregory Lasak and Public Defender Tiffany Caban. Former Judge Gregory Lasak has a career spanning more than three decades working in the criminal justice system, and Tiffany Caban has spent seven years working in the criminal justice system as a Legal Aid Society attorney and Public Defender. The choice here is pretty clear as Judge Lasak is a go-slow advocate of reform, while Tiffany Caban is a passionate advocate of reform. But at least both of these candidates have qualifications that fit the job.

There’s an old saying in business that goes something like this, “You can’t manage a process you don’t understand. And you can’t understand a process unless you’ve done it.”



Melinda Katz runs as both the Establishment & Reform Candidate

FLIP FLOPS: Is Katz Really the Candidate of Developers & Landlords?

queens da candidates rory lancman betty lugo jose nieves mina malik queens district atty candidates queens district attorney raceAs for Katz’s message – it’s unclear for what she really stands. At times she claims she’s a reformer, but we’ve seen little in the way of reform initiated by Katz over the past decade - and likely far longer - possibly ending in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s when she became a City Councilmember on the Land Use committee.

Not that long ago she reportedly backed capital punishment. And up until recently she backed cash bail, reportedly flip flopping on the issue particulars. And while she has said she supports the closing of Rikers Island and replacing it with borough centric jails [so the inmates can maintain their connections to family and community while awaiting trial], she appears to have taken the position of “not in my backyard” as the proposed replacement in Queens would be near Borough Hall where there’s already a jail. To help put this in perspective it’s worth noting that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. submitted a request that that is where the Bronx replacement facility for Rikers be placed.



Melinda Katz becomes a Real Estate Lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig in 2010

queens district attorney candidates queens da candidates melinda katz tiffany caban gregory lasak queens district atty candidatesIn 2010 Katz took a lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig, working on real estate development deals, which seemed to strengthen her ties to the real estate development community in general, and Boston Properties controlled by billionaire real estate developer and [at the time] the NY Daily News Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman in particular. Essentially she helped clients navigate their way through city and state government bodies [some of which she had previously worked on as a representative of the public] in order to get the real estate development deals deals done.


  • CLICK for the rest of our report on Melinda Katz - Queens DA candidates - the report covers 'dirty tricks', the phony Queens Library 'corruption scandal', the alleged Curtis Sliwa affair and something about a mob restaurant.

Queens District Attorney Debate

Includes Video of Highlights from the Debate in Jamaica

melinda katz queens da candidate tiffany caban queens district attorney office candidates queens da debate queens nycJune 11, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

In May I had the opportunity to attend the Queens District Attorney debate at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. It was the second event, featuring the candidates running for the Queens District Attorney's office, that I attended. This time I focused more intently how well versed each candidate was on the issues to be addressed by the person winning that position, and what qualifications, experience and vision they might bring to the office.

I have noted my first impressions below, which were gleaned while attending a forum in April, to which all candidates were invited to participate at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center. In the second debate, some of these impressions were altered and some of them were confirmed.

The photo above shows the two leading candidates [based on endorsements] running for the Queens District Attorney office - queens DA office candidates 2019 queens District attorney candidates debate queensMelinda Katz and Tiffany Caban. The photo below shows the other two leading candidates running for the Queens District Attorney office - Gregory Lasak and Rory Lancman.

Tiffany Caban has, by far, received donations from more small contributors than any of the candidates. Melinda Katz leads in fundraising, with strong support from the real estate development community for which she spent years [2009 - 2013] working as a lobbyist.

Gregory Lasak and Rory Lancman have also been competitive fundraisers - but neither matching Tiffany Caban's small donor support, nor Melinda Katz's big donor support.

The following video captures about 17 minutes of highlights from the three hour long debate. I decided not to give equal time because many of the statements made were either repetitive or laden with platitudes. Thus former Justice Gregory Lasak and Public Defender Tiffany Caban received the most air time, as they provided real world anecdotes, as well as real world insights into how our criminal justice system functions and how it can be reformed.

Taste of LIC 2019

Taste of LIC Returns Next Week to Astoria / Long Island City

June 4, 2019 / Astoria Neighborhood & LIC Neighborhood / Astoria Restaurants & LIC Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

taste of lic 2019 taste of long island city at kaufman astoria studios back lot near moving image museumNext week on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 from 5.30 - 8.30 pm the Taste of LIC returns to the Kaufman Astoria Studios Back Lot on 36th Street at 35th Avenue - next to the Museum of the Moving Image. Proceeds from the event go toward the Chocolate Factory Theatre, which is an avante garde theater located in Long Island City.

The Taste of LIC event is one of the biggest culinary taste events in Queens. This year about 50 food and beverage vendors are participating, representing some of the best restaurants and beverage establishments in Astoria and Long Island City.

The Taste of LIC event began 14 years ago. And while attendance can vary because of weather, generally the event has grown in popularity because of the breadth, depth and quality of the participating vendors who oftentimes go out of their way to showcase what makes them special.

The Taste of LIC Founders, Sheila Lewandowski and Brian Rogers, have also added performance art to the event - rounding out the culinary aspects of the evening with an artsy, theatrical dessert. And lastly, but not least, in addition to the food, drinks and entertainment - the Taste of LIC attendees [like you] represent a fun cross section of Queens residents and workers. In recent years I've also met a number of people coming from Brooklyn and Manhattan who have come to join in the festivities.

Admission to the event is $65 / $75 & up and tickets may be purchased at


To see prior reports on the Taste of LIC click the prior link for 2018 and this link for Taste of LIC in 2011.

Centenarians in Elmhurst / Jackson Heights Queens NYC | dorothy katz turns 100 centenarians in jackson heights queens nyc
Centenarians in Elmhurst / Jackson Heights Queens NYC

Dorothy Katz Centennial in Jackson Heights Today

Freddie Katz Mother Celebrates 100 Years of Life - One Family's Oral History

May 28, 2019 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

Dorothy Katz moved into an Elmhurst apartment near Jackson Heights in 1956. Little did she know, that she would live there for another 63 years and counting …

Her son, Freddie Katz, a touring guitarists, sound engineer and producer at Sierra Sound NYC, sent me an email with the following missive, “…I've heard that in the UK people who reach their centennial receive a postcard from the Queen, so I think that in
lieu of that, Mom at least should get a sendup from the local newspaper.”

Well, being neither a Queen, nor a member of the royal family, nor even the operator of a local newspaper – Freddie and I set to work on a little write up for Dorothy Katz’s 100th birthday – which is today.

Freddie wrote down and provided me with, what was once an oral history, of some of his Mother’s and Father’s lives which follows below. I helped by doing a bit of editing. Dorothy Katz is shown at right, in a photo taken in 1956, shortly after she had married Murry.


Dorothy & Murry Katz - A Brief Family History

Freddie tells us that his parents weren't really big on sharing tons of personal info ... it's just the way they were. And now that his Mother is past the point of being able to remember a lot of specifics, the following is what he can tell us about the lives of Dorothy & Murry Katz.

queens district attorney candidates Queens DA candidates forums queens nyc jackson heights nycDorothy Katz was born on May 28th, 1919 at Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx. Her mother's name was Fanny and her father’s name was Abraham. The family name was Rosoff. I was named Fredric Avram Katz, after my maternal grandfather, and it’s worth noting that Avram is Hebrew for Abraham.

Katz Family Oral History of Surviving WWII

Freddie said that Dorothy’s mother Fanny was reportedly one of the only members of her family from Poland to survive the Holocaust. Fanny came over when she was a teenager, maybe with another relative. Most of the remaining family is believed to have died in Poland. In the photo at right is Max Katz, Freddie's paternal grandfather.


Weekend Events & Parades Coming Friday Evening

queens things to doMay 24, 2019 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

Full weekend listing of things to do coming later today. It will include many timely events not included in the Memorial Day Weekend report below.

In the photo at right, a Queens veteran in Woodside pays his respects to those who went before him. These brave men made the supreme sacrifice to preserve democracies - governments by the people, for the people, operating under rule of law in lieu of being subject to the capricious whims of reckless rulers.

That struggle for truth and justice continues to this day. But the battles are being fought on our own soil between those who appear hellbent on destroying our Constitutional democratic institutions which provide liberty and justice for all - and those who are fighting to preserve them.

Unfortunately, the outcome of this ongoing struggle, remains unclear.

Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend In Queens | things to do memorial day weekend in queens ny things to do in lic astoria long island city sunnyside woodside jackson heights flushing jamaica forest hills queens ny things to do memorial day weekend
Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend In Queens

Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend in Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Memorial Day Weekend of 2019

May 21, 2019 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

This is a report containing things to do in Queens over the 2019 Memorial Day Weekend.  The things to do in Queens, include art exhibitions, theater, live music, comedy, dance, shopping, outdoor activities such as soccer, kyaking, baseball, parades, street fairs and dining in the Astoria, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Long Island City, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jamaica, Forest Hills, Flushing, Corona neighborhoods in Queens NY.

Weather. The temperature highs will be in the high 70's and the lows in the 60's. It will be partly cloudy with a 40% chance of a bit of rain Monday morning. Humidity will be 50% - 60% range and winds about 10 mph. So it looks to be a pretty good weather weekend.

Check out our Memorial Weekend post on Friday, and the following contains information and a few links - street fairs, kyaking, bicycling, soccer games, shopping, parades, theater, art museums, golfing and dining. And it's all happening right here in our favorite borough - Queens. So take your time to sort through the days and locations and start planning your weekend.

Memorial Day 2019 Events In Queens

Click here to obtain information about things to do Memorial Day Weekend 2019 in Queens. This events calendar is updated monthly with about 100 different Queens fun / cultural events, and go to the front page of Queens Buzz for the weekend post, which is uploaded sometime during the day on Friday.

Queens Public & Private Parks & Swimming Pools

Queens has one of the best collection of parks and golf courses in the NY Metro area, if not the best. Queens has at least 17 great parks. Click here for a listing of the Queens Parks 2019 including maps showing their locations along with a bit of park history.

Golfing In Queens

Queens has four golf courses and all of them are open this weekend. Click here for details about Queens Golf Courses 2019 including maps and links to the operators' websites.

Click here to view the rest of our report of things to do Memorial Day Weekend in Queens. And we'll have more to add by Friday.

Plans for Sunnyside Yard Moving Along

Window of Opportunity Closing for Residents' Input into Likely the Single Most Important Real Estate Development in Queens in a Lifetime

May 14, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Real Estate / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens things to doThe Sunnyside Yard development effort began on February 9, 2015, when Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a vision for the development of Sunnyside Yard in his first State of the City Address. The first effort in the project was a Feasibility Study, which began soon thereafter.

Two years ago, on April 18, 2017, I attended a session where the NYC Economic Development Corporation presented the results of the Feasibility Study to the Community Board in Sunnyside regarding the building of a deck over Sunnyside Yard, in a fashion similar to what was done over a century ago, when the rail lines heading north from Grand Central Station were decked over and Park Avenue was paved over them. Click here to read our series on the History of Sunnyside Yard.

The photo to your right shows Park Avenue between 1910 - 1920, being decked up above NYC infrastructure.

Sunnyside Yard Public Meetings: Moving Along the Development Curve

queens things to doLast year, on October 24, 2018, the NYC Economic Development Corporation hosted an estimated 375 people at the NYCEDC's first Public Meeting at La Guardia Community College in Long Island City. I was told that they had modified the process and expanded the venue there in order to accommodate the community interest. The goal of the meeting was to obtain community input on how to utlize, the largest publicly controlled space in New York City, likely to be developed in our lifetimes.

The photo at right shows some of the elevated roads traversing Sunnyside Yard, in the same manner as some of the east / west roads traversed Park Avenue in the early 1900's. The plan is to deck it over to make use of the nearly 180 acres that encompass the space.

And on March 26, 2019 the NYCEDC held their second Public Meeting at PS 166Q Henry Gradstein Elementary School in Astoria. At this meeting the NYCEDC and the committee presented the findings of the first Public Meeting, and then oversaw breakout sessions by topic for anyone interested in contributing input into the direction of the Sunnyside Yard development project.

Sunnyside Yard Development & Community Input: Three Categories

queens things to doThe breakout sessions centered around three primary topics: 1) Urban Design, 2) Transportation and 3) Open Space. I chose to attend the transportation session, as it represents the underlying infrastructure - but I must admit that I would have also liked the opportunity to sit in on the two other sessions, as each has its own set of opportunities and costs.

More coming later today. I also placed a request earlier this morning with the NYCEDC as to the timing of next steps, as the information was not available on their website.

Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens | queens restaurants mother's day restaurants in queens mothers day restaurants in astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights mothers day restaurants in queens nyc
Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens

Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens

Mother's Day Restaurants in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside & Jackson Heights

May 7, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

Mother's Day isn't that far away [Sunday, May 12th, 2019]. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner are always welcome, as is any thoughtful gesture that provides some measure showing your appreciation of your mother or the mother of your children. After all, without mothers, we would all cease to be.

It's best to book a restaurant reservation for Mother's Day brunch, as on Mother's Day in Queens, many restaurants are full. So if you're thinking about eating out at a restaurant this Mother's Day in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call ahead to book Mother's Day restaurant reservations.

Mother's Day History - Restaurants In Queens

The origins of Mother's Day in the United States began with the efforts by Anna Jarvis in honor of her own mother. According to Wikipedia, Anna began the campaign in 1905 - the year her mother died - and in 1910 West Virginia was the first state to adopt it as a holiday. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Mother's Day restaurants in Queens 2019 where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.

Queens District Attorney Candidates 2019 | queens district attorney candidates forum jackson heights queens nyc melinda katz queens da thomas lasak queens da rory lancman queens da tiffany caban queens da nieves queens da candidates april may 2019
Queens District Attorney Candidates 2019

First Impressions at the Queens DA Forum

Lugo Arrives Late, Katz Leaves Early, Nieves Rambles, Lasak is Most Experienced in the Current Way of Doing Things, Lancman is an Articulate Politician Who was Knowledgeable but not Experienced, and Caban seemed Articulate, with Relevant Experience & a Vision for the Future

April 29, 2019 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

I attended a forum for the candidates running for the Queens District Attorney's Office at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center in Queens this evening.

Six candidates came to the Meet the Candidates forum for the Queens District Attorney at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center on Monday night. The center was filled with folks interested in learning more about the candidates seeking to replace outgoing Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who has occupied the office for nearly 30 years [1991].

To many the Queens District Attorney's Office is in dire need of reform. Others cite the generally low crime rates in Queens in the outgoing District Attorney's defense.


Two Local Politicians & a Private Practice Attorney Vie for the Job

Two politicians, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman, are running for the office, presenting themselves as reform candidates, who don't have any experience as criminal prosecutors or defenders - but who have borough-wide name recognition, political connections and wealthy donor contributors - who claimed that the first two of these three characterizations, will enable them to reform the system. Unlike the other three candidates present at the forum [Lugo came late and hence we have no response from her], these two politicians said they do accept contributions from Political Action Committees or Real Estate Developers. And both of these candidates, in additon to their government experience have also - for a time - been practicing civil [not criminal] court attorneys.

Another candidate, Betty Lugo, has criminal justice experience that seems to have started and ended in the 1980's. Ever since she has been a partner in a Latina law firm, and according to her website, she seems to be a well connected attorney who participates in a multitude of organizations.


The Candidates Who Have the Education, Experience & Careers Working in the Criminal Justice System

I found one of the candidates, Jose Nieves, to be a sleepy speaker, seeming to take us in the audience on a circuitous journey before making his point - if a relevant point was ever made at all. But I visited his website and he has what looks to be a solid resume, with relevant education and experience including eleven years experience working in the Brooklyn DA's Office [ending in 2011]. Since then, Nieves has done several two to three year gigs with the FAA, the City Department of Corrections and the NYS Attorney General. But on the night I saw him, that knowledge and experience didn't seem to come through.

queens district attorney debates queens DA candidates 2019 april may june 2019 queens DA candidates nycThe two candidates that most impressed me were former Judge Gregory Lasak, who has 35 years experience working in various capacities in the criminal justice system. He seems very well qualified.

And last but not least, Tiffany Caban. Tiffany Caban introduced herself as a gay attorney, with seven years experience as a Legal Aid attorney and Public Defender who has tried over 1,000 cases. She says she wants to reform the justice system by using the Queens District Attorney office to address and correct the behavior of small time offenders, so she can shift resources to go after the real criminals in society who oftentimes get off free.

Harassment Landlords are a Repeated Topic of Conversation

One group of offenders, harassment landlords, was highlighted several times during the forum. These landlords attempt to harass tenants out of the rent stabilized apartments in their buildings, so the landlords can take possession of the rent stabilization benefit that is rightfully the tenants - not the owners' - and make outsized illegal profits by monetizing the government benefit as their own. It seems to me that harassment landlords are guilty of attempted grand larceny - given that the differential value of a rent stablized apartment vis a vis a similar free market apartment - can easily be worth a quarter to a half million dollars per unit over a ten or twenty year time period.

There are three more Queens District Attorney forums this week, and several more in May - including a debate on May 15th at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

LIC Partnership Real Estate Breaks Fast

Panelists Talked About Continuing Trends in LIC

April 9, 2019 / LIC Neighborhood Queens / Queens Real Estate NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

lic partnership real estate breakfast queens nycI had the opportunity to attend the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City last Thursday. There were hundreds of attendees, who had come to mix and stay abreast of the ever-changing real estate market in Long Island City.

The LIC Partnership Breakfast continued with the format of prior years, hosting a panel of four folks involved in some aspect of business / real estate in LIC, moderated by David Brause of Brause Realty, who is also a Board member of the LIC Partnership and the Chair of the LIC BID.

Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the LIC Partnership which manages the LIC BID [lower right in photo above], kicked things off with an update of the neighborhood real estate statistics. I have generally found these helpful in keeping up with the rapid changes the LIC neighborhood has undergone, in the past decade and a half.

The panelists included [right to left in photo above] David Brause of Brause Realty, John Cunningham, EVP of Alexandria Real Estate Equities; Andrew Kurd, Managing Director of Savana; Melanie Lemieux, Co-Founder of The Baroness Bar, The Huntress and NY State of Mind; and Christopher Mascari, Director of Business Operations for Wirecutter which is an NYT company.

I hope to post more at a later date. It's tax time.

World Class: Queens World Film Fest

The Queens World Film Festival has Evolved Beyond Local

queens things to doApril 2, 2019 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Fashion Film & Music / Queens Buzz NYC.

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the 9th Annual Queens World Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image. Co-Founders Don and Katha Cato were there to introduce former Chief Curator of the Museum, David Schwartz, along with Director Alexandre Rockwell who directed In the Soup - the headlining film being shown that night.


In the photo at right is actor Steve Buscemi doing a cameo on the 'Naked Truth', a cable show in the film In the Soup, where guests are paid to be interviewed naked on TV. Buscemi's character, Adolpho Rollo, needs the money to pay his rent.


Indie Films in Queens & NYC - In the Soup 1992 Restored

queens things to doIn the Soup was created back in 1992, as an independent film, comedically depicting the life of a financially-challenged, completely unknown, aspiring film maker living in the East Village. It was shot in black and white, on an indie film budget, yet had attracted acting talent such as Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Beals, Stanley Tucci and SeymourCassel. The film had a thoughtful, airy, comedic cadence that was nicely nuanced with instrumental jazz pieces composed by Alexandre Rockwell's neighbor at the time, an aspiring musician named Thiery Mader Schollhammer who goes by the more succinct nickname Mader.

In a sentence, the film was an enjoyable, visual, acoustical and comedic work of art.

In the photo at right are David Schwartz, Don & Katha Cato and Alexandre Rockwell at the Queens World Film Festival last Thursday evening.

So why show it now at the Queens World Film Festival? Because the film had just been restored to its full glory by film distributor Matt Grady in 2017 - 2018. And while it had been showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2018, it was a treat to see at the Queens World Film Festival on the big Museum of the Moving Image screen. The film screening was followed by a conversation between Director Alexandre Rockwell and former MoMI Chief Curator David Schwartz, who now teaches film at NYU.


QWFF - Films from Around the World & Around the Corner

I spoke to Don and Katha after the program, and they recommended I stay to view some of the films being shown in the Zukor Theater. I arrived at the Zukor as a feature film about an emigration from Romania, entitled Hawaii, was winding down. I found the follow on conversation by the film Director, Bogdan Muresanu, piqued my interest as the film was a biographical piece about his family's emigration from communist Romania.

queens things to doHawaii was followed by a short film entitled Civic Mind, by a former native of Brooklyn, who directed a piece about his time working for the NYPD Auxilliary. The main character of the film joins the NYPD Auxillary to help them ensnare small business owners who are illegally selling alcohol to minors. The plot thickens as the NYPD effort to 'clean up' the illegal activities of some of the small shop keepers, begins to look more like an effort by real estate developers to have the NYPD remove shopkeepers from properties targeted for development. This too was followed by a conversation with the Director.

The photo at right shows a still from the short film entitled, Civic Mind.

These are some of the films and talks I was able to experience in just four hours time. The Queens World Film Festival had attracted people from around the city, and from around the world, providing them with access to a diverse set of personal stories, oftentimes carefully crafted as works of art, as well as an opportunity to meet like-minded American, foreign and local film makers, film aficionados, actors, artists, intellectuals and their friends.

As Queens World Film Festival co-Founders Katha and Don like to say, "the Queens World Film Festival showcases film from around the world and around the corner" - which as you can see by what I experienced above - they delivered.

Congestion Pricing & the Lobbying Apparatus that Won't Take No For an Answer

Congestion Pricing Legislation was being Pushed in Albany over a Decade Ago ... so Who's Really in Charge?

congestion pricing legislation albany nysMarch 26, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Last week I attended a Congestion Pricing Town Hall organized by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Earlier in the week City Council Member Helen Rosenthal had organized one along the same lines because legislation is percolating in Albany.

Governor Cuomo appears to be itching to pass the Congestion Pricing legislation, likely so he can get his hands on more taxpayer money, while satisfying a whole host of private industry consultants and corporations. These consultants and corporations would then rake in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars thanks to Albany. So then would they recycle a small portion of the funds into the campaigns of the folks who supported it?

These days that seems to be the campaign funding cycle - where the voters get left out because they aren't minding the store. A government of the people, by the people and for the people doesn't work if the people aren't paying attention. Jefferson said, "Those who believe they can be ignorant and free, believe in something that never was and never shall be."


I. Congestion Pricing is a Very Expensive Taxation Plan

congestion pricing legislation albany nysLet me start by outlining what the Congestion Pricing legislation really is, versus the myriad of narratives they've used to sell this pig. While they have said it will reduce congestion, reduce carbons, increase cycling, increase safety - note that all of these claims are highly debatable. Based on the research I've done, the Congestion Pricing Plan seems quite simply to be a very, very expensive means of taxation.

In London, where they implemented Congestion Pricing over a decade ago, as of a few years ago, only about half of the revenue made its way into public transit development. The other half was used to install and operate [and god knows what else] the new infrastructure. Click here to read a prior report we did which includes lots of facts, figures and the history and effects of congestion pricing in the U.S. and Europe.

It's worth noting that London decided NOT to go forward with the second proposed phase of Congestion Pricing in London. And it's worth mentioning that I found a lot of 'authoritative looking' disinformation out there regarding the London results, which one can surmise was encouraged - if not funded - by those who so handsomely profit from this sort of legislation.

If the government officials in Albany are going to increase our taxes, the least they could do is make it such that the taxation revenue that is collected is 100% usable, not 50%.

When you take away the incremental revenue generated by the Congestion Pricing Plan, you will clearly see that it DOES NOTHING TO SOLVE THE NYC MASS TRANSIT PROBLEM and there are far less expensive / more efficient / more beneficial means of taxation.


II. Congestion Pricing is Burden Shifting Legislation that Aids the Rich and Punishes the Middle & Working Classes

congestion pricing legislation albany nysThe Congestion Pricing Plan is essentially a burden-shifting plan, whereby the burden of traffic congestion during rush hour, is shifted from being all car commuters' problem, to easing the burden on those who can afford to pay the new tolls, while making life more difficult for those who cannot.

So essentially Congrestion Pricing makes life harder / more expensive / more time consuming for people who are middle and working class - while making life easier for the rich folks by asking them to pay a few more dollars to get back more of their high dollar time. It's like the Trump Tax plan which shifted about $1.5 trillion from America's children and unborns, to the richest people on the planet. Life is made easier for those who already have so much, while being made more difficult for those who don't.

Remember, as stated above, a government of the people, by the people and for the people doesn't work if the people don't pay attention. Voters need only blame themselves if they allow the representatives they elected, to betray them, in favor of the rich consultants and corporate campaign donors, who will profit at the voters' expense.


III. Congestion Pricing Doesn't Solve Anything - Carbon

In one of the spin cycles, the Congestion Pricing proponents claimed that Congestion Pricing would reduce carbon emissions. And yet in a study done on time shifting pricing done in the NYC metro area showed that Congestion Pricing did little to reduce the influx of vehicular traffic. The study found that the pricing formula only shifted the volume of traffic at a given time not over the span of a day. I'll get more into some of the Congestion Pricing particulars when I post the report on Gale Brewer's Town Hall, where other / more efficient means of taxing / limiting vehicles coming into Manhattan were discussed.


IV. Follow the Money: Why is Congestion Pricing Still Around & Why Aren't There Any Alternatives Under Discussion?

congestion pricing legislation albany nysCongestion Pricing has been floating around the halls of Albany, dating back to the Bloomberg Administration's push for it in 2007 and 2008. The legislation has been killed at least twice previously. Maybe Albany will do the right thing and kill it again. But then again, the NYT indicated that maybe the Democrats in Albany will pass Congestion Pricing this time around because Mayor de Blasio isn't opposing it. Did the corporate lobbyists and consultants finally win him over, because it's still a bad plan.

The fact that a bad plan - Congestion Pricing - is back again, is yet another symptom of what's wrong with our society and government. What do I mean by this? I mean that this is the ONLY NYC public transit plan I've seen floating around the halls of Albany over the past decade, since I began reporting on NYC social and political issues.

Congestion Pricing is one bad plan, that keeps coming back at the initiative of the private industrialists who will profit from it, while it appears that NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE at the State level to come up with a plan of their own. A plan that would have at its core serving the public good - not serving the good of a few private interests. This is what broken government looks like.

Quite frankly, I could come up with a better plan than Congestion Pricing, on the back of an envelope, in an hours time.


The Real Solution to Traffic Congestion is Expanding Mass Transit Infrastructure

The real problem, which I pointed out in the report I first did on NYC Congestion Pricing Plan, is that the city is operating its mass transit using a system designed and built between 80 and 100 years ago. Things have changed and the system hasn't.

