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Things To Do & News Updates NYC

Movie Theaters, Taxi Drivers, Gun Arrests, the NRA Russia & Trump, Central Park & Bronx Golf Course Concessions Bidding Deadline March 19, 2021, CoVid Testing & Vaccination Stats & Daylight Savings Time Two Weeks Away

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism February 26, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / Things To Do NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. Friday won't see any rain, but on Saturday there's nearly a 100% chance of a small amount [a quarter inch] of rain in the morning. Saturday afternoon should be clear. On Sunday there's also a high probabilty of a half inch of rain, most likely to fall around midday, with a lingering probability lasting the rest of the day [40% - 60%]. Temperature highs will be in the mid 40's to low 50's throughout the weekend and the temperature lows will be in the mid 30's on Friday and hovering around 40 the rest of the weekend. Humidity will rise from the 40% range to near the 70% range on Friday and then stay between the 70% - 80% range the rest of the weekend. Winds will be 50 - 10 mph all weekend.

 

Things To Do, News Briefs & Updates

- NYC Movie Theaters Can Reopen March 5, 2021

Governor Cuomo announced that movie theaters will be able to reopen at 25% capacity March 5th, 2021.

-Taxi Driver Blockade Brooklyn Bridge in Support of Medallion Debt Restructuring

One story that seemed to receive little attention was a taxi driver blockade of the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday afternoon on February 10th. They were making a statement, following a City Council hearing on loan forgiveness / restructuring for taxi driver medallion debt, earlier in the day. The 25,000 member taxi driver union was supportive of the action. NYC government officials are trying to find a way to help taxi drivers, but are constrained by the current fiscal challenges arising from the CoVid crisis.

- January Gun Arrests Up 75% & Full Year 2020 were Up 29%

At the end of January, NYC Police Commissioner Demot Shea said that 417 gun arrests had been made that month, up 75% versus a year ago. He also noted that last year gun arrests were up 29% versus 2018. He rhetorically asked the question, "what's changed that there are so many guns making their way into NYC?"

- The NRA, Guns, Russian Cash & the Trump Money Laundromat

According to an April 2, 2018 report in Rolling Stone, the NRA President, David Keene, was an honored guest in Moscow at a 2013 event hosted by The Right to Bear Arms group. Prior to and during the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia courted the NRA, including hosting members at all expense paid events.

According to the report, the Russian group was deceitfully presented as 'grassroots' organization, led in part by Maria Butina, seeking comraderie with like minded gun enthusiasts. The reality appears to be that they were working under the influence of the Russian government, in an effort to infiltrate politically conservative groups in the U.S., to become what was alleged to be money laundering conduits for campaign cash to the Trump and other Republican political campaigns.

The NRA was founded in 1871 in New York and recently moved its headquarters to Texas. In February 2019 NYS Attorney General Tisch James filed a lawsuit against the NRA seeking to dissolve it because, the brief contended, it had become so corrupt and self serving and had failed to comply with numerous laws.

In August 2019 the two Republican members of the Federal Election Commission [Caroline Hunter & Matthew Petersen] blocked an investigation into whether Russia had used the NRA as a money laundering machine to funnel [$30 million] cash to Trump and Republicans in the 2016 election. In the 2016 election NRA donations spiked $35 million which was believed to have come from Russian government influenced agents, like the Russian oligarchs. According to an August 20, 2019 report,

" ... The [FEC] split 2-2 vote fell along partisan lines, with the FEC’s two Republicans voting against any further inquiry into whether Alexander Torshin, a sanctioned Russian official, and Maria Butina, a convicted Russian agent, grew close to the NRA in order to help direct the group’s 2016 political donations...."

See earlier reports we did on Mitch McConnell which identify Russian oligarch funding he, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and other top Republicans received from the Russian oligarchs in 2016 as reported by Open Secrets which is a non-profit group that 'follows the money' of election campaign contributions.

- Unexplained Wealth / Trump Taxes Released to Manhattan DA

Donald Trump's taxes were just released to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, after years of Trump obstruction. You see, Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Casino was alleged to have committed 106 violations of money laundering in its first year and a half in the early 1990's. It was reportedly a favorite hangout of Russian mobsters who were alleged to cash out $10,000 or more in a single day. Trump's Taj Mahal paid nearly a half billion [$477 million] to settle the Treasury Department fines, but without admitting guilt.

In the 2000's, in spite of what seemed Trump's lackluster businesses performance, he was flush with cash. Spending profligately on the Turnberry resort in Scotland, which reportedly cost $79 million and into which he spent another $200 million, as an example. There was an effort to apply a UK law called the Unexplained Wealth Order to Trump's finances in Scotland, but Slippery Donald Trump somehow appears to have escaped this sort of public scrutiny likely in a manner not unlike how he kept authorities at bay for so long regarding a look at his tax returns.

 

Dealmaker Donald Loses More Business

- Bidding Begins for Concessions at Central Park Rinks & City Owned Bronx Golf Course Bearing his Name

I didn't realize that the Trump Golf Course in the Bronx was a city owned golf course.

I thought it was private. I have never golfed there, in part because of that. Anyhow, Mayor de Blasio found Trump in violation of one or more of the terms of his agreement with NYC regarding operating the golf course and the concessions at Wollman and Lasker rinks in Central Park. I believe the violations are in relation to Trump's role in fomenting the insurrection, or possibly his fraudulent stop the steal campaign. Nonetheless, the licenses to operate the concessions are up for bidding and the deadline is March 19, 2021 for those interested in operating them. Contact the Mayor's office or the Parks Department for details.

 

Putin's Goal: Undermining American Democracy?

- Long Live the New Russian Czar & New Chinese Emperor?

According to various reports the Russian 2016 election interference effort was designed to undermine Americans' faith in their democratic processes, and to exploit American social and cultural divisions. From mid 2016 to early 2017, the Russians made at least 4.4 million interactions, and millions more in the years beginning shortly after the 2012 election.

I'm not sure what the Russian end game is. But so far I'd say the Russians were pretty successful in achieving the goals outlined above. What I think Putin fails to appreciate, is that in spite of our divisions, we remain a government by, for and of the People - while Putin's Russia is just that - a Russia where Putin thrives, while Russians strive to obtain some measure of voice, freedom and power within their own nation.

What's the difference between 'President' Vladimir Putin and the Czar? What's the difference between 'President' Xi Jinping and the Chinese Emperor? The 'Presidents' both live surrounded by extreme wealth and luxury like the Czar and Emperor, while the people must grind it out each day just to get by. The peoples of these nations have no voice in their own country, even as they do all the crap work to make their nations function.

Putin doesn't like that the American people have some power, some voice in their national dialogue because eventually the Russian people are going to want some of that too. And Putin and Xi Jinping don't like to share their power and wealth with anyone - let alone the people / peasants of their nations.

 

- CoVid Testing & Vaccinations

The city, state and nation appear to be accelerating the CoVid vaccination rates. According to the Governor's website, the city has administered about 1.7 million vaccination doses, and is well over the 1.0 million mark for people vaccinated in NYC. The state has administered nearly 4 million vaccination doses, and more than 2.5 million people [includes NYC] which is 12.5% of the population. According to the Washington Post, some 46 million Americans have received at least one vaccination shot. That's about 13.9% of the population of 330 million Americans. So at all levels of the nation, people are taking the precautionary measure of getting vaccinated. That's the good news.

But there's more good news. Those testing positive continues to decline both in the city and in the state. At present the positive testing rates for NYC are around 4% and for NYS is about 3%, so we're pulling well away from the near capacity overload status we saw a month ago.

But that said there's also some bad news. About 5.7 thousand people were in the hospitals with CoVid yesterday, about 1.1 thousand of them are on respirators, and 89 people died from it. But that's not the worst of it. New CoVid variants are springing up everywhere that are more contagious and more deadly. At first it was in Britain, then South Africa. More recently it's been in California and most recently here in New York.

The good news is that the vaccines do help protect those vaccinated from the new variants - BUT may not be as effective in protecting against them. So caution is the operative word, and maintaining the big three plus one should remain in effect. The big three are: 1) Masks, 2) Social Distance and 3) wash your hands. The plus one is stay home if you're not feeling well.

 

- Third Vaccine to Hit the Market & Eligibility Expanded

The J&J vaccine was approved this week, so there are now three suppliers of vaccines. It's not quite as effective against the original CoVid strain [85% vs 95%], but you need only take one dose for that level of protection. I'm still researching how the vaccines stand up to the new variants, but it's all so new that it may be a while. The bottom line is that you're far more protected from the virus if you're vaccinated, than if not, and your likelihood of severe CoVid is greatly reduced if you're vaccinated than if you're not.

Also this week it was announced that the eligibility to get the vaccine will continue to expand in tandem with the growing production of vaccines. The vaccine distribution and administration capabilities at the local level are already largely in place. Effective next Monday, March 1, 2021 those ages 55 - 64 can schedule an appointment for a shot. On March 16, 2021 those ages 45 - 54 can schedule an appointment to get a shot. To see the eligibility chart, including those eligible now based on comorbidities, go to the following website [copy and paste].

https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov

 

Daylight Savings Time Only Two Weeks Away

The temperatures are in the 40's and the sun is out. Sunrise is about 6.30 am and sun doesn't set until almost 6 pm these days [5.45pm] and Daylight Savings Time is only a couple of weeks away. Indoor dining is now available, and seeing a movie in a theater is only a week away. CoVid infections and hospitalizations are down. CoVid vaccinations are up. So things are getting better ... much better.

President Biden has purchased enough vaccination doses to enable all Americans to get vaccinated by mid summer. Of course there's the cautionary reminder that the new variants are in full motion, and viruses work 24/7 with no days off and no vacation. So we must remain diligent, disciplined and manage our expectations in accordance with reality. But there are plenty of good reasons for some cautious optimism.

Australian born billionaire and propagandist mogul, Rupert Murdoch's Wall St Journal recently irresponsibly predicted or announced that CoVid is over come April 2021. Of course Murdoch's Fox News was telling Americans to ignore CoVid, and go on their cruise vacations about this same time last year. So follow the 'news' provided by Murdoch's seemingly mendacious media, at your own peril.

And have a nice weekend.


Black History Month to End Soon

PBS has been Airing Some Excellent Documentaries about African Americans Role in Our Nation's History

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism February 22, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC History / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. There will be a small bit of rain today between 11 am - 4 pm. Thereafter the rest of the week should be dry. The temperature highs will be in the 40's all week and the temperature lows will be in the 30's. The winds will be 5 - 10 mph except on Wednesday, when it will be a drafty 13 mph. Humidity will be in the 70% range today, dropping into the 60% range on Tuesday & Wednesday, then down into the 50% range on Thursday and Friday.

All tolled, it looks like a pretty fair week.

PBS - Finding Your Roots - Histories

Last night I came upon one of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s Finding Your Roots documentaries on PBS. For more info about this series see - https://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/

As I watched, I recollected how in my youth, I had considered Black hisotry to be a superfluous extension of American history. That perspective was, of course, born of youthful ignorance. Since then, I have come to appreciate the importance of Black Studies in providing a more comprehensive view of American history over the centuries. In part, I have PBS to thank, because they have aired and I have watched, quite a number of documentaries - some or all of which they funded or produced - particularly since the CoVid pandemic began.

In the program I viewed last night, one of the people on Gates' Finding Your Roots series was being informed about her family's history. It struck me when Gates referenced her great, great, great, great grandfather on a bill of sale by Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Over the past decade or so, I've become more interested in my own family's history. We knew a fair amount about those ancestors within temporal reach, going back to our great grandfathers, but little beyond. That was until a couple of summers ago when I found that one of the members of our extended family had a collection of scribbled notes and diagrams that recorded our lineage - some of which appears to date back to colonial times and the Revolutionary War. Up until this discovery, I had thought we had become Americans in the latter half of the 18th century.

But it occurred to me, based on Gates' reference to the great, great, great, great grandfather mentioned above, most African Americans' family histories date back at least a couple of centuries. Gates' documentary series delves into the histories of oftentimes, somewhat famous, African Americans who were descendants of slaves, or famous white Christian or Jewish Americans who are descendants of families that owned slaves.

Gates' geneological and genetic explorations also find interesting tidbits, like the fact that comedian Larry David and Senator Bernie Sanders are distantly related. PBS Producer Ken Burns is a descendant of a slave owner, but also related to Abraham Lincoln. And Brian Gumbel discovered he had some previously unknown Jewish ancestry.

Out of Gates' explorations into the past, we learn many things, not the least of which is that African Americans worked the fields, growing cotton and food that fed and clothed the nation, and provided their 'owners' with a tidy profit. It's worth noting that in the early 1800's about 75% of the nation worked in occupations related to agriculture [today it's about 10 - 11%]. But following the Civil War, African Americans' contribution to the nation went far beyond that, including serving our nation in two world wars, providing needed labor for the auto industry and significantly contributing to our culture and history.

PBS - The Jazz Ambassadors

Earlier this month there was a PBS documentary called The Jazz Ambassadors which delved into the role of African American musicians, playing in nations around the world, in an American State Department outreach program during the Cold War. The program was used to establish, support and strengthen the ties between Americans and ethnic / non white peoples around the globe. I forget the exact statistic, but in the documentary it pointed out that globally Caucasians are in the minority.

I had previously seen other PBS documentaries about African American jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. In these documentaries they talked about how jazz, which we think of as an American music genre [and it is], was created and popularized by African American musicians. This was where African Americans were able to get one of their first solid cultural footholds in American society, in their ongoing struggle for parity in the American mainstream, after being demonized and degraded by colonial slavery.

Another PBS documentary, by Ken Burns, delved into how Jackie Robinson fought racism to become the first African American to play Major League Baseball on the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The color barrier had previously been broken in another sports category, football, just a year earlier, by Kenneth Washington in 1946 who played for the Los Angeles Rams. Earl Lloyd was the first African American to play NBA basketball in 1950 - only a day ahead of Chuck Cooper of the Boston Celtics. Other professional sports followed including in golf, tennis and NASCAR race car driving, which were at one time all white and all male.

PBS - Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall & the NAACP

Another PBS documentary that aired this month in recognition / celebration of Black History Month was about the life of Thurgood Marshall - the first African American Supreme Court Justice. Marshall still holds the record for winning more Supreme Court cases than any other lawyer.

What Marshall did, was to hold the American justice system accountable for upholding the ideals as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. The documentary told the story, which included the following.

" ... In 1944 - Smith vs Alwright - Overthrew the white primaries setting the stage for the modern voting rights movement. In 1946 - Morgan vs Virginia - Struck down racial segregation in interstate public transportation. In 1948 - Shelley vs Kramer - Ended the legality of racially restrictive covenants which signaled the end of racially segregated housing. In 1950 - Sweatt vs Painter & McLaurin vs Oklahoma - A major graduate school case that set the stage for Brown vs Board of Education. 1954 - Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka Kansas - Mandated the desegregation of America's schools. In 1956 - Browder vs Gayle - Ended the practice of segregation on buses and ended the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1961 - Garner vs Louisianna - Ruled that people could not be convicted for peaceful sit-ins in dining establishments, eventually leading to the end of discrimination in public accommodations found in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And on October 2, 1967 Thurgood Marshall was appointed the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court. ..."

What I've Learned about African Americans & U.S. History

All of these documentaries have helped deepen my understanding of American history and appreciation of the contributions made by African Americans in music, sports, law [particularly civil liberties], and history. Of course it doesn't stop there, and in some manner, it just starts there. Few ethnic groups, if any, have worked harder to obtain a place at the American table and in the American conversation, about who we are and who we should be.

This kind of change doesn't happen in fascist nations like China or Russia. China is suppressing free speech in Hong Kong where students want the city to remain free and China is using Nazi-like tactics to destroy the Uighurs and their culture, in a manner not unlike what the Chinese had done previously in Tibet. And Xi Jin Ping seems to be on a democracy blitz krieg in Hong Kong. Russia, at present, is a state that is under the control of a strongman, who doesn't defeat opponents based on his accomplishments or his ideas - but rather by locking up or poisoning the competition.

Real change, necessary change - like we saw with the Civil Rights movement in the mid 20th century - invariably begins by those at the bottom. Change is demanded by those not in power - because those in power are just fine with the way things are. Because the status quo has been built by them, for them. Like the Saudi royals, who rule a culture that strips women of any semblance of equal opportunity and equal treatment under the law.

President Lincoln said that we are a nation,

" ... of the people, by the people and for the people ..."

President Kennedy said,

" ... Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable. ..."

So I am thankful to all of those Republicans who stood up for what was right, at great risk to their own careers - and in some cases to themselves - these past couple of months. While we may disagree on specific policy issues, I laud their courage and integrity, for standing up against the strongman, dictator wannabee - Donald Trump - at a critical juncture. It is Americans like them, who help preserve our democracy, ensuring a smooth transition of power, which makes possible the changes we've seen with respect to African Americans' place in our society, and for women as well.

One of the reasons America stands out in the world, is because it is a nation that empowers and enables its people - not suppresses and exploits them. It's not hard to understand that enabling people is a good thing and that suppressing and exploiting them is a bad thing. And ultimately that is how we'll all be judged.

Have a good week.


Things To Do This Weekend NYC

Also Updates on Economy, CoVid & More

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism February 19, 2021 / Things To Do NYC / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. The temperature highs will be in the mid to high 30's and the temperature lows will be in the low to high 20's all weekend. Winds will range from 5 - 10 mph throughout the weekend. Humidity will drop from the high 70% range on Friday to between 50% - 60% the rest of the weekend. There's a forecast of one to two inches of precipitation on Friday and then none the rest of the weekend.

FYI - Next Wednesday, February 24 the temperature highs will near 50 degrees. The photo at right shows a scenic holiday greeting card vista in Queens earlier this month.

 

Large Scale CoVid Vaccination Centers Operating in All Boroughs

Over the past month, a number of governmental efforts have all been converging on beating back the Corona Virus. At the federal level the Biden Administration has secured hundred of millions of vaccination doses so that by mid year anyone who wants to get vaccinated should be able to do so.

On the State and City level, the Mayor and Governor have set up a number of sites, including at least one mega vaccination site in each borough. In Manhattan the Javits Center opened in mid January, in the Bronx Yankee Stadium opened the second week of February as did CitiField in Queens, in Brooklyn the Brooklyn Army Terminal opened in mid January and on Staten Island Empire Outlets opened today Friday, February 19, 2021.

There are two large supplemental sites planned for opening at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Jamaica. I believe they both will be open tomorrow, Saturday February 20th - both opening ahead of some of the first announcement plans, which were scheduled for Wednesday, February 24. This is an outreach effort to ethnic communities which have been lagging behind the general population in getting vaccinated.

Eligibility for Vaccinations. The first few waves of openings were allocated to healthcare workers, first responders and folks over 65 years of age. On Monday, February 15, 2021 the Governor opened up the CoVid vaccinations to those with comorbidities which includes cancer and weakened immune systems, pregnancy, heart conditions, pulmonary liver chronic kidney and sickle cell diseases, diabetes, neurologic conditions, obesity and mental disabilities.

 

NYS & NYC CoVid Vaccination Information Websites

To learn more about eligibility, what to bring to prove it, where, when and how to get vaccinated visit.

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-main.page

https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov

Government Seems to be Functioning Again. While there are likely to be snafus along the way. All levels of government seem, as best they can, to be coordinating reasonably well to accelerate vaccinations as quickly as possible by working on vaccine supply, distribution and administration. To date over 40 million of 330 million Americans have been vaccinated. And nearly 4 million New Yorkers have been vaccinated - leading the nation in doing so.

New CoVid Variants. But none too soon, as the more contagious and deadly U.K. variant seems to be spreading fast - but that's as a percentage - and currently off a very low base [under 1,000 but not for long]. The vaccines provide some level of protection against the new variants, but not as robustly as against the original strain, which means that even after getting vaccinated, one should remain cautious and continue to practice CoVid saftey guidelines of social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.

