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Queens Borough President State of the Borough Address 2018 | queens borough president melinda katz state of the boro address queens boro president melinda katz state of the borough address
Queens Borough President State of the Borough Address 2018

Queens State of the Borough Address 2018

Katz Delivers Her Fourth State of the Borough Address

January 29, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

I headed over to the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School on a rather balmy January morning last Friday. The temperatures were unseasonably high in the 50’s and it was dry.

I arrived a bit late for the speech, so I watched it on Youtube over the weekend. The first eleven minutes included introductory performances and speeches, including the Pledge of Allegiance, a singing of the National Anthem, a brief thanks by Gideon Frankel the Principal of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, and a call out to the local pols in attendance by Deputy Borough President Melva Miller.

What U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer Didn't Say was Notable

u.s. senator chuck schumer ny photoAs far as I know, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer was not given any advance billing as being one of the speakers today, but he came onto the stage and spoke to us. For a moment I thought we might hear why he had decided to take the Democrats into a showdown about a federal government shutdown with President Trump less than a week ago [Friday, January 19th], and why he then backed off that negotiating stance less than three days later, agreeing to reopen the government by midday Monday, January 22nd.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Schumer Mentions Support for Dreamers & Immigrants, but Not a Word About the Government Shutdown Showdown

But U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer didn’t say a word to us about the shutdown per se, less than a week after it had all gone down. I couldn’t help but wonder why?

Was the shutdown: 1) a part of the growing theatrics of the federal government - as a bid to demonstrate Democratic solidarity with immigrants and Dreamers, or 2) a real effort to win concessions from the Republicans for immigrants, or 3) an ill-planned showdown that only took into account the bi-coastal Democratic leadership [Democratic Senate Minority Leader Schumer - NY & Democratic House Minority Leader Pelosi - CA] that represents densely populated urban areas with large immigrant populations, while ignoring the constituencies represented by Democrats who come from states that are more rural and suburban, and have small immigrant populations?

Schumer was on stage for a bit less than 15 minutes and in that time he told us about how he had cared for his elderly father who now lives in Queens. He referenced Melinda’s second term in office as the ‘peaceful passing of the torch’ which didn’t make a whole lot of sense because Katz is moving from her first to second term so there's no real torch passing going on. And he credited Katz with bringing ferry service to the borough, which I am sure she helped lobby, but which at its core was a Mayoral action. Schumer's visit was not hailed in advance, and he seemed a bit unprepared, so I wondered why he'd decided to speak, and whether he’d been rattled by the events of the prior week?

U.S. Senator Schumer concluded by telling us a story about how Ben Franklin and the framers of the Constitution were concerned about whether the people would actively participate in their own democracy, and whether a self governance system would attract honest candidates / office holders to serve. He then told us that he thought that the politicians on the stage, and the people in the audience today, were proof that both were working.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz State of the Borough Address 2018

Queens Borough President Katz followed U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. She talked about having recently completed ACL reconstructive surgery.

She said that during her first term the Community Board membership in Queens has undergone a huge transformation with 30% of the members being new.

There are three ways to view the significant change in the composition of the community boards: 1) it’s a fresh influx of new blood that represents some of the demographic changes going on in the borough, or 2) a huge loss of experienced community board members, possibly replaced by political appointees, thus creating an easier path for real estate developers to obtain variance approvals, or 3) both.

I don't yet know which it is, but I reckon over time, it should become more clear to us all.



NYC Mayoral Debates: De Blasio & Albanese

Democratic Candidates Discuss Issues Facing NYC

September 4, 2017 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / NYC Politics & Government Manhattan / Gotham Buzz NYC.

2017 mayoral debates nyc bill de blasio sal albanese photosOn Wednesday evening, August 23, I made my way to Symphony Space on the Upper West Side to watch the two Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City debate the issues.

Sal Albanese Democratic Challenger

Sal Albanese is the Democratic challenger, who raised just enough money to qualify for the NYC Campaign Finance Board qualification, which mandates debates between candidates who receive matching funds.

Albanese hails from Brooklyn and served as a member of the NYC City Council from 1983 to 1998. In the twenty years since he left public office, Sal has run for mayor on two previous occasions as a reformer. Since leaving office, Albanese spent ten years working in financial services and the rest of the time as an attorney, doing related work. Based on his political career efforts, Albanese appears to support many of the same progressive causes as Mayor de Blasio.

