Volume 14 Issue No. 47 Nov. 22 - 28, 2013
A SAFE SPACE
For nearly a century, the Southeast Queens nonprofit Safe Space has been committed to ensuring that every child can live in a secure and safe environment free of violence, abuse and neglect. By Natalia Kozikowska…Page 4.
Online at www.QueensPress.com
Page 2 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
News Briefs Mayor-Elect De Blasio Adds York College Prez To Transition Team
Earlier this week, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of 60 experienced professionals to his transition team that will assist him in building “a progressive, competent and diverse City government.” York College president Marcia Keizs was just one of three Queens leaders appointed by the future Mayor. Keizs, the sixth president at the college, has been at York for seven years and already has many accomplishments under her belt. Under her leadership, York College has increased its full-time faculty by approximately 40 percent and established an Undergraduate Research Program and a collaborative Honors Program with the FDA while structuring the College into three schools—School of Business and Information Systems; School of Health and Behavioral Sciences; and School of Arts and Sciences. Student enrollment has also grown by 25 percent with freshman enrollment experiencing an unprecedented 61 percent growth over five years during which freshman admissions standards were raised and a private fundraising campaign for Merit Scholars was undertaken. By 2011, enrollment continued to climb by 5.4 percent. “These leaders are volunteering their expertise in every issue and area of municipal affairs,” said de Blasio. “Together, they will join Transition NYC Co-Chairs Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Jones Austin in helping me to assemble a team that’s devoted to building one great city where everyone shares in our prosperity.” “My charge to the transition team is to identify women and men from every part of our City and walk of life that share a commitment to progressive and competent City government,” he added. “They will be advising me based on their wealth of experience and knowledge of specific issue areas and government agencies.”
Jamaica Man Accused Of Beating Off-Duty Cop
Jamaica resident Hayden Holder is accused of brutally beating an offduty cop, Mohammed Deen, outside of an Ozone Park bar last Sunday. The highly-publicized attack, which was caught on cell phone video, shows Holder trying to smash Deen’s car windows while his wife was sitting helplessly in the car. The video also depicts the suspect punching the victim repeatedly, even as he lay motionless in the street. According to reports, witnesses
told police that 29-year-old Holder viciously beat the off-duty NYPD sergeant outside of St. John’s Express restaurant and bar on Liberty Avenue. Deen has been in a medically induced coma since the attack. He is in stable condition. Reports indicate the attack may have been provoked from an argument at Maracas night club about an hour away. Holder was arrested with felony assault and attempted murder. He faces 25 years in prison.
Participatory Budgeting Coming To Comm. Board 9
Participatory budgeting is expanding to include a new area in southern Queens. Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced the northern part of his district, which includes the four neighborhoods that make up Community Board 9, will now be included in the City’s Participatory Budgeting program beginning next year. Participatory Budgeting allows residents of the community to vote on what capital projects in the area get allocated capital funds. There is $1 million set aside for the initiative and residents decide which projects get the money. Ulrich has done the budgeting in the Rockaway part of his district. Last year, nine different projects in Far Rockaway and Broad Channel were allocated money, including the Broad Channel Fire Department, which received 10 percent of the funding; the Breezy Point Activity Center got 33 percent of that money and PS 114 in Belle Harbor received nine percent of that funding. More than 1,500 people voted in the process. Ulrich said, similar to how people in the Rockaways benefited, residents in Community Board 9 will benefit from this process. He said it promotes transparency and gives residents a bit of a look behind the curtain regarding the budgeting process that elected officials deal with on a daily basis. “I would like to give you the opportunity to tell me how that money should be spent in the community,” Ulrich said during last week’s CB9 meeting. “It’s not my money, it’s not the City’s money, it’s the taxpayer’s money, so why shouldn’t you have more of a say in how it’s being spent.” The process for the budgeting includes having several workshops to gather ideas for what projects could get a slice of the discretionary funding and then whittling it down to decide what items will be voted on. Ulrich said he has gotten $1 million in the past for the project and may get more or less for CB9 depending on who the City Council Speaker is and how much discretionary funds he is allocated.
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 3
DOE Seeks To Beef Up Security After Avonte More than six weeks after the disappearance of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, the Dept. of Education is looking to beef up its security in order to prevent a similar incident from happening. According to an emailed statement from Marge Feinberg, a spokesperson for the DOE, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has ordered his staff to conduct an immediate and comprehensive review of current safety protocols and procedures for emergency preparedness. Avonte, an autistic boy who cannot communicate verbally, was last seen walking out of the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on Oct. 4. For weeks, police and volunteers scoured the City and neighboring states to no avail. Following his high-profile disappearance, Avonte’s family and community leaders have questioned the school’s safety protocols and procedures.
David Perecman, the Oquendo family’s attorney, said they have already filed a “notice of claim” with the City – the first step in filing a $25 million lawsuit. In an October interview with the PRESS, Perecman said this is a “dangerous case” against the school because the school’s security guard, an NYPD employee, should have better supervised Avonte during his transition from class to class. In response to Avonte’s disapperance, the DOE The NYPD has not for ways to make schools safer. responded for comment and has not revealed whether the guard will face any con- their efforts, the NYPD continues to sequences. search for the missing teen. The New York City Special ComAs part of their plan, the DOE anmission of Investigations is investi- nounced that it will enhance training gating how Avonte was able to leave provided for new Building Response the school without being stopped Teams members and principals. Simiby a teacher or school official and larly, the Department is looking to enalthough police have scaled back hance training for school safety agents, Photo by Trisha Sakhuja
BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
with a heavy focus on safety officials that work with special needs children. “In collaboration with the NYPD, the Department will provide additional training and support for School Safety Agents to augment the existing training they receive on supporting students with special needs,” Feinberg wrote. The DOE is also strengthening its safety and emergency readiness at all schools, including newly constructis looking ed schools, by reviewing how to best utilize security resources like two-way radios, video surveillance and PA systems. The Department is also looking into the possibility of panic buttons, which are already present at a few NYC schools. Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or email@example.com or @ nkozikowska.
Fed Prez: Queens Economy Is Looking Up BY JOE MARVILLI
Photo by Joe Marvilli
While speaking to Queens College students and faculty on Nov. 18, William Dudley, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, delivered encouraging news about the state of the Queens economy. According to Dudley, New York City as a whole just experienced a summer full of solid job creation, mostly through the contributions of Main Street, not Wall Street. The prevalence and diversity of small businesses have created a robust economy with many opportunities popping up. “Historically, Wall Street has been the driver of the economy, both up and down,” he said. “This time, Wall Street hasn’t really come back strongly but the City is still doing well. Leisure, hospitality, education, healthcare, business and professional services; one of really positive things you can say is the economy is a lot more diversified now than it was 20 years ago.” Queens’ large population center has led many of these industries to thrive, along with manufacturing. The most concentrated industry in the Borough though, according to
Dudley, is air transportation, which was really family and friends, home employs around 27,000 workers, equity loans, credit cards,” Dudley equal to about five percent of its said. “The credit conditions have jobs. tightened quite a bit on home equity The Borough’s conloans, often because tinued growth is particthere is not as much ularly impressive given equity in the homes to the damage it sustained start with, and credit last year from Supercards.” storm Sandy. Dudley The combination mentioned that many of local and national neighborhoods, such banks within the Boras the Rockaways and ough and the City has Howard Beach, are been helpful to small still recovering from business growth as the damage. However, well, Dudley said. employment quickly Federal Reserve Bank of NY The two types of bounced back and sur- President William Dudley banks work in tandem passed the Borough’s spoke about Queens’ econo- to cover the needs of pre-Sandy levels earlier my at Queens College. businesses both large this year. and small. Small businesses have played a key “I’m a big fan of community bankrole in Queens’ continued growth, ers,” he said. “To me, community especially those that have been es- bankers provide a service that’s a littablished for some time. While those tle different than the very large banks with an established track record are because they really are close to their doing well, life is more difficult for customers. They know their customstart-ups, due to how tight it is to get ers better. I think a lot of them tailor credit. products and credit to fit the particu“For [established small business- lar circumstance of their customer. es], there’s not any problem getting I think we’re lucky we have a dualcredit. For the start-up companies, banking system.” it’s still very hard. How did a start-up The condition of New York City company start back in 2005, 2006? It as a whole is another trait in Queens’
continued growth. With low crime, a good higher education system and a “reasonable” tax rate, the City is ideal for commercial businesses and developers, like the real estate market, to thrive. “Queens is going to benefit in a number of different respects. The upward trajectory of real estate in Manhattan, that’s already spilling over into Queens. You’re going to see more real estate development as the cost of housing in Manhattan continues to go up,” Dudley said. With all of these resources combined, Dudley said the outlook is bright for the future of Queens’ economy over the next few years. He believes that if New York stays on the path that led the City through the recession, growth will continue in all of the boroughs. “When I talk to commercial real estate developers, they say, ‘New York City? Definitely want to be here,’” he said. “As long as we keep those attributes in place, safety in the City, high-quality education establishments, a reasonable level of taxation, I think things will be very positive.” Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@ queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.