 

NYS & NYC Economy - Restaurant Restrictions Loosening

As you know, restaurants opened for indoor dining at 25% capacity effective February 12th. The Governor also extended the hours of operation from a 10 pm closing time to an 11 pm closing time. Effective next Friday, February 26th, restaurants will be able to accommodate 35% capacity - consistent with current New Jersey guidelines.

The NYS CoVid positivity testing rate fell below 4% this week, while the rate for NYC fell below 5% this week. Manhattan leads with the lowest testing rate at about 3%, while the Bronx has the highest testing rate at 6%.

Large Scale Sports Events Open 2/23/21. Large scale entertainment venues may reopen at 10% capacity beginning Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 beginning with the NY Knicks at Madison Square Garden and the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.

 

NYC Economy - MTA Moves to Extend Operating Hours & Mayor Working to Open Cultural Events

There were a couple of recent announcements made this month about efforts directed toward resumption of the new post pandemic normal. One was by the Governor / MTA that effective Monday, February 22nd, the MTA will extend the subway operating hours from 12 midnight to 2 am and open at 4 am instead of 5 am as it has done since the pandemic began. The overnight hiatus has been used for subway car deep clearning.

And I want to generally congratulate the MTA on the noticeably cleaner subway cars - although likely operating at only 30% of the traffic it had accommodated just a year ago is likely also a contributor. I do have one constructive criticism: About the only part of the subway cars that doesn't get cleaned seems to be the windows, which is an easy way to signal to riders that the cars are clean [or dirty]. That's been a missed opportunity all pandemic long.

Another announcement was that beginning March 1, 2021 through October 31st the Mayor is going to enable artists, dancers, actors, musicians and performers of all stripes, through a recently announced program called Open Culture, to use one of 100 street locations for performances and rehearsals - as long as they operate within CoVid safety guidelines. The program is being operated through the Street Activity Permit Office where folks may submit their applications for a permit.

Use this url to learn more or apply for a permit.

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cecm/about/sapo.page

Have a nice weekend and stay safe by keeping on doing what you're doing. We're getting there.


Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Queens Events Presidents Day Weekend Queens NYC | things to do presidents Day weekend in queens things to do presidents day weekend  events queens nyc jamaica astoria lic sunnyside woodside flushing jackson heights presidents day weekend things to do events queens nyc
Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Queens Events Presidents Day Weekend Queens NYC

Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend Queens

UPDATED FOR COVID 2021 - Things To Do In Queens Over The Presidents Day Weekend

Updated February 10, 2021 from 2/9/21 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Presidents Day Weekend Weather. The Temperature highs will be around 30 throughout the three day weekend beginning on Friday, dropping to the high teens nightly, except on Saturday when the low temperature will also be around 30. Precipitation - There's an 80% chance of about two inches of snow late Saturday / early Sunday morning as of this post. Winds will be relatively stable hovering around the 10 mph range throughout the long weekend. The Humidity will range between 60% - 75% throughout the weekend. Click for Queens Weather.

The photo at right was taken at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island which commemorates Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1941 speech declarating the inalienable rights of all people. The four freedoms are 1) Freedom of Speech, 2) Freedom of Worship, 3) Freedom of Want and 4) Freedom of Fear.

Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the performance of our current presidents and legislators, and how they stack up against their historical peers. And in that reflection it's worth asking ourselves what we've done to contribute or detract from the national conversation.

 

A Few Valentines Day / Presidents Day News Items - Indoor Dining Resumes, Folks with Co-Morbidities become Vaccine Eligible, Vaccine Production & 2nd Trump Impeachment Trial Begins Today

Governor Cuomo announced that indoor dining in NYC resumes on Friday, February 2, 2021 at 25% capacity. NYS positivity rate is about 4%, while the NYC positivity rate is about 8% - but both have been declining since the Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Year surge began in late November / early December of 2020.

This past weekend, Governor Cuomo announced that folks with CoVid comorbidities will be eligible to receive vaccinations effective Monday, February 15, 2021. According to the Governor's website, the CoVid co-morbidities [say that fast five times] include the following:

"... Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Pulmonary Disease, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Heart Conditions, Immunocompromised State, Severe Obesity, Pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia, Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Cerebrovascular Disease, Neurologic Conditions and Liver Disease Will Be Eligible ..."

Vaccine production for the U.S. is nearing the 1.5 million doses daily required to meet Biden’s upwardly mobile 100 million vaccinations in the Biden Administration's first 100 days. As of this writing about 10% of all New Yorkers as well as 10% of all Americans have received at least one CoVid vaccination dose.

 

Trump's Failed Capitol Riot of 2021 Seems Not Unlike Hitler's Failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923

things to do presidents day weekend manhattan nyc presidents day events ues uws midtown east village soho tribeca upper west side upper east side things to do presidents day weekend manhattan events presidents day weekend manhattan nycThe second Trump impeachment trial began today, Tuesday, February 9th, 2021. Generally I find the rushing of the trial to be an insult to the American people, and the U.S. Constitution philosophies of due process and rule of law. The government officials prosecuting and managing the trial should take all the time required to educate the American people about who Donald Trump really is - not who he says he is.

They need to use the Impeachment Trial to highlight how Trump has significantly battered our democratic processes, undermined Americans' faith in our democratic institutions, personalized the power of the presidency, breached the rule of law, and appears to have colluded with the Russians to undermine our government over the past five years. Oh, yeah, and it all culminated in that lame Capitol Riot Insurrection which was not unlike and had striking similarities to Hitlers' lame / failed Beer Hall Putsch in Germany in 1923.

things to do presidents day weekend manhattan nyc presidents day events ues uws midtown east village soho tribeca upper west side upper east side things to do presidents day weekend manhattan events presidents day weekend manhattan nyc

Ten years later Hitler rose to power as the Nazi Party leader and proceeded, like Trump did during his presidency, to usurp and personalize the power of the state thanks in part to the Goebbels / Murdoch/propaganda machines which misled the citizenry in each nation about who these two leaders were, and also victimized minorities in both nations. In the Beer Hall Putsch, 16 Nazis and four policemen died. In the Capitol Riot four Trumpsters and one policeman died.

 

Hitler was found guilty of treason following the Beer Hall Putsch, but still rose to power. Will the Senate take the precaution of sanctioning the Donald, or continue to enable the dysfunctional democracy damager - possibly destroyer?

 

Brief History of Presidents Day Holiday in NYC

queens presidents day weekend queens presidents day weekend things to do queens presidents day weekend events queens nycA day commemorating Lincoln's birthday was first passed in Buffalo, New York in the early 1870's. Presidents Day originated as Washington's Birthday which was a holiday narrowly prescribed for federal government offices in Washington, D.C. in 1879. The holiday was dedicated to honoring the memory of the first American president, George Washington who was born on February 22, 1732.

In 1885 the holiday was expanded to include all federal government offices around the nation. In 1951 there was a push to create a Presidents Day holiday [vs a George Washington's birthday holiday] to include President Lincoln whose birthday is February 12, 1809 and was also celebrated by localities, but it didn't pass.

In 1971 the holiday was moved off of George Washington's birth date to being the third Monday in February. Thus while it never falls upon Washington's birthday 2/22, the official name of the holiday remains Washington's Birthday. But today, most folks refer to it as Presidents Day and to recognize the presidents who honored the U.S. Constitution and served the interests of the people.



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 2021 Restaurants & Events in Queens

UPDATED FOR COVID - Romantic Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 5, 2021 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

UPDATED 2/12/21 - Editor's Note: Previously indoor dining was to resume in NYC on Sunday, February 14th, 2021, Valentine's Day. The Governor moved up the date to Friday, February 12th, so restaurants that may have sold out on Sunday, likely have indoor dining openings over the weekend. This report provides an update on who's open and taking reservations, but also highlights quite a number of local restaurant closures.

Valentine's Day is a bit more than 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.

This year it's especially important to make restaurant reservations early as restaurants first open for indoor dining at 25% capacity on Friday, February 12th, 2021. And given Valentine's Day is on a weekend, it may be challenging unless you make your reservation now. But that said, restaurants also have outside dining capacity - so depending on the weather - you may have some luck the weekend of Valentine's Day. For dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call or go online to make the reservations as soon as you can for this Valentine's Day .

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.

UPDATED FOR COVID. 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.



*As Trump's Impeachment Trial Looms, It's Important to Put Things in Context ...

Trump's Russian Mobster Ties, Trump's Taj Casino Violation of Money Laundering Laws & Russian Interference in Favor of Donald Trump in the 2016 Election

Did Trump's Apparent Hedonism & Amoral Proclivity Toward Racism & Violence and Financial Mismanagement, Attract Russia to Using Him to Sow Social & Political Discord in America?

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism February 2, 2021 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

The photo at right shows the headline title and photo of a Politico story about Trump's first trip to Russia in 1987, where all expense were paid and he was a guest of the Russian government.

According to Wikipedia's report on Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election,

" ... According to the special counsel investigation's Mueller Report (officially named "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election"), the first method of Russian interference used the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Kremlin-linked troll farm, to wage "a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton". The Internet Research Agency also sought to "provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States" ..."

 

Mobster Don? A Russian Mobster Con? A Russian Asset?

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism Russia's aiding of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign was certainly successful in amplifying political and social discord in the United States.

The photo at right is from a Guardian story on January 29, 2021 about how Trump appears to have been long cultivated as a Russian asset to incite social and political unrest in the United States of America. Russia has used race and ethnicity in its efforts to stir social unrest in the U.S., as well as discredit the United States abroad, since the Cold War began in the 1950's.

And one has to wonder if Russia is still not holding the Donald's feet to the fire, as Putin is believed to operate an Assassination Bureau, using the Russian mob, through which Trump had done business with via Felix Slater. The Wikipedia report on Slater describes him as,

" ... is a Russian-American mobster, convicted felon, real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City. ... In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia, and became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ... During Donald Trump's 2016 presidential trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism campaign, Sater worked with Michael Cohen, former attorney for The Trump Organization, to broker a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow, asserting to Cohen that he could boost Trump's election prospects through his Russian contacts. ... On July 9, 2019, Sater appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, but repeatedly withheld testimony and documents concerning the details of a false joint defense agreement and thus remains under subpoena..."

The photo at right shows real estate developer Donald Trump with Felix Slater and one of the principals of Bayrock, a real estate development firm. Bayrock has offices in Trump Tower and Slater was convicted of stock fraud and is believed to have been a Russian mobster. The photo was taken in the first decade of 2000.

 

The Trump Administration's 13 Executions Appear Racist & Reveal Trump's Penchant for Violence

angry president screaming hate and anger into the airThis report is part of a serious look into Donald Trump's apparent proclivity toward inciting racism and violence such as in the case of the 13 federal executions done between July 2020 and January 2021. Donald J. Trump resumed death penalty killings, which appears pretty racist as the executions skew heavily toward African American men, vis a vis African American males representation in the general population.

Reportedly five of the 13 executions were of Black men and one was of an American Indian. Together Blacks and Indians make up 15% of the U.S. population, while making up nearly half [46%] of the executions ordered by Trump. Also, one of the executions was of a woman, Lisa Montgomery, the first in 67 years [1953].

angry fuhrer screaming hate and anger into the airAccording the AP News, Trump broke with a 130 year tradition of suspending excecutions during the transition of power. Trump also executed more people during his Administration than any president in 120 years, and broke a 17 year tradition of no federal executions. The Washington Post states that Grover Cleveland was the last president to preside over double digit executions during his presidency, and also the last president to preside over executions during the transition of power.

The first photo under the above headline is of Donald Trump spewing his hatred out into the universe. It strikes me as not unlike what we saw in Nazi Germany in the 1930's as Hitler rose to power by using race and hatred to galvanize the masses, eventually leading to war and the collapse of Germany.

Mass media manipulation, via the Nazi 'Big Lie', is an essential ingredient to stealing control. The Nazi Big Lie is repeating something unbelievable so many times, that people will eventually believe it. This is not unlike Trump's 'Stop the Steal' big lie, which has been debunked by 60 lost court cases, a half of dozen unfavorable vote recounts in numerous different states including those presided over by Trump voting Republicans. And yet Trump's Big Lie has been continually repeated by so many Republicans - including in the leadership - such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

 

Trump's Character is One of a Con Man Who Apparently is a Terrible Manager of Finances

angry fuhrer screaming hate and anger into the airI know some Trump supporters believe that the investigation of Donald Trump's involvement with Russia was a hoax. But quite honestly, there are a lot of Trump supporters who've been drinking way too much of Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Fox News propaganda cool aid, and have too long ignored the facts about 'the real' Donald Trump. This ignorance also plagued many of the people formerly conned by the Donald.

The 'real Donald Trump' is a first rate con man as lawsuits filed against Trump University, Trump Charities, Trump SoHo, and by contractors, lenders and investors would inform them. And years before the Donald ran for president, Trump was indicted for laundering cash [Russian Oligarch?] through his casinos and / or real estate. Recognizing these facts might help his supporters better understand who the man really is. For reasons I haven't yet fully fathomed, Trump supporters have vested near godlike faith in the Donald, not unlike how members of the Nazi party bestowed unequivoval faith in Adolph Hitler in the early 1930's and well past Hitler's death in 1945.

People resort to conning others because they're desperate. Either desperate in reacting to events like bankruptcies [Trump] or desperate because they can't accumulate enough money or power quickly enough [Giuliani / Murdoch].

The photo to your right was included in a May 22, 2017 CNN report about Trump's Taj Mahal's hundred(s) of money laundering violations.

 

Early on, People had Scant Idea of Who Hitler Really Was

Similarities between America 2020 & Germany Early 1930's

similarities to donald trump and adolph hitler 1933 time man of yearTherein [the con] lies the tale and the warning. In the early 1930's Hitler didn't publicly appear to be the man who would one day set the world afire and cause the deaths of an estimated 80 million people or about 5% of the world population, which included 20 million Russians who fell to the German wermacht [war machine], six million Jews who were systematically murdered in the Holocaust, and the 20 million Chinese who fell to the Japanese Imperialists, along with tens of millions of others.

 

Time Magazine did six covers featuring Adoph Hitler, which includes one for his death in 1945, but also one as Man of the Year in 1939 - on the dawn of his blitzkrieg of Europe [the Time Magazine cover to the right was first published in 1933].

As a child, and quite honestly up until about five to ten years ago, I had always wondered how Hitler was able to amass so much power without being challenged.

 

How to Accumulate Unshakeable Power?

Mass Deception via a Relentless Barrage of Bigger & Bigger 'Big Lies' & Recruitment of Talented Enablers Willing to Make the Faustian Bargain

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism The answer? It's all about manipulation and deceit of well meaning, as well as other people, who ignore all the signs along the way. Kind of like how ALMOST ALL LEADING REPUBLICANS are conducting themselves today. They're prioritizing themselves and their careers before their constituencies, before their country, and above doing the right thing.

I urge people to beware of ignoring the early signs of an amoral, narcissitic, maniac hellbent on serving himself regardless of the expense on all others. But attention also need be paid to the many enablers - like talented Nazi filmmaker Leni Refenstahl and munitions head, architect & rally theatrics stage organizer Albert Speer - both of whom helped make Nazi Germany possible, as they traded in all semblance of any morality, to enrich and empower themselves. They ignored the ugly truths they eventually told us they saw happening before their very own eyes - and ignored it - in furtherance of their own careers.

trump russian asset trump money laundering trump violence trump nazis trump racism These two top Nazis were incarcerated for quite a while after the war, but spared execution by the American government officials who presided over the Nuremburg trials [my father was at Dachau as a Stars and Stripes very cub reporter]. As such, they lived to tell us their tales, which I have found useful in trying to understand what happened back then, which helps me understand what is happening now. Remember,

"... those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it ..."

And Edmund Burke, an Anglo-Irish statesman, political philosopher and contemporary of the Founding Fathers, who lived in the 1700's warned us.

" ... All it takes for evil to succeed, is for enough good [wo]men to do nothing ... "

That statement is no less true back during the American Revolution than it is today.

In the photo above right, you can see that one need not pay attention to Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's words, but rather his actions. He chastised Trump shortly after the Capitol Riot, where QAnon followers, among others, stormed the Capitol in an effort to disrupt our democracy. But within less than a month after the riot, McCarthy flew to Mara Lago to kiss Trump's ... ring, apparently motivated by his desire to further his own career and one day become Republican House Majority Leader. And McCarthy also reluctantly and only lightly reined in QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Greene, who has made some unbelievable comments for anyone holding House office. On Monday, Greene said she would be visiting Donald Trump soon.

The graphic above right shows all the incredible ties between Trump and Putin's Russia during the 2016 campaign assembled by NY Magazine for a July 2018 story.

Editor's Note to the Mainstream Media - he is FORMER president Trump - not president Trump. You would think after all we've been through, you would get that right, but I've seen numerous instances by the highly paid corporate broadcasters, where they got that wrong.

Stay tuned as we'll have more on this over the next couple of weeks.


A Snowstorm Drops Over a Foot of Snow on NYC

nyc things to do this weekendFebruary 1, 2021 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As usual, the corporate TV stations and TV networks hyped and sensationalized a big fluffy storm, that only decades ago, would have been just another stormy winter day, that all of us kids wished for, so we didn't have to go to school.

But all that has changed, as now a snowstorm just means kids are attending school from home. If one relied on television broadcasters to tell them what's going on in the wintry world, they're likely to have stayed home and inside, out of fear, instead of enjoying one of nature's most magical days.

I think the folks on TV are afraid of the cold and hot and rain and snow, and perhaps life itself ... or is it that they just want you to be afraid, so you'll stay home watching life pass you by on TV, moderated by the knuckleheads who make the big bucks by hyping stories for ratings?

Dunno.


This Weekend Things To Do

We're in the Process of Transitioning Back from Two Terrible Viruses, to the Post-Trump, Post-Pandemic Normal

nyc things to do this weekendJanuary 28, 2021 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. The temperature highs will range from about 20 on Friday, rising to about 30 on Saturday and Sunday. The temperature lows will range from about zero Friday early morning to the low 20's the rest of the weekend. Winds will range from about 15 - 20 mph on Friday, down to about 10 mph on Saturday and around 5 - 10 mph on Sunday. Humidity range from 30% - 40% on Friday and Saturday, rising to 40% - 50% on Sunday. There's a forecast of one to seven inches of precipitation beginning late Sunday evening going through Monday.

The photo at right was taken earlier this month at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan.

 

Introduction to the New Post Pandemic Normal

nyc things to do this weekendWithin the past week or so, the number of vaccinations have doubled to about 20 million nationally. Both NYC and NYS are near the front of the pack, due in part to the Mayor's and Governor's efforts to move us beyond CoVid.

President Biden seems focused on moving the nation out of the pandemic by mandating the wearing of masks in all federal buildings, and on all interstate modes of transportation. He also invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure the nation has enough PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] and vaccines including the needles, vials and people to administer them. Lastly, Biden committed to purchasing an additional 200 million doses of vaccine, for the nation to receive delivery of by, or before, the end of the summer.

This is a sea change of pandemic response from the federal government vis a vis the lackadaisical approach [and denial] of the pandemic by the Trump Administration.

The photo at right shows a couple of women photographing themselves in front of the new Moynihan Train Station near Penn Station in Midtown.

Things To Do This Weekend - For Real

I've been updating things in order to resume publishing activities within the boroughs. Think of this weekend post as a small beginning of what to expect as we transition to the post pandemic new normal for things to do in the five boroughs of NYC.

