Tag Archives: holiday

Federal, state and city officials: ‘Make Lunar New Year an official school holiday’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

State lawmakers have strengthened a renewed push to make Lunar New Year an official school holiday, garnering support from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Students shouldn’t feel like they have to choose between celebrating their heritage and missing a day of school,” the newly-risen speaker said.

The City Council plans to introduce two resolutions, calling for schools to close and metered parking to be suspended on one of the most important holidays of the year in Asian communities, Mark-Viverito said.

Multiple other measures have been introduced in the state and federal levels that call for a similar break for families.

A bill that would establish Lunar New Year as a school holiday for districts with an Asian-American population of at least 7.5 percent has been introduced in the State Senate and Assembly for years.

Flushing is the only neighborhood in Queens to meet the criteria, along with Chinatown in downtown Manhattan.

While it has made no movement in the past, elected officials gathered Friday in downtown Flushing to declare 2014 the year of action.

“This is the year and this is the time we believe it’s going to happen,” said Councilmember Paul Vallone, who is drafting a bill that would suspend metered parking that day.

About 14 percent of city students in the school system are Asian-American, Mark-Viverito said.

Officials have long argued absence rates in some city schools climb 80 percent on the first day of the Lunar New Year. Though observing students are “excused,” the absence is marked on their record.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, who spearheaded the Assembly’s attempts during her last tenure, proposed a resolution in Congress this month, asking local education agencies that include the city’s Department of Education to close schools that day.

“One day, we’ll look back and see that we made history,” said Councilmember Karen Koslowitz.

 

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NYPD issues over 1,000 violations, makes 70 arrests in Queens during pedestrian safety initiative


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Just in time for the holidays, the NYPD has announced the result of a week-long initiative intended to provide safety for pedestrians and shoppers.

The pedestrian safety enforcement was conducted citywide last week, between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m, and focused on areas with high concentrations of pedestrians and holiday shopping locations, police said Tuesday.

The enforcement is part of the NYPD’s effort to reduce traffic violations and conditions which result in the death and injury of pedestrians.

Police officers were assigned to enforce hazardous traffic violations at shopping districts and major pedestrian crossings, according to the NYPD.

Violations included double parked vehicles, failing to yield to pedestrians, disobeying red lights and improper turns.

There were 637 double parking and 705 moving violation summonses issued in Queens during the week. There were also 70 arrests of drivers with suspended licenses in the borough.

The NYPD reminds pedestrians and drivers to exercise extra caution on city streets during the holiday travel season, especially during extreme weather.

 

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PHOTOS: Queens homes light up for the holidays


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

Though one Whitestone family recently won a national reality show for their home’s Christmas light display, they are not the only ones in the borough with impressive holiday decorations.

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Number of Christmas movies drops in recent years


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by KC Bailey/Lionsgate Publicity

DIANA DELLACAVA

Many people welcome the winter months with open arms and ready knit hats and scarves.

A traditional activity during this time is movie-going, for you may relax and immerse yourself in a world of candy canes and mistletoe. Now a days, however, options are much more limited than expected.

The presence of Christmas films has declined dramatically, due to the demand for realism in film by the older movie viewers and the demand for horror films by the younger demographic.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, for instance, opens to the public on December 25. In this film, far from a Santa Claus figure, Ben Stiller is a dreamer who delves so deep into his fantasies he spends half of his time daydreaming.

Teens, in turn will be watching other teens fight to the death well into January when may watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

The Hunger Games: Catching fire has reached $186 million domestically and nearly $350 in the worldwide film market by the end of November, according to The Wrap Hollywood News Inc.

The teenage driving force behind the success of first the book trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, and now the Lionsgate films has helped the crude dystopia that serves as the film’s nucleus achieve success in only days after its November 22 opening.

It seems the film industry is trying hard to fulfill the demands of as many viewers as possible in order to increase revenue and attempt to fill theaters in the winter months.

There were 28 films scheduled to release starting on Friday, December 6, according to movieinsider.com. From these titles, 17 are dramas without a holiday theme, thus leaving 11 films in a cluster of thrillers, adventures, documentaries and family films.

Amy Herzog, a Queens College professor and media expert, points out that in the past years some holiday movies have had a darker tone.

“There have been movies like Bad Santa and [more recently] Almost Christmas,” she said. “Which have a very cynical and kind of poignant take on the different experiences people go through during Christmas time.”

In Almost Christmas, released in April 2013, Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, having moved away from a criminal past, find the Christmas holiday to be the perfect money making machine.

This trend, Herzog said, favored by an older generation, pulls the viewer away from traditional holiday films, disposing of the Santa Claus figure and in addition fostering a fatalistic view of life.

