QUEENS PLUS: WEARABLE TECH, QUEENS SEEN, THANKSGIVING TAKEOUT & MORE
FALL 2014 | Volume 6.2
TOP 5 ON THE 7
Best Restaurants Just Steps Away From the Train
JODI LONG From Woodside to Hollywood
DITCH THE ALTAR The Five Most Unique Spots to Get Married in Queens
STUDY SPOTS Our Top 5 Places to Hit the Books
QUEENS THE MAGAZINE
Walter H. Sanchez
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Volume 6 Number 2 – Fall 2014
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On the Cover: Jodi Long (Photo: Peter Svenson) 2 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
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4 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
Table of Contents 12 Seventh Heaven FEATURES
It’s Queens ranks the Top 5 Restaurants along the 7 train.
20 Long & Short of It
Actress Jodi Long discusses her journey from the streets of Woodside to the lights of Hollywood.
24 The It’s List
These 15 Musicians are the signature sound of Queens
44 Fit for a Queen in Queens Make your wedding even more memorable with our Top 5 Unique Wedding Spots.
49 Study Break
The Top 5 Unique Study Nooks to escape it all and cram.
What’s hot and what’s not in Queens.
Take your device out of your pocket and put it on your wrist.
18 Food Relax this Thanksgiving and let these places do the cooking.
A rundown of the hottest things happening this fall.
58 Queens Seen
One Instagram account is showcasing the borough’s diversity. www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 5
Will our quality of life fall with the season’s leaves? The fall of 2014 brings a number of issues affecting our everyday lives to the forefront here in Queens. The homeless blight in New York is front and center, and this mayoral administration is making it clear that it is an emergency situation and the borough need to do its part. Gilbert Taylor, the commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services, visited the It’s Queens offices recently to chat about the agency’s goals and remedies, and we made it clear that increased community input is a waste of time if local concerns were ignored. Mr. Taylor told our staff that while the proposed Glendale Shelter on Cooper avenue is not an “emergency shelter,” the shelter operating at the old Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard indeed is. Therefore, that shelter can be opened without the long term steps and community input needed in other cases.
The Forest Hills resident has been adding resources to the cultural staples of Queens and is quite focused on the economy. Tourism is a top focus and Melinda is quietly pushing for Queens entrepreneurs to succeed. We are bullish on her leadership of Queens. She made some recent waves in removing a few influential Queens representatives on the Queens Library board, and that decision will always be a controversial part in her legacy. However, the library will survive and its 62 branches continue to grow.
Of all the issues in Queens, the cleanliness of our streets is one of the hottest. Sanitation is having a tough time keeping up with the amount of garbage on our streets, but of course people throwing their household garbage in the baskets meant for street litter doesn’t help the situation. And “Tech Valley” in Long Island City continues to be a hot topic, are we ready for it? Trendy eateries certainly By the time you read this, driving in have entered the Queens landscape, Queens at a speed of more than 25 with Ridgewood and Astoria leading mph may be illegal. Like it or not, as of the way. We will try to keep you up to November 7 we all have to slow down. date on the new ones. It should make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians and will make the police This issue of It’s Queens won’t disappoint. pay a bit more attention to motorists It features our Top Musicians, Top who speed through our side streets to Places to Get Married and Top Study beat traffic on the LIE. Nooks in Queens. The Who will be performing at the famed West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills this spring. The concerts at the stadium in Forest Hills Gardens has sparked some concern from residents, but whichever way you look at it, music in Queens adds to our culture and growth. One neighbor we spoke with remarked that there was one concert of note when she was compelled to keep her children in the house and close the windows because of the foul language from the performers. She has a great point, and we can only hope that promoters don’t book such acts down the road. Borough President Melinda Katz has made an immediate mark on Queens in less than a year in office. 6 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
Do yourself a favor and get off the 7 train for one of the most unique culinary experiences you can have. Trust the spots we profile in this issue. They are along the elevated 7 Train route between Woodside and Main Street. It’s quite crowded and English might not be the primary language, but that just adds to the experience. Starts on page 12 Some of the younger members of our staff might not have firsthand recollections of some of the crooners and groups on our It’s List, but if you were lucky enough to have seen Kiss or The Ramones in concert, no more needs to be said. Getting
fashionable once again. There are so many great spots to have a ceremony and affair, it was certainly difficult to choose our Top 5 Unique Wedding Locations. Each place has its own feeling and we are sure you will find the right spot. I think it would be a great story for the rest of your lives to say you were married in a zoo. For many, a library just won’t cut it anymore as a place to study. Check out our Top 5 Study Nooks in Queens beginning on page 49. We hope you enjoy the issue.
Walter H. Sanchez Publisher
A quick rundown of what Queens residents are talking about, as well as what they no longer care about.
C OAL I T I O N F O R QU EENS
In a world where the need for technological innovation is a must, Jukay Hsu had a dream that Queens would one day become the center of that focus. Since the group began, their focus on tech-education programs and broadband improvements has sparked a fired under factions like the Queens Chamber of Commerce to embrace this transformation. Now with a recent $300,000 boost from the federal Economic Development Administration, the Long Island City-based nonprofit group is sure to only get even hotter in the coming years.
D O E F UND
With the rollout of new City Council budgets this year, one of the first quality of life issues put under the microscope has been tackling cleanliness in both business and residential districts across the borough. From Dutch Kills to Howard Beach, the politicians have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the non-profit cleanup crew this year, making this program one of the hottest and highest in demand. And what’s more, the organization has also been instrumental in tackling a citywide homelessness crisis by employing displaced and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers.
A I RP L A N E N O ISE
It’s not just the heat from low-flying jet engines that has made this issue a hot button item in the fall of 2014. Dozens of civic groups and elected officials from across the city have protested the Federal Aviation Administration to rethink the way they do business in the borough. It won’t be until their cries are heard over the unrelenting noise of big business at both LaGuardia and JFK airports that these dedicated Queens citizens will stop their push for justice.
Early in the summer, a New York Times food critic thought it would be cute to dub a little strip of Ridgewood that borders Bushwick on Wyckoff Avenue “Quooklyn,” but Ridgewood wasn’t so hot on the idea. It’s true: Trendy cafes, bars and restaurants have been accumulating on the Brooklyn side of the street, and they are pushing into Queens. But a couple of restaurants, welcome as they may be, aren’t going change the fact that Queens is Queens.
F LUSH I N G M E ADOWS
This spring, there was a lot of talk about World’s Fair celebrations and activities that would remind Queens of the wonder of the two times the fairs came to Queens, but after a lot of hype, the delivery was a bit underwhelming. After a single tour of the defunct World’s Fair Pavilion early in the year, along with a little sprucing up at the base of the structure, celebration activities were primarily being held at other venues. Meanwhile, it appears that development of a portion of the park into a shopping center is imminent. So you could say it hasn’t been the best of summers for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
THOM AS GAL A NT E
With the successful dismantling of the former Queens Library board and the instatement of trustee replacements, Borough President Melinda Katz effectively orchestrated the removal of Thomas Galante as CEO and president. After months of scandal surrounding his salary, renovations to his private office and a second six-figure job, the buzz around Galante has simmered down with the announcement that the new board has placed him on indefinite paid leave during ongoing investigations. www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 7
8 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 9
CLOSE AT HAND
The rise of wearable tech THE APPLE WATCH
Processor: • S1 Chip Stack integrated computer
Display: • Sapphire Crystal Display in 38mm and 42mm casings with 240x320 resolution Connectivity: 802.11b/g wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 Battery Life and Charger: • Unannounced, though execs say it should last through a “typical day”
Two sizes: • 38 mm and 42 mm
Customization: • Several casings, bands and faces t o choose from
Additional Features: • Built-in speaker and microphone for quick chats • Digital Touch features allows sending of images rather than using words, photos or emoticons. • Tools include Sketch, Walkie-Talkie, Tap notification, and Heartbeat • Measures movement through Activity app, which tells you how much standing, exercising and moving, including how many calories you’ve burned • Workout App, including Goals, Reminders and Achievements with ability to track progress over time on your iPhone • Wallet without the Wallet using Passbook
10 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
pple wasn’t the first to design a smart watch, but it comes as no surprise that the company credited with creation of the first personal computer may be the first to get it right. And it’s about time. Wearables have been seeping into the tech scene over the last decade, mostly because powerful computing hardware can be packed into extremely small packages these days. Most wearables introduced so far are either simplistic or ridiculous (like Google Glass), but somewhere along the line someone came up with an idea that is gaining traction: The smartwatch. The first truly viable smartwatch arrived in the form of the Pebble and Pebble Steel watches, introduced in July 2013 after a highly-successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than $10 million from 85,000 donors, far exceeding the creators’ original $200,000 goal. Samsung was not far behind with the introduction of Galaxy Gear last fall, which had serious shortcomings that were addressed to a certain degree with their second generation Gear earlier this year. More recently, Motorola introduced its Moto 360 smartwatch, which we think deserves props for actually looking like a watch. And finally, in a surprise announcement at their most recent unveiling, Apple entered the wearable tech scene with its new unexcitingly named Apple Watch. The truth is, wearable tech innovators are taking major strides, but they have yet to come up with a truly great original idea that they can integrate into their products. Tech geeks are looking to see more precise applications of the smartwatch that make them into more than mere extensions of smartphone technology. On a positive note, wearables are beginning to grow out of their awkward stage, and there are finally some options you could wear in Queens without getting too many sideways looks.