 

Conservative Commentator Sliwa Backs Albanese Bid

I ran into conservative talk show commentator Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels who told me he was there to support liberal reformer Sal Albanese. I found this to 2017 mayoral debates nyc bill de blasio sal albanese photosbe ironic - given that Sliwa is a conservative Republican commentator who a couple years ago publicly announced that he was going to run as a Republican for Queens Borough President, challenging Democrat Melinda Katz. When I asked him if he still planned to run as a Republican against Democrat Katz, he replied no, and said he was here tonight supporting Sal Albanese and the Reform Party.

 

NYC Mayoral Debates 2017

What follows is probably less a summary, than a full accounting of the debate.

As I came out of the subway, I saw people gathered in front of Symphony Space. Some were supporters of the Mayor and some supporters for Goodwin, a challenger to the Upper West Side NYC City Councilwoman, Helen Rosenthal.

Inside I found that the free tickets had been fully subscribed, and while the auditorium was generally filled - it was not full - as not everyone used the tickets they booked.

Errol Louis of NY1 was the debate moderator and the debate panelists included: Brian Lehrer of WNYC, Laura Nahmias of Politico, Grace Rauh of NY1 and Juan Manuel Benitez of Noticias on NY1.

Each candidate opened with brief statements.

 

Albanese: Cites The Issues Facing NYC & America

Albanese started by talking about many of the major issues facing not just New York, but in many respects, all of America. He mentioned class warfare, pay to play politics, public transit investment, empty 2017 mayoral debates nyc bill de blasio sal albanese photosstorefronts, lawless developers, and the negative impact of gentrification on communities, public space and tenants.

 

De Blasio: Cites Administration Accomplishments

De Blasio started by talking about the accomplishments of his administration over the past three and a half years. He noted that his administration is in the process of building affordable housing for 500,000 tenants and is on time and on budget. That Stop N Frisk is down 93% while the NYC crime rate has continued to fall, so that NYC is now one of the safest big cities in America. And that 78,000 children are now attending pre-school. He said while his Administration has achieved a lot, there's a lot more to do.

Later this week I'll post the rest of the report about the Mayoral Debate between Sal Albanese and Mayor Bill de Blasio.


Free Concerts in Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Flushing Jackson Heights Woodside Jamaica Corona Long Island City - Free Things To Do In Queens | free things to do in queens free summer concerts in astoria park athens square park gantry park lic sunnyside park windmuller park woodside travers park flushing meadows corona park king park jamaica 7.31.18 - 21848
Free Concerts in Queens - Astoria LIC Sunnyside Flushing Jackson Heights Woodside Jamaica Corona Long Island City - Free Things To Do In Queens

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

Free Summer Concerts in Queens Parks

July 31, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Music Scene in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

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

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



Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Shows Queens Sctn | jamaica just my style fashion show queens fashion shows jamaica queens nyc
Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Shows Queens Sctn

Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show

Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Shows

Jamaice Hits the Runway Annually

September 2017 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Fashion & Style / Queens Buzz NYC.

Jamaica Center is the name of the Jamaica Business Improvement District.  For years the Jamaica BID has been organizing fashion shows to feature the local designers and retailers of fashion in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens.  

The show continues to attract an audience and participants interested in making the Afro-Indian-Caribbean colors, cuts and designs a part of mainstream American culture.  The show also taps into Queens musical heritage of jazz, blues, soul, pop and hip hop - as Queens was long known as the home of jazz - as many of the most famous jazz musicians and vocalists made Queens their home. 

Click here to view our photos and reports on the Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Shows in Queens.



De Blasio Delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Takes Humanist, Social Science Approach to Solving NYC Problems

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mayor de Blasio Standing Big & Tall for All New Yorkers

america's mayor de blasio nyc

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

 

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

 

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

 

I. De Blasio Administration NYC Public School Achievements

A. Social Science & Humanist Approach to Education

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

america's mayor de blasio nyc

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYPD Commissioner O'Neill on Stop N' Frisk & Cybercrime

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

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

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

Background: NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill

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

 

Neighborhood Policing: Intelligent Approach to Safety That Works?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Cybercrime - Anonymous, Stealthy, Cross-Jurisdictional

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

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

 

Budapest Convention of 2001 on Cybercrime Helping

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

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

 

Speed of Response Helps Law Enforcement Respond

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

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

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

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

Organized by City & State Magazine, Website & Events

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


Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens | xmas tree holiday lightings in queens astoria lic long island city sunnyside woodside jackson heights corona flushing jamaica christmas tree lightings in queens - 4429 on 11/30/15 - 5178 1/1/16 - 7452 on 12/7/16  // 10.28.17 - 10032 / 11.2.17 - 10109.
Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens

Holiday Events In Queens

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

Upated December 16, 2017 / 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.