Page 4 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
Queens Nonprofit Gives Kids A ‘Safe Space’ For nearly a century, the Queens nonprofit Safe Space has been committed to ensuring that every child, regardless of age, gender and race, can live in a secure and safe environment free of violence, abuse and neglect. Safe Space, formerly known as the Queensboro Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, was founded in 1919 with the single focus of rescuing vulnerable children from abusive situations. “Even though it’s been around for nearly a century and even though it’s had a couple of names, the purpose of Safe Space has remained the same and consistent,” said Darla Pasteur, vice president of strategic development. “And that is to keep young people, children and youth, safe and to assist them in achieving success.” Although the Queens-based nonprofit has expanded programming to Manhattan, in 2010, Safe Space began an organizational initiative to return to its roots and focus on the high-need neighborhoods in Southeast Queens. The nonprofit currently operates three newly renovated and conveniently located hubs in Jamaica, Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway.
Photo courtesy of Facebook
BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
For nearly a century, the nonprofit Safe Space has been committed to ensuring that every child can live in a secure and safe environment free of violence, abuse and neglect. “There is definitely a need for this, especially in Southeast Queens,” Pasteur said. “Southeast Queens has one of the highest incidents of child abuse, one of the highest incidents of family violence and one of the highest incidents of gang violence and crime – there is obviously generational poverty.” Safe Space helps upwards of 900 families and 2,000 children in their facilities annually. All three centers provide easy access to the comprehensive range of health and wellness, maternal/child health, school-based and youth services – at no cost.
“Our goal is to make sure that families have the resources that they need and have the ability to come and seek services that will help them keep their families together and strengthen their families because we really believe in preserving the family unit,” Pasteur said. “That is the key way to make sure children get what they need.” Safe Space is Queens’ largest provider of preventative services through NYC Administration for Children’s Services contracts. Its General Preventative services offer trained coun-
selors to work with the entire family to prevent the removal of children into foster care, dealing with issues ranging from basic survival needs, such as housing immigration and healthcare, to developing better parenting and conflict resolution skills. The nonprofit also offers a number of Family Treatment Rehabilitation services that feature certified alcohol and substance abuse counselors that are able to provide both individual and group counseling in addition to case management. When asked what she finds most rewarding about her job, Pasteur, who has been with Safe Space for three years, touted the youth services geared towards helping teens in Southeast Queens. “As much as I love working with the little kids and seeing them in our after school programs, I love watching the teenagers discover that there is this whole world outside of Southeast Queens,” she said. To learn more about Safe Space and its free programs or to donate, visit www.safespacenyc.org or call (718) 526-2400. Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @nkozikowska.
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 5
Supporting Small Businesses during holiday Season By State Sen. JoSeph p. addaBBo, Jr. With the holiday season upon us, for many of our small businesses and ‘mom and pop’ stores, it’s the time of year to hopefully look forward with anticipation and optimism about finishing the year on an economic high note. In other words, it’s a critical time for some of our local merchants and their employees, who are often local residents, to sink or swim. To help our small businesses, we should be aware that Saturday, Nov. 30, will be nationally known as Small Business Saturday, a day to support our local small businesses. First observed on Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday was promoted by American Express as a way for individuals to patronize neighborhood retailers at the kick-off of the holiday shopping season. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 23 million small businesses in the nation and these enterprises account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales. Amazingly, small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. Furthermore, the
small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been downsizing, the rate of small business start-ups has grown, while the rate for small business failures has declined. And the number of small businesses in the U.S. has increased 49 percent since 1982. Since 1990, as big businesses eliminated four million jobs, small businesses added eight million new jobs. In Albany, many legislators, including myself, have introduced legislation and supported budget initiatives that included nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over three years and tax credits for the hiring of veterans and younger residents between the ages of 18-25. In New York State, the Empire State Economic Development Corp. is the primary agency charged with helping small businesses. Among its many programs that help proprietors secure loans or other resources are: The Entrepreneurial Assistance Program provides instruction, train-
ing, technical assistance and support services to entrepreneurs who have recently opened a business or are interested in starting one. New or aspiring start-ups by minorities, women and dislocated workers have obtained in-depth help in developing basic skills, refining business concepts, devising early marketing plans or preparing action plans, in addition to obtaining business financing. Queens business owners are served by the EAP office located at One Pike St., New York, NY 10002; 212-964-6022, ext. 138, or log on to http://www. renaissance-ny.org. The Small Business Revolving Loan Fund is a $50 million fund designed to create economic activity by providing greater access to capital for main street shops. It is targeted to those small businesses that have had difficulty accessing regular credit markets. Two types of loans are available: Micro-Loans with the principal amount less than, or equal to, $25,000 and Regular Loans with
the principal amount greater than $25,000. Twenty community development financial institutions and other community-based lending organizations currently participate. Visit http://www.nyfirst.ny.gov for more details. Additional websites for small business resources include: New York State’s Small Business Resource Center, administered by the Empire State Economic Development Corporation, at http://www. nyfirst.ny.gov. State University of New York Small Business Development Center at http://www.nyssbdc.org. New York City Department of Small Business Services at http:// www.nycsbs.gov. New York City Public Library’s NYC Small Business Resource Center at http://www.nypl.org/smallbiz. Start-Up New York at http://startup-ny.com. U.S. Small Business Administration at http://www.sba.gov. I wish all Queens residents a very happy holiday season and I hope you join me in supporting our local stores on Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday, and each day of the year.
Page 6 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
OF SOUTHEAST QUEENS 150-50 14th Road Whitestone, NY 11357 (voice) (718) 357-7400 fax (718) 357-9417 email email@example.com The PRESS of Southeast Queens Editor-in-Chief:
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Reporters: Natalia Kozikowska Joe Marvilli Luis Gronda Trisha Sakhuja
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Michael Nussbaum Publisher Ria McPherson Comptroller
Editorial Our Choice For A Strong Speaker Over the last few weeks, various candidates looking to be the new City Council Speaker have participated in forums, giving the public an idea of where they stand on a number of issues. The discussions are healthy and we commend these Councilmembers for participating, opening up a process that is usually closed to the public. The public will not have a hand in choosing the next Speaker, nor will voters be asked to go to the ballot box again to choose. No, this selection will be made by the Democratic County leaders with the final selection made by our Mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio. Bill de Blasio has a good idea of who he would like to have as the leader of the City Council. No doubt he would like to have someone who would happily help push his progressive agenda through the Council. The City Council, however, needs a leader who will be a counter-weight in any deliberations on the budget and legislative agendas. While we respect de Blasio’s concern and involvement in the process, we believe that it would better serve the interests of the City to have a City Council Speaker be someone who can serve as a counter-weight to the City’s chief executive. Diversity and dialogue make for a better executive branch, as well as a competitive legislative organ. With that in mind, there is one candidate for the position who we believe presents the strongest case for new leadership within the City Council. Having served in the City Council and the State Assembly, Mark Weprin has tremendous knowledge of the legislative issues and would provide great insight as City Council Speaker. Instead of serving as a creature of an ideological faction within the City Council, we believe that Weprin represents a Speaker who would achieve balance by being an honest broker. Weprin was one of the first City Council members to jump on board with the Participatory Budgeting process, which allowed his constituents to have a say in where City Council funds are spent, another issue for which we commend him. Clearly, he is a legislator and a leader who will not only listen, but would seek advice and counsel from his colleagues – from the far left to the far right. In a city as diverse as we are, government governs best from the middle.
Letters Keep Class Sizes Small To The Editor: Jugglers amaze us with their ability to actually manipulate objects. Magicians, also known as illusionists, confound us with their ability to fool us... and so
do unscrupulous individuals when they manipulate statistics to pull the wool over our eyes! Small class sizes are universally known to be one of the main selling points of any educational institution.
