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fake news or fake president


The Trump Train

Fake News or Fake President?

February 19, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Media / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I know a lot of people have found watching the news both addictive and frustrating lately.

They're tired of hearing the president make unsupported false statements every week, and listening to the media rebroadcast or reprint or repeat these false statements before they go onto correct him.

Hitler Said Repeat a Lie Often Enough and it Will Be Believed

Why does the media give these statements life in the first place - by repeating them at all?

It just gives these untruths some sort of strange validation, especially to those voters who make their decisions based on the noise level of soundbytes, instead of doing the research needed to understand the serious issues of the day, and the candidates' positions on them.

Jefferson said that those who believe they can be ignorant and free - believe in something that never was and never will be.

It seems to me that all of us need to start refocusing our attention from the petty distractions of what appears to be a Celebrity Apprentice President all-too-real TV show, to the serious business of addressing the issues facing the nation.

The president seems to be setting the tone for this chaos with his outrageous statements and theatrics. And the media - as during the 2016 campaign - seem to be knee-jerk reacting to almost everything he says.

They are enabling the president to suck up all the news oxygen out of the nation because all we hear about is Trump, Trump, Trump. They cover his antics - like he's media crack.

Enough already.

American People Need to Start Participating in Democracy

But we, the audience, are also part of the problem. Could it be that both Trump and the media are giving the audience 'what they [appear to] want' based on our behavorial response in watching, reading and clicking into the Trump Train News?

Perhaps it's time for us to tune out this show which parodies our system of government, while mocking us as a society. And maybe it's time to start listening to the advice of Mahatma Ghandi who said, "Live the change you want to see."

Instead of helplessly standing by, perhaps it's time for us to get involved at the grass roots level of the causes or issues we care about - on either side of the ideological spectrum. And maybe now is the time for us to get out from behind our computer screens so that we can infuse new energy into our own real lives. Spring is a good time for new initiatives.

Of course, then again, we could keep watching the Trump Train - if we want to keep this unreal TV show on the air - by continuing to contribute to its ratings success.

And even though our role in the process may sometimes feel insignificant, collectively we each are one of the many deciders.

Special Presidents Day Request for Donald J. Trump

I have a special Presidents Day request to make of Donald J. Trump - and that is that you quit acting like a rich, spoiled brat and start acting like the president of the United States of America.

This request includes NOT encouraging the people who work for you [like Steve Bannon] telling the press to shut up, NOT ignoring 'tough' questions you don't like posed by members of the press who in some measure are asking the questions that many of us have, and most certainly NOT tweeting that the press is the enemy of the American people. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression / free speech / freedom of the press.

These sorts of statements made by you and your Administration since you've taken office might be expected of your good friends from less free countries, like Russia - but NOT by the Leader of the Free World - which likie it or not - you are.

Either grow up quickly and quit embarrassing us - or please resign and let Mike Pence become the 46th President of the United States of America.

Have a Happy Presidents Day.


Things To Do This Weekend in Queens

Flux Bringing the Content Back, Irish Musicians, Black List & HAPI Doc Film, Dorsky Inspired by Geometry in Islamic Art, Noguchi Bend Community Remembrance, Presidents Day Weekend, Scorsese Film

queens things to do queensFebruary 17, 2017 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz.

*Weekend Weather - 2/17 - 2/20/17

*The temperature highs will be in the high 50's, and the temperature lows will be around 40 through Sunday, falling to 50 and 30, respectively, on Monday. No rain is in the forecast and winds will range around 10 - 15 mph. Humidity will remain steady at about 60%.

Queens Subways. The 7, N, E, F, and G trains look to be operating normally, with some local stop issues where you have to backtrack, and the Q doesn't operate on weekends in Queens. Click here for details on the MTA Weekender. FYI - There's been work on the #7 slowing things down a bit, and possibly new work coming to other key lines like the E to prepare for automated trains.

*Standing Tall For All. The photo at right shows Lady Liberty standing tall for all Americans, regardless of race or religion, who have come here from all parts of the world. We are America - one family - all mankind.

 

Friday & Weekend - Cillian Valley & Kevin Crawford Concert LIC, Flux Bringing the Content Back LIC, The Genius of Geoffrey Holder - Jamaica

queens things to do*They've been working on the railroad. The photo at right shows MTA workers working hard to keep the #7 subway line the top rated subway in the city.

*The NY Irish Center at 1040 Jackson Avenue in LIC is hosting a concert by Irish musicians Valley & Crawford beginning at 7.30 pm [music / $25].

*The Flux Factory at 39-31 29th Street in LIC is hosting an opening reception for a new exhibit entitled, Bringing the Content Back, from 6 to 9 pm [art / free / donations welcome].

*The Genius of Geoffrey Holder is on exhibit at the Miller Gallery in the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) at 161-04 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica [art / free]. Choreographer, designer, director, and actor, Holder, has a long history in the performing arts. In this exhibition, he is honored for his career in dance and theater, his Tony Award-winning work as director and costume designer for The Wiz, and contributions to the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater & Dance Theater of Harlem. The gallery is open from 10 am to 6 pm Mon - Sat and the exhibit runs thru May 30th.

*There's an exhibition dedicated to Martin Scorsese at the Museum of the Moving Image at 36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria [thru 4/23]. Scorsese was a prolifice filmmaker who captured on film some of the variety and uniqueness of NYC in decades past. [film - $15 / $11].

*Weekend. The Noguchi Museum at 9-01 33rd Road & Vernon Boulevard in LIC / Astoria is hosting an exhibit entitled Self Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center. On Sunday 2/19 Kim Maeda will perform 'Bend' from 3 to 4 pm during museum's Community Day of Remembrance during which the museum is open to the public free. The museum is located [art / free].

Weekend. The Fisher Landau Center for Art at 38-27 30th Street in LIC has extended two exhibits entitled Intuitive Progression & Language as Representation and on February 9th opened LORNA SIMPSON: Hypothetical? [art / free - thru January 2017 & open Thurs - Mon 12 noon - 5 pm].

 

Saturday - Black List Reception @ Landau, HAPI - the Role of Economics in Civilization film

queens things to do*Flushing Meadows Corona Park Unisphere. The photo at right shows the Unisphere which was made of steel and erected for the 1964 World's Fair to promote the idea that we all share the same small planet.

*The Jamaica Performing Arts Center at 153-01 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica is hosting filmmaker Taaqiy Grant as he debuts his documentary film, HAPI - the Role of Economics on the Development of Civilization, about the role economics plays in civilization starting at the Nile and encompassing the African diaspora from 6 - 8 pm [Film / $25].

*The Greater Astoria Historical Society at 35-20 Broadway presents Back Number Budd a Ravenswood legend told by Ellen Gruber-Garvey beginning at 1 pm [history / free].

*Fisher Landau Center for Art at 38-27 30th Street will be screening The BLACK LIST: Volumes 1, 2 & 3, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders from 1 - 5 pm with complimentary admission and refreshments [art / free].

*There's an exhibition dedicated to Martin Scorsese at the Museum of the Moving Image at 36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria [thru 4/23]. Scorsese was a prolifice filmmaker who captured on film some of the variety and uniqueness of NYC in decades past. [film - $15 / $11].

