Click the heading above to view ethinic & religious events this month in Queens. Click the following links to go directly into one of these Queens Neighborhoods: Astoria, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Long Island City and Sunnyside. You may also click here to go to our Queens Parades section or to our ethnic, religious & holidays in Queens section.
The Road Ahead 2018
A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year
For many of us, yesterday started the beginning of the new year.
I used to make new years resolutions that generally lasted a few days or few weeks. Over time I've given that up and have focused on a few guiding principles that I work toward throughout the year, every year.
1. The first guidepost is to keep things as simple as possible by letting things go, so I can change and evolve who I am. Over time it's important to learn to let go of the past which includes letting many of the people, projects and things - that were once so meaningful and relevant - fade away with time. This process involves discarding much of what one collects, in order to open up life to make room for new possibilities.
2. The second guidepost is to take care of the vessel that carries one's being - meaning taking care of the body because it's the only one we'll ever get, and it has to last an entire lifetime. This means consuming the foods that will enable the body to function properly and ward off disease, while recognizing that satisfying the mind is important too, as it's a part of the body. There are three elements to this guideline.
a _ Try to maximize consumption of natural foods while managing / minimalizing consumption of the delicious processed foods that come in packages. Read package container nutrition labels which indicate the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol consumed per serving. The balance of natural and processed foods will shift depending on what's going on in life.
b _ Reduce consumption of toxins by first paying attention to the quantities consumed of them, and then by substituting the toxins with healthier choices. For example dilute a soft drink with seltzer water [cuts sugar], or swap in a lemonade for a beer [cuts alcohol], or swap in pretzels for potato chips [cuts salt and fat]. Over the years these little substitutions can add up to some fair measure of weight loss, and can aid in maintaining generally good health. But it's also important not to deprive oneself, too much, of some of the simple pleasures in life that keep one going - because my experience has been that whenever I'm too draconian, there's a subconscious rebellion, and the program doesn't work.
c _ The third element of this guidepost is to try to walk and bike whenever possible. It's a good way to kill two birds with one stone as it enables getting somewhere, while also getting some exercise. And be sure to carve out enough time each night, for a proper rest.
3. The third guidepost is to try to move your life in the direction of your interests. This will likely take a great many years, as well as needing to make a good number of economic and other trade offs. But if successful, one can then spend most of their time doing the things that totally engage them. It's said that "when someone is doing something they truly love, they'll never have to work another day in their life."
4. And the fourth guidepost is to keep on learning, because "luck is when preparation meets opportunity". So the more you learn, and the more experience you get, the better prepared you'll be ... come what may.
May your new year be filled with promise and possibilities. Best wishes for a happy and successful 2018.
Queens Holiday Events Underway
Woodside on the Move Tree Lighting & Caroling
There's been a surge of holiday activities - which began just shortly before Thanksgiving Day - and which this past weekend went full throttle. And there's more to follow.
The temperatures were unseasonally balmy, with the mercury level near 60 degrees on late Saturday afternoon, as I headed down to Woodside to cover the Woodside on the Move annual Christmas tree lighting. As I approached Sohcke Square I could see a crowd gathered along Woodside Avenue just east of 58th Street where the street had been blocked, and a stage had been erected. I shot a few photos while listening to the speaker and surveying the crowd.
After a while I heard a marching band in the distance, and wondered how they fit into this event, as over the past decade a marching band had not been previously included as a part of the performances. As it turns out, there was a separate group celebration, which had put together a sidewalk parade, that included people dressed like the Biblical Mary and Joseph, who were followed by other marchers dressed up and carrying flowers followed by a sizeable marching band. I'll post a bit of video late today or on Wednesday.
The children of PS 11, PS 151, PS 152 & PS 361 were scheduled to give musical performances, so I recorded a brief video of one of them, which I'll include with the video mentioned above. Anyhow, the kids and the parents all seemed to be enjoying themselves and the tree looked really good, possibly better than ever. The moon was shining high in the sky, as I made my way west to Sunnyside to view the festival on Skillman Avenue.
Fiery Dragon Heats Up Boat Festival
It was a warm weekend at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. But not too warm to prevent the legendary fiery dragon, a symbol of good fortune, to grace the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival with his presence [see photo to right].
The fiery dragon came rampaging through the festival lawn, seeming to blow flames from its mouth, out into the hot air. Thankfully Meadow Lake was nearby.
Is this a fictitious tale you may ask? Only the dragon knows for sure.
The 27th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival was held in Queens on Meadow Lake. Meadow Lake is located in the southern end of Flushing Corona Meadows Park, well past the Unisphere and roller rink. The races were held on both Saturday and Sunday during the day. There were reportedly over 2,000 participants in the races, which included serious racers and racers just out to have a fun time. And many thousands of spectators.