MacKenzie Perpich-Hope is Crowned Miss Queens

Elegance & Grace Adorn the Stage at the Miss America Miss Queens / Miss Brooklyn Contests in Brooklyn

miss queens beauty pageant 2016 miss americaSeptember 20, 2016 / Greenpoint Neighborhood in Brooklyn / Fashion Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz.

Yes, it's true, MacKenzie Perpich-Hope was crowned Miss Queens and Britney Hollingsworth was crowned Miss Brooklyn in a twin-boroughs gala pageant of borough beauties. The two winners of the 3rd Annual Miss America Miss Queens / Miss Brooklyn were crowned Saturday night around 8 pm amid great enthusiasm.

As you can see in the photo shown at right there were a number of very lovely, charming young ladies all vying for the top spot - any of which I'm sure would have made the borough proud - but since there was only one crown per borough ... there were only two titleists.

We'll have more about the Miss Queens / Miss Brooklyn pageant at a later date including some breath-taking photos.


Milton G Bassin York College Performing Arts Center Sctn | york college performing arts center jamaica queens milton g bassin performing arts center at york college jamaica queens
Milton G Bassin York College Performing Arts Center Sctn

York College Performing Arts Center

Milton G Bassin Performing Arts Center in Jamaice

September 2017 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

The Milton G Bassin Performing Arts is a cultural center for southeastern Queens and beyond.  Associated with York College, the performing arts center hosts a number of local productions, visiting professional productions as well as theatrical works developed and performed by the students of York College.

Click here to view our photos and reports on the Milton G Bassin York College Performing Arts Center in Queens.



Queens Library Lawsuit Controversy Reform Bill | queens library trustees fired queens library trustees sue borough president melinda katz nye senators pass queens library reform bill
Queens Library Lawsuit Controversy Reform Bill

Queens Library - Report Series

CEO Galante & Trustees Controversy

October 2016 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Issues / Queens Buzz.  Given the ongoing importance and drama associated with the Queens Library lawsuit, controversy and Reform Bill, we decided to create a section dedicated to it so that readers interested in learning more about it, may find a public record of what is happening to the Queens Public Library system.

Click here to read our reports about the Queens Library lawsuit, controversy & Reform Bill.



Queens Library 'Scandal' - Where was the Beef?

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

"personal piggy bank" ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of Smoke, but Still No Fire

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Quelle suprise.

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


Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show

Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Shows

Jamaice Hits the Runway Annually

melinda katz queens library reform billSeptember 2017 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Fashion & Style / Queens Buzz NYC.

Jamaica Center is the name of the Jamaica Business Improvement District.  For years the Jamaica BID has been organizing fashion shows to feature the local designers and retailers of fashion in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens.  

The show continues to attract an audience and participants interested in making the Afro-Indian-Caribbean colors, cuts and designs a part of mainstream American culture.  The show also taps into Queens musical heritage of jazz, blues, soul, pop and hip hop - as Queens was long known as the home of jazz - as many of the most famous jazz musicians and vocalists made Queens their home. 

Click here to view our photos and reports on the Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Shows in Queens.


jamaica events calendar jamaica ny

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Saving Jamaica Bay Documentary Film - Queens World Film Festival | queens films documentaries saving jamaica bay dan Hendrick katha cato don Sigal director susan sarandon saving jamaica bay documentary film queens astoria museum of moving image
Saving Jamaica Bay Documentary Film - Queens World Film Festival

Saving Jamaica Bay

Local Documentary Film At The Queens World Film Festival

March 21, 2016 / Astoria Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens in Film / Queens Buzz.

I attended the 6th annual Queens World Film Festival on Thursday where I had an opportunity to view a film that's been years in the making by a local filmmaker, Dan Hendrick. The film is entitled Saving Jamaica Bay and it's an hour and 16 minute documentary about the ecosystem of New York City's Jamaica Bay.

The film storyline and cinematography capture the juxtaposition and the intensifying struggle, between man and nature. The beauty of the bay is captured on film, showing us that the fair maiden is in distress. But she's being rescued, or at least fought for, by a naturalist and former manager of the National Park Service Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in tandem with a retired fireman and his son, who've taken upon themselves the mission of protecting what was shown to us to be an area of great urban abuse and refuse, but even greater beauty.

  • Click here to see more still photos and a review of the film entitled Saving Jamaica Bay at the Queens World Film Festival in March. The film is scheduled to be shown at other film festivals throughout the year, a few of which will be listed at the end of this report.



Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address 2016 NYC | mayor bill de blasio's state of the city address 2016 state of nyc speech 2016 de blasio
Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address 2016 NYC

De Blasio's State of the City Address 2016

Moving NYC from 'Tale of Two Cities' to 'One New York'?

February 6, 2016 / Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Bronx / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Queens Buzz.

I attended Mayor de Blasio’s second State of the City Address delivered at the Performing Arts Center at Lehman College in the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. In spite of its northern, non-central location, the speech was well attended. About three dozen protesters also made their way north of Manhattan into the Central west Bronx, wielding placards asking the Mayor to stop gentrification and something about fair labor practices.

I took my place among the press corps where we were seated right in the middle of the auditorium. After settling in, I started photographing the slides whizzing by on the main stage, showing the accomplishments of the de Blasio Administation during its first two years. I have included a slide show a bit later in this report, which contains some of the slides that I photographed.

Unlike last year, when the Mayor and the Police Commissioner were having difficulties adjusting to each other, this year the mood seemed buoyant. In front of me was a group of students from the Laboratory School of Finance & Technology - MS 223 - at 360 East 145th Street in the Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx. The school is connected with Bronx Prep and hence handles grades 6 through 12.

Click here to read our report of Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address 2016. The report includes video excerpts of the Mayor's speech, as well as two other short video pieces including the harmony singing of the National Anthem by a talented Bronx choral group, and the teachers and students of MS 223.



The Dutch Origins of Santa Claus in Queens NYC | dutch origins of santa claus queens nyc st nicholas day celebrations manhattan queens nyc king manor museum programs jamaica ny nyc
The Dutch Origins of Santa Claus in Queens NYC

The Dutch American Influences In The Origins Of Santa Claus

Food Historian Peter G. Rose at the King Manor Museum

December 13, 2015 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Food in Queens / Queens Buzz.

I had the opportunity to attend a lecture at the King Manor Museum in Jamaica by Food Historian Peter G. Rose. The topic she had chosen to discuss, the origins of Santa Claus, was well timed between the St. Nicholas Name Day on December 6th and the Christmas Holiday on December 25th.

What I learned in the lecture was of the Dutch and American influences on the origins of Santa Claus. In spite of knowing Santa all of my life, I found Peter G. Rose’s lecture to shed new light on an old subject. But that said, I reckon to anyone who knows Santa Claus, ought to know that that jolly old man is full of surprises.

It was a near balmy Sunday afternoon as I stepped off Jamaica Avenue and walked up the grand roadway that leads to the front door of Rufus King Manor. The museum was open, but I had to knock on the big wide wooden door to be let in. Just inside and off to the left there was a small roomful of people who had signed up for the lecture as well as a table filled with books, wooden cookie boards and some cookie samples.

Click here to read the rest of our report on the Dutch origins of Santa Claus in New York presented by Food Historian Peter G. Rose at the King Manor Museum in Jamaica NY.





Grodenchik Wins District 23 Primary

Defeats Friedrich, Lynch, Parhar, Najmi & Dosamantes in Democratic Primary

nyc city council primary elections queens nycSeptember 10, 2015 / Queens Politics / Queens Neigbhorhoods / News & Analysis. Queens Buzz. The special election for the Queens District 23 City Council seat was won by the Democratic party backed candidate, Barry Grodenchik.

Grodenchik (26%) edged out Bob Friedrich in a crowded field, with less than 30% of the vote. Friedrich was a close second (22%), followed by Lynch (20%), Parhar (17%), Najmi (10%) and Dosamantes (4%).

South Asians Not Participating In The Voting Process At Competitive Levels & That's Why Their Candidates Lost

The ethnic vote - represented by the tallies of the last three candidates - represented over 30% of the vote. This shows that Asian Americans are not participating in the voting process at a level commensurate with their share of the population, as according to an Asian American Federation report, they represent about 40% of the District 23 population. So they are not voting because they are uninformed, unmotivated and / or not registered. If Candidate Najmi had gotten just 80% of his Facebook Likes to turn out to vote, he would have won. Of course this assumes that those 80% of his Facebook Likes are all registered voters in NYC City Council District 23.

Caucasian Votes Split Among Three Candidates Too, But Their Voter Participation Rate Was Far Higher

If the ethnic vote had been unified, an ethnic candidate would have been able to win the primary. That said, the non-ethnic vote as represented by the tallies of the first three candidates, was also split among three candidates, and represents two thirds of those who showed up to cast votes. In this case, the Caucasian demographic is participating in the democratic process at levels significantly above their representation in the population, as according to a report found in The Indian Panorama, Caucasians represent 30% of the District 23 population. About 6,300 votes were cast in total. This report is based on the vote tallies reported by the Queens Tribune and the New York Observer.