 

Most Events Still Online, but that Should Begin Changing ...

nyc things to do this weekendQNS. Sixteen pool halls reopened this past week in NY after taking the Governor to court regarding CoVid restrictions. Amsterdam Billiards on the UWS in Manhattan was one of the participants. So was BQE Billiards in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, which I visited this weekend to see how that's going [see photo at right].

http://bqebilliards.com/

QNS. The LaGuardia College Small Business Development Center in Long Island City, Queens is ready to help small businesses gain access to government assistance to get through the rest of the pandemic. Here's a link.

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program

If you're in another borough, they can help direct you to resources in your borough too.

BX. One Book One Bronx, has moved its programs online. They just completed a book about being a lesbian senior in Brazil. The next book is a narrative of sonnet and song entitled Olio by Tyehimba Jess about African American musicians and performers in the period from just before the Civil War to WWI. The online discussions begin Tuesday, February 2nd from 7 - 8.30 pm. Use the following link to register.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvcu6oqDMsGtTIxfguhKTdAJNvxoXwhB_t

SI. The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island is open from 11 am - 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday. They have a number of exhibits at the museum and appear to be resuming special exhibits beginning in March.

http://lighthousemuseum.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/

MHTN. The Frick Museum in Manhattan is still in online mode, offering art programs and workshops which have received such a positive response, that some are fully booked [some of the free ones : )]. See the following link for more info.

https://www.frick.org/programs

MHTN. The Winter Art Show, usually held at the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, has gone online from January 22 - 31. To view and / or purchase the artistic and cultural works use the following link.

www.winterartshow.org.

BK. The William Vale Hotel at 111 North 12th Street in Brooklyn has an outdoor skating rink called the Vale on its rooftop on the 23rd floor that's open from 12 noon to midnight on Saturday and until 10 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $20 / $12 and an rsvp is recommended.

https://www.thewilliamvale.com/vale-rink/


Donald Trump Accomplishments / Failures

What did Trump Really do While President? Was the Slogan - Make America Great Again - Just Another Big Lie?

fox news / sean hannity conspiracy theorist loses lawsuit to family of seth richJanuary 25, 2021 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

There’s an old saying from about a century ago, that goes something like this,

“Good government doesn’t make good headlines.”

After watching the Trump Administration, I’ve come to believe there’s an apt corollary, which goes something like this,

“Bad government makes great headlines.”

 

Did Bad Government Make Great Headlines & Drive Murdoch's Fox TV Ratings and Profit?

And Australian born billionaire and propagandist media mogul Rupert Murdoch - the silent hand who pulls the strings on the people and the pols on three continents - should know.  Because he appears to have been profiting by exploiting that knowledge and the truth for decades.

But we’ve entered a new era since Trump won the presidency in 2016 because both men were born rich and behave as if the rules don’t apply to them.  And unfortunately, they mostly don’t.

 

Above the Law? 

Billionaires Murdoch & Trump Seem to Pummel Those Who Stand up to Them, Sharing Similarities to What Hitler & Goebbels did in Germany in the Early 1930’s, at the Dawn of the Rise of the Nazis

fox news / sean hannity conspiracy theorist loses lawsuit to family of seth richTrump has reportedly financially screwed numerous small contractors, employees, investors and lenders – not to mention the American people - as during his Administration the federal government took on an additional $6 trillion in debt to provide fiscal stimulus and tax breaks to billionaires like Murdoch and himself, as well as to mega millionaires like Sean Hannity of Murdoch’s Fox News propaganda outlet.

Murdoch, in a similar fashion, has publicly abused hundreds, thousands and possibly millions of people by famously hacking their phones for headlines in Britain through his Newscorp, indirectly yanking Britain out of the EU through his Brexit campaign, and indirectly sending troops from his native Australia, as well as Britain and the U.S., to Iraq - by virtue of his media influence in those nations and by cajoling his current business partner, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and one time friend, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

 

Putin, Murdoch & Goebbels Know Full Well that the Pen is Mightier than the Sword - Because You Can Incite Millions to Vote Against Their Own Interests [Murdoch's Brexit] & Thousands to Commit Acts of Violence & Vandalism [Trump's Capitol Riots] - and the Inciter is rarely, if ever, Held Accountable for it

fox news / sean hannity conspiracy theorist loses lawsuit to family of seth richVladimir Putin seems, better than most, to understand the current dynamics of operating effectively within the world in which we live. This means that the pen is mightier than the sword.  Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist knew this full well too.  And Rupert Murdoch appears to have been practicing the dark propagandistic arts for decades. 

 

The graph at right shows how well the British people fared economically after Murdoch seemed to manipulate the British people's vote regarding the Brexit referendum.

But, while the British people appear to have generally lost in the deal, the billionaire Murdoch and his rich friends did avoid further taxation from the European Union. And perhaps even more importantly, Murdoch appears to have maintained his tight grip on the Conservative Party in the U.K. and his most valuable propaganda asset there - Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 

Militarily & Economically Using the Pen Enables Significantly Less Spending on Hardware & Risking GIs' Lives

The U.S. spends about $740 billion on defense annually, while Russia spends just one tenth of that amount, $70 billion, on their defense.  Meanwhile, the Chinese spend about $250 billion annually on defense, and they account for the second largest in military expenditures, after the U.S..

So with all that military spending by the U.S., it is Russia who appears to have managed to create an incredible amount of chaos within our nation, by using very cost effective propaganda techniques to interfere in our elections.  Russia also appears to have exploited the celebrity and greed of several American businessmen for its own purposes. 

 

Getting Started: Russia Needed Proponents to Popularize & Publicize its Demagogic Propaganda - Murdoch's Fox & Trump?

fox news / sean hannity conspiracy theorist loses lawsuit to family of seth richYes, I am talking about Donald Trump. It seems former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross may have been a secretive enabler of both the Russians and Trump. This was while Ross was one of the leading figures at the Bank of Cypress, which at the time was rumored to be a big money laundering bank for the Russian Oligarchs.

Reportedly Ross was an enabler of Trump by appearing to facilitate / launder some of the Russians’ rubles into Trump’s real estate business, thus enabling Trump to avoid bankruptcy and maintain liquidity in the 2008 real estate downturn.  And enabler of the Russians, by seeming to help facilitate their relationship with the Donald, which appears to have been used to create chaos on the American political scene starting in 2016. 

As pointed out in prior reports, the billionaire Russian Oligarchs, showed up numerous times during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as shortly thereafter - before the investigation into the Donald’s ties to the Russians began in early 2017 [see prior reports in our Trump section].

You'll infrequently or even rarely find reports about the REAL Donald Trump on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, because Trump appears not to just be a Russian asset - but also a Murdoch asset. See our prior reports for what appears a quid pro quo.

 

Multi-Millionaire Fox 'News' Propagandist Hannity Rips Another Ratings Busting Russian Yarn?

fox news / sean hannity conspiracy theorist loses lawsuit to family of seth richFox News recently settled a lawsuit [November 2020] where they are alleged to have broadcast numerous false reports of a cooked up a conspiracy theory that Seth Rich was murdered because he was connected to the release of DNC emails to the Russians. Sean Hannity seemed to be the point man, and after the lawsuit came out, Hannity said that nobody would ever 'censor' him. But I guess the lawsuit did, because Hannity has not said a word about his exclusive Seth Rich conspiracy theory story ever since. And that was nearly four years ago.

Pay attention when Sean Hannity tells you that he has an exclusive, and that you will only hear this 'news' from him. Like the Seth Rich story, it may be that you'll only hear it from him, because perhaps it's not real news. In fact it could just be a narrative that Hannity created, to gin up his ratings, so he can keep getting paid tens of millions of dollars each year by Fox 'News' Murdoch, who seems to use such tricks to 'earn' even more.

Hannity got his start in the media by reportedly amplifying another conspiracy about gays and AIDS. He went on to hype the Iraq War by seeming to scaremonger people about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. And then Hannity hyped the conspiracy theory murder of Seth Rich - which some believe was a conspiracy cooked up by Hannity in tandem with Donald Trump after Trump had become president - in an effort to distract the American people from the Russia investigation.

In settling the suit in 2020, Fox 'News', a highly suspect news source, required that Seth Rich's parents not talk about it until AFTER the 2020 presidential election.

 

Trump Accomplishments & Failures - Continued

So, keeping the above short story in mind, let’s look at what the Donald really achieved for America, and you can determine for yourself who were the real beneficiaries of the Trump presidency.

Why does the Truth Matter?

More coming over the next week or two ...

Stealing.


This Weekend Things To Do NYC

Making the Transition Back Toward a Pre-Pandemic Lifestyle

nyc things to do manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island things to do nycJanuary 22, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / Things To Do NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. The temperature highs will be in the low to mid 30's and the temperature lows will be in the low to mid 20's. It will be dry, with the humidity fairly stable all weekend at about 40% and no precipitation is in the forecast. The wind will range between 7 - 17 mph.

The photo at right was taken in Little Italy this week. As you know, many of the restaurants have set up outdoor dining to accommodate guests. I ventured out for dinner this week, and it's not as uncomfortable as it looks, especially if you bring along what football fans know of as a seat warmer [a pad to sit on].

 

CoVid Continues, as do the Vaccinations, buts ...

nyc things to do manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island things to do nycIn NYC there was some good news, in that vaccinations have caught up to the supply. But the bad news is that the Trump vaccination plan didn't exist, and the federal government is unable to live up to its commitment on vaccine supplies. I guess the Donald was too busy trying to use what seemed his fraudulent stop the steal fundraising promotion to be bothered with trying to prevent the rapid rise in deaths we've seen since CoVid arrived here about a year ago.

But we now have a new president who, unlike his predecessor, is qualified for the job. And who appears to be interested in doing the job - in lieu of making headlines every day. I think things will get sorted out in the next few months and by sometime in the summer, we should be moving toward the post pandemic normal.

But that said, beware, as the British Prime Minister said that the new strain of Corona Virus - first detected in his nation - spreads 50% - 70% more easily and is somewhere between 20% - 30% more deadly.

NYS has three boroughs right now that are testing at 9% - Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx - but Brooklyn and Manhattan are testing well below that, so the NYC average is about 6% and appears to be flattening again, as the post holiday surge abates.

The photo at right was taken in Chinatown this week.

 

Things To Do This Weekend in NYC

nyc things to do manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island things to do nycNew Yorkers are chomping at the bit to return to a post pandemic normal. As shown in some of the December posts, many of the larger cultural venues have come back, albeit with abbreviated hours and at CoVid adjusted capacity, mostly requiring reservations.

But some of the smaller venues are also beginning to re-emerge. We've seen a couple of art galleries - Plaxall in Queens and another in Brooklyn - host art openings / exhibits within the past month using the same safety protocols as the larger venues.

There's also been a lot of online activity as well, as the world adjusts to bubble social infrastructure, by migrating some of their work online.

The photo at right was taken in SoHo this week.

More coming Saturday on things to do this weekend in the five boroughs of NYC.


Was Trump's Administration Defined by Racism & Violence?

Trump Reportedly Committed a Violent Act at an Early Age & Appears to have Embraced Racism & Incited Violence Numerous Times Since ...

ted cruz election objections seem a fundraising scamJanuary 19, 2021 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. 

 

Trump Condemns Violence - The Empty Words of a Spiteful Man?

A full week after there was a riot at the Capitol - that Donald Trump helped promote, spoke at along with his small coterie of family and friends, and then departed to watch on TV - he made the following statement, as he was being impeached for the second time by Congress.

“I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week ... Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence.”

One thing we know for certain is that Donald Trump is one of the world's most prolific liars, and so it was that on January 13th, 2021 - just a week before his presidency was to end - he told one of his most unbelieveable lies - that he's against violence. The hollow ring in his words was heard round the world.

It's a well known adage that it's best to measure a man by his deeds - not his words. And with Donald Trump that advice is especially relevant. Donald Trump's life is a scatter book of a bit of violence he committed himself, but mostly which he appears to have incited others to do.


How the President, a Former NYC Mayor and Murdoch's Fox News Seemed to Incite the Capitol Insurrectionists

Rudy Giuliani, Nicknamed America's Mayor by Murdoch's Fox News, Appears to have Helped Incite the Band of Simpleminded Trumpsters to Insurrection

Updated January 11, 2021 from 1.8.21 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. 

Rising Film Star [Barat2] and Former NYC Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, appears to have devolved into something of a national freak show or farce over the past five years. Perhaps longer. But in the past few months, he's become something of a national disgrace.

ted cruz election objections seem a fundraising scamFox News seems to use nicknames for their propaganda assets, like referring to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as the 'Iron Lady' and President Ronald Reagan as the 'Gipper'. Rudy Giuliani seems to be yet another Fox propaganda asset and, as such, is oftentimes referred to as America's Mayor by Fox pundits.

This is not unlike how Murdoch's Fox News nicknames themselves America's Newsroom. This was a trick used by Hitler and Goebbels, using words and images to create the illusion that they, the Nazi Party [in this cae the Fox Nation with red, white and blue colors] was the same as the state - and thus represented all that was right and just. But remember - just because Murdoch's Fox News says it's so - doesn't make it so [like they used to call themselves 'Fair & Balanced' before they started fearing a lawsuit for false advertising]. But, the Australian born billionaire's overwhelming control and / or ownership of America's television media [see our special section on Murdoch and the 21st Propaganda Press on Gotham Buzz] does give him a leg up in attaching and making both good and bad labels stick to people, places and things.

ted cruz election objections seem a fundraising scamOn Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Rudy Giuliani joined Donald Trump and Donny junior at a Trump rally in Washington, D.C. near the White House. The Donald had promoted this gathering as something 'wild' and related to his seemingly phony stop the steal / election fraud fundraising claims. At the rally Trump told his supporters, numbering about 5,000 [per the park permit] to march down to the Capitol and that he'd be there with them.

I think it's safe to say that the Trump supporters who came to this event came prepared to continue to be misinformed and misled by the con men standing on the stage in front of them. After the speeches the audience mindlessly did as Trump had instructed them, and began marching toward the Capitol - but without their fearful leader [bonespurs acting up again?]. The Trumps and Giuliani were not to be found when the group arrived at the Capitol. What a surprise!

When the Trumpsters reached the barricades in front of the Capitol, the police in charge of protecting it, seemed to give way. What exactly transpired at this juncture we'll find out eventually, but one thing we do know for certain is that Trump didn't deploy as many of the National Guardsmen as he did for his tear gassing photo op with the Bible last summer. So Vice President Mike Pence had to step in to call up more National Guardsmen who eventually secured the Capitol - but not until after it had been ransacked [including one report of defecation].


Honestly, Just How Simple-minded are Trump Republicans?

Donald J. Trump Raises $200 Million in one Month Based on Unsubstantiated Election Fraud Claims

So Senators Ted Cruz & Josh Hawley - Not Wanting to be Kept out of What Seems a Great Scam - Are Fundraising Based on Their Bid for an Unnecessary Election Audit

ted cruz election objections seem a fundraising scamJanuary 5, 2021 / US Politics / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. 

Classic con men like Donald J. Trump, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley appeal to certain kinds of people. Too many of them appear to be complete rubes, right out of the old W.C. Fields films ["never give a sucker an even break"].

Most of Trump's, Hawley's and Cruz's 'stop the steal' supporters seem as likely to be sincere in their 'patriotic' Trump / Cruz / Fox News media manipulated intentions, as they are likely to be just plain stupid.

This may help explain why Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Texas Senator Ted Cruz were so quick to take up the seemingly fraudulent torch of Trump's 'Stop the Steal' campaign. They appear to be staging a phony 'patriotic' effort by objecting to one or more of the contested swing states list of electoral college delegates. The Cruz / Hawley motivation appears to be to put on a show of political theater for an unneeded election audit, in order to fill the Cruz / Hawley campaign coffers with the money of incredibly naive full grown American white men and miscellaneous other Trump Republican donors.


New Years Resolutions 2021: The Road Ahead

A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year

things to do manhattan this weekendJanuary 1, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Holidays / Gotham Buzz NYC.

For all of us, today starts the beginning of a new year.

If we stay the course with masks, social distancing and hand washing, we should be able to make it to getting vaccinated - at which point things begin to really change to a better normal, but likely not back to a pre-CoVid normal.

The impact of the vaccinations isn't going to happen quickly as Trump's Operation Warp Speed has turned out to be Operation Super Retarded. But Biden takes the reins in another 18 days, and will likely put things back on track, which means we have another six to twelve months before things will begin feeling somewhat normal. The six to twelve months is how long it's estimated that it will take to manufacture, distribute and vaccinate the majority of the 330 million people who live here. The vaccination process alone takes about two months, as there are two shots and a lag time for your body to build the anti-bodies.


You're Looking at the Real Election Fraud ... Straight in the Eyes

trump tries to steal the election even though AG bill barr & DHS Krebs says it was a fair electionNovember 30, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Four years ago Donald Trump achieved one of his dreams and became the President of the United States. Now, four years later, we're witnesses to the Donald failing at his ultimate dream - becoming Dictator of the United States - like his buddies Kim Jong Un is in North Korea, Vladimir Putin is in Russia, and his nemesis Xi Jin Ping is in China.

But it hasn't been for lack of trying.

 

Trump Uses Federal Government Apparatus Like a Dictator, NOT an American President

Trump appeared to use the federal government bureaucracy in its most corrupt rendition since the birth of the republic 230 years ago - to lie, cheat and steal his way to victory.

trump tries to steal the election even though AG bill barr & DHS Krebs says it was a fair electionTrump called on Bill Barr's Department of Justice to 'investigate voter fraud' when there was none. On December 1, 2020 - a full four weeks after the election Barr finally spoke the truth - that there wasn't any widespread fraud.

Trump seemed to use Chad Wolfe's Department of Homeland Security to fund and operate campaign style food giveaways which included promotional style letters with his name on it, even though it was a federal operation using the American taxpayers' money.

He seemed on numerous occasions to try to bend Republicans in local and state government positions and the courts to go along with his fictional voter fraud claims. As of this writing 27 of the 41 lawsuits filed by Trump / Republicans were either dismissed or lost.

trump tries to steal the election even though AG bill barr & DHS Krebs says it was a fair electionTrump appeared to have one of his lackeys, Louis DeJoy, gerry rig the U.S. Post Office, so the postal organization would be challenged to fulfill its role in delivering mail and absentee ballots to the Boards of Elections. This was identified in August and Congress halted it.

He seemed to use Mike Pompeo's State Department as a campaign promotional tool with part real and part fictional peace deals, as well as using the State Department as a dirt digging operation - again using taxpayers' money - to extort dirt or allegations of dirt, on rival Joe Biden. In late 2019 Trump was impeached for using the government as a campaign tool.

Trump seemed to try to use Chad Wolfe's Department of Homeland Security to foment violence in American cities this summer, so he could run as the 'law and order president'. There was an uproar in Congress about this misuse of the DHS and it was halted.

And Trump even called up the U.S. Military to provide air support for a photo op, where he held up a Bible he had never read, as a symbol of his phoniness.

See below for other enablers in the Senate and Congress, like Mitch McConnell.


Holiday Markets & Holiday Tree Lightings NYC

While Still Dialed Down, There's More Going on than I Thought

holiday things to do nyc holiday markets nyc manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island holiday things to do nyc holiday markets nycNovember 27, 2020 / NYC Shopping / NYC Holiday Events & NYC Holiday Markets / Gotham Buzz NYC.

The following represent an update of the in-person holiday markets and / or the in-person holiday events that will be open this season in all five boroughs.

I found far more going on than I expected ... although admittedly quite a bit less than in prior years ... but that said, there were a few markets or events in each borough.

 

Manhattan Holiday Markets & Holiday Events NYC

On Wednesday, December 2, 2020 from 7 - 10 pm there's the Rockefeller Tree Lighting ceremony at 5th Avenue at 48th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Nobody will be allowed in the plaza area, so your best bet of seeing the lights go on at 8 pm are via TV [NBC] from home.

From Saturday, October 30th, 2020 through January 3rd, 2021 the Winter Market at Bryant Park at 6th and 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan is open. Over 100 vendors will be selling their wares from 11 am - 8 pm daily. The market opens at 10 am on the weekends.

