This Issue: Queens Top Five: Scams, Worst Subway Stops
QUEENS THE M AGA ZINE
SPRING 2010 Volume 2.2
Boro Designers on the Runway Blogs of Queens Through the Years
Bayside Focus on
Long Island City
Murphy Spring 2010 $2.95
WPIX News star still calls queens home
Politics: The Growing Asian Conservative Base in Queens
www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 1
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QUEENS THE M AGA ZINE
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Volume 2 Number 2 – Spring 2010 It’s Queens is published quarterly. Postmaster, send all address changes to It’s Queens – PO BOX 780376 – Maspeth, NY 11378. It’s Queens is a consumer magazine covering the people who move and shake Queens, from real estate trends to transportation, politics to entertainment, It’s Queens will bring our readers the ins and outs of the borough. It’s Queens is wholly owned and published by the Queens Ledger/Greenpoint Star Weekly Newspaper Group. We know enough about the borough, covering it week in and week out since 1873. Bulk mail Flushing, NY Permit #652. Copyright ©2008 It’s Queens. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. Any news or feature solicitation for publication in It’s Queens should be done so without expectation of use and without expectation of return to solicitor. Send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org . Subscriptions are $7.95 per year. Inquiries for subscriptions - Mail to PO BOX 780376, Maspeth, NY 11378. (718) 639-7000. www.itsqueens.com
On the Cover: Mary Murphy (Photo by Michael O’Kane)
QUEENS THE M AGA ZINE
FEATURES 13 The Five Worst
Subway Stations in Queens
We rank the five worst subway stops; the folks behind the Twitter account Fake MTA respond.
21 The It’s List: Trendsetters Fifteen Queens residents who are ahead of the curve.
36 Mary Murphy
WPIX’s Murphy discusses her awardwinning career in journalism and growing up in Queens.
49 Sesame Street
A beloved Queens production celebrates 40 years.
Mobile vs. Desktop
19 Business Profile Dent-Care Dental
27 Made in Queens Ice, Jewelry, Pasta & More
42 Focus On...
Long Island City (Courtesy of HOT & COOL Guides)
45 The Culture Spot Five Foodie Hotspots
Queens Fashion Week
59 Queens Politics 60 Bayside Through The Years 66 The Blogs of Queens
www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 5
Publisher’s Note WALTER SANCHEZ
Mary Murphy: Setting Trends In Reporting How I Got You To Pay Attention To This Publisher’s Note & How Media Is Changing For The Better It is truly rare in the industry of news journalism to find a person who is defined in one medium, but has the skills, passion and instincts that would allow them to excel in another. Most know that television news personalities have a face for TV and the verbal ability to relay a story that has mass appeal to viewers. Not very many, however, have the skills to do the reporting it takes to get the story. You wouldn’t characterize newspaper personalities Jimmy Breslin or Pete Hamill as having a face for TV, but their skills and instincts made them two of the most outstanding newspaper reporters this city has ever seen. Well, we found one who transcends both news mediums. Top “Trendsetter” Mary Murphy grew up in Woodside and has never moved out of Queens. In her position at WPIX Channel 11 as an investigative reporter, we see Murphy as one of the few television journalists with a true instinct for the news. Obviously, we are biased on the side of print reporting, but Mary is more like a true newspaper journalist – out in the field, working the beat – yet she has the face for television. Murphy’s story begins on page 36, and it is no surprise, after meeting with her, that she has been recognized by her industry as a leader – winning nearly two dozen Emmy Awards for her top-notch reporting on the World Trade Center attack of 1993 and the Joel Steinberg trial. Check out the TOP 15 TRENDSETTERS starting on page 21. It includes business networkers, a hyper-local online network entrepreneur, a bartender and many more. Steve Madden, the famous shoe designer even snuck onto our list. All are setting trends that are important to either Queens or their industry. Since employees and immediate family of 6 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
our company are excluded from our list, we can’t list our magazine as setting a trend, but we are. Magazines are popping up all over, but none with digital editions like ours. Our magazine is online as well. We just emailed 80,000 copies to movers & shakers in Queens. It opens like a book and the pages come alive. Check out the Hooter’s ad or the Burger King ad - they’re fun and dynamic. Get used to this kind of marketing - it’s here, we just did it before most of the others. (See www.itsqueens.com under “View Digital Edition.”) On that note, people are mobile and news is going mobile. There are more than FOUR BILLION mobile devices in use today. Nine million iPhones alone were sold in the last three months alone. 53 percent of the world’s internet users also use their mobile devices to access the web. And the numbers are growing every day – 72 percent of adults have viewed the internet over a wireless connection and 32 percent of those who have mobile internet access say that it is their primary way of accessing the internet. If that doesn’t tell you that your company might be “behind the curve,” it should. To meet this demand, our company,
which also publishes the Queens Ledger/Brooklyn Star group of weekly community newspapers, recently launched mobile editions, fresh with the ability to send news text alerts and offer mobile coupons to our advertisers. If you have not seen our award-winning newspaper websites check out www.queensledger.com today, or check out our mobile edition at the same web address on any mobile device. One of the most exciting plans we have for 2010 is a new partnership with WPIX Channel 11 News. WPIX News Director Bill Carey (a Maspeth native) is working with our news company to deliver local news to Channel 11 TV and Internet News, while their resources for city, regional and national news will be at our disposal. Who wins? Queens Ledger/Brooklyn Star readers and WPIX TV viewers. Now admit it, the picture above had something to do with you reading this, right?
Queens Buzz Hot & Cold
Citifield When the Mets new ballpark opened last year it was the pride of the borough. Then, over the course of the season, everyone was reminded of one little thing: the Mets play there. This year, there’s no more buzz surrounding Citifield. Let’s hope the Mets make some of their own.
A quick rundown of what Queens residents are talking about, and what they no longer care about. Aqueduct Racetrack After months of indecision, Governor David Paterson finally selected the politically connected American Entertainment Group (AEG) to remake Queens’ troubled racetrack. The choice set off a firestorm that shows no signs of going away. MTA Another round of proposed service cuts has everybody smoked (as in smoking angry). This year’s cherry on top? A transit authority plan to eliminate free Student MetroCards.
Dog Run Plans for a new dog run in Western Queens dominated community discussions for most of last year. No solutions were found, however, and today there’s still no dog run in Juniper Valley Park or anywhere else. Oh well. Few are talking about it’s anymore, anyway. Swine Flu Remember it? Neither do we. The funny thing is, swine flu never went away, though it no longer makes headlines. H1N1 is still around, though, so don’t throw out that hand sanitizer in the bottom of your desk.
Hydrofracking That’s that drilling method energy companies are planning to use to extract natural gas from the upstate Marcellus Shale reserves located next to New York City’s drinking water reservoirs. Environmentalists are worried the drilling could pollute the city’s drinking water system. The issue drew the attention of some community boards in Queens, then faded largely from view. Nobody seems to care. After all, its just our water supply, right?
Term limits Debating them was all the rage last year, after the mayor overturned them so he could stay in power. Very quickly, term limits have become ancient history.
Hiram Monserrate By the time you’re reading this, former State Senator Hiram Monserrate could be current Senator Hiram Monserrate, if he wins his seat back in a March special election. Even if he doesn’t, his misdemeanor assault conviction and subsequent expulsion from the senate is more than enough to secure his place on this list. For some reason people just can’t get enough of this guy, or at least of hearing about all the crazy things he comes up with. Schools If you build it, they will come, and if you close it, they’ll go somewhere else. That seems to be the Department of Education’s mantra as it builds - and threatens to close - schools willy-nilly across the borough. Parents, principals, and politicians are outraged. Stay tuned to find out where your kid will end up this fall. Fire in the Hole An FDNY plan to close a score of firehouses to save money is not exactly popular, to say the least. Everyone from elected officials to rank-and-file firemen are up in arms. This issue is hot, hot, hot. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 7 www.itsqueens.com Winter 2010 7
Led by Android and the iPad, mobile operating systems are migrating beyond phones. But is this a good thing?
By Nigel Chiwaya You’ve probably seen those Windows 7 commercials. You know, the ones where random people take credit for creating Windows? “I’m a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea.” Well in those commercials, each user expresses a grand idea: make computing simpler. And while the commercials themselves might be a bit on the hokey side, the premise actually isn’t a bad one. For all the great strides that Windows, Apple’s Mac OS X and Linux (yes, even Linux) have made over the past decade, using a computer is still a daunting task for many people. For this reason, we’re starting to see operating systems designed for phones, like Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS, ported over to larger devices. The headline-grabbing device of this trend thus far has been Apple’s highly anticipated iPad, a 9.7 inch tablet computer that essentially functions as a big iPhone. It features a similar 8 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
touchscreen interface, complete with rows of app icons; it sports the same iPhone home button, and it even runs the same iPhone apps. While the iPad may get the glory,Android is being ported to even more devices. Since Google’s operating system is open-source (that is, anyone can download it for free), it is being used to power all types of devices, from tablet and laptop computers to microwave ovens (yes, you read that correctly.) If you find yourself wondering why everyone is moving away from traditional computer operating systems, let’s think about
it for a moment. Back in the eighties, computing meant typing a command line on a blank black screen. The commands were usually something cryptic like: ren c:\”Documents and Settings”\”All Users”\Desktop filex. txt filey.txt
Eventually, computer engineers realized in order to reach the mainstream, consumer market, they needed to simplify the way people interacted with computers. From that realization, graphic user interfaces (GUIs) were born. And the most popular GUI? The desktop model. This model, which featured a clean front page (or desktop), with files tucked away in folders, has persisted to this day. And for the most part, it has been successful. The reason it is successful is because it makes sense. Just like in life, files go inside of folders, and folders are on desks.
However, just like in real life, the desktops can get cluttered. How do you find the file you’re looking for when you have a ton of folders, each filled with a ton of files? How do you know what type of file you’re dealing with? Or what program opens it? And what do you do if you don’t have the program needed to open the file? Do you buy it? Where do you buy it from? Mobile operating systems have been pretty successful in dealing with these problems. Instead of focusing on files and folders, they focus on the apps, and on what you want to do. Want to write a letter? Open the notes or
There’s a reason that the iPhone and Android have been successful; they are simple. email app. Want to look at pictures? Open the photos app. Want to play your music? Open the music app. Need an app? Just go to the app store. No files, no folders, just your content. There’s a reason that the iPhone and Android have been successful; they are simple. (There’s even a video circulating the internet of a two-year-old operating an iPhone.) So it makes sense that computer makers are looking at those systems and wondering how they can use them in their products. Heck, they’d be irresponsible not to. And while the idea of taking a phone OS and cramming it into a computer might not be the most elegant solution (ever tried using a touchscreen PC?), many of the smartphone concepts (such as app stores, notifications, and a focus on apps and content, not files and folders) will probably start making their way to our desktops and laptops in the very near future. So take a bow. Whether you’re a Mac or a PC, the future of computing was your idea.
