Tag Archives: Jackson Heights

82nd Street BID executive director resigns, some community members ‘celebrate’


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO

Some Jackson Heights and Corona community members say they are “celebrating” as news came in that the executive director behind a controversial business improvement district expansion is resigning.

Seth Taylor, current executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, announced this week he would be resigning from his position.

Starting Sept. 15, he will begin serving as the executive director of the NoHo NY BID. The move, he said, was done because he “felt it was a professionally opportune time to move onto another opportunity — in this case, NoHo.”

Taylor and the committee at the 82nd Street Partnership have been working to expand the business improvement district (BID) to Roosevelt Avenue and tackle issues of graffiti, crime, poor lighting and lack of sanitation.

Yet they have also been faced with the issue of a lack of support from residents and business owners in the area — many of whom claim that the change is not worth the rise of costs and would kick out immigrant business owners.

Marty Kirchner of Queens Neighborhood United, and some members of the Queens community, said they are “celebrating” the news of Taylor’s resignation.

Kirchner, speaking on behalf of Queens Neighborhoods United, a coalition of social justice activists, expressed “feeling bad” for those in NoHo. In a release, he claims that Seth Taylor’s resignation was welcomed with open arms by many members of the community.

“The resignation of Seth Taylor is a victory for the neighbors of Roosevelt Avenue,” said Christian Guiñanzaca, an organizer with the coalition. “Seth Taylor has always looked down on the immigrant communities of Queens. This just goes to show that you don’t mess with the people and come back unscratched.”

Still, Taylor says he feels he has succeeded, and that the general response he has received has been one of gratitude.

“This is an extremely diverse community and people are entitled to think and feel the way they like to,” Taylor said. “When you lead a neighborhood change initiative like we’ve done there’s always going to be individuals and groups of people that are resistant to any kind of change.”

Taylor, who has been the executive director for the 82nd Street Partnerships since 2012, said that although he is excited to begin his journey in a new borough, he considers his time in Queens “extremely positive” and will remain focused on his work here as he transitions over the next week and a half.

In regards to the continuation of the expansion, the 82nd Street Partnership has every intention of continuing with or without Taylor, and Queens Neighborhoods United said they will continue opposing the BID.

The board of directors working on the BID expansion is actively identifying potential candidates to replace Taylor after he moves on in the upcoming week.

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Woman dead after Jackson Heights apartment fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A 46-year-old woman is dead after a fire at a Jackson Heights home early Saturday morning.

Police responded to the call of a fire at 85-10 34th Ave. at about 3 a.m., and, after the FDNY extinguished the blaze, Sophia Paz was found unconscious and unresponsive in the apartment’s bedroom, according to cops.

Paz was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

The fire marshal will determine the cause of the fire and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

 

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Some small business owners, residents continue to say ‘no’ to BID in Jackson Heights, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The resistance continues.

During the first of two public meetings on Thursday, some Jackson Heights and Corona residents and business owners asked their community to vote no to the expansion that would bring a business improvement district to the neighborhood. They brought up issues which the BID would bring such as gentrification, and the rising of property costs and taxes.

“Right now they say $1,000 annually, once the project gets approved then a little bit more, a little bit more they squeeze one’s throat,” said Sergio Ruiz, a business owner of 15 years, about the estimated yearly cost per lot in the district.

The 82nd Street Partnership, a nonprofit group promoting the current local BID covering four blocks and over 160 businesses, announced last year it would be extending all the way through 114th  Street to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID. It was later revised to stretch from 82nd Street to 104th Street and down Junction Boulevard. The corridor will include a total of 440 lots and about 850 commercial tenants.

Tania Mattos, a member of the coalition Queens Neighborhoods United, said the group has been trying to educate the community on what a BID is, the voting process and options, and they have been cleaning Roosevelt Avenue every two weeks.

“Roosevelt Avenue does not need the BID,” Mattos said. “It needs the city to wake up, to realize it has neglected Roosevelt Avenue for decades and I’ve seen it personally. Instead the broken sidewalks, perishing and poorly maintained elevated train is blamed on the residents.”

According to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, the concept of the BID came from every community resident she had spoken to expressing concerns about the safety and cleanliness of Roosevelt Avenue.