Building and maintaining infrastructure costs money, and unfortunately Albany with its cast of political characters, is going about addressing the problem backwards.

Albany wants to raise money first - and then figure out how it's going to spend the money later.

As any savvy investor knows, that's almost always a bad deal.

I'll post more at a later date on Gale Brewer's Town Hall on Congestion Pricing.

What's expressed above may reflect the overall sentiment [it was generally negative] expressed at the Town Hall - but the particulars above are mine.

NYS Rent Regulations up for Renewal

NYS Assembly and NYS Senate to Strengthen, Renew or let Expire NYS Rent Regulation Laws

queens things to doMarch 19, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Government & Politics / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Saturday I attended an event discussing the upcoming legislation pending in the NYS government in Albany concerning NYS rent regulations. Currently about 2 million of the 8.5 million people who live in NYC will be affected.

The primary topic of the event was MCI or Major Capital Improvements, which is a loophole in rent regulations that allows landlords to initiate projects within their buildings and then pass along the project costs to their tenants, in such manner as to provide the landlord with an incremental revenue increase that lasts into eternity, and which encourages landlords to get creative in originating projects in an effort to raise the rents of their regulated apartments at an accelerating speed in order to grow the monthly rent beyond the legal limit of regulation.

What happens then, is that a significant number of longstanding tenants in regulated housing, are priced out of their homes and neighborhoods. Some of the displaced tenants even become homeless. This is why homelessness nearly doubled under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who looked the other way as NYS rent regulations were being renewed.

The event was held in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, where hundreds - if not a thousand - people came to particpate in the discussion.

I'll have more on this at a later date.

Queens St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants & Irish pubs In Queens NYC | queens st patricks day bars restaurants queens st pat's da irish pubs restaurants queens st pats day bars restaurants irish pubs astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights st patrick's day restaurants queens nyc
Queens St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants & Irish pubs In Queens NYC

St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants, Irish Pubs in Queens

St Pat's Day Irish Pubs & Restaurants in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

March 10, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants & Bars / St Pat's Parade Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Here's a listing of some of the fun Irish pubs open on St. Patrick's Day in Queens.

There are a lot of celebrations planned for St Pat's Day in Queens. There are a at least three St Patrick's Day Parades in Queens, but they are generally held on the weekends before or after the actual St. Patrick's Day feast.

The photo to your right was taken at a St. Patrick's Day parade in a prior year.

This report contains a number of brief suggestions for St. Patrick's Day bars, restaurants and Irish pubs in Queens, including in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside [near Jackson Heights], Bayside [near Flushing], the Rockaways [near Jamaica] and in Maspeth / Ridgewood which are near Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. At the end of the report we've included links to St. Patrick's Day celebrations in other boroughs.

Please drink responsibly and let someone else drive if you're impaired. St. Patrick's Day is a bit like New Years Eve, in that the amateur consumers of alcohol of all ethnicities come out to celebrate, and if they are not properly managed / or cared for, accidents may occur, and some of them with life changing consequences.

St Pat's For All Parade History & Evolution - Irish Culture in Queens NYC | st pats for all parade sunnyside queens st patricks day parade queens irish culture in queens nyc
St Pat's For All Parade History & Evolution - Irish Culture in Queens NYC

Who is the St Pat’s 'For All' Parade for, Really?

St Patrick’s Day Parade in Sunnyside Continues Hitting High Notes

March 3, 2019 / Sunnyside Neighborhood NYC / Arts & Culture in Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Sunnyside, as I made my way over to Skillman Avenue to watch the annual St. Pat’s For All parade. The speeches had started at noon, but I didn’t arrive until after 1 pm, so I missed them [bummer].

When I arrived, the parade was out in a full march, and behind the first banner there were about a dozen government officials including NYC Councilman Danny Dromm [Jackson Heights / Elmhurst], Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney [Manhattan / Queens], NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson [Manhattan] who’s likely planning a run for Mayor, NYS Attorney General Letitia James, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [Queens / Bronx], NYS Assemblyman David Weprin [Jamaica Estates / Richmond Hill] and the St. Pat’s For All parade co-founders Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Fay. A few pols who marched in their own groups, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYS Senator Michael Giannaris.

Jimmy Van Bramer Reportedly Threatened & Crowley Resigns as Queens Democratic Chair

st pats for all parade sunnyside queens photos video st pats for all parade queens sunnyside nycNotably absent [at least I didn’t see either of them] were NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and former Congressman Joe Crowley. I reckon Crowley had his reasons, as just last week he resigned as the Queens County Democratic Party Leader. And I reckon Van Bramer had his reasons as well, as this week he was reportedly threatened by a restaurateur who was upset that the Amazon deal fell through. According to Newsweek, the restaurateur texted a message to Van Bramer that included this, “… you can be at the back of the parade or in front of the firing squad …” We posted a couple of reports on the Amazon deal on the two announcements – we’re coming / we’re not coming, which you can read by clicking these links. Amazon coming to LIC Queens NYC / Amazon not coming to LIC Queens NYC.

Origins & History of the St. Pat's For All Parade in Sunnyside Queens

The St. Pat’s For All parade started because the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade wouldn’t allow gays, like Brendan Fay, to march openly. So he, along with Kathleen Walsh, rounded up a rag tag band of Irish folks, along with their friends and began the St. Pat’s For All parade in the year 2000. The ‘For All’ became the moniker and rallying cry, because as mentioned previously, the LGBTQ folks were banned from marching in the large Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan.

Jumaane Williams Wins Public Advocate Election

Williams Bests 16 Other Candidates to Take Second in Succession to Mayor

jumaane williams photo brooklyn public advocate nycFebruary 26, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Jumaane Williams appears to have won the election for Public Advocate. According to Ballotpedia, with 88% of the precincts reporting, Williams had received 120,000 or 33% of the vote.

The sole Republican, Eric Ulrich, received 70,000 votes or 19%, which was the second highest total of votes. The other Democrats included former NYC Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who received 40,000 or 11% of the votes, was followed by Michael Blake with 29,000 or 8%, Ydanis Rodriguez with 22,000 or 6%, Dawn Smalls with 15,000 or 4%, Rafael Espinal 12,000 or 3%, Ron Kim 11,000 or 3%, Daniel O'Donnell 11,000 or 3% and the others each had less than 10,000 votes with 88% of the precincts reporting.

Jumaane Williams is shown in the photo at right in June 2018, campaigning on the steps of the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, for Lieutenant Governor. Williams lost that election in November, but quickly rebounded, winning the position for NYC Public Advocate in February of 2019.

According to a NY Times report Jumaane has eight months before he's up for election again, as this special election - to replace Tish James because she was elected NYS Attorney General - only lasts until the next regularly scheduled election. Congratulations Jumaane.

NYC Public Advocate Candidates in Election 2019

Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jumaane Williams, Daniel O’Donnell, Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich, Nomiki Konst, Ron Kim, Michael Blake & 9 Others are Running for this Office

February 25, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 a few New Yorkers will go to the polls to select the next NYC Public Advocate.

Brief NYC Public Advocate History

The position was created in 1993, by renaming the office of the President of the City Council, which up until 1989, had held a seat on the New York City Board of Estimate until it was abolished that year.

The Public Advocate has a relatively small budget [under $4 million per year], a small department as measured by headcount and no voting power except in the cases where a deciding vote needs to be cast in the City Council. The real power of the Public Advocate is in that person’s ability to influence the conversation regarding policy priorities and urgency.

Second in Line to Mayor de Blasio

And with Mayor de Blasio considering a run for the presidency - while quite a long shot at this point - the Public Advocate would be next in line to succeed him. There have been only four Public Advocates since the post was created, starting with Mark Green who made a run for Mayor and lost. Betsy Gotbaum followed Green, and she was followed by Bill de Blasio who managed to use the position as a spring board to win the Mayoralty. Letitia James succeeded de Blasio and she is now the NYS Attorney General. The City Council Speaker has been the interim Public Advocate since James took office in January 2019, and will give up the post following this election.

The Real National Emergency?

President Pinocchio's Pants are on Fire

February 19, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz NYC. News Analysis, Opinion & Satire.

trump pants on fire president pinocchio presidents day pinocchioI stumbled upon an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, from January 10, 2018, about how Donald Trump has differentiated himself from all other presidents of the United States of America - as the greatest known liar of them all.

Cut and paste this link for a short video of Jimmy Kimmel's documentary of Trump Telling His 2,000th Lie over a year ago - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQruDaf7bKs


Real Presidential Greatness vs 'Greatest'

It's important to distinguish between greatest - which compares one to another - and greatness, for which there is no comparison. Greatest is an amount or extent considerably above normal, while greatness is about having won the respect for achievements in one's field. True greatness is rarely achieved by braggadocious people, because they are too busy talking to make time to do anything truly great.

Presidential Greatness. George Washington was achieved greatness by risking his life as the Commander in Chief of the colonial army during the Revolutionary War. A greatness which was made even more so, by the fact that the first president didn't try to keep / possess the title of the president beyond two terms /eight years. Abraham Lincoln, similarly risked his life, to hold the Union together, while exorcising it of the heinous institution of slavery. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saved democracy, capitalism and freedom, by leading the nation through the Great Depression and the Second World War.

rupert murdoch fox fake news quid pro quo president trump murdoch pinocchio pundits fox fake news pinocchio president trumpBut while the Donald may not have done anything remotely deserving the moniker of greatness, over a year ago Jimmy Kimmel identifed that Trump had already become the greatest liar who ever occupied the White House. That was over a year ago, in January of 2018, and since then the Trump has continued onward with his train of lies.


President Pinocchio Supported by Murdoch's Fox News Pinocchio Pundits

But to be fair, Trump likely could not have come up with so many different lies to tell, without the help of multi-billionaire, global propagandist, Keith Rupert Murdoch, and his mass media mendacity machine.

The Murdoch propaganda machine includes outlets like Fox News and their portfolio of Pinocchio pundits, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post.

Murdoch appears to have benefitted greatly from the Trump presidency, via 1) huge tax cuts for the wealthy, 2) Trump military action in Syria where Murdoch owns part of Genie Energy with former VP Dick Cheney and several other robber barons, 3) huge Fox News ratings wins due in part to the Donald's Crazy Town [name of a book by Bob Woodward about the Trump Administration] and last but not least 4) Department of Justice and FCC approval of Murdoch's inverted takeover of Disney / ABC which will soon gives Murdoch control of about half of America's broadcast news.

5 of President Pinocchio's Biggest Lies Since 7/2018

Since Kimmel's video posted in January of 2018, Trump has continued telling many lies - including some very, very big ones. Here are five of Trump's biggest lies between July 2018 and today, including a brief analysis of the impact.

Amazon Backs Off Building HQ2 in LIC NYC

Have the Opponents of the Deal Lost by Winning the Battle?

February 14, 2019 / Long Island City Neighborhood NYC / Queens Business NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Amazon, one of the world's largest and most successful companies, has withdrew its plans to locate a second headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. The giant retailer / technology company said it would continue with its other development plans in Nashville, Tennessee and in Arlington, Virginia - but was withdrawing from its plans to set up a second headquarters in New York City at this time.

Queens & NYC Residents Favor Amazon's Plan for HQ2 in NYC

amazon direct mail ad to queens community january 2019 imageAccording to a Quinnipiac Poll in December of 2018, 60% of Queens residents and 57% of NYC residents favored the arrival of Amazon HQ2. The reasons for favoring Amazon's move to New York include:


1) The promise of 25,000 new jobs.

2) Pricing pressure to lift rents and real estate prices [beneficial to property owners].

3) Higher tax revenue for the government because of economic growth. The arrival of Amazon HQ2 would increase the NYS / NYC taxable base by billion(s) in annual wages and commercial sales, although some of this would likely have come at the expense of existing businesses.

4) The promise of a tech / business eco-system.


But a Sizeable & Vocal Minority Oppose Amazon's Arrival

But a sizeable and vocal minority opposed the plan. The Quinnipiac poll indicated that 39% of Queens residents opposed the tax incentives [versus 55% who supported them], while majorities in Manhattan and Brooklyn opposed them, and majorities in Bronx and on Staten Island favored them.

Opponents cited the following rationales for opposition to the Amazon move.

1) The $3 billion in NYS and NYC tax breaks.

2) Opposition to unionization by Amazon.

3) The expected inflationary impact on local rents and real estate prices [negative impact for tenants / prospective home buyers].

4) The ground terms of the deal were secretly negotiated by the Governor & the Mayor without legislative input.


The Opposition by Local Pols Was Cited as Squelching the Deal

amazon ad to queens community january 2019 imageAmazon issued a statement citing opposition by local pols as its reason for withdrawing from its plans at this time, while simultaneously thanking NYS Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio. Here are a few excerpts from a statement issued by Amazon.

“... we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term ... While polls show that 70% [Editor's Note: the percent favoring the move differs from the independent Quinnipiac poll taken in December 2018] of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward ... We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process ... We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.”

I added the bold on the last couple of lines, because it seems to indicate that Amazon is still interested in expanding here. As of just before 11 am today, only an hour or two before the announcement was made [lunchtime EST], Amazon's ads pitching the community continued airing on the New York Times website - see graphic above right.

So what's next? Dunno, and I am not sure anyone else does either. Perhaps nothing for a while.

But I conjecture that Amazon, like Google and Facebook who preceded them, will grow its footprint in New York City, even without the special tax incentives. Why? Because New York City is one of the few places equipped to provide a diverse, well-educated, sophisticated workforce to accommodate large and rapid corporate growth. It's worth mentioning that only a couple of months ago, in November 2018, Google announced that it would proceed with a $1 billion expansion in New York City without any special tax incentives.

Meanwhile, remember to do something nice for your loved one and yourself, for Valentine's Day. Life goes on.

Queens Romantic Restaurants for Valentines Day - Queens NYC | valentines dinners in queens valentines day in Queens romantic restaurants in queens astoria lic long island city jamaica sunnyside jackson heights flushing corona romantic dinners romantic restaurants in queens
Queens Romantic Restaurants for Valentines Day - Queens NYC

Valentine's Day Restaurants & Events in Queens

Romantic Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

Updated February 13, 2019 w/ new entries from 2.6.19 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Valentine's Day is a week away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with still means a lot to you.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice at a romantic Queens restaurant on Valentine's Day, and sometimes it's difficult to make them for the weekend of Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

Valentine's Day Brief History - Queens Romantic V Day Restaurants

The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.

The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Click this link to view a brief guide of Valentine's Day restaurants in Queens / V Day events & romantic restaurants Queens NYC where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. Enjoy.

Chinese New Year of the Pig in Queens

Year of the Pig Celebrated in Flushing Chinese New Year Parade

queens things to doFebruary 10, 2019 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC. By Michael Wood.

On Saturday I made my way east to Flushing to watch the Chinese New Year Parade. It was a nice sunny day with temperatures in the 30's, and a fair wind blowing, adding to the chill. But that doesn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowds that come to attend and witness one of the world's most ancient cultures on full theatrical display.

The sidewalks in Flushing along Main Street had been widened this past year, enabling a far better flow of pedestrian traffic than in prior years. I headed south toward the Flushing branch of the Queens Library, to find an opening into the street where I could - for the first time - take video of the colorful, musical parade.

I'll post the video later today.

Katz - 5th State of Queens Borough Address

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz Delivers her 5th State of the Boro Address at LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center in LIC

melinda katz state of the borough address 2019 long island city queens nycJanuary 29, 2019 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Queens Politics NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

Last Friday, January 25th, I attended the 5th State of the Queens Borough Address given by Melinda Katz. It was held in the Main Stage of the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and attended by a large group of veterans who were to be honored, along with a relatively small coterie of Queens political people, the press - and likely a contingent of folks outside of these groups - but I can't say for sure.

The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem and then two introductory speeches by the President of LaGuardia Community College, Dr. Gail Mellow, followed by Ralph McDaniels who hosted Video Music Box, which was hip hop dance show first broadcast in the early 1980's on NYC owned public television, and later sold to a private company. McDaniels now works at the Queens Library which is run by the city [click here to see how Melinda Katz transformed the Queens Library from an independent non-profit into a government run entity in 2014].

Queens Borough President Katz then took the stage and began her speech. She started by talking about how diverse the borough is, as people from around the world have been coming here for centuries. She told us that 140,000 new immigrants have moved to Queens since 2010, a few years before she assumed the role of Queens Borough President in 2014.

Katz Cites Growing Number of Hate Crimes Since Trump Took Office

She mentioned some of the divisiveness coming down from the top of the political hierarchy in Washington, much of which has targeted immigrants, but has had a spillover effect on Jews, African Americans and other minorities. She referenced the Unite the Right Rally which resulted in a death and many injured when a Neo Nazi drove his car into a crowd of protesters, and the murder of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

But she noted that the electoral outcome of November 2018, which has put the Democrats in control of all three branches of New York state government, has already resulted in victories for a woman's right to choose and the passage of the NYS Dream Act which provides undocumented students with access to financial aid and scholarships for higher education.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has her State of the Borough Speech Sponsored

Melinda Katz then thanked Jet Blue for sponsoring her State of the Borough speech. I considered for a moment, the implications of the Queens Borough President having her speech sponsored by a single private entity, and wondered how she / we might feel if Donald J. Trump had his State of the Union speech sponsored by the Trump Organization. It seems to me that everything in the world doesn't need to be commercialized or politicized - as it seems so much of life has become these days.

Katz Says the Trump Administration is Forcing Immigrants into the Shadows

Katz continued to rail the Donald's actions, talking about how he was pushing for something like an immigration income test for legal residency, which she indicated would force immigrants to make tradeoffs vis a vis housing, nutrition and healthcare, and that the Donald's efforts would push immigrants deeper into the shadows. She said she was trying to thwart the Donald's efforts by offering 'Know Your Rights' events to help people understand what protections they may have under the law.

Katz Talks Queens Public Schools & Technology Upgrades

Katz said she had allocated $21 million for technology investments at 75 Queens high schools since coming to office in 2014. She said she had also allocated money for playground projects at 13 schools, including five new playgrounds which were done via a collaboration with the Trust for Public Land NYC. The Trust for Public Land is a non-profit that helps government organizations and non-profits secure, plan and develop green space.

The Queens Borough President went on to talk about some of the challenges facing the Queens public school system. She noted that currently Queens public schools are operating at 6% over capacity, which is the highest of the five boroughs. Katz showed us a chart of the per pupil spending for the five boroughs, wherein Queens was last at about $11,000 per pupil, while the Bronx was the highest at about $14,000 per pupil, with Brooklyn and Manhattan a bit under $13,000 per pupil and Staten Island at a bit over $12,000 per pupil.

Queens Schools Performance - Not Mentioned but Included Here

What Melinda Katz didn't say, which I looked up after the speech, was that Queens public schools overcrowding is down from last year, as she had told us that the schools were operating at 8% over capacity in her Queens Borough President's State of the Borough Address 2018. She also didn't mention that the NYC public schools graduation rate reached an all-time high this past year, with a record number of graduates going on to higher education schools. I had attended Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address where he mentioned the improvements made in the NYC public school system - click here for Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address 2019. And she didn't mention that Queens high schools are no longer operating out of trailers - which they had been doing for decades.

The Queens Library: A Tale of Two Very Different Views

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said she had allocated $46 million for improvment work in 23 Queens libraries. She claimed that when she came to office that the award-winning Queens Library "was riddled with mismanagement and even fraud". We covered the story of Melinda Katz and the Queens Library corruption. After an investigation by the FBI, the NYC Department of Investigations and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer no formal charges were levied against the former Queens Library President Thomas Galante nor the former Queens Library Board. And Galante prevailed in a lawsuit winning millions of dollars in a settlement with [what had essentially become Katz's] Queens Library. So Katz might want to choose her words carefully as neither fraud, nor tax issues which NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer insinuated, were ever proven in the nearly three years that I covered the story ending September 2016 after the court victory of former Queens Library President Thomas Galante.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who supported Katz's attack on the former Queens Library President and Board, used public resources to file a lawsuit to gain access to the non-profit organization of the Queens Library. Stringer also had his publicly funded staff dig down so deeply into the Queens Library roughly $130 million dollar budget, that one of Stringer's 'big finds' involved Galante expensing multiple gas receipts on the same day. Stringer then used the receipts to calculate the kind of mileage that would be required to justify them, insinuating that Galante was using Queens Library resources to fill the tanks of his personal cars. If my memory serves me correctly, those receipts were racked up the weekend of Super Storm Sandy and Galante said he was purchasing gas for the library generators.

When Melinda Katz said the Queens Library's reputation had been restored, I couldn't help but think of Donald Trump who goes around breaking things, and then claims victory when he gets us back to square one. This is what Melinda Katz's effort with the Queens Library seemed to be, but with a caveat. Melinda Katz had the NYS Legislature change the Queens Library charter which had been drafted by Andrew Carnegie nearly a century ago - so that the far less political, members of the community that had once sat on the board, were replaced with more pliable, mostly politically-connected people who now sit on the Board.

A prime example of this change is that the former President of the Queens Library was a library science professional with many years of experience, while the current Queens Library President - prior to Katz's appointment of him - did not have any higher education in library science, nor did he have any prior professional experience managing a public library. The Queens Library charter that Katz had the NYS Legislature change, was drafted by Andrew Carnegie when Carnegie donated most of the land upon which the Queens Libary system now sits.

It's worth mentioning that around that time the Brooklyn Library had leased or sold property to an NYC real estate developer. Thus enabling developer access to the valuable land upon which the Queens Libraries stood, seemed to be one plausible alternative rationale for Katz and Stringer to go through such a great effort to wrest away control of the Queens Library from the former President and Board, as Mortimer Zuckerman, the then NY Daily News Publisher who provided media support for the seemingly relentless attacks on the former President and Board, is also a big New York City real estate developer. Having the support of the Publisher of one of NYC's three daily newspapers would certainly be good for Katz's and Stringer's political careers, although newspaper support was worth more back then than it is today.

Given that Melinda Katz has announced that she is running for Queens District Attorney, the story - Melinda Katz and the Queens Library corruption - is worth reading before you cast your vote in June. But I digress.

The Democrats Arrive in Albany & Hastily Start Passing Laws?

Melinda Katz noted the Democratic party has a majority in all branches of government as of January, and she went on to proudly note some of the bills passed in their first month in office.

I. Cuomo signed a Roe v. Wade bill providing women with the right to choose an abortion up to week 24 of gestation, and beyond that time frame when the fetus is 'not viable' or the woman's health is at risk.

I did a bit of research and it's worth noting that according to Wikipedia, as of week 23 of gestation between 20% to 35% of babies born outside of the womb survive. The survival rate climbs to between 50% to 70% between weeks 24 and 25 of gestation.

II. Cuomo signed the NY Dream Act which was named for former NYS Senator Jose Peralta who died late last year. The bill enables undocumented students to apply for state-subsidized financial aid and / or scholarships in pursuit of post high school education.

I did a bit of reseach and the bill is expected to help between 100,000 - 200,000 people pursue post high school education. It's worth noting that many of the students who will be helped were brought to this country as young children, grew up here and for the most part it's the only country they know.

III. And Katz noted that Cuomo had signed a Voting Rights bill which allows early voting beginning two weekends prior to an election, restricts donations by limited liability companies or LLC's [which the wealthy appear to use to conceal their pol buying], and eliminates separate primaries for state and federal elections.

NYS Bills Not Mentioned or Passed - Campaign Donation Matching Funds

It's worth pointing out that the voting bill did NOT include campaign donation matching funds. The intent of giving taxpayers back some of their money in campaign donation matching funds, is to enable / empower them to buy back some of the attention / interest of their legislative / government representatives. The passage of a bill supporting Voter Matching Funds is one of the more effective methods of 'draining the swamp' - which at least thus far - the Democratically-controlled NYS government has failed to do.

Does the Democratic Governor, Senate and Assembly believe that campaign donation matching funds are not in the public's best interest, or that it's not in their own best interest?

Not Mentioned - Queens District Attorney Race with Lasak & Lancman

The combination of state and federal primaries means that the Queens District Attorney primary will be held in June, rather than in September. Katz is one of the contestants - along with former Judge and former DA attorney Greg Lasak and former NYS Assemblymember and NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman. Katz didn't mention the race per se, but after her speech many people there were talking about it.

Katz also noted that tax reform and criminal justice reform are on the NYS legislative docket.

Not Mentioned - Profiteering Peddlers of Congestion Pricing Are Back in Albany Again

Katz didn't mention this, but it's worth mentioning that the NYS Legislature is also working on passing a Congestion Pricing tax - which has continually been pushed by a number of companies and consultants that will profit from it - for over a decade now. They started telling us it would reduce gas emissions, but studies indicate that is not true. They said it will raise a lot of new money, but in London only 50% of the new revenue made its way into new transit infrastructure. Now they are pedaling it telling us it will reduce traffic fatalities, when NYC traffic fatalities are at their lowest level since 1910, at which time there were more horses than autos.

I researched NYC Congestion Pricing a few years back and filed a report on it. I found that it won't really solve NYC's transportation infrastructure problem. Instead it will shift the burden from the status quo of equal pain for everyone - to less pain for the wealthy and more difficult for the less wealthy. The Congestion Pricing Plan essentially advocates for adding tolls to the East River bridges to enable the wealthy to travel across the river and through Midtown and Downtown Manhattan more quickly, by using the tolls to dissuade the less wealthy from traveling over the East River and through Downtown and Midtown Manhattan at the same time.

If you click this link NYC Congestion Pricing to a report I did a few years ago, it shows that in London, where they enacted Congestion Pricing, only about half of the revenue from the system actually went into new transit investments while the rest went to building and maintaining the system to collect the tolls and whatnot. The net result is that this is a VERY EXPENSIVE TAXATION PLAN, as only 50% of the money raised became available for transit investment. There are other means of taxation available, wherein nearly 100% of the tax increase could go toward new transit infrastructure investments. It's worth mentioning that London DID NOT ENACT the second proposed phase of the Congestion Pricing Plan, which should give any thinking legislator cause to pause in pursuing this taxation scheme.

The NYC infrastructure problem isn't money per se - it's that our government officials don't appear to have the intelligence, courage nor decency to come up with a real plan to address the problem of over a half century of little to no real investment in the NYC / MTA public transit system. Government officials need to address this investment gap by coming up with a 2.0 plan for the MTA transit system for the 21st century - that addresses moving people around the entire city - not just in Manhattan. And we need to follow the example of our ancestors, by putting in place an infrastructure plan that will be viable for decades to come. Not just erecting a pop stand of tolls on bridges, and then pretending we've built the Coca-Cola Company.

