Flushing is home to a complex world of maternity centers and a birth tourism industry that is here to stay, Liuyu Ivy Chen writes page 8
The Public Advocate candidates need to stop calling for pot revenue to fix subways as if it's a silver bullet to better service, our editorial board writes page 14
An Albanian returns to his roots after a successful decade in New York City’s pizza scene page 12
Since 1970 Dec. 13 - Dec. 19, 2018 QueensTribune.com
ANALYSIS: RON KIM AND ERIC ULRICH ENTER PA RACE AS CONTENDERS
CITY COUNCIL PRESSURES AMAZON FOR DETAILS By MICHAEL GARETH JOHNSON
By MICHAEL GARETH JOHNSON
U E E N S ASSEMBLYMAN Ron Kim officially launched his bid to be the next public advocate of New York City this week, harnessing the populist message of government helping the working class instead of corporations. “New Yorkers today find themselves in the middle of a crushing debt crisis. It’s keeping people from getting ahead—no matter what they look like, or how hard they work,” Kim said in a statement. “And while megacorporations get billions in handouts, and predatory financial companies continue to turn profits on the backs of working- and middleclass New Yorkers, politicians never address the core problem: our system prioritizes corporations over people.” A native of Flushing, Kim has served in the Assembly since January 2013. He has been one of the most vocal critics of Amazon’s receiving tax breaks from New York City and New York State in exchange for the tech giant’s commitment to build a headquarters in Long Island City. During his campaign announcement, Kim echoed the line, “It’s time to put people over corporations.” Ron Kim’s tone and messaging seem spot on to be appealing to a large swath of potential voters in the public advocate election, expected to take place in February, in part because that anti-corporation messaging is not new to him (as it is for some of the other candidates seeking the office). Kim has a legacy of public service, advocating for less regulation of mom-and-pop shops and providing debt relief to students instead of tax breaks for corporations. It’s a virtual certainty that the special election ballot for public advocate, which is an open election with no political primaries, will be filled with more than a dozen candidates. Some political observers think the number could climb to as high as 25 candidates. The mayor will call the special election after Letitia James is sworn in as state attorney general. It is required by the city charter to set the date within a time period that would place the voting in mid- to late-February. To get on the ballot, a candidate will simply need to gather enough signatures and submit them to the Board of Elections.
The open ballot—without political parties and having a short timeline— will favor candidates with dedicated followers who are willing to come out and vote on the abnormal election date. This is an advantage for Kim, who is the first Korean American to be elected to the state legislature. It is possible he may also be the only Asian candidate in the race. This could be an advantage in a field of elected officials that includes prominent black candidates like New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams and Assemblyman Michael Blake; well-known Hispanics like former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Council members Rafael Espinal and Ydanis Rodriguez; as well as other veteran lawmakers like Danny O’Donnell. But Kim could gain his best advantage by consolidating support from the less-ideological working class. While the other candidates in the race may have more-progressive credentials, Kim’s advocacy for the small businesses run by immigrants forms a logical base that the other competitors in the race likely don’t have. There are plenty of social conservatives in the city who think corporations shouldn’t get tax breaks, and many independents who think student debt is crushing the future of young people. Conventional thinking is that the favorites in the race are Jumaane Williams, who finished a close
second in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in the September primary; and Melissa Mark-Viverito, who held the post of City Council speaker for four years (from January 2014 to January 2018). Both are fighting for the traditional progressive wing of the Democratic party—but the race is open to all voters, not just Democrats. So far, most of the debate among the candidates has centered around fixing the subways—something we can all agree needs to happen. The trouble is, the public advocate is going to have little power to make this actually happen. Public advocates can file lawsuits if they see corruption at the MTA, or hold press conferences if there are delays, but the subway systems problems are way beyond that. Public advocates can also introduce bills in the City Council, but the MTA is governed by the state, so again, there is little the future public advocate will be able to do to make our commutes shorter. Some of the candidates have also voiced opposition to Amazon’s coming to New York City—most notably Jumaane Williams. Recent polls have shown that the majority of New Yorkers actually approve of the tech giant’s coming to the city. However, the idea of giving the company up to $3 billion in subsidies doesn’t sit that well with voters, according to a Quinnipiac Poll out last week, which found the people
split on the idea: 46 percent supported the deal and 44 percent opposed. If Kim can run a campaign with a laser focus on the roughly 40 percent of people upset with Amazon’s deal, and persuade them to vote for him, he could find an angle for victory by capturing between 20 and 30 percent of the vote, which likely would be more than enough to win. His position could gain him support from activists and unions, considering Amazon’s checkered past with regard to workers’ rights. Republican Eric Ulrich also launched his campaign for public advocate this week. The city councilman representing the Rockaways and parts of Southeast Queens appears likely to be the only major GOP candidate in the crowded field—which gives him a chance to capture the seat despite the city’s massive 7-to-1 enrollment edge for Democrats. According to the latest enrollment numbers, there are roughly 3.5 million registered Democrats, about 500,000 registered Republicans, and a little more than 1.1 million voters who are not registered in a party or are registered to one of the state’s minor political parties. Ulrich’s message, released in a YouTube video, also will be likely to resonate with a large swath of voters from all parties. In his announcement, he says he is running because “I want to give a voice to the majority of New Yorkers who this mayor continues to ignore.” Ulrich continues, “It is no secret that it is the lobbyists and special interests calling the shots at City Hall. It must end and it can end.” If the field of candidates does end up being around 20, with at least 10 credible Democrats who currently hold office as a part of that lineup, Ulrich’s anti-de Blasio message could be enough for him to secure a victory—especially when the Democrats seeking the seat are likely to have a more-nuanced position in challenging the de Blasio administration: seeking to attack him only on specific policies and not on ethics flaws that have been exposed by the media. It’s virtually impossible to predict the outcome in view of the uniqueness of the public-advocate race, but in the current projection of the race there does seem to be a path to victory for both Ron Kim and Eric Ulrich. The two Queens elected officials are definitely contenders.
On Wednesday, getting a seat at the City Council public hearing on the development of a new corporate headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City was almost as difficult as scoring tickets to Hamilton. People lined up at the security checkpoint and then packed the halls and the balconies for the hearing—which was quickly disrupted by protestors chanting until the City Council threatened to have police remove them. From the start, it was evident that the hearing was going to be contentious, with lawmakers clearly out to chastise Amazon and members of the city’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) about how the deal came together. The biggest sticking point for many of the council members was the agreement between Amazon and city and state officials to develop their new headquarters using the state’s General Project Plan (GPP), instead of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure Application (ULURP). Most construction and development projects in New York City go though ULURP, which gives more power to communities to determine whether or not a company can develop a property. It does so by forcing developers to first send their plans to community boards for a few months to review, before they then land in the borough president’s office for review. Once they move through the BP’s office, they go to an advisory panel that signs off on the plans and sends them to the City Council. If the City Council wants to, it can revise the plans and start the ULURP process all over. For companies, ULURP is a big risk because it is impossible to know how long the process will take. continues on page 4
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
St. John’s Men’s BBall Team Remains Undefeated By MICHAEL GARETH JOHNSON
There was a moment in Sunday’s game against Princeton at Madison Square Garden when the outcome was in doubt. There were about 15:30 minutes left in the first half, and St. John’s superstar guard Shamorie Ponds was blindsided by a cutting Princeton player and immediately went to the floor. The injury didn’t look serious, but Ponds was clearly in pain. For the undefeated Red Storm, Ponds is their on-court leader. When he is playing, everything is calmer for St. John’s. The opposition is always aware of him—on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. It was less than two minutes into the game when Ponds had already made it clear he was the best player on the court, with a sick spin move that left his defender twirling in circles and ended with Ponds’ laying the ball in before the other four Princeton defenders even knew he was trying to score. Ponds sat out for about five minutes of the first half. During that time, his teammates held their own, playing at a frenetic pace, forcing turnovers and getting some easy fast break baskets. The style of play was not sustainable for St. John’s, though. On defense, they lost track of Princeton players on several occasions, allowing the sharpshooting opponents four open threepoint shots that they knocked down with efficiency. When Ponds reentered the game, it was like there was a collective sigh of relief from the rest of the St. John’s teammates.
Everything settled down and the Johnnies went on to dominate the rest of the game. While Princeton made a few runs to keep it close at times—and exploited the Red Storm’s weakness on defense, protecting the three point line—it was clear that as long as Ponds was on the floor, St. John’s was going to win the game. This is often the feeling fans get watching St. John’s play this year as they have run out to a 9-0 record for the first time since Malik Sealy was starring for the Red Storm in the 1990-1991 season. With Ponds, the team has a safety net that makes it feel like they are not going to lose—at least not to a team less talented. Even in the team’s narrow wins versus Bowling Green, California and in overtime versus VCU, there was a sense that Ponds would do enough to secure the victory for the Red Storm. Rarely in sports do you see athletes with this calming effect in the clutch. When backed against a wall, you see them explode with incredible precision and focus. In Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s truly has a superstar who controls the court, makes his teammates better, and continues to improve both in his own play and in his leadership of the talented team from the heart of Queens. The joy of following the Red Storm this season will be to see how good Ponds can become, and how good he can make this team. The next step on that journey is on Sunday versus Wagner at 4:30 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena.
Mets Look To Bolster Bullpen The winter meetings have begun, and that means there’s a ton of buzz about freeagent signings and trades that has come to be known as “hot stove” talk. In the middle of that mix are the New York Mets, who look like they are interested in doing more deals to revamp the look of the team under new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. The biggest buzz is about Noah Syndergaard, the Mets’ ace starting pitcher, who is rumored to be on the trading block. One speculated trade would send Syndergaard across town to the Yankees, with the Yankees sending a host of players to their former captain Derek Jeter, who is now the president of the Miami Marlins. In return, the Mets would get world-class catcher J.T. Realmuto. Without more specifics, it’s hard to see the Mets giving up Syndergaard and only getting back Realmuto, even if he is widely considered to be the best catcher in baseball. Syndergaard is going to command a high price, and Van Wagenen has made that clear. But if saying goodbye to one of their best starting pitchers will allow the Mets to address several other areas of concern, it could be worth it. Meanwhile, Van Wagenen seems laser focused on beefing up the bullpen. Top on his list of free-agent targets is Andrew Miller, the lights-out lefty who has been one of baseball’s best relievers for the past five years—though he took a step back last year with the Indians. Another name being floated is David Robertson, the Yankees’ current setup guy.
Aqueduct Announces Wood Memorial Date Horse racing fans can now set their calendars for one of the biggest prep races for the Kentucky Derby: the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial. As expected, it will be the first Saturday in April, on the 6th. The race is a traditional warm-up for the Kentucky Derby. The 2018 winner, Vino Rosso, went on to finish ninth in the Kentucky Derby. This past weekend at the Big A was highlighted by the $100,000 Garland of Roses, which was captured by the talented filly Vertical Oak. Coming up this weekend, the feature races will be for 2-year-old New York-breds, with fillies taking center stage on Saturday in the $150,000 New York State Stallion Series race, and the colts in a similar six-furlong contest on Sunday. Post time is 12:50 p.m. on both days.
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DECEMBER 27, 2017 / 5:15 PM YANKEE STADIUM F OR T ICK E T S:
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
New York City Council
continued from page 1
Patchett fired back, “We are not ashamed. We are proud to be a part of this project.” Before the interrogations of NYCEDC and Amazon began, the company tried to drive home a few key points. First was that it wants to be a good neighbor in New York City, meeting with the local community to see what needs it has and then trying to address those needs. Amazon also wants to make it clear that it chose Long Island City because it wants to hire New Yorkers. “We will hire residents from Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and across New York State for both technical and nontechnical jobs beginning next year,”Huseman said. In his testimony, Huseman also made it clear that it is still very early in the process. A development plan needs to be made with input from the recently formed CAC, and countless other details of the development timeline must be worked out. These include commiting to workforce development and
addressing infrastructure needs. “We are still in the very early stages of this process, and intend to be an active participant in the issues facing the community and make community investments that benefit New York City residents,” Huseman said. Huseman, alongside Amazon head of Worldwide Economic Development Holly Sullivan, stressed that they had hoped to listen and learn from the hearing, and then develop specific details to address the concerns presented. That message was mostly ignored by City Council members who were hellbent on trying to force Amazon officials and NYCEDC CEO James Patchett to make hard promises about funding, workforce development and other concerns, with a rowdy crowd of anti-Amazon activists in attendance cheering them on.
This is why Amazon, naturally, prefers the GPP process, which is controlled by the state government, presenting less risk that the project will be delayed or outright stopped. GPP cannot be used in all instances, but it was created as an option for rethinking large swaths of land as will be the case with the Amazon headquarters. In recent years, GPP has been used to reimagine Times Square and develop Atlantic Yards. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson kicked off the hearing by pressing Amazon executives on whether they would still have come to Long Island City if they had to go through ULURP. “I don’t think it is an option,” Brian Huseman, Amazon vice president of Public Policy, said, adding, “Our goal is to hire New Yorkers quickly, and the GPP is the best process for this.”
Johnson responded by suggesting that refusing to agree to ULURP was equivalent to ignoring the local community in Long Island City. Huseman and NYCEDC president and CEO James Patchett pushed back, arguing that there will be community input through the GPP with the recently announced Community Advisory Committee (CAC). Responding to Johnson, Huseman said, “My understanding is that through the GPP there will be public input,” at which point Johnson cut him off and suggested he was being advised poorly if he thought that GPP would involve the community in any meaningful way. The theme set by Johnson continued throughout the hearing: Council members used their allotted four minutes of questioning to hammer Amazon on a host
of issues, from Amazon’s willingness to sell facial-recognition technology; to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for locating and deporting undocumented residents; to media reports that Amazon doesn’t treat its workers well. Some of the most-heated testimony came from Long Island City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. He focused his questioning on a proposed $500 million in state grants that Amazon is expected to receive, tied to its development of the headquarters. Van Bramer put forth the idea of Amazon’s giving the money back to help fix four NYCHA projects in western Queens that have roughly $1 billion in capital needs. Van Bramer finished his questioning by saying, “You should be ashamed about this deal.”