Flushing Town Hall at 137-35 Northern Blvd in Flushing is hosting tbd beginning at 2 and 4 pm [kids / $5 / $3].

The Secret Theater is hosting theater classes in the am [see Member Calendar].

Click to Queens Events Member Calendar to view a number of additional weekend events.

 

Sunday - 'Bend' Community Day of Remembrance, Inspired by Geometry in Islamic Art, Qns Musem Maintenance Art ends & Scorsese Film @ MoMI continues

queens things to do*LIC as seen from the United Nations. The photo at right shows Long Island City along the East River waterfront as seen from the plaza alongside the United Nations.

At PS1 MoMA at 22-25 Jackson Avenue in LIC there's a performance beginning at x entitled tbd [art / free w/ admission].

*Disarming Geometries is on exhibit at the Dorsky Gallery | CP at 11-03 45th Avenue in LIC. On Sunday they're hosting a panel discussion entitled Inspired by Geometry in Islamic Art from 2.30 to 4 pm[art / free but call for hours at 718.937.6317 or dgcpgallery@gmail.com].

*The Noguchi Museum at 9-01 33rd Road & Vernon Boulevard in LIC / Astoria is hosting Kim Maeda performing 'Bend' from 3 to 4 pm during museum's Community Day of Remembrance during which the museum is open to the public free. The museum is located [art / free].

*The Fisher Landau Center for Art at 38-27 30th Street in LIC has extended two exhibits entitled Intuitive Progression & Language as Representation and on February 9th opened LORNA SIMPSON: Hypothetical? [art / free - open Thurs - Mon 12 noon - 5 pm].

*The Queens Museum exhibits this weekend include Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art [thru Feb 19] and onging exhibits including the NYC Panoramic map, the Tiffany glass collection and the World's Fairs [art - $8 / $4 / kids under 18 free].

*There's an exhibition dedicated to Martin Scorsese at the Museum of the Moving Image at 36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria [thru 4/23]. Scorsese was a prolifice filmmaker who captured on film some of the variety and uniqueness of NYC in decades past. [film - $15 / $11].

Click here for stories about some shopping venues in Queens.

Also SEE FRIDAY & WEEKEND EVENTS ABOVE that run on Saturday & Sunday.


Queens Things To Do - Next Week

Presidents Day Holiday, Breaking the Law w/ Love & Mirror Furor

*Weather Forecast as of February 17, 2017 for week of 2/21 - 2/24/ 17

*The temperature highs will be in the mid to mid 40's on Tuesday, rising to the high 50's through Friday. The temperature lows will be around 40 through Wednesday, rising to about 50 on Thursday and Friday. There's a 70% chance of early morning light rain on Wednesday, but that could change by the time we get there. The winds will be about 10 mph throughout the week and the humidity will be about 60% Tuesday rising to about 70% for the rest of the week.

queens things to do *Humanist Presidents Made of Molten Steel and Fashioned into Bookends to Further Learning. The photo at right shows two of several of my favorite inspirational American presidents - one of whom risked and the other who ultimately sacrificed - their lives for all the people of this nation.

Democracy is a privilege, a hard fought right, and a responsibility. It should not be taken for granted.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to … remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed." Thomas Jefferson.

Monday - Presidents Day Holiday & Documentary Film

*On this day we honor past presidents for their service to our nation. It's a national holiday. Enjoy.

*The Greater Astoria Historical Society at 35-20 Broadway presents, The Loving Story, a documentary film about Richard and Mildred Loving who broke the law simply by professing their love for each other beginning at 1 pm [history / film / free].

Wednesday - Mirror Furor

*The Chocolate Factory at 5-49 49th Avenue in LIC is hosting a Mirror Furor beginning at 8 pm nightly thru Saturday 2/25 [theater / $20]. The performance is choreographed art which is a

"feedback loop of repeated actions in which duets are ruined then reconstituted into dissolving solos, odd trios and finally, the four. Mutating from rawness to confidence, Mirror Furor attempts to forge connections between the action and its own reflections, which echo, reverberate and amplify through sustained repetition. The feminist quiver has legs of quaking beige clouds and shimmering blue lightning."

Dig that.

Saturday - Theater Classes

*The Secret Theatre in LIC is hosting theater classes beginning at 10 am [theater / kids / Queens events member calendar].

*The details for most of these events may be found on the Member Calendar for Queens Events which contains listings by arts, non-profits & community orgs.***

Also see events that run through the Weekend as noted above as well as clicking into the September events calendar which has a list ofvenues that have ongoing things to do. Click on the link above to go to the Member Events Calendar to view events. And click here tofind art, theater or film open calls, jobs openings, affordable housing, government sponsored classes & funding.


De Blasio Delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Takes Humanist, Social Science Approach to Solving NYC Problems

NYC Crime Down, Stop N’ Frisk Down 97%, NYC Public School Graduation Rate Up, H.S. Drop Out Rate Down, College Bound Graduates Up, 70,000 Children Enrolled in Universal Pre-K, Financing Initiated on 62,000 Units of Affordable Housing, NYC Budget Surplus

See Related Analysis of Reporting by Multi-Billionaire Owned NY Post

photos apollo theater harlem de blasio state of the city address nycFebruary 14, 2017 / Harlem Neighborhood / NYC Government & Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I attended Mayor de Blasio’s third State of the City Address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Monday. The beautiful old theater, built in 1904, didn’t admit African Americans until thirty years later. And it was in 1934 that the historic theater began earning the fame it has today, by becoming the showcase for African American musical and theatrical legends.

In the photo at right is the Apollo Theater as seen from one of the balcony booths prior to the beginning of Mayor de Blasio's 2017 State of the City Address.

 

Fighting Tyranny & Thomas Paine: These are the Times that Try Men’s Souls

There were a number of performances and speeches leading up to the Mayor’s address, including a performance by the Dorothy Maynor Choir of Harlem and an operatic delivery of the Star Spangled National Anthem by FDNY’s Regina Wilson. Recently deceased Detective Steven McDonald’s son, Conor, gave a speech, as did NYC First Lady Chirlane McRay, the Reverend David Ramos, Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Imam Souleimane Konate.

The Pledge of Allegiance was delivered by Jian ‘John’ Yuan Lin, Chyna Huertas and Eva Lin. And the Reverend Michael Walrond, of the First Corinthian Baptist Church, gave a fiery, inspirational speech talking comparing the national state of affairs today to the American colonists fighting to shake off the shackles of tyranny. He cited the words of American Revolutionary Thomas Paine, who in 1776 said,

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Just before the Mayor came on stage was a video highlighting the de Blasio Administration accomplishments.

 

Mayor de Blasio Standing Big & Tall for All New Yorkers

america's mayor de blasio nyc

The Mayor came onto the stage, beginning by thanking the various people and departments that helped make his Administration’s accomplishments possible. His thanks always include his wife, Chirlane McCray, who has been evolving in her role as NYC’s First Lady.

 

Here’s a sampling of the de Blasio’s efforts to make New York a better place for all New Yorkers. Some of the information came from the video presentation referenced above, which I have augmented with some additional research and information obtained in prior reporting efforts.