“They want to be able to walk, they want to be able to shop, they want to be able to come with their families and contribute to the businesses,” Ferreras said. “We have a very different and very vibrant business corridor, we deserve better, we deserve to be able to have a business corridor that is vibrant, clean and safe.”

Other business owners at the meeting showed their support for the BID and tried to encourage audience members to vote yes.

“We have to give it a chance and give ourselves a chance,” said Rosita Cali, a business owner and Jackson Heights resident for 17 years. “Let’s give ourselves the room, the chance to have the opportunity to try this and also if something comes out wrong we have the right to say that it’s not right. But if we give the opportunity and this is positive, why not enjoy all the changes?”

In the upcoming weeks, business owners, residents and property owners on Roosevelt Avenue will have to vote on whether they want the BID in their community.

“The BID is really an advocate for the business community, the goal here is to improve the shopping environment, make it cleaner, safer, more inviting and better for the small business,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

For more information, visit JHCoronaBID.org.

 

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Cops searching for Queens serial bank robber


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


Police are looking for a suspect wanted in five bank robberies and two attempted heists around Queens over the past two years.

The latest incident occurred on Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. at a Santander Bank on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, cops said. During the robbery, the suspect passed a demand note but left without any money.

The other robberies, which date back to July 2012, took place in the Long Island City, Astoria, East Elmhurst and Middle Village areas of the borough, officials said. In the suspect’s most successful theft, on Dec. 12, 2012 at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave., he fled with $12,400, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a baseball hat with a New York Yankees symbol on the front, a button down short sleeve shirt, tinted eyeglasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist, and had a light beard connected to a goatee.

Authorities have released a photo of the suspect from the July 22 attempted robbery and a June 7 robbery at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Cops looking for suspect in Jackson Heights attempted rape


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD




A man followed a woman into her Jackson Heights apartment building last month and attempted to rape her, police said.

The attack happened at about 5 a.m. on June 6 near Roosevelt Avenue, according to authorities.

After following the victim, the suspect threw her to the ground before he tried to sexually assault her, police said. The woman did not sustain any injuries.

Police have released a video of the suspect, and describe him as Hispanic, in his 20s, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a short sleeve button down shirt and jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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New storytelling series shares people’s tales of coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Queens Documented flyer final new


A new quarterly storytelling series is looking to share the tales of the people who make up the diverse borough of Queens.

Queens Documented, a project of the initiative Five Boro Story Project, which creates community events to showcase stories and art inspired by the city’s neighborhoods, will officially launch on Sunday at Terraza 7, located at 40-19 Gleane St.

The free event will feature stories from three speakers who will share their journeys coming to Queens, music inspired by the borough and an open-mic session for audience members to also talk about their Queens-themed experiences.

Bridget Bartolini, founder of Five Boro Story Project and a native Queens resident, said she hopes the series, which is expected to take place every three months at Terraza 7, will bring people together and create connections within the community.

“I really hope that people at the event will get to know each other,” Bartolini said. “I want to create an opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors. Come as strangers and leave as neighbors.”

When it came to picking a venue for the series, Bartolini said Terraza 7, located between the neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, was a “special spot” because it serves as more than just a bar; it is also a cultural venue.

Bartolini said she encourages people to contact the group if they are interested on being featured as a speaker.

The July 20 launch event, which begins at 6 p.m., will include speakers Susan Peret, Angy Rivera and Affandy Yacoob, and finish off with music by Nicholas Howard, singer-songwriter and music producer, and Danon Singh, East Elmhurst lawyer and MC.

The Queens Documented series was also produced by community-based organization SEVA and commissioned by nonprofit The Laundromat Project’s “Create Change” program.

For more info, visit fiveborostoryproject.org.

 

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Flushing woman uses experience in advice column for undocumented youth


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Angy Rivera

Angy Rivera, a formerly undocumented immigrant, knew which words she wanted to let out when she was invited to take the stage at Flushing Town Hall last month.

In her original poem, “Community Not Condominiums,” the 23-year-old Flushing resident describes in detail the communities of Jackson Heights, Flushing and Corona through following a food vendor named “Doña María.”

Doña María is up before the sun rises
Moon shining on her face she gets ready for the morning commute
It’s her job to feed others
Moon shining on her face ella empieza a cocinar arepas, tamales, café y chocolate
Arepas made with corn and cheese
They start to melt as soon as they touch your mouth.