Why? Simple logic tells us the instructor can give more individual attention to each of the students if there is less of them in a classroom. Smaller classes are expensive. If more students are
Letters taught per teacher for the same amount of salary, the school system is saving money. If each teacher has an average class size of 30 pupils as opposed to 23, then a great deal of money is saved – at the expense of each child getting more individual attention! As far as looking at this through a thick wool sweater, we must ask ourselves, how is average class size determined? Elementary arithmetic provides us with an easy, but very superficial answer: divide the total number of students in the school by the total number of classroom teachers on the faculty of the school. Simple right? NO! It is not so simple if you go inside the school and you find out that there are many classroom teachers with reduced classroom programs because they are recruited to do administrative jobs: attendance, discipline, lunchroom and hall patrols, lab preps, trip coordinator, etc. So if you look inside all of the classrooms where teaching and learning is going on, the real actual class size will be much higher than the fake “average class size.” Without a doubt, more students per class equals less individual attention a teacher can give to each child! Dave Shlakman, Howard Beach
‘Knockout’ Is The New Game In Town A Personal Perspective By MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE An elderly woman in Midwood, Brooklyn, was attacked with a single punch in the head by a young male who seemingly wanted nothing more than to injure this woman. Police believe it was inspired by a disturbing and growing trend called the “Knockout Game.” The Midwood attack was reportedly the sixth such incident against elderly Jewish residents in Brooklyn. The Jewish aspect of it may just be coincidental as people of other ethnicities and age ranges have also been att acked elsewhere. Some people have actually died as a result of these unexpected, unprovoked punches, includ-
ing a man in his 50s in Philidelphia. But whatever the ethnicity or age, this is not a game anyone would want their children to play. In fact, this is not a game, this is a crime and a sick and cruel one to boot! These random attacks are frightening because they can happen in any geographic location at any time and they are clearly deadly. YouTube videos show the victims immediately falling out cold on the ground. This is a sick and cruel thing for one human being to do to another and no decent human being can relate to these perps. When my siblings and I were growing up and we would tease one another, it would inevitably end with someone crying or fighting back. We would then say in
our defense to our parents, “I was just joking.” My mother in her wisdom would respond, “Bullfrog says what is joke to you is death to me.” So it is with this so-called game. What is a joke to these punks is quite literally, death to their unsuspecting victims. This has got to be nipped in the bud. This could happen to any one of us at a bus station, coming out of a supermarket or any number of innocent activities. The police have got to act fast before this gets any worse. Our children, parents, grandparents, our neighbors, siblings and our friends are all at risk for as long as this stupidity continues. Whatever happened to the real games of stick ball, basketball and board games? They have been replaced
with deadly activities such as punching people in the most vulnerable place on the human form. Technology has been a great thing, but when you use it as a place to share and learn negative activities on the World Wide Web, it becomes a dangerous place. If these young people would pick up a book, not only would they not be bored, they would actually be learning something while staying out of trouble and developing some sense of empathy. It seems we need to grow eyes not only in the back of our heads, but on the sides and top as well. If you let it, the actions of a few miscreants could force you to barricade your self in the house and never come out. What jerks!
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 7
Page 8 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
Queens Gets Ready For Small Business Saturday Besides Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the most widely-recognized day at the end of November. However, a new shopping day has popped up in recent years, one that fits in line with the nature of Queens’ economy: Small Business Saturday. Happening on Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday is a day where shoppers are encouraged to support their local mom-and-pop stores. Many small businesses offer sales or other special deals to increase the amount of customers they receive, hopefully creating some new and loyal patrons along the way. Small Business Saturday was first observed on Nov. 27, 2010. The day was created and promoted by American Express as a way to support local, brick-and-mortar stores, making it an alternative to shopping at national chains on Black Friday and retail websites on Cyber Monday. Combined with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this shopping weekend after Thanksgiving represents the start of the holiday season. According to American Express, the market share for small businesses has dropped from 57 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2009. As the credit card company has a long history of working with small businesses, the day was created to help them thrive, as they create jobs, help the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. This viewpoint is shared by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, who said that the money small businesses make is funneled back into the community. “If you’re shopping at a local store, it goes right into the community. Those companies will sponsor Little League teams, donate stuff to events, etc. Locally owned businesses create more jobs with better wages and benefits in general,” Rob MacKay, director of public relations, said. “It’s often true that local shop owners, because they know their communities so well, they know what the tastes are. They know what sells at what juncture. If you don’t shop at your local stores, they will go away.” In 2010, to kick start the holiday, American Express bought advertising inventory on Facebook and gave it to small merchant account holders. In 2011, the U.S. Senate officially recognized and designated Small Business Saturday in a show of support. In three years, the campaign has paid off. According to a Redshift Research study and American Express, consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday have spent an estimated $5.5 billion at local stores. Across the nation, Small Business Saturday is promoted through social media, as many small businesses do not have the resources for large-scale advertising campaigns. On Twitter, the hashtag #SmallBusinessSatur-
Photo by Ira Cohen
BY JOE MARVILLI
Small businesses along Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and Corona will be participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday event, on Nov. 30. day is often used to publicize deals or small businesses that are worth checking out. In Queens, several economic organizations, such as the Business Improvement Districts, are also preparing for the shopping holiday, to make sure their small businesses thrive on Saturday and throughout the holiday season. The Queens Chamber of Commerce is working with American Express and five local business associations. The Bayside Business Association, the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, Sunnyside Shines, the 82nd Street Partnership and the Beach 116th Street Partnership in the Rockaways have each received 10 $25 American Express gift cards to be spent at small businesses. “It’s the small mom and pops in the commercial corridors that create the most amount of jobs, that create the most amount of economic activities,” the Chamber’s executive director, Jack Friedman, said. “It’s incumbent upon us to help them with those marketing efforts. People get used to shopping locally and realize they have competitive prices that are going to help them all year long.” The Bayside BID has also partnered with American Express for Small Business Saturday. The organization will provide free giveaways at the shops along the length of Bell Boulevard. “The Small Business Saturday initiative shows off the small businesses. It kicks off the holiday season and sets that tone,” Lyle Sclair, the BID’s executive director, said. To keep the momentum going after Small Business Saturday, the Bayside BID will hold a holiday light celebration on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. and will be holding St. Mary’s Kids Days from Dec. 2 to Dec. 8, to support the children’s hospital. These events
will help drive people to Bell Boulevard and could lead to increased shopping in the area. While the 82nd Street Partnership and Sunnyside Shines are partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, they each have their own plans for Small Business Saturday as well. The 82nd Street Partnership will be working with Uber for transportation services. It will also have a Chiva bus, which the BID described as a Columbian Entertainment Bus, to bring people to different areas of the district, such as 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue. More than 100 different businesses are expected to offer specials, which the BID will promote through social media. Sunnyside Shines is going to do something similar, as the BID has asked its businesses to let it know what their sales are so they can compile a list on its website and in its newsletter. “I think it’s a great idea to put a national spotlight on shopping local. It really does help to generate a national buzz about the importance of
spending your dollars in your own community,” Rachel Thieme, the BID’s executive director, said. “We hope people will take that message and apply it throughout the season, not just one day.” The Jamaica BID will re-launch its Jamaica Center BID value card, which will offer discounts of 10 and 20 percent for retailers and food establishments on Jamaica Avenue. The BID will also promote local shopping through its Facebook page. About 40 businesses will be taking part in the day. “Small Business Saturday is extremely important to the BID because many of our retailers are local and have been here many, many years,” executive director Felicia Tunnah said. “They’re a vibrant part of the economy for downtown Jamaica.” On a national level, American Express has several companies listed as its Premier Partners of Small Business Saturday. These businesses are putting forward efforts to help small businesses promote themselves with minimal cost to them. Twitter is giving away up to one million dollars in free advertising credits. Qualified business advertisers who register on Twitter will receive $100 in ad credits while supplies last. Foursquare will promote Small Business Saturday through a custom button in its application that will recommend nearby mom-and-pops to users. FedEx Office is giving businesses the chance to create and pick up two, high-quality 11”x17” posters at no charge. Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@ queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.