City Voted “Yes” On Three Ballot Proposals, So What’s Next?
New York City Council
Amazon executives and officials from NYCEDC defended the Amazon deal under intense questioning from members of the City Council.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson led the Amazon hearing.
Rapper G-Baby’s Mom Still Seeks Justice By ARIEL HERNANDEZ
By ARIEL HERNANDEZ
candidates; and makes public funds available earlier. This proposal will kick off for the 2020 mayoral election, providing enough time for candidates to become better acquainted with the new rules. The current campaign finance board will be responsible for enforcing the new rules.
CRC chair Cesar A. Perales
It’s a no-brainer that the 2018 Election Day voter turnout is going down in history. But according to a spokesman for the New York City Charter Revision Commission (CRC), for the first time in the history of CRCs, not only did over 60 percent of New Yorkers flip the ballots, but they also voted “yes.” “I’m very excited to see not only were people coming out but a lot of people turned over the ballot and voted on the questions,” said Eric Koch, a staffer at Precision Strategies. “These were landslide victories of the three questions and speaks well of the process. It speaks to New Yorkers’ interests. The voters spoke.” What happens next? Koch said all three proposals have different implementation schedules. PROPOSAL 1: Ballot proposal number one, “Campaign Finance Changes,” lowers the amount candidates for city office can accept from contributors to their campaign; increases the amount of public funds available to
PROPOSAL 2: Ballot proposal number two, “Civic Engagement Commission,” creates a commission responsible for the civic engagement of the city and assists community boards. This proposal will take effect in April 2019, with the mayor, City Council and borough presidents appointing their members to the commission. PROPOSAL 3: Ballot proposal number three, “Community Board Term Limits,” changes how community boards are run and creates a more diverse membership by instituting term limits and making the application process more accessible. “This clock starts in 2019,” said Koch. “Every community board member [including current community members] start at 0 and beginning in 2019, the eight-year term limit will begin.” CRC chair Cesar A. Perales said he’s proud of all those who helped to push for the ballot proposals. “The Charter Revision process is designed to improve democracy in New York City and the voters have spoken,” said Perales. “Through meetings over months that spanned all five boroughs, the Charter Revision Commission was proud to meet New Yorkers in their
neighborhoods to hear their ideas on how to make New York City a better place. I’d like to thank our commissioners, members of the public, elected officials, good government groups and others who submitted ideas and thoughts. The Charter Revision process is one designed to engage New Yorkers about the future of their city, and that is exactly what happened.” This proposal garnered controversy from current community board members, including Chuck Apelian, CB7 vice Chairman, who openly opposed the proposal despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office sent out a notice stating board members cannot take a stance on the proposals. “It’s like they shuffled a deck of 52 cards and took out all the aces, kings and queens,” Apelian told the Queens Tribune. “This is bad for government, bad for communities and ultimately, in eight-to-10 years, it’s going to show itself. They’re taking away valuable expertise and passionate dedication.” Apelian said community boards are a lot like civic groups, people who volunteer their free time to advocate for their communities. In addition to creating term limits for community boards, proposal three also makes applications accessible online, in addition to what Apelian calls “minor tweaks.” “There are vacancies right now for community boards,” said Apelian. “I don’t see what this proposal does but take a crane of the clock and deletes it. It creates plain vanilla across the board. All of the expertise and wisdom that community boards currently have disappears.” Reach Ariel Hernandez at ahernandez@ queenstribune.com or @reporter_ariel
The mother of former rapper G-Baby, who was fatally shot in 2010, is calling on the 103rd Precinct to arrest the shooter, who she believes is still roaming the streets of Jamaica and poses a threat. “It’s been eight years since my son died,” Roxanne Brown, mother of G-Baby, told the Queens Tribune. “The last time I was contacted by the police was four years ago.” At approximately 4:30 a.m. on March 13, 2010, Gregory “G-Baby” Brown, 22, was shot and killed on the corner of Archer Avenue and 143rd Street, just blocks away from Amazura Nightclub, located at 91-12 144th Place, where the rapper was headlining a Fabolous concert. G-Baby was signed to rapper Memphis Bleek’s Get Low Records. Rumors surfaced back in 2010 that Fabolous was responsible for G-Baby’s death because of an alleged rivalry between the two artists. Brown told the Queens Tribune that she knows who’s responsible for her son’s death. Brown said her 27-year-old nephew, whose name is not mentioned for his safety, was attacked on Linden Boulevard a week ago by the man she believes shot her son. It was following that attack that her nephew called her to tell her that he had learned through word of mouth that the suspect is
known as the “shooter” in the community. “He said the guy meant to kill some other guy that goes by the name G-Baby,” said Brown. Brown said the man was given G-Baby’s address by a woman who was seeking a different person, and when the suspect found out that he had killed the wrong person, he allegedly shot the woman in the face. Brown has the names of all parties involved. For her safety, she declined to share them with the Tribune, but is more than willing to provide all of the information to the detectives at the 103rd Precinct when they return her calls. “It shouldn’t be taking them this long to get back to me,” said Brown. “They should be reaching out to me to tell me something but they don’t.” The Tribune contacted the 103rd Community Affairs Unit, which directed us to the Detective Squad. The woman who answered the phone said she would not be able to disclose any information pertaining to the case, but took down Brown’s contact information and said she would give her a call. Brown said she has not received a call yet but is hopeful. “I want for them to go and find the person that did this to my son,” said Brown. “The guy that killed my son has killed other people. I’m not the only one that wants him caught; my whole family wants justice. He needs to be arrested. I need to see him. I need to see his face. He doesn’t deserve to be on the streets.” G-Baby is survived by his mother, brother and two children. Brown and G-Baby’s family and friends celebrate his life each year on the anniversary of his death and on his birthday, June 12. “I love my son; I miss my son,” said Brown. “I want to hear his voice again. I want to see his face. It’s not fair. No parent should lose her son. Reach Ariel Hernandez at ahernandez@ queenstribune.com or @reporter_ariel
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
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Around the Borough
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
IS 126 Cuts Ribbon On Science Lab The students of IS 126 cut the ribbon on its $160,000 new hydroponic lab on Monday. The lab is part of Councilman Costa Constantinides’ (D-Astoria) Science 2050 budget initiative, which provides millions of dollars a year to science and technology programs in district 22 schools. “Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are the careers of the future, which is why it’s important we give tomorrow’s leaders hands-on opportunities today,” said Constantinides. “I hope I.S. 126 students will greatly benefit from this lab, as students throughout our district will in generations to come.” The hydroponic lab would allow students to grow plants with a little bit of water and min-
eral solutions aside from soil. The new lab is projected to teach students about agriculture, technology and nutrition, in addition to offering hands-on biology education. “We are looking forward to the hands on experiences that the students will receive as well as the connection that it will give them to our environment,” said IS 126 Principal Alexander Angueira. “I’m happy that the students will be receiving hands on instruction that they will be able to use all their lives. We are hopeful that the lab will help our students become more environmentally conscious and put them on the path to becoming energy conserving citizens.” –Ariel Hernandez
High School Student Stabbed A freshman at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School is in critical condition after being stabbed Tuesday morning. According to police the victim, whom is the son of a school safety agent, was standing near a staircase at approximately 9 a.m., when a 15-year-old student approached him. The two students engaged in a verbal dispute before the 15-year-old slashed him on his forehead with a knife. The victim was rushed to a local hospital, where he received more than 500 stitches across the top side and bottom of his face. Police said the stabber turned himself into the 111th precinct Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the high school’s 2 and a half lockdown following the attack. The student was arrested and has been charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Video taken on SnapChat of the attack surfaced, showing other students observing the incident. “We are working with NYPD as they conduct an investigation and are taking additional safety measures at the school,” said a Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson. –Ariel Hernandez
Fourth Annual Holiday Reading And Tree Lighting The students from PS 13, PS 102 and Newtown High School were joined by Western Queens’ elected officials and leaders for the fourth annual Holiday Reading and Tree Lighting on Friday. The celebration took place at CC Moore Homestead Playground, located on Broadway and 45th Avenue and 82nd Street. “I am pleased to host this Holiday Reading and Tree Lighting at Elmhurst’s historic CC Moore Homestead Playground once again,” said Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights). This special event provides Elmhurst families with an opportunity to celebrate the holidays with their neighbors.” During the event, Dromm read “A Visit
from St. Nicholas, which was written by Elmhurst resident, Clement Clarke Moore. In light of the diversity of the neighborhood, the students of Newtown High School also read the poem in Mandarin. In addition to the live readings, attendees sang some popular Christmas carols, including “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “O Christmas Tree.” Ivy the Christmas Clown conducted live magic tricks and treated guests to a performance, followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree by Dromm, state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens). –Ariel Hernandez
Police Asking For Help In Subway Attack
Woman Dies From Blaze A 65-year-old woman is dead after a fire broke out in her Flushing apartment Tuesday night. According to the FDNY, firefighters responded to a fire at a 15-story building in the Carlyle Tower Complex, located at 43-44 Kissena Blvd. just before 9 p.m. Firefighters were able to get the fire under con-
trol by 9:30 p.m. It was after the flames were out that they discovered the woman dead. The FDNY is currently investigating the cause of the blaze and the woman’s identity has not been released. –Ariel Hernandez
The NYPD is asking the public for assistance in finding the suspect that brutally attacked a woman on a Manhattan-bound E train that left a woman with a fractured spine last month. According to police, on Nov. 30 at approximately 5 p.m. a man, who police believe to be between 50-to-60-years-old, approached a 20-year-old woman on the E train at the Forest Hills/71st Avenue train station. The woman kissed her female friend on the
THE WEILL CORNELL STROKE TEAM IN QUEENS
cheek, which resulted in the suspect using a “slur based upon his interpretation of the victim’s sexual orientation,” said the police. The victim walked away from the man, who then punched her in the back of her head and pushed her to the ground where she hit her head. The suspect got off the train and the woman was taken to Elmhurst hospital where she was treated for a fractured spine.
Surveillance video was released on Sunday showing the man confront the woman on the train. The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident and asks that anyone with information call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The suspect is described as approximately 5-foot-11, and weighing about 220 pounds. –Ariel Hernandez
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
MOVING THROUGH QUEENS A look at transportation issues around the borough
MTA RIDERS DONE WITH FAIR HIKES
BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced a 2019 fare hike, and riders say they have had enough. Following the MTA’s announcement indicating two fare hike proposals, public transportation advocates and riders rallied throughout the city. Currently, the base fare is $2.75, in addition to a 5 percent bonus with a $5.50 purchase; a single-ride ticket is $3; an express bus fare is $6.50; and an unlimited 30-day pass is $121, a seven-day pass is $32 and a sevenday express bus pass is $59.50. The first proposal would leave the base fare at $2.75 but would not include a bonus;
single rides would remain $3; express bus fares would go up to $7; the 30-day unlimited pass would go up to $127; the seven-day unlimited pass would go up to $33; and the express seven-day bus pass would rise to $63. The second proposal would raise the base fare to $3, in addition to adding a 10 percent bonus with a $6 purchase; single-ride tickets would rise to $3.25; a para-transit fare would go from $2.75 to $3; the express bus fare would go up to $7.25; an unlimited 30-day pass would be $126.25; a seven-day unlimited pass would be $33; and a sevenday express bus pass would be $63. The proposal garnered opposition from local elected officials and everyday riders,
who argued that the governor should be pushing for a comprehensive transit funding plan, and should adopt congestion pricing that could raise more than $1 billion to fix the broken subway system. “Asking everyday New Yorkers to foot the bill for the MTA’s shortcomings is wrong and completely unfair,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing). “I believe that using fare hikes to restore our broken infrastructure is the wrong answer, and that commuters should not be forced to shoulder the burden of fixing issues they didn’t cause. We as a city and state should be providing the public funding needed to resolve our transit system crisis. My colleagues and I will do all that we can to ensure the ones most affected by this problem are not the ones most harmed by the solution.” Members of the Riders Alliance gathered at the Queens Plaza eastbound subway platform and boarded an E train to Jamaica, where they encouraged other riders to join the fight for fair transit funding. “I love the subways and I can’t believe politicians let them get so broken down,” said Tina Nannarone, a Riders Alliance member from Forest Hills. “Like most riders, I am angry that the state would raise the fare without fixing the subways. All those delays are costing all of us time and money, not to mention stress. State leaders need to get together a funding plan first, starting with congestion pricing, and fix the subways before they ask us to pay more. That is why I joined the Riders Alliance and went down on the platform at Queens Plaza to talk to riders.” Reach Ariel Hernandez at ahernandez@ queenstribune.com or @reporter_Ariel
NEWS & NOTES
Because of signal maintenance, 7 trains at Hunters Point Ave and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Ave will board at the Flushing-bound platform every Wed, Fri and Sat from 12:40am to 5am. Due to track maintenance, E service between Briarwood and Jamaica Center in Queens is replaced by free shuttle buses from 11:45pm Friday, to 5am Monday.
CONGESTION PRICING PUSH
Because of electrical improvements, E trains will run local in both directions between Queens Plaza and 71 Ave in Queens from 12:01am Sat to 5am Mon.
The #FixTheSubway coalition has been out in full force in recent weeks, advocating for serious changes to the way the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is funded. They were at it again on Wednesday, holding a large rally ahead of the MTA board meeting. Advocates and lawmakers are calling for the state legislature to pass a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan to pay for needed repairs to New York City’s subway and bus system, instead of relying on fare increases to offset the costs. “While it may seem like the MTA has a service crisis or a financial crisis, what riders face is an accountability crisis in Albany. Without a full, fair and sustainable plan from state leaders to fix our broken transit system, any fare hike is an unfair hike,” said Riders Alliance political director Rebecca Bailin. “Governor Cuomo and the legislature need to adopt congestion pricing in next year’s budget as part of a broader package of revenue measures that finally invest in the transit New Yorkers deserve.” Currently, the MTA is facing severe budget deficits, while also trying to invest in needed improvements to the subway system to stem the rise in delays. On Tuesday night, signal problems once again created a hellish commute for passengers in Astoria, who took to social media to complain about being late for work and missing important appointments because trains were delayed by up to an hour.