From November 16 thru December 24, 2020 the Grand Central Holiday Fair, featuring 40 vendors, has gone virtual at www.grandcentralterminal.com.

Both Union Square and the Columbus Circle holiday markets 2020 won't be open this year.

The weekend of December 4th thru 6th, 2020 the St John the Divine Crafts Fair will go virtual at www.craftsatthecathedral.org. They provide a unique assortment of artistic items, clothing and gifts.

ADD DATES / Chelsea Flea / On Saturdays & Sundays from 8 am - 4 pm at 29 West 25th St.reet between 5th & 6th Aveenues.

ADD DETAILS / Winter Garden at Brookfield Place.

 

Brooklyn Holiday Markets & Holiday Events NYC

On Saturdays from now through December 2020 from 10 am - 4 pm there's the Brooklyn Flea Market under the Manhattan Bridge Archway at the 80 Pearl Street Plaza. Customers and vendors are asked to maintain six-feet of distance, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer.

From Friday, November 27 thru Sunday, December 20, 2020 [Fri / Sat / Sun only] the Makers Show at Citipoint at 445 Albee Square West Brooklyn will be open from 12 noon to 8 pm. They offer crafts, food and drink. You must rsvp via Eventbrite [free] to go and they maintain a number of CoVid protocols.

From Thanksgiving 2020 through New Years 2021 from dusk to 9 pm the Dyker Heights Xmas Lights are burning with joy. The neighborhood holiday lighting extravaganza is located along 11th, 12th and 13th Avenues between 83rd and 86th Streets, and viewing is free.

From December 10 thru 17, 2020 there's the Grand Army Menorah Lighting at Grand Army Plaza beginning respectively at 5 pm / 3.30 pm / 7 pm / 5.30 pm and then 6 pm until Hanukkah is over. In the Prospect Heights / Park Slope neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, December 10 - 13, 2020 the Brooklyn Ballet will do about 20 minutes of performances of the Nutcracker outside the Jewel Box at 160 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn beginning at 5.30 and 6.30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and an extra performance at 4.30 pm on Sunday and Saturday performances at 6.30 & 7.30 pm. Free.

ADD TIME / On Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays December 3 - 27, 2020, there's the Caribbeing Holiday Market at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park featuring handmade arts, crafts, jewelry, spices, ornaments.

ADD DATE / Saturday & Sundays only from 10a - 4p Smorgasburg.com Dumbo Holiday Flea _ Vintage and handmade for sale at Dumbo Archway.

The 2020 Handmade Cavalcade is doing online on 11/28 & 11/29 Only.

ON 11/20/20 CANCELLED DUE TO COVID. On Friday, December 4th, the Fort Hamilton Holiday Market & Celebration will be held at 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway at the fort. The event includes a holiday market and tree lighting, but must rsvp. Free admission.

The 2020 Renegade Craft Fairs formerly at the Expo Center in Greenpoint last year has been cancelled til 2021.

The 2020 Bust Craftacular also appears to be on a CoVid hiatus.

 

Queens Holiday Markets & Holiday Events NYC

On December 6th, 2020 from 3 - 5 pm there's the Flushing Holly History Tour on YouTube. Tickets may be purchased for $5 - $35 on Eventbrite.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden holiday market for 2020 has been cancelled due to CoVid concerns.

 

Bronx Holiday Markets & Holiday Events NYC

On Friday & Saturday, November 27 & 28, Saturdays December 5 & 12, Friday & Saturday December 18 & 19, Saturday, December 26 thru Wednesday, December 30 & Friday January 1, 2021, Saturdays January 2 & 9, 2021 there's the NYBG Holiday Train Show at the NY Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Admission $30 Adults / Kids 2 - 12 $18 - ONLY Available to Members & Bronx Community Partners only this year due to limited capacity.

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays November 20, 2020 - January 10, 2021 as well as Christmas Week all days except Xmas Eve & Day and New Years Day, there's the BX Zoo Holiday Lights. Showtimes at 3.30 pm / 5 pm / 6 pm / 7 pm / 8 pm. Admission $35 Adults / $23 Kids / $32 Seniors.

From 11.27 - 1.10.21 no Mondays & Tuesdays except Christmas / New Year week. Not Xmas or New Years Eves. And not 1.4 - 1.7.21. Lumino City at 20 Randall’s Island Park on Randall’s Island. Admission $29 / $25 for Students & Seniors / $17 for kids 3 - 12.

 

Staten Island Holiday Markets & Holiday Events NYC

On Sunday December 13, 2020 beginning at 2 pm there's the Nutcracker on the lawn of the Alice Austen House at 2 Hylan Blvd. Admission is $25.

On Saturday & Sunday, December 5 & 6,  2020 from 11a - 4p there's a Makers Sapce Holiday Market. It's outdoors at MakerPark corner of Thompson & Front Street featuring ten unique vendors with handcrafted and vintage items for sale. CoVid Guidelines in effect for all markets.

ADD WEBSITE URL / Saturdays, November 28 - December 19, 2020 from 4.30 - 8.30 pm there are Historic Richmond Town Candlelight Tours at 441 Clarke Avenue in Richmond County. It costs $120 - $150 per group up to six. Rsvp via their website and CoVid restrictions in place.

On Friday, December 4, 2020 - National Lighthouse Museum Golf Outing at South Shore Golf Course on 200 Hugenot Road. 11.30 am registration and Tee Off Time at 12.30 pm. BBQ included. Admission $125 per golfer.

December 20, 2020 from 1 pm – 4 pm there's a Snug Harbor Wreath Making Workshop. Meet at Visitor Info Booth on Chapel Road at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Admission is $30 Adults, $24 Students/Seniors & $24 Members. Rsvp, no refunds & CoVid guidelines in effect.

CLICK HERE to view our full report on holiday markets & events in Manhattan, holiday markets & events in Queens, holiday markets & events in Brooklyn, holiday markets & events in the Bronx & holiday markets & events on Staten Island.

CLICK HERE to view a 2019 report on Manhattan holiday markets NYC, and here for Queens holiday markets NYC, and here for Bronx holiday markets NYC and here for Brooklyn Holiday Markets, and here for Staten Island Holiday Markets & Shopping NYC.

CLICK HERE to view a 2019 report on & Manhattan holiday events / Manhattan holiday things to do NYC, & Queens holiday events / Queens holiday things to do NYC, Brooklyn Holiday Events / Brooklyn Holiday Things To Do NYC, Staten Island Holiday Events / SI Holiday Things To Do NYC and Bronx holiday events & Bronx holiday things to do NYC.


CoVid NYC Economic Update

NYC Hotels, Restaurants & Entertainment Continue to Feel the CoVid Pain, Also Real Estate & Construction but Less so, and Things Should Gradually Improve in 2021

things to do nyc things to do manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island things to do nycNovember 16, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Business & Real Estate NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

 

CoVid & Donald Continue Raging

So the CoVid pandemic is raging wildly in the nation, while the Demento in the White House is raging with reckless false claims about the 'rigged election'. The Donald also made these same false claims four years ago, when he won the electoral college contest, but failed to win the popular vote.

This time America's biggest loser lost both the electoral college vote contest and popular vote [by nearly six million], but the fraudster President has found his false claims of a stolen election, is a great way to raise funds from our nation's morons, who somehow still believe his lies. As the saying goes,

"We're all born ignorant. But you have to try really, really hard to remain so."

I consider Donald Trump losing the White House, to be the one silver lining coming out of the CoVid pandemic.

Meanwhile back in NYC, we continue to fare far better than the rest of the nation vis a vis CoVid, perhaps having learned our lessons last Spring. When I look at the CoVid map of the United States, I'm beginning to interpret it as a sort of national I.Q. test. Those places where it's raging most - almost a year since the pandora came out of the box - are states with slow learning media, slow learning government officials and slow learning populations. Otherwise, why would CoVid be raging again, after all that we have learned in the past year?


Rigged Election: Who's Trying to Steal it?

Trump is Battling the Election Results Like He's Battled CoVid, his Trump-Sized Budget Deficit & Climate Change - Ignore the Facts & Change the Perception

trump cheating 2020 election mail fraud trump dejoy usps mail fraud by trump campaign?November 6, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / U.S. Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

 

A Sore Loser, Poor Sport & a Rich Old Man's Tantrum?

Donald Trump has never comported himself with any dignity or decency befitting the presidency - so why would anyone expect his presidency to end with it?

Except the low information, no information and disinformation voters who cling to him like he's some sort of savior.

We saw this same sort of phenomena occur in the 1930's and 1940's in Germany. That was a story that didn't end well for that nation - and it would have been far, far worse - were it not for the decency and generosity of the American people.

By all accounts, Biden is the likely victor of the 2020 presidential race. He leads in electoral college votes and it appears he needs to close only one or two more states to finish the race, which in most remaining states and by most accounts, seem to be trending in his favor.

 

America's Top Fixer, Rudy Schmooliani, Fresh Out of Improv Role in Borat2, Returns to Star Role in the TV Presidency of DJT

trump cheating 2020 election mail fraud trump dejoy usps mail fraud by trump campaign?The Trump Campaign began pulling out all stops to halt the fair part of the American electoral process, by summoning America's Fixer, Rudy Giuliani, to lead the litigation publicity program.

Schmooliani had just finished filming his cameo role in Borat 2, but wasted no time in zipping up his pants again, before departing for Philadelphia to make an important stage appearance in the Epilogue segment of the TV Presidency of DJT.

In the photo at right, a still shot taken from the film Borat 2, shows Rudy Giuliani making 'an adjustment to his microphone'. I do hope Rudy washed his hands after tampering with his 'microphone', as these days one can never be sure of what kind of bacterial or viral germs one might be exposed to by touching things.


Kentucky Insanity: Voting Repeatedly for Mitch McConnell & Expecting Things to Change

Kentucky Has the 6th Highest Poverty Rate, Ranks 46th in Healthcare, 44th in Education & 45th in Income While

McConnell’s Leadership Enriches Him & his Taiwanese Born Wife, so that Mitch is Now in the Top Ten Wealthiest Senators Club

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceOctober 26, 2020 Updated from 10/13 & 10/21/20 / NYC Neighborhoods / U.S. Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Monday night Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell squared off against challenger former Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath. She, along with another woman, were the first females assigned to the Marine All Weather Attack Squadron.

Televised debates these days, seem to shed little light on the candidates or issues. This may be in part due to the format of them, as well as the failure of the debate moderators to hold the candidates' feet to the fire by pressing them on tough questions, and the current climate of conversational corruption where politicians pretty much say whatever the hell they want to say ... regardless of the truth.

So I did some of my own digging to learn more about Mitch McConnell. What I found surprised me, given how deep the rabbit hole goes and yet how little attention has been given to one of the most powerful men in Washington. So it may surprise you too.

 

DEFINITION OF INSANITY - Repeatedly Doing the Same Thing Expecting a Different Result

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceThe definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. 

The image at right was found in a web magazine, Forward Kentucky earlier this year. Donald Trump fired FIVE inspectors and among them was one investigating McConnell's wife.

What are they afraid of ... the truth?

And that is exactly what Kentuckians appear to have been doing for decades, having reportedly voted for Mitch in various elections approximately THIRTY TIMES in a row. 

Let’s take a look.

 

RICH MITCH - McConnell is the Longest [Self?] Serving Republican Leader in Senate History

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceIn June 2018, Mitch McConnell became the longest ‘serving’ Senate Republican Leader in the history of the Senate. 

McConnell has been a Kentucky Senator for nearly 36 years, having first taken office in January 1985. 

He’s been the Republican Senate Majority Leader for nearly six years - since January 2015, and the Republican Senate Minority Leader since January 2007 – another eight years and Republican Senate Majority Whip from 2003 - 2007. 

And he’s been ‘serving’ Kentucky as a senator since 1985.

 

POOR KENTUCKY - Kentucky Ranks Near the Bottom in Education, Healthcare and Income

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceAnd yet Kentucky has little to show for Mitch's length of service – even though Mitch McConnell keeps telling them how good is for them, as he’s been a member of the elite Republican Leadership for decades.

But McConnell he likes to tell Kentuckians - he's the only top federal political leader who is not from one of the big urban centers on the coasts, even though he’s been living in Washington, D.C. for one helluva lot longer than he ever lived in Kentucky. And he’s married to a Taiwanese born millionairess who has never lived in Kentucky, per se, during the nearly three decades of their blissful married life. 

So what difference does it make where Mitch McConnell claims he is from, if he’s not representing the people of Kentucky?  But rather … representing the big corporate and foreign interests that appear to fund his campaigns and enrich – not the state of Kentucky – but their chosen one, their ‘representative’ Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell.

 

NOT A NATIVE KENTUCKIAN - Why Alabama Born McConnell May not Care About Kentucky

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceI suspect part of the reason that Mitch McConnell doesn’t care that much about Kentucky, is because he wasn’t born there, and he mostly did not grow up there.  McConnell was born in ALABAMA in 1942, and then – by way of GEORGIA – arrived in KENTUCKY in 1956 at age 14. I think it's worth mentioning that McConnell's great, great grandparents – on both sides - were Alabama slave owners, which we’ll get to shortly.

In 1968 McConnell left Kentucky for the big city, Washington, D.C., for a couple of years.  He returned to Kentucky to run for office in 1971, but failed to meet the Kentucky residency requirement.  In 1974 McConnell left Kentucky again for Washington, D.C. to work in the Ford Administration.  Gerald Ford lost the election in 1976, so McConnell returned to Kentucky to run for office again. This time Kentuckians cut him a break and elected him the Jefferson County Executive, an office he held until he was elected in 1984 to ‘represent’ them as a senator, at which time he departed Kentucky for Washington, D.C. where he's been ever since. 

So all tolled, McConnell only spent about 24 years in Kentucky [1984-1956=28-2-2=24], which is not even a third of his 78 years of life.  And McConnell has spent 36 years ‘representing’ Kentuckians in the big city of Washington, D.C. – where he has lived half again as much time, as he has lived in Kentucky.  So while Mitch doesn’t appear to represent Kentuckians – one has to ask how could he - given he has spent so little time there and it was what seems a lifetime ago?

 

McConnell Received Educational Deferment from Military, Followed by Medical Exemption for Optic Neuritis – Not Polio

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceAccording to Wikipedia, after McConnell’s educational deferment from the military expired in 1967, McConnell ‘served’ about a month.  The same report tells us McConnell was diagnosed with optic neuritis – a temporary inflammation in the eye that can cause temporary blindness.  According to a few Google searches, optic neuritis is a common eye problem that self resolves in about four to 12 weeks.  There are severe cases of it, but given McConnell is 78 years old and we’ve heard nary a word of it since his getting out of military service, I suspect his case was 'mild’, not unlike Trump's CoVid case.  McConnell is also said to have contracted polio, but apparently escaped any significant long term impairment, as we see him walking up and down the halls of the Capitol without a problem.

 

MONEY BAGS MITCH - McConnell Supported by Chinese, Russian & Australian Immigrants

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceIn 1984 McConnell became a Kentucky Senator.  And while most Kentuckians don’t like him and neither do most Americans – Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s soon to be media executive, Roger Ailes, ran McConnell's first campaign. Murdoch seems to have been influential in rolling back media regulations beginning around that time, so it wouldn't be a big leap to assume that McConnell helped Murdoch feather his nest through regulatory rollbacks, while Murdoch helped keep McConnell in place as an enabler in hacking through the regulatory environment which had previously held large media corporations in check. Murdoch controls Fox News, the NY Post, the Wall St Journal and in 2019 became the largest shareholder of Disney / ABC in an inverted takeover. 

We'll zoom in on why the rich Chinese and Russian born immigrants started backing Mitch McConnell a little further in the story.

 

McConnell Sells Out or Trades in his Old Kentucky Home?

mcconnell mcgrath senate race kentucky who is mitch mcconnell who is elaine chao kentucky senate raceMcConnell was married to a Kentucky woman, Sherrill Redmon, from 1968 [around the time of his military deferment] to 1980 [around the time he was re-elected but a few years before he hit the big time as a senator beginning in 1984].  In the early years in Kentucky McConnell was considered a liberal leaning moderate [his ex-wife and one or more of his daughters still seem to lean more toward the middle, having oppposed the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation]. 

But McConnell's views seemed to quickly change after he hired Roger Ailes, [who later became Fox News CEO], to run his 1984 Senate campaign. This was followed by McConnell 's social climbing upward mobility when he met and married his new Chinese American wife, who connected his campaign to a multi-million dollar money train. Taiwanese born Elaine Chao's mega millionaire father is well connected to the Chinese Communist Party Leadership, owns a Chinese American Shipping Company, and he and her family have donated millions to McConnell, as well as his and Republican PACs.

 

The Decade McConnell Went From Kentucky Mitch to Shanghai Mitch

Following the 1984 election Rolling Stone story reports McConnell,

“As I always say,” McConnell wrote in his book, “the three most important words in politics are ‘cash on hand.’ ”


NYC Economic Update & a Few Things To Do

Voting Registration Online, The Census Payout, CoVid Updates, the Economy & Events

nyc covid pandemic evictions moratorium layoffs hiring covid queens manhattan bronx brooklyn staten island nyc restaurants hotels retail jobs losses hiring pandemic covid nycOctober 2, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / U.S. Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather.  The temperature highs will be in the high 60’s and lows in the low to mid 50’s.  There’s a 10% chance of a tiny amount of rain Sunday.  Humidity will be between 50% and 60%.  And winds will be about 5 mph.  All in all not a bad fall weekend.

 

Check Your Voter Registration / Or Register Online Using Link

The last day to register to vote in NYC / NYS is October 9, 2020.  If you’re uncertain you are registered to vote use this link to check - https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/
And if you find you’re not registered or need to change your voter registration [for example if you recently moved] then use this link to register - https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/electronic-voter-registration-application

I recommend voting in person if you’re at all able, as nearly one in ten mail in votes are disqualified on technical grounds.  If you’re at risk for CoVid or can’t vote in person for any other reason, then vote by mail, making sure you follow all of the guidelines to the letter including sending it in as soon as possible.  There was a huge mail ballot snafu in Brooklyn, so if you live in Brooklyn and received a mail ballot with an incorrect name on either the ballot or envelope, contact the Board of Elections for a new one.

 

Fill in the Census: We’re Lagging the Nation so We Could Lose a Lot of Federal Funding

nyc things to do this weekend queens manhattan bronx brooklyn staten island nyc things to do this weekend nycThere’s been a struggle over lengthening the time allowed for census takers to obtain census information.  The original deadline was July 31st, which was extended to October 31st, which was shortened to September 30th, which was stayed until Sunday, October 4th.  And today it was re-extended to October 31st. Given the back and forth I recommend filling it out right now, if you haven’t already.

Each person counted in the census is worth about $30,000 to $40,000 per person in federal funding for schools, hospitals, mass transit, law enforcement and social services.  And it only takes ten minutes, which you can do now by clicking the photo at right.  It’s the most amount of money you’ll likely ever make for the time expended in your life, so please do it for yourself, your family and / or your community. Here's the link to the census.

https://my2020census.gov?utm_source=queensbuzz

NYC and NYC lag the rest of the nation in filling out the census, which means we won’t get a proper share of funds and representation in Washington if folks don’t fill out the census and quickly.  Currently just under 64% of New Yorkers have filled out the census, while in the state of Utah just under 71% have filled out the census.  That’s a lot of cash in federal funding we’re leaving on the table.

 

Events & Things To Do in NYC & Cancellations

The International Center of Photography opened its doors on Thursday, October 1st with a new photo exhibit about CoVid.  The exhibit uses photographs collected from around the boroughs, the state, the nation and around the world.  You have to rsvp a spot online at icp.org and adherence to CoVid guidelines is required.

