Queens Borough President Candidates Forum
Queens Boro President Candidates Discuss the Issues
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.
5th Annual Queens Fashion Show
Jamaica Just My Style Hits the Runway Saturday 6/18
The 5th Annual Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show arrives Saturday at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Mrs. Queens, Nadine Grisby, will be headlining the event, which showcases local Jamaica and Queens designers, models and retailers.
I had an opportunity to get a small preview of some of the glitz and glamour in early May when the Jamaica Center BID [Business Improvement District] held a photo shoot at Pretty Women and Hotpoint Fashions, two leading women’s clothing stores located along Jamaica Avenue near 165th Street.
It was a cool Spring day as I made my way to the photo shoot. The first photos were to be taken in the upstairs of Pretty Women, which is located in a large, spacious early 20th century store located along Jamaica Avenue just west of 165th Street.
Fashion Photo Shoot on the Ave - Mrs. Queens at Pretty Women
I walked up the steel framed staircase, appreciating the vintage beauty of the old department store. As I walked out onto the second story floor, the nearly century old wooden floorboards announced my presence. The flooboards provided an ever-so-soft reassuring cushion, like an old fashioned gymnasium allowing me to glide along toward the center of the store where Mrs. Queens, Nadine Grisby, was being photographed by Teddy Wilson. Jamaica Center Director of Business Services and Operations, Valerie Stevens, was also there facilitating the entire photographic event.
I joined in the festivities, photographing Nadine, as she danced and showered us with her theatrical persona. Pretty Women had arranged to have a few formals photographed for the shoot. In between the posing, while Mrs. Queens was changing outfits, I took a few photos of the store, which I’ve included in the video below.
Before departing I was introduced to Bert Salih, who has been operating the Pretty Women clothing store for 22 years on Jamaica Avenue. Pretty Women moved into this building only two years ago and has filled it with women’s formals and evening wear for weddings, formals, proms and Quinsera, in sizes ranging from 2 to 24 and in names brands including Jovani, Colours, Serendipity and Mary’s Bridal of Texas. He went on to tell me that this was the first time he had decided to participate in the Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show, but that he was very excited to do so.
Click here to read the rest of the story about the Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show in Queens, including links to prior years coverage, a video of some of the photo shoot, an interesting tale about Mrs. Queens and a link to free tickets to the show on Saturday.
Queens Politics & The Democratic Party Machine
A Closer Look At The NYC City Council Race In Queens District 23
On Thursday, August 27, 2015 I headed down to listen to the candidates vying for the 23rd District election seat recently vacated by Mark Weprin. There are six candidates in the Democratic primary vying for NYC City Council District 23, a seat that has been held by the Weprin family for 14 years. David Weprin first won the office in 2001. He was followed by his brother Mark who won the office in 2009, who recently left the position for a job working for Andrew Cuomo as Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs.
NYC Council Race Venues: District 23 Queens
The candidate forum was held at Hillside Banquet at 206-12 Hillside Avenue [at 206th Street]. The event was organized by 12 non-profit / community organizations that serve various ethnic populations in the NYC City Council 23rd District – many of which are South Asian. Winning a majority of the constituents of these organizations could result in a win for the ethnic population, and a possible upset for the Queens Democratic Party Machine, which has held this seat for four decades and likely longer.
Neighborhood Composition: NYC City Council Queens District 23
NYC City Council District 23 is comprised of all or parts of the following neighborhoods: Bayside, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village. And apparently a small part of New Hyde Park, most of which is located in Nassau County of Long Island, is also a part of the 23rd District and of Queens.
Sponsors Of NYC Council Candidates Forum
The sponsoring organizations include: Chhaya CDC, Asian Pacific Association Voice, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Citizens Union, Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Korean American League for Civic Action, Minkwon Center for Community Action, New York Immigration Coalition and the South Asian Council for Social Services.
New York City Council Candidates In Queens District 23
The candidates included: Celia Dosamantes, Bob Friedrich, Barry Grodenchik, Rebecca Lynch and Ali Najmi. One of the Democratic candidates, Satnam Parhar, was not present nor was the Republican candidate Joe Concannon.