For more information on Small Business Saturday deals, visit these Queens business websites: Queens Chamber of Commerce: http://www.queenschamber.org 82nd Street Partnership: http://www.82ndstreet.org Sunnyside Shines: http://www.sunnysideshines.org Bayside BID: http://www.baysidevillagebid.com Jamaica Center BID: http://jamaicacenter.org Bayside Business Association: http://www.baysideba.com Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce: http://www.foresthillschamber.org The Beach 116th Street Partnership: http://shopbeach116.com
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 9
Board Member Accuses Developer Of Bribery On Wednesday night, all but two Community Board 12 members voted to deny the development group Tserpes Holding the variances it needed to construct a new hotel near John F. Kennedy Airport. The group, which pushed to build the $60 million hotel for nearly a decade, requested two variances – one to make changes to the City Map and re-zone the area from a residential zone to a commercial zone. Attorney Vincent Petraro, a spokesperson for Tserpes Holding, claimed that the developers have already met with the land use committee and at the committee’s suggestion, “came back to the drawing board” with fresh ideas. Some of these changes included a catering hall to accommodate 300 guests, two new restaurants and a health club. Petraro also said the de-
Photo by Natalia Kozikowska
BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
“George went door some 20 papers and upon a few minto door to a lot of those utes of examination, she determined houses and these are the that none of the testimonies were people that told George dated past 2008. they support his image “Ladies and gentlemen, these letand application. That’s, ters are as old as seven years old. The I think, very important,” majority of them are from the year he said. 2006. There are a few from 2008,” But come time for dis- she said. “There are zero that I see cussion, CB12 member past the year 2008…. that is what I Yvette Sledge accused was just handed.” Her revelations were met with Vincent Petraro, a spokesperson for Tserpes Hold- Tserpes of bribing residents for their signatures sneers and boos. ing, is grilled by CB12 members about plans to conafter her civic associaWhen it came time to vote, the struct a hotel on North Conduit Avenue. tion refused to throw board shot down both applications, their support behind the many citing that they felt as though veloper is committed to creating an they have been ‘deceived’ by the deinternship in hospitality for the com- proposal. “[When he failed to get the velopers. munity’s youth. The first requested variance to dePetraro claimed that the owner support of the civic association] of Tserpes Holding, George Tser- he made promises like – I’ll reno- map, under the recommendation of pes, has been continuously engaging vate your bathroom. Your kitchen the land use committee, was nixed with neighboring residents – many of needs work? I’ll do that – just sign with 35 board members in favor of whom have given Tserpes their writ- my petition. He’s been pushing denying the variance and one board ten and expressed blessings to build this hotel for a long time,” Sledge member abstaining. claimed. The second variance to re-zone the North Conduit Hotel. Just a few minutes later, a member the area was also struck down with of the land use committee had asked 34 board members in favor of denyCB12 chairwoman Adrienne Adams ing the variance and two abstainers. if Tserpes has provided the written Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowsthe developer is seeking approval to testimonies of neighbors who sup- ka at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or build 64,000-square-feet. port the re-zoning. firstname.lastname@example.org or “We’re not here as greedy develPetraro quickly handed Adams @nkozikowska. opers trying to build a glass tower somewhere,” Platnik argued. The last variance, a parking variance, aims to reduce the number of required parking spaces. The property’s NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION current zoning requires a minimum of NOTICE OF COMPLETE APPLICATION 62 parking spaces but the group asked Date: 11/14/2013 for permission to reduce to 23 spaces. Many locals expressed concern Applicant: NYC DEPT OF PARKS & RECREATION 830 5TH AVE that the lack of parking will further NEW YORK, NY 10021-7001 congest Farmers Boulevard. Facility: NYC PARKS-IDLEWILD PARK Platnik tried to reassure board AT SPRINGFIELD BLVD/147TH AVE & ROCKAWAY BLVD members that the reduced parking QUEENS, NY variance will not gravely impact. He Application ID: 2-6307-00196/00010 claimed that Trinity hired a traffic Permits(s) Applied for: 1 - Article 25 Tidal Wetlands; 1 - Article 24 Freshwater Wetlands consultant to go and study the area and that the consultant determined Project is located: in QUEENS COUNTY impact will be minimal. Project Description: But not everybody was conThe applicant proposes to construct a new Idlewild Nature Center. An existing trailer structure will be removed once the new building is completed. The new nature center will be located vinced. partially within the 150 tidal wetlands adjacent area. Storm water will be directed to a rain “There’s a bus route on Farmers,” garden bio-retention pond. The project site is located on the west side of Springfield Lane, south of 225th Street, east of 150th Road, north of Rockaway Boulevard, in Idlewild Park, said CB12 member Thomas GreenQueens. away. “There is no parking every time Availability of Application Documents: I go there. You are going to congest Filed application documents, and Department draft permits where applicable, are available for that place.” inspection during normal business hours at the address of the contact person. To ensure timely service at the time of inspection, it is recommended that an appointment be made with Although a few other board memthe contact person. bers and residents echoed similar State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Determination: sentiments, other members, includProject is an Unlisted Action and will not have a significant impact on the environment. A ing former chair Jacqueline Boyce, Negative Declaration is on file. A coordinated review was performed. asked those in attendance to recount SEQR Lead Agency: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation all the wonderful things the St. AlState Historic Preservation Act (SHPA) Determination: bans Presbyterian Church has done A Structural-Archaeological Assessment Form has been completed. The proposed activity will for the community – particularly the not impact on registered, eligible or inventoried archaeological sites or historic structures. church’s instrumental role in bringing Coastal Management: Pathmark Supermarket into the area. This project is located in a Coastal Management area and is subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act. After some debate, behind the recommended support of the Land Use Availability For Public Comment: Comments on this project must be submitted in writing to the Contact Person no later than Committee, CB12 approved the vari12/09/2013 or 16 days after the publication date whichever is later. Contact Person: Harold J ances with 19 votes in support of, nine Dickey, NYSDEC, 47-40 21st St., Long Island City, NY 11101-5407, Tel (718) 482-4997. votes against and eight abstainers.
CB 12 Approves Variances BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA Community Board 12 members voted to approve four variances requested by the St. Albans Presbyterian Church in order to build a new mixed-housing complex on Farmers Boulevard. The church applied for variances pertaining to the floor-area ratio, height, dwelling units and parking required for the proposed fixed-income building, which will include a “Cycle of Life” facility. “We want to make this a hub of activity,” said Rev. Edward Davis According to Eric Platnik, a spokesperson for Trinity, the partnering development group, the proposed mixedincome housing complex will contain 67 apartments – 32 one-bedroom units and 35 two-bedroom units. The building will also be incomerestricted, only accepting families with an annual income between $19,000 and $51,000. Rent will be based on salaries and residents will be chosen through a lottery process. Platnik explained that in order to meet the requirements by the State, they would need to construct a fivestory building, which is not compliant with the property’s current R3A zoning. In order to gain the State’s financial support, he argued, Trinity will need to construct a building that is 55 feet tall – 20 feet taller than the permitted 35 for the zoning. Similarly, Platnik claimed that Trinity needed a variance pertaining to the floor-area-ratio [FAR]. The zoning of the property only permits for 44,000-square-feet whereas
Page 10 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
pix Photo by Ira Cohen
Queens’ Core Four
The PRESS of Southeast Queens honored term-limited Queens elected officials during a ceremony Tuesday night. Pictured (from left) are Councilman Leroy Comrie, Borough President Helen Marshall, and Councilmen Jim Gennaro and Peter Vallone Jr. Next week, the PRESS will devote a special issue to these individuals, highlighting their dedication to serve the Borough. The issue hits newsstands Nov. 28.
Jamaica-based data and communications company, Aurora Electric Inc. was recently featured as a 2013 winner of “The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security.” Pictured at the presentation ceremony (from left) are Aurora chief financial officer Amanda Sauls, Principal Financial Group regional sales manager James Cowie, Aurora president Veronica Rose, QEDC board chair Gail Roseman and QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) joined Mike Honan of the American Legion Post 272 with the Knights of Columbus and JASA for their annual celebration to honor local veterans and dozens that were bused in from St. Albans. Mary Romas, Linda Green and other volunteers handcrafted crocheted blankets, scarves, gloves and sweaters, along with other donated items for the veterans to keep warm during the winter months.
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 11
item To Vote off CB9 Member Back on agenda By Luis Gronda The conflict between Community Board 9 members will continue, at least until the board’s next meeting. Less than a week after CB9 voted against ousting Sam Esposito after three members complained that he made racial comments, the board chair sent out a press release announcing CB9 would hold another vote in December on Esposito’s removal. According to the release written by James Coccovillo and tweeted by CB9 member Joel Steven Kuszai Monday night, the board ignored CB9’s bylaws by voting on the item without allowing members to speak on the matter before a vote was taken. “The procedures for removal, as described in the Community Board 9 bylaws, require that those bringing the demand, as well as any other board members who wish to speak on the matter, be heard before the vote to remove be taken,” Coccovillo wrote in the release. The board voted during the November meeting 34-10 to keep Esposito. Before the vote was called, the board debated whether CB9 needed to follow board by-laws or Robert’s Rules of Order on a vote for removal. After it was decided that Robert’s Rules superseded the board by-laws,
a vote was called. Esposito, who said he beCoccovillo wrote in the lieved he was being targeted release that this ruling was because of his support for CB9 incorrect after speaking District Manager Mary Ann with Barry Grodenchik, Carey earlier this year, noted Director of Community that the board had multiple Boards and Hugh Weinoptions to consider at the next berg, general counsel in meeting, including impeaching Borough President Helen Coccovillo as chairman. Marshall’s office. Esposito said he would not In a statement sent out want to bring a vote to replace Tuesday, Coccovillo said, Coccovillo now, with a new “The Borough President’s CB9 Chairman Jim Coccovillo (left) announced the Borough President ready to Office has confirmed board will vote again on whether or not to force out take office, and would prefer that I have wrongfully board member sam Esposito (right), after proper proce- to wait until March, during the allowed CB9 bylaws to dure was not followed. election of new officers. be bypassed, a fact that When asked about the possiCoccovillo acknowledged that the bility of his own removal, Coccovillo needs to be rectified to sustain the confidence and trust of the board as release went out to the media and said that there were no grounds for well as the public, and which will be elected officials first, before other his removal. attended to at the next board meet- CB9 members got the news. He said CB9 member Alex Blenkinsopp it is up to his discretion as to whether said he is disappointed with the ing.” Esposito said he was “shocked” or not he sends out information like entire situation, including being into hear that Coccovillo would put the release to other board members formed of the news through Twitter his removal on the December meet- or the public first. along with the rest of the public. He “I am correcting something that said Coccovillo should have told the ing agenda. He protested on Tuesday that the board chair put the item was wrongfully done,” he said. rest of the board first before sending back on the agenda without the ap- “That’s my position to make sure out the release. proval of the rest of CB9’s executive things are in order.” “That does not mean it’s the right The chairman added he later sent thing to do,” he said. board and that other members were out notice to all other board memnot informed of his decision. The next CB9 meeting is sched“He did this arbitrarily by him- bers, informing them of his decision. uled for Dec. 10 at the Trump Pavilself,” Esposito said. “Regular board He also said this decision would have ion in Richmond Hill. members have no idea what’s going still been made if Esposito was voted Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at on at the moment, we found out off the board, because the correct (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@ procedure was not followed. about it on Twitter.” queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.