In October a number of normally huge events have gone online including the following. 

The NY Film Festival at Lincoln Center went online beginning September 17th and runs through October 11th - https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2020/ 

Comic Con has gone online for the weekend of October 8th – 11th.

Swimming at indoor pools is now possible effective Wednesday, September 30th at 33% capacity and with CoVid guidelines in place. 

The Rockettes Holiday kickoff and season of performances has been cancelled for this year.  They will participate in some manner in the blended online / staged Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


The Mirage of the 'Trump Economy' Part II

Australian born Billionaire, Rupert Murdoch Seems to use the Wall St Journal, NY Post & Fox News to Create the Illusion that Trump has Some Sort of Economic Magic Touch, but the Truth is $6 Trillion in New Debt & $3 Trillion in Federal Reserve Bond Purchases

rupert murdochs wall st journal fake news the wall st journal propaganda machine murdoch wsj distorts the newsSeptember 21, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Things To Do NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Few real journalists - if any - have ever honestly accused Rupert Murdoch and most of the large media brands he controls in our nation, of being bastions of truth. In fact, it would seem, quite the opposite - including by some of the people who work for him.

When Murdoch purchased the Wall Street Journal in 2007 [fact check], there were concerns that he would turn it into another one of his propaganda rags. Shortly after the acquisition, a number of Wall Street Journal reporters fled to Bloomberg News. In fact dozens of them. Those journalists that remained at the Wall Street Journal, had to learn how to operate for an Australian born billionaire who seems to delight in misleading the masses - rather than informing them - in order to profit from the audience's ignorance, to which Murdoch media appear to contribute greatly. Murdoch is kind of like a street hustler whose propagandists do sleight of tongue [hand] tricks, while his political accomplices [puppets like Trump & McConnell] pick the pockets of the audience [Americans].

Not Your Father's Wall Street Journal - A Murdoch Propaganda Rag?

rupert murdochs wall st journal fake news the wall st journal propaganda machine murdoch wsj distorts the newsThis summer over 280 journalists at the Wall Street Journal, became concerned that Herr Murdoch - like Nazi propagandist Herr Goebbels before him - was corrupting the Wall Street Journal into a propaganda outlet, in advance of the election this November. While Murdoch's distortion of the truth in the Wall Street Journal appears to have been going on for years, the event that immediately precipitated the letter, was a misleading - even deceptive - Op Ed by Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence.

In the letter they had a few simple requests. A July 21, 2020 report in the Wall St Journal states,

"... [The WSJ's] Opinion’s lack of fact-checking and transparency, and its apparent disregard for evidence, undermine our readers’ trust and our ability to gain credibility with sources ...”

" ... The letter cites several examples of concern, including a recent essay by Vice President Mike Pence about coronavirus infections ... "

“.. [and that] WSJ journalists should not be reprimanded for writing about errors published in Opinion ..."

"... suggests removing opinion pieces from the “Most Popular Articles” and “Recommended Videos” lists on the website, and creating a separate “Most Popular in Opinion” list..."

" ... letter highlighted was an opinion article titled “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism,” which the letter’s authors said was one of the paper’s most read articles in June. The article argued that the “charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today.” The letter says the piece “selectively presented facts and drew an erroneous conclusion from the underlying data...”

i have reported on similar truth distortions by Rupert Murdoch's media, including Fox News, the NY Post and many other media outlets controlled by him in our section about Rupert Murdoch and the Rise of the 21st Century Propaganda Press, which you can find by clicking this link.


Triumph of The [Rupert's] Will: How Murdoch Manipulates Voter's Perceptions & Public Policy

Australian born Billionaire Appears to use his Media Outlets to Shape Voter's Views, Loading them with Misconceptions, So They'll Elect Compromised Fox Nation Pols, Who Upon Assuming Office, Seem to Reward Murdoch's Media Support, by Crafting Public Policy to Conform to Murdoch's Will, Favoring his Business Interests

fox fake news murdoch manipulates audience perception in order to profitSeptember 4, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / U.S. Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As mentioned previously, I've been doing a fairly deep dive into learning as much about the Third Reich and Nazi Germany as time permits, in order to more fully understand what's happening in present day events.

Media Manipulation for Fun & Profit

I began noticing similarities between Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's manipulative use of his large share of Amerian media in 2016, to what Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda for the Nazis, did beginning in the 1920's until his end in 1945. On May 1, 1945 Goebbels poisoned his children, his wife and himself as the Allied forces neared his home. Hitler and his companions had committed suicide the day before, as Allied forces invaded Berlin. None of them had the courage to stand trial for their crimes against humanity ... although like Mussolini, they may not have made it to court.

 

1. Did Fox 'News' Attempt to Protect the Reputation of a Propaganda Asset via Omission?

fox fake news murdoch manipulates audience perception in order to profitSo today, we're going to look at just a few of Murdoch's media manipulations made in just the past couple of months - and I'm nearly certain that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, I don't have the resource to fact check what is the largest misleading news content producing organization in the nation, and possibly the free world.

Let's start with the first two photos on this page. This story broke in the Guardian on July 7, 2020.

The first photo shows Fox News 'reporting the news' regarding the sexcapades of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell. In the first photo, Fox News conveniently cropped out Donald Trump. In the second photo [at right] we have the 'full picture' aka the truth.

The man who calls everyone else a 'sleezeball' is seen with Melania 'being best', and two of the people alleged to be among some of the sleeziest on the planet [Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell]. Do birds of a feather flock together?

So we must ask why Rupert Murdoch would crop Donald Trump out of the photo? Is it to avoid portraying the Donald in a negative light in order to keep him - a Murdoch asset - in office?

Trump appears to have been a boon to billionaire Murdoch through massive billionaire tax cuts funded by debt to be paid for by America's children and unborn? Or is because Trump's actions in the Middle East vis a visIsrael seemed to serve to legitimize Murdoch's investment in Genie Energy in the illegally occupied Syrian Golan Heights? Or was it because Trump loosened up the FCC ownership limits for mega media companies like Murdoch's thus allowing the few to control our media, which givens them the power to influence the national democratic conversation - and in Murdoch's case - it seems the power to corrupt it in order to profit from it. Or was it because Trump famously fired all U.S. Attorneys, including Preet Bharara - who was investigating Murdoch's companies for sexual harrassment and phone hacking - less than 24 hours after Sean Hannity on Fox News told him to do just that? Perhaps most importantly, Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr, greenlighted the merger of Disney / ABC, which was an inverted takeover resulting in Rupert Murdoch becoming Disney / ABC's largest shareholder.


Democracy in Action: Blue Lives, Black Lives, All Lives Matter in Queens & NYC

A Blue Lives Matter Parade Met by a Black Lives Matter Protest

blue lives matter parade sunnyside queens blue lives matter meets black lives matter protesters in sunnyside queens nycAugust 23, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Social Issues NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

On Saturday morning around 11 am a Blue Lives Matter parade began on Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside Queens.  I arrived shortly after it began and followed it up to Joseph Sabba Park where several people were to give speeches to the parade participants and attendees.

 

As the parade arrived at Joseph Sabba Park they were met by a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who were kneeling on the sidewalk holding placards making Black Lives Matter statements.  The Blue Lives Matter parade participants paused as they came in direct contact.  As I sat there video recording the ‘confrontation’ I wondered whether things might take a turn for the worse and go badly.

 

Blue Lives Matter Parade & Speakers Queens NYC

Whoever was leading the Blue Lives Matter parade, wisely led the Blue Lives Matter parade around the Black Lives Matter protesters - rather than risking walking through them - where someone on one side or another might have escalated the tension to a higher level.

The Blue Lives Matter parade participants and attendees settled in the middle of Joseph Sabba Park and the speeches began.  The first speaker, whose name I didn’t catch, spoke supportively of the police and the important work they do in the community.  He struck a human chord, noting that the men and women who serve in the police force are dedicated to serving the community, among whom are their own families and children.  He ended saying we’re all human.

The second speaker struck a more passionate Blue Lives Matter tone, remarking that the ‘Diaphragm’ Law hindered police from doing their jobs. The Diaphragm Law allows police officers to be subject to a misdemeanor if they constrict a person’s diaphragm in the process of making an arrest.

What I recorded of both of these speeches will be shown in the video.

The signs of the Blue Lives Matter parade participants also showed a range of thoughts and emotions, ranging from striking a supportive and yet harmonious chord, while others were defiantly in support of the police – seeming to ignore the validity of the Black Lives Matter social unrest.  They included Enough with the hate, respect goes both ways, to Reform is for criminals, drug addicts and sex offenders.


Murdoch's Fox News Racism Revealed

Tucker Carlson Omits Key Facts of African American Deaths by Police

fox fake news tucker carlson racism on fox news tucker carlson distorts the news omits key facts from reportAugust 18, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Rupert Murdoch & Fox Fake News Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As far as I know, nobody has ever accused Rupert Murdoch of running an unbiased news operation. In fact, it's seems just the opposite, as countless people have found countless significant reporting errors by his mammoth news operation, which in the U.S. alone represents about half the large corporate branded news content viewed by Americans including Fox News, the Wall St Journal, the NY Post, Barron's, MarketWatch and increasingly ABC News where Murdoch is the largest shareholder.

What is most disturbing, is how the pinocchio propagandists on some Murdoch media outlets appear to omit key facts, in order to put forth narratives that are at odds with the truth, which are then imprinted on the minds of the millions upon millions of viewers who watch and believe what they see and hear on Fox News.

Manipulating what ends up in people's minds is exactly what Joseph Goebbels did as the Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany in the 1930's and 1940's. As in Nazi Germany, Herr Murdoch's propaganda ministry in the U.S., appears to use the media to favor some people or groups at the expense of other people and groups in its reporting. Oftentimes the groups Murdoch appears to favor break along race and economic class lines. We're going to look at how Tucker Carlson appears to have put forth a false Fascist narrative that further victimizes the African American victims of unnecessary violence at the hands of rogue policemen, whose errant behavior is defended far too often by the police unions.

fox fake news tucker carlson racism on fox news tucker carlson distorts the news omits key facts from reportTo be sure, those who fall prey to such mass media manipulation, are also responsible for their own ignorance and subsequent behaviors, including their voting.

Thomas Jefferson said,

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. If it were, the laws would lose their effect, because it can always be pretended.”

We saw this pretension of ignorance and denial of responsibility by many Germans following World War II, including from those operating in influential posts with access to top levels of the Nazi high command. They pretended their ignorance, but generally the truth wills out.

I'll make my case regarding Murdoch's Fox News and Tucker Carlson's reporting of African Americans appearing to be victimized by rogue policemen on Fox News Tucker Carlson's nationally televised show. I identified a couple of shows, which were broadcast over American airwaves using a high number of FCC licenses, reaching millions upon millions of Americans who appear to have been disinformed in what seems a systematic effort by Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's media to provide distorted reporting with respect to incidents of police brutality vis a vis the African American community.

Fox News & Tucker Carlson Twist the Facts to Make a Trap for Fools?

The first incident we're going to review, is Tucker Carlson's Fox News coverage of the Rayshared Brooks shooting in Atlanta on Friday, June 12th, 2020. Rayshard Brooks was a 27 year old African American and father of three who was found misparked in a Wendy's parking lot, apparently sleeping. He was found to have a blood alcohol of nearly .11 which is above the legal limit for driving of .08. Brooks was not stopped while driving, but rather after he had misparked his car in a Wendy's drive thru queue.


Law Enforcement, the Economy, but First Home Sweet Home?

Is Home is Where the Heart is or Where We Sleep?

July 20, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Casino Royale:  Will the Donald Bankrupt America with Trillions in Spending?

trump bankruptcies casinos trump business failures corrupt donald trumpThe Administration, meanwhile, seems terribly out of touch with reality.  Their retarded response to the CoVid pandemic paved the way for the viral explosion.  One of their greatest mistakes was that they politicized Americans’ choice to defend themselves from the virus by wearing a mask, and they squandered away trillions of the public’s money – with the enabling help of the Democrats – to keep businesses functioning, without obtaining much in the way of concessions from them.

If the Donald is a great negotiator, then he’s negotiating away American’s future, in exchange for a junkie boost to his reelection prospects, and self-enrichment [there was a $160 billion tax break given to real estate developers like Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner and he fired five Inspector Generals within the six weeks that the largest spending bills in American history were passed totallying $3 trillion].

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel obtained an equity stake of 20% - 25% from Lufthansa, in exchange for the German government bailout of that airline. And now the Donald and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are in discussions to throw away another trillion or more in added stimulus - again without obtaining any concessions from those who will receive it. 

The image at right shows the headline of a January 9, 2019 report in Vanity Fair. This report was published over a year before the $3 trillion in stimulus spending done in March / April of 2020.

Bread Crumbs for the Masses & Melania's "I Don’t Care Do U?"

melania trump character i don't care do you when visiting immigrant children marie antoinette melania trump and childrenThere was $3 trillion in stimulus spending bills passed in late March and early April of 2020.  But the money that working class Americans [161 million people] received in the form of U.S. Treasury $1,200 checks amounts to only $193 million [161 x $1,200] of the $3 trillion stimulus spending done to date.  And then there was the extra $600 per week in added stimulus payments - which paid many unemployed workers more than they had been making and reportedly cost the American taxpayer over $15 billion per week according to a July 17, 2020 CNBC report. 

The CNBC report noted that 25.6 million were on this $600 per week government payout program.  According to the report the reason the total pandemic relief recipients are higher than the unemployed is because the package includes people who are,

“… business owners, self-employed Americans, gig workers and independent contractors who are not typically eligible for unemployment.”

So a rough estimate of the cost of this $600 per week program is 13 weeks x $600 per person per week x 26 million = $203 million.  If you add the payments from these two payout programs together then the total payout to working Americans was [$203 billion plus $193 billion] was $396 billion or 13% of the stimulus spending. Thus it seems - a relatively small number of mega millionaire and billionaire real estate developers like Donald Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and their [industry segment] friends - collected over a third as much as what all working classs Americans collectively received in stimulus handouts.

This self dealing doesn't seem to be anything new for the Trumps. And the Trump insensitivity to those who less fortunate than they are, appears equally legendary. As you can see in the June of 2018 Bazaar report above, Melania Trump demonstrated an incredible insensitivity during a visit to the Texas border detention centers for immigrant children, when she wore a jacket that had the words "I don't care do u" on it.


George Floyd Protest Cinematography, Music & Narrative

June 12, 2020 / NYC NeighborhoodsNYC Social Issues & Crime / News Analysis & Opinion /  Gotham Buzz NYC.

The video below is an interpretive depiction of a protest event in McCarren Park early last week. The piece is  meant to be savored - like food, music and cinematography.





George Floyd & Pink Floyd

Trying to Make Sense in a Senseless World

May 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

george floyd protests brooklyn nyc police protests brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens george floyd protests brooklyn nypd police protests bk nycI watched the George Floyd protests unfold on the nightly TV newscasts for a couple of days before venturing out myself to see what I might learn. The protests began on Friday, May 29th in NYC, following the death of George Floyd, an African American who was asphyxiated, apparently due to a Minneapolis policeman holding a knee over George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes which was caught on video.

TV News Appears to Sensationalize More than Inform 

On Saturday night Fox News ran and reran the same footage multiple times of a car burning, seeming to hype and sensationalize the footage into a full blown ‘riot’. The a lot of the Fox footage was taken from the air, in a helicopter which they lease (reportedly) for millions annually, which again repeatedly showed video of the crowd below, which appeared to be mostly our men in blue. So given little good video, they talked about groups dallying into the police and back again – but really didn’t seem to have any video to support their claims. The next day Mayor de Blasio reported that there were no deaths and no serious injuries to members of the NYPD or the crowd. But there was some looting.

An NBC news account made the situation seem far more chaotic than it was by shaking the camera, providing the appearance of chaos. And so on.

More Photos & Video Coming Wednesday

Covering the George Floyd Protests in NYC from the Ground - Not from a Cushy Corporate Media Chopper   

The ‘crisis’ seemed to be more manufactured by the TV news, than by what was actually happening on the streets, which is why I decided I needed to cover this myself. Second hand TV news seems increasingly like garbage news, but before I could make such a claim, I had to see for myself.

Having grown up in a newspaper family, I’ve been watching the news and presentation of it all of my life, beginning with the Kennedy assassination, which my father made all of us watch as he said it was history in the making. Back then the news was owned by dozens, if not hundreds of independent newspapermen and broadcasters, so like social media, there was a variety of news presentations and you could pick from them.

Today large multi-billion dollar corporations control most of the news we see, and it seems their focus is largely centered around profit driven ratings instead of a fair and balanced presentation of the news. This is why they seem to hype, sensationalize and distort Americans’ perceived reality in order to keep them glued to the tube. And the hyping and sensationalizing is not getting better – it’s getting worse.

No longer can you turn on the TV to be informed, but rather to be scared, angered and far too often – to become disinformed.


Many NYC Farmers Markets are Open

Farmers Markets are Essential Businesses, Provide Fresh Food & a Nice Outing

manhattan farmers markets manhattan green markets manhattan nycMay 1, 2020 / NYC Shopping / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Last weekend, on Saturday, I ventured out to enjoy the beautiful weather. I was not alone, as for the first time in a month and a half there were a number of people moving about the neighborhood.

I headed down to the farmers market to see what that looked like under the new normal. The food looked fresh, and there was plenty of it - although this was in mid morning.

The experience wasn't much different than what you'd expect. People wore face masks and there were lines created by social distancing. I was glad to see that farmers markets are essential businesses, as it augments a strained food supply chain, and provides folks with an opportunity to get out of the house in about as safe an environment as you can get. Here's a link to the dates, times, locations and selection of the 2020 Queens farmers markets, Staten Island Farmers Markets, Brooklyn Farmers Markets, Manhattan Farmers Markets and Bronx Farmers Markets.

I can't say people were smiling, not just because their faces were covered by masks, but there's been a gradual mood deterioration as we pass the second rent due date of the CoVid pandemic. Many people aren't standing in the farmers market social distancing line, but rather standing in food pantry lines. And for many, their economic fates are up for grabs, as we collectively try to navigate our way back to work. Many believe that economic activity is likely to be dampened by the CoVid pandemic for some time to come.

On the bright side, the Governor and the Mayor announced plans to begin daily sanitization of the MTA subway system beginning Wednesday, May 6th. The plan is to close the terminal stations of the subway lines from 1 am to 5 am, daily - providing shuttle buses to and from the last stop for passengers. And then, in those four wee hours of the morning, the NYPD and NYC social services will swoop into clear out the homeless population that has started making the subway their new home. It seems a good and humane plan.

Sanitizing the subway lines should go a long way toward preparing us to get back to the new normal by helping to dampen - if not eradicate - the transmission of the CoVid virus. This collaborative effort by both the Mayor and the Governor will help all of us to get back to work and play. So things are moving in the right direction, albeit not at a viral pace.

Have a nice weekend. The weather is going to be in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. And no rain, but some clouds.



Through Wind, Snow, Rain, Sleet & CoVid - Education Goes On

Or … the Wild and Whacky World of Online Learning in the Age of CoVid

covid online learning nyc schools during covid brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc public private education nyc during covid pandemic spring 2020 nycApril 27, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As we anxiously await the return to the new normal, being bombarded by repetitious daily TV newscasts, the Donald’s Daily Disinformation Show, and what seems Rupert Murdoch’s unending propaganda in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News, there are a few bright spots, but you have to look for them.

I thought the migration from school classrooms might be one of them, so I set out to find out what that experience felt like to both educators and students at the elementary, high school and college levels. As I interviewed only two students and two teachers, this is an anecdotal report about the migration from classroom to computer.

The mass migration began the week beginning March 9th, 2020. College students around the nation, including the CUNY and SUNY systems, were told their classes were being discontinued and they were instructed to pack their things and return home. By the start of the next week, beginning March 16th, NYC public elementary and high schools were also closed. Private schools more or less closed their doors in tandem with the public schools.