Melinda Katz Talks about Queens Parks Investments

Katz said that $105 million had been invested in Queens Parks, but she didn't provide any time frame for this figure. In her address last year she said $100 million had been invested in parks capital improvements. Given the list of projects she referenced and attendant dollar amounts, it appears about $5 million from the Queens Borough President's Office was allocated to Queens Parks upgrades in 2018.

The 2018 parks investments were primarily made in Woodside, St. Albans, Laurelton, Ridgewood, Kew Gardens where she said NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman aided with the funding. She mentioned a number of 2019 parks investments, this time giving a shout out to the NYC Councilmembers who are helping fund each of them.

She said that the NYS Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park "is now saved". By the time Katz came to office, it wasn't in any jeopardy, as in the Fall of 2013, shortly before Katz assumed office in January of 2014, the NYC Parks Department announced that it would spend $73 million to restore the NYS Pavilion, rather than $14 million to destroy it. It's worth mentioning that the NYS Pavilion resides on NYC Parks land, and in 2009 was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Katz talked about the $21 million allocated to restoration work on it this year, of which she told us that Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillebrand earmarked $16.5 million of federal funds for it, while Governor Cuomo's Office committed to $2 million, and the remaining $2.5 million she informed us would be coming from the Mayor's and Queens Borough President's offices.

Queens Seniors & Queens Affordable Housing Developments

Queens Borough President Katz rattled off a number of senior and affordable housing additions made in Queens over the past year. There are new sites in Corona, Flushing and a couple in Jamaica that were completed in 2018, and sizeable percentages of the units were listed as affordable [which is sometimes debatable], but for which literally hundreds of units were added, some for seniors and some set aside for people with below AMI incomes. AMI is Area Median Income, which is a measure of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [aka HUD] which indicates the amount of income for which half the population is earning more and half the population is earning less.

Katz on Rikers Replacement via Neighborhood Jails

Katz said she's all for closing Rikers, because the closing should result in lower costs, and a more humane and effective approach to reforming criminals. But that said, she told us that neighborhoods need to be given a chance to weigh in on where the replacement neighborhood jails are built. And she said that she did not think that there had been meaningful community input with regard to the 1.9 million square foot facility planned for 82nd Avenue and 126th Street, near Queens Borough Hall and the Queens County Criminal Court. The closing of Rikers is estimated to be about ten years out [roughly 2029].

Queens Crime and Criminal Justice Reform

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz echoed Mayor de Blasio's pitch line that NYC is now America's safest big city. She told us that Queens North experienced a 14% drop in crime, and that Queens South experienced a 21% drop in crime.

She was elated that there's going to be a new 116th Precinct Station House in southeast Queens. She thanked Mayor de Blasio for allocated $70 million to pay for it, because the 105th Precinct, from which the new Precinct will be cut out of, currently covers an area about half the geographical size [not population] of Manhattan. She talked about working with the local communities of Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield and Brookville to help site the grounds of the new station.

Along with Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown and the Legal Aid Society, Queens offerred a warrant forgiveness workshop for people who had been summonsed for failiing to appear in court. She told us that 400 people showed up and that 360 of them had their warrants adjudicated.

Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that enabled people with two or less non-violent convictions, who had a clean record for ten years, to have their records sealed. She told us that in New York State 600,000 people are eligible for having their records sealed, but since the law was passed in the Fall of 2017, only 51 people in Queens have taken advantage of the offer.

Jobs: Queens Employment & Unemployment Rates

When Melinda Katz came to office she began working on a Jamaica NOW Action Plan which tapped into $153 million of public investment. One of the projects related to it that she referenced was the conversion of an NYPD garage at 168th Street which is being converted into 168 affordable housing units. She also noted that unemployment has fallen from 7.7% to 3.2% since she came to office in 2014.

As a point of reference I looked up the NYC unemployment rate fell from 8.3% to 3.9%, during the same time period.

She mentioned Hurricane Sandy, the clean up of which seems mostly done.

LIC Residential Unit Growth, Tech Jobs & What's an Amazon?

Katz told us that since 2010, about 9,000 residential units have been built in Long Island City. She noted that the area was becoming a technology hub.

But surprisingly, what Katz did NOT talk about was perhaps the biggest news in Queens all year - which was the planned headquarters of Amazon in Long Island City. One observer told me that perhaps she avoided talking about it because of the controversial impact it's going to have on the community in terms of rising housing costs, school overcrowding and the added strain on an already straining public transportation infrastructure in Western Queens. The observer went on to say that they had come here expressly to hear about what plans Queens Borough President Katz was making to address the myriad of issues associated with transitioning the behemoth global retailer into the borough. And ultimately, because Amazon wasn't addressed, they felt a bit disappointed.

Public Transit - The NYC Ferry System

TO BE FINISHED 2.2.19. Doing well, with impressive usage.

Public Transit - The Airports

A little LGA & big new JFK improvements.

Public Transit missing in action - the subway.


A bit of this and that.

The Vets

A new monument and new housing.

Epilogue of Queens Boro President Melinda Katz SOTB Address

She returned to the theme that she had started the address with, talking about how we're living in unusual times. She told us she lost her mother fifty years ago in a car accident involving a drunk driver. She said that that person had made a choice, the wrong choice, when getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. And that because of that person's decision, she and her family were left to deal with the terrible consequences of it.

She said that each generation defines itself by how it responds to situations, and the choices made - and that she thought we were at a crossroads of sorts. She closed saying that we would have to choose between easy and convenient, versus what is tough. And that she believed that collectively we are Queens tough.

All in all it was a pretty good speech, and having attended all of them to date, the most informative Queens State of the Borough Address delivered by Queens Boro President Melinda Katz since she took office in 2014.

Let us hope that the new year is a good one.

De Blasio Delivers State of the City Address 2019

The Mayor Recounts a Year of Accomplishment & Seems to Push the Envelope

mayor bill de blasio state of the city address 2019January 22, 2019 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / NYC Government & Politics / Manhattan Neighborhoods NYC / Gotham Buzz NYC.

On Thursday, January 10th, Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his fifth State of the City Address at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side. To date the Mayor has delivered the address in three of the five boroughs, and this was the third delivered in Manhattan [at Apollo Theater in Harlem in 2017 and Baruch in 2015]. He delivered the third address in 2016 at Lehman College in the Bedford Park neighborhood of the Bronx and his fourth at Kings Theatre in the Flatbush Ditmas neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2018. Queens and Staten Island have yet to host the Mayor’s State of the City Address, but he has a couple more years in which to make that happen, should he choose to do deliver his address in all five boroughs.

I arrived on a cold January morning. There was a crowd lined up outside, waiting to pass through security, even though it was well over a half hour before the address was to begin. Inside there was a large crowd mingling, and eventually it looked like it was a full house.

There were the usual warm up speeches and performances, including the Invocation by the NYPD Chaplain, Rabbi Alvin Kass, the singing of ‘God Bless America’ by NYFD vocalist Regina Wilson and an introductory speech by the First Lady Chirlane McCray.

Shave the Stache for Autism

Annual Astoria Fundraiser Nets Over $8,000 for Non-profit QSAC

queens things to doJanuary 14, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

Last Friday night I made my way north along Steinway Street to 30th Avenue in Astoria. I headed west toward the subway, until I came to the Redken Saloon Salon, home of the Shave the Stache fundraiser since its inception eight years ago.

Inside things were bustling, as the shaving was already well underway. A group of local men had volunteered to grow whiskers in the Fall, and shave them off in the winter, while seeking donation pledges from their family, friends and local businesspeople.

In the photo at right a Shave the Stache volunteer having his whiskers colored before they are removed.


Quality Services for the Autism Community - QSAC in Queens

queens things to doI met Lisa A. VegLia, the Chief Executive Officer of Quality Services for the Autism Community, who provided me with a bit of history of the organization. Quality Services for the Autism Community, or QSAC as it is better known today, started in the late 1970's [circa 1978], when parents of children with Autism in Queens got together to organize programs for kids with autism, since none were available in the area. For over a decade those parents organized and ran the programs themselves, before hiring a professional to run the program, which happened sometime in the 1990's, at which time they hired an Executive Director.

In the photo above right is [L to R] 1) Paul Halvatzis of Amorelli Realty and Founder of the Shave the Stache Fundraiser, 2) Pat Barrientos, a QSAC Staff member and Shave the Stache participant, 3) William Balash - a Principal of BF Solutions - a local shipping services company, and 4) Lisa VegLia - Chief Executive of QSAC.

queens things to doSince then QSAC changed its name from Queens Quality Services for the Autism Community to the more general Quality Services for the Autism Community as the organization expanded to encompass all five boroughs and Long Island [and a bit in Westchester]. While funding is always an issue for non-profits, QSAC is largely funded by the state and local governments, while fundraisers like the one tonight, provide QSAC with a little flexibility to do things not possible without the funding.

In the photo at right are [L to R] the Halvatzis family including Eileen and Paul, Paul's mother Anita, Nicholas and Paul Jr. and Christina.


Paul Halvatzis Organized the Fundraiser at the Redken Saloon Salon Astoria

queens things to doPaul Halvatzis, of Amorelli Realty in Astoria, founded the event with the help of numerous people who he thanked at the event. He told us how he came to the idea, asking an officer of the Astoria Bank if they would donate $1,000 for Paul to shave off a mustache he had worn for decades. The officer thought about and then said yes. Paul then went about recruiting others to do the same, including members of the Kiwanis Club, including former President of the NYS Kiwanis Steve Sirgiovanni, a friend and local Shipping Services Magnate William Balash, and a group of mens from theparish of St. Andrews in Flushing, as well as members of his family.

In the photo at right are Mr. & Ms. Frank Arcabascio, owners of the Redken Saloon Salon in Astoria.

With the list of volunteers growing, Paul needed to find a suitable venue for the fundraiser. Enter Redken Saloon Salon owner Frank Arcabascio, who not only runs a large establishment, but as it's a modern, fashionable hair styling salon, it was already well equipped to handle this particular type of event. Paul thanked other supporters including all of those mentioned above, one of the hair stylists who alongwith Frank has been volunteering her time since the program first began, and most notably Paul's mother, wife and children - all of whom were present and who have been supportive of the event since its inception. Paul told us that the event had raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $100K since it first began.


QSAC Operations are Citywide & on Long Island

queens things to doQSAC operates over 25 group homes for autistic people. They have twelve day programs scattered throughout the NYC / Long Island metro area. And they operate three schools which help people with autism live fuller, more productive and more independent lives. Paul got involved a couple of decades ago, when he and his wife discovered that their son had autism. And Paul has been a contributing Board Member ever since.

In the photo at right Redken Saloon Salon hair stylist Sofia gives former President of the NYS Kiwanis, Steve Sirgiovanni, a completely clean shave.

After the shaving and a few speeches, pieces of which I captured above, folks eased into grazing over some of the food and wine that were still there, before packing it up and heading out into the Winter cold. It was a nice way to kick off the new year.

Sunnyside Yard Inches Closer to Development

The Wheels have been in Motion Ever Since Mayor de Blasio First Unveiled his Vision for Sunnyside Yard in 2015

sunnyside yard development long island city queens real estate development astoria sunnyside lic queens nycJanuary 7, 2018 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Long Island City Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Real Estate LIC Astoria Sunnyside / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 - in Bill de Blasio's first State of the City Address in Manhattan - the Mayor unveiled a vague vision for for the development of Sunnyside Yard in Queens. Following Mayor de Blasio's announcement, the city initiated a feasibility plan to investigate the issues associated with developing the space atop what is now the open space of Sunnyside Yard. Sunnyside Yard lies near the eastern side of Long Island City and the western side of the Sunnyside neighborhood.

Prior to the Mayor's announcement, and continuing to this day, western Queens - but most specifically Long Island City - has been under siege by real estate developers. They have bid up the prices on old buildings and empty lots, and following the purchase of them, have then erected tall skyscraper buildings at a rapid, mind-boggling pace. By the early 2020's, NYC real estate developers will have added tens of thousands of residential units to the Long Island City neighborhood alone, in less than a decade and a half.

In the photo at right, Mayor de Blasio talking to members of the press and audience, following his first State of the City Address in 2015 in Manhattan.

A Changing & Evolving Landscape in Queens

sunnyside yard development long island city queens real estate development astoria sunnyside lic queens nycLike all change - there are winners and losers and there are good things and bad things - that come of any change. I've tried to capture a bit of both in my reporting of Long Island City's growth over the past decade or so, but for the purpose of this report, I will leave a discussion of the many issues associated with change, here.

In October of 2018 there was a community meeting at LaGuardia Community College regarding future plans for Sunnyside Yard. Over 300 people came to watch the slide show, view the exhibits, and interact with the NYC Economic Development [EDC] team that is spearheading the effort to include community sentiment and address community issues in any future development of Sunnyside Yard.

This is the beginning of an 18 month long process to engage the community in identifying and managing issues associated with the development of Sunnyside Yard.

In the photo at right are various members of the Queens community who came out to view the exhibits and slide show put together by the NYC EDC regarding the future development of Sunnyside Yard.

WORK IN PROGRESS - more to come later this week.

The Road Ahead 2019

A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year

queens things to do queens this weekend queens nycDecember 31, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Holidays / Queens Buzz NYC.

For all of us, tomorrow starts the beginning of the new year.

I used to make new years resolutions that generally lasted a few days or few weeks. Over time I've given that up and have focused on a few guiding principles that I work toward throughout the year, every year.

1. The first guidepost is to keep things as simple as possible by letting things go, so you can change and evolve who you are. Over time it's important to learn to let go of the past which includes letting many of the people, projects and things - once so meaningful and relevant - to fade away with time. This process involves discarding much of what one collects, in order to open up space in your life to make room for new possibilities.

2. The second guidepost is to take care of the vessel that carries one's being - meaning take care of your body because it's the only one you'll ever get, and it has to last an entire lifetime. This means consuming the foods that will enable the body to function properly and ward off disease, while recognizing that satisfying the mind is important too, as it's a part of the body. There are three elements to this guideline.

a _ Try to maximize consumption of natural foods while managing / minimalizing consumption of the delicious processed foods that come in packages. Read package container nutrition labels which indicate the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol consumed per serving. You can manage the balance of natural and processed foods depending on what's going on in life, meaning leaning toward natural foods to take care of the body, and leaning toward tasty processed foods to treat your mind.

b _ Reduce consumption of toxins by first paying attention to the quantities consumed of them, and then by substituting the toxins with healthier choices. For example dilute a soft drink with seltzer water [cuts sugar], or swap in a lemonade for a beer [cuts alcohol], or swap in pretzels for potato chips [cuts salt and fat]. Over the years these little substitutions can add up to some fair measure of weight loss or stability, and can aid in maintaining generally good health. But it's also important not to deprive oneself, too much, of some of the simple pleasures in life that keep one going - experience tells us not to be too draconian, or you can expect a subconscious rebellion, and then your program doesn't work.

c _ The third element of this guidepost is to try to walk and bike whenever possible. It's a good way to kill two birds with one stone, as it enables getting somewhere, while also getting some exercise. And be sure to carve out enough time each night, for a proper rest.

3. The third guidepost is to try to move your life in the direction of your interests. This will likely take a great many years, as well as needing to make a good number of economic and other lifestyle trade offs. But if successful, you can then spend most of your time doing the things that totally engage you. It's said that "when someone is doing something they truly love, they'll never have to work another day in their life."

4. The fourth guidepost is to keep on learning, because "luck is when preparation meets opportunity". So the more you learn, and the more experience you get, the better prepared you'll be ... come what may.

May your new year be filled with promise and possibilities. Best wishes for a happy and successful 2019.

New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens | new years eve parties & restaurants in queens parties & restaurants new years eve in astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights new years restaurants & parties in queens nyc
New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens

New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens

Updated with a half dozen new Queens NYE parties - December 18, 2018 from 12.1218 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

New Years Eve 2018 / 2019 is upon us, when revelers ring in the New Year. If the night is done smartly, it includes sensible consumption of food and drink.

The origins of New Years Eve will be posted at a future date. Enjoy the evening.

Click this link to go to a brief guide of New Years Eve parties & restaurants in Queens, where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. It's worth noting that most of these reviews are positive because we've selected some of the best restaurants in their categories in Queens. Enjoy.

Click for New Years Eve parties & restaurants in Queens.

Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens | xmas tree holiday lightings in queens astoria lic long island city sunnyside woodside jackson heights corona flushing jamaica christmas tree lightings in queens
Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens

Holiday Events In Queens

Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, & Kwanzaa Candle Lightings in Queens

Upated December 14, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Woodside Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Corona Neighborhood / Flushing Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Things To Do Holidays / Queens Buzz NYC.

Holiday lighting festivals and ceremonies have been on the rise in Queens in recent years. While some date back many years, most are traditions that started within the past five or ten years.

What does an increase in holiday lightings mean? It means you have ample opportunity to go yourself, or with friends, or to take your kids to one or more of them to learn a bit more about your own culture or the culture of others.

Each lighting is a bit different, as some are community and business-oriented, some are religiously oriented, a few have arts organizations behind them, and some are backed by non-religious cultural organizations. Please feel free to send us a notice of your holiday lighting event if it's not posted herein.

Queens Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Events Begin in Earnest

This is not meant to be a complete list, but rather a list of the holiday lighting events, many of which I’ve attended one or more times since late 2007. The holiday lighting events are organized individually by each Queens neighborhood including Astoria, Long Island City LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica and Whitestone. Many include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally something to munch on like cookies.

Queens Holiday Markets - Holiday Shops Shopping Queens | queens holiday markets queens christmas markets queens hanukkah markets queens kwanzaa markets queens nyc
Queens Holiday Markets - Holiday Shops Shopping Queens

Shopping Holiday Markets In Queens

Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Markets & Shopping in Queens

Updated 12/14/18 from November 15, 2018  / Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Woodside Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Forest Hills Neighborhood / Flushing Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Shopping NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

The growth in the number and size of Holiday markets has been on the rise in Queens and New York City in recent years. While some date back many years, most are traditions that started within the past five or ten years.

What does an increase in holiday markets mean? It means you have multiple opportunities to go holiday shopping yourself, or with friends, or with your kids or the whole family. Oftentimes the local markets offer unique items made locally, which you may not find anywhere else.

Each Queens holiday market is a bit different, as each of those listed in this posting are organized in collaboration with arts organizations and / or with religious or cultural organizations. Please feel free to send us a notice of your community organize Queens holiday market if it's not posted herein.

Queens Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Markets

This is not meant to be a complete list of Queens holiday markets, but rather - as mentioned above - a curated listing of Queens holiday markets run by community organizations. The Queens holiday markets are organized individually in each Queens neighborhood including Astoria, Long Island City LIC, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Forest Hills, Flushing and Jamaica. Many of these markets may also host holiday tree lighting, menorah lighting or Kwanzaa candle lighting events in Queens.

USPS Service Alert for December 5, 2018

December 4, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business / Queens Buzz NYC.

Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday, December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.  Out of respect for the 41st President of the United States ... and consistent with the Presidential Proclamation, the United States Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries, retail services and administrative office activity on December 5, 2018. 

The U.S.Postal Service informs us that they,

"will provide limited package delivery service on that day to ensure that our network remains fluid and we do not experience any impacts to our package delivery operations that might negatively affect our customers or business partners during the remainder of our busy holiday season."

Thanksgiving – America’s Communal Holiday

The Pilgrims Legacy: Love, Sharing & Community Empowerment

thanksgiving day senitments nyc what thanksgiving day means to meNovember 19, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / Thanksgiving Holidays in NYC / Gotham Buzz NYC.


For the past couple of days, I’ve been searching for something to say about the Thanksgiving holiday.

My Mother died this Fall, and it will be my first Thanksgiving without a living parent, so I reckon that’s led me to musings about who we are, and what we’re doing, and why we’re all here.

If you’re looking for answers to those questions in this little story, I can save you a few minutes by telling you that you won’t find any definitive answers here.

Anyhow, after various false starts, I happened upon a childhood storybook that I had saved since I was a first grader. I was young enough to still like fairytales and old enough to be learning to read. The book, A Gateway to Storyland, by Platt & Munk Co, was given to me around the holidays. The fairytale storybook contains a warm, loved feeling that I still can get, when I periodically open it. When I was younger I read it numerous times, as the words and the illustrations fed the imagination.


Unselfish Parental Love Manifested by Empowering Progeny

Love comes in many forms, but the purest form is unselfish love. The love of truly giving something with no thought of anything in return. That love is likely most often given generationally – from parents to children – from one generation to another. And one of the greatest gifts is the gift of teaching someone something that they will be able to put to good use throughout their lives. Parents do this all the time, when they teach their children's skills and impart some of their knowledge and wisdom ... just as my parents did many years ago, by giving me a well illustrated fairytale book to encourage my learning to read.

Pilgrims: Shared Communal Resources to Actualize a Dream

At Thanksgiving time we commemorate one of America’s first settlements, founded by the risk-taking, resource-pooling, communal sharing Pilgrims.

The Pilgrims were early English settlers who arrived on these shores in the early 17th century [1600’s]. They came here because they wanted a measure of freedom and self-determination that they were forbidden in Europe or what we call the ‘old country’. They wanted to practice their faith in a way that differed from the established Church of England. They took great risks, pooled / shared their communal resources to obtain a ship, the Mayflower, to cross the Atlantic in mid September of 1620, landing here at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts on November 9, 1620.


Help Comes from a Foreign People in a Strange Land

Per Wikipedia, they survived a hard winter in 1621 with the help of the Wampanoag, an American Indian tribe. The Pilgrims were the immigrants, and the Indian natives welcomed them. The Wampanaog taught the Pilgrims how to catch eels, and how to grow and harvest corn. Thus the Pilgrims ended 1621 with a good harvest which they celebrated and shared with their new friends, expressing their thanks to a higher power, aka God, for the success of their endeavors. Hence the celebration entered into American lore, as the first Thanksgiving.

The Times They are a Changing

Amazon Coming to LIC w/ Sites Secured

New Jobs, Tax Incentives, Real Estate & Housing Impacts & Dissent

November 13, 2018 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Long Island City Real Estate / Queens Buzz NYC.

amazon coming to lic real estate queens nycAccording to a November 13, 2018 Washington Post report, yesterday Amazon, NYC and NYS made public, that half of the second headquarters for Amazon would be erected in Long Island City. The other half is going to Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia; and there was a third award - not of headquarters - but rather a new operations center which is to be erected in Nashville, Tennessee which is expected to create 5,000 additional new jobs there.

The photo at right shows Hunters Point Park South along the East River in LIC. This park is just south of and adjacent to Anable Basin, one of Amazon's new HQ2 sites, and only a ten minute walk from the other one on Jackson Avenue near Citibank.


New High Paying Jobs?

The announcement included that the two new HQ2 units would eventually create 25,000 new jobs - EACH [Long Island City, NY & Arlington, Va]. In Long Island City it was expected that 3,000 new jobs would be added over the next three years, with the remaining 22,000 coming roughly over the course of the coming decade [ending 2030]. The hiring for the new locations will begin in 2019.

The NY Times in a November 12, 2018 report indicated that many of the salaries paid to the people working at the new HQ2 would make upwards of $100,000*, which they contrasted to the median income of those living in the nearby Queensbridge Housing projects where the median income is $15,000. They noted in that report that many local citizens are leery of the change, feeling rents and the cost of real estate will rise forcing many residents to move. We've heard this anecdotally as well.


HQ2 Near Low Income Queensbridge Housing Projects

amazon coming to lic real estate queens nycThe same NY Times report also stated that Amazon said it would spend $5 million on jobs training programs and resume workshops to assist Queensbridge Housing project residents. They also said they would provide incubator space for artists and tech start ups.

The November 13, 2018 Washington Post report included some indication of the upside / downside in the real estate market stating,

"Amazon’s growth is also likely to put new strains on housing. Since Amazon’s arrival, Seattle has become one of the most expensive places in the United States to live, forcing lower-income residents to move to far-off suburbs. The city and surrounding King County declared a state of emergency in 2015 over homelessness."

At right is a photo of one of the Queensbridge Housing projects in LIC a couple of years ago. The Queensbridge Housing projects have been the recipient of government investments in recent years, including significant roof repairs. Queensbridge Houses are located about a half mile north of the old downtown LIC by 50th Avenue and Vernon Blvd [St Mary's Church is the landmark] and only a stones throw from Queens Plaza.


Amazon Founder Pledges $2 Billion to Address National Housing Crisis

sunnyside yard long island city sunnyside yard amazon lic queens real estate nycThe report went on to include some heartening news for those feeling threatened stating,

"Since beginning the headquarters search, Bezos and the company have made several announcements that could soften Amazon’s image as it moves to open its second hub. Bezos announced in September that he would donate $2 billion of his own money to support groups battling homelessness in America and to create a network of preschools in underserved communities. In October — after bearing months of criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over its treatment of workers — Amazon announced that it would raise its minimum wage for all employees to $15 per hour."

The photo at right shows Sunnyside Yards, for which a development plan is in the process of being drafted. Sunnyside Yard is on the eastern border of LIC and it is a large swath of over 192 acres of land that separates Long Island City from the rest of Queens. An NYEDC [New York Economic Development Corporation] spokesperson told me that a study indicated that 180 of the acres are potential development property.

Click here to view a special report series on the Sunnyside Yard.


Market Turbulence: LIC Real Estate Market Supply, Demand & Prices

amazon coming to lic real estate queens nycBut real estate speculation appears about to begin, as the November 13, 2018 report by CNN noted,

"The real estate listing website Redfin found searches in the first six days of November grew 345% from the same period last year in Crystal City and 659% in Long Island City."

This has roiled the real estate markets, with sellers ratching up their asking prices, or deciding to rent instead of sell. A memorable quote by developer Tien Vominh in the CNN report was,

"everything's kind of cloudy ... I think it'll settle down once people realize that those 25,000 people are not on a plane headed in this direction."

In recent years LIC has seen the largest residential unit growth of any neighborhood - not just in NYC - but in the nation as well, according to a September 2017 report in the National Intelligencer. Prices for LIC rentals had been languishing the last year or so because of the rapid growth in residential unit supply. There have been reports / rumors of generous incentives being offered to potential tenants, and LIC residential unit sales prices have reportedly been softening. Continued demand, rapidly growing supply and ongoing price fluctuations seem likely in the coming years, as Amazon begins hiring in 2019, while many more residential units are scheduled to come online over the next couple of years. And there's the big unknown regarding the development of most of the 192 acre site of Sunnyside Yard.

In the photo at right is the Anable Basin during the summer time. The Anable Basin is located just north of, and adjacent to Gantry State Park along the East River in LIC. According to the LIC Post, this is where part of Amazon's HQ2 will be located using a combination of public and private land. I hear that the site deals have already been secured.