Grodenchik will go on to face Republican Joe Concannon on November 3rd in what many pundits believe is only a formality, given that the Queens Democratic electorate in the last Mayoral election [2013] represented nearly 90% of the Queens vote in the primary, and about 70% of the Queens vote in the general election.

Naturally political affiliation can vary by district, and there are a few pockets of Queens held by Republicans, but based on the general voting history of Queens District 23, it does not appear to be one of them. Click here to read an earlier report on the Queens District 23 NYC City Council candidates which includes a video of one of the forums.


Queens City Council Primary Thursday

Queens District 23

September 10, 2015 / Queens Politics / Queens Neigbhorhoods / Queens Buzz.

The special election primary is Thursday, September 10, for the seat vacated by Mark Weprin. Queens City Council District 23 includes 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.

Click here to find a Queens polling place near you. Polls open at 6 am and close promptly at 9 pm. Click here to read a story and watch the Queens District 23 NYC City Council candidates ask each other questions and make their closing statements.


Queens Politics & The Democratic Party Machine

A Closer Look At The NYC City Council Race In Queens District 23

nyc city council primary elections queens nycAugust 30, 2015 / District 23 Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz.

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

district 23 city council election candidates positionsNYC 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. Contrary to at least one candidate's assertion, New Hyde Park in Nassau County on Long Island, is not a part of the 23rd District nor even a part 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

nyc primary elections queens ny city councilThe 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, except Dosamantes who answered no.

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.




Jamaica JAMS Music Festival - Cultural Collaborative | jamaica jams festival cultural collaborative jamaica queens music scene
Jamaica JAMS Music Festival - Cultural Collaborative

Jamaica JAMS Festival

Queens, The Home Of Jazz, Hits Another High Note

August 16, 2015 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Music Scene in Queens / Queens Buzz.

Two weekends ago I headed down to Jamaica town, to partake in the Jamaica JAMS festival of music, which begins the eve before the big festival day. It was a near perfect summer evening as I ascended from the underground tunnels of the MTA's E train, and up onto the bustling streets of Jamaica, Queens.

I headed west along Jamaica Avenue before turning north at 153rd Street which runs along the eastern side of Rufus King Park. There were plenty of people out and about. I saw parents watching their kids at the playground as they all enjoyed the lazy midsummer evening, there were energetic teenage boys playing spirited half-court games of basketball, and an entire field filled with soccer moms, dads and kids passing, rollling and kicking the ball around. But in the northwest corner of the park, something else was a happenin'.

I crossed the field and came up behind the Jamaica JAMS [Jamaica Arts & Music Summer] audience that had gathered on the lawn and on the chairs facing the JAMS festival stage. Emcee and saxophonist Craig Crawford was conversing with the winner of a dance contest that had just ended [see photo above].

Click here to read more about the Jamaica JAMS musical festival in Rufus King Park, including a short, less-than-two-minute music video with saxaphonist Craig Crawford, followed by vocalist Toni-Ann-Semple.



New York City Makes 'Budget Handshake'

queens politicsJune 23, 2015 / Queens Neigbhorhoods / Queens Politics / Queens Buzz.

We received this missive from New York City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of the Upper West Side. We've made few edits, but the text is essentially a reprint of her email.

Over 100 hours of budget hearings revealed much information that helped to shape the final agreement. [Helen Rosenthal said that] As a member of the City Council's Finance Committee and the Budget Negotiating Team, I can honestly say that all 51 members of the Council had input to ensure that New Yorkers in every borough will get the services they need. In addition to major investments in neighborhood police, there is additional funding for mental health services, veterans, and Vision Zero education.

Photo Credit: William Alatriste for the New York City Council

Education and Youth

• There will be an increase of 80 school crossing guards citywide, and the Upper West Side will gain more crossing guards. Renewed focus on recruitment and retention will happen in discussions over the summer.
• There are unprecedented amounts of funding for our young adults from summer jobs and year-round jobs to support for City University of New York (CUNY) students to keep them in college and help them graduate. 
• The additional $39 million for libraries will yield 6-7 day a week service in every borough. 
• The free lunch program in middle schools will continue, and there will be an expansion of the "breakfast after the bell" program, so that all elementary schools will offer it by 2018.
• Teachers will receive up to $125 in reimbursement for school supplies that they bring into the classroom. While this is an improvement, it is not enough. We must give teachers all the tools they need to teach well, and I will continue to work to improve this system in the next fiscal year.