Queens District 23 City Council Issues & Answers
The following is a summary of the questions posed and the answers given by the candidates. The moderators of the forum were Richard S. David, Co-Founder of the Caribbean Alliance and Linda Lee, Executive Director of Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York.
1. Do the candidates approve of a Creedmor Church development [not sure I have this right]? All candidates answered yes.
2. Are the candidates for participatory budgeting? All candidates answered yes, except Friedrich who said it’s a gimmick.
3. Are the candidates for establishing uniform standards for Community Boards? All answered yes, if they could agree on what those standards would be [they allowed themselves plenty of wiggle room here].
4. Are the candidates for the ranking by voters of candidates on the ballot to avoid costly runoff elections? All answered yes.
5. Are they for giving non-citizen residents an opportunity to vote on local issues / local candidates only? I think Dosamantes, Friedrich and Grodenchik said no, while Lynch and Najmi said yes.
Click here to learn more about the Queens Democratic Party Machine and the NYC City Council race in District 23 in Queens.
Liberian President Visits York College
Women's Month: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Is First Female President Of African Nation & 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
March 16, 2015 / Jamaica NY / Ethnic Culture / Queens Buzz. I had an opportunity to attend a public interview of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of an African nation. President Johnson Sirleaf won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with two other African women for their non-violent work to provide safety to women on the African continent, and for their efforts to include women as full participants in the peace building process.
Author. President Johnson Sirleaf recently published a book entitled, This Child Will Be Great, which carries the message that you can grow up to be whatever you want to be, if you're willing to work at it. And I suppose Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's life serves as a case in point.
Parentage & Education. President Sirleaf grew up the daughter of mixed race, as her father was from a Pakistani / Indian tribe that settled in western Africa, and her mother was a mix of German and African blood. She was born in 1938 in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and married at the age of 17 in 1956. She attended college and in 1961, several years after her marriage, she moved to the U.S. with her husband where she attended the Madison Business College in Madison, Wisconsin. She also studied economics in Boulder, Colorado and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the JFK School of Government at Harvard in 1971.
Click here to read the rest of our story about a Nobel Prize Winner's visit to Queens.
Jamaica: Queens Emerging Fashion District
Jamaica Collection Showcases Fashion & Culture in Queens
June 1, 2013 / Jamaica NY Neighborhood / Fashion in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the Jamaica Collection Fashion Show Saturday evening at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens. It was a beautiful summer evening as I approached the center, and people were standing outside, enjoying the calm cooling end of daylight.
This is the second year that the Jamaica Center BID organized this event - designed to highlight the bustling business district of downtown Jamaica - the backbone of which runs from east to west along Jamaica Avenue.
Jamaica is one of the more fascinating neighborhoods of Queens, rich in history as an agricultural and trading center dating back to colonial times; and rich in the modern multi-culturalism of 21st century Queens as well as being a significant metropolitan transportation hub. The Jamaica Center BID seems intent on nurturing the embedded community assets by showcasing them; and while they did a very nice job of it last year, this year they kicked things up another notch.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the Jamaica Collection Fashion Show in Queens.
Rent At York College Performing Arts Center
May 4, 2012 / Jamaica NY / Dance & Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz. The York College Performing Arts Center is hosting performances of the musical, Rent, through May 13th. I had the opportunity to attend a performance of it last weekend, which includes an all-star cast of eighteen actors and actresses, most of whom have affiliations with York College.
The play is scripted along the same lines as the century old Italian opera, La Boheme. La Boheme is based upon a French novel entitled Scenes of the Bohemian Life, which was about the life of ‘starving artists’ living on the left bank of Paris during the tuberculosis epidemic of the late 1800’s. Rent is an updated version of that storyline - about starving artists living in the east village of New York City during the AIDS epidemic of the 1990’s.
Click to the Queens Events calendar and then click the theater link to obtain performance times and ticket information. And click here to view our review and photo slide show of Rent at the York College Performing Arts Center.
The Wedding ... Community Theater With Redemptive Theme
Can One Marry A Billionaire And Still Keep Their Sense of Self?
December 12, 2011 / Jamaica / Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz. Saturday afternoon I made my way to the York Performing Arts Center in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens to see a new play entitled The Wedding.