SAMSUNG GEAR and GEAR NEO
Galaxy Note 3 Processor: Welcome to the world of Android. • 1 Ghz Dual-core chip with 512 Customization: To date, the Galaxy Note 3 has pushed smartphone • Available as standard model or MB ROM boundaries, offering up a multi-platform world with the NEO sports version Samsung Galaxy Gear smart-watch, S Pen and a highly Display: functional processor. • 1.84” curved glass sAMOLED While camera buffs may be blown away by the in house display with 320x320 resolution Additional Features: 13-megapixel rear camera and 1080p video capabilities, • 2 megapixel built-in camera this phone also comes with a • Personalized fitness manager Connectivity: Waterproofing wide range of camera and digital • USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and • Music on the go accessories that makes it well • Dust & water resistant wifi Sony Xperia ZR above an everyday device. • WatchON Remote control If you’ve ever left your phone $749.99. compatiblein with most suit TVs and(or Battery Life and Charger: your bathing pocket • The Gear uses an awkward set top boxes been pushed into the hotel with pool) Android and clip-on charger, which is a • Compatible swimming you are in luck Specs: downside, but it lasts for about iOS devices with the expansive Android marProcessor: LTE 2.3 GHz Quad-Core two days before needing a reket’s latest waterproof creation. Processor/ 3G: 1.9 GHZ Octa Core charge Processor The Sony Xperia ZR touchscreen MOTOROLA MOTO 360HD design offers up a
13-megapixel camera with 16x
Display: 5.7 inch (144.3 mm) Full HD Super AMOLED (1920X1080) OS: Android 4.3 Camera: Main (rear): 13 megapixel BSI Sensor, auto focus camera with Smart Stabilization LED Flash and Zero Shutter Lag/ Sub (front): 2 Mega-pixel BSI sensor with Smart Stabilization, Full HD recording at 30 fps. Video: Recording and Playback: Full HD (1080p), UHD Audio: Codec: MP3,AAC/AAC+/eAAC+ WMA, AMR-NB/WB, Vorbis, FLAC, WAV Memory: 32/ 64 GB user memory + microSD slot Battery: Li-ion, 3,200mAh Additional features: Samsung Galaxy Gear: 800 MHz processor, 1.63-inch display, 1.9 megapixel camera with video and audio capabilities. S Pen: air command, action memo tool Group Play: share music, pictures, video and documents S Voice™ Hands Free, S Health
Processor: digital zoom and full HD video • Texas Instruments OMAP 3capabilities. with (1080p) recording 4GB eMMC and 512MB RAM $499.99. Additional Features: • Android Wear operating system Display: • 1.56” Backlit LCD IPS screen • Compatible with smartphones using Android 4.3 and later with 320x290 resolution • Dual Microphone • 9-axis gyroscope/compass/acConnectivity: celerometer sensors with pedom• Bluetooth 4.0 LE eter and optical heart rate monitor • Dust & Water Resistant Battery Life and Charging: • A recent update has boosted battery life to somewhere between 16-20 hours on a single charge. Charged via placement on USBconnected charging stand
PEBBLE and PEBBLE STEEL
CamKix 12x With this 12x telephoto CamKix lens and hardProcessor: case/mini tripod package, smartphone users Features: • ARM-Cortex M3daily processor ca-intoAdditional can transform their selfie-taking full• Equipped with Pebble OS pable of up to 80Mhz with 512MB fledged professional photography. Accessories • Headphone connection RAM for include the full gamut of fisheye, macro and • 3D Accelerometer wide-angle options. $57.99.
• E-compass ready Display: • 1.26” Black and White 144x168 • Ambient light sensors • Water resistant up to 5 meters e-ink display Connectivity: • USB and Bluetooth 4.0
CamKix 20x For professional phototakers only. This high quality 20x telephoto lens for the Samsung Galaxy S3 includes a mini-tripod, hard case and microfiber back with a cleaning cloth and one-year warrantee guarantee. $89.98.
Battery Life and Charging: • Lithium-Ion polymer battery with USB charging cable with magnetic connector lasts for about a week between full charges www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 11
Top 5 Restaurants Along The 7 Line By Andrew Shilling
The 7 train: to some the line is forgotten or misunderstood, while to others it is noth-
Food icons like Andrew Zimmern have tapped the Rego Park resident for his vast knowledge of the borough. He has since made a living ing more than a tool for the work out of taking tours to some of commute. his favorite spots in neighborFor foodies, however, the Queens hoods like Flushing, Elmhurst, highline is viewed as a $2.50 key to Woodside and Corona; all docan array of cultures from around the umented on his website (www. world. chopstickandmarrow.com). Joe DiStefano has made a career When asked about where asout of understanding the complex piring foodies can find the best web of cultural boundaries throughof the best from Flushing to out the borough, taking food enthuVernon Boulevard, a frantic list siasts to some of the smallest, most of Filipino, Nepalese, Peruvian unassuming locations for a slice of; and Ecuadorian mom-and-pop well, somewhere else. eateries began pouring out over “The MTA better pay me for this, the phone. but you can travel the entire world It wasn’t until we met in Jackwithout ever leaving the 7 line using an unlimited metro son Heights, or as he calls it “Himalayan Heights,” that he card as your passport,” DiStefano said. was able to narrow it down to just five.
Dhaulaghiri Kitchen 37-38 72nd Street 74th Street Stop This hole-in-the-wall family-owned food spot could be easily missed along the busy Jackson Heights corridor, as their name is completely absent from the storefront signage. Traditional Himalayan food has been a part of Kamala Gauchan’s family for generations. Her grandfather had his own restaurant, her sister owns one of her own, and now she has been running her neighborhood location for the last two years with her son, daughter and brother. “Everybody told me it was so good, and that makes me so happy,” Gauchan said. “My culture is cooking.” Sharing space with the Tawa Food Corp. bakery, Gauchan’s tiny Nepalese restaurant, Dhaulaghiri Kitchen, is the real thing. Upon entry, the room is flooded with the smells of traditional spices and dried jerky – which hangs from the front window. Recommended dishes include the goat sukuti (jerky), fiery radish pickles and tsel roti, which is something similar to a rice-infused donut. 12 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
Bring a big appetite because if there is one thing that can be said about Gauchan, it’s that she loves to make sure you have had your fill.
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Top 5 Restaurants on the
La Esquina Del Camaron Mexicano Roosevelt Avenue and 80th Street 82nd Street Stop
“It’s all about the cocktails,” said La Esquina Del Camarom Mexicano owner Pedro Rodriguez. Just two blocks west of the 82nd Street 7 train stop, Rodriguez has found his niche nestled beside a traditional NYC bodega. This outdoor Mexicanstyle eatery is surprisingly serving up some of the freshest seafood cocktails in the neighborhood, brought in from their kitchen just up the block. Originally from Mexico City, Rodriguez first got into the food business just two years ago after years of making his living as a construction worker. Today he follows his passion, making the food he calls home. “This is something in America that is hard to find,” he said. “Not too many people here are making this kind of cocktail.” His specialty: shrimp and octopus cocktails served with tomato sauce, clam juice, lime, onions, cilantro, avocado and a little touch of hot sauce – or a lot depending on your preference. And if you want a little variation, Rodriguez also suggests the fish taco, fish empanada and fish tostada. “We don’t want to be involved in pork, beef or chicken,” he said. “Just seafood.”
Arepa Lady 70-02AA Roosevelt Avenue 74th Street Stop
Lines have been tailing down Roosevelt Avenue for decades to try the legendary food from the Arepa Lady. It was only recently however that this long-time family-operated staple opened up their first indoor location on the same street that birthed these one-ofa-kind Colombian creations. Maria Cano’s son Alejandro Osorio and his wife are often found operating the family’s newest location, just steps away from the 69th Street 7 train stop in Woodside. “The Colombian arepa is kind of like a bread,” Osorio explained. “Like tortilla are for the Mexicans; it’s a snack, it’s a meal, it’s a side dish… but it’s really a tradition.” The arepa de chocolo is a ground up fresh corn pastry served with cheese and butter, along with a choice of chicken, steak or chorizo. The other option is an arepa tela, a plain corn tortilla that looks a little more like a traditional French crepe. Also a must are the fresh juices like mango, maracuya or mora. While they have found even further success in their 14 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
new location, it hasn’t stopped Cano, 70, from creating lines along Roosevelt Avenue. “Business has been really good,” he said. “People are coming from all over parts of New York and other states when they here visiting just to go see the ‘arepa lady.’”
Your future starts here. Go further.
Open Ouse H
Saturday, November 8, 2014 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
For more information and to register visit 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, NY 11364
www.qcc.cuny.edu/OpenHouse www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 15
Top 5 Restaurants on the
Papa’s Kitchen 65-40 Woodside Avenue 61st Street Stop
Just a few blocks south of the 69th Street 7-train stop in Woodside is one of the best-hidden neighborhood gems. Owner Beth Roa started Papa’s Kitchen in October 2012 to honor her father, who also helps out with the business from time to time. And although her brother runs the place, serving up a wide array of traditional dishes like goat meat, deep-fried pig’s trotter and duck eggs, Roa and her family have made it a home away from home. “A long time ago my mother opened a small (restaurant),” Roa recalled. “It gave me an inspiration for opening a restaurant here, because when we would go to restaurants here, the taste of the food is so different from the food that we grew up with.” For larger groups, Roa suggests trying the salu-salo, a smorgasbord of Filipino eats including crab, crispy pasta, longanisa, tuna belly among other Filipino classics, for a truly authentic taste from her family’s kitchen. Since the doors opened, Papa’s has morphed from a takeout place to a restaurant, inviting patrons out to try some of their favorite eats from the east, and also take part in the Filipino tradition of karaoke. After eating and breaks from karaoke, Roa encourages her patrons to try halo halo, a Filipino snow cone topped with ice cream, sweet potatoes, yucca, beans and her own special ingredients.