Tenant Protections

• Over $35 million for lawyers, clinics, and advocacy to support tenants who experience harassment by landlords - the largest the City has ever dedicated to this issue.
• Dedicated legal advice for public housing (NYCHA) residents in housing court at 250 Broadway.
• Dedicated team of inspectors to investigate particularly egregious landlords.

Seniors and Safety Net

• Elimination of the wait list for seniors needing home care services.
• Commitment to build 5,000 new units of senior affordable housing over the next five years with dedicated on-site social services.
• Additional funding for the emergency food program and local food banks.
• The largest investment in addressing elder abuse through outreach and social services.

Small Business Support

• Dedicated funds to local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and civic associations. Council members will be able to designate money to support small business in their area.
• Double the investments in worker cooperative support yielding an additional 30-40 new worker-owned businesses throughout the City.

Contract Services 

• Community-based organizations providing EarlyLearn NYC services will receive wage parity with DOE employees providing that service.
• Increase of the minimum wage of "Human Service" contract workers to $11.50/hour with targeted career ladder support.
• Funding to continue providing local services from small, community non-profits that lost contracts through the citywide process. 

The City Council will formally "adopt" the City's budget at a Stated meeting later this week. At that time, we will have additional information about my dedicated funding for the Upper West Side. 

Again, this a reprint of an email from New York City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of the Upper West Side.



Independent Film In Queens - Freedom Summer | independent film in queens freedom summer indie films in queens
Independent Film In Queens - Freedom Summer

African American History Revisited

African American Film Makers Explore Their Predecessors' Experience With Fresh Lens

Film Event In Sunnyside

February 17, 2014 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. On Saturday evening, February 22nd, the East Coast premiere of Freedom Summer is being hosted at the Sunnyside Reformed Church. Emmy Award winning filmmaker, Stanley Nelson, will be on hand to discuss the making of the new film which premiered at the Sundance 2014 Film Festival in January.

I spoke with Stanley via telephone about the documentary, which covers the summer of 1964 when Mississippi was burning. White Mississipians expected African Americans to bow their heads in deference and to step aside on sidewalks as white folks passed. Mississippi had a whole host of laws and customs set in place which denied African Americans their full rights as American citizens, and as fellow human beings. And anyone - white or black - who tried to question the norms; felt the wrath of the white supremisists who embraced the culture.

About seven hundred students from around the nation [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] went down to Mississippi to help African Americans exercise their rights. Three of them - Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Early Chaney - went missing. After intense media / television coverage and national outrage, the FBI began a manhunt. The victims' bodies turned up 44 days later. All three had been shot at close range. The photo above is a still from the film Freedom Summer.

The documentary incorporates historical photos and media coverage and a little heard recorded telephone conversation between LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover. This report also includes background on film maker Stanley Nelson who runs a film making company / incubator in Harlem as he will be present to discuss film making at the event. Click here to read the rest of our report about Freedom Summer - premiere of an independent film in Queens or click here to rsvp a ticket to the free East Coast film premiere in Queens.





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jamaica news jamaica ny news


Jamaica News - Brief Reports About Jamaica NY | jamaica ny news news about jamaica queens news briefs about jamaica queens ny
Jamaica News - Brief Reports About Jamaica NY

Queens State of the Borough Address

Katz Delivers Her Third State of the Borough Address

January 22, 2018 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Buzz.

Last Friday I headed down to Jamaicatown to watch Queens Borough President Melinda Katz deliver her third State of the Borough Address at the Milton 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 events jamaica ny events


Milton G Bassin York College Performing Arts Center Sctn | york college performing arts center jamaica queens milton g bassin performing arts center at york college jamaica queens
Milton G Bassin York College Performing Arts Center Sctn

York College Performing Arts Center

Milton G Bassin Performing Arts Center in Jamaice

September 2017 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

The Milton G Bassin Performing Arts is a cultural center for southeastern Queens and beyond.  Associated with York College, the performing arts center hosts a number of local productions, visiting professional productions as well as theatrical works developed and performed by the students of York College.

Click here to view our photos and reports on the Milton G Bassin York College Performing Arts Center in Queens.



Jamaica Performing Arts Center | shades of truth theatre in harlem black wall street black wall st play performed in queens nyc harlem greenwood oklahoma 1921 riots scott ellsworth book death in the land of paradise
Jamaica Performing Arts Center

Jamaica & The Performing Arts

Dance Out Loud Receives Thunderous Applause

March 16, 2013 / Jamaica NY / Dance in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the Dance Out Loud benefit for the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. It was held at the renovated First Dutch Reformed Church, which is now the 400 seat Jamaica Performing Arts Center. The First Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1858, and made a landmark in the mid 1970’s after a community effort saved it from being demolished in 1975. After twenty years of limbo and renovations, the building was reopened as the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in 2009. But I digress.