Due to station enhancements F trains skip 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island and Lexington Ave/63 St in both directions. From 11:45pm Friday to 4am Monday. Rerouted E and R trains provide alternate service. Because of electrical improvements, F trains run local in both directions in Queens from 12:01am Saturday to 5am Monday. Due to a track replacement, M service between Metropolitan Ave in Queens and Essex St in Manhattan is replaced by J trains and free shuttle buses on weekends from 9:45pm Friday to 5am Monday until Jan. 7. Because of station enhancements Astoria-bound N trains will skip 36 Ave and 30 Ave in Queens from 9:45pm Friday to 5am Monday. Due to signal modernization, Forest Hillsbound R trains will skip 5 Ave/59 St, Lexington Ave/59 St in Manhattan and Queens Plaza in Queens from 9:45pm to midnight on Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.
CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF QUEENS A look at development and its impact on the borough
CITY AND STATE ANNOUNCE COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AMAZON PROJECT By MICHAEL GARETH JOHNSON As promised, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the group of business and local leaders who will serve as an advisory committee for the development of Amazon’s new headquarters in Long Island City. The list reads like a Who’s Who of community power players in western Queens who support the project. “Amazon’s new headquarters in Long Island City is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our economy and community input will be a critical part of the development process,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We look forward to working with local elected officials, community organizations and residents to ensure their voices are heard as we work to create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, generate billions in revenue that will be reinvested in the region, strengthen our infrastructure, and expand opportunity for New Yorkers.” The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is going to focus on three specific areas and will be divided into subcommittees to tackle each of them. One will be the development of Amazon’s headquarters on the waterfront, tackling issues like restructuring traffic patterns in the area, pedestrian access and other related matters. This committee will be headed up by Long Island Partnership president and CEO Elizabeth Lusskin and Denise Keehan-Smith of Queens Community Board 2. “Long Island City is a highly diverse mixeduse community, and we look forward to working with the members of the CAC and the en-
tire community to ensure that the voices of that mix—including commercial, tech, industrial, retail, cultural, small and large businesses, as well as residential and student—inform this project,” said Lusskin. “Only in that way can it fulfill its promise to strengthen the balance of those uses, while benefiting the larger community as well.” The second subcommittee will look at infrastructure investments the surrounding neighborhood will need, like new schools, fire departments, police stations and, of course, better subway and bus access. Melva Miller of the Association for a Better New York and Rob Basch of the Hunters Point Park Conservancy will lead this subcommittee with a goal of building on the $180 million already earmarked for investment in the area. The third subcommittee will tackle training and hiring programs for the local community, to make sure that some of the 25,000 to 40,000 new jobs at the Amazon headquarters will be filled with homegrown talent. Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor of Urban Upbound, Gail Mellow of LaGuardia Community College and Jean Woods-Powell of Information Technology High School will lead this committee. “This is a historic time for our city and an even more historic time for northwestern Queens. The arrival of Amazon will revitalize neighborhood businesses and jumpstart young entrepreneurial minds in our communities,” said Taylor. “This is an opportunity to create real careers for the public-housing residents of Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria and Woodside. Co-chairing this subcommittee,
we will lay the groundwork for a future where these residents are leading the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.” Ardine Williams, vice president of People Operations, HR Worldwide Operations at Amazon, echoed the sentiment that the company is committed to train and develop talent among people living in western Queens. “Amazon chose New York City because of its talent pool, and we are dedicated to growing and developing that talent. Working with the CAC, we will build on Amazon’s existing job training and workforce development programs—ensuring they meet the needs of Long Island City residents and create pathways to the 25,000 new jobs we are bringing to the neighborhood,” Williams said. All three subcommittees will work closely with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Amazon. The full CAC will begin holding quarterly meetings in January, and the subcommittees will meet once a month during the planning process for Amazon’s buildout. “The Community Advisory Committee will guarantee that city residents have a role in shaping Amazon’s new headquarters in Long Island City. Community-based planning is critical to guiding strategic investments in Long Island City,” said NYCEDC president and CEO James Patchett. “We look forward to working with elected officials, local residents, community organizations and business leaders to use this opportunity to create a blueprint that will strengthen western Queens for generations to come.”
Community Advisory Committee Members Project Plan Co-Chairs: Denise Keehan-Smith, Chair, Queens Community Board 2 Elizabeth Lusskin, President, the Long Island City Partnership Neighborhood Infrastructure Co-Chairs: Robert Basch, President, Hunters Point Park Conservancy Melva Miller, Executive Vice President, Association for a Better New York Workforce Co-Chairs: Gail Mellow, President, LaGuardia Community College Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, CEO and President, Urban Upbound Jean Woods-Powell, Principal, Information Technology High School CAC Members: Plinio Ayala, President and CEO, Per Scholas Antonios Benetatos, President-elect, Dutch Kills Civic Association Kyle Bragg, Secretary-Treasurer, 32BJ SEIU Paul Camilleri, LIC Resident Gianna Cerbone, Owner, Manducatis Restaurant Meghan Cirrito, Board Chair, Gantry Parents Association Claudia Coger, President, Astoria Houses Tenant Association Lisa Ann Deller, Land Use Chair, Queens Community Board 2 Paul Finnegan, Executive Director, New York Irish Center Angie Kamath, University Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, CUNY Sister Tesa Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Hour Children Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director, NYC Kids RISE Tom Grech, President and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce
Kenny Greenberg, Neon Artist and CB2 Member Chris Hanway, Executive Director, Jacob A. Riis Settlement House Jukay Hsu, Founder and CEO, Pursuit Richard Khuzami, President, Old Astoria Neighborhood Association Debby King, Former Director, 1199 Training Fund Director and LIC Resident Sheila Lewandowski, Executive Director, The Chocolate Factory Theater Reverend Corwin Mason, Community Church of Astoria Annie Cotton Morris, President, Woodside Houses Tenant Association Joey Ortiz, Executive Director, NYC Employment and Training Coalition Tom Paino, Chair, Hunters Point Community Coalition Santos Rodriguez, Director of Community Affairs & Strategic Initiatives, NYC Building & Construction Trades Council Julie Samuels, Executive Director, TechNYC Carlo Scissura, President and CEO of New York Building Congress Seema Shah, Director of Technology and Innovation Initiatives, LaGuardia Community College April Simpson, President, Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association Alvarez Symonette, Chief of Staff, Lady M Confections Marie Torniali, Chair, Queens Community Board 1 Matthew Troy, Executive Director of Variety Boys & Girls Club, Queens Andre Ward, Associate Vice President of Employment Services and Education, The Fortune Society Carol Wilkins, President, Ravenswood Houses Tenant Association Tom Wright, President and CEO, Regional Plan Association Frank Wu, Transportation and Safety Committee Chair, Court Square Civic Association Kathryn S. Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City Judith Zangwill, Executive Director, Sunnyside Community Services A CUNY Student Representative
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Chinese Dream Of Having A Baby In America AN INVESTIGATION OF BIRTH TOURISM AND CHINESE MATERNITY CENTERS IN AMERICA By LIUYU IVY CHEN
N NOV. 16, YUFEN WANG, 52, walked into a courtroom in Queens County Criminal Court for her second hearing. Wearing a cream-colored jail uniform, she appeared distraught: her head hung low, with long black hair cascading down her shoulder. Back in September, Yufen had stabbed three newborn infants, two adults and herself during a night shift working at Meibao maternity center. All of the victims survived. In court, Yufen relied on a Chinese translator to understand the accusation against her, as she does not speak English. She is now indicted with 10 charges, including four counts of second-degree attempted murder. Her Chinese lawyer, Jean Wang, pleaded “not guilty” on her behalf and argued for a $10,000 bail for Yufen, which was rejected. When Yufen was escorted out of the courtroom, one of her sons called out to her from the audience: “Mom! Mom!” But Yufen did not turn or answer. Yufen is currently under suicide watch at Rikers Island. The next court hearing will be held on Jan. 30, 2019. Her story has piqued public interest in the growing maternity center industry and the ongoing debate on birth tourism. The multifaceted factors around this case can be boiled down to two interplaying forces: a human desire and a commercial contract. When the stabbing happened, my second sister, who lives in China, was four months pregnant with her second child. Her first daughter, now 8 years old, was born with cerebral palsy, and she was considering the option of having her second baby in America for better medical care. I volunteered to help her find an ideal maternity center. I called at least a dozen maternity centers in Flushing, most of which answered with voicemail or cut me off after I raised their suspicion. Among the few that responded, the first question was always, “When is she due?” Travel, lodging and medical arrangements are planned around the due day. This question was immediately followed by, “Does she have a visa already? Ask her to show me the medical paperwork! Ask the mother herself to add me to WeChat!” In the end, only one maternity center in Flushing was willing to speak with me in person.
I took the Q28 bus to this two-story multi-family home in a wooded suburban area on the outskirts of Flushing. Upon entering the home, I commented on the quiet neighborhood and the owner was pleased: “Yes, it is a very safe neighborhood with 60 percent whites, 30 percent Asians and 10 percent blacks.” I followed him to the kitchen in the back of the hallway. There I saw a large former pantry used as a nursery. Five newborn babies were sound asleep in their cradles, breathing gently under soft blankets; another dozen empty cradles were lined up against the walls. Two middle-age Chinese nannies were looking after these babies. One talkative nanny from Changle, Fujian province, smiled the entire time while cuddling a tiny newborn in her arms: “I love babies.” She had been a newborn caretaker for 10 years, and was now working the 12-hour day shift. Four nannies are employed in this center to work the 12-hour day or night shift. Boss Jack is a 25-year-old Chinese man with a newborn-care certificate that he earned in America. He left China more than a decade ago and now manages the maternity center on his family property; his mother runs a Japanese restaurant out of state. Jack sleeps in a rental room in the same neighborhood, ready to run over whenever he is needed. The Fujian nanny spoke highly of her boss, citing his expertise in newborn care, his willingness to provide free medical translation services and travel paperwork assistance for overseas Chinese mothers, and his prompt issuance of paychecks. The mothers usually stay in their bedrooms—two downstairs and three upstairs, each with a private bathroom. The Fujian nanny told me that the center had helped mothers from Mainland China—many from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and the states of Maryland and Georgia, among others. Some stayed for three months, while others came just to “sit the month”—an important Chinese tradition to keep the mother warm and nourished during the postpartum month. One mother, suspicious of the Chinese doctors in Mainland China, was impressed with a Chinese doctor at NYU Langone Medical Center, where she gave birth to a baby with an umbilical cord
entanglement. The doctor resolved it with deft hands and advanced equipment. The mother left the hospital with a healthy baby in just a week, spreading the good word about the superb medical care in America. “If you have medical experiences in both countries, you’ll feel the difference,” Jack said. “A Chinese doctor first checks if you have paid the bill—some doctors would leave a patient bleeding to death if the payment is not in place. In America, human lives are valued foremost. If you cannot afford the hospital bill, the doctors will still treat you, and you can make a payment plan later in life.” I told Jack about my sister’s struggle raising a child with cerebral palsy in China. He said he would recommend a few New York pediatricians for my niece. Jack told me that he was shocked by the stabbing at Meibao maternity center. He knew the bosses at Meibao and thought their center had a good reputation. This incident, however, has not affected Jack’s business. His rooms are fully booked until next spring. Jack charges each mother $3,500–$5,000 per room per month, including the nanny’s fee—a competitive rate in the market. The mothers must also pay the out-of-pocket hospital fees, which typically range from $11,000 to $17,000. In Flushing, yuesao (newborn caretakers) are so desirable that they are usually reserved one year in advance. A newborn caretaker can make $4,000 a month plus tips. But Jack did not recommend these nannies. “Those free-market nannies often have big tempers, bossing everyone around in your home,” Jack told me, “whereas I hire full-time quality nannies and we share a common goal––to make the mothers happy.” The Fujian nanny added, “Our mothernanny relationship is very good. Whenever a mother feels blue, she runs downstairs to share her grievances with us, and we try our best to comfort her.” Jack also hires a part-time housekeeper who tidies up the house once a week, as well as a full-time Shanghai cook who makes five meals a day. The nannies deliver the food to each mother’s room. There is always milk, bread, red-bean soup and other healthy snacks in the kitchen. During holidays, everyone
gathers around the kitchen to enjoy a family-style banquet. Jack’s maternity center is one of dozens in Flushing, and one of hundreds, if not thousands, in America. These centers first took root during the time of an influx of Taiwanese immigrants to southern California in the late 20th century, when it became popular for Taiwanese mothers to “sit the month” in a controlled environment away from home, and for Taiwanese women from overseas to have babies in America. Mainland Chinese mothers have followed the trend in the past decade. Prior to 2013, Hong Kong, a mountainous island about twice the size and population of Los Angeles, was a popular destination for Mainlanders to evade the one-child policy or seek better medical care. However, the Hong Kong government, concerned about the overused medical resources—and pressured by local citizens’ resentment (some extreme locals called the Mainlanders “locusts”)–– banned Mainlanders who had no marital ties to Hong Kong from giving birth in Hong Kong hospitals. In addition, the booming Chinese economy; the relaxed U.S.-China touristvisa policy which allows multiple entries over a 10-year period; and the popular 2013 romantic comedy Finding Mr. Right (about a Chinese single mother’s plight and romance in a Chinese maternity center in Seattle) further spurred birth tourism in America. Chinese children with American citizenship can enjoy most privileges back in China, but Chinese citizens in America face daunting obstacles when trying to advance their lives and careers. When an American-born Chinese baby returns to China, she cannot earn dual citizenship officially, but her parents can still register her hukou (household registration record), send her to local public schools, and enroll her in a Chinese medical insurance plan. A friend of mine who taught in a public elementary school in my hometown of Yongkang, a fourth-tier city in Zhejiang province, told me that there are always one or two American citizens in each classroom. When these American citizens finish high school, they can choose to skip the highly competitive college-entrance examination and go abroad, or enter top Chinese universities such as Tsinghua University with significantly lowered criteria. While the admission rate for Chinese citizens seeking to enroll in Tsinghua University is 0.04 percent-0.1 percent, it is believed that American citizens who speak fluent Chinese are almost guaranteed admission. To help their children win at the starting line, more and more Chinese mothers cross the ocean. One of the most popular birth tourism destinations for Mainland mothers is Irvine, California. I phoned a maternity center there and the owner, Mr. Zhang, answered cheerfully. “Irvine is ranked number two among the most livable cities in America. We are located in a rich neighborhood with predominantly new Chinese immigrants. The white people have all moved out!” Mr. Zhang laughed. His maternity center is operated in two adjacent single-family homes. About seven Chinese mothers live there at any given time. Each mother pays an all-inclusive fee—for food, lodging, transportation and a newborn caretaker—that ranges from $28,000 to $38,000 for three months, plus about $15,000 in out-of-pocket hospital fees. Each newborn caretaker, also from Mainland China, works 24 hours a day for a consecutive month, earning $100 per day plus tips. When I asked Mr. Zhang if the Flushing stabbing case had had any impact on his business in California, he said, “Not at all! Those low-tier centers in Flushing often hire illegal workers and anything can go wrong. We provide high-end services, and all our nannies and cooks are professionally trained with green cards or work permits.” Mr. Zhang advised pregnant Chinese women to enter the border honestly by