Dissent: Pros / Cons of Governor Cuomo's Generous Incentives

amazon lic affordable housing hunters point south lic long island city affordable housing amazon impact on lic queens real estateA November 13, 2018 NY Times report also said that NYS Governor Cuomo pledged up to $1.5 billion** in tax incentives / credits through its Excelsior discretionary fund. And NYS Governor Cuomo offerred up to $500 million in a capital grant to aid Amazon in erecting new buildings. Traditional local and state tax incentives will also be made available to the retailing giant.

In a November 9, 2018 Op Ed in the NY Times former gubernatorial and NYS Attorney General candidate, Zephyr Teachout, and NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim of Flushing / Whitestone / College Point / Murray Hill, took a strong stance against the deal, stating the NYS return on incentives given to businesses is the second worst in the nation [based on a study by the Citizens Budget Committee NY a non-profit watchdog] and that the incentives given by NYS represent 77% of the total tax dollars paid by businesses.

In a November 14, 2018 Democracy Now interview, Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim also accused Governor Cuomo of bypassing the legislature in order to allocate billion(s) of taxpayer funds, to a company controlled by the wealthiest man in the world, to subsidize expansion plans that likely would have occurred with or without the subsidies.

The map at right shows approximately where the Amazon sites are being developed. The Sunnyside Yard, just east of them, represents over 192 acres of a mix of federal, state and municipally controlled land [per Wikipedia] of which 180 of the acres are currently in the planning process for potential future development [NYEDC spokesperson]. A mix of affordable housing has been mentioned as one of the top contenders for site development, but it should be noted that the Administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg labeled apartments that rented for over $48,000 per year in Hunters Point South - affordable.


Amazon Cites Economic Impact Using Seattle as Example

amazon long island city lic real estate queens nycAccording to the LIC Post, One Court Square West [aka the Citibank Building] is where one of the Amazon HQ2 buildings will be located. An NYEDC spokesperson said that Amazon has rented some of the floors in the Citibank Building on Jackson Avenue, but that he was not familiar with any of those details as they were part of a private transaction. In the photo at right you can see the Citibank Building where Amazon will begin working / hiring in 2019.

Winners & Losers of Amazon Arrival

On November 13, 2018 CNN reported that Amazon said that from 2010 to 2016 it added $38 billion to the economy of the city of Seattle - its current headquarters. In a November 11, 2018 report CNN also said that employees who work in Seattle will have an opportunity to relocate.

Lastly, there was a second report in the Washington Post on November 13, 2018 - which by the way is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, so the Washington Post ought to know - that outlined who it expected to be the winners and losers. The winners are property owners and developers and highly skilled workers, while the losers will be renters, low income residents, commuters due to increased transit volume, some small businesses and rival tech companies.

* The incomes reported by Governor Cuomo have been higher than those reported by news outlets [I heard $150,000 in one report]. This may possibly be due to Governor Cuomo's use of 'average' income versus a more fair metric of 'median' income. Using average income can significantly distort the picture - as by averaging in one or a few very high income earners - the average amount can rise significantly, making up for a lot of lower earning jobs. While median income means that half of the people are earning more than the median amount and half the people are earning less than the median amount. Hence median income is generally considered a more fair metric, as a few big wage earners' incomes won't distort this measure.

** The tax incentives / government subsidy numbers reported / estimated by Amazon and government officials - appear to lower than those reported / estimated by opponents - by totals ranging from $600 million to more than $1 billion.

Ballot Questions Tuesday

Most Pols Urge Folks to Vote Yes - I Respectfully Disagree

November 5, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / New Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

Tomorrow on your ballot you will find three ballot initiatives which appear designed to encourage participation in the electoral process. One pol informed me that NY State had the 8th lowest turnout in the nation in 2016 and these ballot initiatives are an effort to engage the public.

Most NYC public officials have come out in favor of the initiatives, with their rationale being that it will encourage participation by the electorate. While I applaud their initiative and efforts, I disagree with the specific proposals.

#1. Campaign Finance. To increase public matching from 6:1 to 8:1. To reduce the maximum campaign contribution from up to $5,100 for Mayor to $2,000 and from $3,950 to $1,500 for city council members. To reduce the requirements to qualify for those funds. And to make those funds available earlier in the campaign.

I like the idea of increasing the matching from 6:1 to 8:1 as an incentive to increase voter participation in elections. But that's where my support for this proposal ends. If my reading of the ruling of the Supreme Court in 2009 / 2010 in the Citizens United Case is correct that part of the ballot proposal is unconstitutional. While I don't know the specifics of how they've loosened the requirements to qualify for matching public funds or exactly how soon a candidate can access them - I've yet to hear of any major viable candidate complaining that their inability to qualify for or access public matching funds caused them to drop out of or lose a race. So making it easier for political candidates to obtain public money doesn't seem like a good idea to me - but I certainly understand why it would seem like a good idea to pols.

#2. A Civic Engagement Commission. To establish a civic engagement commission of 15 members, with 8 appointed by the Mayor, 2 by the City Council Speaker, 1 by each of the five Borough Presidents. The Commission Chair would be appointed by the Mayor and given a staff. The mission of this group would be to encourage civic engagement in the budgeting process by working with local groups and setting up translators at local poll sites.

How different is this from the role played by the Community Boards? The NYC.gov website states,

"The purpose of each New York City Community Board is to encourage and facilitate the participation of citizens within City government within their communities, and the efficient and effective organization of agencies that deliver municipal services in local communities and boroughs."

This seems redundantly bureaucratic to me. Instead of adding layers of bureaucracy, they should be working to make the existing government apparatus more meaningful and effective.

#3. Set Term Limits For Community Boards & Require Borough Presidents to Seek out Diversity. They want to limit Community Board members to four consecutive two year terms. And require Borough Presidents to seek out diverse people to serve as board members.

The only place I like term limits is in the Executive branch - because that's where most of the real power is vested. I don't like term limiting council members, assembly members, congress[wo]men or Senators because they are the locus of institutional knowledge. So I don't like seeing community board members term limited because they understand how the system works, and by the time the new ones move up the learning curve, term limits forces them from office, leaving those who lobby these groups with most of the control.

As for diversity - I'm all for it - but there are plenty of anti-discrimination laws already in place. At some point people have to begin to organize and stand up for themselves. Based upon the last eleven years of local reporting, the people of NYC appear to be pretty good at doing that. And if people feel they are being discriminated against, I suggest seeing a non-profit or for profit attorney about pressing your case.

Joe Crowley Runs Against Candidate of the Party he Chairs

Crowley’s Name is on the Ballot - BUT NOT AS A DEMOCRAT

October 29, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

I can just see it now 'Crowley Wins'.

On Wednesday morning, November 7th, our television screens will be filled with video and interviews with Congressman Joe Crowley. The reporters will be asking him how he won back the congressional seat he lost in the Democratic primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - by running as the 14th District Congressional candidate on the Working Families and Women’s Equality tickets.

I can see Joe Crowley, who seemed not to really concede to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez back in June, tell the cameras how “honored and humbled” he is to have received the majority vote of the 14th District – even though he was running AGAINST the candidate of the party he chaired.


More Political Theater Coming to a TV Screen Near You?

If this scenario plays out, the political theater will be as worthy of watching as North Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham’s Oscar award winning outrage, which sold the narrative that turned Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from an alleged compulsive gambler, drunkard and rapist - into the 'dry your tears' victim of the Clintons and the Democrats. It’s worth mentioning that Lindsay Graham’s political committees accepted $800K from the companies of a Russian Oligarch according to OpenSecrets.org.

But in the day of an often-enough propagandistic press [Fox News, WSJ & NY Post], or the oftentimes mindless parrot press [the Mainstream Media TV networks], I wonder whether reporters will ask Crowley why he left his name on the ballot of two other parties, while he chaired the party of the candidate he defeated?

Will the reporters ask Congressman Joseph Crowley why he or the party didn’t recuse him from the Queens Democratic Party Chairmanship, while he challenged the candidate chosen by the Democratic voters in the June 2018 primary?

Will they ask Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley if he worked the Democratic party machinery behind-the-scenes to make sure that Democratic voters would turn out to vote for HIM - NOT the Democratic nominee - on election day?

And will they ask Crowley if he brokered a deal with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Bronx Democratic Party Chairman Marcos A. Crespo to obtain the help of the Bronx Democratic party machinery apparatus to get out the vote for Crowley in exchange for helping Diaz with a [rumored] 2021 mayoral run?

Or will Crowley shy away from getting into tight corners with reporters [that's why most of Trump comments are done on the helicopter / airplane tarmacs - so he can end the conversation whenever he wants], or only speak with those who will coddle him - like the Donald?


Alexandria Wins Primary & Why Crowley Didn't REALLY Concede

In the June primary Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won 15,897 votes to Crowley’s 11,761 votes. But in 2016 Crowley received 147,587 votes, to the Republican challenger’s 30,545 votes, so Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has to win ten times more votes in the general election on November 6th than she did in June. And Crowley only has to win a bit more than half the total of Democrats in the general, to defeat both Ocasio-Cortez and the Republican rival.

This seems a steep hill to climb for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – especially if the Democratic machine apparatus run by the Queens and Bronx borough head haunchos, work against the nominee picked by the voters of their party. And this outcome seems somewhere between possible and probable given Crowley’s re-election as Queens Democratic Party Chairman on September 17, 2018 at a meeting held in Flushing where Crowley retained his hold on the Queens Democratic party in a landslide vote he won 60 – 4.

In a September 17, 2018 report the NY Post stated,

“One stunned attendee said the 60 electors acted as if Crowley didn’t lose his own election in a blowout to progressive star Ocasio-Cortez. “They acted like never ever happened. They buried their head deep in the sand. It’s incredible,” the insider said.”


Democratic Political Insiders Re-elect Crowley - Were They Voting on Inside Information?

But maybe these political insiders didn’t bury their heads in the sand. Maybe these insiders know how very clever Congressman Joseph Crowley is, as he has managed to hang onto the Democratic Party Chairmanship since 2006, in spite of spending most of his time in Washington, D.C. where he [and his family] have lived for nearly two decades.

So perhaps these insiders expect Crowley to defeat newcomer Ocasio-Cortez on November 6th and that is why Crowley did not make the effort to remove his name from the ballot and - as mentioned above – never really conceded to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A July 15, 2018 report in the Washington Post tells us,

“Ocasio-Cortez said Crowley had “stood me up” for scheduled concession calls and accused him of seeking to mount a third-party challenge to keep his seat in November.”

The Washington Post goes on,

“Responding directly on Twitter, Crowley blamed Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for the failed calls and said “the race is over.” His showing last month entitled Crowley to run as nominee of the Working Families Party, and vacating the [Working Family] party’s line on the November ballot would entail either changing his address or accepting nomination for another office.”

Crowley’s defense of his remaining on the Working Families Party ticket seems less than sincere given Cynthia Nixon just gave up her position on the Working Families Party ticket as a candidate for NYS Governor, by using the “running for another office” loophole to vacate the spot in favor of NYS Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo.

According to an April 16, 2018 report in Politico, the Working Families Party can only select another candidate under certain conditions. They tell us the conditions are that,

“Party leaders can pick a new candidate if their existing candidate dies, moves out of state, or is nominated for another office — usually a judgeship — that might be vacant.”

An October 11, 2018, NY State of Politics report informs us of how easily getting off the ticket really is. They said,

“Nixon formally dropped her bid for governor this month and was transferred by the WFP to an Assembly race; she is not actively campaigning and has endorsed the incumbent Democrat, Deborah Glick. The WFP endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who defeated Nixon in a Democratic primary on Sept. 13.”

So Queens Democratic Party insiders appear, by virtue of their near unanimous re-election of Crowley, to be expecting Crowley to prevail over Ocasio-Cortez. But the Queens pols are not saying this, and the knucklehead media are not reporting this, as it doesn't fit into the Democrat - Republican struggle for control of congress. It's a side show.


Odds of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeating Joseph Crowley?

The historical votes, as noted above, appear to be in Crowley’s favor. Joe Crowley also has deep ties to the Democratic machine in Queens, which he has operated since 2006. And he likely has deep ties to the Bronx Democratic machine, given his length of time in office as the Queens Democratic Party boss. So Ocasio-Cortez is running against the man who chairs the party she represents. What are the odds of her taking away the legislative position of the Queens Democratic party Chairman?

Working in Ocasio-Cortez’s favor is all the publicity she has received as darling of the new Progressive wing of the Democratic party. And she is riding what appears to be a wave of female and minority activism arising in the wake of the tyrannical Donald.

I put in a call to the Working Families Party to get their take on things, but they have not returned the call, which makes sense. They can likely only lose by commenting.

So who will win this race? Nobody is paying attention to it, because either way it’s a highly probable Democratic win. Crowley seems to have all the incumbent structural advantages, while Ocasio-Cortez is riding some gender, ethnic and cultural momentum. I’m no expert, but I’d rate this race a toss-up, or possibly even leaning Crowley. But all I know I just shared with you - so your guess is as good as mine.

But YOU will decide on Tuesday, November 6th ... And then we'll all know.

Kids Halloween Parties In Queens | kids halloween parties in queens 2012 kids halloween activities in queens astoria lic sunnyside woodshede jackson heights flushing jamaica elmhurst queens kids halloween parties and events in queens
Kids Halloween Parties In Queens

Halloween Parties For Kids In Queens 2018

Fun Kids Halloween Parties Open To Public In Queens

 October 22, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Things To Do / Queens Buzz NYC.

There are quite a few events and Halloween parties planned for kids in Queens this year. Costume Parties, mask making, parades and entertainment abound for kids in Queens.

This report will focus on the kids Halloween parties and events, giving you a sampling of possible Halloween party venues and events around the borough of Queens on Halloween and Halloween Weekend 2018.

In the photo to your right is a scene from the Halloween party at either the Queens Museum [woman with painted face] or from the Astoria Halloween Parade [with the page preview only].

Click here to read our report on things to do with kids for Halloween in Queens. Also see our related report on Halloween parties in Queens for adults.

Halloween Parties In Queens | halloween parties in queens astoria lic long island city woodside queens halloween parties jackson heights sunnyside flushing corona jamaica ny halloween parties nyc
Halloween Parties In Queens

Halloween Parties Queens 2018

Halloween Parties in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

October 21, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants & Bars / Queens Buzz NYC.

Here's a listing of some of the Fun Parties Open To Public In Queens.

There are a lot of parties planned for Halloween Weekend and Halloween Day of 2018. There are costume parties and live music for adults, and parades and parties for the kids. This report will provide you with a sampling of party opportunities around the borough of Queens for adults on Halloween Weekend 2018, which is a little more than two weeks away, and this page also includes links to the kids Halloween parties page, and Halloween parties in other boroughs.

The photo to your right was taken of a Halloween party crowd in Queens in an earlier year. Halloween allows the latent artist and theatrical actor in us all, to come out of its inhibition. In earlier times it was said that masquerade events were to give the upper and lower classes a chance to mingle without being scandalized - as everyone was in costume.

Click here to read about Halloween Parties In Queens this year.

Things To Do In Queens - Columbus Day Weekend | things to do Columbus Day weekend in queens columbus day weekend astoria lic long island city sunnyside woodside things to do columbus day weekend flushing jackson heights forest hills kew gardens jamaica things to do columbus day weekend queens nyc
Things To Do In Queens - Columbus Day Weekend

Things To Do Columbus Day Weekend Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Columbus Day Weekend

October 6, 2018 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Columbus Day Events In Queens

Click here to obtain information about things to do Columbus Day Weekend in Queens. This events calendar is updated monthly with about 100 different Queens fun / cultural events.

Columbus Day Parade - Astoria Queens

There's a Columbus Day Parade in Astoria Queens on the Saturday before Columbus Day. Check the front page of this website for other things to do on Columbus Day in Queens.

Queens Public & Private Parks

Queens has one of the best collection of parks and golf courses in the NY Metro area, if not the best. Queens has at least 17 great parks. Click here for a listing of the Queens Parks including maps showing their locations along with a bit of park history.

Golfing In Queens - Columbus Day Weekend

Queens has four golf courses and all of them are open this weekend. Click here for details about Queens Golf Courses including maps and links to the operators' websites.

Queens Dominican Parade

Jackson Heights & Corona - Home to 3rd Largest Concentration of Dominicans in NYC

October 7, 2018 / Jackson Heights & Corona Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Parades / Queens Buzz NYC. By Michael Wood.

jackson heights parades photos dominican parade nycIt was an unseasonably warm and humid Sunday, as the 11th Annual Queens Dominican Parade stepped off at 37th Avenue and 69th Street in Jackson Heights just after 12 noon. The parade was to make its way up to 86th Street where the parade ended, but not the celebration as there was an after parade festival organized in Flushing Meadows Corona Park near the NY Hall of Science.


The streets were lined with well wishers all the way up 37th Avenue, but possibly a bit less so than in prior years. According to one report in the middle of this decade, the Dominican population in Queens experienced a double digit decline. This decline may possibly due to the high rents, and many Dominicans may have moved to either the Bronx or Washington Heights / Inwood, where there the housing may be more affordable and there are far larger concentrations of Dominicans and Dominican culture.


Dominicans & Dominican Culture in Queens & NYC

queens dominican parade jackson heights neighborhood nycThe highest concentration of Dominicans can be found in the Washington Heights / Inwood area. The south and central Bronx is also home to a large concentration of Dominicans, and they are also well represented in other parts of the Bronx borough.

In the 2014 census update, it was reported that the Dominican population had edged out the Puerto Rican population in NYC for the first time as the largest segment of Latinos. According to a November 13, 2014 report in the NY Daily News,


queens dominican parade jackson heights neighborhood nyc"There were about 747,473 Dominicans in the five boroughs in 2013, compared with 719,444 Puerto Ricans, according to a Census data analysis by CUNY's Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies."

The two largest Dominican Parades in NYC are found in Washington Heights / Inwood in Manhattan and in the Concourse / Tremont neighborhoods of the Bronx. I was told by a well wisher that both of the other two Dominican Day Parades in NYC (and attendant celebrations) are held in August, celebrating the second independence day in Dominican culture called Restoration Day. On Restoration Day the Dominican Republic was restored to its independence following a war with Haiti, which occupies the western half of the island. The Dominican Republic is located just west of Puerto Rico.


Hispanic Culture in NYC Dominated by Puerto Rican & Dominican Culture

queens dominican parade jackson heights neighborhood nycPuerto Ricans have long been the largest block of Hispanics in the city, as Puerto Rico has been a U.S. possession following the Spanish American War in 1898. In the Spanish American War the U.S. defeated Spain, who relinquished control of Cuba, and also ceded control of the Philippines and Puerto Rico to the U.S. in exchange for $20 million. The Philippines became independent from the U.S. in 1946, following WWII. And Puerto Rico is a U.S. possession.

In 2016 there was an estimated 2.5 million population of Hispanics living in NYC, which is about 29% of the total NYC population. In 2010 Whites represented 33% of the people living in NYC, while Hispanics and African Americans each represented 26% of the NYC population, and Asians represented 13% of the NYC population in the last census.


Queens Dominican Parade

queens parades dominican parade queens jackson heightsThe parade marched east along 37th Avenue with marchers dressed in a few indigenous cultural outfits as well as a few Americanized outfits. One man had dressed as a Michael Jackson look-alike and he was rather convincing. There were also a number of business floats in the parade and a group from a dancing school.

The ethnicity of the Dominicans is generally multi-racial as the Caribbean, during the early years of the New World, the island was something of a melting pot where Africans, Indians and Spaniards congregated.

After taking some photos, I headed north to the Farmers market in Jackson Heights, which moved a couple of blocks east this summer, while the construction on the Travers Park upgrade continues.

Kavanaugh: Have Republicans Abandoned Family Values and Law & Order?

Are Trump & Republicans Rushing the Nomination of a man who may be a Lying, Partisan, Alcoholic, Sex Offender with a Gambling Problem?

October 2, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been treated to a new season of a made-for-TV series, the Unreal Presidency of Donald J. Trump. The Donald is the star TV shock jock protagonist. He is an elderly man who appears hell bent on seeing just how far he can exercise executive privilege to serve his own ends, before some of the other 320 million people in the nation will actually stand up to stop him.

brett kavanaugh hearingsThere are many antagonists including those who have filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution [using the office of the presidency for personal profit] and there are many grassroots Democrats who are pushing their representatives on the idea that Trump was exactly the kind of president the Founding Fathers had in mind when they included the Impeachment process in the Constitution.

The past and current episodes of the Unreal Presidency of D.J. Trump have been a made-for-TV-News ratings sensation. The current episodes have been focused on Trump’s rush to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee with hair-raising disqualifications, to the Supreme Court. The Trump propaganda machine - friend Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Fake News - has been the ratings winner of this taxpayer funded drama.

And Murdoch’s Fox News proudly declared that on Friday, September 28, 2018 with the following headline [see above],

“Fox News dominates ratings on coverage of dramatic Kavanaugh-Ford hearing.”

Murdoch’s Fox Fake News uses red, white and blue iconography all over its broadcast studio, calling themselves ‘America’s Newsroom’. Their hijacking of America’s colors and flag, is reminiscent of how the Nazis hijacked German nationalism in the 1930’s for their own ends. The Nazis claimed to be the one true patriotic party of Germany.

The Appearance of Due Process for TV Cameras?

The reality comes from Trump and the Republicans using Executive Privilege to withhold critical documents from the Senate, also limiting the time Senators were given to question Kavanaugh, and at first denying an authorized investigation into some of the most egregious allegations that have arisen against Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

michael moore's new movie fahrenheit11/9Trump’s opposition, the minority political party in both the Senate and House, want access to documents surrounding one of the two roles that Kavanaugh played in the Bush Administration [2003 – 2006], when it is believed Kavanaugh ignored or supported illegal torture, illegal surveillance of the American people, and possibly worked with documents Kavanaugh knew to be obtained illegally.

What’s more, the allegations surrounding Kavanaugh’s character seems serious enough to disqualify him, including lying under oath, attempted rape, alcoholism and that he has a gambling problem. These allegations, if true, would impugn the integrity of the Supreme Court, as an impartial body that deliberates over the laws that govern our society.

Supreme Court Justice Nominee or a Supreme What?

The photo at right shows Kavanaugh at the hearing, demonstrating some of his famous anger management issues. His lying about his inability to control himself is at the core of the Senate's reluctance to confirm him - as he is alleged to have gotten into a bar dispute after repeatedly drinking too much, to have repeatedly sexually offended several women where alcohol was also involved, and to have erupted in rage following a gambling bout.

World Maker Faire at the NY Hall of Science

Ye Old World Maker Faire was Everything but … old

September 24, 2018 / Corona & Flushing Neighborhoods in Queens / Queens Things To Do / Queens Buzz NYC.

world maker faire ny hall of science queens flushing nycThe 7th annual World Maker Faire was held last weekend at the NY Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. I had been meaning to attend the festival since it had first opened years ago, but never quite squared away the time. Thankfully, that was not the case this year.

The World Maker Faire is billed as a fair of, “invention, creativity, and curiosity [that] showcases … more than 600 projects … focused on making for social good, health, technology, electronics, 3D printing & fabrication, food, robotics, art …”.

The faire really surprised me on the upside. While I had heard of it for years now, I had the impression that it was a bit of a nerd fest. And while there’s certainly some of that embedded in the program, it goes way beyond that. It was like attending an old time county fair, but instead of seeing rides, rodeo contests and animal exhibits, we saw robotics contests, robotics exhibits and feats of mechanical / AI prowess. A bit nerdy, perhaps, but as you will see from the video below – far, far more than that.

One of the first exhibits to catch my attention was a good old-fashioned cock fight – where the roosters were replaced with robots. It seemed kind of an adolescent use of all those majestic brainwaves, but I have to admit that I, along with the rest of a large crowd, found it pretty entertaining.

The Flushing BID Hosts Shopping Market

Flushing Hosts Open Air Market with Food & Shopping

September 18, 2018 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Restaurants / Queens Shopping / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens things to doLast Saturday was a great day to be out and about. The temperatures had finally cooled down a bit and the humidity had subsided. The Business Improvement Districts of Jackson Heights and Flushing were prepared to take full advantage of the changing seasons with event programming designed to draw crowds into their shopping and dining districts.

I arrived at the Flushing BID fair on a two block stretch that included Prince Street and 40th Road off of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Like many things in Flushing Queens Chinatown, it was crowded with all sorts of people – from the very old to the very young.

The very young were enjoying themselves inside inflated romp a rooms, while the adults were busy shopping or grabbing a quick bite to eat. I made my way up Prince Street past many of the shopping stalls and then headed east along 40th Street to take a closer look at many of the offerings.

Behind all the activity are a few of the restaurants serving the Chinese food for which Flushing is well known, but on today’s outing, I forewent that pleasure in favor of the open air.

Perhaps what caught my eye most on this trip was the variety of shopping options, more than the food. I had expected the event to be more food oriented, as other events done by the Flushing BID were. But today it was the shoppers who appeared to have won out, as there was a myriad of offerings, from pots and pans, to fishing gear, to cosmetics, clothing, various foods and all sorts of unique Chinese and Asian objects.

It was a little like traveling through a real Chinese market, complete with sounds and smells, that was only a subway ride away.

Viva La Comida in Jackson Heights

Food & Entertainment Festival at 82nd Street & Roosevelt Ave

September 18, 2018 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Restaurants / Queens Shopping / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens things to doMy next stop was the Viva La Comida Festival at Dunningham Triangle at 82nd Street in Jackson Heights. This event had originated as a food truck event about a half dozen years ago, and has continually been morphing into something more.

Each year the configuration changes and this year they had sprinkled picnic tables throughout the venue to enable folks to sit and enjoy the food fare after purchasing it. In prior years the picnic tables were not as plentiful and as I recall many standing in the same area.

The benefit was a more accommodating eating venue, as well as a more integrated social one. There was a cost, and that was that that the foot traffic didn’t move as quickly as the picnic table occupied some of the space. All tolled it seemed a good trade.

As I made my further in, there was music coming from a stage near the Triangle. I had arrived about 5 pm and the Salsa Marsala was entertaining one of the biggest crowds I had seen at this event. Again part of this was owing to a better configured use of the space. And over the years the event has also become a showcase for Jackson Heights performance talent.

While listening to the Salsa Marsala I met a man from the Queens Council for the Arts. He told me how the QCA organization had helped the band with a grant, as well as in providing the group with some of their arts and cultural organization expertise. The band is about to release a new album this fall called Jackson Heights Block Party.

As mentioned above, Viva La Comida has evolving and includes a number of cultural offerings. There was a booth there run by the Queens World Film Festival, with founders Katha and Don Cato on hand to talk about all of the programs that their organization has undertaken.