The play was written by Beverly Morrison Caesar for Arts in Christian Theatre [ACT] which is associated with the Pentecostal Church on Guy Brewer Blvd. Beverly’s plays contain a redemptive message and are performed by volunteers from the church and surrounding community.
I spoke to Beverly about how the play originated and how she combined theater, pantomime and a fashion show all in one grand performance. Click here to read more about The Wedding at the York Performing Arts Center in Jamaica Queens.
Fashionable Clothing in Queens
Come To Fashion Show Features Local Designers & Models
April 30, 2012 / Jamaica NY / Fashion in Jamaica Queens / Queens Buzz. On April 21st the first annual Come To Fashion show stepped out into the fashion world in the Jamaica section of Queens. The fashion show featured local fashion designers, models and retailers doing business in Jamaica Queens.
When I arrived at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, I was pleasantly surprised by unique set design for the show. Jamaica Center, the Jamaica BID, had hired a designer to create an original venue through which to present the models and the designers' clothing.
Click here to view photos and read our report about the Come To Fashion show - fashionable clothing & fashions in Jamaica Queens.
Jamaica JAMS - Queens Largest Street Festival
Jamaica JAMS Satiates Visitors' Thirst For Music, Food & Things
August 2012 / Jamaica NY / Shopping in Queens / Queens Buzz. I headed down to Jamaica this afternoon, Jamaica New York that is. I was on my way to attend the largest street music festival and street fair in Queens. The JAMS event attracts upwards of 10,000 visitors by offering a mix of musical and dance performances, a wide array of street vendor foods and numerous vendor booths selling everything but houses, autos and the kitchen sink.
Click here to read our report and view photos of the Jamaica JAMS music festival and street fair in Jamaica NY.
Black Wall Street At York College PAC
Coming To Grips With The Whole Of Our Nation's Past
January 7, 2013 / Jamaica NY Neighborhood / Performing Arts in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the theatrical production of Black Wall Street at the York College Performing Arts Center on Saturday. The play is about the prosperous, African American Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921; and based on a historical book entitled Death in the Land of Promise.
The play centers around an incident in an office building elevator which lead to a white attack on the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, leaving somewhere between 30 and 300 dead [some of whom were shot in the back] and most homes in the neighborhood were burnt to the ground. After two days of house burning, gunfire and looting, the Governor of Oklahoma stepped in and declared martial law. But it was too late. The damage had already been done.
The play is a production of Shades of Truth Theatre Company, which produces and performs original works that tell largely untold tales of the African American experience. Click here for our report and slide show of Black Wall Street.
Shops & Shopping In Jamaica NY
Jamaica NY / Queens Buzz. This section contains stories and information about shops and shopping in Jamaica NY.
Jamaica NY Real Estate & Business
Real Estate, Realtors, Condos, Apartments, Prices & Market
September 2017 / Jamaica NY Real Estate / Queens Real Estate / Queens Buzz.
This is the Jamaica Real Estate section of the site.
Click here to view reports about real estate in Jamaica Queens.
Jamaica Queens Business Directory
Click on the icon below to view business directory for Jamaica & Queens.
Use the category or search links to conduct your own search.
1. Click the icon to your left to view the Queens Events Calendar.
2. To submit an event to the member calendar set up a member ID in the COMMUNITY section of the site along the left side bar. Then click into the Member Calendar link in the same section to post the event. To start posting a member event you must first click the drop down arrow to select the member calendar. Event postings are FREE to community organizations, arts groups and non-profits.
News Briefs - From The Neighborhood
Click into this article to view prior news brief reports
Queens State of the Borough Address
Katz Delivers Her Third State of the Borough Address
Last Friday I headed down to Jamaicatown to watch Queens Borough President Melinda Katz deliver her third State of the Borough Address at the Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center at York College.
I entered the auditorium shortly after she began her address where she was talking about her role in the good progress that the de Blasio Administration Education Department, headed by Carmen Farina, is having in moving the needle in enhancing both infrastructure and performance in the NYC Public School System.
As an example about of third of the trailers have been removed, with plans for another third to be removed this year. This means kids are back in regular classrooms - after possibly decades long neglect by prior Administrations [need to confirm this statment].
And click here to read more Jamaica News NYC briefs.
Jamaica News Archives
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