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QUEENS Photos by Michelle Kawka
Faces from around the borough
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’ Q V E E N S
Worst Subway Stations
We see something, so we’re saying something
t’s hard to blame straphangers who hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The MTA scares the bejesus out of them each year with proposed fare hikes and service cuts. And given the MTA’s ongoing financial
By Daniel Bush problems (read: the transit authority is broke and in debt), it’s fair to say mass transit users can expect unpleasant surprises for years to come. To be fair there are some bright spots, if you look hard enough. Jay Walder, the MTA’s new chairman, is committed to bringing the authority into the 21st century with a host of high-tech improvements. That’s not the point of this article, however. This is Queens, after all; here, we have to see it to be-
lieve it. So until then, let’s celebrate the worst of the worst - five subway stations that get top honors for being terrible. Our choices are either dirty, derelict or desolate, or, in some cases, all of the above. Enjoy. And so our list isn’t so one-sided and negative, we reached out to the folks behind the Twitter account Fake MTA (www.twitter.com/fakemta) for a rebuttal to our explanations. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 13
What a weird station. Sure, its a hub, we’ll grant that. The stop serves the R and V lines (the G stopped running there a long time ago), and connects riders to several Queens Boulevard buses. For that reason alone, people have to use it. Otherwise, commuters would avoid it like the plague. There’s just too much underground real estate to deal with. After emerging from the train and climbing a set of stairs, you then have to navigate a long, caged-off passageway that could pass for some futuristic vision of hell, or at least prison. The train platforms themselves suffer from chronically overloaded garbage cans, missing train route signs and more. Getting off here actually makes one look forward to riding the bus. Imagine that.
First off, let’s get one thing straight: We don’t give a fig about Newtown. Secondly, that “caged-off passageway” you mention is a former hog chute, remaining from the days when Queens residents herded their swine to work (ca.1989). We thought commuters would appreciate the nod to the borough’s rustic past, but it appears you’re too “pig-headed,” if you will. Finally, hell has no past or future; it is eternal and unchanging.
This is one long and lonely outdoor subway station. Its paint-chipped walls are covered in graffiti. Rain and snow accumulate on the platform in foul weather. And to make things even worse, the station provides riders with a view of the nearby Aqueduct Racetrack- reminding them that while they spend the day at work, others are whiling the hours away gambling at the track. For some, like the Ozone Park straphangers who rely on the long and crowded A train for their commute into Manhattan, life just isn’t fair.
Please direct all your complaints regarding the condition of the Aqueduct station to its new owner and operator, Mohegan Sun.
The same scene plays out each year: politicians gather somewhere along Woodhaven Boulevard to demand that the MTA repaint the elevated J/Z train. And each year, at least in recent memory, the MTA ignores them. As a result, the elevated train line in that part of Queens continues looking terrible. The Woodhaven Boulevard station is a prime example. At least the eyesore station marks the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevards. Beyond that meager compliment, it’s all downhill from there. The whole place needs a serious paint job, and we’re not just talking about covering over all the graffiti. You’re just making up stations now. We’ll get right on that paint job, as soon as we’re done fixing the peppermint-bark shingles and caramel siding at East Lollipop Junction. 14 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
For starters, this sprawling station needs a good cleaning. Between the flaking paint and garbage, a cleaning crew could really have a field day. Then there’s the fact that the station is confusing, with two entrances, a super long platform and many tracks. The station is located near several high schools, which means that during early morning and afternoon hours it’s packed with crowds of shrieking teenagers. The station has also been the scene of several slashings. And did we mention that (at least for anyone who doesn’t live there) the station is in the middle of nowhere? One of the eastern most stops in Queens, once you get there, you’ll want to leave just as quickly. If by “slashings” you mean SLASHING OUR PRICES. Find all-inclusive Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer vacations from $699! Includes: airfare, All meals, Drinks (with or without little umbrellas), All tips and gratuities, entertainment, activities like non-motorized water sports, bum fights, vista views and slashings.
21st Street/Van Alst
This stop is tough to find; even many Long Island City residents don’t seem to know where it is. Once you get inside, you kind of see why. Half of the station is gated off for no apparent reason. The station is drafty and empty and there are puddles everywhere. There is a station attendant in a booth, but it looks like bad things could go down at night anyway and remain undetected until the next morning, when it’s far too late. So if you need to use this stop, proceed with caution. Or, cross your fingers when getting off the train, then make a mad dash for the street. Originally settled by the Dutch in 1682, 21st Street/Van Alst is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai created by the early Rapanui people. It is a World Heritage Site with much of the station protected within the Rapa Nui National Park. In recent times the station has been used as a cautionary tale for the cultural and environmental dangers brought upon by the overexploitation of resources, however this theory is now being contested by ethnographers and archaeologists alike who argue that the introduction of diseases carried by European colonizers and slave raiding, which devastated the ridership in the 1800s, had a much greater social impact than environmental decline and that introduced animals, first rats and then sheep, were greatly responsible ...
We asked for your opinions, and you responded @lorenita327: yes Forest Hills station smells like poop constantly and the E train is always dirty, like its never been cleaned (cont’d) the floors either have some kind of drink that sum1 just spilled or they are sticky from dried up drinks etc. Seats..sometimes have food on them so you really need to look before you sit etc.. even the new E trains r already gross :( @arkitrave: I’m sure you have 21st/Van Alst coming in frequently, but add my vote. It might be among the worst in the entire system.
@tragicarpetride: 21st/Van Alst (G), maybe Q’boro Plaza (N/W/7) for the screeching 7 train coming around the corner.
@madlizard: Beach 105 Street is a nightmare of a station.
gjacovazzoftw: Anything in the beginning of the G is pretty bad. Otherwise the really bad stations coming to mind are in BK and Manhattan.Yet I’m gonna nominate Queensboro Plaza anyway because the N NEVER COMES and in the winter good luck if you’re not an eskimo www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 15
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Discounts (Family Features) The average wedding in America costs around $29,000, according to The Wedding Report, Inc., a wedding industry research company. Not surprisingly, couples are looking for ways to save money on their special day. Here are some ideas to help you have a wonderful wedding on a budget. The Date. Having a wedding on off-peak months and days can be a bargain. November through April are slower months for weddings, so many halls, caterers and other service providers give discounts because they have fewer bookings. Some will also have discounts for weddings held on any day other than Saturday. The Venue. If you know anyone with a beautiful home or a large garden, consider having the wedding there. Be sure to factor in the cost of renting tables and chairs. Holding the reception at a private place lets you buy your own alcohol and hire your own bartenders, both of which can save you money. Another option is to negotiate a package deal on an allinclusive venue such as a hotel. The wedding and reception are all in one place, and out of town guests won’t have far to go when the party’s over. (Negotiate a good deal on a block of rooms for guests.) Invitations. Keep them simple. High-end paper, custom-colored inks, decorative linings and multiple enclosures all cost more. Do online research to find the best deal - or print them yourself. You can find plenty of affordable options at craft, hobby or office supply stores. To keep postage costs down, don’t use oversized or heavy paper. The Dress. It’s possible to save big on your dress by choosing poly satin instead of silk fabric. Another option is to buy a discontinued design, rather than the latest one. These are usually less expensive and can be found at smaller dress shops or consignment shops. Flowers. Do you really need fresh flowers blanketing everything? Many couples opt for fresh flowers for the bridal party and silk arrangements as decoration for the ceremony and re-
Brides on a Budget How to Have a Fabulous Wedding for Less
ception. Look into candles, ribbons, shells and decorative stones as alternatives. Food. Save serious money by planning the reception for a time when guests will not need a full, seated meal. If your ceremony is between one and three in the afternoon, you can have a tea reception. Serve tea, finger sandwiches, scones and mini pastries. For a reception starting at four or five p.m., have a cocktail reception. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres are all you need. Make it clear on your invitation - “Tea (or cocktail) reception to follow.” Decorations and Favors. Take
inventory of what you already have - and what friends and family have. Borrowing is cheaper than buying or renting, so ask around. Do-it-yourself favors are a great way to personalize your wedding for less. If you do need to buy supplies in large quantities, don’t be afraid to talk to the store manager about a bulk discount. You can have a fabulous wedding for less with some planning and elbow grease. But the best advice for saving money is to make a budget and stick to it. You’ll be tempted to upgrade just a little here and there - but pretty soon your bargain wedding is no bargain at all. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 17
Queens Top 5 SCAMS
Nobody likes to get scammed, but it happens, and Queens has its fair share of them. Sure, some are a little more serious than others, but they’re all effectively scams, and here’s the top 5 to watch out for.
5. Only at the Queens Center Mall does 20 minutes equal one day If you park in the Queens Center Mall parking garage during the holidays, you might have noticed it’s open past midnight. If you make the mistake of pulling up to the toll booth (which can sometimes take an hour) after midnight, you are charged for a 24-hour day, even if you arrived just 20 minutes earlier. (Honorable mention goes to the scam where Mall Parking employees put “No Parking on Sundays” signs over meters so you have to pull into their lot.)
4. Regal Movies – Where a combo might not be a combo after all. Go to the concession stand at Kaufman Astoria Theatre and get some popcorn and a coke, and the person behind the counter will ask you if you want to make it a “combo.” Well, most of us would think there might be a 20 or 30 cent break if you get the combo, which includes popcorn, a drink, and some candy. Not so, Captain Obvious. Your $6 popcorn, $5.50 coke, and $3.50 candy will cost you $15 whether you ask for a combo or not.
3. Do not press 90# for anyone If you receive a telephone call from an individual identifying himself as a phone company service technician conducting a test or from someone doing a survey, be careful. During the call he or she might ask you to touch nine (9), zero (0), and the pound sign (#), to complete the survey or test. By pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which enables them to place long distance calls billed to your home phone number. Also, don’t dial area code 809, 284 or 876. Area code 809 is the Dominican Republic, and our government will not get involved with helping you fight the charges the $2,000 per minute charges! The scam is that someone calls you and tells you to call back this 809 area code number to win a prize. They keep you on the phone with a recorded message for one minute and you are charged $2,000.
2. Crosswalk push button at Queens Boulevard & 63rd Drive in Forest Hills Think when you push the button to cross Queens Boulevard it will make the light turn green faster? Think again. It is like the sugar pill they gave you at the insane asylum instead of medicine. It’s all in your head, and we bet that most of the crosswalk push buttons throughout the borough don’t actually do anything. (Note: The cross button to help you on Woodhaven Boulevard at the entrance to the westbound LIE does in fact work. How about that!)
1. The borough president calls it churning, we call it “real-aswitch” Often wonder why, after that one-family house on your block is sold, there are more people coming in and out of it every day than it looks like it could reasonably hold? Well, unscrupulous real estate brokers put together three families, who all put up some money as for a down payment to get a mortgage. One family officially gets the mortgage, and the financial institution giving the mortgage really doesn’t care because it will sell the mortgage anyway. The families actually buy the house with the idea that the three families chip in equally for the monthly mortgage and taxes. The problem lies when
one of the families is able to afford to go out on their own, and the other two can’t afford to pay the mortgage. Well, that’s when the same real estate broker steps in to save the day (and get a nice commission to boot). They have another set of three families ready to buy the house again. It is rampant in one-family home neighborhoods like Maspeth and Richmond Hill, as well as more dense neighborhoods like Corona and Woodhaven. It destroys the quality of life on the block, adds to parking and public service shortages, creates crowding in local schools, and brings with it the need for more police.