Also, not far from the stage, there were a couple of booths associated with the John Lennon Bus Tour. Last year they did an event in Travers Park, and this year they were doing it in conjunction with the Viva La Comida festival. The John Lennon Bus Tour brings along buses that have a lot of equipment that their staff introduces to kids interested in pursuing an arts or cultural occupation.

As I made my way back to the subway I was disappointed I couldn’t stay longer. Perhaps next year.

No IDC NY Wins Big & Cuomo Buys Back In

No IDC NY Supported Candidates Won Six of Nine Senate Contests & Cuomo's Donors Spent $21 per Vote

2018 democratic primary in nyc nys elections voting booth photosSeptember 14, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYS Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Andrew Cuomo and his wealthy corporate backers appear to have won him a third term as NYS Governor. The win reportedly cost them over $21 million – thus reducing the the return on their political investment by requiring a significant upfront payment.

But you needn’t worry about Cuomo or his wealthy corporate backers, as campaign contributions are reportedly very good investments, providing returns that range from modest to excessive. Do a search for studies conducted in 2004 by Harvard University, and in 2017 by Kellogg Graduate Business School at Northwestern for greater detail.

The photo at right shows voters on Thursday evening, September 13th, signing in to cast their votes.


Cuomo Defeats Nixon - Voting Interest Nearly Triples vs 2014

governor andrew cuomo nys governor photoWith 99% of the precincts reporting, Andrew Cuomo won 975,552 votes to Cynthia Nixon’s 511,585 votes – that’s 65.6% for Cuomo and 34.4% for Nixon. Nixon won many of the counties surrounding Albany, Tompkins County and Lewis County near Syracuse.

Cuomo won the rest of the state, but won by smaller margins in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while winning by wider margins in the other boroughs. Please note that the September 13, 2018 election totals and percentages shown in this story were reported by the New York Times this morning. The contextual and historical figures and percentages were reported by a multitude of other generally reliable sources.

In the photo at right is Andrew Cuomo marching in the June LGBT parade in the West Village of Manhattan in a prior year.

Had Cuomo only won as many votes as he'd secured in the 2014 primary against Zephyr Teachout, Nixon would have trounced him. In 2014 Andrew Cuomo received 327,150 votes to Zephyr Teachout's tally of 180,336 votes, with the percentages reflecting about the same as this year [64% / 36%] - but the ad spending by the Cuomo campaign was up significantly and so were the vote tallies on both sides. Thus in 2018, almost three times as many voters showed up at the polls during the primary election, but as you will see below - that's still only about 10% of the total potential electorate.

Cuomo Outspends Nixon by 8:1 - Pays $21 per Vote

Andrew Cuomo’s campaign reportedly spent over $21 million this year, versus Cynthia Nixon’s $2.5 million. Thus Cuomo outspent Nixon by over eight to one. And Cuomo's campaign spending in the primary of 2014 was reportedly under $10 million, thus translating into a doubling of what corporations and wealthy donors must pay to keep Cuomo in office.


Campaign Contributions by the Rich Few, Beat the Multitude of Small Contributions of the Middle and Working Classes

cynthia nixon campaigning with jumaane williams in nyc nys 2018Nixon reportedly received donations from 43,000 individual contributors [reportedly a state record], while Cuomo received donations from well under 4,000 contributors. This is why campaign finance reform will never happen with the same people in office [regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans] – because while the system may not be working for the people, it is certainly working for the pols and their donors.

The way things work today - pols appear to receive campaign contributions from corporate / wealthy donors who appear to essentially ‘buy’ the office. And then the corporate / wealthy donors appear to be able to pass or block legislation with the help of the pols they supported. As for the government by the people and for the people – well that only happens if the people pay attention to what’s going on, get involved in the political process, and show up to vote.

A quote that was attributed to Jefferson, appears to have originated from Reagan, seems appropriate here: A people that believes they may be ignorant and free, believes in something that never was and never will be.

In the photo at right are Jumaane Williams, candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Cynthia Nixon, candidate for Governor at a June rent rally on the steps of the NYC Public Library on 5th Avenue just south of 42nd Street.

The Real News is How Few Participate in our Democracy

Approximately 1.5 million New Yorkers showed up to vote yesterday – in a state with a population of nearly 20 million. In the 2016 census report, 15.7 million New Yorkers were eligible voting age citizens – so about 10% of the potential electorate decided this electoral primary outcome. Honestly it’s shameful, especially when you take note of the fact that people in Russia and China are literally risking their lives / freedom to enable people participation in the process of choosing those who make the laws, establish and enforce public policy and control the government apparatus.

NYS Lieutenant Governor Race - Hochul Defeats Williams - Upstate Beats NYC

The Lieutenant Governor’s race was closer, as Jumaane Williams put in a solid performance winning 640,530 votes to Kathy Hochul’s 731,459 votes. Hochul won 53.3% of the vote to Jumaane Williams’s 46.7% of the vote. Williams won big in Brooklyn [his home], Manhattan, Columbia and Tompkins Counties, losing the rest of the state.

What I found surprising here, is that the Bronx which is mostly Latin and African American, went for Hochul instead of Williams who is an African American. I surmised that this was likely made possible through the efforts of the establishment Democratic party apparatus, which is controlled by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


NYS Attorney General Race - James Defeats Teachout & Maloney who Split the Upstate White Vote

letitia james attorney general candidate 2018 photoLetitia James won the Attorney General position, beating out Zephyr Teachout and Sean Patrick Maloney. James received 578,412 votes to Teachout’s 441,567 votes and Maloney’s 356,602 votes. The percentages were James with 41.6%, Teachout with 31% and Maloney with 25% of the vote. James won all of the boroughs of New York City, the two counties on Long Island, as well as Westchester and Rockland counties [the latter two counties are suburban outreaches of NYC].

Teachout won most of the eastern part of the state running from north of Westchester to the Canadian border – including most of the counties around Albany, while Maloney won most of the western part of the state, and a couple of counties just north of Westchester. Teachout and Maloney appear to have split the upstate White vote.

In the photo at right, Letitia James, candidate for NYS Attorney General at a community function in Queens, earlier this year.


No IDC NY Candidates Trounce Most of the Former IDC Members

zephyr teachout candidate for attorney general photo w/ alexandria ocasio-cortez astoria queens bronx nyc teachout photo ocasio photoOne of the big issues to be decided during this primary season was the fate of the nine Democrats who had caucused with the Republicans, thereby giving the Republicans majority control of the NYS Senate. Eight of the senators became members of the Independent Democratic Caucus [IDC] which was founded by Bronx NYS Senator Jeffrey Klein, only a year or two into Cuomo’s first term. The creation of the IDC was said to be with the tacit approval of Andrew Cuomo, so that the NYS Governor could prevent the Democratic agenda from becoming too progressive.

Prior to the beginning of the 2018 primary season, an all-volunteer group formed, calling themselves the No IDC NY. The No IDC NY set as its mission, to dislodge those Democrats who had caucused with the Republicans. The No IDC NY effort proved fairly successful, as six of the nine Democrats who had caucused with the Republicans, were defeated. The following is a short tally of those races.

In the photo at right, Zephyr Teachout endorsing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just as Teachout was making her candidacy for the office of NYS Attorney General known.


Queens NYS Senate Races

In the NYS Senate in Queens. No IDC NY supported candidate John Liu defeated incumbent Tony Avella in Queens with 53% to 47% of the vote. No IDC NY supported candidate Jessica Ramos trounced incumbent Jose Peralta with 55% to 45% of the vote.

Manhattan NYS Senate Races

In the NYS Senate in Manhattan. No IDC NY supported candidate Robert Jackson handily defeated incumbent Marisol Alcantera in the Washington Heights / Inwood area with 56% versus 39% of the vote.

Bronx NYS Senate Races

In the NYS Senate in the Bronx. No IDC NY supported candidate Alessandra Biaggi decisively defeated the IDC Founder incumbent Jeffrey Klein winning 54% of the vote to Klein’s 46%.

Brooklyn & Staten Island NYS Senate Races

In the NYS Senate in Brooklyn & Staten Island. No IDC NY supported candidate Zellnor Myrie defeated incumbent Jesse Hamilton 54% to 46%. But both incumbent Diane Savino of Staten Island and incumbent Simcha Felder of Brooklyn handily defeated their No IDC NY supported challengers. Incumbent Savino won 67% of the vote to No IDC NY supported candidate Jasmine Robinson’s 21% of the vote and incumbent Simcha Felder won 66% of the vote to No IDC NY supported candidate Blake Morris’s 34% of the vote.

Upstate NYS Senate Races

In the NYS Senate in Upstate NY. No IDC NY supported candidate Rachel May won 52% of the vote to incumbent David Valesky’s 48%. But incumbent David Carlucci held onto his seat with 54% of the vote to No IDC NY supported candidate Julie Goldberg’s 46%.

Election Day Thursday 9/13 - Please Vote

September 12, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Buzz.

nyc poll site locator queens poll site locator manhattan polls locations

The New York State primary election is tomorrow, Thursday September 13th.

The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Thursday.

To find your poll location click on the graphic at right.

Once on the website, input your address, and then click the icon to the right of it to get the results of the search. You have to look for the super-tiny icon near the lower right corner of the screen.

Remember that if you really want things to change, then you can't keep electing the same representatives.

Has the Democratic Party Tipped the Scales … Again?

Democratic Machine Releases Direct Mail Ad, Falsely Attacking Cynthia Nixon

September 11, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.y

A Democratic Machine Big Lie?

democratic party attack ad nixon photo september 2018Over the weekend, the NYS Democratic Party Committee, sent out a mailer which falsely claims that,

“… inexperienced Cynthia Nixon. Who won’t stand strong for our Jewish communities.”

The claim in this Democratic Party mailer is akin to Hitler’s Big Lie. Hitler’s Big Lie, according to Wikipedia is,

“… [Hitler’s] 1925 book Mein Kampf, [talks] about the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously".

It’s a big lie because Cynthia Nixon is a mother to three Jewish children with whom she attends a local synagogue.

Andrew Cuomo’s Implausible Denial?

andrew cuomo takes the low road andrew cuomo cynthia nixonGovernor Andrew Cuomo, when queried about who was behind this ‘dirty politics’ mailer replied on Sunday in Manhattan,

“I didn’t know about the mailer. I haven’t seen the mailer.”

The New York Times wasn’t buying it. After having endorsed Cuomo less than a week earlier, on September 4th, the Times Editorial Board in a September 9th opinion said the following,

“Sorry, Mr. Cuomo, but that strains credulity.”

They went on to note that,

“Mr. Cuomo dominates the state Democratic Party. It acts ethically or abominably at his direction, or at the very least, with his campaign’s blessing.”

Byron Brown – NYS Democratic Party Chair & Cuomo Ally

It’s worth noting that the new Chair of the New York State Democratic [Party] Committee is Byron Brown. Brown was appointed to the post on May 23, 2016, and is a Cuomo political confidant. So it would seem Cuomo’s ignorance of the mailer is either extreme incompetence – or more likely – an outright lie. Let’s briefly examine the facts.

Democratic Party Chair Byron Brown was born and raised in Queens in the 1950’s, as was Andrew Cuomo. Brown went on to become the Mayor of Buffalo from 2005 – 2017, and as early as 2006, when Andrew Cuomo began campaigning for NYS Attorney General, Byron Brown was described in a November 23, 2006 New York Times report as a “political confidant” of Andrew Cuomo’s.

A May 30, 2006 report in the Buffalo News states that Byron,

"... seconded Cuomo's nomination [for NYS Attorney General] at the convention on May 30, 2006."

Jeff Klein's IDC: Republicans Running as Dems?

The Independent Democratic Caucus Aligns with Republicans which Enables Republicans to Control the NYS Senate

Updated September 7, 2018 / March 21, 2018 / Bronx Neighborhoods & Bronx News / Bronx Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Bronx Buzz NYC.

IDC independent democratic caucus NOIDCNY no independent democratic caucus bronx brooklyn manhattan queensThere's an NYS State primary election this month. The primaries will be held on Thursday, September 13th; instead of on Tuesday, September 11th, in recognition of 911. And the general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6th.

As in any year, the elections are important, but perhaps made more so this year, by what appears to be the anarchistic destruction and disrespect, for our government institutions and processes, by Republican President Donald Trump.

Trump Republicans: Debt Bomb Deficits Levied on America's Children to Enrich the Richest?

The Donald passed a stimulus tax bill that is expected to increases the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, and there are some pundits who put the figure higher. He and the Republicans passed this budget busting stimulus tax bill, while the economy was operating at levels considered above a full employment economy [5% unemployment is considered standard / normal] and at a time when wages were rising over 2%.

Inflation above 2% is considered to be detrimental to economic stability by the Federal Reserve, so stimulating the economy while it's at full employment with rising wages is about the opposite of what makes sense, especially when you consider the funding for it is coming from America's children and most of the benefits for it are going to the wealthiest people on the planet. We posted a report analyzing the Trump Tax Reform Bill slightly before it was finalized, which includes a lot of facts and figures to help provide context to better understand what was in the bill they passed.

The Independent Democratic Caucus Aligns with NYS Senate Republicans & Gives Them Control

In 2010 / 2011 NYS Senator Jeffrey Klein broke away from the Democratic Party and formed the Independent Democratic Caucus which aligns with the Republican Party, thereby giving them control of the NYS Senate. The effect of this is that bills passed by the Democratic controlled NYS Assembly are indefinitely tabled, or in lay man's terms pretty much killed, in the Republican-controlled NYS Senate. The Republicans control the NYS Senate, because eight NYS senators who run as Democrats [IDC Independent Democratic Caucus], either vote with or kill bills with the Republicans.

Democratic NYS Assembly Bills Effectively Killed by IDC

According to the Democratic Senate Conference, the Republican controlled NYS Senate - with the help of their Republicans running as Democrats allies - have effectively killed one education bill providing full day kindergarten funding, three wage / leave bills, four voting rights bills including the allowance of early voting, four immigration bills including one related to the DREAM Act, four housing bills including several pertaining to NYC rent laws that help renters, three criminal justice bills including creation of correctional ombudsman and sealing of marijuana possession records [as marijuana is rapidly being legalized in states across the country], one related to LGBTQ issues, and six regarding healthcare, several of which pertain to women's reproductive rights.


The net effect of this is that Democrats are, in a sense, cheated or tricked out of their majority by what appears to be Republicans running as Democrats. The Independent Democratic Caucus or IDC includes Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx, who founded the IDC, David Valesky of Oneida and Madison Counties in upstate New York, David Carlucci of Rockland and Westchester Counties, Diane Savino of Staten Island / Brooklyn, Tony Avella of Queens, Jose Peralta of Queens, Jesse Hamilton of Brooklyn, and Marisol Alcantera of Washington Heights / Manhattan. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn also runs as a Democrat and caucuses with the Republicans.

The following is a list of challengers, eight of which I obtained off the NoIDCNY.org website. For some reason Blake Morris - Simcha Felder's challenger - was not included on their website. I have just contacted them to find out why.

  • Jessica Ramos is challenging Jose Peralta in District 13 in Queens.
  • John Liu is challenging Tony Avella* in District 11 in Queens.
  • Robert Jackson is challenging Marisol Alcantera in District 31 in Washington Heights / Inwood / Manhattan.
  • Alessandra Biaggi is challenging Jeff Klein in District 34 in the Bronx.
  • Zellnor Myrie is challenging Jesse Hamilton in District 20 in Brooklyn.
  • Blake Morris is challenging Simcha Felder in District 17 in Brooklyn.
  • Jasmine Robinson is challenging Diane Savino in District 23 in Brooklyn / Staten Island.
  • Julie Goldberg is challenging David Carlucci in District 38 in nearby upstate New York.
  • Rachel May is challenging David Valesky in District 53 in upstate New York.

* A Word About NYS Senator Tony Avella as He Appears to be a Real Independent

Of all of the IDC candidates listed above, NYS Senator Tony Avella deserves special consideration. NYS Senator Avella CHALLENGED Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Queens Country Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley when both of these men, and many in their parties, supported real estate developments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz took a position that appeared somewhere between supportive of the developments to - at best - indifferent.

NYS Senator Avella advocated on behalf of the community to thwart billionaire and mega millionaire real estate developers from grabbing Queens parkland - AND WON. In doing this, NYS Senator Tony Avella, appears to be more like a Maverick or Independent, resembling legislators like deceased U.S. Senator John McCain (Republican) and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Democrat), both of whom have charted their own path through party-dominated politics.

Avella is an important independent voice in the Queens, NYC and NYS community, which the Democrats in his district will have to decide whether or not to keep.

Things To Do In Queens - Labor Day Weekend 2018 | things to do Labor Day weekend in queens astoria lic long island sunnyside woodside flushing jamaica jackson heights forest hills kew gardens things to do labor day weekend queens nyc
Things To Do In Queens - Labor Day Weekend 2018

Things To Do Labor Day Weekend Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Labor Day Weekend

August 31, 2018 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Labor Day Events In Queens

Click here to obtain information about things to do Labor Day Weekend in Queens. This events calendar is updated monthly with about 100 different Queens fun / cultural events.

U.S. Open - August 27 - September 9

The U.S. Open is being played out in Flushing Meadows Corona Park at the U.S.T.A complex.

Queens Public & Private Parks

Queens has one of the best collection of parks and golf courses in the NY Metro area, if not the best. Queens has at least 17 great parks. Click here for a listing of the Queens Parks including maps showing their locations along with a bit of park history.

Golfing In Queens

Queens has four golf courses and all of them are open this weekend. Click here for details about Queens Golf Courses including maps and links to the operators' websites.

Farmers Mkts, Street Fairs & Member Events Calendar

* Click here for reports about Queens farmers markets, Queens street fairs, shopping venues in Queens and / or click to Queens Events Member Calendar to view a number of additional weekend events.

* Also see Friday & Weekend Events above and click here for free summer concerts in Queens, free summer movies in Queens and free things to do and free summer theater in Queens & things to do.

BOOK REVIEW NEXT WEEK: Under the Mets Grandstands by Seymour Butz.

Is Donald Trump a Hostage of Russian Murderers, Capitalists & Thieves?

Is the Trump & Bambino Crime Family so Criminal or Financially Compromised, that They are Betraying America?

Updated August 27 - August 23, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

The first part of this report will show you some of the many known Trump family ‘social’ interactions with key Russian Oligarchs [Kleptocrats?] close to Putin, and of the Trump campaign officials and consultants known meetings with Czarist President Vladimir Putin’s government officials.

Do Americans really think all of the following interactions were just coincidence? Just a couple of billionaire women and campaign officials just have a little old fashioned czarist fun?

Part I: Trump Family & Campaign Russian Interactions 2016

I can’t help wonder whether Ivanka Trump and her Russian-Oligarch-loving friend Wendi Deng Murdoch [Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife rumored in March of 2016 to be Putin's girlfriend (denied much later by Deng)], weren’t conduits through which information passed between then candidate Donald J. Trump and Russian czarist President, Vladimir Putin?

Why hasn’t the FBI called them in for interrogations about what they may know, based on their numerous interactions with the Oligarchs throughout the presidential campaign season of 2016?

Why haven't they called in billionaire propagandist Rupert Murdoch who controls Fox Fake New, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post - all of which unabashedly promoted the Trump candidacy with distorted, and at times false news reporting, as well as the suppression of stories relevant to the election? Murdoch was reported to speak somewhere between daily and weekly to Trump, following the election, as was his surrogate pseudo anchorman Sean Hannity. Both had business with the federal government and - as far as I know - neither has registered as a lobbyist, even though both men appear to have profited handsomely since the election of Trump as a result of Trump policies, FCC rules changes and for Hannity a new multi-million loan agreement with far more generous terms.

Trump Family & Campaign Officials Hold Nearly a Dozen Meetings with Russians Close to Putin Throughout 2016

On March 2, 2016 Rupert Murdoch, who controls two of America’s six largest media content companies, tweeted that the GOP “would be mad not to unify” around Trump, if he’s the Republican nominee. Murdoch controls the Fox News, WSJ & NY Post propaganda machine that catapulted Trump into the Oval Office in November 2016, along with the help of the Russians.

Some of Known 2016 Interactions of Trump Family & Campaign w/ Putin's Russia

1. In March [NEED TO VERIFY THAT IT WAS 2016 & THAT IT WAS RYBOLOVLEV'S or another Oligarch's] yacht was spotted in same harbor / next to Bob Mercer, a Trump friend. Bob Mercer, publisher of the National Enquirer, was recently given immunity. Mercer had bought and sat on a story damaging to Trump regarding an alleged extra marital affair. Did Mercer, who reportedly had a stake in Cambridge Analytica, meet with Rybolovlev on behalf of Trump?

Are Ivanka Trump & Wendi Deng Murdoch Shills for Billionaires / Oligarchs?

2.a. Less than a month later, on March 31, 2016 US Weekly, a gossip magazine, reported that the former wife of Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Deng Murdoch, was dating Vladimir Putin. Two days later, on April 2, 2016 Murdoch’s former wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, was seen on a boat associated with the yacht of Roman Abramovich, a Russian Oligarch considered among Putin’s closest ‘friends’. Abramovich's wife, introduced to Ivanka years earlier by Deng, is reported to be a friend of Ivanka's.

2.b. A month later, on May 2, 2016, Wendi Deng Murdoch was seen at the Met Gala along with her close friend Ivanka Trump. Wendi Deng Murdoch was, at the time, rumored to be Putin’s girlfriend, and she had named Ivanka Trump as the trustee for Wendi Deng Murdoch’s children's $300 million trust, which was reported in 2015 to hold numerous shares in Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. Ivanka served as a trustee for Deng until December of 2016 when she stepped down.

In 2014, following the Murdoch’s divorce, Rupert Murdoch reportedly accused his ex-wife Wendi Deng Murdoch of being a Chinese spy. This appears to have been corroborated by U.S. Intelligence, which warned Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner that Deng was a spy, following Trump’s Electoral College victory in December of 2016.

3. In May of 2016 Roger Stone, a long time friend of Donald Trump [attended two of three weddings], who had worked for him on prior occasions, met with a Russian who offerred him dirt on Clinton. Stone initially denied the meeting took place, before admitting it. According to Wikipedia, two Stone associates claim he collaborated with Julian Assange of Wiki Leaks to release dirt on Clinton. In August of 2015, Roger Stone stepped down from his official role in the Trump campaign.

4. On June 9, 2016 Don Trump Jr. and Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner met with a Russian spy, Natalai Veselnetskya, at Trump Tower in Manhattan to get dirt on Clinton. At first Donald Trump Jr. lied to Americans about the real purpose of the meeting claiming it was about adoption, before admitting it was to get dirt from the Russians on Clinton.

The Trump / Murdoch Mob? The Donald Publicly Invites Russian Interference

Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, waited until July 25, 2016 – nearly four months after the reports broke – to deny that she was dating Vladimir Putin.

On July 27, 2016, two days after Wendi Deng Murdoch’s denial of a relationship with Putin [she was reportedly never seen with him, but seen on Russian Oligarch yacht(s)], Trump publicly invited Russia to hack and release Clinton’s emails, when he stated the following at a nationally televised press conference in Florida.

“I will tell you this: Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Did he mean they will be rewarded by the propaganda press of unrelenting Trump supporter, multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch, or by the entire American press?

The Trump Family & Campaign Meetings with Russia Continue

5. In July 2016, Carter Page, a financial and oil man, who spent years in Russia and was reportedly sympathetic to Russia, traveled to Moscow to give a speech. He met with a former cabinet member of ex-president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev. Page initially denied this meeting took place and later his 'memory came back to him'. Page was the Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Advisor from March 21, 2016 until September 2016, when it was disclosed that Page had allegedly met with at least one U.S. sanctioned Russian Oligarch, Igor Sechin of Russian conglomerate Rosneft.

6. On August 14, 2016 Wendi Deng Murdoch, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner vacationed together in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Likely not coincidently, Russian Oligarch, Rybolovlev’s yacht was reportedly moored there at the same time, and his private plane was reported to have landed there too.

Seven years earlier, following the real estate bubble crash in 2008 / 2009, Russian Oligarch Rybolovlev paid Donald Trump $95 million for a house Trump had purchased for $41 million only four years earlier. Rybolovlev, a member of Putin’s inner circle, eventually demolished the home, leading people to question whether Rybolovlev had financially bailed Trump out during the real estate and stock market crash of 2008. At the time Trump was again allegedly in serious financial straits, following a string of six bankruptcies that began in the 1990's and bled into the 2000's.

Around that same time in 2008, while the American real estate bubble was bursting, Elena Baronoff, a former Russian ‘attaché of cultural affairs’ [spy?], began helping Trump sell property in Sunny Isle, Florida. She sold nearly $100 million of Trump real estate to Russians, reportedly at top dollar [inflated?] prices, which led some pundits to question whether the Trump's were laundering money via real estate sales. In 2007 Ivanka got her start with her father's company, also working on a project in Panama, which reportedly was suspected of laundering what was believed to be Russian and drug cartel money.

Trump sales agent Baronoff reportedly contracted leukemia in 2014 and conveniently died in 2015, right around the time Donald Trump began testing the waters for his presidential candidacy.

7. On September 12, 2016 Ivanka Trump, Wendi Deng Murdoch and Oligarch Abramovich’s wife Dasha Zhukova were photographed attending the U.S. Open together. One report credits Wendi Deng Murdoch with introducing Ivanka Trump to Dasha Zhukova, billionaire Russian Oligarch Abramovich’s wife, and there are reports that the two have been friendly for nearly a decade.

Was the Murdoch Propaganda Machine Colluding with Russia & Trump?

Murdoch's WSJ was reported to have held a story in the fall of 2016 about the Donald and his mob connected past - allegedly for editorial reasons. But if I recall correctly, the WSJ Editor, Paul Gigot, also said something along the lines of holding it to stave off a Clinton victory. I NEED TO VERIFY THIS.

Eleven days prior to the election, on October 28, 2016, the case involving Clinton’s emails was reopened, because some of them were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal had issued related reports about them a couple of months earlier, and Murdoch Fox News regular Rudy Giuliani [now Trump’s lawyer] foreshadowed the timely release of the news - that there were more Clinton emails - on Fox News. Giuliani is reportedly paid over a half million dollars to be a paid contributor on Fox Fake News.

Within days the FBI had sifted through them, informing the public that there wasn’t anything new.

7. Russian Oligarch Rybolovlev was tracked to North Carolina by the Daily Kos, just five days before election day 2016 at the same airport where candidate Donald Trump had landed only 20 minutes earlier to make a campaign stop. Rybolovlev reportedly paid $95 million to Trump for a mansion he demolished, and for which Trump had paid $45 million only four years earlier. It was reported to be worth about $25 - $30 million less at the time.