Soy Bean Flower Chen 135-26 Roosevelt Avenue Main Street Stop
The last thing you would imagine coming out of the Flush- tradition has found new life in this fast-paced business dising floral shop is some of the best, and most innovative tofu trict just off the Flushing-Main Street 7 train stop. in the neighborhood. The roughly 2,000-year-old Chinese “They’re like the only guys doing this,” DiStefano said of the restaurant. “I see it, but I don’t know that anyone else is making it.” Soy Bean Flower Chen started serving their tofu out of a shopping cart in the neighborhood, but when they opened the flower shop they decided to keep the food as well. For just $1.50, you can walk away with nearly a pint of cold or warm tofu fa with ginger or spicy flavored syrup, something this Queens foodie added is something that he has yet to find anywhere else. “They’ll add whatever you want to it, so you can have it spicy,” he said. “When you go out for dim sum, you’ll see this with the sweet syrup, but I’ve never seen the spicy syrup. Then again that could just mean that maybe I’m not eating enough of this.” 16 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
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Bringing Home The Holidays Queens’ Best Ready-Made Thanksgiving Dinners By Chase Collum and Eddie Schook
With more than 2 million people living in one of the most culturally diverse areas on the planet, our bor-
ough is rich with traditions. And while we all have different favorite foods, there is one meal that is defined as quintessentially American: Thanksgiving dinner. There are many ways to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, but no one makes it better than mom (or grandma) no matter who you are. Unfortunately, there are many people in this borough of immigrants and transplants who won’t be able to make it home in time for the holiday. If you’re one of those people, but you don’t want to miss out on the holiday completely, then this list is for you. Here, we give you the five best places where you can get a ready-made Thanksgiving dinner that will transport you straight back to mom’s table, and most likely leave
you with plenty of leftovers to boot. Sage General Store has been featured on the Food Network, Martha Stewart Weddings and Brooklyn Bride so there is no surprise that it has managed to make our list. The Butcher Block has been offering one of the borough’s best Irish-inspired Thanksgiving dinners since 1995 while The Flagship Diner has been serving ready-made Thanksgiving dinners for 29 years now. Fratelli’s Marketplace serves Queens, Manhattan and Long Island from its brick and mortar locations, and also happens to be one of the largest off-site catering businesses in the state, so needless to say, they know how to bring it to the table. And last but not least, Iavarone Brothers has become well-known for its quality foods at its many locations in Queens and Long Island. Long story short, if you’re looking for some holiday comfort food, these cooks are ready to serve it up.
6900 Grand Avenue, Maspeth | (718) 639-3623
• Autumn lasagna with sausage and butternut squash • Traditional meat and cheese lasagna • Turkey consommé with pumpkin tortellini
• Arugula and radicchio with goat cheese, toasted almonds and sliced dried apricots • Gorgonzola and walnut salad with dried cranberries • Tossed salad with carrots, peppers and tomatoes
Trimmings (Choice of two):
• Tender green beans almondine • Spinach and artichoke casserole • Stuffed mushrooms with roasted vegetable stuffing • Cauliflower oreganata
• Creamy garlic mashed potatoes • Smashed sweet potatoes with candied pecan and marshmallow streudel
• 18-lb. Bell & Evans all natural roasted turkey • 10-lb. boneless all-natural antibiotic-free turkey breast with orange sauce
Choice of homemade pie:
• Corn bread and honey crisp apple stuffing • Roasted chestnut, crispy pancetta, sage and rustica bread • Sausage and wild rice stuffing with toasted almonds and cranberries 18 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
• Fresh cognac pecan cranberry sauce • Fresh turkey gravy • Pumpkin • Apple • Apple crumb • Coconut custard
• Herb-stuffed mushroom caps • Scallops wrapped in bacon
• Tortellini en brodo • Pumpkin Bisque
Casa Fratelli Salad:
• With arugula, radicchio, gorgonzola cheese, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries
• 18-lb. Bell & Evans all natural roasted turkey • Boar’s Head spiral honey-baked ham
Trimmings (Choice of two): • Country-roasted potatoes
2903 Broadway, Astoria | (718) 726-4913
• String beans almondine • Fresh cranberry sauce • Turkey giblet gravy
• Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing • Wild rice stuffing with cranberries, scallion, pine nuts and celery
Homemade Pie (Choice of two): • Pumpkin • Apple • Cherry
4346 41st Street, Sunnyside | (718) 784-1078
138-30 Queens Boulevard, Briarwood | (718) 523-6020
• Coconut Custard • Blueberry • Pumpkin Main Course: • Cherry • 20 pound turkey • Apple
• Oven-roasted turkey • Ham • Mashed potatoes with gravy • Turnips • Broccoli • Carrots
Homemade pie (Choice of two): • Coconut Custard • Blueberry • Pumpkin • Cherry • Apple
Sage General Store 2420 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City | (718) 361-0707
• Grilled Pear Salad • Classic Shrimp Cocktail • Low-country Miniature Crab Cakes
• Carrot-apple ginger • Roasted Butternut Squash
• Greek • Caesar •Spinach • Tossed
Homemade pie (Choice of two):
• Mashed potatoes with gravy • Sweet sauteed string beans • Homemade rolls • Stuffing Sides:
• Wild rice salad with dried cranberries, walnuts and spinach • Traditional creamed spinach casserole • Sweet potato casserole with bourbon-maple glaze • Roasted baby root vegetables • Balsamic braised Brussels sprout with Neuske’s bacon • Cranberry-orange chutney • Buttery Yukon Gold mashed potatoes • Apple-bacon turkey gravy
• Spit-Fire Roasted Turkey • Roasted Local Free-Range Turkey www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 19
The Long Road By Jess Berry
With five Broadway shows under her belt, appearances in feature films like RoboCop 3 and The Hot Chick, roles in popular TV dramas like Desperate Housewives and Sex & the City and now a starring role in the popular television series Sullivan & Son, Jodi Long comes off as a born and bred Manhattan girl. But Long grew up with her vaudevillian parents in Woodside and then Jackson Heights. In fact, while Long was performing on Broadway starting at age seven, she was also starring in the school plays at IS 125 in Sunnyside. It’s Queens had the pleasure of talking with Long about growing up in Queens, how she got into television, what the set of Sullivan & Son is like, and how living in Queens helped her throughout her successful career. It’s Queens: I guess we can start with your childhood. For what period of your life did you live in Queens? Jodi Long: Well, I was born in Manhattan and then I guess my parents moved to Queens sometime before I turned one. We moved to Woodside, and we lived in Woodside until I was 18. And then my mom moved really far away to Jackson Heights. I didn’t really live there, because I went to college. She moved the summer that I graduated high school, and then I went to Purchase College. I would just come home in the summer. IQ: So when you were living in Woodside, what was that like? Because I’m sure it was a very different pace of life than you have now. Did you enjoy growing up there? JL: I lived on 69th Street, which is right where the train is, a couple of blocks away towards Woodside. Actually, the building that I grew up in is still there, it’s a little two-family brick building. I went by there recently, in the last year. It was a neighborhood. All of the kids, we played on the streets and I walked to PS 12, which was my elementary school, which is still there. It was very Irish and Italian and I think there were some Greek families. It was very lower middle class, working class. I was the only Asian kid in PS 12, and I think
20 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
From Woodside to Hollywood with Jody Long
there were only 600 kids in the school at the time. So it was a very different neighborhood than it is now. We all knew each other, we all knew the people in the houses around there. I think Queens is very neighborhood-friendly, or at least that’s my experience of it. IQ: You said that you eventually ended up at Purchase College. How did you get into acting and into the arts? When did that start for you? JL: My parents were vaudevillian, so I was really born backstage. It was very natural for me. I was seven when I did my first Broadway show. They were looking for a little Asian girl that could sing and dance, and so I went and auditioned, and I got the job. Then I did a tour of Flower Drum Song with my dad one summer right after that, as the kid in the show, and then I did the school plays at IS 125. I played Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! at IS 125, which, believe or not, that was a big deal in those days. Then I left Queens in terms of my education, and I went to Performing Arts High School in Manhattan in the drama department. I got hooked as a classical dramatic actress, which is very funny to me. Then from Performing Arts I auditioned for Purchase. I went to Purchase, and I graduated with a BFA in theater arts and acting. I was out of school for a year when I got my first job at the Public Theater, and then I went straight into another new play that ended up going to Broadway with Kevin Kline. That was Loose Ends, and that played on Broadway for almost a year. So I was pretty much on my way. You see my trajectory, and from the very beginning that path was set out, but I could have walked away from it at any time, and it wasn’t easy the whole time. Now people look at me and I’m on a television show, but there were lean years and there were years where you’re like, “Is this the right thing for me to be doing?” But I think somehow the universe and the powers that be always sort of guided me back. IQ: You’ve shown up on a number of movies, you said that you started on Broadway, but you’ve also been featured in shows like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City. How did you end up getting into TV? JL: As a theater actor, you’re literally living from hand to mouth. You may be doing a lot of great work, but it’s really job to job, and you never know when your next job is going to be. So at a certain point, in the late eighties or something like that, I went to Los Angeles in hopes that I could break into television. That was actually a hard transition, because they would look at me and go, “Oh she’s a theater actor.” I think my first success in television, even though it only lasted a season, was Café American. It was like it all of a sudden put me in a different place. And then I went on to do Margaret Cho’s mom in All-American Girl. So here I am. IQ: During all of the time that you were doing Broadway shows and a lot of dramatic theater, did you ever think that you would end up in comedy? JL: I never saw myself as a comedic actor, really. But I realized that I really grew up on watching I Love Lucy reruns with Lucille Ball. I watched it every night for years as a kid. Then working for almost a year with Kevin Kline — he’s a brilliant comedic actor — and he was very funny. Even though Loose Ends was a drama, I learned so much from him. Being funny is really about being relaxed. It’s being relaxed in your own skin and allowing moments to happen. You get more relaxed as you get older, you get more experienced as an actor, and it’s just a lot easier. But no, I never saw myself as a comedic actor. Isn’t that funny? IQ: And now you’re working on Sullivan & Son and you have a pretty big role on that show. Has it been a fun thing for you to take part in? JL: It’s been a blast from the very beginning, I must tell you. I am working with incredible people. Steve Byrne, who plays my son, is not only so funny, but he’s the nicest guy. I got the job and he called me up and he was like, “Jodi, I’m so happy you’re playing my mom.” It was just the sweetest thing. And it’s been like that from the get-go, and it just gets better. This season Steve is there, Dan Lauria — who plays my husband and was the dad on The Wonder Years — we’ve all become such a tight-knit family. Just everybody, it’s this huge family. And we make each other laugh, it really is true. Steve said [about] my character, he said, “Nobody makes me laugh more than Jodi.” Steve can’t even look at me sometimes. And I’m in character and he just turns and he’s like, “I’m losing it.” Because they all know I’m not like that, and I feel like I’m channeling this woman. I grew up with these women who are really kind of hard-nosed, Asian mothers. My mother wasn’t really like that, but all of the aunties who I grew up with were. I feel like I just step out of the way, and I just learn the lines and somehow this force comes through me.
