Tag Archives: Dan Hendrick

First-ever documentary about Jamaica Bay to premiere in the fall

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jamaica Bay Lives

Sunnyside resident Dan Hendrick fell in love with Jamaica Bay 15 years ago, and he’s about to express that love in a new documentary set to debut later this year.

Growing up in Michigan, Hendrick spent a lot of time on his father’s boat, which cultivated his respect for and fascination with nature. After visiting Jamaica Bay, Hendrick went to a local library to learn more about it, but quickly realized that there were no books on the 18,000-acre wetland estuary. He decided to write the first one himself.

“I went around and I searched and searched and searched and low and behold no one had ever written a book about Jamaica Bay,” Hendrick said. “It’s just like this great place and the fact that in a city of millions of ambitious people living here, you think at this point, every angle has been covered and in some ways that just underscores how much Jamaica Bay was not celebrated.”

The book, “Jamaica Bay,” was released in 2006, and in April 2011, Hendrick set out to make a movie, titled “Jamaica Bay Lives.” Though his book is a great resource for facts about the bay, the environmentalist who works for a solar energy company wanted to tell a story about the relationship between the bay and the local community.

“The documentary has a different power than the book does,” Hendrick said. “We really wanted to reach a wider audience.”

Many of the main characters in the film are local civic leaders and residents who have dedicated their lives to preserving the bay. Don Riepe, a Broad Channel resident and head of Jamaica Bay Guardian, an environmental group that focuses on education, community engagement, advocacy and restoration, talks about the diverse wildlife that calls Jamaica Bay home.

“People will be amazed by the beauty of the marshes and diversity of wildlife right here at their back door,” Riepe said.

A crew of five captured around 400 hours of footage that was eventually condensed into a 75-minute documentary. Hendrick also called on the community to provide photographs and footage of the bay.

Much of the footage, Hendrick said, depicted damage from Hurricane Sandy including flooding and fires in the area. Though the hurricane delayed production, the superstorm made it clear how important places like Jamaica Bay are, he said.

“Urban nature is more important now than ever to protect because nature is a refuge for the city,” Hendrick said. “As we saw in Hurricane Sandy, nature plays a role in protecting our communities from storms, from more severe weather. It’s more important than ever.”

Once the film is finished, Hendrick hopes to take it beyond the big screen and television. Schools and community centers are a “critical” part of the film’s distribution plan because of the ability to educate locals about an important national park that is “right in their backyard,” Hendrick said.

The crew is in the process of putting the finishing touches on the film, including the addition of music, sound mixing and color adjustments. After watching the film, Hendrick hopes residents are encouraged to visit the bay and foster a relationship with it.

“All of our cities are urbanizing and you’ve got climate change upon us with big storms like this,” Hendrick said. “We need to reset our relationship [with nature] that we’ve abused over the years.”


Jamaica Bay movie is nearing completion

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo via  Jamaica Bay Lives Flickr

Jamaica Bay is on the verge of getting its own little taste of stardom as a new documentary about the body of water and its surrounding habitats is officially in post-production.

The documentary film titled “Jamaica Bay” was started about three years ago. It will cover the bay’s history, environmental issues and local residents’ way of life, according to Dan Hendrick, producer of the film.

“The overarching theme of the film is that right now, Jamaica Bay is a good national park but it has the potential to be great one,” Hendrick said. “We hope that this film will inspire people.”

Hendrick and his team started his work on the film in August 2011. He said he wants to highlight how the bay has made such a remarkable comeback from where it was 30 years ago. They have over 100 hours of film of the bay including shots from before, during and after it was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

“People care about the bay more than ever,” Hendrick said. “The pollution has subsided from where it was 30 years ago but there is still a lot of work to do.”
The team hopes to get the documentary out to both local TV channels and movie theaters by spring of 2015.

Due to limits on public television, the television cut will be less than an hour long, but the producers hope for the full film to run up to 90 minutes.

To learn more about the film check out jamaicabaylives.com.


Councilmember Van Bramer weds longtime partner

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer wed Dan Hendrick, his partner of more than 13 years, in a ceremony at Long Island City’s Studio Square on Saturday, July 28. Surrounded by family and friends, the couple exchanged vows and said their “I do’s” before celebrating at a summery rooftop soiree.

Van Bramer set to wed longtime partner this weekend

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


On a warm November night last year in Puerto Rico, Dan Hendrick slipped a silver ring from his pocket, descended on one knee and proposed to long-time partner Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

Thoughts of marriage had lingered in Hendrick’s mind for some time, but busy schedules always intervened. They talked about it on and off, delaying concrete plans until it was lawful for them to marry in New York.

Now, the timing was perfect. Nervously, excitedly, Hendrick popped the question.

A year after the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State, one of Queens’ first openly-gay officials will tie the knot with his partner of more than 13 years on July 28.

The pair met at a fundraiser for Queens Pride House in 1999. Van Bramer recalled standing at the bar, ordering a glass of wine as Hendrick entered the room.

“I don’t know if I believe in love at first site but I certainly noticed him the moment he walked in the door,” said Van Bramer.