Police Blotter 102nd Precinct
Toyota Corolla and, while traveling northbound, struck the right side guard rail, causing the vehicle to flip over and eject the operator from his vehicle. The investigation is ongoing.
On Nov. 15, police arrested Adalberto Sanchez, 50, of Ozone Park and charged him with second-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a weapon, in regards to an incident that occurred earlier that day. Sanchez was arrested after he was discovered with a knife in his hand in a room next to a victim, identified as Josefa Sanchez, 41, who was unconscious and unresponsive, with stab wounds to the upper torso. Adalberto Sanchez was apprehended without incident, and was transported to Jamaica Hospital with a stab wound to his abdomen.
At 10:15 p.m. on Nov. 15, police responded to a motor vehicle acci-
sexual assault a surveillance photo of the suspect believed to be involved with a sexual assault within the confines of the 107th Precinct.
dent on the Cross Island Parkway, in the vicinity of exit 26. Upon arrival, police observed the victim, a 49-yearold Hispanic male, unconscious and unresponsive with trauma to the head and body. EMS responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene. Police investigation determined that the victim was operating a 2005 silver
The NYPD is asking the public’s assistance identifying and locating the following suspect wanted in connection with an attempted rape. At 4:45 a.m. on Nov. 1, the victim was followed from a bus stop by the suspect, who grabbed the victim by the throat and shoved her to the ground. The suspect punched the victim about the head and attempted to rape her, but fled when a witness heard the victim’s screams for help. The witness yelled out that he had called 911. The suspect is described as a white man with a light complexion,
The nyPd is asking the public’s assistance identifying these two individuals wanted for a grand larceny that took place at 5:20 p.m. oct. 31 inside of 41-79 Main st. The suspects removed a wallet from a victim’s luggage the victim was carrying. approximately 20-30 years old, between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-8, weighing between 150-170 lbs., with short dark hair. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and dark jeans.
Page 12 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
electeds To Perform At Queens College BY JOe MARviLLi This Saturday, elected officials from Queens will be taking part in legislative acts, but not the kind you would expect. Thirty members of Queens’ government, ranging from the City Council up to the House of Representatives, will appear onstage for Queens College’s fundraising event, “Legislative Acts.” Rather than showing their prowess in writing bills, the officials will be showing off their creative talents. This is the first time Queens College will produce “Legislative Acts,” though the show was first held in 1994 at Queens Theatre in the Park. “I wanted to create an event which would draw audiences, raise funds and celebrate the warmth and spirit
of our Borough,” Jeffery Rosenstock, assistant vice president of External and Governmental Relations at Queens College, said. Parodies of classical movies, television shows, Broadway productions and songs, will all be performed with a Queens twist. Taking place at LeFrak Concert Hall, the day will kick off with a cocktail reception, followed by the performance and a post-show dessert reception. Funds raised will go to two Queens College programs meant to help un-
Bringing iberian Food To Queens O Lavrador Restaurant and Bar 138-40 101st Ave., Jamaica ( 718) 526-1526 olavradorrestaurant.com HOuRs: sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m – 10 p.m. Friday and saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. Cuisine: spanish and Portuguese CRediT CARds: Yes deLiveRY: Yes TAke-OuT: Yes CATeRing: Yes If you are in the mood to try the finest cuisine from the Iberian Peninsula, then you should go to O Lavrador Restaurant and Bar in Jamaica. O Lavrador offers several classic dishes that many in Portugal and Spain enjoy on a daily basis. I had the opportunity to try some of their meals during a visit to the restaurant on Monday afternoon. I started off with an appetizer platter, which included fried calamari, steamed clams in garlic and wine sauce, shrimp sautéed in garlic sauce and homemade sausage flambee. All of the starters were delicious but the calamari was especially my favorite. It was cooked to perfection and the breading did not peel right off the calamari like it does in many other restaurants. The marinara sauce adds a nice touch to the meal as well. I used it on all of the appetiz-
ers, not just the calamari. Next, I moved on to the main course. They let me pick two of their dishes off the menu. I decided to sample one Spanish dish and one Portuguese dish. I went with the Marinara Paella, or the “Paelha Marinheira” in Portuguese, and Sautéed Pork Tenderloins, clams and cubed potatoes mixed with a brown sauce, or “Carne de Porco a Alentejana” in its native tongue. The paella was a potpourri of seafood mixed into one bowl. It had lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari and scallops mixed in with some yellow saffron rice. Each of the seafood had its own individual taste. Put them together and you get one glorious meal. The pork was an easy-to-eat meal. The meat was soft and tender with every bite; I guess that is how it gets its name. The pork makes for good mixing with the brown sauce. The potatoes gave me the best of two worlds. It is a little bit crunchy but still soft enough to eat and had a ton of flavor, which surprised me a bit as I was not expecting that. O Lavrador is highly recommended if you’re looking for tasty food in the Jamaica area. Don’t hesitate to stop by this restaurant if you’re looking for a terrific meal in a nice, relaxed atmosphere. - Luis gronda
derserved populations: Women at Work and Big Buddy. The production is expected to star Councilmembers Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Ruben Wills (D-South Ozone Park). Performers from the State Legislature include Assemblymembers Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights), Phillip Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), Ron Kim (D-Flushing), Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), William Scarborough (D-Jamaica), Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and David
Weprin (D-Little Neck) as well as State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing). The show’s Washington stars are U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (DBrooklyn). Other special guests include Borough Presidents past (Claire Shulman), present (Helen Marshall) and future (Melinda Katz). Councilman-elect Rory Lancman, Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer and former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. will perform as well. The performance will take place on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $100 per person. For more information, call the box office at (718) 793-8080. Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@ queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.
Whitesell Returns To Help sJu Hoops Team By his own admission, Jim White- is University. Before that, Whitesell sell is getting back to something he spent 24 years as a head coach, winhas been removed from for several ning 375 games. He won games in years, as he begins his first season as four different decades as head coach an assistant for the men’s basketball at three different schools in Illinois team at St. John’s and head coach (Elmhurst, Lewis and Loyola). Steve Lavin. Steve Lavin met his new assistant “It’s certainly an adjustment,” said back in the 90s through Jim’s brother Whitesell, after the Red Storm’s 73- Patrick, who worked out of LA and 57 win over Wagner at Carnesecca saw Lavin at Lakers games. When Arena on Friday night. there was an opening “St. Louis was a bigger for an assistant, Lavin adjustment. You’re used figured he knew a good to calling the decisions. fit, saying “He’s an exIt’s enjoyable to somecellent teacher who’s times sit back and be in very patient in working charge of specific things. with young people.” It’s a good perspective Whitesell and his on what Coach Lavin wife have grown accusgoes through on a daily tomed to New York. basis.” “I have five brothers, “I just tell him what’s and three of them lived Jim Whitesell working,” said Whitein Manhattan at one time sell. “You don’t want to talk too or another,” Whitesell said, speaking of much as an assistant. The coach al- his family that is in the entertainment ready knows what he wants to tell his industry, as writers, directors, actors or team.” agents. As an assistant, Whitesell has He is also being influenced by the ear of the head coach. With St. Coach Lavin. John’s up by eight early against a “Steve is so good with people. He scrappy Wagner Seahawks squad, challenges them, encourages them. Steve Lavin had a quick word with He’s really positive. He really teachhis new assistant coach before he ad- es them,” Whitesell said, citing the dressed his team in the huddle. St. attention to detail shown by Lavin, John’s scored the next eight points and the motivation he receives. “Last on its way to a double-digit win. Sunday, he was telling the team, we Whitesell is enjoying his first year need to work better at our craft, on the sidelines for the Red Storm, whether it’s playing or coaching.” after spending the last two at St. Lou- david Russell
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 13
HEnDRIk MEURkEns sAMbA JAzz QUARtEt
Flushing Town Hall will present harmonica and vibraphone virtuoso Hendrik Meurkens at 8 p.m. for an evening of Brazilian jazz. He will perform classic Samba Jazz compositions along with his original songs. He will be joined by Misha Tsiganov on piano, Gustavo Amarante on bass and Adriano Santos on drums. The event costs $15 for general admission and $10 for members and students. Call (718) 463-7700 for more information.