Queens Fireworks Celebrating July 4th
Queens has Fireworks Displays in Bayside, Astoria & in the Rockaways - but the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks has Moved Down River
It begins in Bayside on Wednesday, June 26th beginning around 9 pm when the fireworks will be shot into the air off a barge on Little Neck Bay which you can get a good view of from the Bayside Historical Society.
The next evening on Thursday, June 27th in Astoria Park there are fireworks which are preceded by a concert that begins around 7 pm on the Great Lawn. The fireworks begin about dusk, which is just past 9.30 pm but each year more people attend this event, so I recommend you go early.
The big event is of course on July 4th, beginning just before 9.30 pm, when the Macy's 4th of July fireworks takes to the sky. But this year the fireworks have been moved south of the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River [Between Pier 17 and Manhattan Heliport], so the view from Long Island City in Queens won't be what it has been in prior years.
And last, but not least, are the Breezy Point fireworks in the Rockaway Inlet on July 5th beginning at 9.30 pm. The Breezy Point Co-Op is the sponsor and you might want to leave early to find a good spot.
HORROR on Ditmars ends Ghoulishly in Astoria Park
The Astoria Family Halloween Parade Marches Down Ditmars to Astoria Park Halloween Celebration
It was ghoulish, it was hairy and in fact it was just plain, downright SCARY. There’s just no other way to describe the Astoria Family Halloween Parade.
There were ghosts, goblins, witches, monsters and people back from the dead. They came by the hundreds and in all sizes. They were tall, small and everything in between. There were likely over one thousand people who came to participate in the tenth annual Astoria Family Halloween Parade.
Yet, even though I was surrounded by all of these frightening monsters, I felt a certain calm. Why? Why so calm amidst all of this horror?
IT WAS SCARY, BUT ... thankfully there were plenty of Super Heroes Around
Because there were possibly even more superheroes in the crowd. Wonder Woman, Superman, Batwoman, Batman and how about those Ninja Turtles?
The ghouls, goblins and their parents congregated at Ditmars & 31st Street beginning at 11.30 am filling all four corners and then some with plenty of people decked out in full Halloween garb. The weather was amply cooperative climbing well into the 70’s and I heard some of the monsters complain that they were overheating … but not the devils … they seemed to feel right at home – if not a bit chilly.
The police cordoned off one lane of Ditmars between 31st Street and Astoria Park and at noon, the families packed up and marched down to Astoria Park along the East River. The families came streaming down the Great Lawn and started taking their places on the grass in front of the stage erected by the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation also known as CALDC.
CALDC had organized a Halloween event, which they called the First Annual Batty Over Halloween Celebration. The free event included face painting, balloon twisting, a children's Halloween sing along, cotton candy and munchkin pumpkins giveaway.
All in all it made for a fun outing for the kids and parents of the neighborhood who embraced both the parade and the Halloween after party. The parade was started around 2006 and continues to be organized by the Astoria Moms Meetup Group and Queens Mamas.
Click here to view the Astoria Family Halloween Parade 2016 slide show.
Columbus Day Parade in Astoria
Beautiful Day to Enjoy a Parade Along Steinway & 30th Streets
The 39th Annual Columbus Day Parade returned to Astoria last weekend. People lined the streets of Astoria to watch the parade which included a number of local Italian organizations including soccer groups, Italian clubs, school groups and floats.
A number of local government representatives also marched in the parade including NYC Councilman Constantinides, Assemblywoman Simotas and Senator Gianaris.
The weather cooperated, as it was in the 60's and sunny and dry. The parade commemorates Italian Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1492. And the parade was organized by the Astoria Chapter of the Federation of Italian Americans.
The photo above was taken in a prior year.
Only in Queens
Muslims & Jews Organize Iftar Ramadan Dinner
Only in Queens. On Thursday June 9th, the Turkish Cultural Center and the Central Queens Y will break bread together at an Iftar Ramadan dinner beginning at sundown [7.30 pm] at the Central Queens Y at 67-09 108th Street in Forest Hills.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year and the holiest month of the Islamic year. During this time Muslims pay special attention to praying, fasting and reflecting upon their lives. The Islamic Holy Month has similarities to the Christian Lenten season, as well as the Judaic Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
Islamic cultural traditions are based upon the lunar calendar, so the Ramadan Holy Month moves slightly around the solar calendar, from year to year. This year Ramadan began on June 5th and will end on July 5th. Attendees of all faiths are welcomed, as are families. The intent is to embrace a harmonious understanding of our shared planetary cultural identities, which the framers of the U.S. Constitution had envisioned centuries ago when they founded this nation.