18 Spring Spring2010 2010 www.itsqueens.com www.itsqueens.com 18
Queens Business Profile
Keeping Sunnyside Smiles Bright
By Matthew Bultman
One doesn’t have to search very far to find a dentist in Queens - a simple Internet search reveals 29 dentists in the neighborhood of Sunnyside alone. Dr. Christopher Kitson knew the challenges of operating in a city with such a high volume of competition when he opened the Dent-Care Dental office on Queens Boulevard nearly three years ago. Kitson and his partner, Dr. Arthur Volker, have managed to set themselves apart from the competition with a reputation for staying ahead of the technological curve, while providing patients with top-of-the-line dental care. For Volker, a 2003 graduate of Columbia, the key is the amount of training that both he and his partner engage in, even today. Both travel to various “study groups” and seminars around the country, becoming educated on the most up to date techniques and procedures. “This is one of the reasons I chose to work in this office with Dr. Kitson,” Volker said in an interview with It’s Queens. “We have as much technology as any office in the area, and it is the most advanced.” Everything in the Dent-Care office is digital, from the patient records to the X-rays. This allows for a safer, more comfortable experience for the patients. Volker said that Dr. Kitson built the office with the future in mind and a definite view of what he wanted. Combining the most up-to-date technology with a clean, comfortable environment, the pair has received positive reviews from their customer base. But Volker said the highest compliment someone can give the
Dr. Arthur R. Volker and Dr. Christopher P. Kitson of Dent-Care Dental, in Sunnyside Queens pair is that of a referral. than once the pair has helped to repair Kitson, who has degrees from both the smile of children or adults who Liverpool University and New York would not otherwise be able to afford University, has recently opened a such work. second office on Northern Boulevard “The most rewarding thing about in Little Neck. While joining Kitson at this job without a doubt is changing the new location may be a possibility patients’ lives and smiles,” Volker said. in the future, for now Volker is “Sometimes you transform a smile content working in the area he grew and you get a completely different up in. A native of Woodside, Volker person. It sounds cheesy, but we try to called working in the Sunnyside replicate nature and that’s why I love neighborhood a “bit of a homecoming” what I do.” after working in various neighborhoods around Queens and Manhattan. Dent-Care Dental In an effort to give back to the 47-01 Queens Boulevard, Suite 407 community they serve, Volker and Sunnyside Kitson have done a variety of pro (718) 937-6750 bono and charity work along with www.dentcaredentaloffice.com sponsoring a youth soccer team. More www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 19
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20 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
The It’s List
14. Christian Stathis
15. Maria “Toofly” Castillo
When most people think of graffiti they think of the annoying eyesores that cover buildings throughout Queens. Growing up in the borough, Maria Castillo saw the same graffiti, but instead used it as inspiration to launch her independent collection complete with t-shirts, designer toys, art prints, jewelry, and stationery. Using the influence of the ‘90s street graffiti movement, Castillo has since co-founded a first of its kind female art center. There, in an effort to inspire young women, she hosts visual art exhibitions along with mentorship art programs. Ever present in the hip-hop community and drawing upon what she refers to as “raw feelings,” Toofly’s work has appeared in various magazines and videos around the country.
When you think of hot surfing destinations, places like California, Hawaii, or even Australia spring to mind, but you probably don’t immediately think of Queens. But you should – the surfing culture in the Rockaways grows each year, from a handful of forward-thinking individuals to an increasing legion of surfers of all skill levels heading to the Queens shoreline to catch some waves. That’s due in large part to the passion of Christian Stathis, who along with his father runs Boarders Surf Shop. Boarders is an authentic taste of the New York surf scene, a welcoming and friendly place where beginners rub elbows with veteran surfers. If you are looking to join the growing trend that is surfing the Rockaways, you need to start by dropping into Boarders and picking Christian’s brain.
www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 21
13. Tim Houston
In this day and age business is who you know, and how you connect with them. Meet Tim Houston, a networker extraordinaire and man of many talents. They include, among others, being an impresario, a coach, an author, a speaker and a TV show host, and did we mention he’s also been to 35 U.S. states and 16 countries? He also serves as Business Networking International’s (BNI) Outer Borough director, where he presides over a growing social networking chapter trend. Queens alone now has a half-dozen chapters, which are referral-based marketing “clubs” that meet weekly at 7a.m. “Only the serious can do it – but that’s who we want,” he says. BNI is the world’s largest business networking and referral organization.
12. Qristyl Frazier
Are you a woman who’s not a size two or four? Well Qristyl has you covered. While most of America is focused on losing weight, designer Qristyl Frazier, who was recently featured in Queens Fashion Week, helped ladies embrace being plussized, creating an entire line of fashion for women sizes 12-24. Frazier, who has worked with the likes of Janet Jackson and Queen Latifah, has created a high-end line of plus-size fashion, focusing on what she calls “feminine dress with a lot of sex appeal.” Women across America are gravitating towards this trendy designer who has separated herself from the pack during her more than 15 years in the business.
11. Jonathan Jorge
The increasingly popular Jonathan Jorge, aka DJ Mustachio, has been spinning in Astoria since 2008. His recent ventures include Salsa Night at Bungalo Restaurant on Broadway and Reggae Night at the former Indigo Restaurant, now the Astoria Brew House, on 31st Street. Reggae Night is no more, for now, but Salsa Night continues every Wednesday and is building an enthusiastic following. Let’s dub Jorge “the cerebral DJ,” as he’s on a mission to expose club and lounge-goers to niche genres and to “the energy behind the music.” Don’t be surprised if he gets into a passionate conversation with you at the DJ booth, on, oh, the genesis of modern Latin music or how socio-economic factors and a vibrant street art scene fomented hip-hop. But it’s not all talk. Salsa Night at Bungalo draws a devoted crowd who come for the free Salsa lesson and a night of exhilarating dancing. Jorge is one to watch.
10. Steve Madden
He’s been called the most promising footwear designer in the United States. From platforms to pumps, worldrenowned shoe designer and Queens native Steve Madden has been ahead of the curve, setting the pace for the fashion industry. Since he hit the fashion scene almost 20 years ago, Madden has brought a unique perspective, incorporating a global influence into his work that allows him to stay a step ahead of the competition. Steve Madden Inc., still headquartered in Queens, will look to continue its success as last year their unique shoe collection brought in more than a half-billion dollars in sales.
22 Winter 2010 www.itsqueens.com
9. Eric Ulrich
Most 24-year-olds are more worried about their team winning a Super Bowl than they are their party winning the majority in Congress. Eric Ulrich is the exception to the rule. The youngest member of the New York City Council made headlines in February when he was elected to represent the 32nd District in South Queens and serve as the minority whip of the Republican delegation. At an age when most young men are figuring out what they want do with their lives, Ulrich has already established himself as serious politician, setting the standard for future generations of young Americans.
FROM DEXTER COURT TO 100th STREET SHOP WOODHAVEN! ON WOODHAVEN’S JAMAICA AVENUE FROM DEXTER COURT TO 100TH ST 2 HOUR PARKING FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE “CLEAN, SAFE, EXTRA SECURITY, SPECIALIZED ‘SMALL TOWN’ SHOPPING” Located exit 17 on the Belt Parkway, Cross Bay Blvd, to Woodhaven Blvd. Also by “J” Train and Jamaica Avenue Buses Most Stores Open late on Friday & Saturday, Also Some Open on Sunday BANK Queens County....... 80-35 Savings Bank ........ 93-22 Chase ................... 84-01a Community Federal Savings Bank ........ 89-07 Washington Mutual ................................ 90-14 BAKERY Pan Ugo Bakery ... 84-42 La Casa del Pandebono ............................... 90-12 Paneorama ............ 95-20 BEER & SODA DISTRIBUTOR Discount Beer & Soda ................................ 93-25 BUTCHER - MARKET La Palma Meat Market ................................84-25 CARPETING F&J Carpeting....…89-18 CELLULAR & PHONE RELATED STORES Universal Multi-Services Inc........................... 76-08 Verizon Wireless.... 80-05 A-One Electronic Cellular Phone & Jewelry ... 85-07 T-Mobile ................ 90-07 Sprint PCS ............. 90-24 Radio Shack ...........92-11 CPR Wireless ........ 93-29 Cellular Explosion 95-07 CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS
Woodhaven/Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance............. 78-15 WBID/Greater Woodhaven Development Corp ..............................84-01b Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association .............................. 84-20b CLOTHING - ATHLETIC Sports Lane .......... 85-15 Pro Trend Sneaker Store ............................... 92-13 LADIES’ APPAREL Mary’s Fashion Boutique ................................ 79-10 Rainbow Shop ....... 85-12 Today’s Girl ........... 85-13 Baby Blue Ladies... 91-17 Maragarita’s Outlet ............................... 95-07 MEN’S Valerie’s Men & Women’s ............ 80-17 Exclusive ............... 84-26 R.S. Army/Navy .... 91-13 CONFECTIONERY Schmidt’s Candy .. 94-15 CRAFT STORE Smiley Yarn .......... 92-06 FLORIST Park Place Florist ...87-14 FOOT CARE Podiatry ................ 86-12
Podiatrist Doctor .. 87-24 Woodhaven Footcare..................95-11 FURNITURE J&L Furniture……78-19 Iveria Furniture…..84-23 ICE CREAM Baskin Robbins ......84-13 Carvel .....................88-22 Baskin Robbins ..... 92-17 INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES LaBella Investigations .................................84-01 OPTICAL Woodhaven Optical ............................... 89-21 Evan David Optician ............................... 90-08 Price Optical .......... 93-01 LIQUOR STORES Rich Haven Liquors ............................... 85-11 Pina Liquors .......... 89-21 Deegan’s Wine & Liquors ............................... 95-19 MARKET C-Town ................. 74-39 Green Open Market ............................... 77-20 Sam’s Deli............. 80-01 Scaturro’s ............. 84-39 Harry’s Grocery Store ...............................86-06 Jamaica Gourmet Deli ….............................89-02 Jea & Son……....... 92-05
Minimarket ............ 95-13 C-Town Bravo ....... 98-02 HEALTH Health Store Vitamins ............................... 84-09 INSURANCE State Farm Insurance ............................... 79-22 Allstate .................. 84-15 Ohlert & Ruggiere 89-11 JEWELRY Prime ..................... 91-04 OFFICE SUPPLIES GJ Ofﬁce Supplies 80-13 PARTY STORE Paola’s Party Land 89-06 PHARMACY Health Max ............ 80-09 Duane Reade ......... 80-30 Woodhaven Pharmacy .................................86-22 Rite Aid ..................89-10 Medex Pharmacy .. 96-02 PHOTOGRAPHY/ FRAMES Woodrich Glass & Mirror .................................86-11 Woodhaven Gallery 87-01 SHOES Payless Shoe Store 89-22 Orthopedic Shoe Store .................................90-03 PIZZERIAS Lane Pizzeria ......... 75-19 Domino’s Pizza ..... 78-02 A Taste of Italy ...... 84-07 Sal’s Pizzeria ......... 85-07
DeLeo’s Pizzeria ... 90-10 Carlos Pizzeria .......92-15 Jeebo’s Pizza and Pasta……..…...95-08 POLISH Polish Deli Hetman’s ............................... 84-24 PRINTING Beat the Clock ........97-13 RESTAURANTS May May Kitchen (Chinese Food) ...... 74-22 Fried Chicken Restaurant ................................ 74-38 King Wok Chinese Food ......... 79-09 Shanghai Kitchen ...80-11 Subway .................. 80-28 Frank’s ................... 80-29 Fresco Tortillas ...... 84-17 Palace Fried Chicken...................84-50 Japanese/Sushi ...... 85-18 The New Pops ........85-22 Thai Restaurant ......86-05 Kentucky Fried Chicken ................................ 87-17 Ho Wan Take-Out .. 88-22 Caridad Restaurant 90-19 McDonald’s ........... 91-01 Avenue Diner (Formerly Forest View Restaurant) ............................... 91-06 Carnival House (Chinese) ................................ 92-09 Dunkin’ Donuts ..... 92-17 ................................ 84-13
LET WOODHAVEN’S STORE KEEPERS PERSONALLY ASSIST YOU!