 

In the photo at right stands a weary, but determined, Mayor Bill de Blasio at his 2017 State of the City Address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

 

I. De Blasio Administration NYC Public School Achievements

A. Social Science & Humanist Approach to Education

• Universal Pre-K Enrollment 70,000
• Advanced Placement For All
• Drop Out Rates Down
• Graduation Rates Up
• College Bound Graduates Up

america's mayor de blasio nyc

The slide at right shows some of the gains made by the de Blasio Administration with the NYC public school system over the past three plus years.

 

1. Stop the Bleeding – Stop the 'CORPORATE' run Charter Schools from Maximizing Profit at the Expense of Maximizing Human Potential

Editor's Note: There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the NON-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOLS and FOR-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOL CORPORATIONS. Non profit charters are generally older organizations, designed as an alternative in response to failing public schools decades ago, and whose focus is on improving education - not improving profits.

By contrast the FOR-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOL CORPORATIONS generally arose in the 21st century, and this group appears to be pillaging the public school system by recruiting and siphoning off the good [low cost / high performing] students so they can maximize profits – not enhance public education.

The despicable consequence of this for-profit charter school strategy is that they are simultaneously robbing the most vulnerable, disadvantaged children of anything resembling an opportunity in life as promised in the founding documents of this nation.

Family background continues to be the highest determinant [have the highest correlation] of a student’s academic achievement.

So the de Blasio Administration has significantly slowed the corporate charter school assault on the public education system.

 

Corporate Charter School Business Strategy Comparable to Old Health Insurance 'Gaming the System'

Recruit the Academic Achievers, 'the Healthy Ones', Because They're Most Profitable & Shun the Rest

america's mayor de blasio nycIt appears the charter school corporations have employed a strategy designed to recruit and retain the best students to their schools, while leaving the rest behind. They appear to recruit the kids who are already performing well, because the performing children cost the least to educate, thus providing the highest return to the hedge fund profiteers because the funding is allocated on a per capital / per student basis. High performing student enrollments also enable corporate charter schools to claim they are ‘performing well’ because they've recruited the highest scoring students.

The recruitment and retention strategy referenced above resembles the old health insurance strategy of recruiting the healthy people to buy health insurance as they are the most profitable, while denying those who aren’t blessed with good health because they cost the most to keep healthy. This was a systemic inequity Obamacare attempted to eradicate.

In the photo at right stand an Imam [Islam], a Rabbi [Jewish] and a Reverend [Christian] all sharing the same podium with a message of love, peace, respect and understanding.

 

2. Help the Youngsters & Maximize Human Potential – Not Profits

The De Blasio Administration pushed through universal Pre-K, which has enrolled 70,000 students since its inception in the Fall of 2014.

When this first came out I, and a number of people I know, didn’t really grasp the importance of this effort. As family support is the highest determinant in a child’s success, many youngsters were entering the public school system at a significant disadvantage vis a vis their better parented peers.

By accessing these kids while they are younger, and providing access to the guidance and resources of the public school system earlier, the NYC Public School system now has a greater chance of motivating these kids, which will inevitabley empowering them, raising their self esteem, and give them a chance at a far more engaged and productive life.

I now get it. And this seems like it can only be a good thing for all of society, as it will reduce societal costs of failing these people early on.

MAXIMIZE HUMAN POTENTIAL - Good Public Policy Costs Less in Long Haul & Enormously Benefits Society

america's mayor de blasio nycThis approach to education enables us as a society to maximize our human potential, which will benefit all the community - and in some small way - all mankind. Not only is this a more humanistic approach to engaging these children, but it's more cost effective in the long haul, as those left behind will inevitably cost society more through lost opportunities, lost productivity, and increased spending on health, human services and criminal justice programs.

In the photo at right is the Mayor on stage at the Apollo Theater with all of the people working for the city that he honored that night including policemen, firefighters, sanitation workers and educators. The Mayor appears to be one who is very much in touch with the middle & working class rank and file of New York City.

Click here for our report about Mayor Bill de Blasio's State of the City Address 2017 including an update on crime, the affordable housing crisis, the city's finances, sanitation and social activism.


Restaurants for Valentines Day In Queens | 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
Restaurants for Valentines Day In Queens

Valentine's Day Restaurants & Dinners In Queens

Queens Restaurants / February 2017. Valentine's Day is less than a week away.  It's a time when lovers far and wide enjoin in the great romantic dinner at a nice romantic Queens restaurant, for a night out on the town. If the night is done amorously, it comes with a thoughtful card, a small box of candies and /or her favorite flowers; followed by a nice romantic dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Flushing or Jamaica.

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 dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and from what we hear, quite a mischief maker.

Click this link to go to a brief guide of Queens restaurants for Valentine's Day where you will find links to fun or romantic 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. It's also worth noting that most of these restaurants do not currently advertise on this site, so there wasn't any quid pro quo. Perhaps one day we will begin selling them onto the site, because we have a large discerning dining audience like you. Enjoy.



NYC Crime Continues To Drop, Breaking Records

Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Discuss City Safety & Ongoing Improvements

February 7, 2017 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Government / Queens Buzz.

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeThis just came in on the heels of our coverage of the Public Safety discussion below. Mayor de Blasio and NY Police Commissioner O'Neill spoke in the Bronx regarding ongoing efforts and results in improving safety in the city. The following are some of the crime statistics noted in their meeting taken directly out of a press release sent by them.

 
Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon, everyone. As you’ve heard, we have begun a strong start to 2017 in terms of overall crime reduction. Strategies that have been put in place to address repeat offenders, illegal gun possession and gangs are having the desired effect. We’re building on the momentum of the last few years.

  • So, some of the highlights for crime statistics from this January – overall index crime is down 0.2 percent for the month of January. When you carry it over to this morning, we are now down 2.7 percent in overall index crime in New York City.
  • To note – with the overall index crime, January marks the tenth consecutive month of reduced index crime. That’s the momentum we’ve been talking about. Currently, four out of five boroughs in New York City – all but Queens – are down to start the year.
  • Homicides – we recorded 20 homicides in January. That’s down two from 22. That 20, as the Mayor alluded to, is the lowest January that we have ever recorded going back a minimum into the 1960s.
  • Shooting incidents – down 1.7 percent in January. Last January we hit the modern mark with 59 shooting incidents. We came in with 58 this January.
  • Talking about momentum again – nine of the last 13 months we’ve had a reduction in shooting incidents. Nine of the last 13.
  • Three months in a row we’ve had a reduction in shooting incidents in New York City. We have now, when you look at New York City as a whole, we now have 24-hour periods where we do not record a shooting incident in New York City. That kind of thinking was impossible in the not too distant past.
  • This is the new normal. We want to build on it and we feel that we will build on it but there’s still plenty of work to do.
  • Stabbings and slashings for January – down 7.2 percent.
  • Robberies – down 7.5 percent. Lowest January robbery number we’ve seen.
  • Felony assaults in New York City – down 5.4 percent.
  • Burglaries tied the lowest mark set last year.
  • Transit crime – down 1.4 percent.
  • And housing crime – not to be outdone – down 1.9 percent.
  • Clearly, a wide breath of crime across New York City – property and violent crime, down.
     
    But there is, I alluded to, there is still work to do – three categories we saw increases in January.
  • Rape was up 8.9 percent.
  • Grand larceny, specifically, credit card related skimming and forging of checks – those two drove grand larcenies. And grand larceny was up for the month of January 4.7 percent.
  • And lastly, rounding out the crime totals – stolen vehicles which we have seen drop to unprecedented lows saw an increase of ten cars for January. So, that’s 480 versus 470 – a two percent increase.