Tonight we would watch some of the best dance companies in the NYC metro area perform a variety of original works, a pleasure that is difficult to find anywhere – even in Manhattan.

Click here to read the rest of our report on the Dance Out Loud benefit dance performances at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, including a photo slide show of the performances.






things to do in jamaica ny


King Manor | king manor jamaica ny queens king manor museum rufus king
King Manor

King Manor Brings Dead Back To Life

Spirits Of Dutch & Colonial Queens Reawakened

October / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens History / Queens Buzz.  It’s easy to forget Queens colonial past some 200 - 400 years ago, as so much has happened since then.  But October is the time to reawaken long lost spirits and I’m happy to report I witnessed just such a reawakening at King Manor in King Park in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens this past weekend.

New York Open House and the Historic House Trust got together this year and held their annual weekend extravaganza this past weekend, with food as the historic theme.  So King Manor put together a program celebrating Dutch cuisine and its influence on American fare, and in the process gave us a tour and an education about one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution and a strong, outspoken advocate against slavery.

Click here to read our report about King Manor and Rufus King in Jamaica Queens.



York College | york college jamaica queens cuny york college queens jamaica ny
York College

York College - Jamaica Queens

Emerging Powerhouse In Central Queens

March / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I had occasion to visit York College to learn more about one of the four CUNY [City University Of New York] colleges in Queens.

The four CUNY colleges in Queens are geographically dispersed throughout the borough, including locations in Long Island City [LaGuardia Community College], Flushing [Queens College], Jamaica [York College] and Bayside [Queens Borough Community College].

York College and Queens College are four year Baccalaureate degree awarding colleges, which also offer several Masters degrees; while LaGuardia and Queens Borough Community Colleges are two year Associates degree awarding colleges. CUNY also has a Law School which will be re-located from Flushing to Long Island City [LIC] in the fall of 2011.

Click here to read our full report, including numerous photos, about York College and the York Performing Arts Center.





jamaica maps maps of jamaica ny


Jamaica Shops Restaurants Attractions - Things To Do Jamaica NY | A map of cultural and entertainment organizations and attractions in Jamaica Queens NY, including Kings Manor and the Jamaica Cultural Performing Arts Center
Jamaica Shops Restaurants Attractions - Things To Do Jamaica NY

Jamaica Maps - Overview

Click to view two maps of Jamaica: 1) map of shops and restaurants with links to shop home pages or stories on this site, and 2) map of cultural attractions in Jamaica most for which there are reports or individual maps on this site.

Click here to view Jamaica Maps - Shops, Restaurants and Cultural Attractions in Jamaica Queens.  It's also a map of things to do in Jamaica Queens.






jamaica restaurants restaurants in jamaica ny

Dutch Cuisine & Recipes | dutch cuisine and cooking dutch recipes jamaica ny queens
Dutch Cuisine & Recipes

Dutch Cuisine Past & Present

King Manor Presents Delicious Dutch Foods & Recipes

October / Jamaica Neighborhood / Food & Wine / Queens Buzz. In tandem with the NY Open House and the Historic House Festival weekend, King Manor selected an historic food theme that would have pleased New Amsterdam Mayor Peter Stuyvesant.

There were two sections to this historic presentation. The first was a reenactment of colonial Dutch cooking by Diane G. Fish, who is a living historian with a specialty in Civil War reenactments. To the delight of all there, including myself, she’s also an avid foodie who’s well acquainted with Dutch cuisine. And the second section was a lecture and presentation by a renowned historian and food writer, Peter G. Rose. Peter took us back to the Dutch kitchens in the Netherlands of the 1700’s and traced the migration of Dutch foods into the colonial world.

Many of the things she would discuss, we had the opportunity to sample prior to the lecture … click here to read the rest of our report on Dutch cuisine & recipes in Queens New York.



Jamaica Jerk Festival Photos - Caribbean Cuisine in Queens | jamaica jerk festival 2012 photos jamaican jerk festival caribbean cuisine in jamaica queens caribbean restaurants in queens
Jamaica Jerk Festival Photos - Caribbean Cuisine in Queens

Jamaican Jerk Festival

Afro Caribbean Cultural Event In Queens

July / Jamaica Neighborhood / Ethnic Food in Queens / Queens Buzz. It was a warm, dry, sunny Sunday, as I made my way into Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica. Today was the 2nd annual Jamaican Jerk Festival, that I’d been waiting in anticipation for over the past few weeks. The Jamaican Jerk Festival is a combination reggae concert and food festival.