The Iftar Dinner will be a dairy Middle Eastern meal catered by Meal Mart from Kew Gardens Hills. Meal Mart is Glatt Kosher and is under the supervision of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. The meal costs $15 per adult and children under 12 are $5 each. Reservations may be made by registering online at www.cqy.org/tickets or you can call 718.268.5011 - ext 151, or email email@example.com.
Colombian Festival of Flowers Parade
Celebration of Colonial Past & Current Colombian Floral Industry
I attended the Colombian Festival of Flowers Parade on Sunday in Jackson Heights. The parade started at 12 noon at 69th Street on Northern Blvd and marched up to 86th Street. It was a three hour parade with a full coterie of floats, dancers, musicians and marchers - many of which were dressed in classical couture or costume.
The Festival of Flowers originated in the city Medellin in Colombia nearly 60 years ago.
Based on what I could gather [but not confirm] the parade has been morphing and evolving over the years. When it originated, the festival was focused on flowers and was celebrated in May in with some association with a feast celebrating the Christian Jesus' Mother Mary.
In recent years it has been celebrated in August [in Colombia] and associated with the independence of the Colombian state in which Medellin is located. Somewhere along the way classic autos became a part of the parade in Colombia, and we also saw a number of classical autos in the parade in Jackson Heights.
Another feature of the parade is the depiction of the silleros. The silleros were the human pack bearers of the Spanish during colonial times. Oftentimes carrying loads of 50 to 100 lbs across treacherous jungle or mountain terrain. These peasant people are celebrated in the parade by people who bear large floral arrangements which show a crest [and today large corporate brands] in an emblematic arrangement.
It's worth noting that in late July the Colombian Independence Parade marches along the same route in Jackson Heights next week.
4th of July Fireworks Queens
Astoria Park Fireworks Celebration Tonight
Tonight there's an independence fireworks celebration in Astoria Park beginning at 7.30 pm. It's a near perfect night for them as the highs today will be around 80 and the lows in the mid 60's, with scant chance of any rain.
The festivities will begin with a concert on the Great Lawn. The West Point Band of the U.S. Military Academy will be performing a number of classical American tunes along with 19th century classical music.
Around dusk which has generally been around 9.30 pm, but is sometimes sooner because of cloud cover, the fireworks by the Grucci Brothers begins.
The fireworks are some of the best 4th of July fireworks in the city and generally last about a half hour. And then ... it's over. The community event is organized by the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation [aka CALDC].
On July 4th Queens will have a second opportunity to watch the fireworks, sponsored by Macy's, which are on the East River. Enjoy.
Memorial Day With Chief Joseph
A Conversation in First Calvary Cemetery in Queens
On Memorial Day, I decided to make a trip to the First Calvary Cemetery to visit the graves of those who gave their lives defending this nation where the founding charters promise all [wo]men the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They fought for a noble cause I thought as I made my way, on a beautiful day, to the Calvary cemetery in Queens.
The First Calvary cemetery opened in the late 1840’s [circa 1847 – 1848] and was located only a short ferry ride away from Manhattan, up Newtown Creek. A couple more cemeteries were opened as the 19th century wore on, as most of Queens was still rural farmlands and woodlands. Many of the burials of the first century of operation were of Catholic Irish, Italian and Polish immigrants - including many children. And many soldiers had been buried here as well, most of whom were from the Civil War era.
As I was viewing a collection of the tombstones, reflecting on the lives sacrificed in the war over slavery, as well as the more recent wars that pulled nearly the entire planet into battle, a human figure in the distance caught my attention. A man appeared to be making his way toward me, in this lonely empty section of the cemetery. I pulled out of my musings, and began to focus on his emerging presence as he made his way up the hill.
He was an old man, of medium height, with long black and grey hair and a weathered, leathery skin. He was wearing an old work shirt and dark trousers and beaten leather shoes. No, they were mocassins.
His countenance resembled that of a legendary Indian: Chief Joseph. Chief Joseph was a tribal leader of the Nez Perce tribe in the Wallowa Valley in northeast Oregon. Chief Joseph was born in 1840, only years before this cemetery was founded. And he had visited New York City in 1897 to march alongside Buffalo Bill in a Wild West Parade.
He slowly raised his right arm, palm open and fingers standing straight up like a Boy Scout, and in a deep full voice he said,
I stood a bit at attention as I returned the greeting.
“Hi. How are you doing?”
He spoke again, this time in a language I did not understand.
“Mumba goycha tay.”
I looked at him and shook my head back and forth indicating that I did not understand what he’d just said.
The Memorial Day fiction in Calvary Cemetery in Queens to be continued at a later date.
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.