telling the customs officers that they had traveled here to have babies. “Don’t ever lie to the customs officers!” Mr. Zhang warned, assuring me that the honest approach has been tested with proven success. In the past, visa fraud was one of the primary reasons many maternity centers were raided. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there are no regulations forbidding pregnant foreign nationals from coming to America. As long as they are honest during the visa interview and when going through U.S. Customs, have sufficient medical coverage and plan to return home, they are allowed to enter the country. Still, tips are widely shared among worried mothers on popular online Chinese forums: Avoid Asian American and female customs officers, who are believed to be more hostile towards Chinese pregnant women; avoid illegal agents; avoid the Chinese maternity centers in Los Angeles; try to enter the border at Hawaii, Las Vegas or other smaller cities. One of the top reasons conservatives advocate tightened control of birth tourism is the fear that American welfare and healthcare systems will be exploited by those foreign mothers without tax liabilities. I asked Mr. Zhang about the likelihood that a Chinese mother would take advantage of American medical resources for free. “It might be a marketing strategy for low-tier maternity centers or ‘black [illegal] agents’ to dupe gullible mothers. We provide high-end services and strongly discourage anybody to apply for a ‘white card’ [Medicaid] because the repercussions are severe—you’ll be denied re-entry if they find out that you cheated.” I thought of another approach for Chinese people to have babies in America and proposed this scenario to Mr. Zhang: If a Chinese mother must spend $40,000 or more to use a maternity center, why doesn’t she enroll in a language or professional studies program (about $6,000 a quarter in southern California), cross the border with an F-1 student visa, rent an inexpensive room, learn a new skill and enjoy health benefits with her school-rate medical insurance plan (about $600 per quarter)? Mr. Zhang responded that he knew people who had done that, but emphasized that it was not always worth it: “I met a Chinese mother who was looking for a doctor within the network of her school insurance, but the only in-network OB-GYN who would accept her was an old Taiwanese doctor, to her disappointment. She ended up seeking help from us.” Mr. Zhang also reassured me that his business is legitimate and he pays taxes, though one cannot find his maternity center on English search engines; it can only be found on Chinese-language sites targeting Mainland clients. This is typically the case for most Chinese maternity centers in America as they carefully navigate the strait of legal ambiguity. Curious about what a Chinese maternity center is like in the American South, I visited a such a center near a golf course in an upscale suburban community north of Atlanta, where many well-todo Chinese immigrants have settled. Atlanta has less than 1 percent Chinese immigrants, and this maternity center was the only one I could find on a local Chinese-language website. Its ad reads, “Safe! Safe! Safe! There aren’t many maternity centers in Atlanta, thus we are safe and trustworthy. There is a flood of maternity centers in California, each with very a different standard, and you’ll run into great risks there. Plus, they are often raided by the Homeland Security, thus the quality of their services can be severely compromised....” In the beginning, the manager of the maternity center, Mr. Yu, refused to take a new mother (he receives one client at a time) because his own mother—the sole caretaker, cook, house cleaner and driver in his home-based maternity center—
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018 wanted to catch a breath after the previous mother left. But when he found out that I hail from Zhejiang province, he immediately changed his mind and agreed to meet me. “Zhejiang people are great! We always welcome Zhejiang clients!” Mr. Yu himself came from the northern Shandong province. He previously hosted a Zhejiang mother who came to America for a secret surrogacy birth (which is illegal in China), and her easygoing spirit left a very good impression on Mr. Yu’s family. They stayed in touch after she left with a healthy baby. She regularly asks Mr. Yu to ship American baby formula to her in China. When I asked Mr. Yu if his mother is certified to care for newborns, he answered, “My mother does not have a license, but she has over a decade of caretaking experience. She is an excellent nanny, cook and cleaner. There has never been a problem and every mother loved her.” The fees in Mr. Yu’s maternity center are comparable to those in California. I then asked Mr. Yu if he had registered his business. He paused before providing an honest answer. “The idea of ‘sitting the month’ is nonexistent in American culture,” he said. He then explained the difficulty inherent in linking his service to the right license category: “If I want to open a business to serve these mothers, should I register it as a healthcare center? Then I would need to hire certified nurses, purchase expensive medical equipment and rent a commercial space—all unnecessary for the Chinese mothers’ recuperation needs. After all, we are just tucking our tails to provide help and make a little money. If you take everything so literally, how can we survive?” With a profitable market, these maternity centers continue to thrive in different parts of America. According to a 2017 report by Forward Industry Research Center, maternity centers in America generated $4 billion from China in 2016; that number is anticipated to reach $15 billion in 2020. “We are actually following a commercial contract that provides values both ways. In the process, everyone is equal. We obey the destination government’s law, and the hospital provided standard healthcare services to us,” a Beijing father who participated in birth tourism
argued. Before China’s one-child policy was lifted in 2015, reproductive freedom was the primary reason for birth tourism. Yet the policy’s termination did not stop Mainland mothers from fleeing abroad. Food safety, air pollution, medical crises, the indoctrinating education system, the corrupt legal system, the rigid ruralurban divide, and the Communist Party’s tightened control of basic freedoms are currently among young Chinese parents’ major concerns. A Mainland expatriate living in England shared a dark view in a 2013 BBC article: “Mainland China has become the world’s second-largest economy. But due to ideological and systematic flaws, this country is haunted. We can’t think, we remain silent, we conform and we are enslaved….You don’t have to worry that we are richer than ever, because what we really desire is your citizen rights!” Linzi, 29, a wealthy investor from Beijing, has just arrived in Los Angeles by way of Las Vegas to give birth to her baby, due in January 2019. Linzi’s father is a multimillionaire who owns several private businesses and prime Beijing real estate. At her father’s request, Linzi returned to China after she earned her master’s degree in financial engineering from Columbia University in 2013. She worked hard climbing the corporate ladder to maintain the social status her father had established, and wished to improve. Although her lifestyle and earning power are enviable even among the Beijing elite, Linzi is deeply unsettled. “I feel the atmosphere in China to be quite strange lately. Do you know that our conversation on WeChat is monitored?” Linzi believes that China’s economic growth in recent years has largely benefited state-owned enterprises through President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, whereas the private sector has been grappling with a harsh reality. She is uncertain of what the future holds, and hopes to give her child the option of choosing between China and the United States. “These three months are really inconvenient for me. I only do it for the sake of my child,” Liinzi explains. She resists the Chinese maternity centers in America: “I have a feeling that once this industry becomes so lucrative, Chinese people in America are highly likely to dupe other Chinese.”
Maternity centers are often in residential homes like this one with no signage, but the addresses are listed on Chinese-language websites. Linzi and her husband, both educated overseas, speak good enough English to make a personalized plan for their stay in Los Angeles: rent a comfortable home, contact top-rated white American doctors and avoid Chinese nannies in America. “Since American mothers do not use newborn caretakers, I’m afraid there aren’t many qualified nannies to select from,” Linzi says. She hopes to bring a reputable and certified newborn caretaker from Beijing to care for her baby, but is uncertain how to get her an American visa. Linzi estimates that her three-month birth trip will cost half a million yuan (about $75,000). She says that there are many young Chinese women in her circle who have come or are planning to come to America to give birth. If the husband can make the trip, the couple usually comes up with a personalized plan; if the mother comes alone, she tends to use a maternity center. Today, an estimated 40,000 babies
are born to foreign mothers on tourist visas in America every year, 1 percent of the approximately 4 million total newborns in America. In a parallel universe orbiting the folded reality of Chinese immigrants in America, Yufen Wang is writing a different story that is perhaps illegible to her. After arriving in Flushing with legal documentation in 2010, Yufen and her husband, their two sons and three grandchildren lived together in a redbrick house six blocks from the Main St.Flushing station. The adults took menial jobs in restaurants and private homes; Yufen worked long hours as a breadwinner while her husband stayed home looking after their grandchildren. There is a family history of psychological disorders, and Yufen’s mental health began to deteriorate earlier this year. She developed symptoms of forgetfulness, insomnia and suicidal tendency, sleeping little in the four months leading to the
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stabbing. Yufen’s family members simply suggested that she get more rest, as it remains a foreign concept for Chinese people to seek therapeutic help in times of distress. Yufen saw a doctor who prescribed sleeping pills. Lawyer Jean Wang argued that the pills’ side effects might have triggered Yufen’s mental breakdown. In the fateful dawn of Sept. 21, Yufen snapped. Yufen’s story is one of mental health issues gone untreated. Unable to break language, class or mental barriers, she was bearing the brunt of a new immigrant life and the demanding maternity industry. It could have happened to any low-income worker striving to stay afloat in the rocky ocean that is America. Meanwhile, Chinese maternity centers will continue to grow in America, profiting from the margin where an undying human desire runs headlong into an unrelenting commercial contract.
FREE MEET & GREET WITH SANTA CLAUS & FRIENDS Saturdays • 12–4pm • December 15 & 22
Don’t forget to bring your camera!
PET PHOTOS WITH SANTA
Sundays • 11am–2pm • December 16 & 23
Domestic, well-behaved only. Please bring proof of current vaccinations. Pets must be on leashes or crated when transported through the mall.
By Subway: M and R to 63rd Drive/Rego Park By Bus: Q72, Q38 and Q88 • By Car: LIE westbound exit 20. LIE eastbound to exit 19 Parking garage on 62nd Drive • Taxi stand across from ALDI REGOCENTER.COM
Eat the World
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Eat the World Queens A Partnership with EattheWorldNYC.com
ALBANIAN GROCERY Ridgewood Gets An Upgrade With Fantastic Byrek By JARED COHEE
Dispatch from Fresh Pond Road, Ridgewood: In the early 2000s, I had my first experience meeting an Albanian pizza maker on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx at Tony & Tina’s Pizzeria. After a short inquiry and a couple of orders of byrek instead of a typical slice, I had more questions than answers. Luckily, a succinct article in The New York Times from 2001 answered most of my questions, but Albanians’ connection to pizza—and how they started taking over pizzerias from upwardly-mobile Italians—always fascinated me. While Albania was not part of the former Yugoslavia, many ethnic Albanians in New York City are actually from places that were, especially Montenegro and Kosovo. In the 1990s they started arriving in waves, as dire circumstances forced them to flee violence and hardship in their own homelands. During that decade, the populations of Balkan peoples in New York City exploded, and Ridgewood was one of the locations that saw much of this resettlement. The formerly German neighborhood is now home to the Serbian Association of NY, and in nearby Glendale you can find the Albanian American Islamic Center. Myrtle Avenue favorite Muncan Food Corp. is possibly the city’s premier location for cured Balkan meats. The now-closed Etno Restaurant, which was under the Fresh Pond Road subway station, used to hang the flag of every nation of the former Yugoslavia from its awning and serve the foods familiar to all Balkan peoples. Nowadays, Fresh Pond Road is more Polish than Balkan, but a new grocery store has put up its bright red-and-white awning with the flag of Albania to declare its allegiance to the latter. Only four months old and still figuring out its rotating menus and operating times, Albanian Grocery is owned by Lulzim Nika, who came to New York City 10 years ago, a bit after the large influx of the ’90s. He is originally from Puka, a town of 11,000 people in northern Albania, but he spent the majority of his life in the capital city of Tirana doing work unrelated to food. Mr. Nika immediately went into pizza upon arriving here, however. With the right connections and commitment, he now operates four pizzerias in Manhattan after a four-year stint at Rubirosa, which he told me inspired him most. The opportunity arose when the shop’s previous owner passed away and the business was up for sale. As someone with a passion for what dough can become in the right hands and the right time in an oven, Mr. Nika believed that a prepared-foods deli with a natural knack for making delicious Albanian byrek was the right fit for him and the neighborhood. Byrek is the Albanian word for what is known as börek or burek or many other terms in many other nations. Basically, it is a flaky-layered phyllo dough pastry filled with ingredients of the chef’s choosing. Common in Albanian byrek is ground beef, cheese or spinach, all three of which are available here. When I asked Mr. Nika if there were certain similarities between the skills of a pizza maker and a great byrek chef, he laughed
and exclaimed “Of course!” as if the question answered itself and was unnecessary. When you understand dough, you can be very good at both. He still spends most of his time at his pizzerias, while the day-today operations here are run by three lovely women. On my third visit, I asked to observe the making of the byrek from flour to finished product, and was eagerly taken to the kitchen for a demonstration. The layers of dough have to be first pushed thin by hand and then flipped to stretch them out further. One byrek pie will use four of these thin layers and have ingredients stuffed in between before baking. I do not know the secrets, but their pies come out of the oven without excessive grease or weight, unlike many versions you will find. During the course of the day, fresh pies are made from scratch as needed, so you will never find a byrek sitting around for long. Each one is cut into four slices, so there is a 25 percent chance they will need to make a new pie when you order if the previous one is gone. It is worth the 10-15 minute wait, though, as the slice fresh from the oven is a place close to heaven. In addition to these, the kitchen makes a range of dishes to fill a small steam table each day, and serves hearty lunches. Most of the customers I saw during visits here worked nearby; many had come in for the first time, curious about the prospect of a new meal. Two small tables in the front offer space for a few people to eat, but many take their bounty to go. Foods on the steam table can include tasqebap, a rich oily beef stew that was called “Albanian goulash” when I inquired about the name; or fasule, another hearty soup of white beans and bits of meat. Usually there is at least one type of tavë, a baked casserole traditionally made of soured milk. This thick cream was described to me as similar to bechamel, but upon eating it, it was obvious this comparison was only made due to the fact that I cannot speak Albanian. The yogurt and eggs used to make this do not remind you of the mother sauce from France. The food is all rib-sticking and genuinely tasty, but even more enjoyable here is the pleasure taken from being their guest. On my first visit, a tablecloth was even laid down for me before I dined alone. As I ate my lunch between the cured meats and cheeses in the counter refrigerator and some stacked shelves of teas and snacks, it was not hard to feel like royalty when they took such care. There is no pizza here, but you will not miss it at all after your first bite of their byrek.