I entered through the gates of Roy Wilkins Park in the southern Jamaica neightborhood of Queens, as a slight breeze willowed its way through the trees and crowd. There were retail vendor tents to my left, with displays of vibrantly colored clothing and fashion jewelry Afro Caribbean style. Caps, hats, dresses, shirts and scarves hung loosely in little white tents, as shoppers and merchants mingled and did business.

Click here to read our report and view photos of the Jamaican Jerk Festival.






shops in jamaica ny jamaica shopping ny


Jamaica JAMS Festival | jamaica jams street festival music festival queens jamaica ny
Jamaica JAMS Festival

Jamaica JAMS

Good Music, Food, Variety & A Good Time

August 6, 2011 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Live Music / Queens Buzz. The folks in Jamaica sure know how to throw a party. I enjoyed Jamaica JAMS this year far more than last year, because the weather was much more comfortable and the streets weren’t quite so crowded. This year I went in the late afternoon of the second day of the two-day event.

Jamaica JAMS is a big Street Musical Festival and Shopping Fair. There were somewhere between a half dozen and dozen musical acts performing Saturday afternoon / evening and hundreds of vendors.

Click here to view a slide show and read more about the Jamaica JAMS Street Music Festival in Jamaica.



Jamaica Shopping Center & Map | shops shopping jamaica queens ny
Jamaica Shopping Center & Map

Jamaica Shopping Center & Map

Shops & Shopping In Jamaica NY

December 2017 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Jamaica Shops & Shopping / Queens Buzz. 

This page contains home page links, contact info, maps for stores and shops located in Jamaica, Queens.

This page contains information about shops in and around Jamaica Queens.

 



 




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Jamaica Real Estate In Queens NYC | jamaica real estate nyc realtors condos apartments in jamaica queens nyc real estate commercial retail restaurant space in jamaica ny
Jamaica Real Estate In Queens NYC

Jamaica Real Estate - The Art Of Selling

Jamaica Center BID & The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation Talk About The Re-Emergence Of A Vibrant Commercial Center

Updated May 3, 2014 / December 3, 2013 / Jamaica NY Real Estate / Jamaica NY / Queens Buzz. Earlier this month I attended an event hosted by the Jamaica Center BID to talk about real estate and commercial opportunities in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens.

Jamaica is one of the largest and most vibrant commercial areas in Queens, and the event was designed to talk about Jamaica in that light.

I arrived a bit early and met with Felicia Tunnah, the new Executive Director of the Jamaica Center BID [Business Improvement District]. It seems the weather, traffic congestion and the subways had conspired to delay speakers, attendees and possibly the event, but it wasn't too long of a wait before the meeting began.

The delay gave all of us a bit of time to enjoy the food and beverages being served by local restaurants and a caterer. City Ribs, a small chain started by a locally raised entrepreneur served ... well ... ribs. Sangria Catering served a fresh salad and chicken dish and Applebee's served dessert.

Click here to read more about real estate in Jamaica NY and click here to read the rest of our report including photo slide show of the meeting about real estate in Jamaica Queens NYC.



 
Jamaica NY Real Estate & Business | jamaica ny real estate realtors condos apartments in jamaica queens real estate realtors condos apartments
Jamaica NY Real Estate & Business

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.



 

Public Transit To & From JFK Airport & NYC Manhattan Queens | The Jamaica Train station is the LIRR hub and the busiest transportation complex in Queens.  The Jamaica Train station serves as the nexus for LIRR trains heading to / from New York City, to / from JFK airport via the new air train, and to / from all destinations on Long Island, save the Port Washington line.  This brief provides some info, photos and a map showing the location of the complex.
Public Transit To & From JFK Airport & NYC Manhattan Queens

Public Transit To & From JFK Airport To NYC

Queens Air Train & Buses Connect JFK Airport To NYC Subways

Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Shopping / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz. The Jamaica Train station is the LIRR hub and the busiest transportation complex in Queens.

The Jamaica Train station serves as the nexus for LIRR trains heading to / from New York City, to / from JFK airport via the new air train, and to / from all destinations on Long Island, save the Port Washington line.

Click here to read more about public transit to & from JFK Airport & NYC. Manhattan & Queens.  This brief provides some info, photos and a map showing the location of the complex.




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