I found it interesting that Rybolovlev's battery company in America was reported to build batteries in what look like storage containers, and upper management is mostly comprised of ex-Russian government people [agents?]. Rybolovlev recently closed down the company and Russia is reportedly withdrawing money from America, as Mueller probe gets closer to closing in on Trump. I can't help wonder whether the Russians were planning to use these 'batteries in containers' to ship other things - like say weapons technology, people, drugs - in and out of our country?

666. On November 8, 2016, Devilish Donald Trump was elected president. Numerous Oligarchs planned to attend Trump’s Inauguration. Even Putin was rumored to be planning to attend.

Going into the voting booths, most Americans were not fully aware of Trump’s mobster ties dating back into the 20th century, nor even remotely aware of all of the ties Trump has had with what appears Russian-like mobsters over the past 20 to 30 years.

The Inauguration of Benedict Donald - J. Trump

Several Oligarchs showed at Trump's Inauguration [and helped fund it?] including Vekselberg and Maskevitch. Reports said they were expecting great things during the Trump years. Are / were they expecting to convert American democracy into a Putin kleptocracy, Russian style?

PRIME COLLUSION PARTICIPANTS? Ivanka Trump, Wendi Deng Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch & Sean Hannity

Is Wendi Deng Murdoch, the ex-wife of the powerful, multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch who controls the Fox Fake News propaganda machine above the law? Is the President's daughter, Ivanka Trump Kushner, who appears to be a shill for the Trump Organization above the law?

Is Rupert Murdoch, whose WSJ buried a negative Trump story before election above the law? Is pseudo anchorman Sean Hannity, who Michael Cohen advised on real estate & who famously ordered Trump to fire ALL U.S. Attorneys - which Trump did the next day - immune from questioning? Murdoch's Fox Fake News & Hannity went on to do a very sympathetic, propagandistic interview with Assange in captivity in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London following the election. Both men have, during the Trump presidency, been reported to be in constant contact with Trump [daily to weekly phone calls].

CLICK here to read the rest of our report about whether a financially compromised president who appears a hostage of the Russian mob-like kleptocrats who appear to be possible murderers and thieves of the Russian people's wealth.

What I Found: Unite The Right Rally in D.C.

Media Reality Distortion - How Out of Whack is America's News / Information System?

August 13, 2018 / Government, Media & Politics USA / Washington, D.C. / Gotham Buzz NYC.

unite the right donald trump media malpracticeJust over a week ago, I made the decision to travel down to Washington, D.C. to cover the Unite The Right Rally scheduled Sunday, August 12th, on the anniversary of the same rally organized by the same group in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is located about 100 miles south / mostly west of Washington, D.C.

In the rally a year ago, White Supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis participated in the rally and it became violent. One person was killed in the event when an alleged neo-Nazi drove his car through the crowd, and two officers monitoring the event in a helicopter died, when the aircraft crashed [I believe it was an accident]. And somewhere between 19 and 34 people were injured in clashes between the Unite The Right rally participants and Antifa along with other counter protesters.

The D.C. event was scheduled in D.C. because Jason Kessler, the Unite The Right Founder, couldn’t get a permit in Charlottesville for the first year anniversary of the Unite The Right event. After some skirmishing over the permitting with the local Washington, D.C. authorities, Kessler prevailed and was given a permit to hold a march and rally ending in Lafayette Park, just south of the White House.

At one point there were discussions about arranging separate public transit buses for the Unite The Right rally members from their staging area a several miles west of the White House, to the march starting point at Foggy Bottom Metro Station. But the D.C. public transit union resisted, as the majority of their members are African Americans, and the union reportedly opined that they didn’t want to do anything to facilitate the Unite The Right rally.

unite the right donald trump media malpracticeMeanwhile there were somewhere between a half dozen and dozen counter protester groups that organized to protest the Unite The Right rally. Several of them also sought and received permits.

On Friday Christian and Jewish groups joined forces for an interfaith teach-in and interfaith vigil. This was according to The DCist, which I found to be the best source of information regarding planning / preparing to cover the event on Sunday. The DCist also noted that Black Lives Matter DC in collaboration with several other activist groups held a workshop at an Episcopalian Church.

On Saturday, a Presbyterian Church held a prayer service at Foggy Bottom Station in advance of the rally, where they prayed and chalked some of the sidewalk where the Unite The Right marchers would begin on Sunday.

On Sunday a counter protest, Shut It Down DC, organized a permitted counter protest in Freedom Plaza a few blocks east of Lafayette Park, from where they would march to Lafayette Park beginning at 3 pm. The DCist reported that the Shut It Down DC group included the D.C. Antifascist collective, Hoods4Justice, March for Racial Justice, and others.

Black Lives Matter DC organized to meet a couple of blocks north of Lafayette Park, and would then march south to the park. A group from NYC began their march on August 3rd to D.C. where they planned an event at the MLK monument from 12 noon to 4 pm on Sunday [#AgapeMarch]. And a group, The Real White People’s Rally, led by a local tour guide, Tim Krepp, was scheduled to counter protest at Lafayette Park from 1 to 4 pm.

The DCist also mentioned about a half dozen other counter protest group events, but for the most part those noted above, were the ones most relevant to my planned coverage.

I headed down to D.C. a bit anxious, given the violent skirmishes that occurred at the rally a year ago in Charlottesville, and the following instructions on the unitetherightrally.com website.

Do NOT bring these items:
-Pepper spray, clubs, knives or other weapons
-Non-approved flags

ALWAYS Be aware of your surroundings. Do not talk to the media.
Do not engage in any fighting.
ALWAYS be a good representative for our cause.

My thoughts were that if you have to provide instructions like these to the people you expect at your rally – there’s a good likelihood that some of the unwanted weapons will be there. I had read that last year people brought guns to the rally in Charlottesville – but I also reasoned that in Washington, D.C. the gun laws are likely far less permissive than in Charlottesville, Virginia. And there were reports that the D.C. police were preparing for the worst.

Anyhow, I arrived at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Sunday afternoon at about 3 pm. It was hot, humid and rain was in the forecast for later in the afternoon. I took the Metro subway from Union Station to the Metro Center stop, which was only a few blocks away from Freedom Plaza. Once on the street, as I began to get my bearings, I asked a young woman if she could tell me in which direction Freedom Plaza was. She was also headed to the counter protest, so we walked over there together. Ironically, her name was Hope.

CLICK here to read the rest of my report about covering the Unite The Right Rally in Washington, D.C. on August 12, 2018. COMING THIS WEEKEND 8/18 - 19/18. The story has become something bigger than I first envisioned. It's in a rough draft which I hope to finish, edit and add photos to this weekend.

InSitu Dance: Sweat & Tears

InSitu Dance Graces the East River Waterfront in Queens

August 6, 2018 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Dance in Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

It was a hot muggy afternoon as I made my way to the East River waterfront in Long Island City to watch the InSitu dance performances scheduled on the East River waterfront at Hunters Point South Park.

As We Get Weaker Together

things to do long island cityThe first performance began in the sandfield at the south end of the park where Cesar Brodermann and Sebastian Arbabanel did a dance entitled As We Get Weaker Together. The brochure talked about the dance theme, which was about uncovering one's true self amidst the burdens and obstacles we all face in this world. Surviving, entangled, flying and trying.

The dance struck me as one of captivity, where one of the dancers was tied with a rope, like a barn animal, struggling - it seemed - to free himself. Pulling, digging, writhing to break free ... of the rope or was the rope a metaphor for the web of life in which we are all entangled?

The relentless, hot sun beat down on the dancers and us. The humidity wrapped us in sweat, dancers and audience alike, in a bond of a short ten minute performance experience. I stood behind an African American woman wondering what the dance meant to her.

After emerging out of what seemed a grave, the dance flew into the air, dancing or flying? Did we prevail or were we all weakened by the hot, humid air?

Bodies of Water

queens things to do queens neighborhoodsThe next dance was performed on the LIC Landing, just north of the LIC Ferry Terminal. The piece was created and choreographed by Alice Gosti, who I had an opportunity to meet. She told me that what we would see today was ten minutes out of a five hour long piece she had created for the opening of a waterfront park in Seattle, Washington where she resides. The original piece was commissioned by the Velocity Dance Center in Seattle.

She had arrived here just over a week ago with seven dancers from Seattle, who were joined by seven dancers from NYC. Together they worked on the piece, which Alice had redone to fit into the NYC landscape, the location of its performance, just across from the New York City skyline, including the Empire State Building, the Chrystler Building and the United Nations.

The core theme of the dance was mankind's relationship to water. We use it to exist, and thus must preserve it, but we also use it for transportation and fight over the dance in queensabundance it provides - including fishing rights. This weekend was the premiere public performance of the Bodies of Water adaptation.

It started with the slow, undulating, seemingly relentless movement of the waves. This was followed by a movement that portrayed the expansion and contraction, the physical properties of water, in human form. The fourteen dancers moved in unision. The never ending gracefulness of the effervescent liquid was captured and released in human sculptural form.

A patrol boat on the East River circled around, moving in closer, for a gander. Water and boats and humans have long been around ... and so has dance, as a means of portraying the essence and emotions of life, and other natural things that are far bigger than us.

InSitu was organized by Svea Schneider in conjunction with sponsorship by a number of local businesses, the NYC Parks Department and community groups. For further details see www.insitudancefestival.com.

Free Concerts in Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Flushing Jackson Heights Woodside Jamaica Corona Long Island City - Free Things To Do In Queens | free things to do in queens free summer concerts in astoria park athens square park gantry park lic sunnyside park windmuller park woodside travers park flushing meadows corona park king park jamaica
Free Concerts in Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Flushing Jackson Heights Woodside Jamaica Corona Long Island City - Free Things To Do In Queens

Free Concerts In Queens 2018 - Free Things to do in Queens 

Free Summer Concerts in Queens Parks

August 17, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Music Scene in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

This report is part of a series of reports about some of the free things to do in Queens this summer.  This report includes a schedule of the mostly free music and free summer concerts in the parks in Queens.

Click here to view our listing of free summer concerts Queens- free things to do in Queens.

Free Summer Movies in Queens - Free Summer Movies Astoria LIC Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Corona Flushing Jamaica free things to do Queens | free things to do in queens free summer movies in astoria park athens square park gantry park lic sunnyside park windmuller park woodside travers park flushing meadows corona park king park jamaica free foreign films in queens parks movies
Free Summer Movies in Queens - Free Summer Movies Astoria LIC Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Corona Flushing Jamaica free things to do Queens

Free Summer Movies in Queens - Free Things To Do In Queens

Free Movies & Foreign Films In Queens Parks - Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica

July 23, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Summer Movies & Foreign Films / Queens Buzz NYC.

This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in Queens this summer. 

Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free things to do in Queens - free summer movies in Queens parks.

Free Summer Theater in Queens Parks - Free Things To Do In Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Corona Flushing Jamaica Long Island | free things to do in queens free theater in astoria park athens square park gantry park lic sunnyside park windmuller park woodside travers park flushing meadows corona park king park jamaica free theater in queens parks free plays to watch in queens
Free Summer Theater in Queens Parks - Free Things To Do In Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Corona Flushing Jamaica Long Island

Free Summer Theater In The Park - Free Things To Do In Queens 

Free Theatrical Performances / Summer Theater In Queens

August 1, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Free Summer Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in Queens this summer, including free theater in Queens parks.

Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free summer theater in Queens - Shakespeare in the Park.

Queens Swimming Pools - Swimming Pools In Queens | Queens swimming pools swimming pools in astoria long island city sunnyside pools woodside swimming pools in queens flushing jamaica ny swimming pools in glendale fort totten east elmhurst jackson heights swimming pools bayside
Queens Swimming Pools - Swimming Pools In Queens

Queens Swimming Pools - Swimming Pools In Queens

August 6, 2019 / Queens Parks / Queens Buzz NYC.  

This provides the hours for Queens public swimming pools, as well as info about a number of other swimming pools that are run by non-profit organizations that are also available to the public.

Click here to view our report on Queens Swimming Pools - swimming pools in Queens.


July 4th Fireworks 2018 Queens | 4th of july fireworks 2018 queens july 4th fireworks in queens lic astoria park fireworks 2018
July 4th Fireworks 2018 Queens

Queens 4th of July Fireworks 2018

Great Views from Locations Along the East River in LIC

July 2, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / July 4th Holiday in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

The Macy's 4th of July fireworks will be shown along the East River this year. They were shown along the East River in 2014 for the first time since 2008, and have remained on the East River ever since. Mayor de Blasio had lobbied the change, which now spans five years.

Weather. Highs will be in the mid 80's during the day and in the high 70's at night. There's a 40% chance of rain in the forecast in the morning, but only 5 - 10% chance of rain at night, so it should be a fair night.

The Grucci Brothers will be doing the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC. They have been doing fireworks for many years and the Macy's July 4th fireworks in Manhattan for decades.

The Astoria Park Fireworks on June 28th were also done by the Grucci Brothers, the same fireworks company doing the Macy's 4th of July fireworks along the East River on July 4th, 2018 in NYC. The Astoria Park fireworks in Queens were shown on Thursday evening with an easy view from the Astoria Park location right alongside the East River. See story below about the Astoria Park Fireworks show of 2013 in Queens.

For those looking for fireworks on 4th of July 2018, you'll have ample opportunity to view the East River fireworks, as the pyrotechnic performance was expanded in 2016 to provide more viewing access along both side of the East River.

Click here for a report about the 4th of July Fireworks in Queens NYC & surrounding areas, including times and locations for the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC and Jones Beach on Long Island.

Decisive Victory for Ocasio & Progressives

Democratic Party Insider Joe Crowley Loses in Stunning Defeat

June 27, 2018 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics / Bronx Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

alexandria ocasio cortez photo campaign posterCongressman Joseph Crowley suffered an astonishing defeat Tuesday, when Alexandria Ocasio - Cortez defeated him in the 14th district NYS primary for U.S. Congress. According to Vox, with 97% of the precincts reporting, Ocasio-Cortez had received 15,897 or 57% of the vote, while Crowley had received 11,761 or 42% of the vote.

Crowley, age 56, inherited his office and the Queens Democratic Party Chairmanship from Thomas Manton in 1999. Crowley has spent the last two decades in Washington, D.C. rising to the top levels of the Democratic party leadership, considered by many to be one of the top contenders to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic Leader.

Ocasio-Cortez is a youthful 28 years old, the daughter of a Bronx native and Puerto Rican mother. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in Economics and International Relations. Since then she has worked at a Bronx start up, in the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016, and as a bartender.

Crowley reportedly had a campaign budget of $1.5 million versus $0.3 million for Ocasio-Cortez, raised via small and online donations.


Crowley, Pelosi, Schumer & the Democratic Party of Appeasement

Alexandria ran a spirited campaign, tapping into some of the energy and frustration of an increasingly rigged system, which Donald Trump has been hyper rigging since he took office in 2017.

The Donald tweeted that Joe lost because he opposed President Donald. But as oftentimes seems the case with Trump tweets - the reality is quite the opposite. The electorate that supported Ocasio-Cortez are more likely to view Crowley, Pelosi and Schumer as leaders of a Democratic Party of Appeasement who need to be replaced by people who will vigorously fight for the democratic principles upon which this nation was founded. Pelosi, Schumer and Crowley are seen as wet noodle leaders of the opposition - telling their supporters to hush up about any possibility of impeaching Trump.

Appeasers Say Don't Talk About Trump Impeachment ...

Some pundits believe that Trump is exactly the type of president for which the process of impeachment was included in the U.S. Constitution, as he appears to have colluded with a hostile foreign power to win the election, appears to be in numerous violations of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution and is aligning the U.S. with dictators while undermining democracies around the globe with disruptive breaks in our military and economic alliances.

The party of appeasement references British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler in 1938 when Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement. The Munich Agreement basically ceded the German speaking segment of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia to Adolph Hitler. Emboldened by Chamberlain's lack of courage to stand up to him, Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and WWII began.

Bernie Sanders championed the "government by the people for the people" wing of the Democratic party in 2016 and Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams and the NYS Senate IDC challengers are running as the voice of this segment of the electorate in the NYS September 13th primaries.


Trump Aligns with Dictators Around the World, While Undermining Democracies

congressman joe crowley photo campaign posterTrump has been aligning the U.S. with leaders of totalitarian states and dictators around the world including Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping of China and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.

Trump has been undermining our historical allies - comprised of the real democracies around the world - such as Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and most, if not all, of the rest of Europe and most of Latin America.

Left unchecked, this policy of appeasement by the Democratic and Republican parties could, over the long haul, result in the loss of democracy on the planet. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joseph Crowley are all seen as the appeasers - and last night Crowley as one of them - took a big loss.


Crowley's Congressional District Changed from the 7th to the 14th in 2013

In 2013 the congressional district that Joe Crowley had historically run in [7th District] changed. The 7th district covered the northern and western rim of Queens. Since 2013 Crowley has been running in the 14th congressional district which covers the northern rim of Queens and the southeastern part of the Bronx. The changed district resulted in changes to the demographic composition of the electorate by increasing the Hispanic representation in the district. Also, by including the Bronx in the district, it included an area where the electorate had little familiarity with Crowley.

All of the above likely contributed to Crowley's loss. Joseph Crowley was a gracious loser, complimenting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her well run and hard fought campaign.


Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show

JJMS Runway Hits ... Delight the Audience Again

June 19, 2018 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Fashion in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

I attended the Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show last Friday at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens. The show highlights some of the great shopping opportunities in downtown Jamaica as it is organized and hosted by the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District [BID].

In the lobby there was food and shopping opportunities, and in the auditorium there was a show not to be missed, featuring the clothing and designs offerred by about a dozen downtown Jamaica retailers which are listed at the end of the video below, along with the Jamaica Center sponsors.

There wasn't any multi-media going on in the background as in previous years, which at first I thought might be a liability. But I found instead, that I soon lost myself in an undistracted focus on the models and the clothing coming down the runway.

There were also about a dozen and a half models, about two thirds of which were female, and all of whom did a great job of keeping our attention on their sculpted forms, theatrical poses and dancer flair. Click the video below to feast your eyes on fashion, form and function and a bit of show biz, provided by rapper Roxanne Chante. A photo of entertainer Destiny Johnson is also included at the end of the video.

Break a leg.

Is Nixon the One for NYS?

Cynthia Nixon & Jumaane Williams Support Real Rent Reform

June 14, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC & NYS Politics / Gotham Buzz NYC.

cynthia nixon photos jumaane williams photosOn Thursday afternoon I headed to the NY Public Library at Bryant Park to attend a Rent Reform Rally organized by RealRentReform.org. I had heard that Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, candidates for NYS Governor and NYS Lieutenant Governor, respectively, were to speak at the event - so given the relevance of rent reform and the growing interest in the challengers to the status quo ... I decided to go.

As I emerged from the subway, I wasn't disappointed. There were a thousand plus protesters gathered on the steps of the central library along Fifth Avenue, just south of 42nd Street, gathered to make their voices heard. What struck me as I surveyed the crowd was the cross sectional nature of the people who had gathered. From the young student activists, to the elderly handing out pamphlets, to people of all colors ranging from black to white.

I shot some photos and talked to some of the organizers and attendees to find out what they had come to say. Essentially they were disappointed with Governor Andrew Cuomo's inaction on strengthening rent regulations - which struck me as comparable to the inaction on housing and the rapid rise in homelessness in NYC as happened under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal

NYC Mayor de Blasio helped arrest the rising tide of homelessness in NYC by his actions since taking office in 2014, but there was plenty more to be done, and the Governor and the State of New York hold many of the cards. One of the complaints I heard was that the NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal [DHCR] budget had been cut since Cuomo took office, and that there were only eleven lawyers to help tenants avoid evictions and unfair landlord and developer actions statewide.


Cuomo Decreases DHCR Staff While 'Appearing' to Increase Real Estate Development Incentives

cynthia nixon photos jumaane williams photosI went online and looked up the budget for the NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal budget where the agency staff portion of the budget between 2011 and 2017 had been cut from $745 million to $682 million, which is a net reduction of 8.5%. The funds being allocated to the development of housing looked like it had increased substantially [+715%] from $314 million in 2011 & 2012, to $2,245 billion in 2018. But - as I found out - this multi-billion dollar increase is misleading ... so please spend a bit more time and keep on reading.

The 'added billions' goes toward categories entitled State Operations, Aid to Localities and Capital Projects. All of the increase went into a category entitled Capital Projects, which was comprised of two subcategories - Infrastructure Investments and a Housing Program Fund. But the budget increase was saddled with an MOU. The funds were allocated to incent and aid real estate developers to build affordable housing. The net result is that it looks like Governor Andrew Cuomo has cut DHCR agency staff who help residents stay in their homes, while 'appearing' to increase the state money to aid real estate developers to build affordable housing.

Governor Cuomo added $2 billion to the DHCR budget in 2016 referencing a Memo of Understanding [MOU]. While Cuomo claimed to commit $2 billion to building 20,000 new affordable housing units, he saddled the budget increase with a legislative tactic - the MOU. I was told - and the DHCR budget appears to confirm - that most of this money remains unspent and appears to be a revolving budget item that allows Cuomo to claim he's making the investment in affordable housing while not actually going through with it. Real Rent Reformers at the Rally last Thursday alleged that this is a part of a revolving budget game by Governor Cuomo, while the NYS affordable housing shortage continues.

This reminds me of another game allegedly played by Governor Cuomo, which was the use of the now disbanded 'Independent Democratic Caucus' [IDC], which Governor Cuomo is reported to have supported. The IDC was comprised of NYS Senate Democrats who caucused with the Republicans - thus essentially making them Republicans running as Democrats. I did a story earlier outlining this subterfuge which you can view by clicking the link.


NYS Losing Affordable Housing Stock?

cynthia nixon photos jumaane williams photosAnother protester complaint was that somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 affordable homes have been lost during Andrew Cuomo's two terms as Governor and that he has turned a blind eye to landlords and developers cashing in on his inaction. Cuomo's DHCR staff budget cuts would seem to support this allegation, as does Cuomo's inaction on closing loopholes used by developers and landlords to convert rent stabilized apartments to market rate housing stock.

One protester told me that homelessness has risen 36% since Cuomo took office. As of this writing I haven't had time to totally verify this claim - which I hope to do between now and when the primary season ends on election day Thursday, September 13th, 2018 [the election date was moved because Tuesday is 9/11]. But I did find that, at least directionally, these claims are correct.

An example of the growing statewide housing crisis is that in the school year 2012 - 2013, a bit less than halfway through the eight years Andrew Cuomo has been governor, New York had the third highest percentage of homeless students in the U.S. [source: Institute for Children Poverty & Homelessness - aka ICP]. I had thought that homelessness was largely a New York City problem, but as you can see by the map / chart the ICPH published - the problem is statewide.


Jumaane Williams & Cynthia Nixon Running for NYS

cynthia nixon photos jumaane williams photosAfter speaking to the protesters a number of people rose to speak. Among them was Jumaane Williams, the NYC Councilmember of the 45th district in Brooklyn. He's challenging NYS Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul who he said was party to NYS Governor Cuomo's inaction.

The following is a video primarily of NYS Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon speaking at the rally. It was the first time I had seen her look like a real contender for the governorship since she announced her intention to run on March 19, 2018. Nixon talked first about rent regulations and one of her own personal experiences, and then she went on to mention other issues that separate her and Jumaane from Cuomo and Hochul.

This is just the beginning of our NYS state elections coverage 2018. I still have a fair amount of research to do to become more familiar with the state's role in so much of what affects us in NYC including affordable housing, the MTA, NYC public education and possibly corruption.


Petitions to Help Challengers get on the NYS Ballot

Nixon and Jumaane have about three weeks left to obtain the required signatures to get on the ballot. If you want to help them you can by copying & pasting this link into your browser for Cynthia Nixon for Governor and for Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor


Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show Preview

June 12, 2018 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Fashion NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

I traveled down to Jamaica town on Tuesday afternoon to see a short preview of the upcoming Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show. The show is organized by the Jamaica Center BID and Executive Director Whitney Barrat was on hand to talk about the upcoming show. The gracious Barrat talked about the vibrancy of the downtown Jamaica business district, the excitement of the upcoming show, and commended Jamaica Center BID Associate Valerie Stevens for her efforts in organizing the event. The designs by Michele Walden Mcphee were alluring, complementing the models' shapely figures in an artistic display of finely chosen fabric.

The show begins at 6 pm Friday at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on Jamaica Avenue at 153rd Street. There will be food, music and plenty of fashion not just on the stage but in the crowd as well. It's free but you must rsvp at the Jamaica Center BID website - using the link below.

CLICK - Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show Friday, June 15 at 6 pm to rsvp for a free ticket.

Restaurants In Long Island City - Taste of LIC Restaurants Bars & Brew Pubs | taste of lic restaurants bars brew pubs taste of long island city bars pubs restaurants in lic
Restaurants In Long Island City - Taste of LIC Restaurants Bars & Brew Pubs

Taste of LIC 2018 Feeds the Hungry

Culinary Tasting Event at Kaufman Astoria Studios Lot A

June 5, 2018 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City Restaurants / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

The afternoon before the 2018 Taste of LIC it had rained. I paused from my work, contemplating whether the rain would affect attendance at the Taste of LIC which was to begin at 5.30 pm. But by late afternoon, as I began getting ready, it was a beautiful Spring evening full of sunshine and clouds and a slightly warm breeze. Perfect, I thought, … for the Taste of LIC tonight.

Taste of LIC at Kaufman Astoria Studios Lot

I arrived at the Kaufman Astoria Studios Lot, situated in a very changed neighborhood, compared to just ten years ago. After picking up my wristband I made my way under the big top tent sheltering the event. There were in the neighborhood of fifty restaurants and beverage companies participating in the event tonight. I knew I couldn’t sample them all, but I would try to photograph as many as I could. See the slide show at the end of the story to view some of the photos I took.

The first item I sampled was a burger named Priscilla. She was a tall, shapely burger filled with Thai peanut sauce, triple smoked bacon, pepper, cheddar cheese, sea salt and served in a pretzel brioche bun. Yes, she wasn’t your every day burger … and I could tell that from the first bite. The juicy, finely ground beef fought hard to compete for the attention of my taste buds, winning only some of the time.

The Ridiculous & Scary Presidency of Benedict Donald

If Trump is so Innocent, Why is his Legal Team Spending so Much Effort on Asserting he can Pardon Himself?

trump photo sean hannity photoJune 4, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.


This would be funny, if it wasn't so real.


While Trump loudly and continuously proclaims his innocence, both he and his legal team are aggressively claiming that the president is above the law and can self pardon. These actions and concurrent narratives don't seem very innocent to me.