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, thanks, Dermot. We’ll take your questions.
 
Question: Do you think it’s possible, really to keep driving crime down further at this point? And how could you achieve that?

O'Neill's response was yes, with some added context.


NYPD Commissioner O'Neill on Safety & Cybercrime

City & State Organizes Informative Program About Public Safety in NYC & Cybercrime

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeFebruary 6, 2017 / Battery Park NYC / Crime & Safety in Queens NYC / Queens Buzz.

I attended a City & State program dedicated to exploring the many facets of community safety in New York City. The program started with a half hour speech by the new Police Commissioner, James O'Neill. He discussed his background which includes a long line of successive promotions in law enforcement, starting with the transit police in Brooklyn in 1983.

Background: NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill

O'Neill has held many positions, including taking charge as the commanding officer of the Vice, Narcotics and Fugitive Enforcement Divisions - each for a period of time. His most recent position was as Police Chief, during which time he oversaw the management of the neighborhood policing program. The neighborhood policing program was implemented in 2014, during Mayor de Blasio's first term, with the intent to build relations and trust between the police and the communities they serve. The concept is that if the community works with the police to ferret out and penalize the perpetrators, crime will continue to stay at all time lows.

 

Neighborhood Policing: Intelligent Approach to Safety That Works?

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimePart of the problem with past police / community relations is that most of those interactions with the police came with a negative connotation to them, for example as when being ticketed, or picked up for bad behavior.

The idea with neighborhood policing is to develop positive interactions by facilitating interactions between individual officers and individual members of the community, so that if and when the time comes, there's enough trust between the officer and community member to work collaboratively to round up and penalize law breakers.

O'Neill's speech was followed by a forum of four experts who have had some involvement in the governance of law enforcement in NYC. The panel included NYC Councilman Jumaane D. Williams of Brooklyn who is the Chairman of the Committee on Housing & Buildings, Elizabeth Glazer who is the Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, and NYS Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol who is the Chairman of the NYS Assembly Committee on [criminal] Codes. The panel was moderated by City & State Features & Opinions Editor, Nick Powell, who has been covering crime in New York for many years.

 

Stop 'N Frisk - The Facts vs the NY Tabloid Hype?

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeThe panel explored numerous aspects of public safety in NYC, including a number of the successes NYC has been having with neighborhood policing, which is why the police / community clashes you see on the news are coming from other parts of the country - not NYC.

Needless to say, the job of the police force is never done, and challenges remain, but generally the forum had an upbeat tone due to the progress being made under Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioners Bratton & O'Neill. One of the changes that's been helpful in community relations has been the drastic reduction in stop 'n frisk, which in spite of what the NYC tabloids purport, hasn't resulted in a spike in crime [see charts to right].

I did a bit of research, and found a couple of charts published in an April 11, 2016 report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The Brennan Center is a non-partisan, non profit research center at the NYU Law School. The two charts shown here graph the significant reduction in stop 'n frisk, while also showing no attendant spike in crime. In fact it is believed that over the long haul the reduction in unwarranted stop 'n frisk searches will have a positive impact on law enforcement community relations, as vast swaths of the populace that were searched with no result, will no longer feel that their privacy has been unnecessarily violated.

 

Cybercrime - Anonymous, Stealthy, Cross-Jurisdictional

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeThe second segment of the forum discussed some of the challenges facing the FBI with regard to reigning in cybercrime. The panel included Joel Stashenko who is the Albany Bureau Chief of the New York Law Journal, Nasir Memon who is a Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at NYU, Timothy Howard who is the Assistant U.S. Attorney and Cybercrime Coordinator for the NYS Southern District Office, and Prashanth Mekala who is the Supervisory Special Agent of the NY Field Office of the FBI.

The challenges facing law enforcement regarding cyber crime are different than most other criminal activity. For example cyber crime is generally anonymous, more insidious and hence more difficult to detect. And oftentimes the break-ins come through multiple legal jurisdictions which makes gaining access for tracking and prosecuting more challenging.

 

Budapest Convention of 2001 on Cybercrime Helping

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeBut progress is being made. There was a Budapest Convention on Cybercrime which was passed in 2001 and became effective in 2004. More nations are signing on, as the accords enable law enforcement to move more quickly in multiple jurisdictions in response to cybercrime events.

As in community policing, establishing trust between the victims and law enforcement is critical in enabling governments to catch the criminals. Oftentimes companies victimized by cybercrime are concerned the access they provide to law enforcement may be used against them in other regulatory and civil proceedings. One of the panelists told us that the information they seek is soley for the purposes of catching the criminals, not to share with other regulatory agencies or people. And that the less time between the breach of a system, and obtaining access to analyze it, the greater likelihood that law enforcement can track them down, because in cybercrime the 'digital fingerprints' oftentimes disappear.

 

Speed of Response Helps Law Enforcement Respond

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeWhat's happened recently is that company security has increasingly been delegated to the legal department of a firm, because the company is then protected from disclosures because of attorney client privilege.

But what then happens, because the lawyers seek to mitigate legal risk / blame, is that there's a slow response by the company to enabling law enforcement to do their jobs in track down the criminals. One panelist noted that oftentimes what companies are trying to keep secret [their blame / culpability] comes out in the wash anyhow.

One of the panelists noted that oftentimes the biggest threats come from within an organization. Someone is turned to the dark side, or is careless - resulting in the breach of security. Currently the NSA [National Security Agency], the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], the DOD [Department of Defense] and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] are all working to mitigate the risks associated with cybercrime.

They had a third panel about mitigating disaster risk, like from terrorism or cataclysmic events such as hurricanes, but I didn't stay.

Organized by City & State Magazine, Website & Events

Many thanks to City & State, which is an informative magazine publisher and events organizer. Their work seems to be predominantly in the area of government, politics and social issues. You can visit their website at www.cityandstateny.com.


Queens State of the Borough Address

Katz Delivers Her Third State of the Borough Address

queens president melinda katz queens state of boro addressJanuary 27, 2017 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Buzz.

Last Friday I headed down to Jamaicatown to watch Queens Borough President Melinda Katz deliver her third State of the Borough Address at the Milton Bassin Performing Arts Center at York College.

I entered the auditorium shortly after she began her address where she was talking about her role in the good progress that the de Blasio Administration Education Department, headed by Carmen Farina, is having in moving the needle in enhancing both infrastructure and performance in the NYC Public School System.

As an example about of third of the trailers have been removed, with plans for another third to be removed this year. This means kids are back in regular classrooms - after possibly decades long neglect by prior Administrations [need to confirm this statment].

I'll have more on the Queens Borough President's State of the Borough Address sometime soon.


Sorry: A Work of Art ... a Masterpiece?

Modern, Multi-media Melange Explores Emotions of Misunderstanding

laguardia performing arts center original theatrical productions modern dance nyc queensJanuary 23, 2017 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Performing Arts in Queens / Queens Buzz.

I attended a performance of Sorry, a multi-media dance, poetry and theatrical work that came about from a two year residency at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City. I went in expecting to see a modern dance performance, but experienced so, sooo much more.