Each layer of byrek is made by hand.
Albanian Grocery 65-05 Fresh Pond Road, Ridgewood 11385 09:00-20:00 Daily Credit cards and cash
FAC T S & FI G U RE S The Albanian flag features a black doubleheaded eagle that has been a symbol of the people’s independence since the 1400s, when it was used as a rallying symbol for natives fighting the Ottoman Empire.
Albania is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. It is home to mountains as high as 9,000 feet in the Albanian Alps, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea.
While the country is roughly 55 percent Muslim, Christmas is celebrated by most Albanians of all religions.
1979 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was born to an Albanian father and Kosovan mother in what was at the time part of the Ottoman Empire.
Albania has good relations with the United States and in 2007, George W. Bush became the first U.S. President to visit the country.
A steam table of Albanian classics for lunch and dinner.
The Queens Tribune has partnered with the website EattheWorldNYC.com to profile the food and culture of restaurants in all corners of the borough. For more reviews from Queens and beyond, please visit EattheWorldNYC.com.
Arts & Culture
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Queenzenglish By THOMAS MOODY
Queens International Public Programs: Access and Agency
Part of the Queens Museum’s Public Programs on Access and Agency this past Saturday was the reading and performance series “Queenzenglish.” Established by Professor Kyoo “Q” Lee of John Jay College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, “Queenzenglish” is a collaborative project that “aims to promote the polysemic, polyphonic and polygraphic creativity and diversity of the English language today, while casting a critical eye on the rigid normativity and implicit coloniality of its legacy often codified as the
Queen’s English.” The project grew out of the launch at the CUNY Graduate Center and Queens Museum in late November and early December of 2017. Saturday’s program saw a diverse and brilliant group of writers and thinkers, including readings from Professor Lee herself, along with current Queens Poet Laureate Maria Lisella and her predecessor Paolo Javier; poet and sound artist Tracie Morris; poet, essayist and novelist Eileen Myles; a poetry reading from Thurston Moore, the founder
of revolutionary New York rock band Sonic Youth; and poet and experimental writer Carla Harryman. Last to perform was the collaborative music, vocal and dance group The Urban Mythfits, from Corona, who gave an emotive and sensational performance. Poems, essays and experimental writings were read to an enthusiastic crowd. Professor Lee is currently editing a book of collected writings based on the theme of “Queenzenglish,” which focuses on the expressive diversity of the English language.
“The book is framed around ‘mp3,’” Professor Lee says, “poetry, philosophy and performativity in poetic and prose formats, with diverse rhythms, forms, tactics, dialects, accents and textures….The concept critically questions the dominance of Anglo Americancentered sociocultural and political norms, especially in learning environments, while creatively engaging the location of or from which one speaks—Queens, for instance, the most diverse borough of New York City, where many ‘Englishes’ along with hundreds of other languages are in active use. The promotion of linguistic diversity and expressive plurality is a hallmark of public justice. Understanding the world through any single lens automatically distorts it. Difference is the creative part of our universe.” This focus on diversity is imperative in times when much of the nation’s current political focus is on regressive policies producing hateful rhetoric. Professor Lee and her “Queenzenglish” project is performing vital work for both Queens and the wider community.
The Urban Mythfits
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Growing Pains and Political Corruption By EDDIE BORGES
T Where Is The BOE Shakeup? We are a month removed from Election Day—a day on which tens of thousands of New Yorkers were disenfranchised by long lines to vote because a little bit of rain caused a world of trouble for the city’s voting machines. This past week we also learned, thanks to fantastic reporting by NY1, that the executive director of the city Board of Elections (BOE), Michael Ryan, has been flown around the country and put up at fancy hotels for the past few years by Election Systems and Software (ES&S)—the makers of the aforementioned voting machines. No wonder Ryan defended the machines: He’s probably got a gold junket coming up on the company’s dime as part of his “advisory board” role. It’s a shame heads haven’t already rolled at the BOE following the despicable display on Election Night. With this added information, it’s clear Ryan needs to be fired. Honestly, the only question we have is, why is it taking so long? The answer may lie in the dysfunctional nature of the board itself. You see, the board is basically a patronage mill for powerful political party groups—both Democrat and Republican—that scratch each other’s backs. While we are sure some of the folks at the BOE care deeply about their work and want to do what’s right when it comes to protecting voters’ rights, the agency as a whole is bankrupt. It’s such a mess that the BOE powerbrokers
couldn’t even organize themselves sufficiently to fire Ryan quickly. That would have been the smart move if they wanted to hold on to their power: Pin it all on the fall guy and hope everyone forgets that the whole institution is rotten. Instead, the BOE met this week behind closed doors, and then came out with the grand pronouncement that Ryan would no longer sit on the ES&S advisory board, essentially designating this as just a public relations problem that has now been solved. The whole thing played out like a bad scene in Veep, with the board having taped a sound machine to the wall next to the door—so reporters couldn’t hear what was being discussed inside. Replacing Michael Ryan as executive director won’t fix the system, however. Only by exercising political courage will we be able to ensure that New Yorkers have a voting system that reflects our values—values that are based in the belief that everyone should have a voice in our democracy. State and city lawmakers need to pass sweeping reforms that will, for some, likely put their incumbency at risk. If they won’t do so and instead yield to the political powerbrokers who have proven themselves incapable of administering elections, then they need to pay a political price. We are 11 months away from our next Election Day, and 23 months away from an election that will likely see the largest participation in U.S. history. The clock is ticking.
PA Candidates’ Subway High Election silly season appears to have fired back up again. This week, public advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito fired off the headline-grabbing policy position that tax revenue from legal marijuana should be put towards improving the subways. Her opponent, Rafael Espinal, took it a step further, saying that 100 percent of the revenue should go towards fixing the subways. Why stop there? How about creating vaping lounges on the platforms and replacing the current snacks at food stands with cannabis-infused edibles, in order to maximize profit? We wouldn’t be surprised if one of the other dozen or so aspirants to the office floats a similarly ridiculous idea. We aren’t knocking the idea of legalizing marijuana products for recreational use; there is plenty of science and public support for this idea. And of course we should tax a pot brownie at a higher rate than that for traditional baked goods. Moreover, we all can agree that we need to invest more money in our subway system. But to suggest that these things are connected in some tidy campaign–stumpspeech talking point is an insult to voters’ intelligence. We all get it: Taxes come in. Elected officials decide where to spend that money. If they spend it unwisely, we complain, they adjust and democracy rolls on. Furthermore, tying the tax revenue of marijuana sales to a dedicated subway fund is just bad policy. It will inevitably lead to “Get High to Help the 7 Train” campaigns (even if they aren’t supported by
the government), which is not the goal. We don’t want more people using marijuana; we just don’t want people to go to jail for using it—in particular, young people of color, who are roughly eight times more likely to be locked up for marijuana possession than their white neighbors. Tying social programs to vices is often fraught with problems. This practice has been in effect for years, with lottery revenues going to education funding—making people feel good about gambling their hardearned cash. Sure, the lottery has provided billions of dollars to education in New York State over the years. But at the end of the day, it is just a tax shift onto those who like to try their luck with scratch-offs or Powerball tickets. The lottery doesn’t provide all of the funding, but just a small stream. Lawmakers adjust the budget numbers to make it work. This will inevitably be the case for funding the MTA with pot taxes. The 2019 budget for the MTA is $16 billion, with roughly $8.45 billion of expenses going to the subways. Tax revenue from marijuana sales is estimated to be $436 million a year statewide, according to a May report by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. So, lawmakers and public advocates can earmark that pot money for subways all they want. Do what they may, it is just going to go into the larger mix. We hope that as we get closer to the election in mid-February, these absurd ideas go up in smoke and the candidates talk about using the office the way it was intended—to be a voice for the people who are not being heard by this administration or the City Council.
HE FIRST ELEVATOR SHAFT was built into the Cooper Union building, in the East Village, in 1853, before the first passenger elevator had been invented. Thomas Edison installed light bulbs in private homes for the first time, in Manhattan, in the 1880s. And the first electricity generating plant ever built lit up Manhattan in 1882. Despite this history as a center of innovation, lately it may seem like New York City has become risk-averse and, as a result, is experiencing excruciating growing pains during the late dawning of the 21st century. The truth, however, is not that our neighbors in this amazing city, who each day revel in the privilege of living at the center of the world, object. In fact, polls and shopping trends show that the majority of New Yorkers embrace the future. Sadly, it’s the small minds and corrupt practices of the dimmest and least-creative among us, who, having limited options, end up on the New York City Council, where they think they can freeze time and stop progress. And they’re not even embarrassed about it. Long gone are the days of Council members who were the kind of New Yorkers who read The Power Broker and everything else Robert Caro has ever written and had—wait for it— original ideas. As an intern reporter at The Village Voice, I learned a lot just sitting with Councilmember Ruth Messinger of the Upper West Side, in the council lounge, as she opened her own mail. After 20 years in local politics, Messinger moved on to the American World Jewish Service, where she launched campaigns to end the genocide in Darfur and reform international food aid. Today, we have councilmembers, from Speaker Corey Johnson to public advocate candidate Rafael Espinal, who brag in newspaper and magazine profiles about their weekends spent dancing until dawn and sleeping in like teenagers. Meanwhile, the Council lounge is now closed to the public. After decades as a site of public discourse, it’s become a place where council members meet privately with lobbyists. And instead of going on to run global campaigns for justice, the best jobs most of this class of council members are likely to land are as DJs at after-hours clubs in Bushwick. It’s their reactions to innovation that might
lead observers to think that New York City has become averse to creativity and progress. But it’s really just Political Corruption 101. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was created in 1971 to regulate taxis and forhire vehicles in the city. A taxi medallion was the equivalent of a permit. But as corporations and groups of investors started to buy up these medallions, they created a new market. These investors controlled this new market by lobbying the TLC to limit the number of medallions it permitted on city streets—even as the city’s population and the demand for taxis and for-hire vehicles grew exponentially. The TLC simply stopped serving the interests of city residents. Instead, its sole purpose became to serve the interests of investors in the artificial market it had created, where medallions are now worth as much as $1.3 million. It’s as if the DMV had decided it was capping the number of driver’s licenses it would issue. To get a license, New Yorkers would have to buy one from the limited supply held by currently licensed drivers. The City Council, whose members have raised millions of campaign dollars over the years from the investors and owners of tax fleets, has no problem with this setup. Then some brilliant and creative minds from San Francisco brought Uber to New York. New Yorkers, fed up with trying to hail a cab at rush hour, in the rain, or for a trip to an outer borough, embraced this new service, where with a mobile phone, you can call a clean cab to take you anywhere in the city—no matter what color you are! All the complaints that New Yorkers have had for decades about yellow cabs vanished overnight—if you took an Uber. In no time, Uber also created 61,000 jobs for all those new drivers. New Yorkers were happy. Then, amazingly, the TLC, which for decades failed to deal with the problems of dirty cabs, racist drivers, and cabs that refused to drive to the boroughs or north of 96th St., starting flexing its muscles—not to fix the problems with yellow cabs, but to crack down on Uber and then Lyft drivers, whom New Yorkers preferred over yellow cabs. This is the kind of corruption you’d usually hear about in some small town. But it gets worse. To back up the TLC, the medallion investors
invested more than $100,000 in a State senator from the poorest neighborhood in the city, where no taxicab had ever picked up or dropped off a passenger. He was running for the City Council. Even the most cynical New Yorker would never think that this ploy would work in modern-day New York. In the days of Tammany Hall, maybe. But not in 2018. But a man who was running for City Council speaker, who cannot stop talking about his being gay and HIV-positive, made a quid-proquo deal with the most homophobic politician in New York. In exchange for homophobe Ruben Diaz Sr.’s vote for Council speaker, Corey Johnson agreed to create a new committee with oversight of for-hire vehicles—for Diaz to chair. So much for values. Now, instead of taking a look at the overall transportation picture in New York City, these government institutions are working at the beck and call of investors to punish the innovators who are bringing city residents new services that they love. They’ve even managed to sell the false narrative that the biggest problem in the city today is traffic in midtown Manhattan—and that it’s the fault of these new drivers. Somehow (they would have us believe), the problems of homelessness, hunger and childhood poverty are not as serious in the city as The New York Times has characterized them to be. One thing that could help tackle these very real problems is an influx of jobs and tax revenue—like, say, through the Amazon deal just announced by the governor and the mayor. This deal will generate billions of dollars in revenue, which will go a long way to addressing the city’s current needs. The City Council, which does most of its business behind closed doors, responded by whining that this deal was done “in secret.” The truth is that there’s nothing in the deal for the individual members of the Council. No way to take credit. Or pad their campaign accounts with dollars for their next race. All they get out of it is what every other New Yorker will receive: jobs and billions in future tax revenue for the city. The City Council needs to get its act together. Its job is not to keep the shades down to keep everyone in the dark, but to make sure that everyone can enjoy the light of the new dawn and grow in the sunshine.