Is this a Shakespearean comedy of errors by fools?


Do They Think Americans Are Morons?

Is Democratic Rule of Law being Ceded to Billionaire Oligarchs?

Rudy Giuliani, once a lawyer who prosecuted the mob, seems to have sold out by becoming a lawyer who now represents mob-like characters, including Donald J. Trump and Turkish Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab.

giuliani photo rupert murdoch photosNot long after Trump began his career in the real estate business in the 1970's, Trump is believed to have associated with the mob, doing business with them on deals relating to the construction of Trump Tower, and in developing casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Trump reportedly admitted he was friendly with mobsters and I've seen photos of Trump with some. Trump has also sold in the neighborhood of a hundred million dollars or more in real estate to Russians, including an Oligarch, according to Haaretz, an Israeli English language publication. The Oligarchs are considered to be the Russian equivalent to what was the American mob by some. Click here for a brief and likely very incomplete accounting of some of what seem like Trump's nefarious dealings - Donald Trump & the Art of the Steal.

Rudy Giuliani was also hired by Reza Zarrab's defense lawyers - not to plead their case as their attorney - but to do something else, possibly akin to what Trump fixer Michael Cohen does. Giuliani was a staunch candidate Trump supporter in 2016, an unofficial Trump security adviser in 2017, and most recently became a member of the Trump legal team. According to an April 3, 2017 Seattle Times report,

"[Guiliani and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey] were hired by Zarrab’s defense. But oddly, neither is involved in pleading the case in U.S. District Court, leading prosecutors to wonder if the defense is trying to circumvent the regular judicial process by going above prosecutors’ heads. ... He [Zarrab] and several others are accused of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, using a network of companies to mask the true nature of transactions and defraud multiple banks. Prosecutors say they processed hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran and claim to have thousands of pages of bank, email and phone records to prove it. Zarrab pleaded not guilty."

To make a long story short, Trump subsequently fired Preet Bahara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who was prosecuting the Zarrab case [and also prosecuting a couple of cases against a company controlled by Trump propagandist billionaire Rupert Murdoch - see link below]. At the time it was believed that Marc Mukasey, Michael Mukasey's son, would replace Bahara. Instead Trump left the position vacant for about a half year, before a New York judge appointed a temporary replacement. The position may not have been filled to avoid the appearance of what it really may have been ... another example of Trump obstruction of justice.


Democracy Destroying Don: Trump Claims He's Above the Law

On Saturday, June 2, 2018 the NYT published a story that included the following,

"In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

According to a June 2, 2018 report by The Hill quoting Nick Akerman, the Assistant Watergate Prosecutor,

“First of all, the whole idea that he [Trump] can’t be charged with obstruction of justice — the last time that ever happened in this country is when we were ruled by King George ... That’s what the whole rule of law is about. The president has to faithfully execute the laws.” [Akerman told MSNBC]


Axis of Evil: Trump, Giuliani & Rupert Murdoch's Media

Rudy Giuliani began doing rounds on the media circuit, most notably, Rupert Murdoch's propaganda machine outlets including Fox News, where he appeared to assert that the president of the United States is above the law. To become better acquainted with what seems to be in it for Rupert Murdoch - who controls Fox News, Wall Street Journal, NY Post, Barron's, Market Watch, WWOR-TV, Fox 5 and Harper Collins Books - in exchange for his unapologetic propagandistic support of Trump - click the link above.

Trump Corruption Makes the Clintons Look Like Amateurs?

trump white house for sale trump selling out america trump the great greatest american selloutDuring the 2016 campaign Benedict Donald repeatedly labeled Hillary Clinton as Crooked Hillary. That resonated with the American people because the Clinton's appear to have a history of questionable political maneuvering and the billion dollar Clinton Foundation oftentimes seems self-serving.

But in the one and a half years since Trump took office, he's managed to make the Clintons look like small potato amateurs, and you're hearing that from someone who is no fan of the Clintons.

Not Serving the Nation but Criminals Serving Themselves?

Taxpayers Spend Added $60 Million on Trump's Golf Game & Family Travels. In 2017 the U.S. Secret Service budget had to be increased $60 million to keep apace with the Trump family travels. A good portion of that spending appears to be to provide protection for Trump's 100 days of golf which he did in his first 408 days in office.


D.C. Swamp Now a Trump-sized Cess Pool

Middle East Wars: American Foreign Policy & Security For Sale?

trump swamp trump cess pool trump trash trump white trash

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, secured a $30 million investment from an Israeli finance company, Menora Mivtachim shortly after Kushner accompanied Trump on a trip to Israel in May of 2017. In December 2017 the U.S. Embassy in Israel was moved to Jerusalem following receipt of the investment.


A March 22, 2018 report by MSNBC states that The Intercept noted that the Saudi Royal Prince said he had Jared Kushner "in his pocket". Kushner, who has national security clearance, is reportedly an avid reader of Trump's daily security briefing.


U.S. to Pay For Murdoch . Cheney . Prince Black Ops?

Blackwater / Academi, Erik Prince, Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch & Syria - You Know This Can't be Good

trump swamp trump cess pool trump trash trump white trashAccording to a May 3, 2018 report in the NYT, the U.S. has quietly deployed Special Forces to Yemen, in what appears to be an escalation of help to the Saudi government's involvement in the Yemeni Civil War. The Trump Administration says America is providing refueling, logistics and intel sharing help and the Trump Administration never lies - do they? According to reports in the NYT in 2011 and in 2015 the United Arab Emirates and the Saudis have hired Blackwater [now called Academi] mercenaries and there have been reports of countless civilian casualties in Yemen and torture prisons either in Yemen, or elsewhere in the Middle East, or both.

Betsy De Vos' brother, Blackwater billionaire & Founder Erik Prince, is interested in going to the mercernaries-for-hire business again in the Middle East. According to an April 18, 2018 report in the WSJ,

"... the Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the US military contingent in Syria and help stabilise the north-eastern part of the country ... [and that Erik Prince] has been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect.”

It's worth mentioning that Rupert Murdoch, the global billionaire propagandist, went into business with former VP Dick Cheney through Genie Energy which bought energy rights from Israel in 2013 in the illegally-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In 2007, on Cheney's watch, Erik Prince's Blackwater allegedly murdered dozens of unarmed Iraqi civilians - of which the most notable incident was the Nisour Square Massacre. And Erik Prince is also suspected of attempting to establish a back channel for Trump / Putin in the Seychelles [islands off the coast of Africa] in December of 2016.

It seems like the gang is back in town and American's reputation and government taxed money may be used again by these millionaires and billionaires to further enrich themselves. This time it seems they will make themselves even more fabulously rich on the stolen energy rights of the Syrian people, using the American taxpayer Defense budget to pay for it. An effort to defund some of these operations in March / April 2018 was stopped by one of Rupert Murdoch's many puppets, Senate Majority 'Leader' Mitch McConnell [his wife Elaine Chao was previously on Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Board].


Banking Deregulation For Sale?

Kushner also secured a half billion dollars in loans during Trump's first year as U.S. President. After multiple meetings at the White House in Spring of 2017, Citibank made a $325 million loan to Kushner. In November 2017 Apollo Global Management made a $184 million loan to Kushner. The loan they made to Kushner was reportedly triple the size of the average property loan in their portfolio. Apollo's slogan is "We take many paths to value."

In March 2018, Mouse McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader announced that the Senate had passed a bank deregulation bill that pulls back the bank reforms made after a bank bailout and economic recovery that cost the American taxpayer over $4 TRILLION DOLLARS. In May 2018 Trump and the Republican Congress, led by Paul Ryan, passed a similar banking deregulation bill.


Chinese Trade Deals & American Security For Sale?

A May 23, 2018 report on Bloomberg states,

"Press reports in early May centered on $500 million in expected loans [to a Trump Partnership in Malaysian tycoon developer Hary Tanoesoedibjo] from a Chinese state-owned institution. This was particularly piquant because of Trump’s unexpected announcement on May 13, via Twitter, that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to give the Chinese phone maker ZTE Corp., which has been cut off from U.S. suppliers for violating sanctions against trading with Iran and North Korea, “a way to get back into business, fast.” That produced accusations that Trump had engaged in a quid pro quo with Xi."

  • CLICK here to continue reading our report about the Ridiculous Presidency of Benedict Donald including the alleged sale of access to Russian Oligarchs, sale of U.S. federal land and mineral rights, potential corruption at Betsy De Vos' Department of Education, 187 former lobbysists working in the swamp-turned-cesspool, Melania's friend's multi-million dollar windfall, taxpayer funded federal government luxury, possibly a Cabinet member's Mile High Club enrollment on a U.S. Air Force jet and the Trump $1.5 trillion robbery of America's children.

Taste of Sunnyside Moves to New Venue

Sunnyside Shines Taste moves to the PC Richards Parking Lot

queens restaurants taste of sunnyside restaurants queens nycMay 22, 2018 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Sunnyside Restaurants / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz.

It was early in the evening on a reasonably warm damp Tuesday, as I headed over to the PC Richards & Sons parking lot on Queens Blvd at 50th Street for the 9th Annual Taste of Sunnyside. The event was scheduled to open at 5.30 pm for the VIPs and at 6.30 pm for the general public. The cost of the general public ticket was $40.

I arrived around 7 pm and the Taste of Sunnyside tent was bustling. There was a line leading out from under the tent as people checked in to sample 22 restaurants and 12 beverage providers from the nearby Sunnyside area.

The first folks I recognized were Jaime-Faye Bean [Executive Director of Sunnyside Shines] and Jimmy Van Bramer [NYC Council]. Both were all dressed up for the occasion, and they brought to mind a couple greeting people at a wedding reception [see photo below].


Taste of Sunnyside Returns but in a New Venue

queens restaurants taste of sunnyside restaurants queens nycI made my way past the food tables looking at all the delectable edibles that the 22 restaurants had brought to serve the general public. By the time I had made my way to the back of the tent, Jaime and Jimmy had taken the stage to make a few remarks about Sunnyside and its restaurants.

After listening to their remarks I headed east along the back wall where there were a number of beverage providers. Iconic Beer was serving on tap and Lowery’s Wine and Liquor had brought a selection of wines including a Pinot Noir, a Cabernet Savignon, a lightly bubbled Rose, a Chardonnay and a New Zealand Rose. All seemed like perfect wines to suit different tastes to kick off the summer.


Food, Music & True Love at Taste of Sunnyside

queens restaurants taste of sunnyside restaurants queens nycIn the back corner there was a step and repeat, where folks could have their photos taken in front of the Taste of Sunnyside banner. I photographed a couple kissing for the cameras in front of the step and repeat.

But in the photo foreground you can see that Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Manny Gomez seemed impervious to the love scene occurring behind him.

I wondered … was this true love or was it the hot sauce?

The good news was that representatives from Mount Sinai Hospital were on hand, just in case any heart palpitations got out of control. As I made my way out I continued photographing folks being served. And near the exit I found Sunnyside Shines Board Chairman John Vogt engaged in conversation with some of his friends.

To be continued later this week.

Queens Economy Snapshot

NYS Comptroller Di Napoli Provides Queens Economy Overview

queens economy statistics queens economy nycMay 21, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business & Economy / Queens Banks & Loans / Queens Buzz NYC.

Last Friday I attended a presentation by NYS Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli which provided an overview of the Queens economy. In general the economic statistics provide insights into what's been happening over the past couple of decades, showing a continuation of trends which began in the early part of the last decade, were interrupted by the Great Recession, and which have resumed ever since.

Good Paying Queens Jobs Added in Healthcare & Transportation

Private sector employment fell following 911, resumed growth in 2004, fell again in 2009 [Great Recession] and resumed growth in 2011. At the time of Thomas Di Napoli's May 2018 report, Queens was home to 567,800 private sector jobs, lead growth in the healthcare sector which accounts for 105,200 jobs, that carried an annual salary of $46,200 which is below the average borough income of $52,520 [the latter figure is an annualized figure from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report in Q1 2017]. This sector grew 38%, adding 29,100 jobs since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

Transportation is the second largest industry in Queens, employing 67,100 jobs that paid an average annual salary of $63,400. This sector added 13,100 jobs, up 24% since the Great Recession. Queens accounted for 96% of all air transportation jobs as it is home to LaGuardia and JFK airports. And the air transportation jobs contributed greatly to Queens accounting for 58% of all transportation jobs in NYC - about double the rate of its population representation. Queens population represents roughly 27% of the population of New York City [Wikipedia.org].


Lower Paying Queens Jobs Added in Leisure & Hospitality, Retail and Possibly Business Services

queens economy statistics queens economy nycLeisure and Hospitality accounted for 58,200 jobs with an average salary of $28,200 - a bit more than half the average Queens borough income of $52,520 mentioned above. This sector was the second largest contributor to job growth adding 20,300 jobs, up 54% from the Great Recession. Howard Beach and Ozone Park accounted for over half the gains, due to increased activity from the hotels near JFK Airport, activity in the Rockaways and Resorts World Casino in Richmond Hill, which is the only casino in New York City. Di Napoli noted that 62 new hotels were erected in the Long Island City [near Manhattan], Flushing [near LaGuardia Airport] and Jamaica [near JFK Airport] since the Great Recession.


The Retail industry is the third largest jobs category in Queens, accounting for 63,700 jobs. In spite of rising rents and fierce competition from big box and internet retailers, this sector added 10,100 jobs, growing by 19% since the Great Recession. These jobs had an annual salary of $31,500, which is about 40% below the average Queens borough income. The Rego Park mall and the Sky View mall in Flushing both opened in 2010 adding about 2 million square feet of commercial retail space in Queens, and both LaGuardia and JFK airports have been in the process of expanding their retail space as well.


We'll have more later this week on NYS Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli's informative economic snapshot of Queens.

Queens Taste Features Queens Restaurants

The 16th Annual Queens Taste was Held at the NY Hall of Science

ny hall of science flushing queens hall of scienceMay 15, 2018 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods / Queen Buzz NYC.

The 16th annual Queens Taste was held at the NY Hall of Science on Tuesday, May 1st. There were more than 50 vendors present and they served about 650 attendees. I attended the event and sampled a number of the items on display. Many represented ethnic cuisines for which Queens is well known and several of them were fairly young starts ups that had either come out of or were still using the Queens Economic Development Corporation [QEDC] kitchen in Astoria / LIC. The Queens Economic Development Corporation [aka QEDC] had organized the event.

It was a cool Spring evening as I disembarked from the #7 train at the Mets / Willets Point stop. The train had skipped 111th / Corona due to the trains getting out of their timing sequence, so they had to move this train up by skipping stops. I headed south into Flushing Meadows Corona Park as it was still light out and the Spring foliage was budding.


Queens Taste at NY Hall of Science Flushing

queens taste queens restaurants queens nycAt the NY Hall of Science in the foyer I ran into Rob MacKay, QEDC Director of Marketing, Public Relations & Tourism and once in at the top of the stairs overlooking the event I saw Seth Bornstein, QEDC Executive Director. After a quick exchange of pleasantries with each, I made my way into the NY Hall of Science lower level where the event was being held.

The afro-latineers, a Latin jazz band, was playing on the upper level, and down below there was a crowd of people conversing and consuming the edible delights I was soon to experience.

Photos and report coming later this week.

PS1 MoMA Hosts Springtoberfest

A Night Showcasing the Micro Breweries in LIC & Queens

queens things to doMay 7, 2018 / LIC Neighborhood / Food & Beer in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.


There are about a half dozen of micro breweries that have sprung up in LIC over the past half dozen years, and last Saturday evening they were all on display at the court yard at PS1 MoMA in LIC.


I arrived at the museum about a half hour after things had started. The courtyard was populated with people milling about, sipping beer in small mingling groups. There was a table for extra tickets along one wall and the brewery taps along another. In the distance were the PS1 MoMA back steps where people had already gathered to grab some of the good seats.


PS1 MoMA Court Yard Has a Different Feel This Year

The courtyard has changed over the years, as it has become a valley, surrounded by mountainous buildings, some of which are still under construction, like the behemoth multi-building franchise that was once the 5 Pointz graffiti mecca. The surrounding tall new buildings lend a heightened sense of drama to the street level space of the courtyard.

The crowd was a 20’s, 30’s and 40’s something group of at least as many women as men. I had never met so many female beer enthusiasts in one place. Most everyone I spoke to was either from queens things to doQueens or Brooklyn, so it was a neighborhood event, which was likely good for the brewers on exhibit at the museum this evening, as they are all located in Long Island City.

LIC Micro Breweries Exhibit at PS1 MoMA

There were seven brewers at the event, based on the four I sampled, and the press release, which listed three that I unfortunately missed. The ones I missed were the Big Alice Brewing Company, the LIC Beer Project and Blue Point. The ones I hit were the Rockaway Brewing Company, Transmitter Brewing, Fifth Hammer Brewing and Iconic Brewing Company.

My first stop was Rockaway where I sampled their famous Hawaiian Pizza IPA [Indian Pale Ale]. The beer had a cold fresh pineapple flavor, embedded in the hops flavor of beer. It was a surprisingly refreshing concoction with a 6.8% alcohol content. The tap tender was Lauren Rymic, who also illustrated the Hawaiian IPA label.

I have the rest of the story written, but I need to convert it to web format and add photos which I'll do Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Small Business Week in Queens

NYC Small Business Services Commissioner in Sunnyside

May 1, 2018 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Business / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens small business week queens small businessTuesday afternoon, the NYC Small Business Services Commissioner, Gregg Bishop, visited the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District [BID]. It was the SBS Commissioner's first visit in five years.

NYC City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Sunnyside Shines Board Chairman John Vogt and Executive Director Jaime-Faye Bean were on hand to meet the Commissioner. Jaime welcomed Gregg to Sunnyside, noting the progress that has been made by the Sunnyside BID over the past year [see Sunnyside Shines BID story for details].

Jimmy Van Bramer spoke next, quipping that it's always sunny in Sunnyside, as the sun was out today and the temperatures hit 80 degrees. Jimmy went on to note that he's allocated taxpayer dollars to support the BID in its efforts to promote and aid small businesses in the area. He also mentioned that some improvements were coming to the iconic Sunnyside marquee that stands at 46th Street and Queens Blvd.

Gregg closed out the public comments, applauding the efforts by the BID organization and the councilmember in helping maintain a robust small business sector in Sunnyside in spite of macro trends weighing in against small business. He told us that there are 230,000 small businesses in New York City and that they employ 3.7 million people which using the last census figures constitutes 45% of all New Yorkers' employment.

The Sunnyside BID organizers then hosted the Commissioner on a whistlestop tour of a few of the nearby businesses so that he could hear more about the issues they are facing and learn more about how NYC Small Business Services can help.

In the photo above in the front row, NYC City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is third from left, Sunnyside Shines Executive Director jamie Faye-Bean is fourth from left, NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop is fifth from left. Sunnyside Shines Board Chairman John Vogt is in the second row standing between Gregg and Jaime.

5 Boro Bike Ride Returns Sunday

Bike New York Organizes NYC Bike Ride & Bike Expo New York

5 boro bike ride nyc new york bike expo nycApril 30, 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Brooklyn Neighborhoods / Staten Island Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

This story includes information about the upcoming 5 Boro Bike Ride on Sunday, as well as the Bike Expo New York which precedes it on Friday & Saturday in Red Hook. As of this report, the temperatures are expected to be in the 60's and the chances of rain appear slim. But bear in mind that the forecast probability of 20% chance of rain last Friday, turned into rain on Saturday evening, so check the weather as we get closer in.


Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Ride Route

Since 1977, every first Sunday of May, Bike New York has organized and promoted the 5 Boro Bike Ride. The ride begins in lower Manhattan, sweeps northward across the Harlem River Bridge to the Bronx, circles back across the Third Avenue Bridge to Manhattan, where it begins its southward trek crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, heading south to Brooklyn after a quick stop north to Astoria Park, and then comes down past the Brooklyn Navy Yards, continuing southward along the west side of 5 boro bike ride nyc new york bike expo nycBrooklyn, to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where it crosses over to the Fort Wadsworth neighborhood in Staten Island before terminating in the St. George neighborhood at the Staten Island Ferry.


Proceeds from Non-Profit New York Bike Ride go Toward Sustainable Transportation Efforts

The now famous bike ride was capped at 32,000 riders I believe sometime in the 1990’s, where it still stands today. One report noted that the 5 Boro Bike ride is one of – if not the largest - non-profit bike rides in the nation. The proceeds go to Bike New York programs which are designed to teach people about sustainable transportation, most notably bicycle riding and bike maintenance and safety. Another report noted that the NYPD had considered [don’t know the outcome] charging the organization $1 million for erecting, maintaining and terminating road closures during the New York 40 mile family-friendly bike ride.


Bike New York Bicyclist Outreach in all Five NYC Boroughs

Bike New York has offices in all five NYC boroughs. In 2015 their cyclist safety and bike maintenance programs reached 15,000 New Yorkers. And they are the organizers of the Bike Expo New York being held at Pier 12 in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday [see details in rest of this story].

LIC Real Estate Breakfast

LIC Partnership Event Discusses How LIC is Evolving

April 23, 2018 / Long Island City Neighborhood / LIC Real Estate Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

lic real estate long island city real estate prices inventory lic queens nycA bit over a week ago, I attended the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast at the Ravel Hotel just south of the Queenboro Bridge at Vernon Blvd.

I've been attending the event since 2010 and it's been interesting to watch Long Island City's twists and turns during its incredibly rapid transformation. In 2010 large developers and big money were streaming in with critical mass, real estate prices were rising incredibly rapidly and large six and seven digit real estate transactions were happening periodically - if not more often - in spite of some of the hangover uncertainty left by the W. Bush financial crisis of the Fall of 2008.

The audience at the breakfast was still comprised of a fair number of familiar local faces as well as an increasingly large number of new interested parties.

The LIC Partnership executive level management changed in 2013 and 2014 and we started receiving fairly comprehensive data about units approved for construction, units under construction and units built. The numbers went from the low single digits THOUSANDS to the high single digit thousands, cresting last year at 9,000 new units that were expected to be built. This year it's 3,000 units.

lic real estate long island city real estate prices inventory lic queens nycDuring this time the audience began to attract vast numbers of outside interested parties, comprised of financiers and real estate developers and brokers, and less of the familiar local faces.

This year there was something of a settling down of the big business interest, and what I'd call the emergence of a new set of familiar local faces [see photo above right]. The familiar local faces of the past included artists and independent businesspeople, while the new locals are those working for some of the new businesses which have come into the Long Island City neighborhood.

I'll have more on the LIC Real Estate Breakfast including photos, later this week.

The photo above shows the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast panelists [from left to right] including Chris Doeblin - Owner of Book Culture, James Orsini - COO Vayner Media, David Scharfstein - Co-Founder Fifth Hammer Brewing Company, Charlie Stewart - Co-President & CFO Altice USA and moderator David Brause - President Brause Realty.

Spring Has Arrived

The Trees are Blooming and Warmer Weather is on its Way

historic richmond town staten island nycApril 17, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

This weeks our deciduous trees have begun budding and flowering. We can see the bright pea green buds and the white tree blossoms popping out everywhere. This unique period of springtime lasts only a week or two, so enjoy the majestic beauty while it lasts.

The photo to your right shows what is a very ordinary view of a back wall of apartment windows in NYC, as it comes alive with nature's beauty. The budding trees add oxygen during the day and carbon during the night to our atmosphere. And provide shelter from the hot sun during the summer and some privacy between neighbors as well.

So enjoy these magical week(s) as nature blossoms and our deciduous trees awake from their wintry slumber.

long island city neighborhood lic neighborhood long island city lic queens nyc

How We Hear @ Rough Draft Theater Festival

New Play Explores the Changing Nature of our Political Dialogue

reynaldo piniella nyc actor photo lindsay tanner actress nyc photo rough draft festival laguardia performing arts center lic queensApril 9, 2018 / Long Island City Neighborhood LIC / LaGuardia Performing Arts Center / Experimental Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

Last weekend I had an opportunity to watch one of the new plays performed at the 5th Rough Draft Festival at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in LIC. The play was entitled How We Hear by Emily Lyon.

It was an exploratory exposition of what how the American national dialogue has changed over the past century and a half [158 years] and it was as much an experience, as it was a performance.

What Lyon did with the next hour and half of our time was an interesting journey through selected excerpts of our national debate. But even more importantly, Lyon took us on an exploratory journey - including some real time processing - of how new forms of mass media, with the incredible proliferation of information venues and access, impacts our ability to have a honest dialogue about important issues facing our society in a way that everyday Americans are able to process.

Lincoln Douglas Debates @ LaGuardia Performing Arts Center

I arrived shortly before the performance began and found a seat not far from the stage. The performance was given a short introduction by Handan Ozbilgin, the Rough Draft Festival Director and shortly thereafter, one of the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 [August 21 – October 15] began. The debates were the first ever between two Senate candidates vying to for a U.S. Senate seat [Illinois]. They became an instant sensation, and became the forerunner of the platform upon which Lincoln would run for president in 1860. It’s worth noting that at the time the Senators were elected by state legislatures – not by a direct tally of state citizens’ votes.


How We Hear by Emily Lyon @ Rough Draft Festival

emily lyon playwright lpac rough draft festival 2018While Triney Sandoval, the Hispanic man who played Douglas, didn’t resemble Stephen Douglas facially, he was an actor and orator of the first degree, and comported himself as one might imagine Douglas. His elocution and diction were very precise, cadenced and reminiscent of an earlier age. And his Hispanic heritage, in what was – over a century and a half ago – an Anglicized age, seemed purposeful in adding an ethnic layer and some complexity, to what was possibly a simpler time.

Sandoval, as Douglas, talked about the Lecompton Constitution, which was one of the hot issues of the time. The Lecompton Constitution which was a competing, pro-slavery, constitution for the state of Kansas induction into the United States, which also explicitly stated that only white males would have the right to vote.

Ironically, Stephen Douglas, a Democrat, helped the Republicans defeat the pro-slavery constitution by aligning with the other northern Democrats who were against it. The southern Democrats were supportive of it.


States Rights Vs Human Rights: Early American Hypocrisy or Dialectic?

laguardia performing arts center rough draft festival licSandoval, as Douglas, then went on to accuse Lincoln and the Republican Party of that time of being a northern political party – not a national political party like the Democrats were. Douglas then cited excerpts from speeches made by Lincoln which seemed at odds with each other, where it appeared Lincoln appealed to the anti-slavery sentiment while giving speeches in northern cities like Chicago while appealing to the racial prejudice of the south, while in southern Illinois cities like Charleston [which is about the same latitude as St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas City] by stating that he did not support allowing Black men to become whites equals, citing they weren’t fit for the role of jurors and what not.