“At first I thought, ‘Oh wait, what if someone doesn’t understand that,” Rivera said about writing the poem in both Spanish and English. “But that’s how it is here in Queens.”

The college junior, who is studying culture and deviance with a minor in human services at John Jay College, said she felt pride when writing the poem for being part of “such a beautiful community” and remembering all the great details of each neighborhood. Yet, she said she also felt sadness when thinking about the idea of growing up and facing changes.

How will Doña María sell her tamales, arepas, café y chocolate
When the streets becomes businesses she cannot pronounce
Will her café con leche compete with Starbucks?
These signs of a cleaner and safer Queens erase the resiliency already here
We weren’t dirty to begin with
Will her house stand untouched during gentrification?

“That’s what I wanted to make sure came across, as much as it’s a celebration of Queens, on the flipside it’s about things we can lose,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time Rivera’s words reached a much larger audience. In 2009 she joined the nonprofit New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first volunteer undocumented youth and membership led organization started in 2007, as an intern.

The Colombian-native, who was undocumented for 19 years and has recently obtained a visa, went on to create a national undocumented youth advice column in 2010 called “Ask Angy.”

“It was the first time I met with other immigrant young people that wanted to change things that they saw unjust,” said Rivera, who immigrated with her family to the United States just one week shy of her fourth birthday. “Through them I grew as a person.”

Now as a core member of the organization, she helps out in the media/outreach and arts/self-expression programs. Through her weekly column, she said she gets people writing to her from all around the nation about different subjects undocumented youths face, such as driving without a license and deferred action.

Although she said it is tricky at times because she doesn’t always have answers, especially when it comes to legal topics, she said the column has helped her learn different laws depending on states.

“Being involved helped me become more open about a lot of things and helped me learn a lot of new stuff,” she said. “It’s been very healing to meet other people in the same situation as you. It’s always been nice to have a group to understand.”

Continuing her involvement in activism, Rivera has also become part of Queens Neighborhoods United, a coalition created to build power and develop leadership in Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. The group recently has gone around cleaning the streets down Roosevelt Avenue.

Rivera now plans to recite “Community Not Condominiums” at a new quarterly series called “Queens Documented,” which launches on July 20 at Terraza 7 located at 40-19 Gleane St. in Elmhurst and features stories and music from people who migrated to Queens.

To read Rivera’s full poem, click here.

 

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Driver charged after fatally striking pedestrian on Roosevelt Avenue


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size11111


Updated Sunday, July 6, 8:25 a.m.

An alleged drunk driver has been charged after hitting and killing a pedestrian in Jackson Heights on Saturday, cops said.

The crash happened at about 4:30 a.m. on Roosevelt Avenue near 92nd Street, according to officials.

The victim, a man, who has yet to be identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, 42-year-old Romulo Mejia, of Bradenton, Florida, and his passenger, a 35-year-old woman, were taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition, cops said.

Mejia has been charged with vehicular manslaughter with a previous conviction for DWI, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated unlicensed operator, and DWI with a previous conviction in the past 10 years, according to police.

 

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Queens magician to perform on ‘America’s Got Talent’


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC / Below photos courtesy of Roger “Rogue” Quan


Will Briarwood resident Roger “Rogue” Quan be able to work his magic on the “America’s Got Talent” judges this Tuesday night?

The 35-year-old owner of Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst will appear on the July 1 episode where he will perform a “dangerous magic” act.

Quan is not only aiming for the reality competition’s $1 million prize, but also hopes the show will help him become a world-known performer.

His passion for magic started when he was 6 years old and saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

“After that I guess I got bit by the magic bug,” Quan said.

He was soon asking his family to buy him magic tricks, reading books on the art and started performing for whoever wanted to watch, even charging for the shows.

Growing up in Queens, where he lived in Jackson Heights most of his life, magic was just a hobby for Quan.

Following college, the art major had several jobs, but “nothing made me totally happy but performing,” he said.

Quan then took to the streets to sell magic tricks out of a backpack and perform. He later moved the operation to his parent’s home, where people would also come to learn from him.

But Quan knew he needed a proper space and in 2000 found a Rego Park bookstore that had a counter he could use for his burgeoning business. After seven months, the store had to close down, and he decided it was time for his own store. But it wasn’t easy to find someone who would rent to a young man with a magic shop.