Guardian Angel Is Fuming Over Ulrich’s Public Advocate Campaign
T’S NOT A CHRISTMAS GIFT, but let me unwrap this political bochinche for you. Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich launched his bid for public advocate this week, after the Republican, who represents the 32nd District in the New York City Council, spent Monday night with the Staten Island GOP, seeking their endorsement. Much to his sorpresa, there was Curtis Sliwa. It turned out that the rambunctious, in-your-face radio host and loud mouth Guardian Angel neoyorquino also wanted the endorsement and support of arguably the most conservative Republican county machine. This, in fact, is the first real sign that Sliwa has all intentions of joining the crowded field of wannabes for the post that will be left vacant on Dec. 31 by Letitia “Tish” James, who goes on to make herstory as the first mujer and African American to be elected State attorney general. Back to the bochinche.
I’m told that Ulrich was surprised to see Curtis presente. Ulrich was not happy when Sliwa took to the mic and tore into all political figures in the city, including Republicans. He “took no prisoners,” as a source described Sliwa’s presentation. Once he was done at about 9:30 p.m., Sliwa was on his way back to Manhattan feeling confident that he had most of the executive committee on his side. He was wrong. By 11 p.m., he received a “courtesy call” from one of the executive committee members letting him know that they were going with Ulrich. Feeling that his appearance was “all for naught,” I’m told by one bochinchero that Sliwa has made it clear to the Staten Islanders that “he’s going to remind Republicans that Ulrich sold his vote to Melissa Mark-Viverito for a chairmanship and a lulu, and that’s how she became speaker; that in fact his [Ulrich’s] was the deciding vote.” The warning was made as a reminder of whom he supported, even though he often criticizes and attacks the former speaker as
being “too radical.” According to an ally of Sliwa, he is also going to remind the voters that “it was de Blasio who called Ulrich to make the deal. And you expect this guy to be a watchdog over the mayor?” For added value to his mantra of taking on all, another bochinchero tells me that Sliwa is also expected to remind Republican neoyorquinos that “Ulrich also supported Bo Dietl over Nicole Malliotakis for mayor in 2017.” And that last night, Ulrich was accompanied by “his wheelman John Haggerty—the same John Haggerty who went to jail for ripping off Bloomberg’s campaign dollars.” As I’m writing the final sentences of this story, I’ve been told by yet another bochinchero that “Curtis [Sliwa] is going to be seeking the support of the remaining GOP county leaders of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.” And here we were thinking that this was just going to be a bunch of Democratic políticos who wanted some publicity on the taxpayers’ dime!
ARTS & CULTURE
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
ON VIEW IN QUEENS
THE DAILY SPECTACLE
THE SUPERFLUOUS PRESCRIPTION By THOMAS MOODY
Newtown Literary Last Friday, the Newtown Literary Alliance launched the 13th edition of its semi-annual literary journal, Newtown Literary. The Fall/Winter 2018 issue features some astonishing poetry and prose from a diverse range of Queens-based writers, including short stories from Katie Elena Tinfow, Adam Stewart Charleston, Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez and Ana Martínez Orizondo; and poetry from Faizan Syed, Vijay R. Nathan and Theresa Gaffney. The following is from Dan Fleshler’s “Two Life Lists in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge”: Live birds and memories of birds Were fleeing and flitting away Just as you were learning, At last, how to be where you were. For over a decade, the Newtown Literary Alliance has provided a tremendous amount of support to the Queens literary community, fostering talent and giving established Queens writers an anchor in their own borough. It offers writing classes to all ages and skill levels, including free classes to children and teens. Keep an eye out for Issue 13 of Newtown Literary in your favorite local bookstore, or on its website: www.newtownliterary.org My Year of Rest and Relaxation Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press, 2018) In a foreword written by Mikhail Lermontov to a later edition of his genre-defining novel A Hero of Our Time, the Russian poet and novelist attempted to place his protagonist, Pechorin, in context against a quite severe public backlash. “Some were dreadfully insulted,” Lermontov wrote, “and quite seriously, to have held up as a model such an immoral character as A Hero of Our Time; others shrewdly noticed that the author had portrayed himself and his acquaintances. A Hero of Our Time, gentlemen, is in fact a portrait, but not of an individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression.” Crafted in the manner of the Byronic hero, Pechorin is a nihilistic, cynical and existentially bored minor aristocrat who travels to a small vacation retreat in the Caucasus to provoke anxiety and grief within the local townsfolk, to his own great amusement. Though contemptible, Pechorin is not to be despised, but rather pitied: To be at the same time so embedded in and estranged from society, to want nothing and need nothing, is sadder, in its way, than any physical or emotional tragedy or longing. A man with nothing to gain and nothing to lose is homeless, A Hero of Our Time shows us. Pechorin is the model of the “superfluous man,” a literary notion stretching from Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin to Saul Bellow’s Dangling Man. And though the unnamed speaker of Ottessa Moshfegh’s stunning new novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, does not challenge any of her rivals to a duel (though she does defecate on the floor of her ex-boss Natasha’s office), she can most definitely be viewed as the 21st-century edition of Lermontov’s once-controversial figure.
The narrator of My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a 24-year-old Columbia University graduate who is blonde, beautiful (her own words) and misanthropic. She dislikes almost everyone and everything, aside from sleep and Whoopi Goldberg. Living in a comfortable apartment on the Upper East Side, she survives off unemployment checks and the inheritance she received from her parents after they passed away in quick succession. She has recently been fired from her job at a trendy downtown gallery—for extending her chic-aloofness to the point of total detachment from the job. “Natasha had cast me as the jaded underling, and for the most part, the little effort I put into the job was enough,” the narrator informs us. “I was fashion candy. Hip decor. I was the bitch who sat behind a desk and ignored you when you walked into the gallery.” After being let go for sleeping on the job, Moshfegh’s narrator decides that she is going to spend the next year hibernating as a form of self-preservation. “Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay. I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.” She achieves this by deliberately becoming addicted to sleeping pills. Finding the perfect partner in her quest for total torpidity, the wonderfully negligent and extraverted Dr. Tuttle, she is prescribed a series of more-powerful sleeping aids, with names like Prognosticrone, Silencior and Valdignore. Her only contact with the outside world becomes her
monthly appointments with Dr. Tuttle; the pharmacists at her local Rite Aid who fill her prescriptions; the Egyptians who work at her local deli, where she occasionally buys cigarettes and coffee; and Rita, her only friend and the only thing that stirs any great passion within her throughout the novel. It is a passion that burns with annoyance, if not fully fueled hatred. Set in the years 2000 and 2001 (and moving subtly but assuredly to 9/11/2001), the convenience of life at the turn of the 21st century goes a long way to allowing the narrator’s life of such superfluousness. Her greatest literary equivalent, Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov, who does not leave his bed for the first 50 pages of his namesake novel, must contend with 19th-century Russia: its vast expanses and the relative difficulties in crossing them. Moshfegh’s narrator, on the other hand, has the convenience of her bills on auto-pay, orders whatever she needs online, and can be entertained propitiously by grabbing a cheap DVD at the local pharmacy. The days begin to lose the contours of their hours: “I entered a stranger, less certain reality. Days slipped by obliquely, with little to remember, just the familiar dent in the sofa cushions…. Nothing seemed really real. Sleeping, waking, it all collided into one gray, monotonous plane ride through the clouds. I didn’t talk to myself in my head. There wasn’t much to say. This was how I knew the sleep was having an effect: I was growing less and less attached to life. If I kept going, I thought, I’d disappear completely, then reappear in some new form. This was my hope. This was my dream.” Eventually, the effectiveness of the prescriptions begins to wane, and the narrator finds that she is ordering lingerie and designer jeans while “sleeping.” She also enters online chat-rooms and goes on “unconscious excursions” to the Egyptian bodega. These half-sleep activities begin to increase her
waking levels of stress. She decides it would be better to be totally asleep all the time, and finds the perfect prescription: Infermiterol. On it she sleeps for three days at a time, and decides to take 40 of them, one after the other, in order to sleep straight through a full third of the year. An artist she knows brings her food, and as payment, she allows him to film her for an art installation. Moshfegh’s narrator is not suicidal; she just does not want to live, for the moment, in her life. Why? Her father has died of cancer; her mother has committed suicide; she has a failed relationship with an older man, Trevor, who left her after she told him she loved him. But Moshfegh does not dwell on these psychoanalytical elements; one gets the feeling that the narrator would have just as great a sense of ennui if her parents were still alive and were loving, and she was in a trusting relationship. What she is trying to escape is the modern world, and it is the modern world, ironically, that allows her such an accessible route of escape. Though set almost 20 years ago, My Year of Rest and Relaxation seems extraordinarily current. The genius of the book is that it does not lean on the age of video-streaming to make its point, while at the same time it highlights the hazards of that very age. The year 2001 is far enough away to seem like another era, a fantasy, but not quite far enough. It is an unsettling book. Moshfegh’s writing is fast, barbed and enlivening, especially while telling the most soporific scenes of her story. As we enter into winter, and many of us will be spending evenings, days, weekends— weeks—binge-watching, wanting to “Netflix and chill,” we may think that Moshfegh’s tale is not so implausible after all: Her protagonist might just be the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression.
It can think itself and think itself into existence. I sponge off the eyes, no worse for wear.
ONLINE READ OF THE WEEK: States of race: A Religious Scholar’s Memoir of Faith by Michael Robbins on Bookforum www.bookforum.com
bins writes. “Luke’s diegesis, or John’s poetic supernaturalism. Only Mark’s dark, riddling ambiguity approaches Thomas’s strangeness. ‘These are the hidden sayings that the living Yeshua spoke and Yehuda Toma the twin recorded,’ it begins. Yehuda Toma—Judas Thomas, or Judas the twin—was said by early Syrian Christians to have been Jesus’s twin brother. The gospel takes the form of a series of logia that resemble nothing so much as the koans [public cases] of Zen:
BRIEFLY NOTED Eye Level Jenny Xie (Graywolf Press, 2018) The epigraph to Jenny Xie’s astonishing debut collection of poems, Eye Level, taken from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, alerts us to the subtlety of perception with which we must view the rest of the book: “The eye is not / an eye because you see it; / it is an eye because it sees you.” Eye Level is a book that at once turns its gaze outwards and inwards; that recognizes that whatever is seen is seen from a single point of view, a point of view that cannot be divested of the self. Can this solitude be rootless, unhooked from the ground? No matter. The mind resides both inside and out.
Eye Level, which was chosen as the 2017 winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, covers great distances through meticulous details. Poems focus on Corfu, Greece; on Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and on the rural roads of Vietnam. “Funny, the way we come to understand a place by wanting to escape it,” Xie writes in “Zuihitsu.” “I can shake out the imprints of my body on the sheets each morning. Harder to / shake out the mind.” Xie was born in China and raised in New Jersey, and her poetry possesses the paradox common to immigrants: to be wholly in a place, but never entirely there; always in some isolated land between where one is and where one has been. In “Naturalization,” the speaker’s father “confuses / snacks for snakes, kitchen for chicken,” while the speaker finds “The new country is ill fitting, lined / with cheap polyester, soiled at the sleeves.” Eye Level is a remarkable combination of clear-sightedness and reverie; of precise details and indefinable feeling.
Michael Robbins is a Marxist, a Christian and a damn fine poet whose poetry, for the most part, borders on the profane. So it is a joy to read his review on Elaine Pagels’ Why Religion, which for the most part deals with the Gnostic Gospels—those scrolls discovered in 1945 by a farmer digging under a cliff outside the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi, which sent the scholarly domain of religious studies “into a tizzy.” The teachings in those documents, which are neither all Gnostic nor all gospels, often pit them directly against the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As Robbins writes, “Some of the texts are not Christian at all, while others seem to reveal the influence of Buddhism. When they do touch on doctrinal matters, it is not hard to see why bishops trying to unify a persecuted church under a single banner of authority would have objected to their heterodox teachings.” Robbins takes particular note of the Gospel of Thomas, which mystifies the readers of the New Testament: “Much of Thomas is parsecs away from Matthew’s moral instruction,” Rob-
Yeshua said, ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.’” The Buddhist-like paradoxes have opened up St. Thomas to new-age “mystics” such as Tau Malachi. But as Robbins notes, “As I’ve lived with Thomas for two decades, it has come to seem far from the sort of spiritual comfort food Americans seek in, say, Coleman Barks’ deracinated translations of Rumi. It is a demanding, often-maddening text, elitist and vulgar in equal measure”—much like Robbins’ poetry itself.
