Things To Do - Jackson Heights & Elmhurst
Mayor de Blasio & Chancellor Farina in Queens
Mayor & Chancellor in Queens Town Hall about Public Schools
There was a town hall at PS 69 in Jackson Heights Thursday evening where NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Public Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina talked about what they are doing to reform the NYC public school system to improve both teachers’ and students’ performance.
I arrived a bit late, following the coverage of a gig nearby. There was a small crowd of a couple dozen people waiting to get in because the auditorium had been filled to a standing room only crowd. Over the course of the evening all the folks who waited long enough were able to enter, as I confirmed this with the police contingent on my way out.
As I entered the auditorium they had just completed the presentation portion of the program [I think about a half hour, possibly less] and they were moving on to taking questions and answers from the audience.
I video recorded most of the session, and then edited down as much as I could to shorten the viewing time required to get the gist of what they’ve done and are planning for the future.
All in all it was a very interesting and very informative session. I spoke to quite a few folks after the town hall and generally they were pretty positive, including a number of folks who did not vote for de Blasio. Essentially most believed that the Mayor and Chancellor were trying to correct the failings of the system and that they were taking an intelligent approach. Several mentioned that the Mayor seemed pretty honest in his assessments of things.
For me, one of the most important things I learned tonight, was why getting universal Pre-K was so important. Essentially the thinking goes that the earlier you are able to start working with these kids, the more you will be able to prepare them for school, and hopefully reap the benefits of teaching them the joy of learning throughout their stay in the public school system.
Click here to read our full report including a segmented video about Mayor de Blasio on NYC public schools with Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and NYC Councilmember Daniel Dromm.
Chhaya's Celebration Of South Asian Food, Fashion & Cultures
It was a beautiful day as I made my way to 78th Playstreet in Jackson Heights to attend the 5th Annual Chatpati Mela Festival. Each year the festival seems to enhance its dimensions through food, performance, cultural costumes and wares.
They had a number of vendor tents lined up along the 78th Playstreet corridor [it ceased being a city throughway years ago], as well as food tents. Toward the northern end of the street there was a stage where musical and dance performances were in session.
Click here to see the food, fashion and a video of the music and dance performances at Chatpati Mela in Jackson Heights.
Queens - The Home of Jazz
Louis Armstrong House Block Party & Jazz Mobile
August 20, 2012 / Corona Neighborhood / Live Music in Queens / Queens Buzz. The Louis Armstrong House hosted a block party last week, including one of the current jazz greats, Arturo O'Farrill. Arturo's work has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and he won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009 with the work entitled Song For Chico.
The album is dedicated to Arturo's father, Chico, who worked with many of the NYC jazz legends including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman, as well as Latin jazz great Machito. Both Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman lived in Queens, and are said to have jammed with Louis at the Armstrong House in Corona. Arturo is shown above playing at the Louis Armstrong House Block Party in the Corona neighborhood of Queens.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Robin Bell-Stevens, whose father played with Duke Ellington who was a friend of Louis'. Robin runs the Jazzmobile which was the sponsor of the event. Click here to view our report and photos of the Louis Armstrong House Block Party & Jazzmobile in Queens.
Passover in Jackson Heights
Kehillat Tikvah Celebrates 6th Passover in Queens
April 14, 2014 / Jackson Heights / Judaism in Queens / Queens Buzz. On March 26th of last year I attended the fifth annual Kehillat Tikvah Tuesday evening at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Heights. This Passover was hosted by Kehillat Tikvah, which is a relatively new community of hope, located in Jackson Heights. Rabbi Laurie Gold led the evening of festivities.
I arrived around 6 pm as the organizers were finishing up last minute details for the event. A U shaped table formation in the middle of the large room had been set, and there were containers of warm food laid out along a long table in front of the kitchen. People within the community were conversing, and without much effort I was drawn into a conversation with the folks sitting next to me.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the Kehillat Tikvah celebration of Passover in Jackson Heights.
Queens World Film Festival
Queens Film Festival Begins
March 9, 2013 / Astoria, LIC & Jackson Heights / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the 3rd annual Queens World Film Festival opening Tuesday night at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. As I arrived, independent film producers, directors, writers, actors and actresses mingled in the lobby.
A local TV film crew was interviewing one of the festival participants as I started mingling with the crowd. I met one man who has film showing Friday, another with a film showing Thursday, and a Belgian couple who co-produced a thirty second short that was to be shown at the opener tonight [they’re shown conversing with City Councilmembers Dromm and Van Bramer].
It wasn’t long before the festivities began, which included several speeches by sponsors [some are listed at the end of this report] and the Queens World Film Festival founders, Don and Katha Cato of Jackson Heights.
Queens World Film Festival
Queens World Film Festival 2013
February 12, 2013 updated from February 29, 2012 / Jackson Heights / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. The 2013 Queens World Film Festival runs March 5th through March 10th 2013. Check the March events calendar in the Things To Do section of this site [see top tool bar] - for films, viewing times and location - as the event approaches.
I visited the home of Don and Katha Cato this past weekend. Don and Katha are the duo that are organizing the second annual Queens World Film Festival, which opens Thursday night, March 1st at the Museum of the Moving Image – and then returns to its home in Jackson Heights for the remainder of the weekend.
I spent hours talking to Don mostly about the films, and talking to Katha about film as well as various aspects of planning and organizing the film festival [they are shown in the photo to the right]. The following report includes a general overview of the Queens World Film Festival logistics, as well as many previews of the films that will be shown. The festival includes about twenty films by Queens based film makers. And who knows, perhaps one day one of them will be receiving their Oscar from the Academy in Hollywood.
Click here to read our report about the Queens World Film Festival 2012.
What's Playing At 78th Playstreet?
Closed Street Quickly Becomes Intrinsic Part Of Park
August 5, 2011 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I went to check out Friday Night At The Movies, which spontaneously began the last week in July on 78th Playstreet next to Travers Park in Jackson Heights. Don and Katha Cato, organizers of the Queens World Film Festival, came up with the idea. And they implemented it with the help of a few friends, notably Elliott and Elena Madison of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance.
The weekly Friday Night At The Movies on 78th Playstreet will continue Friday, August 12th beginning at dusk [between 8 and 9 pm] at 78th Playstreet, which is adjacent to Travers Park and provides additional recreational space for families and kids living nearby in Jackson Heights.
Recycling Indie Films – New Green Initiative
The films being aired are from the first Queens World Film Festival. The films shown the night I attended included 38 minutes of shorts, and … Click here to read more about Friday Night At The Movies At 78th Playstreet.
How To Start A Cultural Movement
Where Art & Culture Meet Immigrant Movement
May 1, 2011 / Jackson Heights & Corona / Ethnic & Religious Culture / Queens Buzz. I was out covering one story when I caught wind of another. The other was the Immigrant Movement which is an art / social experiment going on this year in the Corona neighborhood of Queens.
I happened upon it in late April when I noticed a large crowd standing outside of the Immigrant Movement building in Corona Queens. The crowd had an artsy look - a look I have happened upon in Corona only occasionally ... so far.
It seems the Immigrant Movement is a three party collaboration, lead by performance artist / social activist Tania Bruguera of Cuba. The project is funded by the Queens Museum Of Art which periodically takes avante garde art initiatives, as well as by Creative Time which is a modern art organization in the metro NYC area. This creative approach to art and culture was provocative enough to capture my curiosity, so I stepped through the doorway to find out more.
Jackson Heights Shopping Center
Shops and Shopping In Jackson Heights
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