He eventually found an affordable space at his current location at 85-08 Queens Blvd., and opened his store in August 2000.

“I was like the king of Queens,” Quan said, describing his business when it first started.

With the Internet and competition from other stores, business is much tougher for his magic shop today, he admits.

“As technology progresses people have seen the bigger things in the world, and magic is pushed aside. It is hard to really impress people nowadays.”

In addition to selling magic tricks, magic performance DVDs, spy equipment and costumes, his store also provides magic classes, entertainers for hire, and has magic and comedy shows.  But he is now trying to transition the business into more of a magic school.

He also has another venture, the Rogue Magic Bar, which opened inside of Panda Asian Bistro in Rego Park this March. The bar, which is about “bringing Vegas to Queens,” features magically-served drinks, magic shows and other entertainment.

As Quan tries to promote his businesses, he is trying to boost his magic career, and “America’s Got Talent” could be his way to do it.

Friends and family were telling him to try out for the show for a long time, but a tweet from the show, saying they were looking for unique talent like him, finally persuaded him to go for it.

“I’m not a very competitive person,” he said.

Quan does everything from close-up to stage magic, including card tricks and illusions with levitation, but excels at magic that has an element of danger to it, which he performed for “America’s Got Talent” judges  Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern.

“I really enjoy the danger magic because of the way people react. It’s priceless,” Quan said.

Quan is not the first Queens resident to appear on “America’s Got Talent” this season.

Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein , a 93-year-old Rockaway man, performed his strongman act on the season nine premiere last month, where he earned three out of four yeses from the judges.

To see how Quan did on the July 1 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” click here

 

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Queens World Cup fans get pooped on by Triumph the Insult Dog


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshoot via teamcoco.com


Instead of taking a trip to South America, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog paid a visit to western Queens last week to poop on World Cup fans.

The character puppet, voiced by Robert Smigel, aired the first of his World Cup segments on TBS’ “Conan” Tuesday night where he joined Colombian, Greek and Uruguayan fans in Astoria and Jackson Heights.

In the June 24 segment Triumph begins his “pooping” journey in Astoria in front of the bar and restaurant Basurero on Steinway Street celebrating with and insulting Colombian fans.

“As soon as the teams are done jogging and warming up they are going to start the game,” he said before moving away from the camera. “Oh wait I’ve just been informed that this is the game and I’ve actually been watching soccer for the past two hours.”

He then makes his way to another Astoria bar filled with Greek fans and pokes fun at the Greek economy and the idea that all Greeks work at diners.

Triumph ends his segment in Jackson Heights with Uruguayan fans at La Gran Uruguaya Restaurant and El Chivito D’Oro where he makes fun of the “Easter egg” colors of the country’s flag and even gets an insult shot at him by one die-hard fan.

“You know they say that soccer is less exciting than football, American football, but that is really selling it short. Don’t you think?” he questions some fans watching the game. “It’s also less exciting than basketball and baseball and bowling and backgammon and miniature gold and yahtzee.”

The video ends with viewers being promised that the World Cup “pooping” will be continued.

 

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Jackson Heights-born men among 13 to be ordained priests, largest class in nation


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Tablet


The Diocese of Brooklyn will welcome 13 new priests this weekend, including two Jackson Heights-born men, in this year’s largest ordination class in the nation.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn will be proclaiming the group of men, who were ordained as transitional deacons last August, into the priesthood on Saturday, June 28, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Brooklyn.

“These 13 men represent the great diversity of ethnicity, life experience and socioeconomic background of the Church of Brooklyn and Queens,” DiMarzio said. “I am privileged to ordain them as priests of Christ and welcome them to the Presbyterate of Brooklyn.”

Of the 13 men, eight were born in the United States, including Felix Herrera and the Rev. Anthony Rosado, who were born in Jackson Heights.

Herrera was born and raised in the western Queens neighborhood and as a young child admired his pastor and wondered what he had to do to be the one up at the altar. He was later invited to be an altar server while in the fourth grade.

“It was fun and nerve-wracking,” Herrera said. “The greatest joy was the peace and tranquility I experienced when I was serving. I believe that was God’s way of saying, ‘This is for you.’”