I was instructed to arrive a bit early as there's free form dancing that begins about thirty minutes prior to the performance opening. When I arrived, I couldn't distinguish between the audience members and the cast, as some of the people in the crowd were quite good dancers.

The performance was held on the stage of the Main Theatre, which the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center has quite skillfully transformed into a modern dance / theatrical space - which is quite separate, but a subset of the original, traditional, Grecian auditorium style of the Main Theater itself.

After a while the performance began with an Islamic, American immigrant poetically recanting a mournful separation he was in the midst of experiencing with his girlfriend. One of the walls lit up with a life-size passing #7 subway train, as the orator took us with him on a current-day journey through the boroughs of New York City as witnesses to the angst in his life.

laguardia community college long island city queens near midtown nycIt was a bit like the movies, although so much more real, as we sat huddled in the ambient darkness of the theater, with life size video murals sweeping by, accompanied equally large still life photos and a three performer live cast. The music and choreographed dances allegorically captured the powerful troubled feelings of the characters portrayed.

The work explores the near universal, difficulty of human relationships in a modern, mixed, urban environment. Relationships complicated by gender roles, ethnicity and cultural learning - that are being sorted out simultaneously by all of us whether knowingly or not, as we travel through space and time in what may intermittently seem our lengthy, but short lives.

Later this week I'll continue this, including the addition of video and photos, but you only have a few days left to see it [Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8 pm] - and seating is limited [www.lpac.nyc - $20].


Over a Century of Railroad History in Sunnyside Yards

Railroad Historian Dave Morrison Brings Back to Life the Glorious Past of the Queens Rail Yard & the Hell Gate Bridge at the Greater Astoria Historical Society

January 15, 2017 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens History / Queens Buzz.

dave morrison sunnyside yards railroad history queens nyc hell gate bridge astoriaOn Saturday afternoon I attended a lecture and book signing event at the Greater Astoria Historical Society in the Quinn Building, only blocks from the Museum of the Moving Image. The book is entitled Sunnyside Yards and the Hell Gate Bridge and it was written by Railroad Historian Dave Morrison of Plainview, New York. The Greater Astoria Historical Society hosted the event as part of its Hell Gate Centennial commemoration efforts.

It didn’t take Dave long to convince those of us in attendance that he was not only an expert in the subject, but also a passionate railroad history aficionado. Dave’s presentation included photos from the book, as well as many other photos he’d collected which didn’t make it into the book. In the photo at right, you can see that there was great interest in Dave Morrison's presentation of his new book, Sunnyside Yards & the Hell Gate Bridge, at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

Dave began his story in Brooklyn, in the mid 1800’s, when the residents of Brooklyn protested building a train rail yard in the borough because of all the noise, dirty coal steam and traffic it would bring to the fast growing, bustling borough.

Click here to read the rest of the story, including a photos, of the presentation made by Dave Morrison about the history of Sunnyside Yards and the Hell Gate Bridge.


The Road Ahead 2017

A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year

new year 2015 queens nyJanuary 1, 2017 / Queens Buzz. For many of us, today 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.

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 - that were once so meaningful and relevant - fade away with time. This process involves discarding many of the things one collects, in order to open up life to make room for new possibilities.

The second guidepost is to take care of the vessel that carries one's being - meaning taking care of the body because it's the only one we'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.

Try to maximize consumption of natural foods while managing consumption of the delicious processed foods that come in packages. Read the container nutrition labels which indicate the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol consumed per serving. The balance of natural and processed foods will shift depending on what's going on in life.

Reduce consumption of toxins by first paying attention to the quantities consumed of them, and then by substituting the toxins with healthier options. 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 small measure of weight loss and can aid in maintaining generally good health. But also don't deprive yourself too much of some of the simple pleasures in life that keep one going - because when that's done, there's rebellion, and the program won't work.

The third element of this guidepost is to try to walk and bike whenever possible. It's a way to kill two birds with one stone by enabling you to get somewhere while also getting some exercise. And be sure to carve out the time each night, required for a proper rest.

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 economic and other trade offs. But if successful, one can then spend most of their time doing the things that totally engage them. It's said that "when one is doing something they love, they'll never have to work another day in their life."

And the fourth guidepost is to keep on learning, because "luck is when preparation meets opportunity".

May your new year be filled with promise and possibilities.


Santa vs Trump: Who's the Better Businessman?

SPECIAL REPORT: Santa in Astoria & Queens

December 21, 2016 / Astoria Neighborhood / Fiction / Queens Buzz. The following video report continues our investigation to continued sitings of Santa in Astoria and Queens. This report looks into the business practices of Santa in six categories and compares them to those of billionaire businessman and president-elect Donald Trump. At the end of the video we announce the winner.

If you have an older browser you may need to click refresh to see the video box

Santa vs Trump: Who's the Better Businessman? from Queens Buzz on Vimeo.



Over a Century of Railroad History in Sunnyside Yards | hell gate bridge sunnyside yards history queens railroad history new york city nyc history queens
Over a Century of Railroad History in Sunnyside Yards

Over a Century of Railroad History in Sunnyside Yards

Railroad Historian Dave Morrison Brings Back to Life the Glorious Past of the Queens Rail Yard & the Hell Gate Bridge at the Greater Astoria Historical Society

January 15, 2017 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens History / Queens Buzz.

On Saturday afternoon I attended a lecture and book signing event at the Greater Astoria Historical Society in the Quinn Building, only blocks from the Museum of the Moving Image. The book is entitled Sunnyside Yards and the Hell Gate Bridge and it was written by Railroad Historian Dave Morrison of Plainview, New York. The Greater Astoria Historical Society hosted the event as part of its Hell Gate Centennial commemoration efforts.

It didn’t take Dave long to convince those of us in attendance that he was not only an expert in the subject, but also a passionate railroad history aficionado. Dave’s presentation included photos from the book, as well as many other photos he’d collected which didn’t make it into the book. In the photo at right, Dave Morrison signed a number of copies of his new book, Sunnyside Yards & the Hell Gate Bridge, following his presentation of excerpts from it at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

Dave began his story in Brooklyn, in the mid 1800’s, when the residents of Brooklyn protested building a train rail yard in the borough because of all the noise, dirty coal steam and traffic it would bring to the fast growing, bustling borough.

Click here to read the rest of the story, including a photos, of the presentation made by Dave Morrison about the history of Sunnyside Yards and the Hell Gate Bridge.




Shave the Stache - QSAC Quality Services for Autism Community  | quality services for autism community queens nyc QSAC nyc queens art 4 healing william balash paul halvatzis amorelli realty astoria frank arcabascio Redken saloon salon astoria
Shave the Stache - QSAC Quality Services for Autism Community

Shaving the Stache & Making the World a Better Place, One Human at a Time

Benefit for Quality Services for Autism Community [QSAC] at the Redken Saloon Salon in Astoria, featuring Art 4 Healing

January 10, 2017 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz.

It was the first weekend night of the New Year, which after the relaxing holidays generally tends to be fairly low key. The streets were quiet on a clear, cold January evening as I made my way up 30th Avenue toward Steinway Street. I didn’t really know what to expect at the Shave the Stache benefit at the Redken Saloon Salon, where the event has been hosted for the past five years.