Jackson Heights Halloween Parade Photos
Parade More Like A Community Costume Party
November 3, 2014 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Parades / Queens Buzz. I attended the annual Jackson Heights Beautification Group's Kids Halloween Parade on Friday evening. I arrived shortly after it began and started photographing all of the parents and children in costume.
Unlike other parades, given this one was dedicated to the kids, there didn't seem to be the boundaries between parade marchers and the parade audience that one normally encounters. Those in the parade interacted with the audience, many of whom were family, friends and neighbors. And the parade more meandered than marched, with the kids in charge. It kind of felt like one big mega block party / Halloween costume ball.
We took many photos like the one you see to your right. It seems the Girl Scouts dress a bit differently than they did when I was that age. We'll post a photo slide show later today. And I have to give kudos to many of the parents, who seemed to embrace the holiday as much - or more than - their children.
Bolivian Parade In Jackson Heights NYC
Parade Showcases Bolivian Culture In Queens
October 20, 2014 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Ethnic Culture In Queens / Queens Buzz. Jackson Heights is the home away from home for many cultures around the world. On numerous occasions throughout the year the community is provided an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the pageantry showcasing many different cultures from Latin America, Asia and a bit of modern day Americana.
On Sunday, the Bolivians showcased their culture by providing a panoply of dancers and musicians in costumes of eras gone by. It was a cool day and the performers used that to their advantage by performing a number of synchronized dance steps to the great amusement of the parade audience standing on the sidewalks along 37th Avenue.
We'll have a bit more to add at a later date including a photo slide show.
Ecuador Independence Parade Photos
August 2014 / Jackson Heights / Queens Parades / Queens Buzz. I attended the Ecuador Independence Parade a couple of Sundays ago in Jackson Heights & Corona. Ecuador achieved its independence from Spain in 1822 during a time when many of its Latin American neighbors were also fighting for, and winning their independence. These wars for independence took place in the second and early part of the third decades of the 1800's, which was not long after the United States won its war for independence against Great Britain in the late 1700's.
Simon Bolivar was instrumential in leading these rebellions against those in power [Spanish royalty]. Bolivar enlisted English support in these wars for independence from Spain, just as Ben Franklin had enlisted French support in the American War for Independence. In both cases they got it, as France wanted to undermine the English in the late 1700's just as the English wanted to undermine the Spanish in the early 1800's.
In Ecuador the Spanish and the native South American Indians mixed racially, so that today about two thirds of the 12.5 - 14.5 million population is of mixed Spanish and Indian blood. The remainder of the population is a mix of Indian, AfroEcuadorian and Caucasian [primarily Spanish]. Spanish is the official language, but it's estimated that about 15% of the population can speak or understand Quichua, which is the native Indian language of the South American Incas. Ecuador uses American currency as its official currency.
We'll post a slide show at a later date, including the Mayor's late arrival, which corresponded to ours.
Astoria Park Fireworks - June 2012
Columbus Day Parade Astoria - FIAO - October 2011
St Markella Festival Astoria - September 2011
Greek Independence Parade NYC - April 2013
St Markella Holy Friday Astoria - April 2013
Greek Orthodox Easter Astoria - April 2011
Astoria's Greek Radio Station - Jan 2011
Ethnic & Religious Culture in Astoria
Queens Parades - Chinese New Year Parade - Year of the Horse - February 2014
Chinese New Year Parade Flushing - February 2013 / 2014
Queens Parades - Moon Parade & Asian Harvest Festival - Flushing 2013
Ethnic & Religious Culture in Flushing & Corona
The Flushing Remonstrance forerunner to the Constitution
Ethnic & Religious Culture in Jackson Heights & Elmhurst
Hispanic Day Parade Jackson Heights - September 2012
Colombian Parade Jackson Heights Queens - July 2012
LGBT Parade Jackson Heights Queens - June 2012
Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender - LGBT Parade in Jackson Heights
Ethnic & Religious Culture in Jamaica
Ethnic & Religious Culture in LIC Long Island City
Ethnic & Religious Culture In Sunnyside & Woodside
Holiday Tree Lighting Sunnyside - November 2012
Memorial Day Parade Woodside Queens - May 2012
St Pats Parade Sunnyside Queens - March 2012
Queens Parades - Flag Day Parade Sunnyside - June 2011
Click Queens Restaurants
Click to view Queens Shopping & LifeStyle
Queens Related Info
Click this link for promotions, discounts and coupons in the neighborhoods of Queens. Click here to visit our section about parades in Queens or our section about Queens ethnic, religious & holidays.
Click this link to go to the Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Sunnyside Woodside Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Elmhurst Neighborhood / Flushing Corona Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood.
Click this link to search for something in our Queens Business Directory.
Click the log in link below to create an ID and post an opinion.
Or send this story to a friend by filling in the appropriate box below.