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|Queens Borough President Forum - Chhaya at Jamaica Performing Arts Center|
Queens Borough President Candidates Forum
Queens Boro President Candidates Discuss the Issues
March 6, 2020 / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Neighborhoods /Queens Buzz NYC.
On Thursday evening I headed down to Jamaica town to watch and listen to four candidates vying for the office of Queens Borough President. The forum was hosted by Chhaya Community Development Corporation in tandem with several other South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community non profits seeking to enable their groups to become better informed regarding the candidates vying for the important office of Queens Borough President. I have included the names of these organizations at the end of this report.
In the photo at right are the Queens Borough President candidates [left to right]: Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards, Anthony Miranda and Elizabeth Crowley.
Queens Borough President Budget is About $70 Million
The Queens Borough President Office controls a budget of approximately $70 million. The budget is a % allocation of the total revenue taken in by the NYC municipality. The money is used to fund improvements and programs in the parks, schools, libraries, as well as healthcare and cultural institutions. The Queens Borough President also has use of the ‘bully pulpit’ - a phrase coined by President Theodore Roosevelt – meaning that when someone at the bully pulpit talked, people listened / took notice.
It was a sort of balmy early March evening with temperatures near 50 as I rode the subway down to Jamaica town. Riders were a bit on edge, keeping their distance amid fears of contagion from the CoronaVirus. One man held the subway pole with a newspaper, others wore gloves in spite of the unseasonably warm temperatures, and at the end of the ride a subway maintenance man, wearing a surgical mask and gloves, did a bit of cleaning.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report which includes some video of the Queens Borough President Forum hosted by Chhaya and held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.
- Early voting begins Saturday, March 14th and the election is on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020.
|Jamaica Fashion Shows Queens - Jamaica Just My Style|
5th Annual Queens Fashion Show
Jamaica Just My Style Hits the Runway Saturday 6/18
June 13, 2016 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Fashion & Style / Queens Buzz.
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 Democratic Party Machine & District 23|
Queens Politics & The Democratic Party Machine
A Closer Look At The NYC City Council Race In Queens District 23
August 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
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.
|Nobel Prize Winner Visits Queens - Nobel Laureate Speaks At York College|
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.
|The Jamaica Collection - Jamaica Performing Arts Center|
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 - York College Performing Arts Center|
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 - 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.
|Come To Fashion Show - Fashion 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 & the Cultural Collaborative in 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 Performing Arts Center|
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.
|Jamaica JAMS Festival|
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.
|Jamaican Jerk Festival - Jamaica NY|
Jamaican Jerk Festival Fiery Hot
Festival Provides Spicy Mix Of Food, Fashion, Music & Dance
July 24, 2011 / Jamaican Neighborhood / Fashion & Music / Food & Wine / Queens Buzz. I traveled down to the first annual Jamaican Jerk Festival having only an approximate idea of what to expect. I'd read about other Jamaican Jerk festivals and decided that the first one in Queens would be a good opportunity to check it out.
Roy Wilkins Park is on the southern edge of the Jamaica neighborhood, accessible via the LIE or via the subway to Jamaica Station and then the number 5 or 85 bus down along Merrick Blvd. They had situated the festival around the southern edge of the park, where there are trees which provided much needed shade.
My first stop was the cultural stage, where there music was played, models walked and wore new designs, and I saw Afro-Carribean dances performed. Jamaican jerk is a spicy hot culinary treat, generally added while the chicken or pork is simmering on the grill. Later this week you can click here to read more about the Jamaican Jerk Festival, including a slide show of photos.
|York College Commencement 2011|
York College Commencement 2011
Graduates Encouraged To Pursue Their Aspirations In Math & Sciences
June 3, 2011 / Jamaica NY Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. On Friday June 3rd, the 41st commencement of York College took place. Aprille Ericsson, Ph. D. was the commencement speaker. Aprille talked about her life, growing up in the middle of 20th century America, when African Americans were still fighting for equality.