Located exit 17 on the Belt Parkway, Cross Bay Blvd. to Woodhaven Blvd. Also by “J” Train and Jamaica Ave. Buses Most Stores Open late on Friday & Saturday. Also Some Open on Sunday
Popeye’s Chicken .. 92-20 Manor German Deli ............................... 94-12 Mama Meena’s – Filipino…….......….94-20 Dumpling House ... 95-12 Cheung King ......... 97-17 El Anzualo ............. 98-01 UPHOLSTERY Polo’s Upholstery .. 77-09 Imperial Upholstering ..... ................................ 86-08 VARIETY Melanie’s Gift Shop .................................79-17 Gift Shop ............... 79-16 Liberty ................... 80-16 Dee ‘n Dee ............ 80-19 GEM ...................... 84-33 Hallmark Cards ..... 86-03 Discount Express ....91-04 Priceless ................ 91-07 VIDEO STORE Tyler’s Video ......... 79-24 Marquee Video ...... 85-08
AND MANY MORE!
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25 BLOCKS OF “SMALL TOWN” SHOPPING 718 805 0760 718 805 0202 CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED AT MOST WOODHAVEN STORES
8. Guillermo Lucerofabbi and Canalp Caner
Astoria is an area known for its ethnically diverse culture and food selection, but one restaurant has combined food options from around the world and put them under one roof. Tired of having to visit one restaurant after another, co-owners Guillermo Lucerofabbi (“Willie”) and Canalp Caner (“John”) decided to create Mundo’s Restaurant and Café, where they combined their favorite dishes from Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, giving guests a wide variety of choices. Decorating the restaurant themselves, Willie and John have created a place they say has the feel of visiting a friend’s apartment to enjoy a meal, complete with Turkish tablecloths, world music, and paintings created by local artists.
7. Kristie Foster
Just living in Astoria isn’t fashionable enough- you have to look good there, too. For many trendsters, that means shopping at KrisTEES, the popular women’s boutique (24-01 23rd Avenue) opened by fashion industry veteran and Astoria resident Kristie Foster. Foster worked for some of the industry’s biggest names- Calvin Klein Jeans and Victoria’s Secret among them- before venturing out on her own. She said she decided to open a boutique after she moved to Astoria and realized the neighborhood needed a classy women’s clothing store. The design-driven boutique offers a variety of styles sought after by the neighborhood’s fashion set. To discover true Astoria style, start with KrisTEES.
5. Giuseppe Gonzalez
Dutch Kills barkeep and “Mixologist” Giuseppe Gonzalez has managed to add a little flavor to the already crowded New York nightlife scene. Featured in a number of recipe guides and drink cookbooks, Gonzalez has become regarded as an expert drink maker and one of the most respected bartenders in a city known for it’s nightlife. Voted the best speakeasy in New York City, The Dutch Kills in Long Island City is an 1890’s saloon that comes with a complete 19th century feel. On any given night you will find Gonzalez - dressed in his traditional 1800’s outfit complete with trousers, vests, button-down shirts, and suspenders - at the center of the action in one of New York’s most popular hangouts. 24 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
6. Krista DeJoseph
How many people would love to roll out of bed, stay home doing something they love, and still be able to pay the bills? For jewelry designer Krista DeJoseph, whose studio is based out of her apartment in Astoria, that’s a regular day; she spends most of her time hammering metal into beautiful pieces that she’s proud of. Ultimately she wants to return to the non-profit world and put her master’s degree in public administration to use, but meanwhile she’s supporting the cause of female empowerment by donating proceeds from sales to her favorite nonprofit organizations serving women. With a tagline like “Bold jewelry for fearless women,” DeJoseph proves that she’s a force to be reckoned with. (For more on DeJoseph, see “Made in Queens” beginning on page 27.)
4. Salvatore LaRussa
Manhattan and Brooklyn are boroughs notorious for their dance and music scenes. Salvatore Larussa is looking to add Queens to that list. The Ridgewood native opened a dance studio in Middle Village last fall in hopes of attracting talented artists to the Queens area. LaRussa’s studio is one of a kind, offering dance classes, workshops, and demonstrations for all types of students. Using innovative movements and instruction, LaRussa brings a unique perspective to the various forms of modern dance. His classes have gained immediate popularity along with the support of the local community.
3. Lidia Bastianich
Lidia Bastianich is changing the way Americans look at Italian cuisine in more ways than one. Thanks to her award-winning cooking shows and various books, the Douglaston resident has been a leader in the industry, changing people’s perceptions of Italian cuisine as well as the way they prepare it. “There’s also a philosophy of cooking I was raised on: use as much of your ingredients as you can,” Bastianich has been quoted as saying. “Everybody wants a chicken breast, but what happens to the rest of the chicken? Use it.” Her ideas have influenced chefs around the country who are looking to add some authentic Italian flavor to their menus.
2. Ran Craycraft
Have you ever wanted an easier way to meet people in your neighborhood or see what’s happening this weekend? So did Ran Craycraft. As the creator of Why Leave Astoria?!, Craycraft has introduced a unique way to interact with your neighbors. The hyper-local social networking site, similar to Facebook, provides members with information and events in the Astoria neighborhood, while allowing them to interact with each other. WLA?! has grown quickly in popularity and has over 3,000 members, setting the standard for similar sites which are sure to pop up in the near future.
1. Mary Murphy You’ve probably seen her face on television, but there’s more to Mary Murphy of Channel 11 news than meets the eye. Over the years she’s reported on huge stories like the first World Trade Center bombing and the Joel Steinberg trial, yet despite being the recipient of over a dozen Emmy awards, the Queens native is extremely down-to-earth. An annual participant in the Inner Circle charity show, which spoofs headline-making politicians and celebrities, she’s played the roles of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Beyonce. (For more on Mary Murphy, see our feature story beginning on page 38) www.itsqueens.com Spring Spring 2010 2010 25 25 www.itsqueens.com
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Made In Queens
Icebreakers Natuzzi Brothers Ice Co. It’s all in the ice, people. You may not know it, but making ice is a master craft and nobody does it better in Queens than Natuzzi Brothers in Springfield Gardens. The company has been run by the same family for the past four generations, which is to say they know their ice. And there’s more to frozen water than meets the eye. Just consider Natuzzi’s long and varied product list. The company offers three varieties of dry ice in 50-pound blocks, ice pellets or ice slabs and several kinds of wet ice sold in 40-pound bulk bags, smaller bundle bags, in crushed form, and carving block form. The company sells its ice to beverage centers, in-flight caterers, pharmaceutical researchers, blood and plasma services, and everyone in between. The ice company has also found a home at the trendsetting Dutch Kills Bar in Long Island City, which
serves a stable of $10 specialty drinks. If they’re served on the rocks, those rocks come from Natuzzi, which makes ice in different shapes and sizes to go with different drinks at the popular speakeasy-style hangout. So ice can be hip, too. Go figure. Natuzzi Brothers Ice Co. 121-60 Farmers Boulevard Springfield Gardens (718) 464-7521 www.natuzzibrosice.com www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 27
Made in Queens
Joel Voisard Industrial Artist You name it, Joel Voisard probably makes it. (If he doesn’t just give him some time). From furniture to sculpture to lighting, the Long Island City-based Voisard is a prolific industrial art entrepreneur known for his original designs and innovative vision. Last year Voisard was tapped to produce an urban art installation for the Pulaski Bridge, which spans Newtown Creek connecting the neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Long Island City. Voisard didn’t disappoint, creating a unique, multi-layered wooden bench sculpture. It remains on view in a pedestrian pathway on the bridge through October 2010. As part of the installation, Voisard also made a series of stencil graphics on the side of a roadside barrier on the bridge. The images are inspired by scenes from the 7 and G trains, and capture the spirit of people who cross the bridge each day. The artist said he hopes pedestrians take advantage of the bench sculpture to stop and admire the view. “It brings everyone to this meeting spot, to look
All in the family Durso’s Pasta and Ravioli Company
28 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
at Queens, to look at Manhattan, to look at Brooklyn,” he said. “It’s a place to stop and [reflect].” Voisard, who works out of his LIC studio, does custom work as well. Joel Voisard 40-09 21st Street Long Island City (646) 241-7231 www.voisard3D.com
Ravioli lovers, look no further. Durso’s is tops when it comes to making all manners of ravioli and pasta. The Flushing-based company was founded in a Crocheron Avenue locale by Gerald Durso, Sr. in 1967. Durso’s has moved elsewhere on the avenue since then, but the business has stayed in the family. It’s now run by Robert Durso Jr., and his son, also named Robert. The Bobby combo hit the big time a few years back when they appeared on the Food Network show Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. The father-son team put their time-tested ravioli specialties up against Flay’s own pasta-stuffed creations. Flay won, but as the younger Durso put it, “losing to Bobby Flay isn’t really losing.” Indeed, the pasta company was
later recognized by Flay as one of his favorite spots in all of New York. He isn’t alone. The store started out with the basics, but has expanded in recent years to offer countless kinds of ravioli, pasta, and tasty prepared foods galore. The company also sells meats, cheeses, baked goods and imported Italian specialties. Durso’s Pasta and Ravioli Company 189-01 Crocheron Avenue Flushing (718) 358-1311 www.dursos.com
Made In Queens
Metal smith makes good Queens Metal Most graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in Public Administration don’t switch paths to become, of all things, jewelry makers. Krista DeJoseph is not most people, and it shows in her one-of-a-kind metal jewelry, which she makes by hand from her Astoria home. DeJoseph started plying her trade in earnest after selling her first necklace (it was inspired by the koru fern, a symbol of peace and rebirth in New Zealand). That success helped turn a hobby into a viable small business. Today, DeJoseph splits her time between Baruch College, where she works as an academic advisor, and
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her home studio, where she makes the jewelry she sells online and elsewhere. DeJoseph has become an accomplished metal smith in her own right; her complex jewelry is characterized by unusual shapes and stylings that are sure to turn heads at any dinner party. On days when it’s time to make new pieces, DeJoseph says she quickly finds her creative side and gets right down to business. “Once you’re in the zone, you lose track of time, you lose track of everything going on around you, and you’re just making whatever it is,” she said. “It starts to become very meditative.” Queens Metal Astoria www.etsy.com/shop/sproutonline
This Queens-based business started 20 years ago when a local entrepreneur named Thomas Chen opened a modest windows and doors shop in Flushing. In the two decades since, Crystal Windows and Doors has grown to become an industry leader, not just in New York but across the country. The company - which makes and sells numerous types of windows and doors, of course - is one of the top 50 manufacturers of its kind in North America. It employs over 600 people in U.S. factories and abroad and produces 700,000 units annually, boasting some $60 million in sales. Its products are sold all over the world. Along the way, Crystal has won several prestigious awards, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Minority Manufacturer of the Year Award, among others. The firm was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the country, and is routinely mentioned as a leader here