www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 21
From Woodside to Hollywood with Jody Long IQ: So you would say that you are not like your character? JL: No. First of all, I don’t have a Korean accent. And I don’t take out weapons of mass destruction to hit people. I mean this year, I was like, “Oh my god, I am so violent in this show.” And I’m so not like that at all. I’m a yoga person, like peace, love and all of that stuff. So it’s pretty funny. IQ: Now, besides Sullivan & Son, are you working on anything else outside of that? JL: Yea, I’m actually in Chicago and I’m working on a new play, which has funny moments in it, I think, but it’s a drama. It’s called The World of Extreme Happiness at the Goodman Theater, and we will be bringing the show into New York in January. It’s about China now and the industrial economic revolution that has happened in China over the last twenty years, what it’s done to its citizens and how it has affected the working class in China. IQ: So you did a lot of drama, you’ve done a lot of comedy, and you kind of are bouncing around between the two. Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on? JL: I have a documentary movie out called Long Story Short, and it’s about my parents in vaudeville. That was really a labor of love. It came about because I had been cast in the Broadway revival of Flower Drum Song, and that was the same show that my dad did fifty years before. So it’s sort of tracing that family history. My parents were on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1950, long before I was born, so I went about trying to find that show for them, because in those days, there was no TiVo or DVR. So the movie is partly the hunt of the Ed Sullivan Show and giving back to my parents what they had given to me. So that was really a great project for me and we did really well. Then another project that really spoke to my heart is a one-woman show that I wrote called Surfing DNA. That’s about all of the DNA in my blood, which is partly my Chinese-Japanese-Scottish-Australian heritage, and then there’s the Queens girl as well. But it’s also the imprints that are put on us, not only societal, but also from our families, like being born into show biz. Those are the projects that I like, but I also love making people laugh. We have great writers on Sullivan & Son, and they give me a chance to do a lot of fun stuff. And I just have to say this, because she’s also from Jackson Heights, but Lucy Liu, when she first started, I met Lucy because she was my dresser. She was working in the costume department, and we became really close friends because she was from Jackson Heights. She was like, “You’re from Jackson Heights! My parents live there!” and I was like, “My mother lives there!” And she actually stayed at my place when she first got to L.A. There’s something about us Jackson Heights, Queens girls. IQ: So growing up in Queens, how has that affected your career path and the life choices you’ve made after? Do you feel like growing up in Queens helped you get to where you wanted to be? JL: I think that the most important thing is in Queens, you’re right up against everybody, right? Getting on the train, going to work, you’re in it. And you have to somehow get along with everybody. I mean, you don’t have to, but I think there’s a kind of humanity that you have to get beyond what people look like and the color of their skin and all of those things. One of my mentors was Bill Cosby, because I had gotten onto The Cosby Show, and he liked me. He was very kind to me and I learned a lot from him in terms of comedy, as well. And one day I said, “Why me? Why are you talking to me?” And he said, “You can hang with anybody.” And I think that that was true, because I grew up with everybody. Especially when I got to junior high school, it was a big mixed bag. And you get to be able to navigate the world, because that’s real. And that’s what I love the most about Sullivan & Son. We’re not only a mixed-race cast, but we’re mixed in terms of our age ranges, and you don’t see that a lot on TV on one show. And we can make fun of ourselves and the prejudice and all that stuff. It’s always there. But in the end, we all have to get along, we’re all part of this melting pot of this country. And so I think that’s the main thing for me that when I look at growing up in Queens, what that taught me. 22 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 23
TOP 15 MUSICIANS
Many think of New York City as the heart of the music industry. People from all over the globe trek to the Big Apple to play some dive bars, get noticed and make it big. Mostly, people think of Manhattan as the place where musical magic is made, but there is much to be said for music in the outer boroughs, especially here in Queens. Neighborhoods across the borough have birthed some of the best in the business, in genres ranging from show tunes to rap and hip hop. It’s Queens has picked out the top 15 musical artists to come out of Queens — and we bet you’ll be surprised that some of your favorite stars grew up just around the corner.
15. JA RULE
Like a storm, Hollis-native Jeffery “Ja Rule” Atkins broke into the rap scene with his 1999 debut album “Venni Vetti Vecci,” and debut single “Holla Holla,” climbing its way to the number-two spot on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart. And although he collected a long list of awards, including numerous Grammy nominations, the Queens rapper’s eightyear career was cut short following numerous legal issues beginning in 2007 from drug possession to attempted possession of a weapon. The Fast and the Furious movie star has since been released from prison in 2013 after serving two years for tax evasion. Today we can only hope this Queens artist is starting to clean up his act and find his way back into the world of hip hop.
14. DANIEL “DEE” SNIDER Born in Astoria in 1955 to a New York State Trooper and an art teacher, Daniel “Dee” Snider grew up in Baldwin, Long Island before going on to become one of the most influential rockers of the 1970s and 80s. His antics as the Twisted Sister frontman gained him notoriety, but it was his role in pushing back against Tipper Gore and her puerile friends at the Parents Music Resource Center in a court battle to save rock and roll that sealed his fate as a rock legend. 24 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
TOP 15 MUSICIANS
13. PERRY FARRELL
Born Perry Bernstein in Queens, 1959 Farrell may have spent most of his youth in Long Island and Florida, but he took his first shot of tequila in Queens when he was in the third grade while working as a bartender. in his parents’ basement bar. If that’s not about as Queens as it gets, then we don’t know what is. Perry formed Jane’s Addiction in Los Angeles in 1985, and in the 1990s the band became one of the first alternative rock band to break into the mainstream, sparking a movement that defined the decade. In 1991, Jane’s Addiction set another precedent when their first farewell tour became the first Lollapalooza, one of the premiere alt rock festivals for decades.
12. LL COOL J
Hollis native James Todd Smith, or LL Cool J, was discovered creating demo tapes in his grandparents’ home by fellow Queens native Russell Simmons, who helped found the label Def Jam. LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James) went on to have a successful rap and hip-hop career, with smash hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” and a number of popular collaborations with Jennifer Lopez, including “All I Have.” Smith reached the peak of his popularity in the 90s. Throughout his career, he has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning two for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1992 and 1997.
11. JOHN WILLIAMS
John Williams is considered one of the greatest film composers of all time. Hailing from Floral Park, Williams has composed some of the most easily recognizable and popular movie scores, including Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and 21 Grammys. He is also the second most-nominated person for the Academy Awards — with 49 nominations, he only falls behind Walt Disney.
10. 50 CENT
Rapper Curtis Jackson, or 50 Cent, was born in South Jamaica and had a complicated relationship with Queens throughout his youth. He started dealing drugs at the age of 12 and was shot nine times outside of his grandmother’s home in South Jamaica. Afterwards, Jackson wrote the song “Ghetto Qu’ran,” where he mentions a number of old-time Queens drug dealers. He now has a tattoo that reads “Southside” across his back, because, as he said, “I’m a product of that environment.” 50 Cent’s career has been incredibly successful — he has won a number of awards, including a Grammy, and was named Billboard’s number one rap artist of the 2000s. He also founded the record label G-Unit Records, which signed a number of successful rappers. www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 25
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TOP 15 MUSICIANS
9. CYNDI LAUPER
Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper was born in Queens in 1953 and grew up in a Catholic Ozone Park home. She was accepted into a high school for the artistically-gifted, but eventually dropped out and settled for a GED. She ran away from home as a teenager to escape an abusive stepfather and eventually hit pay dirt, with her quirky, colorful fashion sense inspiring the closets of young teens throughout the late 1980s and beyond. Her songs “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” are definitive of a decade and even after she faded from center stage, Lauper has remained a popular American icon.
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, aka Nas, was born to jazz musician Olu Dara and postal service worker Fannie Anne Jones in 1973 in Brooklyn, and as a young child his family relocated to the Queensbridge Houses. Now, with eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and a total of more than 25 million albums sold worldwide, he is arguably one of the most influential hip hop artists of all time. His smooth delivery and intellectual lyrical content have broadened the horizons of hip hop, and he has been an inspiration to young artists around the world. Beyond the stage, Nas has made appearances on the big screen, and his famous feud with Jay Z kept us entertained for almost two years.
7. GENE SIMMONS AND PAUL STANLEY AKA STARCHILD AND DEMON OF KISS
While Peter ‘Catman’ Criss and Paul Daniel ‘Ace’ Frehley grew up in Brooklyn and the Bronx, respectively, two members of the legendary rock band KISS can trace their roots back to Queens. ‘The Demon’ Chaim Witz ‘s - aka Gene Simmons’ - family relocated to Jackson Heights from Israel in 1949 and ‘Starchild’ Stanley Bert Eisen’s - aka Paul Stanley - family moved to Kew Gardens from upper Manhattan in 1960. Forty years ago, KISS made its debut on the rock scene, and even to this day the band’s image and recordings remain an integral influence in the rock scene.
28 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
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TOP 15 MUSICIANS
6. TONY BENNETT
Tony Bennett was not only born and raised in Astoria, but he clearly has a soft spot for his Queens hometown. Bennett founded the renowned Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, sharing his own passion for the arts and culture — he’s also a successful painter — with the Queens community. After fighting in World War II, Bennett broke out as a pop standard, show tunes and jazz singer. Hits like “Rags to Riches” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” have made him a star across generations and all over the world, selling over 50 million records worldwide.