ARtIstIC PERfoRMAnCE Queens Council on the Arts’ next 3rd Space event will feature a presentation of “Neural: Cleave,” a work in progress by Queens-based sound artist Michelle Jaffe, from 7-8:30 p.m. A conversation will follow. Cost is $5. QCA is located at 37-11 35th Ave., Astoria. For information, visit www.queenscouncilarts.org.
day of the event and $15 per person at the door. Refreshments and a 50/50 raffle will be available as well. All major credit cards are accepted. The Jewish Center is located at 183-02 Union Tpke., Flushing. For information, call (718) 380-4145.
HoLIstIC PAREntInG sEMInAR
If you are looking for ways to better your children’s nutrition and meal planning, health and wellness with CPR overview, along with principle based parenting techniques, join the seminar at Lolly’s Learning Center. The center is located at 5-44 47th Ave. in Long Island City. Admission is $20 that includes lunch and childcare. It runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Belle’s players will perform several scenes and monologues by popular playwrights. The show will take place at the Forest Hills Library at 108-19 71st Ave. It will run from 2:30 p.m. until 3:45 p.m.
Greater Astoria Historical Society will host a book sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, Astoria. Displays will consist of new and used books. For information, call (718) 278-0700.
LIttLE MAkERs: GInGERbREAD CELEbRAtIon
The Mikey.K-Project will perform an acoustic show at Press 195 with talented singers Suzanne Clark and Nina. The show will start at 10:30 p.m. Grab a few beers and enjoy the show. Press 195 is located at 40-11 Bell Blvd., Bayside.
The Hillcrest Jewish Center is sponsoring an art auction with Marlin Art. Featuring art in all media and price ranges, the preview will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the auction itself will start at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 per person before the
tHE LIttLE EnGInE tHAt CoULD EARns HER WHIstLE Queens Theatre will present “The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle” as part of its family series. Taking place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., this play tells the story of The Little Blue Engine, who thinks she is too small to go up the big hill. When the fate of the Piney Vale Express relies on her though, she finds out how much she can do with a little self-confidence. Adapted for the stage by playwright and lyricist Greg Gunning and composer Richard DeRosa, the play costs $14 to attend. Call the box office at (718) 760-0064.
SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK
This family event at the New York Hall of Science’s Maker Space will let attendees whip up some gingerbread dough and build their own gingerbread house. The workshop is recommended for children ages 18 or older. It costs $8 per family, plus NYSCI admission. Register on the day of the event at the NYSCI admissions area. For information, call (718) 699-0005, ext. 341 or email email@example.com.
bRoADWAy’s nExt HIt MUsICAL
The Queensborough Performing Arts Center will present an original, improvised musical comedy. Broadway’s Next Hit Musical makes up every lyric, melody and piece of choreography on the spot. The show features improve superstars Deb Rabbai, Rob Schiffmann, Robert Grant, Kobi Libii, Stefan Schick and Rebecca Vigil, host Greg Tiggs, pianists Eric March, Andrew Resnick and Gary Adler. Tickets are $25 and the show begins at 3 p.m. Call the box office at (718) 631-6311.
during two services, at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. You must attend one of the services to be eligible to get the turkey. The Queens Tabernacle is located at 86-03 96th St. in Woodhaven. For more information, please call the tabernacle at (718) 846-7575.
City job fair. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. The job fair will be located at 168-25 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. For more information, call (718) 5576755 or visit www.nyc.gov/ workforce1.
bUstER kEAton MARAtHon
The Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City will host a marathon of Buster Keaton films starting at 11 a.m., shown on the club’s brand-new 125-inch screen. Cost is $7. For more information, visit www.laughingdevil.com.
The Queens Tabernacle is giving away free turkeys
Bon Journey, a Bon Jovi and Journey tribute band, will perform at Resorts World Casino at 8 p.m. The band will perform classic hits from both bands like “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “It’s My Life,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Mother, Father.” Resorts World is located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd in South Ozone Park.
tHURsDay 11/28 tHAnksGIvInG DAy!
The Shops at Skyview Center will host a craft table event at the shopping mall. While supplies last, people can make origami wallets. The event will take place on Level D in the mall. It will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Skyview Center is located at 40-24 College Point Blvd in Flushing.
bon JoURnEy ConCERt
Have some turkey!
Qns URbAn Mkt
skInny’s CAntInA: PAInt nItE
Learn how to paint! Take a two hour class, and no experience necessary! Use code LICNOV50 for 50 percent off. The class will start at 6:30 p.m. at Skinny’s Catina at 47-05 Center Blvd. in Long Island City. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/ SkinnysCantina.
Resorts World Casino will host a free New York
QNS Urban MKT is a new market inside the historic Standard Motor Parts building in Long Island City. The market offers a variety of vendors including food, jewelry, arts & crafts, photography, and furniture. The SMP building is located at 37-18 Northern Blvd. The market is open every Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
send all information to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: 150-50 14th Rd., Whitestone, Ny 11357
Page 14 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 15
Rev. Frazier Celebrates Five Years At Majority This month, the Rev. Darryl Frazier of Cambria Heights celebrated his five-year anniversary at Majority Baptist Church in St. Albans. Frazier, who previously served as assistant pastor at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Hollis, is only the second pastor at Majority Baptist Church. His predecessor, the beloved Rev. Walter Jones, was with the St. Albans church for more than 48 years. “It was challenging to get people to be accustomed to me. After 48 years, people became accustomed to a certain way,” Frazier said. “They were definitely big shoes to fill. He was there for 48 years, so many of the people that have been going there for years were used to his way of preaching and now, to have someone new come in. It can be challenging for me and them.” And Frazier admits replacing Jones, who had been there for nearly half a century, was not the only challenge that he encountered when he became a pastor. “I’ve learned that it is a challenging to be a pastor of church that has
Photo courtesy of Rev. Darryl Frazier
BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
Heights resident Rev. Darryl Frazier celebrated his five-year anniversary at Majority Baptist Church earlier this month. to deal with different personalities, different people,” he said. “Everyone has their own specific needs and as a pastor, you spread yourself thin at times trying to address the needs of the people.”
“It’s very fulfilling work that requires dedication,” he added. “The biggest challenge is the flexibility of time. Sometimes it’s difficult to be a pastor full-time and balance having a family. Time and scheduling is definitely the most challenging aspect.” Despite facing some pressure in continuing Jones’ legacy, Frazier considers his last five years at Majority Baptist Church a huge success. “We’ve accomplished a lot in the past five years. One of the biggest accomplishments was developing a building that was unusable,” he said. “I was able to open the building, which gave us the opportunity to open the doors for the community. It will give us the opportunity to develop an after school program and community center where we have young people coming after school.” Frazier said his work at Majority Baptist Church is far from done and continues to look for ways to help the church improve. “My biggest goal is to make the church a known point in the community so those seeking help or programs can come in and find that
Majority is a place where they can receive help,” he said. Although there have been challenges along the way, Frazier said his five years at Majority Baptist Church have been a blessing. He has grown particularly fond of the congregants in Southeast Queens. “I find the people to be most rewarding,” he said. “It is the love of the people and the appreciation of the people. When something has been accomplished or they feel blessed by the Word – I find that to be rewarding.” “I want to say thank you [to the congregants] that have been with me the last five years,” he added. “I look forward to many, many years of being a pastor at Majority Baptist Church and it is my prayer that I will continue to help grow the church and bring people in.” Majority Baptist Church is located at 115-21 Farmers Blvd., St. Albans. For more information about the church, call (718) 528-5197. Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or email@example.com or @nkozikowska
Hillcrest High School
Hillcrest Senior A Top-Rated Soccer Star Photo by Bob Harris
Irvin Sibrian, a seSibrian, a provnior at Hillcrest High en leader, also School, is a prime plays for the A.A. example of “practice Academia Argenmakes perfect.” tina Soccer Club The 17-year-old in Flushing MeadEl Salvador native ows Corona Park, is a top-ranked socand, just like at cer player in the PubHillcrest, he is the lic Schools Athletic team’s captain. League. Sibrian, who Through the A.A. has been with the Academia Argenteam since his fresh- The captain of Hillcrest High tina Soccer Club, man year, is this year’s School’s soccer team, Irvin SiSibrian also teachcaptain and can play brian, is currently a top-ranked es children in the in almost every posi- soccer player in the Public younger divisions. tion out of the field – Schools Athletic League. Almost every from mid-field to play day after school, maker to striker. Sibrian and his friends get together In just 12 games this year, Sib- to practice and play soccer in Librian’s statistics are impressive, with erty Park. But his athletic skills are a whopping 52 points, 14 goals and not just limited to soccer – Sibrian 24 assists. has also been on Hillcrest’s handball “Irvin Sibrian is the best soccer team and wrestling team. player in Hillcrest High School histoIn addition to his successful athry ever,” his coach, Juan Asqui, said. letic career, Sibrian is very focused
on academia. Last year, he was in the Council for Unity class in the Public Service Institute at Hillcrest. Sibrian also exhibits a passion for community service, having had participated in numerous fundraisers at the school and the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. Sibrian, whose philosophy is that
‘nothing is impossible,’ aspires to one day become a professional soccer player. “I want to thank my grandfather and my coaches,” he said. The star athlete hopes to attend Berkley College where he plans on studying criminal justice. He is banking on a soccer scholarship.