Stephen Douglas was a Democrat, but he wasn’t pro-slavery per se. He was for the rights of states to decide for themselves what institutions to create and how they should conduct their business. He noted that all of the Founding Fathers had kept their slaves through the Revolutionary War. And Douglas reminded voters of Lincoln’s speech in 1858 in Springfield, Illinois where he said that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And that one day the United States would either be all slave or all free.

CLICK here to read the rest of our report of the LaGuardia Performing Arts Rough Draft Festival performance of How We Hear.

Taste of LIC & Queens Restaurants

An Established Event Tries out New Venue & Welcomes Newcomers

queens restaurants lic restaurants long island city queens nycUpdated April 2, 2018 / June 6, 2017 / LIC Neighborhood & Astoria Neighborhood / LIC Restaurants / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

About a week ago, the Chocolate Factory Theater Company announced the 13th annual Taste of LIC would be returning in June. I attended the 12th annual Taste of LIC at the Kaufman Astoria Studios Lot on 35th Avenue at 36th Street in Astoria / LIC. This was the first year the event was held away from its original waterfront venue under the gantries in Gantry State Park along the East River.

Sheila Lewandowski, one of the co-Founders of the Chocolate Factory Theater Company, told me that they made the change because the chefs weren’t allowed to cook in Gantry State Park. Now, on the Kaufman Astoria Studios Lot chefs can now do live performances of their cooking.

The Chocolate Factory Theater is an avant-garde dance and theater company that hosts live multi-media dance and theatrical performances in LIC. The non-profit theater company has organized the event since its inception. The proceeds help fund the organization’s work. Brian Rogers is the co-Founder of the Chocolate Factory, who we'll meet a bit later in this report.

I arrived about on time for the general admission and made my way in, perusing the entire scene before starting to photograph and sample my way through the tent.

I bumped into Steven Hitt, the Executive Director of the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center. Steven mentioned that the dance troupe, Rioult, was planning to move into Queens in early 2018, and that they were currently in the process of setting up office space and studios not far from where we stood. Later in the evening he introduced me to Amy Harrison, the Executive Director of Rioult. Steven mentioned that the Joffrey Ballet Company also moved one of its programs to LIC, and is periodically using the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center as a facility.

It seems while many of the independent artists have left LIC over the past five or so years, many other groups from Manhattan and Brooklyn have been making their way in. The Joffrey and Rioult dance companies have chosen LIC in lieu of Manhattan, due in part to the affordability, convenience and accessibility of the LIC location. I was to learn more of such migratory movements, as the night wore on.

I'll have the rest of this report later this month, including numerous photos of the event.

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Sunnyside Shines BID - Annual Meeting 2018 | sunnyside shines bid sunnyside shines business improvement district sunnyside queens nyc jaime faye-bean executive director sunnyside shines bid john vogt board chairman sunnyside shines bid
Sunnyside Shines BID - Annual Meeting 2018

The Sunnyside BID Shines Brightly

Sunnyside Shines BID Holds Annual Meeting & Annual Recap

March 27, 2018 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Business / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Monday, Sunnyside Shines, the Business Improvement District organization serving Sunnyside held its annual meeting. The Sunnyside business improvement district includes Queens Blvd between 38th and 50th Streets and along Greenpoint Avenue from 50th to 42nd Streets and most points in between.

As you can see from the photo at right, the meeting was well attended. Somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty to one hundred people spent some time at the meeting, and I found it to be pretty informative regarding what's going on in the Sunnyside business community.


Sunnyside Shines BID Executive Director Jaime Faye-Bean & Board Chairman John Vogt

sunnyside shines bid sunnyside business improvement district queens nycSunnyside Shines BID Executive Director, Jaime-Faye Bean was there to present the BID’s annual results and she,along with John Vogt, Chairman of the Sunnyside Shines BID also presented a number of awards to community members for their contribution to the business district.

One of the things that struck me as I watched the events of the evening unfold, was the holistic approach to business development that the Sunnyside Shines BID had undertaken this past year. It struck me not just because there were so many people in attendance, but because of their enthusiasm, their achievements and the BID achievements in building momentum for the business district as a whole. You’ll see more clearly yourself as I describe the night.

I arrived a couple minutes late and Public Advocate Letitia James came to speak to the group about what her offices does and she encouraged the audience to contact her if they had any issues where they thought she and her office could help. According to Wikipedia, the NYC Office of Public Advocate,

“The Public Advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation. … The Public Advocate also serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services.”

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Queens World Film Festival 2018 | queens world film festival 2018 QWFF 2018 queens film festivals nyc at museum of moving image astoria queens nyc queens world film fest
Queens World Film Festival 2018

Queens World Film Festival 2018 To Begin

The Queens World Film Festival Comes to the Museum of the Moving Image Astoria

March 12, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Film in Queens / Queens World Film Festival / Queens Buzz NYC.

The 8th annual Queens World Film Festival begins on Thursday, March 15th at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. This year the festival will run eleven days, present 189 films, from 36 countries, in three screening rooms at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Zukor Screening Room at KAS in Astoria.

Tickets cost $15 per show, which you can obtain online at http://www.queensworldfilmfestival.com, and you may obtain a discount of $3 [$12 per ticket] by inputting the promo code qwff8.

The photo at right shows a scene from one of the films, entitled Lilly Riggs, by Brooklyn filmmaker Naman Gupta, which I'll tell you about later in this report while providing highlights about several films in the eleven day event. The information contained in this report was collected from the Queens World Film Festival website and in an interview with the Queens World Film Festival Artistic Director, Don Cato, and the Executive Director, Katha Cato.

Click here for an overview of the schedule and films for the Queens World Film Festival 2018.

Indie Cade 2018 at Museum of the Moving Image NYC | indie cade 2018 museum of moving image astoria queens nyc indie cade video arcade video game makers video event nyc queens museum of the moving image momi astoria
Indie Cade 2018 at Museum of the Moving Image NYC

Museum of the Moving Image: Indie Cade 2018

MoMI Hosts Community of Evolving Video Art Gamers

February 26, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film & Video in Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

A week ago I attended the Indie Cade East gathering at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. I had been to previous Indie Cade events at the Museum of the Moving Image, and each time I go I try to find something new and different.

It was a relatively balmy February day as I made my way to the Museum of the Moving Image along 35th Avenue at 36th Street. There were people milling about outside, discussing video games, as I entered the museum.

Memories of Astoria Video Mural

Along the left side of the entrance lobby, there was a video mural running along the wall, made by a Brooklyn artist, Ezra Wube, which showed painted scenes of the Astoria neighborhood. And directly in front of me, people were engaged in video games and hanging out on the benches adjacent to the snack bar. After checking in, I headed into the main theater to see what was playing as it was only a couple hours before closing time on Sunday afternoon.

There were people watching and discussing a black and white video, which was a combination of modern video art and representations of nature. The video continually morphing into and out of the real / surreal depictions, accompanied by rhythmic acoustical music, providing a mind bending experience if you gave it time and let it in. Given my time constraints, I decided to continue into the rest of the Indie Cade event, as delving more deeply into this work would likely consume the rest of my visit.

Museum of the Moving Image – Indie Cade East Exhibits

On the second level there was an interactive video that worked a bit like a game show. The player would be prompted by pick up lines / questions that the video game maker had collected, and then prompted for a multiple-choice response. Generally one of the questions was quite rude, and if you chose that one, the game ended more quickly. I suppose a bit like in real life : ) as some of the pick up men in the game would flee – which as one woman told me – isn’t exactly like what happens in real life.

Within that exhibit space there was a video explaining how the game was made. I’m not sure if this is a part of the exhibit entitled Indie Cade Presents: A Decade of Design, so I’m not sure if it will remain at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of that exhibit which is scheduled to run through June 17th, 2018.

Click here for things to do on the Upper East Side UES, or things to do in Midtown Manhattan NYC, or things to do in the East Village and here for Whitestone hair salons.


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Jessica Ramos Opens Campaign Office

IDC Member Jose Peralta Faces Serious Challenge This Year

queens things to doMarch 19, 2018 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Politics / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

It was a cool Sunday morning as I made my way over to the campaign office opening of Jessica Ramos in Jackson Heights. I parked my bike outside their 72nd and Broadway headquarters and began my march up to the fourth floor.


At the fourth floor landing the door opened into a very bright, sunlit room that seemed to reflect the mood of the people in it. Jessica Ramos, a former Ethnic Media & Outreach staff member of the de Blasio Administration, was staking out a position in what appears to be a serious challenge to NY Senator Jose Peralta.

IDC - Republicans Running as Democrats?

I was greeted warmly by the folks inside, who appeared to be a combination of Jessica Ramos's family, friends, neighbors and interested supporters. All of them, appeared to be interested in sending NYS Senator Jose Peralta home from Albany, as they opined how Peralta had betrayed not just them – but all Democrats – by becoming an Independent Democratic Caucus member. In January 2017 NYS Senator Jose Peralta joined the Independent Democratic Caucus [aka IDC] which has aligned itself with the Republicans in Albany, thereby giving the Republicans control of the NYS Senate.

In the photo at right, some of the folks who attended the campaign office opening of Jessica Ramos who is challenging Jose Peralta for the NYS Senate seat representing Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Corona.

More to come later today or this week.

Queens Chamber Hosts Tax Seminar

Accountants From Mazars Provide Overview of Tax Changes

queens business finance taxes queens nycMarch 5, 2018 / Jackson Heights / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business / Queens Buzz NYC.

Last Thursday I headed over to the Bulova Corporate Center to attends a free tax seminar hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. The seminar content was targeted toward small and medium sized businesses and their owners, in an effort to help folks navigate and plan their way through the new tax law changes.

The presenters included Mazars Partner James Wienclaw; and Senior Managers Donald Crotty and Michael Pappas. Mazars is an organisation specializing in audit, accountancy, tax, legal and advisory services. All three men are Certified Public Accountants [CPA’s] and the presentation took about two hours, including questions.


Tax Reform Plan of 2017 Includes Many Changes

Per an audience member request, we started with the Individual Tax Provisions. Generally the tax reform plan, entitled the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, kept the seven tax rate brackets, but generally lowered the tax rates for all brackets queens tax plan preparation impacts nycexcept the lowest bracket – which includes singles earning up to $9525. The plan did not extract the 3.8% tax which funds the Affordable Care Act [aka Obamacare].

To partially offset the tax rate reductions, many itemized deductions were scaled back. Perhaps one of the most significant changes in deductions was that they set a limit for deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000.

Based on research I had done around the time of the Tax Reform plan enactment, this part of the tax plan will most negatively impact taxpayers in Democratic states like New York and California - both of which already contribute more to the federal coffers than they receive.

Click this link to view the OpEd report we posted just prior to the passage of the Trump Tax Plan to see an Atlantic Monthly chart showing what every state receives back on each dollar sent to Washington, D.C. [scroll down, it's near the end of the story].

As you can see in the Kiplinger map at right, as a general rule the Republican states are the net recipients of federal government funding, while the Democratic states are the net contributors into the federal coffers. There's some irony there, as it's generally the Republicans who complain the most about welfare.

We’ll post the rest of our report on this presentation later this week, and it's worth viewing as there were a number of major tax law changes.

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Chinese New Year Parade - Flushing Queens NYC | chinese new year parade 2018 flushing chinese new year parade 2018 queens chinese & korean culture new year parade & celebrations nyc queens 2018
Chinese New Year Parade - Flushing Queens NYC

Queens Chinese New Year Parade & Celebrations in Flushing

The Year 4716, or the Year of the Dog, has Begun

February 19, 2018 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Holidays / Flushing Chinese New Year Parade & Celebrations / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Saturday I made my way east to Flushing to watch the Chinese New Year parade in Flushing. The Flushing neighborhood of Queens rivals the Chinatown neighborhood in Manhattan for the leading center of Chinese culture in New York City and along the East Coast of the United States.

The photo at right shows a few of the 'dogs' celebrating the year of the dog in the Flushing Chinese New Year Parade.


Flushing Chinese New Year Parade 2018

The parade kicked off at 11 am just east of the Queens Crossing Mall at Main Street and 39th Avenue. They headed south along Union Street, west along Sanford Street, before heading north along Main Street terminating just after passing the Queens Crossing Mall.

Literally thousands participate in the parade itself and likely north of 10,000 spectators come out to watch the grand cultural celebration. Participants march in groups, dressed in traditional costumes, harking back to ancient times. And there were also many floats, which were generally associated with local businesses and organizations.

The Flushing Chinese New Year parade is an evolving cultural event as Korean and Japanese marchers and floats also participate in the parade. And in the last few years I’ve noticed westerners marching dressed in traditional costumes, possibly as cross cultural / Americanized couples and friends join in the fun.

Flushing Historic House Tour - Historic Sites Queens History NYC | flushing history flushing holiday historic house tour queens historical sites queens historical societies history in queens flushing corona nyc
Flushing Historic House Tour - Historic Sites Queens History NYC

Flushing History: Walking Through American Colonial History in Queens

America’s Colonial History Comes Alive in the 30th Historic House Tour in Flushing Queens

December 12, 2017 / Flushing Neighborhood / Flushing History in American Colonial Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

This past Sunday, six historic sites in Flushing and one in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, coordinated to host the 30th annual Holiday Historic House Tour. For four hours visitors were invited into Queens colonial, as well as 19th century [1800’s] pasts, in the neighborhood of Flushing. The 20th century Louis Armstrong House in Corona, also participates in this event.

The map at right shows the Queens historic sites participating in the Holiday Historic House Tour in Flushing this past weekend.

It had snowed the day before, but it was only a few inches and by Sunday most of it had pretty much gone away. It was sunny with temperatures in the low 40’s, so not a bad day for walking around Flushing. The group of historic sites has it set up so you can either buy the one ticket to see all seven sites, in advance, online [$15] – or purchase the ticket on the day of the event from any one of the historic sites wherever you start your self-guided historic tour [$20].

The first two stops are by far and away the two most significant sites, as together they represent one of the most important cornerstones of the Bill of Rights in the American Constitution – religious freedom. So let us delve into America’s colonial past in Queens, starting with the Bowne House and the Friends Meeting House.

Click here to continue reading our report about our American colonial past in Flushing, as seen on the Queens History - Flushing Historic House Tour.

jamaica nyc jamaica neighborhood jamaica queens nyc

Queens Borough President State of the Borough Address 2018 | queens borough president melinda katz state of the boro address queens boro president melinda katz state of the borough address
Queens Borough President State of the Borough Address 2018

Queens State of the Borough Address 2018

Katz Delivers Her Fourth State of the Borough Address

January 29, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

I headed over to the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School on a rather balmy January morning last Friday. The temperatures were unseasonably high in the 50’s and it was dry.

I arrived a bit late for the speech, so I watched it on Youtube over the weekend. The first eleven minutes included introductory performances and speeches, including the Pledge of Allegiance, a singing of the National Anthem, a brief thanks by Gideon Frankel the Principal of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, and a call out to the local pols in attendance by Deputy Borough President Melva Miller.

What U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer Didn't Say was Notable

u.s. senator chuck schumer ny photoAs far as I know, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer was not given any advance billing as being one of the speakers today, but he came onto the stage and spoke to us. For a moment I thought we might hear why he had decided to take the Democrats into a showdown about a federal government shutdown with President Trump less than a week ago [Friday, January 19th], and why he then backed off that negotiating stance less than three days later, agreeing to reopen the government by midday Monday, January 22nd.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Schumer Mentions Support for Dreamers & Immigrants, but Not a Word About the Government Shutdown Showdown

But U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer didn’t say a word to us about the shutdown per se, less than a week after it had all gone down. I couldn’t help but wonder why?

Was the shutdown: 1) a part of the growing theatrics of the federal government - as a bid to demonstrate Democratic solidarity with immigrants and Dreamers, or 2) a real effort to win concessions from the Republicans for immigrants, or 3) an ill-planned showdown that only took into account the bi-coastal Democratic leadership [Democratic Senate Minority Leader Schumer - NY & Democratic House Minority Leader Pelosi - CA] that represents densely populated urban areas with large immigrant populations, while ignoring the constituencies represented by Democrats who come from states that are more rural and suburban, and have small immigrant populations?

Schumer was on stage for a bit less than 15 minutes and in that time he told us about how he had cared for his elderly father who now lives in Queens. He referenced Melinda’s second term in office as the ‘peaceful passing of the torch’ which didn’t make a whole lot of sense because Katz is moving from her first to second term so there's no real torch passing going on. And he credited Katz with bringing ferry service to the borough, which I am sure she helped lobby, but which at its core was a Mayoral action. Schumer's visit was not hailed in advance, and he seemed a bit unprepared, so I wondered why he'd decided to speak, and whether he’d been rattled by the events of the prior week?

U.S. Senator Schumer concluded by telling us a story about how Ben Franklin and the framers of the Constitution were concerned about whether the people would actively participate in their own democracy, and whether a self governance system would attract honest candidates / office holders to serve. He then told us that he thought that the politicians on the stage, and the people in the audience today, were proof that both were working.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz State of the Borough Address 2018

Queens Borough President Katz followed U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. She talked about having recently completed ACL reconstructive surgery.

She said that during her first term the Community Board membership in Queens has undergone a huge transformation with 30% of the members being new.

There are three ways to view the significant change in the composition of the community boards: 1) it’s a fresh influx of new blood that represents some of the demographic changes going on in the borough, or 2) a huge loss of experienced community board members, possibly replaced by political appointees, thus creating an easier path for real estate developers to obtain variance approvals, or 3) both.

I don't yet know which it is, but I reckon over time, it should become more clear to us all.

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Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens | queens restaurants mother's day restaurants in queens mothers day restaurants in astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights mothers day restaurants in queens nyc
Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens

Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens

Mother's Day Restaurants in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside & Jackson Heights

May 7, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

Mother's Day isn't that far away [Sunday, May 12th, 2019]. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner are always welcome, as is any thoughtful gesture that provides some measure showing your appreciation of your mother or the mother of your children. After all, without mothers, we would all cease to be.

It's best to book a restaurant reservation for Mother's Day brunch, as on Mother's Day in Queens, many restaurants are full. So if you're thinking about eating out at a restaurant this Mother's Day in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call ahead to book Mother's Day restaurant reservations.

Mother's Day History - Restaurants In Queens

The origins of Mother's Day in the United States began with the efforts by Anna Jarvis in honor of her own mother. According to Wikipedia, Anna began the campaign in 1905 - the year her mother died - and in 1910 West Virginia was the first state to adopt it as a holiday. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Mother's Day restaurants in Queens 2019 where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.

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Queens Holiday Markets - Holiday Shops Shopping Queens | queens holiday markets queens christmas markets queens hanukkah markets queens kwanzaa markets queens nyc
Queens Holiday Markets - Holiday Shops Shopping Queens

Shopping Holiday Markets In Queens

Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Markets & Shopping in Queens

Updated 12/14/18 from November 15, 2018  / Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Woodside Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Forest Hills Neighborhood / Flushing Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Shopping NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

The growth in the number and size of Holiday markets has been on the rise in Queens and New York City in recent years. While some date back many years, most are traditions that started within the past five or ten years.

What does an increase in holiday markets mean? It means you have multiple opportunities to go holiday shopping yourself, or with friends, or with your kids or the whole family. Oftentimes the local markets offer unique items made locally, which you may not find anywhere else.

Each Queens holiday market is a bit different, as each of those listed in this posting are organized in collaboration with arts organizations and / or with religious or cultural organizations. Please feel free to send us a notice of your community organize Queens holiday market if it's not posted herein.

Queens Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Markets

This is not meant to be a complete list of Queens holiday markets, but rather - as mentioned above - a curated listing of Queens holiday markets run by community organizations. The Queens holiday markets are organized individually in each Queens neighborhood including Astoria, Long Island City LIC, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Forest Hills, Flushing and Jamaica. Many of these markets may also host holiday tree lighting, menorah lighting or Kwanzaa candle lighting events in Queens.

Astoria Furniture Stores Have It All - Queens

desk chair furniture stores shops shopping astoria queens nyAstoria Shops / Astoria / Queens Buzz NYC.

The furniture stores located on the southern end of Steinway Street in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens seem to have something to offer to just about everyone. This part of Steinway is a furniture shopper's mecca, offering plenty of choices from classical colonial, to urban apartment living to bedding to suit nearly every spine.

I took a quick trip there, which is easily accessible via the N, W, G, R or V subway lines and within a sturdy walking distance from Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside. Just up the street from Steinway is Broadway and two blocks further north is 30th Avenue, where you'll find a number of great Queens restaurants where after a good morning or afternoon of shopping, you can kick back in an enjoyable ambiance - or in the good weather along one of the sidewalk tables - ane enjoy a bit of coffee and some delicious food. Click here to learn more about the furniture stores in Astoria Queens.

Click for free checking in Queens or to buy eyeglasses Astoria, for Astoria hair salons, for Astoria wine stores, for Jackson Heights immigration lawyers, for Midtown dentists & Midtown Chiropractors, and for things to do in Queens. Eyeglasses in Jamaica NYC and bike stores Queens.

esquire mens clothing store astoria ny queens Mens Clothing Styles - Queens

Shopping Queens / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz NYC.

Esquire Men's Clothing Store continues to serve the greater Astoria and Queens area, as it has for over thirty years. The shop is owned and managed by Frank and Kevin Adhami, and their father, who is in his eighties, still visits the store on an almost weekly basis.

Esquire is located along Steinway Street between 30th and 31st streets. The store contains a wide selection of men's coats, suits, casual wear, shoes and men's accessories like belts and ties.

This story will provide some information about the store itself as well as fashion recommendations for the Spring and for job hunters.

Click this link to view a story written on Men's Clothing In Astoria Queens NY. Click here for men's clothing stores in NYC, and here to buy Stone Rose shirts in NYC, and here to buy Alberto pants in NYC, and here to buy Eton shirts and here to buy Hugo Boss sneakers in NYC. Click here for Astoria / LIC Queens tile stores serving Brooklyn, Greenpoint & Williamsburg or here for abayas in Queens & Brooklyn NYC and for hijabs in Queens & Brooklyn NYC.

Queens Farmers Markets

street fairs queensMarch 25, 2019 / Astoria Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Long Island City LIC Flushing Jamaica / Queens Buzz NYC.

Jackson Heights was the first year 'round farmers market in Queens, Forest Hills was the second year 'round farmers market, and Sunnyside was the third year 'round farmers market in Queens. So now Queens has three farmers markets operating year 'round and nearly a dozen seasonal farmers markets.

Click the link below to see a listing of the Queens Farmers Markets operating during the 2019 season including links to maps. Click the other link below for an updated list of Queens Street Fairs schedule of 2019 through the first couple of months of the 2019 season, including dates and maps showing their locations. We will continue updating and adding to the street fair calendar throughout the season.

Click here for our updated posting of Queens Street Fairs - Queens NY. Click here for a listing of the Queens Farmers Markets. You will always find both street fairs and farmers markets for the current month in the Queens Events section of the site [see top tool bar for button / link]. Click here to view the map of the Jamaica farmers market. Click here for Bronx street fairs.

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LIC Real Estate Boom Appears to be Slowing

A Near Doubling of New Units Coming on the Market this Year, so there Appears to be a Pause, as Investors see how Quickly the Market Adjusts to the new Inventory & new Interest Rates

March 28, 2017 / LIC Neighborhood / Queens Real Estate in LIC / Queens Buzz.

lic partnership real estate breakfast lic partnershipI attended the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast just over a week ago. For the first time in a long while, I could actually find a seat. There had been a snowstorm the day before, so that may have contributed to my luck in finding a seat, but the event also did not appear to sell out as quickly as in prior years either.

This is not to say that LIC development is over ... and likely not by a long shot. But for the moment, the urgency seems to be abating as we all watch to see how things play out; while another 22,000 modern, fairly upscale apartment units come on the market.

According to the LIC Partnership, in the past decade nearly 12,000 new units have been created in LIC. Of those, less than 3,000 were sold to owners. In 2017 nearly 9,000 new units are coming into the market.

The principles of economics state that when supply goes up, if demand doesn't go up by an equal amount, then it is likely that prices will go down. So it's likely that a near doubling of new apartment supply in LIC this coming year could dampen rental prices for a while, and possibly sale prices too.

Interest rates are also rising. And again according to the principles of economics, when interest rates rise, generally the prices of high dollar value purchases decline, because interest rate increases add to the cost of the monthly payments associated with large purchases like real estate.

More regarding the discussion held at the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast - which as always was very informative - at a later date.

Queens Real Estate

Real Estate in Astoria, Jackson Heights, Long Island City LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Flushing, Jamaica

queens real estateQueens NY / 2017. These links will take you into sections & reports on the Queens real estate market in Queens beginning in 2009.

These reports include reviews of apartment rental prices, as well as condo, co-op and home prices and availability in the Queens market.

We have also done neighborhood specific reports about Astoria real estate, LIC / Long Island City real estate, Jackson Heights real estate, Woodside & Sunnyside real estate, Flushing Real Estate and Jamaica Real Estate. Click here to view Long Island City apartments for rent LIC.

While we found these neighborhoods mirrored / trailed many of the national trends, we found some interesting differences, including differences from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Click here to read the Queens Real Estate market analysis 2009. Click here for Jackson Heights realtors and Jackson Heights real estate.

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Trump Tax Plan: A Morally Bankrupt President’s Gift?

Are Billionaires Trump & Murdoch Bilking America’s Unborn Babies?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksUpdated 12/26/17 _ December 19, 2017 / New York City Neighborhoods / New York City Business / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Like many of you, I have been watching the Trump Tax plan make its way through Congress. While Trump and his cohorts were whipping together the tax package, I was doing research on the possible implications of some of their tax policy proposals.

According to an October 20, 2017 PolitiFact report [based on the plan at that time, which has since been modified],

"... in the first year of changes, the top 1 percent are projected to draw a little over half the tax savings. The threshold of 80 percent going to the top 1 percent is projected for the tenth year."

While directionally this statement is likely to hold [meaning the plan is biased toward the rich], the exact numbers as to how biased the Trump Tax Plan will be for the wealthy - based on the final bill - remains to be calculated.

In this report we look at a number of tax cuts included in the final bill including repatriation of overseas profits, reduction of the estate tax, reduction of the corporate tax and the blue vs red state tax increase. We include a review questioning why the Trump Administration is pushing this deficit expanding / debt increasing fiscal stimulus package - when we're in a full employment economy with rising wages. We also include how the Trump Tax Cut Plan has been treated propagandistically by Rupert Murdoch's media outlets, as he appears to personally and corporately benefit immensely from the tax cuts.

But before we begin, we take you on a quick review at some key characteristics and prior dealings of the man behind the plan – Donald J. Trump.

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