Unlike the silent streets, the Redken Saloon Salon was bustling with life when I arrived. I was warmly greeted by members of the Quality Services for Autism Community [aka QSAC], as I made my way into the salon.

William Balash: Man About Town

One of the first people I met was William Balash. He’s a big man, who at the time, was sporting a hearty crop of whiskers, which he told me he’d been growing since October. He introduced me to Patricio Barrientos, External Affairs Coordinator of QSAC, who provided me with a bit of background information about the group, including that it was founded in 1978 by Queens parents of children with autism who were searching for more productive ways to raise autistic children, than were currently available at the time. Today QSAC serves 2,100 people with autism in NYC and on Long Island.

In the photo at right are the men who had their whiskers shaved, alongside those who shaved them. Back row from left to right are: Mike Christoforotos, Spiro Aganastopoulous, Janos Kanta, Nicholas Halvatzis, Jerry Crisafis, Joe Vaccaro, Sofia [hair stylist], Ken Marzocco, and Paul Halvatzis. The two men kneeling are Nicholas Zikos and Bill Balash, while the two men seated are Steve Sirgiovanni and Larry Litwack, with Redken Saloon Salon owner Frank Arcabascio standing between them. Last, but not least, is Jim Halvatzis standing far right.

Art 4 Healing Obtains Art Donations for Benefit Auctions

art 4 healing nycWilliam and Patricio introduced me to Katrizyna [aka Katrina] Kozena, of Art for Healing NYC. Katrina told me that the group was founded circa 2001 and gets artists to donate works which are auctioned off at fundraising benefits to help those in need. The proceeds from the auctioned art are shared by both non-profits and the artist receives free publicity. Art for Healing doesn’t provide art therapy, which oftentimes includes interpretation of artworks after they’ve been completed; but rather Art 4 Healing uses art as a means of enabling people to emotionally connect with themselves in ways that may not be available in daily life.

Katrina showed me the work being auctioned off this evening, which was a wood painting by a Latin American artist. The artist’s name is Angelo Romano who currently lives and works in NYC, but is a Spanish artist immigrant from Latin America. The work was a hand painted wooden totem pole – acrylic on wood. In the photo at right is Katrizyna Kozena of Art4Healing.org.

Click here a bit later today for the rest of the story including more photos and video about Shave the Stache benefit for QSAC in NYC.




Trump Election Victory Protests Continue

The Democratic Way to let off Steam, While Coming to Grips with an Unexpected Outcome

trump protests nycNovember 13, 2016 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Manhattan Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Manhattan Buzz.

 

Like most folks, I had seen and heard the protests that sprung up around the city and country in defiance of the Trump election victory. On Saturday I received an email about the one of the upcoming protests from a number of small, civic-minded non-profit groups that wanted to make a statement in favor of respecting women and minorities, and immigrant rights. The protest was being held on Sunday at 2 pm at the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle near the Upper West Side, so I decided to attend it to get a closer look as to what was going on.

 

I came up from the subway in Midtown Manhattan and began making my way toward the Trump Hotel at 57th and 5th Avenue. At the Tiffany’s corner there were marchers and protesters chanting and singing, while waving signs with slogans, and encouraging passing pedestrians to join in the effort.

trump protests nyc

The NYPD seemed to have everything under control. They had their hands full with gnarly traffic and gated walkways, which herded holiday visitors and New Yorkers alike through snake-like pedestrian paths in Midtown. I asked one officer how things were going and he said they were going well enough. I asked him how long things had been this tied up and he said since Tuesday, the night of the election. I asked him how long he thought this would continue and he said until the protesters had let off enough steam.

 

On election night I had visited both the Trump campaign at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in Midtown, and the Clinton campaign at the Javits Center. Trump appeared fully prepared for defeat, given the space he booked only accommodates about 1,000 or more guests; while Clinton appeared to be counting her chickens before they had hatched given she’d booked the Javits Convention Center where thousands had gathered in anticipation of seeing her announce to the world that females had finally broken through the ultimate glass ceiling. Clinton’s expectations were dashed and Trump’s never came to pass, as he is now destined to become the 45th President of the United States of America.

 

Trump Defeats Clinton - a Brief Explanation of What Happened

trump protests nycWhile plenty of pundits have weighed in on what happened, I’ll give you a short snapshot from a man on the street. While more people voted AGAINST Trump than Clinton, it was by only a very narrow margin. And enough of those voters were from the more sparsely populated white rural and manufacturing states, which is what enabled Trump to claim the electoral college win and the presidency.

On my way out of the Javits Center election night, I spoke with a young man who was dumbfounded that Clinton had lost. He could not imagine what those who voted for Trump were thinking. I suggested he take a look at Michael Moore’s video piece, created early this year, predicting a Trump win. In the piece Moore comments on the huge jobs losses and the general disenfranchisement felt by large swaths of the middle class. These were sentiments that both the Clintons and the national broadcast & print media, had largely ignored.

Click here to view more photos of the protests in NYC of the Trump election victory, as well as snippets from several conversations I had with people on the street.


Late Night Dining in Jackson Heights

BQE Billiards Serves Eclectic Mix of American, Greek & Latin Favorites

late night dining jackson heights queens restaurantsOctober 18, 2016 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Restaurants / Queens Buzz.

I headed over to BQE Billiards and Bar for a photo shoot last week. They were working on developing a new website and I was helping them create the food photos. The side benefit of this excursion was that I was also able to partake in the feast that followed, where we all sat around and enjoyed sampling much of the food that was photographed. In the photo at right is the gyro plate sitting atop a counter space located within the pool area and overlooking the ping pong and arcade sections of BQE Billiards and Bar in Jackson Heights.

This story is going to include a review of some of the food I sampled, as well as delving into the history of one of Jackson Heights intrepid small businesses. BQE Billiards and Bar was founded 25 years ago by four partners, two of whom remain involved in the business today. So get comfy as we begin by traveling back in time, to the not-so-ancient Greece of the 1960's.

One of the founding partners, Nick, told me that as a boy he used to keep a watch in a Grecian winemaker's vineyard. As he grew older he was given the responsibility for tending a flock of sheep on the hills of Greece. Around the time he became a legal adult, Nick talked to his father about leaving the small town he grew up in, to seek out places and opportunities where he might be able to make a better go of things. His father, while reluctant to see his son depart, understood the calling of the young man, and sent him on his way.

late night dining jackson heights queens restaurantsNick sought work aboard a ship, the SS Andreas Panou. The ship ran into technical difficulties in the Greek port of Piraeus, so Nick and his crewmates were sent ashore to get a bite to eat, since the mess hall had no electricity. The foreman wanted the young lads to return before they had been able to get some food and they refused. The foreman and the Captain subsequently discharged Nick and his friend in October 1965.

Nick recalled how he sought and secured passage working aboard another ship. Less than six months later, in March of 1966, while on a transition in Vancouver, Canada; he noticed a newspaper written in Greek. Since he had not read anything in Greek for weeks, he bought the paper where he learned that the SS Andreas Panou had crashed off the coast of Spain.

In the photo at right, from left to right, are Andreas, Nick and Theo of BQE Billiards and Bar in Jackson Heights.

Click here to read the rest of our story about the history and the late night restaurant dining at BQE Blliards and Bar in Jackson Heights.