Richards Checks Out Library Councilman Donovan Richards recently stopped by the Rosedale branch of the Queens Library to check out some of the branch’s new student research books he funded. Richards has allocated $11,500 to purchase books and materials for each library in his district. Here, Richards is pictured with Stella Omogun, her daughter Serenity and library manager Patricia Eshun.
Page 16 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
Autistic Student Finds Focus In Martial Arts tried. Elijah is learning tae kwon do, which Grell selected. Some children have trouble social“We watched the class and I felt it izing. Those who are autistic face was better for him, because it’s hardgreater challenges to come out of their er than traditional karate,” she said. shell. While Elijah Rincon does suffer “I wanted to see if I could challenge from Autism Spectrum Disorder, he him and push him.” has flourished due to the martial arts Besides the newfound focus and classes he started taking. training Elijah is receiving, According to his mother, the classes have helped him Melinda Grell, the 13-yearbecome more sociable and old Elijah was daunted at first less shy, overcoming one of auby the physicality of martial tism’s most-common effects. arts. Once he started working Even though he is not directly with Joseph Lupo Jr. at the in the class yet, Grell said her New York Black Belt Center son is engaging with other kids in Bayside, he gained a newand even some of the adults in found focus and enjoyment in Elijah Rincon her kickboxing class. the activity. Grell added that as a par“In the beginning, he was a little ent, watching her son overcome his bit intimidated with the kicks and shyness has been as emotional as punches. He’s not an aggressive when he started talking, something child. I had him try it out and he that she was told was in doubt. Elijah loved it,” she said. “A lot of kids with triumphed over that challenge, being autism, they’re very clumsy, not very able to say “I love you” to her. Now, well-coordinated. They cannot do he has taken another leap forward. two or three tasks. Now, at this kara“Before, he was shy. He was not te school, he’s focused, he’s actually his age in social activities. Now, he’s socializing a lot more.” just Mr. Social,” she said. “Every parLupo Jr. is giving Elijah private les- ent’s fear is your child not engaging, sons until he catches up to the rest of not socializing, in their own little the class, a significant improvement world. It’s been an amazing experiover the first martial arts school they ence watching him flourish.”
Photos provided by Melinda Grell
BY JOE MARVILLI
Elijah Rincon has flourished since he started taking tae kwon do lessons at the New York Black Belt Center. The activity has given him a sense of focus that has helped him with his autism. Lupo’s lessons have created a close relationship between the two of them, with Elijah viewing him as a role model. “He looks up to him. He wants to be like him,” Grell said. “He even said when he grows up and becomes a man, he wants to be like Master Joe.” While he has only been taking classes for about a year, Elijah has grown significantly, in terms of his concentration, sociability, engagement and coordination. Grell said that pushing her son to do martial
arts turned out to be a great decision and recommended that other parents with autistic children take a chance and do the same. “Any parent that has a child with ASD, they shouldn’t be afraid of allowing their kids to experience something other than what they’re accustomed to,” she said. “You’ll never know your child’s full potential unless you push him.” Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@ queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.
People The New York Army National Guard has announced the reenlistment of members in recognition of their continuing commitment to serve. Specialist Rashawn Townsend of Jamaica has reenlisted to continue service with the 107th Military Police Company. Sergeant Sasha Morse of Rosedale has reenlisted to continue service with the Company A, 101st Signal Battalion. Staff Sergeant Mack Logan of Jamaica has reenlisted to continue service with Company A, Recruiting and Retention. Sergeant Gobin Raghunath of Richmond Hill has reenlisted to continue service with the Company B, 1-69th Infantry. Sergeant John Krutki of Hollis has reenlisted to continue service with the Company G (Forward Support Company Field Artillery), 427th Brigade Support Battalion. The New York Army National Guard has announced the promotion of members in recognition of their
capability for additional responsibility and leadership. Gera Nunezrivera of Far Rockaway, serving with the 107th Military Police Company, is promoted to private. Ana Bello of Richmond Hill, serving with Company G (Forward Support Company Field Artillery), 427th Brigade Support Battalion, is promoted to sergeant. Sean Durst of Richmond Hill, serving with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-258th Field Artillery, is promoted to sergeant. David McMichael of Hollis, serving with the 133rd Quartermaster Support Company, is promoted to private. Tevin McLeary of South Ozone Park, serving with the 145th Maintenance Company, is promoted to private first class. Khemelek McGann of Laurelton, serving with the 187th Signal Company, is promoted to specialist. Donny McKay of St. Albans, serving with the Company C, 1-69th Infantry, is promoted to staff sergeant. Anthony Davis of Jamaica, serving
with the Forward Support Company, 204th Engineer Battalion, is promoted to private first class. Army Reserve Pvt. Tiffany A. Weaver has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises. Weaver is a 2011 graduate of Pathways College Preparatory School, St. Albans. Bishop Paul Sanchez and the Sacred Music Society of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, 110-6 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, will present its annual Christmas concert at 4 p.m. on
Dec. 15. The Sacred Music Society will join with the Oratorio Society of Queens, under the direction of Maestro David Close, for the concert. The Latin American Cultural Center of Queens and the Sunday to Remember program will host a 2013 Thanksgiving Celebration from 2:305 p.m. Nov. 24 at El Paraiso Tropical, 102-11 42nd Ave., Corona. The free event will include dance and Latin American music with the artisitic presentation of Francisco Cantilo. Refreshments will also be served. Space is limited. Reserve a spot by calling (718) 261-7664 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 17
What’s Up NoV. 22 United Black Men of Queens Dinner Dance Save the date for the United Black Men of Queens Foundation’s 38th Anniversary Scholarship Awards Dinner Dance. Join them for a tribute “roast” for Lawrence Cormier. For journal sponsorship opportunities, please call UBM at (718) 2761875.
An Evening of Jazz Legendary jazz artist Bill Jacobs will return to his hometown of Southeast Queens to perform with his ensemble for a special concert, “An Evening of Jazz,” at the Hollis Presbyterian Church. The Bill Jacobs Ensemble will perform at the Hollis Presbyterian Church. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the concert beginning at 7 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $20. For more information, call the church office at (718) 776-4646 or visit the church’s website at www.hollispresbyterianchurch.org. The Hollis Presbyterian Church is located at 100-50 196th St., Hollis.
NoV. 23 table Manners for thanksgiving Have you ever wondered which way to pass food at a table or how to make a holiday dinner a delightful and festive occasion for everyone attending? Etiquette teacher and butler Nikolaus Christmann will teach basic table manners and tell instructive and humorous tales from his recently published book, “The Butler’s Dinner Stories.” This workshop will be held at the Queens Central Library at 2:30 p.m. It is free to attend.
heart-to-heart Weill Cornell Medical College and the New York Presbyterian Hospital are pleased to present Heart-to-Heart – a free health screening and consultation. Come on out for a day of diabetes testing, cholesterol screening and blood pressure testing. For additional information, contact Geraldine Massuh at (646) 962-8309. The event will be held at the Harvest Room from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Harvest Room is located at 9040 160th St., Jamaica.
NoV. 24 Free Craft table Event The Shops at Skyview Center will host a craft table event at the shopping mall on Sunday. While supplies last, people can make origami wallets. The event will take place on Level D in the mall. It will run from 2 p.m. to
4 p.m. The Skyview Center is located at 40-24 College Point Blvd.
NoV. 25 Resorts World Casino Job Fair Resorts World Casino will host a free New York City job fair. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. The job fair will be located at 16825 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. For more information, call (718) 557-6755 or visit www.nyc.gov/workforce1.
overview of Alzheimer’s Disease Speaker Ellen Ratner will present an overview of Alzheimer’s disease and discuss programs and services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association of New York City. The free workshop will be held at the Queens Central Library in the Auditorium, C level. The event is free and will begin at 6 p.m.
NoV. 27 Bon Journey At Resorts World Bon Journey, a Bon Jovi and Journey tribute band, will perform at Resorts World Casino. The band will perform classic hits from both bands like “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “It’s My Life,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Mother, Father.” The band will start performing at 8 p.m. Resorts World is located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.
NoV. 30 Blue pipa trio performs The Blue Pipa Trio will present their interpretations of jazz trumpeter Buck Clayton and Chinese composer Li Jinhui, as well as pieces by Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others at the Forest Hills Library. The trio consists of Min Xiao-Fen, who plays the pipa, sanxian and also sings, bassist Dean Johnson and guitarist Steve Salerno. The show is slated to begin at 3 p.m. The library is located at 108-19 71st Ave.