During that week of disbandment, the world of education began a mad scramble to figure out how to continue the education process – without classrooms, schools and interpersonal contact. This was not a mean feat.

Nonetheless, educators scrambled, ramped up to speed using interactive platforms like Zoom and Google Hang Out, which includes Google Meet & Chat, and Google Docs. The educators also started figuring out how replace lectures and moderated classroom discussions by using videos and presentations / documents.

Based on the four interviews I conducted, it seems there wasn’t any one formula used, but rather a whole slew of different approaches. Teachers used more different approaches to online learning – depending not just on the subject matter - but also on the audience aka the class.

College Professor’s Experience Migrating Online

covid online learning nyc schools during covid brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc public private education nyc during covid pandemic spring 2020 nycThomas Bolin is a religious studies professor at a small liberal arts college. He teaches three classes – one is about American Evangelicalism, which examines the changing face of religion in America. He teaches two classes of Ancient Wisdom, which examines Biblical, Roman and Egyptian philosophies. This course ends with each student creating their own personal philosophy.

Professor Bolin said he started by taking a technology inventory of his students including computer and internet access. The real technological issue wasn’t access to devices as nearly everyone has a smart phone and computer but rather access to internet with enough bandwidth at the times needed.

After he’d completed the technology inventory, he set out devising a teaching game plan. To that end he began developing videos, which he posted so that the students could access asynchronously – meaning on their timeframe. His reasoning was that as some of his students lived in different time zones, and some had issues accessing high speed internet at home because of shared bandwidth and devices, this would enable all to keep pace with their classroom peers.

He said he receives a slew of student emails after each video post, which he answers personally. He said he also checks in with each of his students at least once per week.

Professor Bolin also said that he began creating reading guides for many of the assigned readings to initiate interaction, circular discussions and he paired student to interact.

I asked him if he was working more or less these days. He said more … that the five day week had become a continuous stream of seven day weeks … that work filling his days has become like gas filling a room.

He noted that it’s far more difficult to tell how plugged in each student is to the subject matter. He said that it was likely for that reason that Princeton went to Pass / Fail when they initiated the migration from in class to online. He opined that in spite of the additional work he’s had to do, the students were likely getting a reduced educational experience. And hence, he reasoned, the pass / fail is a means of acknowledging the reduced expectations.

I’m paraphrasing but he said something like, “Education is learning about and through community, interpersonal interactions, which ultimately lead to growth. That’s not something that can be well replicated online.”



CoVid Crisis – Back to Work Part II

Jury Rigging / Do It Yourself Methods to Get Back to Work

covid disease characteristics spread nyc brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid disease mitigation spread characteristics covid nycApril 24, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

NY Pause Continues Through May 15th Pending an Update

First a couple of announcements were made the past couple of weeks which hint at when we will begin returning to the new normal. With hospitalizations declining / stabilizing and intubations and new positives declining, Governor Cuomo extended NY Pause to May 15th, which keeps open essential businesses, but closes the non-essential businesses until such time as there’s enough slack in the healthcare system / hospitals to accommodate any sort of resurgence in Corona Virus patients that may occur as a result of the re-opening.

Governor Cuomo told the Donald NYC and NYS wouldn't need the USNS Comfort any longer, as the emergency crisis has subsided. As noted in an earlier report, the build out at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was put on hold, pending a more definitive direction in the CoVid hospitalization numbers. The photo above shows a retailer temperature screening customers before they enter the store [photo credit Dantanyan].

Large Public NYC Events Cancelled thru May

Biggest Events in June Aren’t Likely to Occur & NYC Public Pools will Likely Remain Closed Through the Summer

covid disease characteristics spread nyc brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid disease mitigation spread characteristics covid nycAs mentioned previously, Mayor de Blasio seemed to think that the NYC public school system will remain closed through the end of this school year. The Mayor also said that large public gatherings won’t resume until at least June 1st, and even after, that the three largest public events in NYC in June [the Israel Parade, the Puerto Rican Parade and the Gay Pride Parade in both Manhattan and Queens] aren’t likely to take place this year - but no final decision has yet been made. Other large public events including street fairs and other parades will not take place through May and there will be an update before then about what happens beginning in June.

The Mayor also said that NYC public pools will likely not open this summer because of the challenges of keeping people socially distanced / safe from the spread of the Corona Virus. Also, the Plastic Bag ban enforcement was pushed back to May 15th some time ago. As of this report, that enforcement date still stands, but like so much related to the CoVid 19 crisis, the date could be extended further. And the special election for Queens Borough President was cancelled and will be held in tandem with the NYS primary and general election. Lastly, the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks are still planned, but like everything this Spring, is still subject to change.



Back to Work Part I: Understanding the CoVid 19 Enemy

Review SARS-CoV-2 Characteristics – Function & Contagion

covid 19 virus characteristics contagion spread mitigation containment theapies cures covid 19 pandemic 2020April 17, 2020 / / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As noted in my last report, we’ve moved from emergency management to crisis management. That is simultaneously the good news and the bad news. I expect the crisis in one form or another will be with us for some time to come. But forecasting what the future looks like is at best a precarious endeavor.

Everyone is now trying to figure out a way back to the new normal, which means living with a incurable virus in our midst, until such time as therapies, cures or vaccines are found and proven to be successful.

So what does the path forward look like?

The image at right was created by Brooklyn artist Craig Ward of bacteria he collected on the subway and made into artistic renditions.

Governor Cuomo Begins Sketching a Back to Work Plan

covid 19 virus characteristics contagion spread mitigation containment theapies cures covid 19 pandemic 2020For starters Governor Cuomo extended NY Pause through May 15th. NY Pause is the directive to close social gathering places and venues, schools and non-essential businesses. Within the past week Mayor de Blasio said the NYC Public School system would not reopen this school year.

Governor Cuomo laid out a sketch of a conceptual plan, which likely came from one of the consultant groups, as it looked a lot like the growth share matrix devised by Boston Consulting Group. The growth share matrix was designed for companies to use to evaluate the businesses they are in, to determine whether to continue investing in them or to begin cashing out of them. The divisions in high growth businesses that are profitable are the ones to keep backing, while the companies in the low growth low profitability businesses are the ones to sell, close or grind out every last dollar.

Governor Cuomo’s matrix axes [plural for axis] has high and low infection rates along the y axis and more essential / less essential along the x axis. The more essential and less potential infection the quicker you’re back to work. The less essential and the higher the potential infection, the longer before you’re back to work.



Cuomo, de Blasio & YOU have been doing Great

New Yorkers Appear to Turn Corner on the Corona Virus Crisis

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 12, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I hope you had a good Easter / Passover weekend.

Based on what I observed, albeit with very limited movement and anecdotally, New Yorkers appeared to stay at home, self isolating over the holiday weekend.

This sort of compliance with government guidance is what has enabled us to stem the spread of the - at times lethal - Corona Virus. And the levelling happened none too soon, as parts of the NYC hospital system were operating at full capacity - and in some cases over capacity.

Most of the metrics for the virus have been levelling off or even going down, while the only positive metric - daily discharges - continues to rise.

We appear to be transitioning from emergency management, to crisis management, and government officials are now even beginnning to look ahead at transitioning us back to what will be the new normal.

 

NYS & NYC New CoVid 19 Cases Level - Even Show Signs of Falling

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNew CoVid 19 cases in NYS were down fairly sharply yesterday, based on the numbers presented by Governor Cuomo. But the drop may be due to weekend reporting discrepancies. In any case the number of new cases appears to have levelled off in both New York state and in New York City.

The key statistics that the Governor and the Mayor have been closely monitoring include new and net hospitalizations, new and net admissions to the Intensive Care Unit, and new and net intubations aka use of respirators. As you can see from the graphs, all have been falling. This data was collected from the Governor's daily press briefing, as well as from other media outlets such as the New York Times, on the days when the Governor didn't present all of the key metrics in his press briefing.


Riding the Rails During the CoVid Pandemic in NYC

Observations of a Blogger While Covering the CoVid Story

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 9, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I've been covering the CoVid Pandemic since it began in NYC, starting in the first half of March. At first my attention was focused on the closures by the Governor and Mayor as they began shuttering social events, social interactions and ultimately the economy.

It wasn't long before I shifted my attention to the growing numbers of people testing positive for the Corona Virus in NYC and NYS. This was followed by photographing the efforts by the NYC Mayor and the NYS Governor to build out additional healthcare capacity, to accommodate the projected growth of sick people, resulting from the spreading pandemic. They had a very limited time frame to complete this build out, before the influx of new Corona Virus patients overwhelmed the existing NYC and NYS healthcare capacity.

Most recently I've turned my attention to the economic hardships currently being borne by New Yorkers, particularly in small businesses and the folks working in essential services.

I've witnessed many people thanking the folks working in essential services - including healthcare, public transit, grocery and pharmacy outlets, and first responders - and I want to add my own thanks for all of the work they do, to keep the rest of us moving.

The photo above was taken about a week ago. A little bit of natural beauty helps keep things in perspective.

 

Reporter Travelogue - Startling Beginning With Closures

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThis is a travelogue about riding the MTA rails, along with essential workers, to do my part by providing independent first hand reports and context regarding what's happening here in NYC vis a vis the Corona Virus pandemic. Most of what I report is either not reported by the sensationalist, ratings-driven TV network news, or it's diminished in their reported accounts because it's contextual - not shocking.

The pandemic first hit my radar while I was covering a theater event at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. At that time I first heard that the Governor had started instituting surprising - and what at the time seemed draconian - measures designed to stymie the growing tide of CoVid 19 infections. In short order these actions were followed by the Mayor and it included shutting down restaurants and non-essential services.

The photo at right shows shuttered businesses along Court Avenue in Brooklyn during the NYC CoVid lockdown.

At the moment these governmental measures appear to be working, but I suspect maintaining discipline during the Passover and Easter holidays will be challenging. Afterall we have now spent over a month in communal isolation. But if people don't comply with the guidance provided by government officials, the pandemic will quickly resurge, and lengthen the time before we can all get back to the new normal. The Governor cited several examples from around the world including Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Influenza pandemic of 1918 in the U.S..


The CoVid Curve Appears to be Flattening

Growth in Daily Hospitalizations & ICU Patients Appears to Slow

March 31, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Please note I tried to contact the Governor's Office for comment on this and have not yet heard back from them. I know they're busy, and we're not from the MainStream Media.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNearly three weeks ago, Governor Cuomo issued an order for social distancing, by initially limiting social gatherings to fifty people or less. Mayor de Blasio supported the move that same day. As such most of the cultural venues in New York City suspended normal operations and events pending further notification or some future date. That was nearly three weeks ago.

That action was subsequently followed by further actions, limiting social gatherings to ten people and eventually just immediate households. On March 15, 2020 Mayor de Blasio issued an order asking bars and restaurants to close their doors except for deliveries / take out. That was more than two weeks ago.

A week ago while I was out photographing the empty, eerie NYC landscape, I noticed somewhat casually that somewhere between 10% - 25% of retail outlets were still open in Manhattan / Queens. Just a few days ago, while making another sweep through a couple of neighborhoods, the percent of those open had dropped to ghost town levels of 10% and less.

The bad news is that there's been a near stop to 'non-essential' life here and that there's an economic reckoning most folks are facing tomorrow on April 1st as bills come due.

The good news is that I've been tracking the numbers provided by Governor Cuomo and the curve does appear to already be flattening. The Governor has hinted at this by noting that the hospitalization rate had gone from doubling every 2 - 3 days at the outset a few weeks ago, to doubling every six days as of about a day ago.

But the good news goes beyond that. A couple of days ago, the Governor changed what numbers he was releasing to the public.


 

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Election 2020: Which Queens Borough President Candidate?

Five Pols are on the Ballot and Three Appear in Contention

queens borough president candidates queens boro presidents race march 2020 elizabeth crowley donovan richards costa constantinides anthony miranda james quinn candidates for queens borough president

June 17, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Tuesday, June 23rd, we go to the polls to exercise our hard fought right to choose those who will represent us in the halls of power.  The majority of the people around the world have not yet won this right, and their governments don’t respect them enough to allow them a voice in the debate of public policy, let alone a seat at the table.

I attended a couple of Queens Borough President candidate forums, to try to make an assessment of the pros and cons associated with each of the candidates running for this office.  Following the debates I did a bit of research to add to my perspective.  The following is a brief synopsis of what I learned.  The photo at right was taken at a March Queens Borough President Forum - seated left to right Constantinides, Richards, Miranda and Crowley.  Yin was not in attendance.   

There are five pols who will be listed on the ballot, as former Queens Assistant District Attorney James Quinn suspended his campaign sometime around the arrival of the CoVid pandemic, which coincided with the postponement of the election.  The candidates are Dao Yin, Anthony Miranda, Donovan Richards, Elizabeth Crowley and Costa Constantinides.

Funding & Support: Who’s Really in the Running?

I started by researching their endorsements and campaign contributions.  According to a June 16, 2020 report in City & State recently shows that of the five candidates, two of them – Dao Yin and Anthony Miranda – each raised less than $100,000 in private contributionsNeither of these two candidates has held publicly elected office, and neither of them appears to have significant community / organizational support.  So votes for them may send some kind of message, but they are both long shots to win.

That leaves us with three highly competitive candidates: Donovan Richards, Elizabeth Crowley and Costa Constantinides.  Richards and Constantinides each raised close to $300,000 from private contributions, while Crowley raised nearly $500,000 in contributions. A closer look begins to hint at what kind of Queens Borough Presidents each will be.

Elizabeth Crowley - Backs Amazon Billion$ Tax Breaks 

For example Crowley has the backing of a number of construction related unions because she appears to support a real estate development agenda.  She’s been pushing for new rail lines in Queens and she was also very supportive of the proposed Amazon deal which would have given a $ billion plus in tax breaks to one of the largest corporations and one of the richest men in the world.  The deal was done behind closed doors. Crowley is also the cousin of former Queens Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley, who endorsed his cousin and likely has been advocating her candidacy with these construction unions who used to endorse him.

Donovan Richards - Backs Amazon Billion$ Tax Breaks

Donovan Richards fundraising kicked up a bit later in the game, as likely the Democratic Party Machine, which has endorsed Richards moved into action.  Richards has the backing of a number of Queens Democratic Machine allied unions.  Richards has worked with real estate developers in his district for many years, taking credit for the real estate developers doing things ‘for’ the community as they began erecting new buildings and improving the infrastructure.  Like Crowley, Richards was also supportive of the closed door, tax break laden, Amazon deal.  And like Crowley, he too appears to be a pro-development candidate.

Folks in the Jamaica neighborhood are likely in the 'sweet phase' of gentrification, when the community gets all sorts of upgrades for 'free'. But they should beware, because there's no such thing as a free lunch as the folks in western Queens found out.  After the freebies ended in western Queens, the rents skyrocketed and landlords have reportedly been making attempts to harass rent stabilized tenants out of their apartments - even though it is illegal to do so.  

Costa Constantinides - Stands up to Amazon & Developers

And then there’s Costa.  Unlike the two primary Queens Borough President candidates above, Costa’s support doesn’t come from organized groups who appear to be positioning themselves to profit from a candidacy, but rather from non-profit groups attempting to address community issues and causes, focusing their efforts on improving the opportunities and quality of life in the communities they serve.   These include groups like the National Association of Social Workers, the Stonewall Democrats [LGBTQ], the Hispanic American Voters Association, the South Asian American Voters Association, the New Queens Democrats [younger], the Muslim Entrepreneurs Association and a host of Progressive government officials around the city.

Costa wasn’t one of the leading voices opposing the Amazon deal -  but unlike the two candidates referenced above, he did oppose the deal -  which was best explained in a November 14, 2018 Democracy Now interview.  In that interview Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim 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. Kim went on to correctly predict that the Governor was subsidizing expansion plans that likely would have occurred with or without the subsidies. [Editor’s Note: Amazon has since made significant investments in growing its footprint in NYC, but without the billions in taxpayer funded credits and grants].

Renters vs Land Lords and Developers?

A Washington Post November 13, 2018 report [the Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos] outlined who were expected to be the winners and losers. The 'winners' would have been [western Queens] property owners and developers and highly skilled workers, while the 'losers' would have been renters, low income residents, commuters due to increased transit volume, some small businesses and rival tech companies.

Winners and losers is a competitive description of what's going on right now. Those who look out for their own interests and act to enhance or preserve them generally win - and those who don't - eventually end up losing. In the case noted above, the 'winners' actually lost and the 'losers' actually won because the would be 'losers' took swift and decisive action with the aid of local pols to thwart the behind closed doors giveaways .  Other pols who came out to fight against what seemed an unnecessary billionaire tax break included Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris and NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

So, on Tuesday, if you back tax breaks for billionaires and real estate developers, you may  want to vote for Donovan Richards or Elizabeth Crowley.  But if you want pols to negotiate tougher deals, you might want to cast your vote for Costa Constantinides.

nyc poll site locator queens poll site locator manhattan polls locations

As this is an oversimplification, here are links to our coverage of the Queens Borough President forum in January and the  Queens Borough President Forum in March, which will give you added insight into each of the candidates' positions.  

Click the link for the poll finder website, so you can easily find where to vote in your neighborhood.  Be brave, but also be careful.  Many of our ancestors died for our right to vote.  Remember this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The New York City election is Tuesday June 23rd and polls are open from 6 am - 9 pm.



Queens Farmers Markets / Green Markets In Queens, Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, Forest | farmers markets green markets Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, Glendale farmers markets green markets Queens NY fresh vegetables, produce, meats, poultry, fish, baked goods at farmers markets green markets in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Jamaica, Glendale, Queens NY
Queens Farmers Markets / Green Markets In Queens, Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, Forest

Queens Farmers Markets

May 7, 2020  / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz.

See HOURS, MAPS, ITEMS / SELECTION of the 18 BEST Farmers Markets / Green Markets in Queens, w/ savvy shoppers' tips. This report includes the Astoria Farmers Market, Sunnyside Farmers Market, Jackson Heights Green Market, LIC Long Island City Green Market, Flushing Farmers Market, Corona Farmers Market, Jamaica Farmers Market, Forest Hills farmers markets and in between.

Click here for dates, times, locations of the Queens Farmers Markets.



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 8, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

Mother's Day is this weekend. It's a good day to let your wife or mother or daughter know you appreciate her efforts in the most important role of her life. Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner are always welcome, as is any thoughtful gesture that provides some measure showing your recognition of her efforts in her role as mother of some children. After all, without mothers, we would all cease to be.

Normally 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 - BUT this year reservations, per se, are not an option. But delivery and take out are.

Mother's Day History - Restaurants In Queens

The origins of Mother's Day in the United States began with the efforts by Anna Jarvis to honor 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 Mothers Day 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 2020 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.

We've identified over a half dozen Queens restaurants that are doing take out / delivery on Mother's Day in Queens. Enjoy.



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 2020

May 14, 2020 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

This is a report containing things to do in Queens over the Memorial Day Weekend. 

I know Memorial Day Weekend is fully a week away, but given it's such a changed landscape due to the CoVid pandemic, I thought you might want more time to think about how you're going to spend the weekend.

Weather. As of this posting the weather forecast is as follows. The Temperature highs will be in the low to mid 70's and the temperature lows will be around 60 all three days of the long weekend. There's a 20% chance of rain all weekend. Winds will range between 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend. Click for an up-to-date forecast of Queens Weekend Weather.

Normally 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, museums and dining in the Astoria, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Long Island City, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jamaica, Forest Hills, Flushing, Corona neighborhoods in Queens NY.

But this year - as you know - is very different, because we're in the beginning or middle of the CoVid pandemic. So while we'll show you a full listing of Memorial Day events, we'll note which are available this year.