Flux Factory Accessibility Fellowship Long Island City-based studio and gallery, Flux Factory, is offering an inaugural Flux Factory Accessibility Fellowship. The fellowship, which is given in partnership with DCLA Create NYC, will provide a subsidized two-month residency and artwork commission opportunity to one disabled artist during the spring of 2019. For the duration of two months (ideally April and May of 2019), Flux Factory will provide a studio, collective work space, and opportunities to collaborate with other artists-in-residence. The selected Fellow will develop his/her own work and enjoy studio visits with curators and critics, while engaging in rigorous dialogue with the 19 other artists-in-residence at Flux Factory. The fellow will have the opportunity to participate in professional-development initiatives and educational programming. This opportunity is in conjunction with a Flux Factory Major Group Exhibition, Art and Accessibility (working title) curated by Lexy Ho-Tai, which will run from May 10 to June 9, 2019. Art and Accessibility will include works and performances by disabled artists, an adaptive art education program, panel discussions and more. Flux Factory will be used as a space to celebrate and have critical conversations about inclusion and accessibility in the arts, through the lens of disability. The artist Fellow will be invited to produce a new work for this exhibition. Additional support includes a $400 commission stipend. Unfortunately, only the ground floor of the Flux Factory is wheelchair accessible. This includes the gallery space, adjacent bathroom (without a shower) and ground-floor studios. The two other floors—which include additional studios, bathrooms, kitchen space, and workshop and silkscreen studios—are not wheelchair accessible. Therefore, the requirements of the fellowship will be adjusted according to the selected applicant’s particular needs. The deadline to apply is this Monday, Dec. 17. To apply for this opportunity, please go to fluxfactory.submittable.com/submit If the submittable format presents any boundaries to applying, please send responses to all the questions in the form as well as any work samples to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jazz at Flushing Town Hall This Saturday, Dec. 15, New Music Horizons presents jazz composers Roberta Piket and Mark Wade in concert. Piket, who has been described by National Public Radio as standing “among the elite minds of modern jazz,” will display her prowess as a solo pianist while Wade, hailed as “one of the key bass players of our times,” will perform with his award-winning trio. Both composers will present a set of their original works, with an informal Q&A with the composers to follow. Tickets are $10, and free for members, students and teens.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16
Oratorio Society of Queens Holiday Concert
Quintet of the Americas and Jackson Heights Orchestra “The Gordian Knot Untied” by Henry Purcell/ Holst, “Masques Et Bergamasques Suite” by Gabriel Fauré, “For the Sparrows” by Lev Zhurbin, and “America (Suite Popular)” by Ilan Rechtman. Starts at 4pm. P.S. 69, 77-02 37th Ave., Jackson Heights. ------------------------------------------------
inflatables, tree decorating and lighting, live music, kinara candle lighting, train rides, and poetry. Saturday and Sunday at Black Spectrum Theatre, 177-01 Baisley Blvd., Jamaica. ------------------------------------------------
Queensboro Symphony Orchestra
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16
Annual holiday concert with the Queensboro Symphonic Orchestra and Choir. Starts at 7:30pm. Mary’s Nativity Church, 46-02 Parsons Blvd., Flushing.
The Nutcracker The treasured holiday adventure follows a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers, and an army of mice. Starts at 7pm. Queens College’s Colden Auditorium, vicinity of Horace Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard, Flushing. ------------------------------------------------
Douglaston Village Winter Festival An ice rink, carnival rides, live music, dance, ugly sweater contest for dogs, holiday gifts. Starts at noon. LIRR station, 235th Street and 41st Avenue. ------------------------------------------------
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13
Edible Queens Wine Tasting Nine distinct Spanish wines paired with chocolate and cheese from a Astoria’s Forever Cheese. $5 discount with the promo code “EQVIP.” Starts at 6:30 pm. The Wine Room of Forest Hills, 96-09 69th Ave. ------------------------------------------------
Thursday Night Jazz Saxophonist Caroline Davis presents “Heart Tonic,” a new recording inspired by her relocation to NYC from Chicago, the rigors of navigating NYC’s jazz scene, and her father’s heart ailment. Starts at 8pm. Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, 161-04 Jamaica Ave., http://bit.ly/2JAutBd. ------------------------------------------------
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14
Charlie Brown Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang dig below the commercialization and discover the true meaning of Christmas in this play, which features jazz musician Vince Guaraldi and original dance and song numbers. Sixteen shows. The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd St., Long Island City. ------------------------------------------------
Signal to Noise Live Event Music, interactive digital art installations, and participatory experiences. Peter Burr’s large-scale single-channel computer simulation “Dirtscraper” is on a 90-minute loop. Videos selected by The Psychedelic Film and Music Festival loop continuously. The performance “Interference AV” at 10:30 pm. Laura Ortman’s violin improvisations accompany Martha Colburn’s triple-projector piece. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District. ------------------------------------------------
The ShellShocked Nut The East Village Dance Project upends the classic structure of “The Nutcracker” to take a war veteran, a wandering child, and a cast of lively characters on a journey. Starts at 2pm. Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Ave. ------------------------------------------------
Black Spectrum Winter Festival Holiday market, scavenger hunt, crafts,
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15
Collaborative Artists Jazz pianist Roberta Piket and Mark Wade’s trio present original works with an informal Q&A afterward. Starts at 8pm. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd. ------------------------------------------------
Candlelight Tours Holiday decorations, mulled cider, treats, and music by Eden Lane. Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Ave., Ridgewood. ------------------------------------------------
The Nutcracker at Queens College’s Colden Auditorium
Syrian Films presented by ArteEast The first one is an animated short, “Suleima,” about a woman who’s part of the revolution. The second is a feature, “I am the One who Brings Flowers to her Grave,” which consists of interviews with three artistic Syrian women. Starts at 3pm. Queens Museum, NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Celebrate the holiday with one of the country’s most celebrated jazz pianists. Starts at 7pm. Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Ave.
Maestro David Close leads the 125-member chorus and orchestra. The first half features selections from Handel’s “Messiah” and Strauss. The second half mixes Christmas and Chanukah songs. Starts at 4pm. Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Ave., Bayside.
Charlotte’s Web TheatreWorks USA presents this play about a friendship between a pig and a little gray spider. Add mad-cap and endearing farm animals. The second show is a sensory relaxed performance with American Sign Language interpretation. 1pm and 3pm at Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Christmas Tinker Festival and Tree Lighting Holiday tinkering activities followed by tree lighting, hot cocoa, and music. Starts at 2:30pm. Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, 34-41 137th St., Flushing. ------------------------------------------------
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18
Lauren Sevian’s LSQ is a dynamic, hardhitting, modern, straight-ahead jazz quartet featuring the baritone saxophone in the unique setting of a lead voice. Starts at 2pm. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
A night of ritual, poetry, music, movement, and exploration of want and its connections to love, sex, spirit, and mental illness. Starts at 7:30pm. Talkback and Q&A follow. Plaxall Gallery, 5-25 46th Ave., Long Island City.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
50+ Seniors: How Healthy Feet Can Reduce Your Risk of Falling Among older Americans, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death from injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only are seniors more at risk for falls, when they do so, it poses a greater risk for injuries, hospitalization and complications. For a ground-up approach to fall prevention, seniors should start by examining the health of their feet. “Painful foot conditions, such as osteoarthritis, corns, bunions, hammertoes and diabetes complications, can make it difficult for seniors to maintain balance and coordination when walking or standing,” says Michael Ambroziak, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ACFAS). “Compounding the issue is that the very exercises intended to correct risk factors for falls, such as lower-body weakness, as well as gait and balance problems, are made difficult to perform when one is suffering from painful foot and ankle conditions.” While the factors causing falls are numerous,
experts say that seniors, and everybody for that matter, can take steps to reduce their risk by minimizing or even eliminating foot pain. Doing so will improve balance, coordination and stability when walking or standing. Foot and ankle surgeons recommend the following ways to help keep feet and ankles healthy: • Don’t ignore pain: Foot pain is not just a normal consequence of growing older, so don’t resign yourself to aching and suffering. You likely have a treatable condition. For a proper diagnosis and intervention, be sure to pay attention to your feet and see a foot and ankle surgeon if and when you experience pain. • Examine your feet: You are the gatekeeper of your own health, making regular at-home foot examinations critical. At the sign of bumps, lumps or other changes in your feet, make an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon. • Exercise: Simple stretching exercises can help you maintain strength and mobility in your feet and ankles, as well as provide pain
relief. Talk to your physician about appropriate exercises for you. • Protect: Use padding, insoles or whatever special footwear you are prescribed. Be sure to wear these, along with comfortable, sensible shoes, every day. • Be flexible: Know that at times, surgery is the most appropriate treatment for a given condition. Fortunately, many simple surgical techniques allow foot surgery to be performed on an outpatient basis. For more ways for to keep feet and ankles healthy, prevent falls or to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit FootHealthFacts. org, the patient education website for ACFAS. Foot and ankle surgeons are experts in providing both conservative care as well as surgical approaches to foot and ankle healthcare. Remember, just one fall can permanently rob seniors of their independence and dramatically reduce their quality of life. Taking good care of feet and ankles however can reduce the risk of a life-altering slip, trip or fall. –Courtesy of StatePoint
How to Make Your Empty Nest an Empowering New Chapter Suddenly, the kids are all grown up and ready to flee the nest. It’s the start of a new chapter—for them, and for mom and dad, too. While this sudden change in family dynamic is bound to bring a mix of bittersweet emotions, there are plenty of ways to embrace the shift. An empty nest certainly doesn’t mean an empty life. Raising a family reaps many rewards and any parent knows that family time revolves around the children’s wants and needs well into their teenage years. While in the thick of it, the prospect of a quiet, relaxing weekend with no parental responsibilities and the very concept of self-care can seem farfetched. But now with the kids leaving home, it’s time to make the most of your new foot-loose and fancy-free lifestyle.
Make More “Me Time”
Now that you have more time to do things that bring you joy, it’s time rediscover who you are—whether that’s through traveling the world, learning a new skill or language, tak-
ing a yoga class, volunteering or simply doing more of what makes you feel good. The newfound time in your day is an opportunity to discover new hobbies and build a social life that is entirely your own.
Just because the kids have left home doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. In fact, you may find yourself on the other end of the phone giving dating advice or having more meaningful life chats than ever before. Family group text threads can replace dinner table conversations, so do make sure you stay up-to-date with technology to keep the entire family connected. Choose a phone plan that lets you talk, video chat or text with your kids as much as you want, when you want, such as T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+, which gives you two lines for just $35 per line with no surprise fees or taxes. A super affordable option designed just for customers 55 and older, it includes unlimited talk, text and data, in-flight texting, one hour
of Gogo Wi-Fi on domestic flights, and texting and data when you travel abroad in 210 destinations. And what’s more, all the money you save on your phone plan can go straight into the selfcare fund or to finance your next “adults only” fancy vacation. Win-win.
Find a Furry Friend
If you’re an animal lover, adopt a new pet, train a friend’s dog, pet-sit, or become a foster pet-parent. This time, you won’t be getting a pet just for the kids. Animals have a magical ability to lift the spirit and fill the void left from caring for your little ones for so many years. Becoming an empty nester is surprisingly empowering, and can be a period of positive growth for you. Instill new routines and experiences in your life, stay connected to your kids, and the rest will surely follow. –Courtesy of StatePoint
Fuel Not Feed For Chakra Balance By JOANNE BARRY COLON Did you know that fueling your body with the right foods can help balance your Chakras? As a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and Reiki Master, I teach clients how to fuel their body rather than feed their body. By fueling your body you’re giving your body valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals to help your mind, body and spirit to have energy. When your body, you’re feeding your emotions, which may give you short burst of energy, causing you to feel moody, tired, unfocused and not productive and you’re not giving your body valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals. As a nutrition coach, I teach clients on how to incorporate the following foods into their daily food plan to help balance there Chakras: • To help balance the Root Chakra, incorporate these foods daily: Carrots, Potatoes, Onions and Garlic.
• To help balance the Sacral Chakra, incorporate these foods daily: Melons, Strawberries, Almonds, Cinnamon, and Vanilla. • To help balance the Solar Plexus Chakra, incorporate these foods daily: Lentils, Pump-
kins, Lemon, Brown Rice and Oats. • To help balance the Heart Chakra incorporate, these foods daily: Kale, Spinach, Broccoli and Leafy greens. • To help balance the Throat Chakra, incorporate these foods daily: Water, Lemon juice, Peaches and Apricots. • To help balance the Third Eye Chakra, incorporate these foods daily: Blueberries, Cabbage and Eggplant. • To help balance the Crown Chakra, incorporate these foods daily; Dried fruits and Dates and plenty of water (room temperature or hot). Before implementing this plan, I recommend consulting with your physician. For best results work one on one with a Reiki Master, Spiritual Healer or Holistic Nutrition Coach. Email questions to healingwithin34@aol. com. Redeem this article at my studio to receive a Complimentary 30 minute Reiki Treatment.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
How To Keep Your Pets Safe During The Winter By ARIEL HERNANDEZ With below average temperatures and winter just a week away, it’s important for pet-mommies and daddies to take serious precautions when it comes to keeping their pets safe. The most important thing for pet owners to remember is whatever you do for yourself or your children, do the same for your pets. There is absolutely no reason why an animal should be kept outside when it’s below 45 degrees, even if your pet has a thick coat of fur. Here are some more tips to follow. 1) LISTEN TO YOUR DOGS – If you’re out and about and your dog suddenly begins to lift their paws up or hold their legs up, shaking their paws or whining, it may be
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too cold for your dog. One way to prevent your dogs from the cold weather during daily walks, owners can purchase booties to keep their dog’s paws warm and dry. But again, regardless of how much your bundle up your dog, it is never okay to keep them outside for long periods. “Their ears are exposed, their paws are in direct contact with cold cement, their nose is sticking out there in the wind,” said K.C. Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. “Never leave dogs outside unattended for any length of time. Only take them outside if they’re going to be active and exercise.”