She grew up in Brooklyn, was bussed to public schools, and demonstrated a high aptitude for mathematics and sciences, which enabled her to gain acceptance into schools with strong math and science programs. When she graduated she went to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which is most frequently referred to as NASA. She spent the bulk of her career an Instrument Manager and Aerospace Engineer [aka rocket scientist] at NASA, working on various projects spanning nearly three decades.
Click here to read the rest of our brief report on York College Commencement 2011 in Jamaica NY.
|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.
|Kwanzaa In Jamaica Queens|
Kwanzaa Celebration In Jamaica Queens
January. The Afrikan Poetry Society sponsored a free viewing of the now famous Kwanzaa film entitled 'The Black Candle'. The film is a documentary about the origins of Kwanzaa in the U.S. and around the world. The film shows how African Americans began to reconstruct their culture following four centuries of enslavement and discrimination in this country. The celebration contains many universal guidelines to be used by groups, even nations, struggling to regain their lost freedoms and self-direction. There are lessons in this film for everyone.
Click here to view our report on Kwanzaa in Jamaica Queens.
|Irie Jamboree 2009 - Jamaica NY Queens - Reggae Festival|
Irie Jamboree Reggae Rocks
Jamaica / September 7, 2009. The seventh annual Irie Jamboree rocked Queens this past Sunday. There were some twenty of the top reggae musicians from all over the country and Caribbean who came to play at this increasingly popular concert. Thousands of Queens residents flocked to the concert to enjoy a great day of warm sun, great music and delicious food. The concert was held on the York College Campus in the Jamaica section of Queens ['Jamaica' does seem like a fitting place for a reggae concert]. Spice is shown on the big screen at the Jam. Click here to view a full report and Irie Jamboree 2009 photos. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
|Jamaica Center For Arts & Learning - JCAL - Metro Poles, Art In Action - Jamaica NY|
Metro Poles: Art In Action
Art Exhibit Resonates In Community
Jamaica / January 17, 2009. Metro Poles: Art In Action was a 'live exhibit' sponsored by JCAL and other city art cultural organizations. The exhibit was the brainchild of Heng-Gil, the artistic director [check both name and title for final draft] of JCAL.
We made three visits to this exhibit in an effort to better understand it, as when we first covered the story it was a bit unclear as to exactly what the idea was and how the artists would develop it. It turned out to be something of an experience for us and in the end we became a part of the exhibit itself.
Click here to read the rest of the story, including many more photos of Metro Poles: Art In Action at JCAL in Jamaica Queens.
|JCAL - Jamaica Center For Arts & Learning - Air And Space Trio Concert|
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts
At JCAL In Jamaica Queens
Jamaica / Queens Buzz. The newly formed 'Air & Space Trio' performed at JCAL on Thursday evening in their concert auditorium. The group played a mix of classically inspired jazz using vocals, the trumpet, vibraphone and percussion as their instruments.
|Jamaica Center For Arts And Learning - An Evening With JAYU - Jamaica NY|
Jamaica Center For Arts & Learning - JAYU
Jamaica / Queens Buzz. I traveled down to the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens on Saturday, October 25, 2008 to listen to JAYU, an Asian jazz musical quartet. While I had expectations going down there, I came back truly excited about what I had heard. What follows is a brief story of 'An Evening With JAYU' at JCAL [Jamaica Center For Arts & Learning.
|Jamaica Events - Events In Jamaica NY|
Jamaica Events - Events In Jamaica NY
Jamaica NY / Queens Buzz. This section contains reports of many events that have taken place in Jamaica NY. It also includes links to maps, shopping center and longer reports.
Click here to read stories about Jamaica events in Queens NY.
Jamaica Neighborhood In Queens
African / Caribbean / Indian American Neighborhood
May 2018 / Jamaica NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.
This is the front page to the Jamaica neighborhood section of QueensBuzz.com. This section contains news and information about events, attractions, restaurants, shopping and more in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens. Reports include coverage of art exhibits, museums, live music, dance, theater and restaurants in the Jamaica section of Queens NYC. Unlike other areas of the U.S. in Queens African Americans outpace the Queens County average in terms of education and income. Throughout the last century many famous African American musicians and athletes moved to Queens because of its ethnic diversity.
Click here to view the front page of the Jamaica neighborhood on this site.