He asked a mutual friend about the man with the red hair. Hendrick inquired the same friend about the man in the suit. They knew they needed to talk.

Almost 13 years later, they were engaged.

With 225 friends and family invited, the pair plans to dance to their favorite music from the 70s, 80s and 90s at the summery, rooftop affair, to be held at Studio Square in Long Island City.

To them, the most meaningful part of their wedding is sharing it with the loved ones witnessing their union. The couple said their families couldn’t be more excited.

“My mother cried tears of joy,” said Van Bramer. “She was very happy for us and she adores Dan. I think everyone in the family was thrilled.”

Planning their upcoming nuptials has been a team effort, each responsible for a different task. They selected local vendors to assist with the wedding, supplying everything from the flowers in blue and orange — their favorite colors — from Brooklyn Grange, to the beautiful, custom invitations by Big City Graphics, illustrating the couple’s story.

The grooms picked summer suits for the occasion – Hendrick’s from J. Crew and Van Bramer’s by Calvin Klein. They traded their silver rings for matching gold ones, engraved with their names and the date of their wedding, July 28, 2012.

The couple said the response from the community has been overwhelmingly and exclusively positive.

“The number of people who know we’re getting married surprises me,” said Van Bramer. “It’s rare I go through a full day without someone congratulating me and wishing me the best. People are very supportive and incredibly gracious. It’s been very heartwarming.

Hendrick believes the support they have received is indicative of increasing acceptance

“What’s interesting about this is how uncontroversial it is and how in the scheme of things, this is just two people getting up and having a wedding. That’s what’s exciting about it,” said Hendrick.

He said it’s what we’ll see from this point on.

“People fall in love,” he said.

The couple was present at City Hall, overseeing the inking of the budget agreement, when speaker Christine Quinn announced the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York in July of 2011.

“It was a really exciting moment,” said Hendrick. “Everyone’s BlackBerries went off and the shouts went up. It was an electric moment. Elation is not too strong a word here.”

Van Bramer, who was standing on the steps by the mayor when the news was released, immediately searched in the crowd for Hendrick.

“We have come so far so fast,” said Van Bramer. When I came out in 1989, I would have never thought that two men or two women would get married in my lifetime. It’s equality through its own sheer power of conviction. It’s so amazingly exhilarating to see so many people agreeing with us that this is a basic civil right and that two people loving and committing to each other is worthy of celebration, regardless of who those people are.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/23/2011: Two Queens students being probed in SAT cheating ring; three more LI students arraigned

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Hit-and-run on Bell Boulevard in Bayside

According to people on the scene, two pedestrians were hit by a car that then allegedly fled at 38th Avenue and Bell Boulevard around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22. One of the victims allegedly worked in the area. Read More: Queens Courier


Two Queens students being probed in SAT cheating ring; three more LI students arraigned
Two Queens students were being probed Tuesday by Long Island investigators looking into an SAT/ACT cheating ring that involved more than a dozen students out on the island, sources said. Attorney Matin Emouna, who also represents one of the Nassau County numbskulls, said no money was exchanged between the city students, one of whom took the college board test while posing as the other. Read More: Daily News


No Lavin, no problem for SJU vs. St. Francis

Playing without Steve Lavin, who missed his second game of the season as he continues to recuperate from prostate cancer surgery, the Red Storm nevertheless had little trouble with St. Francis (NY), winning 63-48 to snap a two-game losing skid and improve to 4-2. Read More: ESPN


New York Senator Malcolm A. Smith launches own Occupy NBA movement to get lockout settled

With local businesses losing money and neither side in the NBA lockout willing to negotiate, one city official is planning to follow the philosophy of the downtown protesters and occupy the NBA. As a prelude to what state Sen. Malcolm A. Smith calls a “national movement,” the Queens Democrat will lead a group of restaurant owners, season-ticket holders and disgruntled basketball fans in demanding refunds and gathering signatures on a giant petition Wednesday in front of Madison Square Garden. Read More: Daily News


Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Dan Hendrick To Wed

The Daily News reports that Hendrick, communications director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, recently popped the question over dinner. The nuptials, slated for next summer, are likely to make Van Bramer “the first openly gay elected official in Queens history to be married,” the site said, as well as one of the first in the state to wed since New York State legalized same-sex marriages. Read More: Daily News


Public Bus Service Comes To Arverne By The Sea

The MTA is adding additional bus service to and from Arverne By The Sea in the Rockaways section of Queens, so that the neighborhood’s growing population can have access to the borough’s major shopping areas. Read More: NY1

Sting Shows 34 Queens Stores Allegedly Sold Alcohol To Minors

An undercover investigation joint investigation by the State Liquor Authority and NYPD last week found 34 grocery and liquor stores sold alcohol to underage decoys. For a full list of offending stores in the borough, visit sla.ny.gov. Read More: NY1

Jackson Heights Plaza A Hard Sell For Some Business Owners

A pedestrian plaza that was recently constructed in Jackson Heights has some business owners up in arms, despite it having the support of local elected officials and the community board. Read More: NY1