at home in Queens. Last year, as Crystal celebrated its 20th anniversary, the company’s executive vice president, Steven Chen, was invited to attend a roundtable discussion on the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (otherwise known as the stimulus bill) hosted by none other than Vice President Joseph Biden. Crystal’s place at the table was well earned, but don’t think the company is resting on its laurels. Crystal has branched out into the green market too, offering energy-efficient products to environmentally conscious consumers. With that in mind, its no stretch to imagine that Crystal’s next 20 years will be as successful as the first. Crystal Windows & Doors 31-10 Whitestone Expressway Flushing (718) 961-7300 www.crystalwindows.com www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 29
Lighten the Load
Queens resident sheds 200 pounds in starring role
30 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
Film Review By Shane Miller In the history of movie making, there’s been no shortage of actors and actresses who have undergone physical changes to land choice roles: Christian Bale dropped 60 pounds for the lead role in The Machinist, Robert De Niro gained the same amount to play Jake La Motta in Raging Bull, and Renee Zellweger went from a size 6 to a size 14 for her role in Bridget Jones’s Diary. But few - if any - actors have ever drastically changed their appearance for not only art’s sake, but also to save their lives. That’s the story of Carmine Famiglietti, a Queens native and star and writer of Lbs. (read “pounds”), which will make its theatrical debut on March 26 in theaters in New York City, Minneapolis, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Lbs. is the story of Neil Perota, a 385pound man who lives with his parents in Brooklyn and suffers a heart attack just days before his sister’s wedding, forcing her to postpone the lavish affair. The episode causes a severe rift in the family, especially when Neil is caught by his sister’s fiance gorging at a nearby pizzeria, breaking the diet he was put on by his doctor. The tension finally reaches a breaking point, and Neil flees to upstate New York where he buys a dilapidated trailer and vows not to return to Brooklyn until he
loses the weight. The intriguing thing about Lbs. is that Neil’s story is in many ways the story of Famiglietti. When filming began in 2001, Famiglietti himself weighed close to 400 pounds, and over 27 months of filming he shed close to 200 pounds, matching the weight loss that the fictional Neil goes through. It’s an emotional performance, and is a movie that is a more thoughtful and earnest look at obesity than the pre-packaged Supersize Me, which was shown at several film festivals the same year as Lbs. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to do this movie to save my life,’” Famiglietti said in an interview with It’s Queens at North Shore Diner in Flushing. “This film was made with a lot of sacrifice and passion. I knew I could do it.” Lbs. was directed by Matthew Bonifacio, who also co-wrote the script with Famiglietti. Longtime friends, Famiglietti said Bonifacio’s friendship was instrumental in making the film, as well as supporting him as he struggled to shed the weight. A less-sympathetic director could have abandoned Lbs. before it even got off the ground, which in and of itself has been a long road. Things didn’t work out with the first distributor, and the finished movie languished for years, despite positive reviews and receptions at festivals like Sundance and Tribeca. Then a major
cable company made a six-figure offer for the movie, but Famiglietti turned it down, believing in his heart that Lbs. was headed for the theaters. Turning down the offer was another time when Bonifiacio’s friendship was instrumental. “I don’t expect everyone to be as insane as me about the film, but we both believed that it deserved a theatrical release,” he said. Famiglietti is realistic about the future success of Lbs., but also optimistic. He points to the Oscar-nominated Precious, which was a small independent film that got a big boost from some bold-faced names. “We just need to find our Tyler Perry or Oprah Winfrey,” Famiglietti said. Famiglietti is open and honest about his struggles with food addiction and the comfort he finds in it, as well his struggles to live in a society that often promotes unhealthy eating choices. Indeed, when he sat down with It’s Queens he initially passed on ordering food, but the waitress told him he couldn’t sit at a table if he didn’t eat. He just laughed and grabbed a menu. “When I found out that we wouldn’t have to shoot any more scenes, I went on a three-day binge and gained 24 pounds,” recalled Famigletti. “In many ways, I always knew that I was going to be making this movie for the rest of my life.” For more information on Lbs., visit lbsthemovie.com. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 31
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DON’T BE AFRAID TO PAY A GREAT PRICE We’ve all heard the old saying “You get what you pay for” but on the other side is the saying “A fool and his money are quickly parted.” The lesson to be learned is, research a company and its’ products but you shouldn’t over pay out of fear. Contractors who grossly overcharge for their products often use terms like “it pays for itself,” “limited time only” or “if you sign today.” If you tell them you want to think about it or that you’ve gotten a better price they’ll leave you with “you’ll be sorry,” “If you want to do the job over again in a few years” or “Don’t you want to buy quality?” When you tell our salesperson you’ll be thinking about it, we’ll tell you “We’ll send you a typed out detailed estimate with each item broken down and a long list of references. Please feel free to call with any questions.” A great price doesn’t have to be “too good to be true,” sometimes it’s just true. Never trust a company or salesman that tries to scare you into doing business with them. Always be wary of lots of fine print and company’s that are afraid to tell you how much something costs until their heavily armored high pressure salesperson is in front of you. These companies often won’t have a showroom for you to visit and if they do, it will usually not have prices marked on each product. These profiteers charge you as much as they think they can get you to pay. Unified charges the same price to every customer which is why we give you prices up front and out in the open on all of product lines. If a company won’t give you a price unless you give them your personal information first, run as fast as you can because an honest company should have nothing to hide. At Unified, our prices on windows, doors, siding, roofing and insulation are the lowest in the industry yet every product is manufactured by nationally recognized and accredited companies with names such as Andersen, Owens Corning, Certainteed and Ideal. Some of our manufacturers have been in business over 80 years and every product we sell comes with a full lifetime warranty. Unified has the most energy efficient products that makes us a Department of Energy, Energy Star Partner and qualifies our products for the Stimulus Tax Credits. Over 100,000 satisfied customers over the past 25 years prove that Unified always has the best products for the best price. Ask questions and trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to get a great quality job and a great deal at the same time. Reinvest your tax return wisely and let Unified increase the value of your home and save you money on heating and air conditioning costs with the best quality products on the market. Remember, when it comes to saving money with Unified’s great prices, don’t let our competitors scare you because “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” Unified’s showrooms are open 7 days a week. Call (888) 631-2131 for a free in home estimate or visit www.uwds.com.
Written by: Steven J DiMare Chief Executive Officer Unified Window Systems, Inc.
Setting Trends: Stories the 36 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
MARY MURPHY New York TV reporter and anchor Mary Murphy’s career spans nearly three decades, but she has never taken a moment of it for granted.
TV Reporter Breaks Newspapers Pick Up By Holly Tsang Photos by Michael O’Kane
“I think I’ve had rich experiences. I think I’m a real person, there was no privilege in my background,” said Murphy, the daughter of a bus driver and a stay-at-home mom turned waitress/ hostess. “There wasn’t a lot handed to me and I think that’s helped me become someone who strives toward a better life.” She knew from the time she was a child that she wanted to be a TV reporter, but it wasn’t until her last semester in Queens College that she got a taste of the newsroom, when she was hired as a Channel 2 news intern. She ultimately stayed with the network for seven years. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 37
Cover Story Mary Murphy Her brother worked in the same industry, but Murphy relied on her own hard work to move up the ranks. At Channel 11, where she has spent most of her career in two separate stints, she moved up the ranks from production assistant to writer, then finally started filling in as a reporter. “If you want to make a name for yourself, if you want to excel, you have to invest some time,” she told It’s Queens during a recent interview inside her Northeast Queens home. “Now I’m not saying people should become workaholics or anything but if you’re going to be good at the game you have to be in the game.” Murphy has covered important stories, including the John Gotti trials, the crack cocaine epidemic in New York, and the first attack on the World Trade Center in the ‘90s. One of her proudest moments stemmed from her coverage of the Joel Steinberg trials in the late ‘80s. The former New York criminal defense attorney was accused of murdering his six-year old, illegally adopted daughter. Through an inside source she had met earlier in her career, Murphy obtained the psychiatric record of Steinberg’s live-in companion Hedda Nussbaum following the incident, which revealed
Cardinal John O’Connor Mary Murphy and Son 38 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
Mary playing with her (then) infant son Anthony. that drugs were involved and that the child was thrown against a wall and left on the bathroom floor. The story made the front page of all the newspapers with credit given to Channel 2, where Murphy was still working at the time. “You don’t see TV credited too
much, so that was a big deal,” she said. “It was one of my biggest stories ever because I broke something that the newspapers followed.” All of her hard work has paid off, earning her over 15 Emmy’s. The success means she could live just about anywhere, but Murphy, who never desired to leave New York, chose to stay true to her Queens roots. “I like being close to work, as close as I can be. I like the feel of where I’m living in Queens, it’s sort of like suburbia a little bit, but you’re still close to all the action,” said Murphy. “I’m happy in Queens.” Murphy spent the first six years of her life in Woodside before moving to Queens Village, where she attended Our Lady of Lourdes School. After graduating from the now-closed Delehanty High School in Jamaica, she went to Queens College in Flushing. “I’m a Queens girl through and through,” she said. She fondly recalls playing stickball and touch football with the kids on her block in Queens Village. They also put on neighborhood plays and shows like The Sound of Music, in which Murphy played Liezel. She loved singing, acting, and dancing in public. Asked what profession she might
Cover Story Mary Murphy
have chosen if she hadn’t found her way into journalism, Murphy said, “People tease me and say I’d be on Broadway because I’m in that Inner Circle show,” an annual charity show in which television, newspaper, and radio reporters and personalities spoof politicians and celebrities in the media. Last year, she took on the role of Sarah Palin as Beyonce in the music video for “Single Ladies,” with her backup dancers playing daughter Bristol Palin and a moose. She knows how to have fun, doing spoof shows, watching movies, and playing tennis in her spare time, but she knows when it’s time to be serious. “You know, if you want to do well in any part of journalism and make a name for yourself, you can’t just think that it’s a game or that you don’t have
to give up a little bit of your social life along the way,” said Murphy. The week of 9/11, she took time off to be with her son Anthony for his
and the unpredictability posed by her job, Murphy said she’s really never missed any important events in Anthony’s life, such as school plays, because they often fell on the days she had off. Now she works Monday through Friday, which she doesn’t mind because it leaves the weekends open for her to monitor Anthony, now 14, who’s at an age when he wants to go out and do things with other teenagers. “I don’t need to be a superstar; I just want to do a good job in my field and I want to be a good mother,” said Murphy. “Motherhood is really what I should worry about the most because I brought my son into this world and if I fail him, then I’ve failed; it doesn’t matter how many Emmy’s I have.”