Another way to twist the Christmas story to fit tastes that are more varied is to incorporate horror. The 1974 film Black Christmas for instance, is also available today as a 2006 remake of the same title. In both films, a disgruntled young boy paints Christmas black by murdering his family, and 15 years later comes home for the holidays as a full grown maniac to find his home occupied by sorority girls. The modern version features hot young actors in a film industry effort to follow modern trends in film viewership — thus providing an alternative for horror fans out there.

There are two comedies available: the Ben Stiller film and the only Christmas film: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. Aside from the meager number of holiday films available, this film is group specific which defies the scope of a universal holiday films.

Ideally, Hollywood productions for Christmas feature a varied cast as to help the public identify with characters of different backgrounds. This is not to say that someone of a different ethnicity would not enjoy such a film.

Herzog said light-hearted films such as Best Man Holiday, released in November and the upcoming Madea Christmas, are highly appropriate for the holiday season, generally good time to release films.

“From a stark marketing point,” she said. “People try to release films around the holiday.”

The college crowd, in particular does not often plan-ahead when it comes to movie theater trips, often watching what is available, when there is time and if there is anytime. When choosing a holiday film to watch this winter, students will have the choice already made for them.

Not everyone shares the holiday spirit with the same degree of intensity. However, a point of mutual agreement across the generations is the unrequited love for classic holiday films.

In speaking to media professors and students, while some would rather skip the Christmas film altogether, most will find it most enjoyable in the comfort of their own homes and the warmth of their pajamas.

These films are widely available and easily accessible through all kinds of online services such as Netflix streaming, and Amazon or iTunes downloads without having to leave the house.

General audiences and film professionals alike have been turning to the classic holiday films. Titles such as Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life fill living rooms with joy higher than a cupful of eggnog.

While others like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and White Christmas extend the offer of a happier life, which we can accomplish by making better choices.

“Our ideas of Christmas are so steeped in nostalgia,” Herzog said. “It makes sense that we revert to the classics when it comes to Christmas.”

Moreover, childhood favorites such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas can take us back to a time of childlike dependency, regardless of how mature our beloved Peanuts characters can be and how cynical Dr. Seuss’s script is.

These films have become unchallenged classics because less of the genre are produced as time goes by, where in 2011 and 2012 there were only three holiday films released but plenty of drama and horror filled the box office.

The type of comfort, whether it be spiritual, or physical found at home is something the movie industry has virtually stopped trying to recreate inside the theater.

 

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Celebrate Halloween with your pet at LIC Flea


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Spoil My Bitch

Our four-legged friends are coming to LIC Flea & Food for an early Halloween.

With just two weeks before the spooktacular holiday, LIC Flea is hosting a pet costume contest this weekend. On Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20 visitors will be able to bring their four-legged furry friends to participate in the first pet costume Halloween contest.

If you don’t have a costume for your pet, LIC Flea vendor Spoil My Bitch mobile pet boutique will have a selection of costumes for small to big dogs you can purchase. Options include a fantasy dragon, duck, sailor, basketball player, sailor and even a cow.

“I’m so excited,” said Spoil My Bitch owner Roger Quesada, whose two-year-old Miniature Schnauzer Nina will also be at LIC Flea in costume. “When I started this business I wanted to sell cute outfits and I didn’t know how big the costume business was for dogs. It will be really fun to see people coming to the event and dressing up the animals.”

Kiki Pet Photography will be taking photos of all the participants and a winner will be awarded on Saturday, October 26. Prizes include LIC Flea & Food Bucks, a gift card from Ricky’s, a free 20-day potty break packaged from LIC Dogwalk, a free dog consult from Pooch Pals, a free office exam from City Vet and a discounted photo session with Kiki Pet Photography. The contest is also sponsored by LIC Doghouse and TF Cornerstone.

Visitors will also be able to donate clean dog items and unopened food and treats to “Rock & Rawhide” for dogs in need. Those people looking for a furry friend to call their own will also have the chance to adopt a pet through the pet adoption agency Zani’s Furry Friends, which will be at LIC Flea.

Even with the cute pets in costumes, people will not be left behind. The following weekend on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 visitors of all ages are welcomed to come in their best Halloween costume and have their pictures taken. Winners will be selected to get LIC Flea & Food Bucks and the chance to be published in The Queens Courier.

You can sign up for the contest online or at the LIC Flea, located at 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City.