DEC. 2 how to Be a Good Friend Author Letty Pogrebin will speak at the Central Queens Y about her guidebook on how to be a friend to a person who is sick. Pogrebin offers insight on this issue following her experience of dealing with breast cancer. Many people may not know what to do when they find out a friend is suffering from a serious disease and the author will offer tips and advice on how to deal with that. The talk will begin at 1:30 p.m.
There are two drop-off locations. The first is the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, located at 16104 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. Drop-off hours for JCAL are Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. The second drop-off center will be the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. Drop-off hours for JPAC are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the toy drive, call the Sutphin BID office at (718) 291-2110.
DEC. 4 Monthly Jazz Clinic
Kickers Junior Soccer Club of SEQ
Flushing Town Hall will hold a jazz clinic for high school students and up. If you are interested in learning more about jazz and playing alongside other musicians, join the Queens Jazz OverGround for the clinic at 5 p.m. Stick around for the monthly jazz jam immediately afterwards. To register or more information, call (718) 463-7700, ext. 241 or email education@flushingtownhall. org.
DEC. 6 Enrich Wikipedia Millions and millions use Wikipedia every year as an all-purpose reference tool. Unfortunately, some of the most prominent people and places in Queens’ history are not well represented. Queens Library is hosting a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon to enrich the record. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd. The Library needs the help of history lovers, long-time Queens residents or anyone in the community who would like to help. Drop in at any time and stay as long as you like. No previous computer experience is needed. If you would like to learn more about adding information and pertinent photos or letters to Wikipedia, this is a wonderful opportunity.
DEC. 1 Composter’s Day at Queens County Farm
oNGoiNG Sutphin Blvd. BiD hosts toy The Queens County Farm muse- Drive
um will host Composter’s Day at the museum. You will learn about what happens to food scraps when it is collected at Greenmarket drop-off sites. The Queens Botanical Garden’s staff at the farm will create 10,000 pounds of food scraps with the collected compost. A light snack will be provided but please bring lunch. It will start at 10:30 a.m. and finish at 2:30 p.m. The museum is located at 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy. in Floral Park.
The Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District will hold its first-ever Annual Toy Drive. Donate toys and support the Sutphin Boulevard BID’s Annual AdoptA-Family program. Your donation will go to a child in need. Only brand new toys will be accepted for donation. All toys must be unwrapped and in their original packaging. Donations must be received by Dec. 13.
Boys and girls ages 4-18, with or without skills, are encouraged to register for the free Kickers Junior Soccer Club of Southeast Queens. The kids will not only receive great training in the game, but they will also have the opportunity to engage in cultural and educational activities. Kickers offers a year-round program including indoor and outdoor seasons. Travel team opportunities are available. Experienced 12 to 13 year-olds interested in the travel program are being sought. Kickers coaches have received special training to work with youngsters and look forward to meeting you and your children. To register, parents should bring two passport size photos and a copy of the young person’s birth certificate, or other documents, as proof of date of birth of participant. For additional information, contact: Fritz Casimir (718) 496-5013, Wilfrid Compere (718) 282-2291,Neville Barrett (718) 664-5187, Leslie Bourjolly (347) 279-4458 or Price Olivier (718) 723-0541. Registration will be held on Saturday mornings at Montbellier Park, located at Springfield Boulevard and 139th Avenue.
WhAt’S Up With YoU? Send your community events to the PRESS for a free listing at 150-50 14th Rd., Whitestone, NY 11357. Call (718) 357-7400 or email email@example.com. All events will be considered for publication, without a fee.
Vandals Target Vallone
Page 18 PRESS of Southeast Queens Nov. 22-28, 2013
Musicians OF QuEEns
Behind the Façade
Got Talent? Not even a few slashed tires can keep Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. from attending a career day. Vallone was all set to speak to students at PS 70 on Nov. 13 – something that has become a regular tradition for the Councilman – when he discovered that the tires on his car had been slashed. After consulting with his auto body shop, Vallone was told his tires were in fact slashed with a knife. With video cameras watching the area outside his house from
a previous incident, Vallone was hoping to catch the vandals. The Councilman, a prolific Facebook poster, took to social media to warn those who would do harm to his property. “Hey punk who slashed my tires, perhaps you missed the video cameras on my house? i’ll be SEEing you soon.” The cameras, unfortunately, didn’t catch the perps. The story does have one happy ending, though. Despite the flat tires, Vallone was able to borrow a car from his parents and make it on time to speak at career day.
Nowadays, newspapers will do anything to slap that ‘exclusive’ sticker on their stories… even if it’s an "exclusive" review of someone else's story. Last week, the cover of the New York Daily News claimed they got an exclusive scoop on a few comments outgoing NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly made about Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. The Daily News reported that in an interview, Kelly said de Blasio is “full of s***” and accused him and his fellow Democratic mayoral hopefuls of “pandering
for votes this fall by attacking the NYPD’s stop and frisk tactic.” No doubt – this would have made for a great exclusive story. But the News’ source? Playboy magazine… We over here at QConf wonder how reporting on another publication’s report could ever be exclusive. It probably didn’t help that New York’s other ‘wellrespected’ publication, The New York Post, seemed to have reported and posted the same story on its website… nearly one hour before the Daily News.
Breakout! That’s one way to pick a lock! During the Flushing BID’s holiday kickoff on Monday, officials encountered a bike locked up where it wasn’t supposed to be. Be careful where you leave your bike, you may need a new lock. Photo by Ira Cohen
Talented individuals of all kinds should email editor@ queenstribune.com for inclusion in a future edition. QConf is edited by: Steven J. Ferrari Contributors: Luis Gronda, Natalia Kozikowska, Joe Marvilli, Marcia Moxom Comrie, Michael Nussbaum, Trisha Sakhuja, Michael Schenkler.
Bait and Switch?
The New York Mets promise of “a big announcement” turned out to be a dud for most fans of the team. Last Wednesday, the Mets promised a huge announcement at the end of the work day to its fans. With the winter meetings currently ongoing in Florida, many fans were probably expecting an announcement of a new acquisition. Instead, the team announced two acts of its postgame concert series that they have been hosting over the last couple of years: Boyz II Men and Huey Lewis. The announcement surely disappointed Mets fans who are eager to see new blood come into the organization. WFAN”s Boomer and Carton, who are both Mets fans, poked fun at the announcement during a show last Thursday, saying they led their fans to believe that they were bringing in a free agent. They also made fun for bringing in acts that were popular a long time ago. “When am I ever going to get the chance to see Boyz II Men and Huey Lewis again? I could probably hire them for my kid’s Bar Mitzvah,” Carton joked.
Behind The Façade has been a project of singer and guitarist Danielle Minch for years. It first came together when she was in high school. Since then, the lineup has changed completely, aside from her, evolving into a tight four-piece alternative rock band. Guitarist Greg Keeley, bassist Ralfie Nunez and drummer Matt Miranda all made their way into Behind The Façade at different times, but all three knew Minch and enjoyed the band’s music before they joined. “They were friends and fans of the band who expressed interest in joining if a position ever opened up and I was more than happy to bring them into the family when the opportunity presented itself,” Minch said. Although the band members all come from different parts of Queens, Behind The Façade often practices in Astoria or Elmhurst. The convenience of living in the same borough has definitely made scheduling and planning sessions far easier, according to Minch. Whether they meet up to record or perform, Minch is happy either way. The brainstorming and piecing together of songs in the studio is as equally enjoyable for her as getting onstage and playing in front of an audience. “Recording feels like camp. We all take the day (or several days) off, drive out to the studio early in the morning and have lots of fun. It's great hearing things we've been
working on for months come to life at once,” she said. “There is nothing better than playing to a crowd who genuinely likes your music and seeing people sing along is what really makes it all worth it. We love meeting and connecting with fans, making new ones and becoming friends with other musicians playing alongside us; the passion is contagious.” Behind The Façade recently played at Tobacco Road in Manhattan as part of the CMJ Music Marathon 2013. Performing with You, Me, and Everyone We Know, Minch said the band had a fun time, got to meet with industry people and made a good amount of new fans. The band just released a new single, called “Blue Waves,” the latest from its new EP, “Strangers.” The writing process differed from their first EP, “We Are Fighters.” Minch wrote most of the songs on the first record by herself or with one of the band’s early guitarists, Ivan. “Blue Waves” was a much more collaborative process with the current line-up. “We are all very happy with how it came out and especially with the fact that we all played a big role in writing it, which we plan to do with our future songs as well,” she said. Besides continuing to write new material, Behind The Façade is working on a music video for “Blue Waves” and hope to put on a northeastern tour in 2014. For more information about the band and its future plans, visit www.behindthefacade. net.
Nov. 22-28, 2013 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 19
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