“I don’t need to be a superstar; I just want to do a good job in my field and I want to be a good mother.” first week of kindergarten. She had just come back from voting in a primary election when news of the tragedy struck. Murphy rushed to get into Manhattan, working around the clock for the next few weeks. She received two Emmy awards for 9/11-related stories. Despite the rigorous demands
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Top 5 Hidden Gems Five Foodie Hotspots Worth Trekking To By Danielle McClure As the largest and most culturally diverse borough in New York City, it’s no surprise that Queens offers up a cornucopia of delicious — and even exotic — cuisines from all across the globe, from Greece to The Great Wall. Whether it’s noshing on noodles in Flushing or indulging in an Italian sandwich in Corona, these five far-flung spots serve up sensational eats so good, they’re worth the extra mile. www.itsqueens.com www.itsqueens.com Spring Spring 2010 2010 45 45
Queens Food THE CULTURE SPOT Golden Shopping Mall
This isn’t your average shopping mall! When culinary heavyweights including Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin and Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations fame frequently trek all the way out to this hotspot on Flushing’s bustling Main Street for some serious eats, you know it’s a one-of-a-kind find. Although it is home to several local businesses including a video store, a cobbler, and even a hair salon, Golden Mall’s downstairs “food court” is where the best buys are found. Let the mouthwatering aromas of spicy chili oil and pots of succulent stewed pork guide you through the maze of small, cramped “stalls,” where you can sample delicious dishes from all across Asia, from Saigon to Shanghai — all under $10. At the popular Xi’an Famous Eats, the distinct flavors of the Shaanxi province in Northern China are on full display. The spicy cumin lamb burger and slow-stewed pork burger both served in fresh, hot flatbread are a tasty revelation. The “Laing Pi” skin noodles are hand cut and served cold in a sweet and tangy chili oil with crunchy bean sprouts and delicate chunks of tofu. Across the way at Lanzhou, watch hand-
SriPraPhai SriPraPhai pulled noodles being made on the spot and feast on a fragrant, steamy bowl Say so long to bland and boring takeout of noodles that are served up with for good, and make a pilgrimage to everything from beef to oxtail to lamb this hidden gem in Woodside for offal. Upstairs, additional stalls serve truly authentic Thai cuisine. Locals up bahn mi sandwiches, dumplings, have been taking advantage of and luscious lamb noodles. Every turn SriPraPhai’s tasty dishes since owner at Golden Mall is an adventure well and chef Sripraphai Tipmanee first opened the restaurant doors well worth savoring. over a decade ago. SriPraPhai’s bold 41-28 Main Street combination of sweet, sour, and Flushing spicy flavors, friendly atmosphere and simple modern décor has firmly placed it on the culinary map. It’s no surprise then that enjoying a meal at SriPraPhai is easily the next best thing to eating in Bangkok. From basic pad see ew noodles to kang som sour curry to beef tendon soup, everything on the expansive (cash only) menu is the real deal. The roasted duck salad with scallions, red onion, cucumber, tomato, and cilantro is fresh, fragrant, and one of the restaurant’s most notable dishes. The sautéd crispy pork with chili, garlic, and basil leaves, is sinfully delicious. Conventional foodie wisdom says that spectacular Thai food simply can’t be found in the city. Thankfully, the secret is out about SriPraPhai — and the journey is half the fun. 34-23 39th Avenue Woodside www.sripraphairestaurant.com Taverna Kyclades
46 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
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Queens Food THE CULTURE SPOT Taverna Kyclades
Astoria is, hands down, the best place in Queens to find great Greek cuisine, but no other restaurant in the neighborhood serves up super fresh, perfectly cooked and seasoned seafood quite like Taverna Kyclades, where a long wait is inevitable but the food and the reasonable prices are always well worth it. This traditional, familyfriendly spot is a mouthwatering must for adventurous eaters seeking a serious taste of the sea. Heaping portions of buttery grilled octopus, fried whiting, and decadent baby shark are among the house specialties. From the peasant salad, a generous helping of tomato, cucumbers, red onion, kalamata olives and feta to yummy, gooey pan-fried Greek cheese, there’s a little something for everyone and every bite is a delight. Although seafood is the star, the Greek-style hamburger (served without a bun) and thick, tangy tzatziki sauce with a side of garlicky sliced beets or lemon potatoes is a winning lunch combo that’s certain to please any palate. Taverna Kyclades is a tasty catch that’s fantastically fresh. 33-07 Ditmars Boulevard Astoria www.tavernakyclades.com
Leo’s Latticini (Mama’s)
Tasty Italian hero sandwiches are to Queens what the perfect slice of pizza is to Brooklyn. Choosing the best in the borough is an arduous (and always debatable) task. While some may argue that beloved Astoria mainstay Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s is home to the best sandwiches in town, Leo’s (a.k.a. Mama’s), located a stone’s throw away from CitiField, has long been a favorite among local 48 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
Leo’s Latticini (Mama’s)
Golden Shopping Mall Il Toscano firefighters, police officers, and, of course, hungry Mets fans looking for There’s no better place to celebrate a hearty, satisfying hot and cold heroes. special occasion than at this impressive Originally opened by Frank Leo back upscale eatery, which boasts authentic in the ’30s, the shop has changed Northern Italian fare that’s also worth locations, but has remained a family the splurge — just ask one of the many owned and operated business for loyal regulars that keep this far-flung over eighty years. Needless to say, the Douglaston hotspot hopping every place is an institution. Each sandwich night of the week. You’ll no doubt be is piled high with delicious cold cuts wowed by the impeccable, attentive and fresh, homemade mozzarella. service, incredible atmosphere and, of The “Mama’s Special,” which includes course, delectable menu that features prosciuttini, salami, and mozzarella a prix fixe Tuscan-style family dinner, with mushrooms and peppers, is a a whopping 22 oz. shell steak and favorite. Enjoy your sandwich out back a tasty house specialty called the in Mama’s nearby garden/backyard Lobster Il Toscano, which includes and don’t leave without checking out two one-pound lobsters cracked in the array of pastries from the bakery. the shell and sautéd in olive oil, garlic, And while you’re in the ’hood, stop by lemon and white wine. Be sure to the Lemon Ice King of Corona for a sample one of the 180 wines available sweet Italian ice treat before heading and definitely leave room for a taste of back home. It’s a tasty trip you won’t the dangerously decadent Napoleon dessert. soon forget. 42-05 235th Street 46-02 104th Street Douglaston Corona www.iltoscanony.com
Can You Tell Me How to Get to
The cast of Sesame Street for its 40th anniversary season. Photo Credit: Richard Termine
Turns out it’s right here in Queens There’s a Sesame Street in Jordan and there’s also a Sesame Street in Mexico. There’s a Sesame Street in South Africa, and there’s even a Sesame Street in India, except there it’s called Galli Galli Sim Sim. In fact, there is a Sesame Street in more than 140 countries around the globe. But the original Sesame Street – the one that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year – is actually right here in Queens, filming every episode on Stage G at Kaufman-Astoria Studios. Sesame Street is the longestrunning children’s television show in the history of the small screen. Its mixed cast of humans and over 5,000 Muppets, such as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Bert and Ernie, have
been teaching preschoolers – and now those preschoolers’ own preschoolers – to count and read since the first show aired on November 10, 1969. From day one, it was recognized as a radical and groundbreaking development in early childhood education. But the success of Sesame Street wasn’t an accident. In 1966, Joan Ganz Cooney conducted a feasibility study on using television to teach less-advantaged children so they would arrive in school with the same skills as the children of middle- and upper-class parents. Forty years later, Sesame Street is teaching kids across the economic spectrum, and the Sesame Street brand, and more importantly its mission to educate the world’s youngest children, now
includes magazines, albums, and even a live show.
Sesame Street is the longestrunning children’s television show in the history of the small screen.
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Feature Sesame Street Turns 40 Things You Didn’t Know About Sesame Street (Or Maybe You Did, Sesame Street Nerd!) A Birdseed Milkshake at Hooper’s Store cost $.20 in 1969, $2.99 today. Ernie is the only Sesame Street Muppet to have a built-in smile. Bert has more than 368 bottle caps in his collection. All of the Sesame Street Muppets have four fingers, except Cookie Monster, who has five. Elmo is the only puppet in history to testify before Congress. Big Bird is covered with approximately 6,000 dyed North American turkey, coq, ostrich, and hackle feathers. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold. Oscar was orange in season 1
Sesame Street’s Season 1 cast. Photo Credit: Sesame Workshop
Sesame Street’s Longest Continuous Resident Bob McGrath is the elder statesman of Sesame Street. He joined the cast in season 1, and he was still there when the show celebrated its 40th anniversary. “When I tell people what I do, they get a melancholy face and say ‘that has got to be the best job in the world,’ and it is the best place in the world to work,” he told It’s Queens. “And it’s not just because we have a great time doing the show, but it’s great to see the impact that it has on children, not just in this country but all over the world.” McGrath was a teen pop sensation in Japan, performing as Bobu Magurasu, when a friend told him about Sesame Street. Initially, he wasn’t interested and had his sights set instead on becoming a star along the lines of Perry Como or Andy Williams. However, as McGrath puts it, “The Beatles happened,” and he revisited the Sesame Street idea, a 50 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
visit that has lasted four decades. “I knew from the very beginning that this was going to be something different,” said McGrath. “When we started filming the first year, we all had a really delirious feeling about what we were doing.” McGrath said the show has changed over the past 40 years to match the times. For instance, you’re unlikely to see Cookie Monster with a pipe in his mouth as in the past, and adults don’t walk around random children as the very first episode of the show opened. However, he said the show’s mission of educating and growing young children has not changed. “The show and the writers have always respected their audience,” he said. Over the years, McGrath’s role on the show has diminished, as more and more airtime is dedicated to the younger talent. He now spends a lot of his time talking at conferences across the country on early childhood
education – especially the role of music and the arts – and performing family pop music concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada. He doubts he has another 40 years on Sesame Street, but will keep coming back as long as he is invited. “It’s always an honor when they ask you back for another year,” he said.