Herrera went off to earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University and a master of divinity degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Long Island, and he served as a pastor and deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Brooklyn.

According to the 27-year-old, although he received immense support from his parents, the biggest influence on his decision to be a priest came from his grandmother, Gloria, who took him to Mass, taught him to pray the rosary and would talk about both God and the church while cooking Ecuadorian food.

“Grandma was one of the main catalysts as to why I am here now,” Herrera said. “Growing up she was the one who always took us to Mass. She never mentioned priesthood to me but just the way she was devout and would go to Mass was inspirational.”

Herrera will give his first Mass of Thanksgiving on June 29 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Brooklyn.

Rosado, 30, grew up as a member of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Jackson Heights and at 5 years old recognized his love for music while learning to play the piano. He sang in his parish’s choir, played the organ and served as music director at St. Bonaventure Church in Jamaica while in high school.

He later earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the Manhattan School of Music and, although he initially aspired to become a professional musician, he realized that every music piece he composed always had a sacred theme.

“Once I realized that music was my own little way of sharing faith, I started to ask, ‘Why not begin to share my faith at the broadest level, using every means at my disposal’ – namely, being a priest,” Rosado said.

Although he later enjoyed his more than three years serving pastoral assignments in Toronto, California and Michigan, he said he felt God was calling him back to serve his roots in New York.

He earned a master of divinity degree with a concentration in Hispanic ministry and went on to serve as a deacon at St. Fidelis Parish in College Point, where he helped both English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners.

“With people in the city with so many cultures, the fact that we 13 people from as many different cultures are making this decision really shows that we can show faith in a multitude of ways,” he said.

Rosado will offer his Mass of Thanksgiving on June 29 at St. Fidelis Parish in College Point.

Saturday’s Ordination Mass will be streamed live at www.netny.tv.

 

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Jackson Heights student, muralists color LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Edward Fernbach


It has been 22 years since muralists and friends Alex Cook and Pasqualina Azzarello collaborated on a piece, and now with the help of Jackson Heights resident Sunny Hossain, they are adding color to Long Island City.

The artists have come together to replace a fading mural located on a former meatpacking plant located at 46-01 Fifth St. The building is now home to Rockaway Brewing Company, the LIC Community Boathouse and the nonprofit Recycle-A-Bicycle, which provides environmental education and job training through youth education programs.


Photo by Alex Cook

The group not only revamped the mural on 46th Avenue but also stretched it around the corner of the building so that it can been seen down on Fifth Street.


Photo by Pasqualina Azzarello

The original mural was completed in 2006 by Azzarello while she worked with summer youth employment participants as a freelance teaching artist for Recycle-A-Bicycle. However, she always felt the mural needed more.

The Brooklyn resident then went on to become executive director for the nonprofit in 2009 and after leaving in early 2013, she kept the mural on her to-do list as she continues to be involved with Recycle-A-Bicycle.

“For the last number of years, while that mural had become a mini-landmark in the neighborhood, we always had the feeling that it wasn’t as complete as it could be,” said Azzarello. “We wanted to create a new mural that more accurately reflected the new sense of vibrancy in that part of town.”

About two months ago, Cook, who lives in Boston, Mass., reached out to her with interest to work on a collaborative mural in New York and Azzarello contacted Karen Overton, founder of Recycle-A-Bicycle and current executive director, with the idea of revamping the mural.

To Azzarello’s surprise, Overton was also looking to revitalize the mural after being contacted by Edward Fernbach, a teacher at P.S. 993, a District 75 school located within the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria. Fernbach wanted to know if his student Sunny Hossain could help to fix the peeling mural,to receive school credit as part of an internship program. District 75 schools are designed to teach and support students with various learning challenges.

“Sunny happens to be a phenomenal artist and I wanted to emphasize his strength rather than the place he has challenges,” Fernbach said. “He is going to be in the art world, no question about it. He has his foot in the door and he isn’t going to let it close behind him and he is going to keep on going forward.”

This mural project is the first for the 16-year-old, who is a student at P.S. 993. Hossain said he loves to be creative, and working with Azzarello and Cook has helped him develop his artistic skill. He said he felt very proud after seeing the piece come together.