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 - 4429 on 11/30/15 - 5178 1/1/16 - 7452 on 12/7/16
Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens

Holiday Events In Queens

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

December 7, 2016 / Astoria / Long Island City LIC / Sunnyside / Woodside / Jackson Heights / Corona / Flushing / Jamaica / Whitestone / Queens Buzz.

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.

Click here for a schedule of the Xmas / Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, Kwanzaa Candle Lightings - Holiday events in Queens - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Queens.




Venomous by Bare Dance Company at LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center | laguardia performing arts center LPAC venomous dance by bare dance company modern dance queens lic
Venomous by Bare Dance Company at LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center

Androgynous Dance or a Dream?

Venomous by BARE Dance Strikes LaGuardia Performing Arts Center

October 24, 2016 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Dance Performances in Queens / Queens Buzz.

I was right on schedule as I bounded up the subway stairs. At the turnstile I learned that my commute might take 20 minutes longer than planned due to maintenance … but as the fates would have it … I arrived just in the nick of time.

I joined the last audience group as they diffidently entered the backstage area of the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. We followed a wolf headed actor into the labyrinthine hallways where our first stop was a dressing room, where the cast began preparing us (the audience) for the show. I looked into the mirror at the actors and audience, and in the blue and pink theatrical light, it was difficult to discern the difference. The lines between performers and audience had already begun to blur.

The wolf headed man, sternly motioned us to follow him and then like a dog he led us onward through the shadowed hallways. We soon came upon another theatrical vignette … in the chamber of the freight elevator … where audience members were singled out for … ohmigod AAAAAAArrrgggghhhhh.

Click here to read the rest of our story including photos of the performance of Venomous by Bare Dance Company at LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center.



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.

 



Corona History Comes Alive

Queens Authors Revive Over a Century of Vanishing History

corona history books queens nycMay 16, 2016 / Corona Neighborhood / Queens Historical Society in Bayside / Queens Buzz.

I spent an evening at the Bayside Historical Society at Fort Totten listening to two Queens historians recount the glorious past of what is now known as the Corona neighborhood. Historians Jason Antos and Constantine Theodosiou teamed up to research what they called Corona: The Early Years, which recounts the history of Corona prior to the first Worlds Fair in 1939.

The photo to your right is a print of The Fashion Hotel, which was adjacent to the Corona Race Track, on a race day.

The history was far more interesting than I had expected, as I had preconceptions that the history of Corona had been told in prior works about Jackson Heights and Flushing. But the two intrepid historians, whose ethnic affiliation dates back to Thucydides - one of the first great historians of the western world - unearthed a treasure trove of historical lore which brought the neighborhood back to life, as an entity in its own right.

Among their findings was the tale of Tiffanys, Typhoid Mary, homestead mansions, early country and suburban living, and what I came to think of as the forerunners of the Belmont and Aqueduct Race Tracks. There is also a section about an early modern Corona real estate development, which had a character and quality very different from what was going on in neighboring Jackson Heights.

The two authors will be presenting their book at the Queens Historical Society this coming Sunday, May 22nd from 2.30 to 4.30 pm where they will also be signing books. Books may also be purchased online from Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com.



Restaurants for Valentines Day In Queens | 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
Restaurants for Valentines Day In Queens

Valentine's Day Restaurants & Dinners In Queens

Queens Restaurants / February 2017. Valentine's Day is less than a week away.  It's a time when lovers far and wide enjoin in the great romantic dinner at a nice romantic Queens restaurant, for a night out on the town. If the night is done amorously, it comes with a thoughtful card, a small box of candies and /or her favorite flowers; followed by a nice romantic dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Flushing or Jamaica.

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 dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and from what we hear, quite a mischief maker.

Click this link to go to a brief guide of Queens restaurants for Valentine's Day where you will find links to fun or romantic 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. It's also worth noting that most of these restaurants do not currently advertise on this site, so there wasn't any quid pro quo. Perhaps one day we will begin selling them onto the site, because we have a large discerning dining audience like you. Enjoy.





Astoria Furniture Stores Have It All - Queens

desk chair furniture stores shops shopping astoria queens nyAstoria Shops / Astoria / Queens Buzz. 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. 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 queensJanuary 2017 / Astoria Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Long Island City LIC Flushing Jamaica / Queens Buzz. All of the seasonal farmers markets have closed.

The Sunnyside Farmers market on Skillman Ave & 43rd Street was approved to operate year 'round in 2014. The Sunnyside Farmers market became the third farmers market to operate year round. Jackson Heights was the first & Forest Hills was the second, so now Queens has three farmers markets operating year 'round.

Click the link below to see a listing of the Queens Farmers Markets operating during the 2017 season including links to maps. Click the other link below for a rolling update of Queens Street Fairs schedule of 2017 through the end of the year, including dates and maps showing their locations. All of these will be updated by the first day of Spring - Monday, March 20, 2017.

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.



New York City Economic Outlook 2016 - NYC Economy | federal reserve economists in queens lic long island city economic forecast for queens 2012
New York City Economic Outlook 2016 - NYC Economy

Queens Economy - 2016 Outlook NYC

Currently Full Employment, Low Interest Rates, Low Inflation But Possible International Shocks

January 4, 2016 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business / Queens Buzz.

We took a look into the crystal ball over the holiday break to see what may lie ahead for the NYC economy in the coming year. We studied the stats and facts put out by many of the national data producers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the AIE. What follows is a brief summary of some of the statistics we gathered on the global, national and New York City economy including unemployment statistics by borough for 2015.

U.S. & NYC Economy Near / At Full Employment

Currently Queens and Manhattan are doing the best with respect to employment, with unemployment rates below 5%, which economists consider to be full employment as the 5% unemployed are viewed as normal ‘friction’ in the economy, accounting for people coming into, leaving and changing jobs within the labor force.

In 2009 - 2010, during the first two years of the Great Recession, the nation’s unemployment rate hit 9.4%, while the unemployment rate for New York City hit 10.4%. The employment picture for the nation and the five boroughs of New York City has slowly but steadily improved since then, with unemployment trending lower, reaching full employment this year at 5% for the nation and 4.8% for New York City this fall.

Employment Impact / Relationship to Inflation

nyc economy outlook 2016 queens manhattan bronxEmployment affects inflation, as when everyone is fully employed, recruiting firms bid up the price of labor and workers feel secure enough to spend aggressively, bidding up the price of goods. The Federal Reserve attempts to reign in inflation - because it creates economic instability - by raising interest rates which increases the cost of capital needed to expand operations or make large purchases more expensive. On December 16, 2015, the Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate by 25 basis points (0.25%) to begin to get ahead of potentially inflationary issues that may lie ahead. We'll look into a few of these later in this report.

Economists in one of the banking reports I received believe that there is still slack in the labor market that is not reflected in the numbers as many people have part-time jobs, while they would like full time jobs. Also the labor force participation rate fell during the Great Recession and it became more difficult to find work. Now with a full employment economy it is believed that some of those folks who gave up looking will try to re-enter the workforce. An example of the decline in participation rate might be a spouse who helped supplement household income but couldn't find the right work, and now starts looking again.