Feature Sesame Street Turns 40
Sesame Street: The Place to be Seen When Abby Cadabby attempts to change the season to winter so Elmo can go sledding, things begin to heat up on Sesame Street. Photo Credit: Richard Termine
Cookie Monster in Monsterpiece Theater on Sesame Street. Photo Credit: Sesame Workshop
First Lady Michelle Obama plants a garden with Big Bird and Elmo as part of Sesame Street’s 40th season. Photo Credit: Richard Termine
Actress Cameron Diaz is all smiles with Professor Grover and a local Sesame Street puppy as part of Sesame Street’s 40th season. Photo Credit: Richard Termine
Actor Matthew Fox appears with Elmo as part of Sesame Street’s 40th season. Photo Credit: Jesse Grant
Mr. Hooper with Bert and Ernie at Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street. Photo Credit: Sesame Workshop
Since its inception, celebrities have always been a big part of Sesame Street. James Earl Jones was the first celebrity to drop by, and the first season saw appearances by Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger, and others. Today, nearly every episode features a cameo from a celebrity, and the 40th season saw Maggie Gyllenhall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ricky Gervais, and many, many more visit Sesame Street. According to Bob McGrath, who has been a cast member on Sesame Street since the first season, the celebrities appearances serve to draw parents into watching the show with their children. “Ultimately, parents are the best teacher for their children,” he said. And there’s no shortage of interest from the bold-faced names. McGrath said that the show’s producers have to shoo celebrities away because there are so many who want to make a cameo – especially celebrities with kids. “They always say this is the biggest appearance they’ve ever made,” he said. Sesame Street has also been visited four times by a sitting First Lady, including Michelle Obama, who appeared in the first episode of Season 40, and has welcomed over 440 celebrity visitors over the past four decades. Some of McGrath’s most memorable visits include Mr. Rogers and Beyonce. “I always tell people my biggest moments on the show have been getting a hug from Fred [Rogers] and a kiss on the cheek from Beyonce,” he told It’s Queens. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 51
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s n e e u
RUNW AY On t
Designers aim to put Queens on the fashion map
By Holly Tsang Photographs by Avalon Hodges www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 53
model: Maybeline Canala
Actress/model and creative director of Plus Model Magazine Mia Amber dressing for Qristyl Frazier show.
A model getting her makeup done before taking the runway.
model: Lerubi Lopez, hair: Cora Harrell
ueens native Delali Haligah founded African-inspired fashion label Osun Designs back in 1982, while she was still in high school. Since then, the designer has participated in local, national, and international fashion shows, but it bothered her that her hometown remained out of the fashion loop.
“I’m going all around the world, and then I come back to Queens,” said Haligah. “I thought Queens should have a Fashion Week. I’ve always thought to myself, it’s something that needs to be done.”
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“We’ve done a lot of fashion shows everywhere except in Queens. Queens has a lot to offer.”
Designs by Monica Yepez
And so she set out to make Queens Fashion Week a reality. The three-day event kicked off February 18 and culminated on the 20th at the Standard Motor Products building and Holiday Inn Express in Long Island City. Haligah invited Queens-based designers, including the visionaries behind Glendale-based boutique Stella Gialla and former Project Runway contestant Qristyl Frazier, to show-
case their collections. Michele Walden of Jamaica-based Michi Knitwear, who has known Haligah for years, was asked to show her knitwear creations, designed for men and women of all shapes and sizes. “We’ve done a lot of fashion shows everywhere except in Queens. Queens has a lot to offer,” said Walden. “I wanted to let people know there are jewels. Yes, we are jewels.”
She hopes that through the show, she’ll gain new customers and people will realize that Queens can dress them as well as anyone else. Monica Yepez owns several boutiques throughout the five boroughs. Known to the New York Dominican community as the “Queen of the Bathing Suit,” she got involved in Queens Fashion Week to meet new designers, models, and photographers. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 55
dress by Michi She said her customers are mainly from the Latino and African American community, but “we’re looking to expand our horizons. We want to reach the whole world.” Haligah said the most difficult part of making Queens Fashion Week happen was putting everything together, but she was touched by the overwhelming amount of support she received. Pavilion Grill from East Elmhurst do-
Designer Michi Knitwear by Michele Walden
Model: Hugh Anderson
nated food, Holiday Inn Express and Accumen Capital lent their space, and makeup artists and stylists volunteered to beautify the models, who were unpaid as well. She pointed out that although the event is a fashion showcase, it’s a business initiative more than anything else. People get the chance to visit the Holiday Inn Express, taste Pavilion Grill’s food, and experience the creativity of Chastity Saunders wears purple dress by Qristyl Fraiser.
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Queens designers. “I always call myself the Obama of the fashion world. We have to change the way we look at fashion. And that’s what Queens Fashion Week is all about, redefining the boundaries of what is fashionable,” said Haligah. “All these people are here in Queens, and this is a way to get people to know that these businesses, these fabulous people, exist in Queens.” Mary Beirne, designer
Wining and Dining for a Fine Cause – February 9, 2010
London Lennies offers up a delectable treat.
Simply Fondue receives Certificate of Appreciation from Event Chairperson Michael Macaluso (left) and Margaret MacPherson, Vice Chairperson (right). All restaurants received a framed certificate suitable for hanging in their establishments.
Hon. and Mrs. Miele pose with Board Member Tony Cosentino.
Dozens of local restaurants participated in a tasting event at Terrace on the Park to benefit the Queens Centers for Progress (QCP), an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities.
Mary Ann Esposito, host of Ciao Italia on PBS, was there personalizing her latest cookbook and making the event a superb gathering for friends and supporters of Queens Centers for Progress.
TD Bank serves up a delightful frozen Margarita adult beverage....one of the night’s highlights!
O’Lavrador is a local favorite. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 57
Operating Green in Queens – February 19, 2010
At the Second Annual Queens Green Business Summit at Queens College, the Queens Chamber of Commerce proved once again that business can be done responsibly yet profitably by providing business owners with workshops on relevant “green” topics. Companies had the opportunity to network with other eco-minded businesses and to promote their green products and services.
Marva Kalish, center, of the Queens Chamber of Commerce looks over paperwork with summit participants Bryan Rivera, left, and Pete Breen of Envirotrac.
Queens Chamber of Commerce President Al Pennisi, left, finds a new friend in Mr. Shy, an Eastern box turtle. Right, Venus Hall, an educator at the Alley Pond Environmental Center.
Vince Marchetti, manufacturers representative for green cleaning product company Envirox.
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Mayron Quiroz, left, and Nelson Davis of College Point-based JAD Corporation demonstrate that plastic can be greener and cleaner with products like the company’s rat repellent bags and biodegradable bags.
Conservative By Anthony Stasi Examine the changing population demographics in the United States and you’ll start to think about how politics in this country may soon change. Different groups have different needs, different expectations. And at a time when the Republican Party is in bunker mode, there are bound to be signs of political resurgence. Queens is an excellent blank slate for developing political analysis, especially because of its diversity. Politically, Queens leans in one direction, but not to the point where anyone is really counted out. The borough, with its large and still growing Asian population, gives hope to those on the right-of-center in our political landscape. Most AsianAmericans are Democrats, but that is a natural first step in American politics for most new Americans. Many AsianAmericans will eventually cross party lines, the same way so many Italians and Irish did after establishing themselves in the U.S. In fact, there is a strong, albeit small, conservative Asian community in Queens due to the fact that they and their families come from Socialist countries with poor standards of living. Peter Koo’s election to the City Council last November on the Republican line is indicative of this growing political sector. Koo was by no means a favorite to replace outgoing councilman John Liu, one of the most popular council members and one of the strongest Democrats in the city. True, Koo benefited from a clogged Democratic primary, but the point is there were still enough Asian voters that were willing to support him. And there are other examples of
Base in Queens Asian-Americans getting involved in politics on the conservative side of the political spectrum. Ashok Chandra, who won the Republican primary in New York’s 4th Council District, is Indian-American, and although he lost the general election in 2009, many believe he laid the groundwork for a successful political career. Howard Lim, the former Manhattan chair of the New York Conservative Party, once ran for comptroller against Alan Hevesi. Lim was running as a conservative when there was not a large Asian presence on the ballot from either party. It is to be expected that as a population grows, so does that population’s participation in the democratic process, and Asian conservatives have very specific reasons for gravitating to the conservative side of the political scene. Jeanette Chung was born in China, and is now a conservative living in New York City. “Promoting individual achievement is what made America the great country it is today,” says Chung. “I came from a country where the government did everything in the name of the group. People were silenced for the greater good. People were jailed for the greater good. Finally, people were killed for the greater good. In China, left-wing Communists always told us what they were doing was for the good of all, and it was the ‘all’ that suffered.” You hear stories like this from a lot of people that come from totalitarian countries. But when they come here, often they are met by a friendlier Democratic Party. The Democrats make the effort to bring these voters in, and the Republican Party does not. Considering the lack of effort on the part of the GOP, they are doing surprisingly well in the Asian-
American community. Myrna Littlewort, president of the America’s Mayor Republican Club in Jackson Heights, feels that Asians, due to their passion for independence and penchant for hard work, are a natural fit for conservative politics. “In my experience, immigrants most often are natural conservatives,” says Littlewort. “Save and pay-asyou-go hard workers who as soon as they establish themselves start to build strong family units. The Democratic Party has for generations built a presence and a reputation for accepting new arrivals in those urban centers where they first settle. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has written off these communities in spite of evidence that their values are a natural fit for the GOP.” Linjing Bian, a journalist for a Chinese media network, says that she is not surprised by the surge in active conservative Asians. “In nature, they are more conservative than Democratic. Asian-Americans are just stepping on the stage of politics. It is a long learning process,” explains Bian. This is not only happening in New York. In 2008, Anh “Joseph” Quang Cao became the first VietnameseAmerican elected to Congress, and he did it in Louisiana’s 2nd District – the most Democratic district in the United States. Add Cao’s success to that of the state’s governor, Bobby Jindal, the now well known IndianAmerican governor of Louisiana. This is not to say that there are landslide victories on the horizon for Asian-Americans who lean conservative, but it is a community that now sees its own potential to step out and step up in government. This is a significant movement in politics, and one worthy of watching. www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 59
Bayside Through the Years
A woman inspects the carnage left behind after the Great Atlantic Hurricane swept through on September 15, 1944. The storm devastated much of the coast, as well as Little Neck Bay.
This 1959 photograph shows a 207th St. home being prepared for re-location in order to make room for the construction of the Clearview Expressway. The 5.3-mile road was designed to connect the Throgs Neck Bridge approach to the Long Island Expressway Interchange.
Built in 1872, this building at the corner of Bell Ave. and 42nd Ave. served as the factory of Straiton and Storm Cigars. It was destroyed by fire in 1990.
Producer John Golden or “Mr. Bayside,” and his wife Margaret called this 17acre estate home for over 25 years. Upon his death in 1955, Golden gave the estate to the city, and it became Crocheron Park.
These photos, taken before and after the parkway was dedicated in 1940, show the effects of the newly built Cross Island Parkway. While it made travel between Bayside and Little Neck much easier, the parkway effectively cut off pedestrian traffic to the bay, and the coveted view that many previous homeowners had vanished. 60 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
This early 1930s photograph shows the entrance to the restaurant and tavern on Bell Boulevard owned by Mary and Joseph McElroy for over 50 years. Inside the restaurant swinging doors separated two very different types of customers. Businessmen frequented the restaurant while young adults (right) enjoyed burgers at the bar.