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6, 13, 20 & 27, 2018 FAMILY COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF QUEENS Docket No. NN-09171/18 In the Matter of a Proceeding under SINCLAIR LANDERS Article 10 of the Family Court Act MICHAEL LANDERS RESPONDENT IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK NOTICE: PLACEMENT OF YOUR CHILD IN FOSTER CARE MAY RESULT IN THE LOSS OF YOUR RIGHTS TO YOUR CHILD. IF YOUR CHILD STAYS IN FOSTER CARE FOR 15 OF THE MOST RECENT 22 MONTHS, THE AGENCY MAY BE REQUIRED BY LAW TO FILE A PETITION TO TERMINATE YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS AND TO COMMIT GUARDIANSHIP AND CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILD TO THE AGENCY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ADOPTION. ALSO, THE AGENCY MAY FILE BEFORE THE END OF THE 15-MONTH PERIOD. IF SEVERE OR REPEATED CHILD ABUSE IS PROVEN BY CLEAN AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, THIS FINDING MAY CONSTITUTE THE BASIS TO TERMINATE YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS AND TO COMMIT GUARDIANSHIP AND CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILD TO THE AGENCY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ADOPTION.
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TO: MICHAEL LANDERS A petition under ARTICLE 10 of the FAMILY COURT ACT having been filed with this Court and annexed hereto: YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED to appear before this court at 151-20 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432, Part 5, on JANUARY 14TH, at 9:00 am o’clock of that day to answer the petition and to be dealt with in accordance with ARTICLE 10 of the FAMILY COURT ACT. ON YOUR FAILURE TO APPEAR as herein directed, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. BY ORDER OF THE COURT HON. JUDGE JOAN PICCIRILLO JUDGE OF THE FAMILY COURT Dated: November 14, 2018 FURTHER NOTICE: Family Court Act §154 (c) provides that petitions brought pursuant to Articles 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 of the Family Court Act, in which an order of protection is sought or in which a violation of an order of protection is alleged, may be served outside the State of New York upon a Respondent who is not a resident or domiciliary of the State of New York. If no other grounds for obtaining personal jurisdiction over the Respondent exist aside from the application of this provision, the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the respondent is limited to the issue of the request for, or alleged violation of the order of protection. Where the Respondent has been served with this summons and petition and does not appear, the Family Court may proceed to a hearing with respect to issuance or enforcement of the order of protection.
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Spend the Holidays with
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2) CLEAN PAWS – Always wipe your pet’s paws after a trip outside. Toxic chemicals like salt, antifreeze or any other deicer can make your animal sick if they lick it off. If you’re a homeowner, it’s recommended to purchase pet-safe deicers for your home for the safety of your pet. And when wiping your pet’s paws, always check for injury. If your pet’s paws look cracked, dry or are bleeding, call your veterinarian.
Accepting Reservations for Holiday Dining & Gatherings in our Spacious Dining Room with seating for 65 guests or private Garden Room available for up to 35 guests. 3) CHECK YOUR HOOD – Cats, mostly strays, are known for climbing onto vehicle engines or wheels for warmth, the Animal Humane Society, strongly suggests that drivers knock on the hood of their car very loudly or honk their horn before starting their car because if you start your car while a cat is sleeping on a tire, the cat could be severely hurt or killed by the engine parts. The loud noise will wake up the cat and give it time to escape before you start the vehicle.
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ADOPTION CENTER HOLIDAY HOURS: Christmas Eve: 11 AM - 6 PM CLOSED: Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day 25 Davis Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050 animalleague.org • 516.883.7575 FOLLOW US: Photo by Ellen Dunn
4) NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR – Just like the dangers of leaving your pet alone in your car during the hot summer days, it is equally as dangerous if you keep your pet in the vehicle during freezing temperatures. Your car is always colder or hotter than the temperature outside. Unless it’s extremely important that you have to take your pet out, you should completely avoid taking your pet on any trips that require a car ride that would potentially result in your pet being alone.
THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY 5) WATCH FOR HYPOTHERMIA – Hypothermia is a medical condition that is caused by abnormally low body temperature. According to PetMD, it comes in three phases: mild, which is a body temperature between 90 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit; moderate, which is a body temperature between 82 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit; and severe, which is any temperature less than 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia could affect heart and blood flow, breathing and the immune system. If you walk outside and it feels too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog. The best way to monitor your dog is to pay attention to their behavior. If your dog is shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations or holding up one or more paws, take your dog inside immediately. Winter temperatures are nothing to play with. Just as humans get frost bites and develop colds, so do our pets. The best way to get through this season is by keeping every member of our household warm and safe, and that includes our furry friends.
Final Environmental Assessment Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision Reconstruction of Runway 13L-31R and Associated Taxiways John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA,) notice is hereby given that copies of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) inclusive of the November 2018 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)/Record of Decision (ROD) for the proposed Reconstruction of Runway 13L-31R and Associated Taxiways Project at John F. Kennedy International Airport are available for public review at the following locations: The Port Authority of NY & NJ John F. Kennedy International Airport Building 14/PA Administration Building 3rd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11430 Attn: Anna Stachula Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
The Port Authority of NY & NJ Aviation Department 4 World Trade Center/150 Greenwich St. 18th Floor, New York, NY 10007 Attn: Kathryn Lamond Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Final EA document for this project will be available at these locations until February 8th, 2019. In addition, a copy of this document may be viewed online at: http://www.panynj.gov/about/studies-reports.html.
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Holiday Gift Ideas for Pets and Pet Owners By KRISTINA JOHNSON Don’t forget the furriest member of your family as you’re doing your holiday shopping this year. Your pet might not realize that Christmas is coming, but it’s a perfect excuse to spoil your four-legged friend. The average American will be spending $67 on gifts for their pets this holiday season according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, and there are as many great gift ideas for pets as there are for people. CLOTHING A quick scroll through Instagram or Facebook will show you that matching family holiday pajamas are hot this year. Luckily for families with pets, stores like Target, Walmart, and Macy’s all carry holiday sleepwear sets that include options for cats and dogs. Pets can also compete for the top prize at ugly Christmas sweater parties — Chewy.com’s sweater selections start around $7 each. You can also make sure your dog is ready for the next big snowstorm with a pair of doggie boots to keep their paws warm. The American Kennel Club warns that road salts and deicing agents can be toxic to dogs, so keeping their paws covered can help them stay safe, too. Short-haired pups may need to bundle up in the cold, so a stylish newish jacket or parka also makes a great holiday gift. And you can keep their doggy snout from becoming chapped in the cold with tube of nose balm
— Snout Soother by Natural Dog Company is highly rated on Amazon. TREATS The holidays tend to be a time for indulging on lavish meals and sweet treats, and there’s no reason your pet can’t partake in that tradition. PamperedPawGifts.com can put together Christmas or Hanukkah baskets filled with gourmet dog treats, including grain and gluten free options for pups with sensitive tummies. Target is selling cute wreath and candy cane shaped rawhide bones for $6.99 for dogs that love to chew. And when you pour yourself a glass of holiday spirits, you can even toast with
your pet — Apollopeak.com has developed a line of wines for cats and dogs (but don’t worry, they’re non-alcoholic). COMFORT Give your cat a new scratchpad for Christmas and your furniture might be a little safer. Uncommon Goods offers some hilarious options, like scratchpads that look like a turntable or a laptop. If your cat loves to snooze in the sunlight, you can give them a nap spot with a great view by investing in a window seat that attaches with suction cups. If you’d rather not have your dog hogging your whole couch, you can get them one of their own at Wayfair. com. The site offers doggie leather sofas
and plush heated dog beds. FOR OWNERS Who can resist buying themselves a gift or two around the holidays? If you’re the parent of a fur baby (or know someone who loves their pet like a child). you can get pretty much anything personalized with your pet on Etsy. You can choose from any number of amazing creations like lifesized pillows printed with your pet’s picture, socks emblazoned with their face, even a Warhol-style painted portrait of them. If you’re a working pet parent hoping to keep an eye on your furry friend when you’re away, you can pick up a doggie monitor that not only streams video to your
Come join us for a spectacular dinner in Times Square this holiday season at Paul’s on Times Square Located in the heart of the theater district, and steps away from the famous New Years Ball, Paul’s offers a truly authentic Italian dinner that will please any palate! Book your reservation today! We cater corporate events and large groups too!
phone, but also shoots out treats to your dog. If you’re hoping to take a great holiday portrait with your pet, you can check out the Woofie — it holds a dog treat and snaps onto your phone, capturing your dog’s attention for the perfect selfie. And while DNA kits like 23 and Me and AncestryDNA are big holiday sellers this year for humans, don’t forget that you can also get a doggie DNA kit to figure out exactly how mixed your mutt is.
Spectacular Views of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. For more information or to make your reservations today, please call 212.204.7246
136 WEST 42ND STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10036 l 212.204.7246 LOCATED INSIDE THE HILTON GARDEN INN l WWW.PAULSONTSQ.COM
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
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In Business 54 Years. Call Me 1st!
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ TOP DOLLAR $ $ $ $ 718-445-6900 $ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
JUNK CARS WANTED
WANTED TO BUY
AJ PAWN BROKER,INC.
WE BUY GOLD, ELECTRONICS, WATCHES ETC.
115-48 SUTPHIN BLVD. JAMAICA NY 11434
CUSTOM FIT YOUR READY-TO-WEAR CLOTHES. CALL MARGIE FOR PROFESSIONAL SEWING ALTERATIONS AT REASONABLE PRICES. CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT
718-461-1566 OR 718-216-0910
WE PAY CASH ALWAYS BUYING OLD Costume Jewelry, Fountain Pens, Watches, World's Fair & Military Items, Zippo Cigarette Lighters, Anything Gold CALL MIKE TODAY
Michael P Jennings, CPA
ABE BUYS OLD STUFF
Great Prices Paid. Silver, Paintings, Rugs, All Furniture till 1960. Estates & all contents from homes! Looking for antiques & Modern Designer Names also, Lucite & Chrome, Iron Garden furniture.
Old Records 33 - 45 - 78
• Doo-Wop • Rockabilly • Rock & Roll • Heavy Metal • Punk • Disco • Latin • Soul • Jazz • Blues • Gospel • Reggae/Calypso • Ethnic Music • Classical • Soundtracks • No Pop Music Charlie
Tel: 718-281-4050 • Fax: 718-281-4051 firstname.lastname@example.org www.myjmcpa.com 211-08 35th Avenue Bayside, NY 11361
TO PLACE YOUR AD PLEASE CONTACT THE QUEENS TRIBUNE SALES DEPARTMENT AT 718-255-5541
LATIN WORKS VERY HARD
570am Radio Mon-Sat • 11am-Noon Pastor Wayne Montbleau www.lovinggrace.org P.O. Box 500 Lafayette, NJ 07848
House Calls & Same Day Service Available
ANTIQUE & ESTATE BUYERS We Pay $$CASH$$ For
• Paintings • Clocks • Watches • Estate Jewelry • Coins • Stamps • Antique Furniture • Hummels/LLadros • Records • Sterling Silver
Want to ﬁnd an Asian woman for serious dating
Swords • Knives • Helmets
TOP $ PAID FOR JUDAICA COLLECTIBLES FREE ESTIMATES!
Don't wait! Love is in the air. Call us to meet her now!
ASK FOR CHRISTOPHER
1029 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, L.I.
217-04 Northern Blvd. Bayside, 11361
SERVING QUEENS & ENTIRE TRI-STATE AREA
212-518-7267 • 718-200-3228
We buy anything old. One Piece or house full
R12 Collecting Dust Certiﬁed Professional Pays CASH for R12
PRIVATE HOME TUTORING SVCS. Tutoring in your home
COMMON CORE: Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Chemistry
Email:Startingpointdating@gmail.com webchat: ﬁndme5921 www.WeDateUSA.com
TakeCare Senior Home Care Services Give peace of mind to your loved one and your family with an experienced, dependable and loving home care provider. Services are available 24/7, 365. Queens based provider. 15% off first booking.
Visit us at www.takecareathome.com Call us at 347-464-9267 or email@example.com
ROAD TRIP COMPANION
Earn $75 to accompany female to car events on Long Island and New Jersey. Will pick up and will pay for gas.
CERTIFIED HOME HEALTH IRISH AIDES CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANTS (Men & Women)
HAPPY DAYS COMPASSIONATE IRISH CARE EXCELLENT REFERENCES/ DRIVERS LICENSE
CONTACT BRIDGET 914-410-7815 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ITEMS FOR SALE
ONLINE SHOPPING MALL NAME BRAND, PERFUME, OFFICE FURNITURE AND ELECTRONICS
Great Items 4 Less
We accept all credit cards FREE SHIPPING - no minimum
on $175 or more purchase Use coupon code SAVE
WINTER SPECIAL Beat the Holiday Rush Quality Jewelry For Less We accept all credit cards FREE SHIPPING - no minimum
on $175 or more purchase Use coupon code SAVE
ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN SEEKS MATURE, WELL ESTABLISHED GENTLEMAN. (OVER 40+) If interested call or text
Lisa: 646.523.8139 65 Year Old MALE 5’11, 300 LBS. Looking For Open Minded Women
VISIT US ONLINE AT WWW.QUEENSTRIBUNE.COM
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
PRESS OF SOUTHEAST QUEENS LEGAL NOTICES
SEND YOUR LEGAL NOTICES TO THE QUEENS TRIBUNE
Email: Legals@Queenstribune.com Or Call 718.260.2526
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Happy, healthy, loved. These are the dreams we have for our families and friends. So we cherish the moments that make us smile and inspire us to grow... when we move, create, serve, play, teach, do. When we care. This is how health rises in each of us, and in our homes and communities. Because when we’re being ourselves, we all feel better.
Let’s get everyone covered. If you or someone you know needs health insurance, Fidelis Care is just a call, click, or visit away.
Call: 1-888-FIDELIS Click: fideliscare.org Visit: A Fidelis Care community office near you. Search for locations at fideliscare.org/offices
1-888-FIDELIS • fideliscare.org (1-888-343-3547)
To learn more about applying for health insurance, including Medicaid, Child Health Plus, Essential Plan, and Qualified Health Plans through NY State of Health, The Official Health Plan Marketplace, visit www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call 1-855-355-5777.