Click here to continue reading our report about the New York City NYC Economy Outlook 2016 which delves into full employment impact on inflation, interest rates, consumer debt levels, oil & commodity prices, domestic and international currencies & economic growth, the financial markets and how all of this may impact the different sectors of the Queens & New York City economy.



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.


Queens Library 'Scandal' - Where was the Beef?

Galante Seeks to Clear his Name as well as the Reputations of the Queens Library & Former Sacked Trustees

How Did Katz's, Stringer's & NY Daily News' Full Year of Accusations & Innuendo Fall So Far Short in Court?

thomas galante wins corruption case queens library scandal thomas galanteSeptember 6, 2016 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Media / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz.

 

Throughout 2014, we witnessed Billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz publicly attack President Thomas Galante and the Board of Trustees of the Queens Library. They appeared to individually and collectively insinuate that there was unforgivable malfeasance going on at the Queens Library.

 

In late January of 2014, only a day after Juan Gonzales published an EXCLUSIVE muckraking story about the Queens Library President's renovations to his office, in Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer announced an audit of the Queens Library.

Juan Gonzales included in the story what I believe was leaked CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION of the Queens Library, such as the Queens Library President's salary and other confidential employment agreements. Former trustee(s) told me they believed that this information was leaked by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's ex-Officio Board of Trustees representative on the board, in violation of their fiduciary obligation to the Queens Library [to date this is an unproven allegation].

 

Katz, Stringer & Zuckerman's NY Daily News Accusations - Appear to Damage Queens Library Reputation - with a Year Long Barrage of, as yet Unproven, Allegations

 

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News then regaled us for the rest of the year [2014] with all kinds of incredible detail about alleged wrongdoing at nyc comptroller scott stringer scandals corruption nycthe Queens Library. Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News published several editorials during the course of the year rousing Queens residents into a frenzy against Galante and the Queens Library trustees, while encouraging these two politicians / government officials to unleash their fury against the Queens Library President and Board of Trustees.

 

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz obliged by initiating legislation to change a state covenant with the library drafted by Andrew Carnegie over a century ago. Andrew Carnegie founded the library as part of his great philanthropic works. And NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer filed a lawsuit seeking complete access to the records of the private non-profit segment of the library, because he must not have found what he was looking for in the public portion representing 85% of the organizational budget. They appear to have done such a good job of damaging the reputation of the Queens Library, that in the following year [2015/ 2016] donations to the non-profit library fell by almost 40% or nearly $2 million.

 

Did NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer Break the Law & Slander Thomas Galante & the Former Queens Library Trustees?

 

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer made a number of harsh statements during the course of the audit of the Queens Library alleging lies and theft. In a May 22, 2014 story published by the Queens Tribune, Stringer said,

queens library corruption scandal queens library"For them [Queens Library Board of Trustees] to mislead the public and tell the public that they are, in fact, cooperating, is nothing more than a bold-faced lie.”

In a July 8, 2015 story published in Newsday, Stringer charged Queens Library executives with using public funds as their

"personal piggy bank" ...

And later in the same story NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer says,

"As they were scaling back access to books, the Internet and vital programs and services, they were lining their own pockets."

These statements, if untrue, might constitute slander, particularly given the fact that many of the people NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer attacked are private citizens - not public officials like himself.

The title of his final audit report seems to negate his previously made assertions, as the title of the final NYC Comptroller's report is,

"REPORT OF THE COMPTROLLER’S INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE MISCONDUCT REVEALED BY THE AUDIT OF THE QUEENS BOROUGH PUBLIC LIBRARY"

The operative word is possible and this is after likely one of the most intense, year and a half long audits, of any library in the city, ever.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer referred his findings to the IRS and other legal entities for follow up. This is following an investigation by the FBI, the NYC Department of Investigations, Scott Stringer's own office of the NYC Comptroller, and following the initiation of legislation by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to change a 118 year old covenant between the Queens Library and the State of New York.

Lots of Smoke, but Still No Fire

As of this writing, nearly three years later, the allegations of wrongdoing by Thomas Galante have been all smoke and no fire.

So far, we've still heard nothing more than allegations and innuendo and possibly libelous and slanderous accusations by public officials and a billionaire NYC real estate developer's paper.

 

thomas galante queens library corruption scandalUnder Galante the Queens Library was a Top Rated Library in the Nation with an Unblemished Financial Record

 

Each of the accusers rarely, if ever, mentioned that the Queens Library was considered by its peers to be one of the finest libraries in the nation. That the Queens Library had won national awards which confirmed the library's national standing. And the accusers never mentioned that in all the years that Thomas Galante had been President of the jeweled Queens Library, that it had been run fiscally responsibly with a balanced budget and never a hint of scandal ... until they came along, in their newly elected positions, ALLEGING one.

 

The accusers accounts did not jibe with what I personally knew about the Queens Library, so I set about drafting an alternative narrative to what appeared to be biased accounts provided by Juan Gonzales and other writers of Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News.

 

Court Rules Against Accusers Katz & Stringer - but You'd Never Know it by Reading Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News

 

On August 31, 2016, in the ruling of United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross, Thomas Galante got a first taste of what seemed to be a fair hearing. Judge Ross' ruling requires the Queens Library to pay Thomas juan gonzales ny daily news journalistGalante's legal fees to defend himself against accusations by the Queens Library regarding his stewardship of the non-profit.

The newly reconstituted Queens Library Board of Trustees had filed a suit against Galante after he had filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the library. One might interpret this as an intimidation tactic by the newly reconstituted Queens Library, as legal fees are very expensive and it will cost Galante hundreds of thousands (if not more) to enforce his rights. Galante will have to reimburse the Queens Library if the Queens Library's assertions against him hold up in court.

I wonder if the current members of the Queens Library Board of Trustees have to meet the same standard, in order to have the library pay for their legal fees.

It's worth mentioning that Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News took the lead in most or all of the stories to date about the Queens Library - crafting the storyline narrative about Queens Library 'corruption'. And yet, when I did a search for award-winning journalist Juan Gonzales' & Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News follow on story announcing Thomas Galante's recent court victory against Katz's & Stringer's Queens Library - there was none to be found. This sort of information omission / biased reporting by one of NYC's three daily newspapers is more akin to self-serving propaganda than American journalism.

 

If Galante Succeeds He Will Clear Not Only His Own Name, but also the Queens Library's & its Former Trustees'

 

melinda katz queens library reform billIf Galante succeeds in clearing his own name, he will also succeed in restoring the stellar reputation of the Queens Library and the reputations of the former trustees sacked by current Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

 

Did the Queens Library Reform Act Enable Pols to Morph the Queens Library into a Political Patronage Parking Lot?

 

It's also worth mentioning that a couple of years ago interested observers expressed concern that the Queens Library would be morphed into a Political Patronage Parking Palace for under-employed or unemployed party apparatchiks. It's been just over two years since Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Katz-inspired legislation, entitled the Queens Library Reform Act, and it appears that this may already be happening.

Earlier this year, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's newly reconstituted Board of Trustees appointed former NYC Schools Chancellor, Dennis Walcott, as the Queens Library President. Based on my research into Dennis Walcott's background, it appears that he has no formal higher education in library science, nor does he have any professional experience in it.

Quelle suprise.

Click here to view our complete coverage of the Queens Library 'corruption & scandals' accusing Thomas Galante of wrongdoing.


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