Bell Boulevard was left underwater after a hurricane swept through Bayside on September 15, 1933. Many businesses were forced to close until the water levels dropped. Opened in 1933, this convenience store, more commonly known as “The Shack,” began as a chicken coop on a vacant lot at 35 Ave. and Bell Blvd. It was demolished in 1960.
The original White Castle building located on the northwest corner of Bell and Northern Boulevards. It was fashioned after the Chicago White Tower. Local garbage hauler William Hayes is shown here with his horse and cart on Bell Ave. The real estate office of J. Wilson Dayton is behind him.
www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 61
Queens Events CALENDAR
BARNYARD EASTER EGG HUNT Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Parkway Saturday, April 3 12 - 4 p.m. The Farm Museum will hold its annual Egg Hunt in the orchard. Egg hunts will be ongoing throughout the day, “Whiskers” the bunny will be hopping around the farm to greet children and pose for pictures. Bring your camera! Dance the “Bunny Hop” and play egg toss and egg-rolling games on the farmhouse lawn. Visit our farm
animals and take a hayride. Admission: $5 per person
TSIDII: TO THE RISING SUN Queens Theatre in the Park Flushing Meadows Corona Park Sunday, April 11 3 p.m. Tony Award-nominee (The Lion King) Tsidii brings her dazzling vocal style to Queens Theatre in the Park in her production To the Rising Sun, featuring the music of Odetta, the “Queen of American Folk music.”
Nina Simone, the “High Priestess of Soul,” and “Mama Africa” herself, Miriam Makeba. Tsidii presents an entertaining dialogue of music, engaging the audiences on a journey. The second half of the performance features original songs by Tsidii. $33 Tickets $28 Multi-Show Discount $31 Senior Discount $20 Student Discount 31st ANNUAL ANTIQUE AUTO SHOW Queens County Farm Museum
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73-50 Little Neck Parkway Sunday, April 25 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Members of the New York Antique Auto Club will exhibit their cars on the farmhouse grounds. Automobile memorabilia, historic house tours, hayrides, and food will be available. Admission: Adults $5, Children $2 (ages 4 and under) KITE FLIGHT: PAPER PLAY Socrates Sculpture Park 31-34 Vernon Boulevard Sunday, April 26 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (rain or shine) Socrates Sculpture Park and The Noguchi Museum present the seventh annual kite event. Using recycled paper, children and their families draw inspiration from the Park’s fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline to build and decorate a kite, and then fly it in the Park. Kite Flight will be held in the education area at Socrates
Sculpture Park. The workshop is free and supplies will be provided. CLASSIC HITS FOR KIDS: MEET THE COMPOSER LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College 65-30 Kissena Boulevard Sunday, March 28 2 p.m. Can your child recognize the music of Beethoven? Bach? Mozart? Featuring specially selected chamber music and solo works by our mystery composer, this concert will familiarize young listeners with one of the world’s greatest musical giants. These delightful interactive onehour concerts featuring professional musicians and talented young performers from the CPSM program provide a perfect introduction to the orchestra. Come early for pre-concert activities in the sunny atrium. Recommended for children ages 6 to 12. Tickets: All Seats $12
2ND ANNUAL TAP EXTRAVAGANZA Flushing Town Hall 137-35 Northern Boulevard Friday, May 21 8 p.m. Here a TAP, there a TAP, everywhere a TAP, TAP! Hoofers! Bring your tap shoes and join the Tap Jam and Shim Sham Finale! Tickets: $20/$15 Members CLAREMONT TRIO York College Performing Arts Center 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard April 16 8 to 10 p.m. Widely regarded as the premier piano trio of its generation, the Claremont Trio is sought after for its thrillingly virtuosic and richly communicative performances. Free www.itsqueens.com Spring 2010 63
How Queens Residents
Even in Tough Times (Like These) By Michael Terry CFP The last couple of years were tough times. Everyone knows how the stock market tanked in late 2008 and early 2009. Likewise, we Queens residents can talk firsthand about the booms and busts of the real estate market as we watched our $750,000 houses drop down to $400,000 (meanwhile the tax assessment continued to go up, but that’s another story). And then there’s the job market. I’m sure that most of us know somebody who has lost a job and who’s still out there hunting. Yet there is a silver lining to all of this. For readers who followed the advice in this column (10 Do’s and Don’ts for Investing in an Uncertain Economy, It’s Queens Fall 2008), you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourselves. You didn’t panic. You stayed the course and were rewarded because from March of 2009 to December both the domestic and foreign stock markets soared as much as 38 percent (Dow Jones US Small Cap Index). Every major 64 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
equity index showed double digit growth and the Barclay’s Aggregate Bond Index went up 6.94 percent. So, pat yourself on the back, enjoy your beverage of choice, and relax and enjoy. Or not. Actually, vigilance is key in both good times and bad, and while all the signs point to a gradual ending to this recession, we’re not out of the hot water yet and the recovery for Queens, particularly in real estate and jobs, is probably still months away. So what steps would be prudent to take today? First re-examine your emergency fund. If you are still employed, congratulations, but the risk of unemployment is still high in our area and businesses are still failing and shutting their doors, so consider increasing the size of your emergency fund. In good times, an emergency fund should cover your expenses for 3 to 6 months. In times like these, 8 months is safer. Shelter Hard-Earned Money Now Are you totally funding all your retirement accounts? Be sure to
maximize your 401(k), particularly if you’re not getting the full employer match. If you are self-employed, there are a variety of plans like the SEP IRA and the Personal 401(k) to help you shelter hard-earned money from the “tax man.” Depending on your tax situation, consider investing in a Roth IRA if you qualify. Roth IRA’s will not give you a current tax deduction but they grow tax-free. None of those annoying required minimum distributions at age 70.5 and beyond. And, with proper investing and estate planning, Roth IRA’s can help your family for several generations. For example, a $500,000 Roth IRA left to a 10-year-old grandchild could generate a generous yearly cash distribution for 70 or more years. But watch the rules for inherited IRAs because they are tricky and an error here can cost you dearly. Speaking of Roth IRA’s, 2010 is a great time to consider converting your IRA into a Roth IRA. This is the first year, and possibly the only year, that Uncle Sam is letting anybody, regardless of income, convert IRA’s to Roth IRA’s. And he’s even letting you pay the tax bill over two years rather than one. What a deal. Of course, you still have to pay taxes on all the money that you convert, but now that money can grow taxfree for the rest of your lifetime and possibly the lifetimes of your children or grandchildren. Don’t have enough cash to fund your emergency fund or your retirement plans? Now would be a great time to create a budget. Are you sure that everything you buy is a necessity? Do you really need a new car every three years? How about those three cappuccinos you’re getting every day? Eating out too much? Cutting down discretionary spending and putting away the savings is always a good idea and can be relatively pain free, but if you don’t have any idea what you’re spending all your money on, you will have little incentive to save. For example, eating lunch out 3 days a week at $12 per day takes $1,872 out of your pocket. Invested at 6
Your Money percent, that extra $1,872 in yearly savings would grow to $24,674 in 10 years. You could buy a cappuccino machine. Tax Free, Save For College & Get an Income Tax Deduction If you have young children or grandchildren, this is also a good time to look into the NY Saves 529 Plan (www. nysaves.com). You can save for college tax free and get a state income tax deduction at the same time. College costs will continue to rise and even state schools are facing budget cutbacks and tuition hikes. All too many parents fail to put away money for college, expecting to receive financial aid only to find that aid is non-existent or too low to help much. Save now, but make sure that the money is not in the child’s
name. Don’t put the money into a savings account. Make it work for you. Financial Planners like me can’t help you get financial aid when you come in with a junior in high school, a high salary and no college savings. Plan now.
failing to act, the Unified Estate Tax Credit will revert to $1,000,000 and the maximum tax rate will return to 55 percent. Meanwhile, the State of New York inheritance tax remains the same – estates greater than $1,000,000 are still subject to New York State inheritance taxes. So, there are still some really good reasons ($$$) to do some estate planning. Furthermore, if you don’t have a will yet, do your heirs a favor and take care of business. Letting the courts decide who gets your property is never a great idea. As we found out all too quickly in 2008, the good times roll out faster than they roll in. But if you keep your wits about you, there’s no reason you can’t continue living comfortably and pass on some of the wealth to your offspring. Careful planning trumps the wild cards and can keep your anxiety levels low.
If you followed our advice in this column in the fall issue of It’s Queens you are probably feeling pretty good about yourself now.
Owned rated & Ope idents By Res r of Ou unity. m m o C
2010 is a Good Year for the Wealthy to Die – But Don’t Wait Finally, have you put off estate planning for far too long? Sure the Federal Estate tax in 2010 has gone to zero, making 2010 a good year for the wealthy to die, but surely that’s rather extreme. In 2011, with Congress
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Queens Voices BLOGS
Blogs of Queens Faith and Fear in Flushing faithandfearinflushing.com Audience: Diehard Mets Fans An erudite blog helmed by two professional writers, Jason Fry and Greg Prince, on the day-to-day goings-on (or, depending on who you ask, the not goings-on) of Queens’ hometown team, the New York Mets.
Forgotten New York Forgotten-NY.com Audience: Preservationists, History Buffs Forgotten NewYork is the work of Little Neck resident Kevin Walsh, and is an exhaustive chronicling of the historic places and people that are often overlooked, especially in the “outer boroughs.” Local718 Queens local718queens.com Audience: Foodies and People Watchers Take a virtual stroll through Local718 Queens and you’ll be amazed at how many great people, stores and restaurants there are in your borough that you never even knew existed. Be sure to check out the photo gallery—nature, parades and food never looked so amazing! This blog will transform the way you view the already colorful cultural fabric of Queens.
Blue Collar Corner bluecollarcorner.com Audience: Right-Leaning Political Junkies Written by Andrew Sullivan, who grew up in Woodside, Blue Collar Corner tracks city, state, and national politics with a rightwing slant. The blog regularly features original interviews and events that Sullivan scours the city to track down. Lost in the Ozone davidmquintana.blogspot.com Audience: Anyone Interested in Queens-related Community Issues Ozone Park blogger David Quintana writes on all sorts of New York-related issues, but his focus is on the Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and South Ozone Park neighborhoods of Queens. Politics and environmental issues come up often, but the thing that sets “Lost in the Ozone” apart is that it touches on many issues plaguing local community boards that don’t get a lot of play from daily newspapers, such as the Ridgewood Reservoir and Jamaica Bay.
Why Leave Astoria WhyLeaveAstoria.com Audience: Astoria Lovers If you love Astoria (whether you live there or not) chances are you’re a member of the bloggish social networking site WhyLeaveAstoria. com. Why indeed, when there’s so much to do; the popular site features upcoming events of all kinds, sponsors parties, and serves as a forum for groups of like-minded individuals.
Joey In Astoria Astorianyc.blogspot.com Audience: Active Astorians For the record, not every active Astorian is a hipster. The hip neighborhood is home to a diverse population of active and engaging people, interested in a variety of issues. The user-friendly blog Astorianyc.blogspot.com has the latest on community events, issues and more. A perfect guide. 66 Spring 2010 www.itsqueens.com
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