5. NICKI MINAJ
Jamaica, Queens has a well-established rap and hip-hop culture, and female rap icon Nicki Minaj is a perfect product of that. Though she was born in Trinidad and Tobego, Minaj grew up and Jamaica before going on to become “the most influential female rapper of all time,” as stated in the New York Times. Minaj has made her mark on the industry with stellar singles like “Super Bass,” “Starships,” and her recent chart topper “Anaconda.” With over 44 appearances, she is the most-charted female rapper in the history of Billboard Hot 100. Her next album, The Pinkprint, is slated for release on Nov. 24 of this year.
4. SIMON AND GARFUNKEL
When Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first entered the scene, they did so in the company of a cultural revolution. While the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones furthered the evolution of rock music; the softly harmonized duo stayed true to their folk roots as theyd wrote some of the defining music of their generation. From their origins in Kew Gardens to their next six decades of chart-topping music, Simon and Garfunkel have never stopped pushing the folk-music envelope. With borough tributes like the 1972, “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard,” remembering “Rosie, the queen of Corona,” and an ode to the Queensboro Bridge in “The 59th Street Bridge,” they made it known that their home was right here in Queens.
30 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
TOP 15 MUSICIANS
3. LOUIS ARMSTRONG It might not have been until later in his career that jazz trumpet legend Louis Armstrong made his home right here in Corona, Queens, but “Oh, what a wonderful world,” it was when he did. The 1920’s trumpet and cornet player changed the way we listened to music with his deep baritone voice and scatsinging vocal style. Until the end of his career in the 1960’s, his music evolved and influenced generations of popular African American performers. The Grammy Award winner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 to name a few from his long list of honors.
2. RUN DMC
Aside from being named – “Greatest Hip Hop Group of All Time” by MTV.com, the “Greatest Hip Hop Artist” by VH1 and the first rap group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jam Master Jay also put Hollis, Queens on the map with their edgy and innovate style in the mid-1980s. From their self-titled debut in 1984 to classic albums like King of Rock and Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. broke the mold and changed the way rap music is viewed in pop culture.
www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 31
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www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 33
TOP 15 MUSICIANS
1. THE RAMONES
34 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
“Sitting here in Queens, eating refried beans.” The phrase, first prophetically stated on the Ramones’ “Rocket To Russia” album in 1977, is one that could only truly be understood by someone from the borough, and definitely one that could have only been etched into history by these four Forest Hills natives. The Ramones began and ended in a 22-year whirlwind of sex, drugs and everything that represents what it means to be “rock and roll.” Songs like “Rockaway Beach” not only changed the way we listen to music, but it also made it cool to be from Queens. Today, their t-shirts are sported by a youth that may not ever truly understand their significance, however all that really matters is that Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy were there, and they will never be forgotten.
www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 35
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www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 39
Asbestos gave me cancer. What do I do now? Rudolph F.X. Migliore established his law firm in Commack, New York in 1977. Since 1998, he has been advocating for hardworking men and women who, during the course of their careers, were unwittingly exposed to asbestos. Banned from use in construction since 1972, asbestos remains in many commercial and residential structures throughout the United States. The substance was also heavily used by the armed forces during WWII, the Korean War and the conflict in Vietnam, especially on naval vessels. Other professions at high risk for exposure include automotive brake mechanics, boiler mechanics, plumbers, construction workers, power plant employees and airport workers, all of whom regularly operate in areas where asbestos can be found in high concentrations. Unfortunately, for many who are exposed, lung cancer – mesothelioma in particular – is the result. If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from asbestosrelated illnesses, Rudolph Migliore and his team are prepared to fight for your right to compensation. Q: I recently learned that I have lung cancer and think it may be caused by asbestos exposure, but I thought only people with mesothelioma are entitled to compensation. Is that true? A: A lot of people do not realize they have a case, because many believe that only people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma – a very aggressive form of cancer – qualify. That is a common misconception. Another thing I see often is that a lot of people don't realize how the asbestos companies have lied. Manufacturers back in the 1920s knew that asbestos would cause lung cancer, but they kept that
information concealed. They then conspired in the 1940s to convince congress that it was safe. All of this information can be found in the litigation. That is why they are getting hit so hard. Q: I was exposed to asbestos on the job a few years ago and I now have lung cancer, but I've also been a smoker most of my life. Won't my claim get thrown out because of my tobacco use? There are several complex factors involved in determining if asbestos is the cause of your suffering, and smoking history is one of them. Defendants will often say it was the tobacco, not the exposure, but there are some scientific methods to determine if cancer is tobacco or asbestos related. Q: If I do file a claim, how long is it going to take to secure a settlement? A: There are several factors that can complicate the process of securing a settlement, but the average turnaround time is three to four years. If a client is in the later stages of lung cancer, their case can be added to the court's extremis – or expedited – calendar. Those cases move quickly, and they can turn around in as little as a year and a half. Q: How much compensation am I due for my suffering? A: My personal opinion is you cannot qualify or put a value on experiencing lung cancer. Over 3,000 people a week die of lung cancer in the United States. That said, settlements can vary from small amounts into the millions depending on the severity of the disease, 'quality' of exposure, and the number of products and defendants that can be identified during the pre-litigation investigation.
Q: What is The Migliore Method, and how will you use it to manage my case? A: I co-council with a number of very big, powerful law firms but I give the clients my personal attention. I deal with the big law firms on their behalf. If they go straight to the large firms, they very often feel like they're lost in the crowd, rushed along without someone taking time to sit down and explain things. One of my clients had a husband who died of lung cancer. During the course of her case, she received some papers in the mail from the law firm I co-council with, and the firm didn't provide any outreach to ensure she knew how to execute the paperwork. She's an elderly widow, so I took the time to go through the papers with her and make sure everything was filled out properly, smoothing out the bumps for her and taking any worries or anxiety off of her shoulders. That is the Migliorie Method. I became the lawyer for all of New York City's retired firefighters in the 1990s. During one case working with a retiree recently, we discovered that he had been exposed at work. We investigated the case thoroughly, and we were able to come up with a number of defendants. Last year, we were able to establish a very strong settlement. Unfortunately, three weeks ago, I got a message that he had died. At his funeral, I was speaking with his widow, and I knew she was going to be ok. For the most part, firefighters' pension ends when they die, so she would've been in bad shape. As it is, she's going to be very taken care of for the rest of her life. DISCLAIMER: Attorney Advertising, Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Rudolph F.X. Migliore, P.C. works with associated firms to achieve the best results for our clients, cases likely to be referred. Free consultations except matrimonial.
Rudolph F.X. Migliore, P.C. • (631) 543-3663 • MiglioreLaw.com 40 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
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Are You One of the 43 Million Living With Pain? Studies show that
more than 43 million people in the U.S. live with constant pain to one degree or another. If you are one of the 43 million, consult with Pain Management Specialists of New York. They will provide a comprehensive evaluation to help determine the best course of treatment for you. Your doctor will evaluate your health, and make recommendations to eliminate or improve your pain. They specialize in workers compensation and no fault motor vehicle accident cases. With locations in Astoria, Manhattan and the Bronx, Pain Management Specialists of New York offer unrivaled medical services for patients throughout the New York City metro area. Their brand new 4,000 sq. ft facility in Astoria is equipped with state of the art, accredited OR suites. With a focus on outpatient treatments, the staff of Pain Management Specialists of New York is committed to alleviating your pain. Pain Management Specialists of New York and its founder Ari B. Lerner, M.D. specialize in
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nerve stimulation) and biofeedback to manage pain. With education and training from SUNY Downstate, St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital center, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Ari B. Lerner focuses his medical services on pain medicine and specializes in interventional procedures. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology in both Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology. Dr. Lerner was also a recipient of the Award for Academic Excellence in Anesthesiology. For a consultation, call Pain Management Specialists of New York today: Phone:
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Top 5 Unique Wedding Locations By Jess Berry
Having a unique wedding has become an increasingly difficult task in a world dominated by social media, says Kimberly Sevilla, a talented and acclaimed florist who owns the flower shop Red Rose & Lavender in Williamsburg. Sites like Pinterest allow everyone to share cute craft ideas for weddings, or photos of ideal venues and dresses. With everything open to search online, couples struggle to find ways to make their special night, well, special. “I think people are constantly challenged to make their event different and unique,” Sevilla said. “Now we have so much media, people’s lives are always on display. That challenges them to push it even further.” Sevilla is a wedding expert. Her work as a florist, urban gardener and window display designer has been featured in Bride’s Magazine, New York Magazine and Time Out New York. Having done countless weddings all over the city, Sevilla helped It’s Queens in picking out the top five overlooked and unique wedding venues in the borough. “I think Queens is just overlooked by a lot of people,” she said. “There are some really awesome spaces.”
5. Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Corona
Perhaps the most unusual suggestion on Sevilla’s list, the Queens Zoo would certainly make for a whimsical wedding for animal lovers across the borough, or maybe for those who are looking to get a little wild with their wedding plans. “A lot of times, especially millenials who are getting married now, they don’t want to be like everybody else and they want to do something that’s a little different,” Sevilla said. “So a zoo is definitely not a place where people would consider weddings.” That is certainly true, but Sevilla does not think its eccentricity will keep the zoo from being the perfect romantic setting. The Queens Zoo in particular, she said, is charming, with an old-fashioned feel, and a more manageable size than, say, the Bronx Zoo. And, if you are looking to be particularly light-hearted on your big day, Sevilla recommended having your ceremony near the sea lions. “It’s just a pretty spot,” she said. Besides, friends and family will certainly have more fun if they can take a break from dinner and dancing to hang out with your four-legged guests. 44 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
4. Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Avenue, LIC
If you want something a bit more sleek and modern, the Museum of the Moving Image is the perfect space for a couple with out of the box ideas for what they want out of their wedding. “It’s all white walls, white floor,” Sevilla said. “And I’m normally attracted to places where you have to use your skills as a designer to make the magic happen.” Those white surfaces are a big selling point for weddings, the museum’s event planner BG Hacker explained. “The museum is very white; it’s very clean and architectural. It’s really a blank canvas for whatever you want to project onto it,” Hacker said. “Whatever your vision is, you can have it in the museum.” Flexibility and creativity are key at this venue. Wedding parties can use all of the public space and galleries, and if couples feel so inclined, they can use the museum’s numerous screens to project any images they want — from picture slideshows to seating arrangements. In case all of that is not enough, Hacker said, couples can also feel good in knowing that they are supporting a not-for-profit organization through their use of the museum. All of the money that is made through private events goes towards funding public programming at the museum.