Be sure to check our Memorial Day Weekend things to do post mid afternoon Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Brief History of the Memorial Day Holiday in Queens

Memorial Day first started out as Decoration Day in Waterloo, New York on May 30, 1866 - a year after the Civil War - to honor those who fought in it. In the 1880's the day came to be known as Memorial Day.

According to a May 25, 2012 report in Time Magazine, ten states - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee also officially observe some version of a Confederate Memorial Day, sometime between late April and early June [in Texas it's in January]. It's been reported that unofficially most of the former Confederate states still commemorate it, but not without some controversy as to the former Confederate diaspora it's to honor their ancestors, while to the former diaspora of the slaves it seems a remnant of these states racist past.

About ten percent of the nation travels more than 50 miles over the weekend. Memorial Day differs from Veterans Day which is held on November 11th of each year. Veterans Day began by honoring those who fought in World War I which ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Both honor those who served in the U.S. Military. Veterans Day coincides with a similar holiday in Europe for the same reason, which is called Remembrance Day and Armistice Day.

 

Memorial Day Events In Queens 2020

According to a March 27, 2020 report in Military News the U.S. Navy cancelled Fleet Week due to the CoVid pandemic. The annual celebratory week in NYC was originally scheduled to run from Wednesday, May 20 to Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Unfortunately this year attending the Memorial Day Parade in Douglaston - Little Neck that normally begins between 11 am - 12 noon, as well as the Queens street fairs in Queens NYC, don't appear to options due to the CoVid pandemic. That's not the only activity that will not be available to us, as attending Queens parades NYC, watching theater, visiting the Queens art museums NYC, and eating out at one of the Queens restaurants NYC also won't be available come Memorial Day Weekend.

But things are slowly moving in the right direction. For example you can obtain restaurant food via delivery or carry out - we posted some of the restaurants performing this service as of Mother's Day in our Mother's Day Restaurants in Queens report.

Unfortunately shopping in Queens, will also be limited to groceries, pharmacies and home improvement stores [aka essential services], but local Queens farmers markets in Queens NYC are classified as an essential service, so that provides another outing option.

You can also go bicycling around Queens so be mindful to observe the rules of the road [click link]. The 5 Boro Bike Ride 2020 was cancelled and unfortunately could not be re-scheduled, so we'll all have to wait until 2021 [hopefully].

 

So there are some things happening right here in our favorite borough - Queens. Click here to obtain information about things to do Memorial Day Weekend 2020 in Queens. This events calendar is updated monthly with about 100 different Queens fun / cultural events. Visit the front page of Queens Buzz on Friday for updates.

 

Queens Public & Private Parks & Swimming Pools

Queens has a number of New York City Parks, most of which will be open, including the restrooms which will be cleaned daily with disinfectants.

But the normal park service options aren't available during the CoVid pandemic. These include no barbeques, no team sports and both the public swimming pools and the playgrounds will remain closed. But the beaches in other boroughs will be open, although no swimming will be allowed and the beaches will only be open for limited periods - generally from 10 am - 6 pm. NYS public marinas are open for non-commercial activities.

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 2020 including maps showing their locations along with a bit of park history.

 

Golfing In Queens - Currently Closed due to CoVid 19

Queens has four golf courses and NORMALLY all of them are open over the Memorial Day Weekend - but not this year [May 2020]. Click here for details about Queens Golf Courses 2020 including maps and links to the operators' websites. Brooklyn also has two golf courses, and both Staten Island and the Bronx each have three golf courses - again normally they're open over the Memorial Day Weekend - but as of this posting they'll be closed.

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.



- farmers / mom / mem

Things To Do in Queens This Weekend

This Weekend Many Events Cancelled & Many Institutions Closing Doors for a Couple of Weeks due to the Corona Virus Pandemic

queens things to doMarch 13, 2020 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's on Friday, dropping to the high 50's on Saturday and low 50's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be around 40 on Friday & Saturday, dropping to the low 30's by Sunday. Rain is in the forecast for Friday ONLY, likely gone by 11 am. It will be cloudy later in the day on Saturday only. Winds will be 15 mph on Friday, dropping to between 5 - 10 mph for the rest of the weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to about 40% for the rest of the weekend. Click for Queens Weather.

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

The photo at right shows some folks riding the subway this week who've taken the precaution of wearing surgical masks to prevent getting infected by the Corona Virus - see details below.

 

Corona Virus - A Brief History of Growing Awareness

The Corona Virus outbreak was first reported by the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan in China.

By January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo called a NYS State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what at the time was the Corona Virus epidemic, as there was a rapid spike in the number of reported cases in NYS. At the time NYC had reported about a dozen known cases.

On March 10, 2020 Governor Cuomo ordered a quarantine of a neighborhood in New Rochelle.

On March 11, 2020, Mayor de Blasio followed suit, and declared NYC in a State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what was called a pandemic by the World Health Organization on the same day.

And today, March 13, 2020, last but not least, Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in the United States in order to accelerate the nation's slow response to the evolving public health crisis.

 

Corona Virus Precautions - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

By now you'd have to be blind, deaf and mute not to have heard that you should thoroughly wash your hands and not touch your face without having cleaned your hands.

In a March 11, 2020 report, the Sacramento Bee, which is a well respected news outlet run by McClatchy Newspapers, informed us that the National Institute of Health conducted a study that shows that the Corona Virus can remain alive for up to three days on some surfaces under the right conditions.

As such you should also step up your cleaning practices, specifically with respect to things and places that you touch regularly - like the TV clicker or your mouse and keypad and cell phone and keys.

 

Corona Virus Transmission by Air

And that same National Institute of Health Study also showed that the virus could remain alive in the air for a few hours. This discharge would have to come from an infected person, most likely with a cough, but I reckon just talking and breathing could do it too.

This is why scientists recommend we keep some distance - some six feet - from one another. Especially people coughing and that is why ill people are advised to remain home until they feel better - so that they don't infect the rest of us. But that said, infected people may take between two and fourteen days to show signs of the illness and thus realize it. The median incubation period for the Corona Virus is five days, 98% of the people who contract it show signs by 12 days, so by 14 days it is believed that those who have contracted the Corona Virus will show it. This is why most places have been shuttered for two weeks at a minimum.*

Some say masks won't necessarily prevent infection, because the masks aren't built to filter out the micro organisms one might inhale and the masks are not tightly fastened to the face. They may be correct, but the masks can't hurt and may reduce what you breathe in. There's a secondary problem with the masks in that some folks have been hoarding them, making it more difficult for health professionals who are working on the front line of this crisis, to obtain them.*

The disease is believed to be highly transmittable, with conflicting reports on whether it is more or less transmittable than the flu. Live Science, states that it's more than two times more transmittable than the flu, while another source says it's not as transmittable as the flu. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that there are two strains.*

 

The Corona Virus is Potentially Lethal - but Skews Older

queens things to doAt present, it is estimated to have a 2.3% death rate versus something like a 0.1% death rate for the flu. So that means it's over 20 times more lethal than the flu, and at present without any existing cure nor vaccine. Which is why there's so much concern.

But that said, to put this in context, a March 7, 2020 Live Science report informs us that,

" ... So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that's nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... "

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that the risk for people varies according to age, as it is believed people who are ill, have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems are most likely to die from the disease - see chart at right.

 

Living Your Life in the Age of the Corona Virus

So, as part of the NYS State of Emergency both the Governor and the Mayor are in agreement that all events of 500 or more people are presently banned. Governor Cuomo also issued an order to close CUNY and SUNY effective March 18, 2020 for the rest of the semester.

The Mayor and Governor have decided to keep the primary and secondary public school system open, but advise anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. While tests reportedly show that children can contract the disease as easily as adults, you can see by the chart above, that children don't die from it at anywhere near the same rate as older people. I know - not dying from a disease - isn't exactly comforting.

But, unlike better resourced private institutions, the students attending public school aren't as able to 'go remote' and conduct classes and homework electronically. Another part of this equation is that these students parents aren't in a position to stay home with them, and many of their parents are critical to the healthcare, educational, law enforcement, fire and emergency response and transportation infrastructure.

I've provided the above information to help folks better understand the complexiities the Governor and Mayor are dealing with in making these decisions. And this doesn't include how badly the small business entities are getting hit, which closing things only makes worse. This affects them paying the rent, paying their employees - all of whom have to make ends meet ... somehow.

 

Things to Do This Weekend in Queens?

Not much really. Here's a link to the things to do in Queens last weekend, which contains a number of web addresses, should you want to look for yourself, but most institutions are taking the position of exercising an abundance of caution and thus have closed.

 

Farmers Mkts, Holiday Markets & Member Events Calendar

March 2020 - Click here for here for Queens holiday markets & shopping and here for Queens holiday events / holiday things to do in Queens, 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 Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa holiday events and click here for Queens New Years parties and here for shopping venues in Queens.

 

WORK IN PROCESS. ASTERISKED events above have NOT been updated.

psmoma qtip


Queens Borough President Forum - Chhaya at Jamaica Performing Arts Center | queens borough president forum jamaica performing arts center queens boro president debate 2020 queens borough president candidates anthony miranda donovan richards costa constantinides elizabeth crowley
Queens Borough President Forum - Chhaya at Jamaica Performing Arts Center

Queens Borough President Candidates Forum

Queens Boro President Candidates Discuss the Issues

March 6, 2020 / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Neighborhoods /Queens Buzz NYC.

On Thursday evening I headed down to Jamaica town to watch and listen to four candidates vying for the office of Queens Borough President. The forum was hosted by Chhaya Community Development Corporation in tandem with several other South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community non profits seeking to enable their groups to become better informed regarding the candidates vying for the important office of Queens Borough President. I have included the names of these organizations at the end of this report.

In the photo at right are the Queens Borough President candidates [left to right]: Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards, Anthony Miranda and Elizabeth Crowley.

 

Queens Borough President Budget is About $70 Million

The Queens Borough President Office controls a budget of approximately $70 million. The budget is a % allocation of the total revenue taken in by the NYC municipality. The money is used to fund improvements and programs in the parks, schools, libraries, as well as healthcare and cultural institutions. The Queens Borough President also has use of the ‘bully pulpit’ - a phrase coined by President Theodore Roosevelt – meaning that when someone at the bully pulpit talked, people listened / took notice.

It was a sort of balmy early March evening with temperatures near 50 as I rode the subway down to Jamaica town. Riders were a bit on edge, keeping their distance amid fears of contagion from the CoronaVirus. One man held the subway pole with a newspaper, others wore gloves in spite of the unseasonably warm temperatures, and at the end of the ride a subway maintenance man, wearing a surgical mask and gloves, did a bit of cleaning.

  • CLICK here to read the rest of our report which includes some video of the Queens Borough President Forum hosted by Chhaya and held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.
  • Early voting begins Saturday, March 14th and the election is on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020.


Identity Crisis Theater Opening, at Brick Theater BK | rough draft festival 2020 laguardia performing arts center lic rough draft fest march 2020
Identity Crisis Theater Opening, at Brick Theater BK

Identity Crisis Theater Opens at the Brick in Greenpoint

The Event Included a Preview of a Performance Coming to The LaGuardia Rough Draft Festival 3/16 & Another of a Play Returning to the Brick Theater Beginning May 28th

March 2, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Theater / Queens Buzz NYC.

In early February I attended the opening of a new theater ensemble - Identity Crisis Theater - at the Brick Theater in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The theater group is comprised of three NYC artists, some of Turkish descent, who will "... feature English translations of works from Turkey, the Balkans, the Middle East and surrounding Mediterranean cultures." Their goal is to develop "... a platform for exploration, conversation, revelation and the celebration of our common humanity."

It was a cold, wet, miserable night outside, as I made my way to the Brick, which is located only a couple of blocks from the G line Metropolitan subway stop. As I stepped inside, the atmosphere changed to warm and dry as I took my place amongst a crowd filled with anticipation. The audience had packed the theater in advance to view performances by some of NYC’s emerging dance, musical and theatrical artists.

I met the Brick Theater management team comprised of Ryan Downey and Theresa Buchheister. This past year they took over the operation of the Brick Theater, after years of working there. They seemed to have the theater production well in hand, as there are events and performances at this warm, rustic Greenpoint Brooklyn theater every week, and quite often every day.

 

Identity Crisis Theater Presents 'Triggerman' at the Brick Theater in Greenpoint BK

On the stage at the back of the theater, a performance had just begun. The piece was entitled Triggerman and it was about the step-by-step planning of an assassination, alongside the moral struggle of a young man, trying to wrest himself free from the anger and hate, being imposed on him by a few members of his own ethnic tribe.



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

February 25, 2020 / 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 on March 17th.

The photo to your right was taken on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2019 at Donovan's Pub in Woodside.

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.



Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Queens Events Presidents Day Weekend Queens NYC | things to do presidents Day weekend in queens things to do presidents day weekend  events queens nyc jamaica astoria lic sunnyside woodside flushing jackson heights presidents day weekend things to do events queens nyc
Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Queens Events Presidents Day Weekend Queens NYC

Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend Queens

UPDATED FOR COVID 2021 - Things To Do In Queens Over The Presidents Day Weekend

Updated February 10, 2021 from 2/9/21 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Presidents Day Weekend Weather. The Temperature highs will be around 30 throughout the three day weekend beginning on Friday, dropping to the high teens nightly, except on Saturday when the low temperature will also be around 30. Precipitation - There's an 80% chance of about two inches of snow late Saturday / early Sunday morning as of this post. Winds will be relatively stable hovering around the 10 mph range throughout the long weekend. The Humidity will range between 60% - 75% throughout the weekend. Click for Queens Weather.

The photo at right was taken at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island which commemorates Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1941 speech declarating the inalienable rights of all people. The four freedoms are 1) Freedom of Speech, 2) Freedom of Worship, 3) Freedom of Want and 4) Freedom of Fear.

Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the performance of our current presidents and legislators, and how they stack up against their historical peers. And in that reflection it's worth asking ourselves what we've done to contribute or detract from the national conversation.

 

A Few Valentines Day / Presidents Day News Items - Indoor Dining Resumes, Folks with Co-Morbidities become Vaccine Eligible, Vaccine Production & 2nd Trump Impeachment Trial Begins Today

Governor Cuomo announced that indoor dining in NYC resumes on Friday, February 2, 2021 at 25% capacity. NYS positivity rate is about 4%, while the NYC positivity rate is about 8% - but both have been declining since the Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Year surge began in late November / early December of 2020.

This past weekend, Governor Cuomo announced that folks with CoVid comorbidities will be eligible to receive vaccinations effective Monday, February 15, 2021. According to the Governor's website, the CoVid co-morbidities [say that fast five times] include the following:

"... Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Pulmonary Disease, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Heart Conditions, Immunocompromised State, Severe Obesity, Pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia, Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Cerebrovascular Disease, Neurologic Conditions and Liver Disease Will Be Eligible ..."

Vaccine production for the U.S. is nearing the 1.5 million doses daily required to meet Biden’s upwardly mobile 100 million vaccinations in the Biden Administration's first 100 days. As of this writing about 10% of all New Yorkers as well as 10% of all Americans have received at least one CoVid vaccination dose.

 

Trump's Failed Capitol Riot of 2021 Seems Not Unlike Hitler's Failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923

things to do presidents day weekend manhattan nyc presidents day events ues uws midtown east village soho tribeca upper west side upper east side things to do presidents day weekend manhattan events presidents day weekend manhattan nycThe second Trump impeachment trial began today, Tuesday, February 9th, 2021. Generally I find the rushing of the trial to be an insult to the American people, and the U.S. Constitution philosophies of due process and rule of law. The government officials prosecuting and managing the trial should take all the time required to educate the American people about who Donald Trump really is - not who he says he is.

They need to use the Impeachment Trial to highlight how Trump has significantly battered our democratic processes, undermined Americans' faith in our democratic institutions, personalized the power of the presidency, breached the rule of law, and appears to have colluded with the Russians to undermine our government over the past five years. Oh, yeah, and it all culminated in that lame Capitol Riot Insurrection which was not unlike and had striking similarities to Hitlers' lame / failed Beer Hall Putsch in Germany in 1923.

things to do presidents day weekend manhattan nyc presidents day events ues uws midtown east village soho tribeca upper west side upper east side things to do presidents day weekend manhattan events presidents day weekend manhattan nyc

Ten years later Hitler rose to power as the Nazi Party leader and proceeded, like Trump did during his presidency, to usurp and personalize the power of the state thanks in part to the Goebbels / Murdoch/propaganda machines which misled the citizenry in each nation about who these two leaders were, and also victimized minorities in both nations. In the Beer Hall Putsch, 16 Nazis and four policemen died. In the Capitol Riot four Trumpsters and one policeman died.

 

Hitler was found guilty of treason following the Beer Hall Putsch, but still rose to power. Will the Senate take the precaution of sanctioning the Donald, or continue to enable the dysfunctional democracy damager - possibly destroyer?

 

Brief History of Presidents Day Holiday in NYC

queens presidents day weekend queens presidents day weekend things to do queens presidents day weekend events queens nycA day commemorating Lincoln's birthday was first passed in Buffalo, New York in the early 1870's. Presidents Day originated as Washington's Birthday which was a holiday narrowly prescribed for federal government offices in Washington, D.C. in 1879. The holiday was dedicated to honoring the memory of the first American president, George Washington who was born on February 22, 1732.

In 1885 the holiday was expanded to include all federal government offices around the nation. In 1951 there was a push to create a Presidents Day holiday [vs a George Washington's birthday holiday] to include President Lincoln whose birthday is February 12, 1809 and was also celebrated by localities, but it didn't pass.

In 1971 the holiday was moved off of George Washington's birth date to being the third Monday in February. Thus while it never falls upon Washington's birthday 2/22, the official name of the holiday remains Washington's Birthday. But today, most folks refer to it as Presidents Day and to recognize the presidents who honored the U.S. Constitution and served the interests of the people.



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 2021 Restaurants & Events in Queens

UPDATED FOR COVID - Romantic Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 5, 2021 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

UPDATED 2/12/21 - Editor's Note: Previously indoor dining was to resume in NYC on Sunday, February 14th, 2021, Valentine's Day. The Governor moved up the date to Friday, February 12th, so restaurants that may have sold out on Sunday, likely have indoor dining openings over the weekend. This report provides an update on who's open and taking reservations, but also highlights quite a number of local restaurant closures.

Valentine's Day is a bit more than 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.

This year it's especially important to make restaurant reservations early as restaurants first open for indoor dining at 25% capacity on Friday, February 12th, 2021. And given Valentine's Day is on a weekend, it may be challenging unless you make your reservation now. But that said, restaurants also have outside dining capacity - so depending on the weather - you may have some luck the weekend of Valentine's Day. For dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call or go online to make the reservations as soon as you can for this Valentine's Day .

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.

UPDATED FOR COVID. 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.



Rikers Island Closing Queens & Bronx - Neighborhood Jails in Brooklyn Bronx Manhattan Queens & not Staten Island | rikers island correctional facility closing rikers island neighborhood jails brooklyn queens bronx manhattan staten island neighborhood jails replacing rikers island
Rikers Island Closing Queens & Bronx - Neighborhood Jails in Brooklyn Bronx Manhattan Queens & not Staten Island

Closure of Rikers Island Moves Another Step Forward

In Oct 2019 NYC Council Designated Neighborhood Jail Locations in Four Boroughs

Community Board One in Astoria Only Approved the Closure of Rikers Island

January 26, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics / Bronx Politics & Government / Queens Buzz NYC & Bronx Buzz NYC.

A week ago, on Tuesday, January 21st I attended the Community Board One meeting at the Astoria World Manor where the board was asked to approve the closing of the Rikers Island Detention Facility effective sometime before the end of the year 2026.

The photo at right was taken from an airplane while landing at LaGuardia in a prior year. Rikers Island Correctional Facility is a stone's throw away from LGA.