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Create a warm and stylish holiday wreath to welcome guests


| Brandpoint@queenscourier.com

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The front door is often the focal point of a house and the welcoming committee to guests as they enter your home. And as the attention-seeking centerpiece, it should always be looking its best. A great addition to any door is a beautiful wreath – either decorative or seasonal – to greet your guests and neighbors. Although many stores sell wreaths, it’s easy, fun and cost-effective to create a unique and one-of-a-kind statement piece.

Need some inspiration? Here are two stylish and simple do-it-yourself wreaths to impress everyone who stops – or even passes – by your humble abode.

Snowflakes wreath

As the winter season approaches, outfit your front door with a beautiful wreath full of festive snowflakes. No matter how cold it gets outside, this wreath will provide a warm welcome. Here’s what you’ll need: a round -craft foam wreath; ribbon; two wooden snowflakes; blue glass-headed pins; two pieces of letter-size cardstock; different styles of snowflake paper punches; scissors; a hot glue gun and glue sticks; Krylon Glitter Blast in Diamond Dust, Sapphire Shimmer and Clear Sealer; and Krylon Indoor/Outdoor in Global Blue and White.

To create the wreath, start by painting the craft foam ring with Indoor/Outdoor in Global Blue. Once the paint is dry, add a coat of Glitter Blast in Sapphire Shimmer for a vibrant, sparkling finish. Spray an additional coat if needed. While each coat is drying, begin spraying the wooden snowflakes with Indoor/Outdoor in White.

Next, spray two sheets of cardstock and the dried wooden snowflakes with Glitter Blast in Diamond Dust. Then, spray the wreath, card stock and wooden snowflakes with Glitter Blast Clear Sealer, which will protect your creation. Once dry, cut out about 125 snowflakes using the paper punches and attach them to the wreath using the push pins. Pin some snowflakes flush with the surface and leave others slightly raised to give a dimensional effect.

Finally, using the ribbon, attach a large bow and wooden snowflakes to the wreath with a hot glue gun. Adjust the length of the wooden snowflakes as needed to create your desired look. Once the project is dry, hang it on your door to show it off.

Retro sunburst pencil wreath

Everyday items, such as pencils, can become beautiful design statements. With a little spray paint and creativity, you can transform pencils into a trendy sunburst wreath that looks like it came from a department store. Here’s what you’ll need: Krylon Short Cuts Paint in Gloss Black; a craft foam 1-inch by 2-inch by 12-inch round, flat wreath; 64 pencils; 10-inch-length wire; glue gun and glue sticks; a floral pin; and a black marker.

Start by dividing the foam ring into eight equal sections, marking them with the black marker.Using them as a guide, gently press a pencil down on the foam, spacing each groove every half inch creating 64 indentations – or eight per marked section. Once all indentations are made, spray the entire wreath black. Use a spare box to elevate the wreath while painting – this will make it easier to spray without missing spots.

After the initial coat of paint has dried, attach the pencils using the hot glue gun. Stagger the placement of each pencil, with some closer and some further from the center of the wreath to create a “short-tall” pattern. When all the pencils have been attached, spray the entire wreath with black spray paint. Once dry, carefully flip the wreath over and spray once more for even, full coverage. Then, glue and pin a loop of wire to the center back of the wreath to create a hanger and you’re ready to display your sensational and simple work that’s perfect for any time of year.

Now you can ensure your front door is beautiful and welcoming to all your guests. With these easy and stylish wreath projects, your front door will be looking great all year long.

For more holiday and craft ideas from Krylon, visit www.krylon.com.

No garbage, recycling collection on Memorial Day


| brennison@queenscourier.com

In observance of Memorial Day, there will be no garbage or recycling collection or street cleaning on Monday, May 28.

Those who normally receive garbage pickup on Mondays should place their trash curbside after 5 p.m., the Sanitation Department said.

Residents who usually have recycling collection on Monday will have it picked up on Monday, June 4.

 

Tower trees lit to kick off holiday season


| photographers@queenscourier.com

Tree-resized2

The night before Thanksgiving, North Shore Towers started to show its holiday cheer with a tree lighting event sponsored by Greenthal Property Sales.

In addition to lighting the outdoor lights, residents enjoyed refreshments and took part in some holiday karaoke.

To view more photos, see the North Shore Towers Courier’s December issue.

Holiday Card Making Workshop at Flushing Town Hall


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Flushing Town Hall will be hosting a holiday card making workshop on Saturday, December 10 at 2 p.m. The workshop will take place in the Louis Armstrong Collage Exhibition, located within the hall, at 137-35 Northern Boulevard.
Materials will be provided during the workshop, and participants may feel free to bring a flat memento to incorporate into their design.
Tickets are $5 and free for members. To purchase tickets, call 718-463-7700 Extension 222.