3. Queens Museum
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
The Queens Museum just underwent some serious renovations, and the new building is a breathtaking location for a wedding. And, for those history buffs out there, the nearby Unisphere is (literally) a big attraction. “It’s beautiful,” Sevilla said. “It’s very open, there’s a lot of light, and then you’re right by the old World Fair site, so you get all of that too.” Weddings have access to the whole museum, with rooms that each have their own feel. When you first walk into the museum, you’re welcomed into an atrium with galleries encircling it that could be perfect for a ceremony. The Unisphere gallery looks out on the World’s Fair Globe, and floor to ceiling glass gives guests a perfect view of the famous structure. “The space — with the rooms and the ceilings — has to be unmatched in Queens,” said James DellaPace, the founder of the Queens Museum’s exclusive caterer, Amerivents. “This is an extreme experience visually. That is really what they’re going to experience.”
2. The Metropolitan Building
Even more interesting than the Metropolitan Building’s unique space is its unusual history. The owner bought the building for storage in the 80s because she was doing interior designing and decorating for diplomats in the UN. Now, wedding parties can borrow some of that furniture to decorate the renovated warehouse. “It’s really neat,” Sevilla said. “There are old industrial elevators, and there’s one hall that’s just floor to ceiling antique mirrors, all different kinds. So for photo shoots when you’re getting married, it’s gorgeous. It’s like you’re in some crazy old mansion.” Besides weddings, the venue has also hosted shoots and after-parties for shows like Law & Order, Gossip Girl and SNL. “Pretty much you name it and they’ve been here,” said Amanda Bruns, an employee at the venue. At the complete opposite end of the white-walled Museum of the Moving Image, the Metropolitan Building comes with its own character that a couple can work with in creating their own unique celebration. “It’s a really lovely space, but you feel comfortable,” Bruns said. “It has a bit of personality and charm. It comes with inspiration in and of its own, rather than a blank white space.”
4401 11th Street, LIC
Photo: henryshoots.com www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 45
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Top 5 Unique Wedding Locations
1. The Foundry
42-38 9th Street, LIC
Coming in at number one, The Foundry also boasts a fascinating history as an old metal-casting factory. The building was constructed in 1906 and its personality is a huge selling point for interested couples. “It just has really incredible architecture,” Sevilla said. “It’s unlike any other space. It’s like you step back into time, almost.” Gina Riley, who works at The Foundry, emphasized the beauty of the building’s exposed brick and archways. “The Foundry’s history and aesthetic are what give it its edge,” she said. “The brick archways and vaulted, beamed ceilings truly set it apart and highlight the original character and structure of the building.” Besides the striking architecture, The Foundry shares its courtyard with a landscape design company, so the outdoor space is covered in full green ivy for eight months of the year and surrounded by flowering plants. “The atmosphere is adaptable for high end, high production events but also a beautiful setting for a more intimate affair,” Riley said. “The architecture and exposed brick in the main space and lush greenery in the courtyard are features we feel have shaped The Foundry’s unique identity.”
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Top 5 Queens Cafe Study Nooks by Chase Collum
If right now you search for places to study in New York City, you’re likely to find a bunch of ambiguous lists of ideal theoretical study environments including a few museums and libraries along with a handful of trendy Manhattan venues. Here, I want to give you five intimate venues that I’ve found conducive to productive studying in Queens as someone who often finds myself in need of a quiet place to dip into and grind out a think piece. Combining the general knowledge of the Internet with my own visitations, I was able to suss out a few choice locations for study sessions long and short, group and solo. The criteria I used to assemble this list were simple. First, there had to be plenty of room to spread out. Sure, those quaint little tabletops at the stylish local joint around the corner are great for the iPad learner, but us old school, big book-carrying, five ring binderhaving students out here in Queens need our space. Strong wifi signal throughout was also essential. By that, I mean it has to work even when business is good and traffic is heavy. Next, I took into consideration the need for a positive sound environment. Studying with headphones in is a popular method these days, but pumping music directly into your brain to drown out ambient noise is perhaps even more distracting, according to a study completed in 2010 by the Department of Biology & Health at the Manhattan-based Pace University.
Beyond the music, the overall sound environment of each of these locations was taken into account. One of the most popular places to study has long been the local library branch, or maybe a bookstore. One thing many bookstores and libraries have in common is that they have a pleasing soundscape, relatively free of sharp, high-pitched sounds. That is because most of these institutions – at least the ones suited to studying – are fitted with carpeting and filled with shelves lined with sound absorbant books. So for this list, it seems appropriate to consider the soundscape of the study environment. Another often overlooked aesthetic must for a good study space is the lighting. This Goldilocksian element is important to get just right; lights that are too bright (or dim) are an unnecessary detractor considering we’ve had the technology to set lighting with dimmers since 1890 (or more recently since Sears stole the design for a modern dimmer from Eugene Alessio and took it to Texas Instruments to mass produce the product for retail – but that’s a story for a different list). Finally, perhaps the most important criteria of all: The chairs have got to be comfortable. As someone who’s had back problems for nearly a decade I can’t be messing around with metal chairs and unforgiving bench seats, and I don’t think you should have to either. Not with an education at stake. So without further ado, I give the five best cafe study nooks in Queens.
10-93 Jackson Avenue | LIC Our first stop is in the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City, at the 10-93 Jackson Ave. location of Sweetleaf Coffee. For starters, my latte was right on point, and the ham and cheese croissant was everything one might expect. A customer favorite seems to be their Rocket Fuel drink, an iced, cold-brewed coffee drink with chicory, maple syrup and milk. While the cafe is located at the busy intersection of Jackson Avenue and 11th Street on the Queens side of the Pulaski Bridge, the inside of the shop is quiet with a full array of vintage classic vinyl records. The sole table in the seating area is a bit rickety, with chairs fastened to the table’s legs via vintage iron supports, leading to a slight shift every time someone rises or shifts in their seat, but what was at first a bit off-putting took on a gentle rocking nuance as I spent more time in the cafe. Perhaps the highlight of the cafe is its arrangement of leather high and low-backed chairs and a midcentury loveseat, all beige. In the corner sits a classic bust of some philosophy type I’m not familiar with, which adds an air of academia to the otherwise rough and tumble, shabby chic cafe.
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37-18 Northern Boulevard | LIC Despite being located along the ever-busy Long Island City stretch of Northern Boulevard, Coffeed is a fairly quiet space to study where you are unlikely to be bothered by the staff for lingering. There are tons of spaces to sit inside, and a few large tables to spread out on, but the highlight of this seating area is the cushy armchair in the corner next to the giant, fedora-clad teddy bear, who makes an excellent study buddy. The wifi is strong in this one, and the tables in the expansive dining area are large enough to spread out on, even with a small group. The full menu
is fairly extensive for a coffee shop, with several breakfast and lunch options making it a good place to make a habit of visiting. Personally, I can tell you that the Northern Lox Deluxe is to die for. The baristas are skilled at what they do without being jerks about it. Actually, they’re quite nice. What’s more, if you get in good with the Brooklyn Grange upstairs, they might even let you stretch your legs between chapters at their rooftop farm where you can get a bit of wind in your face before tilting down another shot of espresso and getting back to work.
158-14 Northern Boulevard | Murray Hill
If you follow Northern Boulevard all the way to Murray Hill in Eastern Queens, you will come upon our next choice study nook. Caffebene is a multi-national coffee chain, which made me think twice about adding it to our list, but at the 158-14 Northern Blvd. franchise location opened by Paul Shin in 2012, I tucked my reservations into the comfortable corner booth for a while and soon found they had dissipated completely. The real highlight of this cafe is its seating area, featuring the aforementioned booth as well as several comfortable cushioned
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chairs surrounded by smartly stocked wooden bookshelves. The menu is extensive, featuring house-made sandwiches and a full complement of sweets including Belgian waffles and macaroons. If you’re looking for a comfort drink during your winter studies, I recommend the Misugaru Latte. According to Esther Kim, a floor manager at the cafe, it can get pretty crowded on the weekends, but on the weekdays there is plenty of space to post up and study away. In October, Shin plans to open a second location at Union Street near 39th Avenue.
#2 Station Side Cafe 164-05 Depot Road | Auberndale If you find Caffebene is too busy and grandiose for your study tastes, may I recommend you take a short walk to Depot Road where we come upon another worthy study spot in Murray Hill. Even to a first-time visitor like myself, David Lee and Peter Cho were extremely friendly during my visit to the Station Side Cafe. The two have managed the cafe for the past three months, but the location at 16405 Depot Rd. in Flushing’s Murray Hill neighborhood has been open for business for almost four years. In that time, it has become a local favorite. Upsides of the space are its comfortable booths encom-
passed by rustically-stained wooden trellises bedecked with crawling vines, its positive lighting and sound environment, and an abundance of table space. The shop sources its coffee from Lavazza and has a full breakfast and lunch menu to tide you over and keep you caffeinated. As is, Station Side is a worthy study venue, and Lee says the cafe is about to undergo a weeklong renovation in early October, during which they plan to add a beer garden into the back yard. So when you’re done studying, you’ll be able to reward yourself with a beer without having to make another stop on the way home.