 

Queens Community Board One in Astoria Votes on Rikers Closure

The presentation consisted of two slides. One highlighted the social / moral blight that Rikers Island had become. The second slide simply proposed the request in very limited terms - the closing of Rikers Island and the conversion of it to a ‘public place’. The presentation to the Committee was done by a team lead by Dana Kaplan, Deputy Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

So please note that the Community Board had no role in the placement of neighborhood jails, nor did they sign off on anything that may become of Rikers Island going forward. They only approved the closing of the Correctional Facility and the allowance of use for it as a "public place".

I spoke with CB1 District Manager Florence Kolouris after the meeting about what exactly that meant. She told me that there isn’t any definition, per se, given for public place – but a couple of examples of prior public places include Lincoln Center, Fort Totten and Queens Borough Hall.

The Community Board approved the measure with a recommendation that CB1 be kept in the loop throughout the closing process, including any demolition. Plenty of questions followed regarding what would become of the 400 acre island. Nothing concrete was proposed at this time, but the audience was assured that any changes would have to come through the Community Board via the ULURP process [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure].

 

The Bronx & Queens - Rikers Island Community Jurisdiction & Prison Population

rikers island closing rikers island correctional facility history rikers island development astoria queens rikers island hunts point bronxIt’s worth noting that technically Rikers Island is a part of the Bronx – not Queens – even though the only road traveling onto the island originates in the Astoria / East Elmhurst neighborhoods of Queens. In addition to Queens Community Board One, Bronx Community Board Two, representing the Hunts Point neighborhood, also has influence over the island. Since the Dinkins Administration in the 1990's, there's been a floating barge facility that's docked in Hunts Point, that is considered a part of the Rikers Island Correctional Facility.

Currently there are an estimated 7,000 plus inmates on Rikers Island. At its height, in 1991, Rikers Island held an estimated overcapacity inmate population of nearly 22,000. By the time the facility is to be closed in 2026, the inmate population is expected to have declined to between 3,000 and 4,000.

The photo at right shows the Rikers Island Correctional Facility which will be closed by the end of 2026.



Van Bramer Ends QBP Campaign

January 21, 2020 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Politics / Queens Buzz NYC.

We received this missive today from the Van Bramer campaign, which explains why he didn't attend the Queens Borough President Forum in Jamaica on Sunday [see related report below].

Dear Friends,
 
I love serving the people of Queens as a Council Member, which is why I was excited to continue that work as Queens Borough President. 
 
My family is the reason I love this borough and its residents; they are the ones who instilled Queens values in me and inspired me to be an advocate for working families. But family circumstances have been weighing on me for some time, causing me to reconsider the timing and feasibility of this campaign. 
 
Prioritizing my responsibilities as a son and brother is where my attention needs to be right now. And so I am ending my campaign today. While this is a difficult decision, this is the right one for me and my family at this time. 
 
I will, of course, continue to fight for the working people of our borough and city every day on the New York City Council and beyond. 
 
I want to thank all of you -- our campaign’s amazing supporters, volunteers, and donors for your faith in me and our shared vision to build a brighter future for Queens.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Jimmy


Queens Borough President Candidates - Queens BP Office Election 2020 | queens borough president candidates queens BP candidates queens boro president election queens borough president election candidates queens boro prez 2020 nyc
Queens Borough President Candidates - Queens BP Office Election 2020

First Impressions: Queens Borough President Forum

Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley, Danniel Maio, Anthony Miranda, Donovan Richards & James Quinn

January 19, 2020 / Jamaica Neighborhood NYC / Queens Politics NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Sunday I went down to Jamaica town to watch the candidates for Queens Borough President talk about themselves, their qualifications and their take on the issues facing Queens. The following is an account of what I saw and heard.

The photo at right shows six of the nine Queens Borough President candidates [from left to right] - Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley, Danniel Maio, Anthony Miranda, Donovan Richards & James Quinn - at a forum in Jamaica on Sunday.

Queens Boro President Candidates Forum in Jamaica

The event was held at the Harvest Room, which is on 160th Street just off Jamaica Avenue and adjacent to the Jamaica Market. The forum was moderated by NYS Senator John Liu and an attorney Soma Syed, and organized by the Community Alliance Group and the American Pakistani Advocacy Group. The moderators, John Liu and Soma Syed, are shown in the photo below.

Queens Borough President Office Election is on March 24th, 2020

queens borough president candidates 2020 queens bp election 2020They started the forum about an hour late, as they postponed the start time, while waiting on some of the candidates’ arrivals. There are currently nine people running for the Queens Borough President Office, and the election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th, 2020. Of the nine candidates, six participated in the forum. Notably absent was one of the leading Progressive candidates, NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, as well as two far lesser known candidates, Dao Yin and Everly Brown.

The 2020 Queens Borough President Candidates in Attendance at the Forum

Those participating included: 1) former NYC Councilmember from Ridgewood and former Queens Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley’s cousin, Elizabeth Crowley, 2) Progressive NYC Councilmember Costa Constantinides of Astoria, 3) Democratic Party Machine favorite NYC Councilmember Donovan Richards of Jamaica, 4) former map maker and the only Republican in the running Danniel Maio, 5) former Assistant District Attorney James Quinn, and 6) former NYPD Sergeant Anthony Miranda.

Queens Borough President Candidates Introductions

I stayed for about 90 minutes, which covered the candidate introductions and six major questions. I didn’t stay for the short answer questions, nor for the audience questions, which sometimes can be the best.



Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Queens | things to do Martin Luther King Day weekend in queens things to do MLK day weekend queens nyc jamaica astoria lic sunnyside woodside flushing jackson heights
Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Queens

Things To Do MLK Day Weekend Events Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 14, 2020 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will range between 30 and 40 throughout the three day weekend. The temperature lows will be in the low 20's throughout the weekend - except on Saturday when the low will be in the high 30's. Rain or Snow is forecast on Saturday, but NOT on Friday, Sunday & Monday. Winds will range from 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend, except on Friday when it will be in the low 30% range. Click for Queens Weather.

Brief History of Martin Luther King Holiday in NYC

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister who became the leading voice for African Americans' non-violent civil rights movement beginning in the mid 1950's through to his assassination in 1968. In 1983, the third Monday of every year was set aside to honor Martin Luther King for his service to the nation. The third Monday was chosen, as it was the nearest Monday to the anniversary of King's birthday, which was January 15, 1929.

Martin Luther King Day has grown to take on an even larger meaning, as it is oftentimes referred to as a day on, versus a day off. Organizations around the city and nation have used the day to call people into action to address the needs of the community through volunteering and service.

 

Martin Luther King Holiday Special Events in Queens NYC

The Queens College Student Association is organizing a week long bus tour of many of the most famous civil rights movement sites in the southern U.S. The tour is entitled In the Footsteps of Dr. King and begins on Sunday, January 19, 2020 and ends on Thursday, January 23rd. For more information about the trip email - Rabbi Moshe Shur at footsteps@qc.cuny.edu.

On Monday beginning at 11 am the Greater Allen AME Cathedral, which is an African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 110-13 Merrick Blvd in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, will host a luncheon followed by a theatrical performance by the Shades of Truth Theatre entitled The Day Harlem Saved Dr. King. The show follows the luncheon and begins about 12 - 12.30 pm [just after noon]. Tickets cost $35 and may be purchased through the Allen AME Cathedral at 718.206.4600.

On Monday generally starting around 9 am and running until 12 noon, the NYC Parks Department in tandem with local groups is organizing a day of service to clean up a few of the NYC neighborhood parks. In Queens the only park mentioned as of this post was the Forest Park near the Forest Hills neighborhood in central Queens. Cut and paste this link for details - https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/mlk-day-of-service.

On Monday from 6 - 10 pm there are a number of visual arts exhibits and performances organized by 39th Avenue Arts N' Performance at 38-12 30th Avenue in Long Island City. Tickets cost $5 online at Eventbrite or $10 at the door. Of special note is that Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech will be performed.

The venues below may also have MLK Day programs, or other cultural and historic programs.



Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as NYC Mayor

This Contains the Part of Bloomberg's Record You Won't See in His Ad Campaign

michael bloombergs record as nyc mayor mike bloomberg accomplishments mike bloomberg record mayor nyc record of mayor bloomberg while mayor nycDecember 16, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I started reporting for Queens Buzz in the second half of 2007, in anticipation of the website opening in 2008. At the time, politics wasn't in the docket. But over time, as I watched government and political events unfold, I couldn't ignore the huge gap between what was happening - versus what was reported to be happening.

Thus over time I began reporting on NYC, NYS and eventually national politics, doing in-depth research along the way, so that I could provide our readers with a fresh point of view, based on facts and knowledge, with scant pandering to the politicial spin.

While I only began tuning into NYC politics as a reporter during Michael Bloomberg's third term, I had picked up information about him prior to that as an aware NYC resident / voter. My first glimpse into Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-democratic tendencies came about in 2004, during the Republican Presidential Convention, when Bloomberg appeared to illegally lock up people protesting the wars and policies of then president George W. Bush. But before I delve into that aspect of Bloomberg's performance, I want to highlight a few others.

 

Disdains Democracy: Overturns Mayoral Term Limits

michael bloomberg mayor bloomberg corruption bloomberg record as nyc mayorIn 2008, just a year before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was about to be term limited out of the Mayor's Office, he convinced the NYC City Council to override the plebiscite that term limited his time in office as the Mayor.

Thus Michael Bloomberg sought and won a third term - which he essentially bought - by funding his campaign with nearly $100 million of his own money, to defeat an relatively unknown candidate, retiring City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Thompson was not given much support by the Democratic Party in that election, likely because they didn't believe he would do anywhere near as well as he did, and they were competing with a billionaire who could / would and did greatly outspend the competition. The final vote was 50.7% for Bloomberg and 46.3% for Thompson.

 

Did Former Mayor Bloomberg Override Term Limits in Order to Cash In NYC's Municipal Real Estate Holdings?

The deals on the Bronx Terminal Market, Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South & Flushing Meadow Corona Park were all begun in 2007. So were the two multi-billion dollar [each] subway line extension projects - the Q and the #7.

All of the real estate developments and the two major subway infrastructure projects seemed to greatly benefit one person - Stephen Ross and his privately held Related Companies. Stephen Ross went from not being counted as a billionaire at the beginning of Bloomberg's Mayoralty, to becoming the richest real estate developer in New York City within a couple of years after he took office.

It's worth noting that Bloomberg's net worth during this period shot up too. And that Bloomberg LLP, the company he founded, also operates in NYC and is also privately held.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as Mayor

The Real Record of Mike Bloomberg's Accomplishments as Mayor - Doubling of Homelessnes, Taxpayer Funded but Privately Owned Luxury Apartments, Massive Public Land Giveaways to Friendly Developer, Massive Public Transit Spending Benefitting Same Developer, Privatization / Profitization of Many Public Schools, Failure to Negotiate with Unions, City Time Scandal & Racist Stop N' Frisk Policing Program

The report includes:

michael bloombergs record as nyc mayor mike bloomberg accomplishments mike bloomberg record mayor nyc1) HOMELESSNESS: Bloomberg had a horrendous record on homelessness which broke all records & doubled during his Mayoralty.

2) AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Bloomberg sold the public on funding 'affordable' apartments that rented for $48,000 per year. These were publicly funded but privately owned apartment units that Bloomberg sold to the public as 'affordable' in order to gain passage of the bills authorizing them.

3) PUBLIC LAND GRAB. Four huge real estate developments appeared to be given to Stephen Ross & Related Companies which are now worth billions. The public lands reportedly sold for $1 apiece include Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South and the still pending Flushing Meadows Corona Park development. I'm not sure but Bronx Terminal was also transferred in a sweet deal to the real estate developer Stephen Ross & Related Companies.

4) PUBLIC SPENDING BENEFITTING FRIENDLY DEVELOPER. Bloomberg pushed two subway line extensions that seemed to disproportionately benefit Stephen Ross & Related Companies. The subway line extensions were 1) the #7 subway line extension that supported Stephen Ross & Related Companies Hudson Yard development and 2) the Q subway line extension which greatly enhanced the value of Stephen Ross and Related Companies Upper East Side properties.

5) PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Bloomberg's privatization of a significant portion of the NYC public school system which appeared to tear apart the NYC public school system by enabling for profit private charter schools, disproportionately favoring Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy, to recruit the best students of the NYC public school system, while leaving the rest behind in the hands of the public and unions;

6) UNION BUSTER? Bloomberg's failure to sign a single major union contract during his 12 year administration and the

7) GIULIANI / BLOOMBERG CORRUPTION. City Time corruption scandal.

8) RACIST POLICING POLICY. Presided over racist Stop N' Frisk policing policy.

CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the part of the Mike Bloomberg's record of Mayor. The part of the Bloomberg record you won't see in his $33 million ad campaign to convince Democrats to vote for him. Billionaire Bloomberg, like the billionaire President, seems to have an inclination to distort the truth.


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 2020 Queens

Fun Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside & Jackson Heights on New Years Eve

December 30, 2019 / Queens New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC. New Years Eve 2020 is almost upon us.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice for New Years Eve. And sometimes it's difficult to make them for the New Years Eve parties in Queens. So if you're thinking about going to dinner or to a party this New Years Eve in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside 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.

New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens

The origins of New Years Eve celebrations will be referenced at a later date.

Click this link to view a brief guide of New Years Eve parties & restaurants in Queens 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.



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

December 15, 2019 / 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.



Something New & Strange at the Tiny Box Theater

queens things to doDecember 6, 2019 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Theater in Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

This weekend only, there's the performance of an avante garde theatrical production entitled The House We Never Lived In at the Tiny Box Theater which is performing at the 11th Street Arts Center in Long Island City Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

The production is something totally interactive, meaning we were guided through the play by our hosts - CoDirectors Joy Tomasko and Sarah Murphy - but each of us embarked on our own unique journey wearing headsets and making choices which would ultimately determine how the play ended ... for us ... alone ... or shared - but only shared if others had made the same choices that we did. If you're not totally understanding this, that's ok, because until it was over, neither did I.

The photo at right shows several members of the audience in the foreground, pursuing their own journey in the play, while the Co-Directors, Joy Tomasko at left and Sarah Murphy at right in the background, look on.

The play takes us on a journey from a tiny apartment in NYC, to purchasing a fixer upper home upstate, and then going there ...

You will need a fully charged cell phone to attend the play, as that will be plugged into your headset which they provide. The cell phone is then used to scan the recordings you'll hear, which are chosen based upon the choices you make, which you then use as a guide - along with the assistance of the Co-Directors, into a world that is new and strange.

The play is well written [or at least based on the choices I made], containing a number of near poetic insights, and the experience is reality ... virtually ... ? ... dunno ... as I'm still processing it.

This weekend only - performances at 4.30 pm, 6 pm, 7.30 and 9 pm on Friday and at 3 pm, 4.30 pm and 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $20 and you can purchase them at www.tinyboxtheater.com. And remember to bring a fully charged cell phone.

Seating is very limited, so if you want to see this play, waiting isn't an option. This play was funded in part through a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts.


Conversational Baseball: Mets End Season on High Note

The Mets Won Their Last Game, Yet Missed a Playoff Berth, But the Season Wasn't a Total Loss

queens things to doOctober 1, 2019 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Sunday, September 29th, the NY Mets played their last game of the 2019 Major League Baseball season. The Mets came in third in the National League East, behind the Atlanta Braves [#1] and the Washington Nationals [#2]. Their record of 86 wins and 76 losses represented a solid improvement over the 2018 season, where they won 77 and lost 85 coming in fourth place that year.

The Mets new slugger Pete Alonso, broke the rookie home run record on the second to the last game of the season on Saturday 9/28/19. Pete Alonso hit his 53rd home run of the season against the starting pitcher [Mike Foltynewicz] for the National League East Champion Atlanta Braves, besting the record set by Yankee Aaron Judge in 2017. Aaron had hit 52 home runs that season.

The Mets Pitcher Jacob Degrom also had another good year, after a slow start, and seems to be a favored contender for the Cy Young Award for the second year running. Jacob Degrom has been with the Mets since 2014, having picked him in the 9th round draft.

And Mets Manager Mickey Callaway's fate is apparently undecided at this point in the season. Mickey Callaway became the Mets Manager in October 2017, and had a disappointing first season after the strongest start that season, in Mets' history. The 2019 season was much better at .531 vs .475 in 2018.

So while the Mets season may be over, the Yankees are still in it. The Yankees enter the post season with some handicaps [lost a pitcher due to domestic abuse allegations], but that said they've been fighting handicaps all season. Stay tuned.


Sunnyside Yard Development - SS Yard Real Estate Development LIC Queens Astoria Sunnyside NYC | sunnyside yard development long island city queens nyc sunnyside yard master plan sunnyside astoria queens nyc
Sunnyside Yard Development - SS Yard Real Estate Development LIC Queens Astoria Sunnyside NYC

Sunnyside Yard Plan Moving Ahead

The Whopper of All 21st Century Real Estate Developments in NYC

September 25, 2019 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Long Island City Neighborhood / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Real Estate / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

I attended the Sunnyside Yard Master Planning meeting last week at Aviation High School in Sunnyside / LIC. Given the significance of the real estate development being planned - at the nexus of Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside - I was surprised by the low turnout of members in the community. Perhaps it's because the NYC EDC didn't seem to do a very good job of notifying the community that there would be a meeting.

 

sunnyside yard development queens sunnyside yard real estate development lic sunnyside astoria real estate queens nycThe illustration at right shows how a Sunnyside Yard development might look sometime in the foreseeable future.

There was a protest group there, possibly comprising somewhere between a quarter and half of those who attended during the second [of two] sessions that I attended. The sessions were held in a regular sized classroom, which contained an overflowing crowd, and most of the protesters, who were fairly disruptive, were also kept outside.

Exploring the possibility of the Sunnyside Yard real estate development project began a number of years ago [I've seen documents that indicate work began in 2014]. The concept was first presented to the public in Mayor de Blasio's first State of the City Address in 2015. Governor Cuomo seemed to try to upstage the Mayor earlier that same day, by pre-emptively mentioning it, only hours before the Mayor gave his Address.

 

sunnyside yard development queens sunnyside yard real estate development lic sunnyside astoria real estate queens nycThe photo below right shows how the Sunnyside Yard looks today.

Much has been done since then, both in planning and in preparing the site for development. So if you want a say in how the 180 acres of space that is adjacent to Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnysideis going to be developed, you'd best begin ramping up to speed now - and fast - because the first pass at a relatively concrete Master Plan is expected this winter. The proverbial train is about to leave the station - or in this case the Sunnyside Yard.



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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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].


long island city neighborhood lic neighborhood long island city lic queens nyc


test

sunnyside neighborhood woodside neighborhood sunnyside woodside queens nyc


TBD

astoria neighborhood astoria queens nyc


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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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.



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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 2021 Restaurants & Events in Queens

UPDATED FOR COVID - Romantic Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 5, 2021 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

UPDATED 2/12/21 - Editor's Note: Previously indoor dining was to resume in NYC on Sunday, February 14th, 2021, Valentine's Day. The Governor moved up the date to Friday, February 12th, so restaurants that may have sold out on Sunday, likely have indoor dining openings over the weekend. This report provides an update on who's open and taking reservations, but also highlights quite a number of local restaurant closures.

Valentine's Day is a bit more than 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.

This year it's especially important to make restaurant reservations early as restaurants first open for indoor dining at 25% capacity on Friday, February 12th, 2021. And given Valentine's Day is on a weekend, it may be challenging unless you make your reservation now. But that said, restaurants also have outside dining capacity - so depending on the weather - you may have some luck the weekend of Valentine's Day. For dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call or go online to make the reservations as soon as you can for this Valentine's Day .

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.

UPDATED FOR COVID. 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.



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

February 25, 2020 / 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 on March 17th.

The photo to your right was taken on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2019 at Donovan's Pub in Woodside.

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.



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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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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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