Photo by Edward Fernbach

“We had a lot of fun. I never had an experience like that,” said Hossain, who will next work on a mural at the Broadway branch of the Queens Library in Long Island City. “I never knew I could do so many things with art. It gives me inspiration to continue my art.”

The theme of the colorful and celebratory mural, which took about 10 days spanned over a few weeks to complete, surrounds the “joy of riding a bicycle,” according to Azzarello.

“It has meant so much to Alex and me to support Sunny in this way,” Azzarello said. “We are reminded of how many people supported us as young artists. The fact that we are now in a position in our lives to work together and help support a young artist with incredible talent and vision is very meaningful.”


Sunny Hossain and Alex Cook (Photo by Pasqualina Azzarello)

The brand-new mural will be unveiled at 46-01 Fifth St. on Friday, June 13 at 4 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.

 

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Jackson Heights to celebrate arts during day-long festival


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Carlos Martinez, Hibridos Collective

Jackson Heights will bloom with the arts on the first day of summer.

For the second year, the Jackson Heights Arts Festival is slated to bring the community an all-day public event featuring free art workshops, music and outdoor art exhibitions during a Summer Solstice Celebration. The event will take place on June 21 at Diversity Plaza, a pedestrian plaza located on 37th Road between 73rd and 74th streets.

The outdoor festival is organized by the Friends of Diversity Plaza, a community partnership of local organizations and residents committed to re-envisioning Diversity Plaza as a space opened to the community.

Co-organizers of the festival are Hibridos Collective, an interdisciplinary collaborative co-founded by Carlos Martinez and Beatriz Gil, and Jackson Heights artist Nitin Mukul.

“In collaboration with the Friends of Diversity Plaza we want to build on the local arts community, increase the visibility of artists that live and work in the neighborhood, promote community-based arts and open a dialogue for empowerment through the arts,” Gil said.

The day-long festival will kick off at 11 a.m. with two art education workshops, followed by hourly musical performances starting at noon as part of Make Music New York. Artists performing include Bethany Wild, CoCo Wade, Roopa Mahadevan, Nova Safra Bateria, AC Haley, Roberto Buscarsi, SA, and The Live Cultures.

“Our community represents one of the most culturally diverse ZIP codes on the planet. There is no better way to celebrate that diversity than the arts,” Mukul said. “This exhibition brings together community artists in a public space, creating both intentional and accidental intersections as a metaphor for the strong, vibrant, eclectic community we are.”

 

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Suspects wanted in assault at Jackson Heights train station


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for two suspects wanted in connection with an assault at a Jackson Heights train station last weekend.

On Saturday, May 24 at about 9:46 a.m. a 22-year-old man got into a verbal dispute with two women while on the Manhattan bound No. 7 train platform at the 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue subway station. The two female suspects began to punch the victim on the head and body and then one of them slashed his arm and shoulder with an unknown object, cops said.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, treated and released.

One of the suspects, seen in a photo released by the NYPD, is described as a 35-year-old Hispanic woman with black hair in a ponytail.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Jackson Heights to host 22nd annual Queens Pride Parade


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The streets of Jackson Heights will be filled with pride this weekend as the borough comes together to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community.

On Sunday, elected officials as well as supporters and members of the LGBTQ community from throughout the city will gather for the 22nd Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival hosted by the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee.

Celebrating the accomplishments of the global LGBTQ community, the theme for this year’s event is “A World of Pride.” The theme will also emphasize the need to continue the attention on the struggles that still have to be addressed in regards to human rights, according to organizers.

Grand marshals for the parade include Queens council members Daniel Dromm, one of the founders of the parade in 1993, and Jimmy Van Bramer, who was the first elected official in the borough to get married after New York legalized same-sex marriage. Manhattan council members Corey Johnson, Rosie Mendez, Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca and Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres will also join the procession.

“Our grand marshals reflect how far we have come to be integral in our government, community and our visibility,” Queens Pride co-chair Chris Calvert said.

Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, will also be honored during the event for her leadership and as a transgender member of the community. Founded in 1986, the Stonewall Democratic Club is the first citywide LGBT Democratic organization in New York City.

The parade kicks off Sunday at noon at 84th Street and 37th Avenue and ends at 75th Street. The festival also begins at noon with about 100 vendors along 37th Road from 74th to 77th Street, performances and family-friendly entertainment.

For more information on the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee visit www.queenspride.org.

 

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