#1 Cypress Inn Cafe 1702 Stanhope Street | Ridgewood This south central Queens gem is tucked a few blocks into Ridgewood at 1702 Stanhope St. and is a superior cafe in almost every way that matters. Seating and atmosphere are comfortable by design, lighting is ample but not overpowering, music sits at a decent mid-volume shelf and underneath his tattoo sleeves owner Vinny Signorelli is a good kid – his mother told me so herself when she came in for her daily espresso and cookie at 7:30 p.m. sharp. The thing that stuck out to me the most during my visit – even more than the dioramas, family photographs and antique décor, the well-crafted latte and the delicious quiche – was that when I came in there was a woman studying in the cafe,who had been there for several hours. And it didn’t bother Vinny one bit. The cafe hosts free movie screenings on Wednesday evenings and adds bottomless mimosas to the menu on Sunday to offer a brunchy atmosphere, but during the rest of the week things stay pretty quiet and it becomes what may be the best study cafe in Queens.
Vinny’s mom visits his cafe every evening at 7:30 p.m. sharp for her daily espresso and cookie fix. www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 51
Entertainment Calendar WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22 Scattered Light Opening Celebration A night of magicians, music and activities inspired by the Celebration of Mind festival. Free with NYSCI admission. @ 5 to 8 p.m. | New York Hall of Science, 4701 111th St., Corona. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24 From Spain to New York NYC-based Latin jazz artists perform “Cantos de Ida y Vuelta,” songs that shaped the journeys across foreign lands. $15, $12 members and $10 students. @ 7 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25
OCTOBER 2014: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 Patty Blount Book Signing Patty Blount signs her new young adult novel Some Boys. @ 6 to 8 p.m. | Barnes and Noble, 176-60 Union Tpk., Fresh Meadows. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18 13th Annual Harvest Festival Hosted by the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. @ 11 a.m. | 160th Street between Jamaica and 90th Avenues, Jamaica. Fall Harvest Festival Celebrate the fall harvest with cooking demonstrations, crafts and more. Free. @ 12 to 4 p.m. | King Manor Museum, 15003 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. Center of Attention Visitors are invited for a monthly opportunity to deeply engage with the Museum’s collection through hour-long conversations on single works of art. This month’s work of art will be the sculpture Nameless. Free. @ 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd., LIC. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19 New Amsterdam Presents Sound/Source A daylong exploration of electroacoustic music featuring collaborations between artists as they examine the interplay between human and machine sounds. $20. @ 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. | MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., LIC.
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Halloween Harvest Festival Bring family and friends to this seasonal fall celebration! Costume-making, live music, art workshops, face painting, food stands and more activities are all available. Free. @ 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd., LIC. Dead or Alive Join the fun at NYSCI’s two-day celebration of Halloween that continues through Sunday. Attractions include pumpkin chunking and live bats. Free with paid Museum admission. @ 1 p.m., 3 p.m. | New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Corona. Oye Corona The Queen’s Museum will host its monthly cultural celebration in Corona Plaza featuring a series of free live music concerts to help its visitors relax and connect with each other. Oye Corona is a diverse celebration of art, music and exercise. @ 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. | Queens Museum, Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Flushing. Semiotext[e] Presents The Return of Schizo-Culture For its 40th anniversary, the influential independent press Semiotext[e] presents an afternoon of performances, screenings, music and readings
evocative of the legendary 1975 Schizo-Culture conference. Documents the chaotic creativity of an emerging downtown New York scene. $15. @ 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. | MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., LIC. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26 Spook-tacular Monster Making Make monster puppets with socks, buttons, fabric and household materials for children 18 months and older. $8 per family with NYSCI admission. @ 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St. Corona. *Preregister online at nysci.org/littlemakers College Point Board of Trade Street fair. Free. @ Noon to 6 p.m. | Along College Point Boulevard from 14th Avenue. to 20th Avenue. College Point. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31 Halloween Re-Mixed Celebrate Halloween and All Saints Day with a special all-ages festival. Free. @ 4 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing.
NOVEMBER 2014: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1 Kesivan and the Lights Drummer and composer Kesivan Naidoo performs. Free. RSVP at (www. flushingtownhall.com). @ 7:30 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing. That Kodak Moment Picturing the Fairs in 1939/40 and 1964/65. Includes never before revealed works ranging from professional
photography to the individual fair viewers snapshots running through January 4, 2015. | Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Flushing. Dance Entropy An innovative, Queens based modern dance company. @ 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. | Queens Theater, 14 United Nations Ave. So., Flushing SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2 Queens College Chamber Winds A performance of traditional chamber wind repertory and original twentieth-century works. $5. Free for students and members. @ 2 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 Monthly Jazz Jazz musicians, students, educators and enthusiasts are invited for a jam session every month. $10 and free for performers, members and students. @ 7 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6 Business Card Exchange Maspeth Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange. Bring your Business Cards & Company Give-Aways to share with fellow business people. @ 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Connolly’s Corner, 71-17 Grand Ave, Maspeth FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet Live performance. $15, $12 for members and $10 for students. @ 7:30 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing. Murder by Election A Comedy Murder Mystery. @ 7 p.m. | Riccardo’s 21-01 24th Avenue, Astoria
beverage. @ 8 a.m. to Noon | Martin Luther High School, 6002 Maspeth Avenue, Maspeth Veteran’s Day Parade Honoring local veterans. @ Noon | 80th St & Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11
The Cottage A comedy by Sandy Rustin (Also showing November 2, 14 and 15). @ 8 p.m. | Queens Theater, 14 United Nations Ave So. Flushing
Veteran’s History Collecting Workshop Learn how to preserve the story of the veterans in your family. @ 1 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Downtown Country Breakfast Juice, Buttermilk Pancakes, Sausage & choice of
Remember Me Run Fundraiser run with Visions and Sharing and Caring. $25 and children under 10 are free. @ 10 a.m. | St. Michael’s Cemetery, 7202 Astoria Blvd., Astoria. Annual Trade Show & Luncheon LIC Partnership’s 27th annual trade show and luncheon with more than 140 exhibitors. @ 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Blvd, Long Island City. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Lexington Piano Trio Musica Reginae presents a performance of Beethoven’s Archdule and Rachmaninoff Trios. $22 and $12 for students. @ 7:30 p.m. | Church in the Gardens, 50 Ascan Ave., Forest Hills. Fall Fair All day, featuring vendors galore, books, knick-knacks, raffles & prizes. | Emanuel United Church of Christ, 91st Avenue & Woodhaven Blvd., Woodhaven Tree Lighting Ceremony Family-focused tree lighting. @ 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Queens Center Mall, 90-15 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst Musica Reginae concert Performances by Lexington Piano Trio. Beethoven’s Archduke and Rachmaninoff Trios. @ 7:30 p.m. | Church in the Gardens, 50 Ascan Ave., Forest Hills SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Toys For Tots Delivery Join the East Coast Car Association for their 16th Annual “Police Escorted” Toy Run to St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. Line up @ 9 a.m., Run starts @ 12:30 p.m. | Forest Park Bandshell Parking Lot, Woodhaven FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21
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Maspeth SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6 Wreath Making Workshop Instruction on how to make your own holiday wreaths. @ 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. | Queens County Farm, 73-50 Little neck Parkway, Floral Park SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7
Photos with Santa Come have your picture taken with Santa from today until December 24. From Noon until mall closing. | The Shops @ Atlas Park – Center Green, 8000 Cooper Avenue, Glendale SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22 Tree Lighting Ceremony Live Music, Entertainment, Face Painting, Giveaways & More. @ 6 p.m. | The Shops @ Atlas Park – Center Green, 8000 Cooper Avenue, Glendale. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23 Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra Performances of the works of Saint-Saens, Mozart, Rimsky-
Korsakov and Glazounov. @ 2 p.m. | Forest Hills Jewish Center, 10-06 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14 Kwanzaa Celebration Learn about Kwanzaa with craft-making and live performances. Free. @ 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. | Langston Hughes Community Library, 100-01 Northern Blvd., Corona. Winter Holiday Festival Celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas & Kwanzaa with an art-making workshop and storytelling. @ 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 13735 Northern Blvd., Flushing
MONDAY, DECEMBER 8
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20
Holiday Pops with Boston Pops The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. $20 - $30 @7:30 p.m. | Queens College, Colden Auditorium, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing.
Holidays on Jamaica Avenue Celebrate the season with a gala and toy collection. @ 8 p.m. | Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica.
Pet Photos with Santa Have your furry friend take a picture with Santa. @ 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | The Shops @ Atlas Park – Center Green, 8000 Cooper Ave, Glendale
MONDAY, DECEMBER 22
Holiday Street Enjoy Holiday music (from speakers) and Holiday Lights. Sponsored by the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) daily through January 2015. | Myrtle Avenue from Wyckoff Avenue to Fresh Pond Road.
DECEMBER 2014: MONDAY, DECEMBER 1 Christmas Tree & Poinsetta Sale Popular varieties and sizes of trees, evergreen wreaths, poinsettia, amaryllis, and paperwhites will be for sale for the holidays! Proceeds benefit the Farm Museum. Daily through December 24. | Queens County Farm, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5 Christmas Tree Lighting Annual lighting ceremony. @ 6 p.m. | Maspeth Federal Savings, 5618 69 St.,
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Flushing Historic House Tour Six historic sites in Flushing invite you to celebrate the holiday season and learn about their unique histories. @ 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
Joseph Gagliano. @ 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Gear Art Gallery, 6108 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11 Christmas Carol Queens Theater presents a Special Holiday Event through December 21. | Queens Theater, 14 United Nations Ave. So., Flushing FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12 Third Annual Our Lady of Guadeloupe Art Show Featuring outside artist
Oratorio Society of Queens Performance of Handel’s Messiah Plus sing-along Christmas carols and Hanukkah favorites. $10 to $30. @ 4 p.m. | Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Ave., Bayside. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26 Holiday Open House Tour the Queens Country Farm Museum with art, crafts and mulled cider for the kids. @ Noon to 4 p.m. | Queens Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park. *Ongoing through Dec. 28
SPORTS | CONCERTS | THEATER | LAS VEGAS | BROADWAY
NYDiscounttickets.com Any City. Any Venue. Any Show.
