Tag Archives: Punjabi

Popular music in Queens, according to Pandora


| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Screenshot/THE QUEENS COURIER

What are Queens’ top tunes? Ask Pandora.

The Internet radio’s data science team investigated New York City’s musical tastes by determining the top three Pandora stations created in August in various neighborhoods.

Two Queens neighborhoods, central Queens and Jamaica, were featured on the list.

According to the results, central Queens residents are listening to “2000s Rock,” “Classical Guitar” and “Punjabi Hits” (music from the Punjab region of South Asia, which includes parts of Pakistan and India).

In Jamaica, “Hindi Bollywood Hits,” “Gospel” and “Today’s Gospel” took the top spots.

Other neighborhoods studied throughout the five boroughs included the Upper West Side, where “Classical,” “Yoga” and “Toddler” were popular; the Lower East Side, where “Indie Dance,” “Laid-Back Beach Music” and “Indie Rock” reigned; and the central Bronx, where residents most often created stations for “Boleros,” “Latin” and “Bachata Dominicana.”

View the complete list here.

What is your go-to Pandora station? Let us know by commenting below.

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Board of Elections leaves Bengali off ballot


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Translators and appropriate documents will be at voting stations with large Bengali populations this November, a Board of Elections (BOE) official said, after it was announced the language would not be an option on this year’s ballots, much to the chagrin of officials and residents.

The BOE’s vendor, Election Systems & Software LLC (ES&S), had “significant technical difficulties” changing its voting system, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vasquez. BOE staff met with ES&S and determined the changes — and the needed for state certification — would not be feasible by this November, she said. The vendor is continuing to work on making the changes ready for elections in 2013.

Ballots are required, under the federal Voting Rights Act, to have the native languages of an area’s population where five percent of eligible voters have below average English skills. Census data released last year showed an increasing number of Bengali residents in the borough and thus required by law to be used on ballots in select areas.

Other prominently spoken languages in the borough, including Spanish, Chinese and Korean, will not be affected by the difficulties, Vasques said.

Materials and personnel will be provided to Bengali-speaking voters, she said, to remedy the difficulties some may face when casting their ballots.

“The Board has taken important steps to address the language community’s needs until ballot placement can be achieved, and continues to reach out to community representatives through an established working group,” she said. “Steps planned include a translated candidate name list for use by voters, as well as a sample ballot poster for the November general election, together with translated posters, other written materials and signage.”

This is not enough to some, however, as politicians and community members spoke out soon after the announcement, demanding something be done to ensure the legal requirements are enacted.

“Data released a year ago told us what we already knew in our area of Queens County – that a significant segment of the population speaks Bengali (also known as Bangla), Punjabi, and Hindi,” Assemblymember David Weprin said. “It is not enough to provide interpreters or translated materials. Asian-Indians in Queens are covered under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and anything less than full compliance is an injustice.”

Queens has a number of South Asian populations that will be affected by these changes, including Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Queens Village and Jackson Heights.

Vishnu Mahadeo, a Richmond Hill advocate originally from Guyana, said in the past the BOE had not taken responsibility to help Bengali voters.

Mahadeo, who heads the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council and is a coordinator with the BOE, said he has tried in the past to get interpreters hired for Bengali residents, predominately in South Ozone Park, and for Punjabi and Hindi residents in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.

The problem Mahadeo says he’s run into, however, is a miscommunication between the BOE and the community. Many residents have been under the impression that citizenship is required to work for the BOE. All that is required, Mahadeo said, is proficiency in a language and permanent residency.

Weprin, who pushed for multi-lingual ballots in the Legislature, expressed disappointment the language would not be available to Bengali-speaking voters.

“Our practice should be to provide ballots in the languages of the Asian Indian communities to encourage voter participation, not fall short of our promises to accommodate these populations,” Weprin said. “This is a very important election and voter suppression simply can not be tolerated in our Democracy.”

Bengali ballots should be released for elections, Weprin said, or other options needed to be taken.

“We must stay on top of this issue and demand this mandate be implemented,” he said. “Otherwise we will have to consider other options to ensure the Board of Elections complies with this law.”

Queens Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: “Akeelah and the Bee” 

With an aptitude for words, 11-year-old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) is determined to spell her way out of South Los Angeles, entering scores of local contests and eventually landing a chance to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

[Click here for more info] or to [submit your own events]

UPDATE: Two arraigned after kidnapped man found in NYPD officer’s home 

A New York City Police Department detective has been suspended without pay as internal affairs tries to figure out if he was involved in a kidnapping scheme in Queens. Authorities say a 25-year-old man was kidnapped at gunpoint on Friday while walking down 234th Street and that his captors called people looking for a ransom. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE:Pals of cop involved in abduction come to his defense

Friends and neighbors are defending an NYPD detective suspended without pay after a kidnapped man was found bound in his home. Four men were busted in the home of veteran cop Ondre Johnson, 45, Friday after a call demanding a $75,000 ransom was traced there. Read more: [New York Daily News]

One man dead, one injured in Corona bar stabbing 

Two men were stabbed — one fatally — during a fight outside a Queens bar Sunday morning, police and witnesses said. The melee between several men erupted outside the Manila Bar and Restaurant on Roosevelt Ave. in Corona just before 4:30 a.m., said cops. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Mayor Bloomberg pushing NYC hospitals to hide baby formula so more new moms will breast-feed

The nanny state is going after moms. Mayor Bloomberg is pushing hospitals to hide their baby formula behind locked doors so more new mothers will breast-feed. Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation. Read more: [New York Post] 

National Pastimes: Immigrants bring Kabaddi to Queens fields 

It looks like a good old-fashioned game of tag. But this is no traditional American game. It’s Kabaddi, a mix of rugby, tag and wrestling. It’s a favorite among Punjabi immigrants who play at Victory Field. “We have a lot of fun playing this,” said player Sembeep Singh. “That’s our cultural game.” Read more: [NY1] 

 

Pols push for more languages on ballot


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Two elected officials and a coalition of South Asian community leaders pushed for the passage of a bill that would put Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi on ballots and election material in the borough.

The bill, co-sponsored by State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember David Weprin, would direct the county’s Board of Elections (BOE) to provide written language assistance in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi on ballots, signs, voter mailings, employee and volunteer training material and information on the BOE’s web site.

The legislation, Weprin said, would increase voter turnout at the polls and voter access.

“The growing South Asian community in Queens is highly focused on civic engagement,” Stavisky said. “We must pass this bill to make life easier for people who are simply trying to exercise their rights.”

Democratic District Leader Albert Baldeo, who was defeated in a tight Senate race in 2006, said the lack of languages on the ballot negatively impacted his run.

Baldeo said he lost by a very small margin — some 387 votes — during his failed try at election in the 15th District because “the minority vote was suppressed.”

“There are many instances of people getting sent away from the polls, people who were actually discouraged from voting from poll site workers, because there was no assistance to speak to them in their language or in written materials,” said Baldeo.

While Weprin said the BOE had raised concerns over the print on the ballot getting too small, a spokesperson said the agency has not yet taken an official stance on the matter.

There is only one week left to get the green light for the bill since the legislative session is scheduled to end June 21.