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So what brought you to Queens? One of my best friends from high school was living up here and he was with his friends from college. Their lease was almost up when I was moving here and they were already in Astoria and they loved it. I had a couple other friends here and everyone was just raving about Astoria, so we found a place here and now it’s just me and my friend from high school. By Andrew Shilling
Kat Quinn moved to Astoria three years ago when she was told her music wasn’t country enough for Nashville. After discovering her talent for playing guitar and writing music while attending the University of Notre Dame, she soon began playing for friends. It wasn’t long before the young singer-songwriter took her newfound talent to the stage and the road. Although influenced by country music, her twang didn’t meet the Tennessee standards, forcing Quinn to explore and expand. Since moving to New York, she has released numerous EPs and singles, licensed a song to Happily Ever After - a film by John Klein - been featured in an iPhone app add called VoxBox, and competed in the Battle of the Instant Songwriters on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I recently spoke with Quinn about her new single “Little Roses,” the road to Astoria and her take on the current state of the music industry. 56 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
Is songwriting something you’ve always been interested in? It’s not what I’ve always done, and it wasn’t even really a conscious choice. I started playing guitar in high school, not really very fancy guitar playing. I never took lessons. I just looked up chords to the songs that I liked to sing. It was never in front of anyone. It was just for me and having fun. One day, when I was in college, I was playing and I was kind of upset over a boy situation and the song just kind of fell out. I thought, “that was fun.” So it just went totally out of control from there. What inspired you to play in front of people? It took me a while. It took a lot of encouragement from very close friends, people who could hear me through the walls pretty much. I never planned to make it a career. I wasn’t really comfortable playing in front of anyone, but I showed a song to a couple good friends who liked it. I brought them to my voice teacher and she sent them to a producer and a recording artist in L.A., and she thought there was some potential there. That was really the turning point for
me. It gave me a whole different attitude towards singing and songwriting. What brought you to New York? I wanted to be here for music. I went to Nashville first, right out of college, for about eight months. I thought I was doing more of a country thing, but then when I went there I realized I wasn’t really. I felt like it would probably do better here in New York. I’m from Boston originally and I had friends here already, so it also felt kind of like going home. So it was definitely the right move for me. Did it meet your expectations? I really had no idea what it was going to be like. I had no clue, I just knew it was a good place to go for music. I had never been here before in any sort of musical realm, so I came with no expectations. I found such a great community of people who just love music so much, and they love writing. It was really such a welcoming place that really encourages creativity and originality that I hadn’t really found elsewhere. What kind of influences did you have when you started writing your own music? I was really into country music at the time, which is what brought me to Nashville. I thought I was writing country songs and to the untrained ear it probably sounded like country songs, but then when I went to Nashville they told me it wasn’t really what they did there. Has that changed since you came to New York? Absolutely. As soon as I realized I wasn’t writing country songs, I was able to explore other types of songs to write and experiment with other instruments in other genres. It was kind of like a good realization for me to find out I wasn’t playing country and it was more indie pop. Where do you find yourself playing shows? I usually go to Brooklyn or Manhattan, but I have played in Astoria and I will be playing there again. I also play a lot outside of NYC. How did you find places to play when you first got here? It really started with open mic. I had no music contact at all. All of the friends I made have all been through open mic nights.
How important is it for you to be a part of a music community in New York? I think that’s what is really cool about New York – it’s such a big city that there are all these little communities, otherwise you just get lost. I’ve been a part of a few of them, but they overlap. There are certainly different groups that play with each other and collaborate with each other. I’ve become a part of a few of them and that’s been wonderful. I met a few girls that I play with a lot and we formed a collective, and we all play with each other. So you have yet to release a full-length album. Have you found singles and EPs to be more effective? I’ve done two EPs now. I released my first single and I have another one coming out, and I think it’s easier to really focus and make the songs the way you want them and then release them in a shorter release as opposed to a full album, which can be financially straining. I think it’s also more fun to release what you are working on now. It has also become a new attitude for me, but I’ve been really happy with the way things are.
to get the music out there once you have something you’re proud of. I have to force myself to do it, I’m not a natural social media person. I’m really trying to tweet more, and that reminds me that I should tweet today, I haven’t done that yet. But I am on Instagram and Facebook and I’m really trying to become more active on those. Is it still possible to make a living playing music? There are other avenues to make money, and I have slowly started pushing more towards making more money for music. I am still not at a point where I feel comfortable quitting a day job, just because nothing is really guaranteed. One month you might make a lot and one month it isn’t so. I’m also at a point now where I’m more about gathering fans than thinking about taking a gig because it pays more than another one. But there are definitely ways to make money.
How do you write your songs? It’s different every time for me. There really isn’t a formula – I wish I understood it better, maybe that would make it easier. A lot of times I’ll be messing around on the guitar and a song will just fall out. A lot of times I have a notebook with me and I write things down in that. I wouldn’t really call them poems, but more of a train of thought that I will put with the guitar and form into a song. Or I’ll write a bunch of terrible songs in a row and I’ll take my favorite piece of each of them until I make something I’m proud of. Do you do all of the writing? I do write everything. Most of them are solo writes and I do the occasional co-write. But I always do the lyrics on the co-writes. Do you find it difficult playing the role of marketer for your music? That’s the part that comes least natural for me. Making the music is the fun part and that part is less fun. I think I’m still working on that, on how to market and how www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 57
MR. QUEENSCAPES Photographing Queens, one day at a time. By Chase Collum
Adolfo Vazquez hadn’t seen his father in decades when he moved back to Queens from the West Coast. He had aged dramatically in the meantime, and returned unfit for the rough and tumble travel of the everyday New Yorker. So Adolfo, seeing his father near the end of his life, battling diabetes, cancer and hepatitis, unable to see the beauty of the city for himself, began to document their home borough of Queens. Soon after he started, he came up with the idea to take one picture in every neighborhood in what Melinda Katz is now calling “The World’s Borough” for an Instagram project under the handle @Mr.Queenscapes. “It was just a thing for me to put my kids pictures up at first. They put him in a great mood, and it just went from there,” he said. “Most of my pictures are landscape shots, but I have to say the thing that has been most special for me is the people and the culture, the vast array of different culture from one neighborhood to the next. You can turn the block and you’re in a totally different neighborhood, and I am seeing how strong these communities really are.” It didn’t take long for Adolfo to find out just how many unique neighborhoods there really are in Queens. “There are a lot more than what they list. I have about 120 that I’m looking to hit and I’ve done 70 so far. There are still new neighborhoods that I’m learning about,” he said in an interview 58 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
in August. “I’m learning so many things that you can’t really find anywhere. In terms of exposure [New York] is the biggest city, but there’s so many things in the outer boroughs that people don’t really know about.” For Adolfo, the thing he has seen that sticks out to him is not necessarily what he sees on the surface, but what he learns as he researches the history “that predates what the current culture is.” “It’s really fascinating how groups of people form and how they take a hold of a neighborhood,” he said. His father sadly passed away not long after the photo project was under way, but that didn’t stop Adolfo from continuing on with his vision. So far, he has documented more than 70 neighborhoods, and he’s nowhere near finished. He hopes that his contributions can help enrich the culture of the borough he has called home since birth, and where he and his wife Jessica are raising two boys, Roman and Saul. “I started this because of my father, and that I’m able to share this with my boys is really wonderful to me,” he said. Without further adieu, I give you the photography of Mr. Queenscapes. See if you can guess where these photos were taken, and find out if you were right on ItsQueens.com.
www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 59
60 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
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Queens Blog Watch
Rockawayist rockawayist.com Audience: Resident Interested in the Rockaways Two years ago, Hurricane Sandy tore through the Rockaways and disrupted what was a bit of a resurgence for the peninsula, as new people were beginning to discover the charm of this beachfront community. Visitors were pouring in, restaurants were opening up...heck there was even a floating hotel for a bit. Well, there’s still a lot to see and do, and you can keep tabs on what’s happening here.
Glendale Blog glendaleblog.org Audience: The Glendale Community The Glendale blog is one of many neighborhood blogs updated frequently by the reporters and friends of BQE Media.The focus of the blog is to keep local residents informed on pressing issues and opinions as well as upcoming events. 66 • Fall 2014 www.itsqueens.com
Rego-Forest Preservation Council regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com Audience: Those Interested in Rego Park & Forest Hills Pretty much what its name suggests, this is a blog focused on the historic preservation of Rego Park and Forest Hills, as well as a place to check out what is going on in the neighborhood today.
Project Woodhaven projectwoodhaven.com Audience: People Who Are All About Woodhaven If you want to know what is going on in Woodhaven, then you have to be tuned in to the Project Woodhaven blog. More than just a blog, it’s actually a clearinghouse for all sorts of information about Woodhaven across a variety of platforms. The site will post not only news and events going on the neighborhood, but videos and other media, as well.
Jobs for the Home DIYers handjobsforthehome.com Audience: The DIY crowd Written by AJ Simone, this blog is full of project ideas, with posts dating back as far as December 2010. The aim is to help inspire those people who don’t want to live in a cookie-cutter home.
Amuse Bouche bradleyhawks.com Audience: People with mouths This extremely popular blog is a go-to site for foodies and amateur eaters alike. Author Bradley shares his culinary experience as a New York City diner as well as his beautiful food photography.
Queens MaMa’s queensmamas.com Audience: Mothers (and Fathers, too) For a mother in a borough the size of Queens, finding healthy and wholesome activities to do with the kids can be an overwhelming and duanting task. Enter www.queensmamas.com. This website does all of the work for you, giving you thousands of ideas, activities, and events that will be fun for the whole family. (Yes, even dads, too.) The site was founded by Leni Calas, a Queens native with two daughters. Queens Mama’s receives thousands of visitors per month, and in 2010 won 1st place in the Queens Economic Development Corporation’s StartUP! Business Plan Competition. It’s still going strong.
Neverending Astoria weheartastoria.com Audience: Astoria Lovers If you love Astoria, this blog is for you. Another of BQE Media’s offerings, the blog is updated frequently with newsworthy happenings, upcoming events and neighborhood opinions. www.itsqueens.com Fall 2014 • 67
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