Pride in Queens has seen a resurgence this year, one that's both welcome and warranted.The vehicle has been the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the two World's Fairs held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The joint jubilees have been celebrated at a string of events, culminating in a May 18 festival that drew an estimated 60,000 people.
When it comes to combining the old and the new, it’s unlikely that any place does it better than Flushing.
Steeped in tradition, with more than a handful of historic locations in its downtown section alone, the area is also filled with recent arrivals to this country who are welcomed to their adoptive home and brand- new way of life.
If Howard Beach had its own Facebook page, it would perhaps not come as a surprise if its relationship status were “It’s complicated.”
In it’s relatively short, turbulent history, the neighborhood has experienced some of the worst of nature’s elements — and has also been forced to contend with some of man’s own nuisances.
Not every Queens neighborhood has a nationally known landmark like the West Side Tennis Stadium in Forest Hills or the Unisphere in Flushing.
And while Glendale may not be a tourist destination that draws thousands of people to its streets, its approximately 55,000 residents know the neighborhood’s respectable blue-collar work ethic and history of immigrant success make the area one of the city’s more historical hidden gems.
Jamaica is nothing if not adaptable to the times.
Immigrants from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have since been joined by those from the Caribbean, Latin America and Southern Asia.
It is no secret that Queens is one of the most diverse areas in the country and Jackson Heights is a testament to that.
“If you go down there, that’s called Little Bangladesh,” longtime resident and Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “Then the next street, that’s little India.”
The colorful mural on the side of Maspeth Federal Savings bank at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 69th Street proudly proclaims “Maspeth is America.”
Few things are more American than a grandiose painting of a bald eagle soaring alongside Old Glory, just like few neighborhoods in the entire country have more history than Maspeth does.
The architecture of a city or a neighborhood can be like the rings of a tree to the trained eye.
A close examination can uncover history preserved in wood and stone like an insect trapped in amber.
A self-guided tour around his old Rego Park neighborhood draws Bruce Levy first to the place he called home until he was 27 years old.
As he approaches the intersection of Saunders Street and 63rd Drive on a recent overcast day, he pauses, points to a fifth floor window — the one that now has a flower box in it — in the corner building, and says, “That was my room,” quickly adding, “I’m not an emotional person. It’s part of history, part of my life.”
Like much of New York City, Sunnyside is hard to define.
There are many moving parts to the neighborhood that come together and create an altogether unique place to live.
Poet Walt Whitman may have summed it up best: “I have reason to bless the breeze that wafted me to Whitestone.”
Whitman taught school in the community in the winter of 1840 through the next spring, focusing on local history and journalism. And although he decried the “money-making spirit” in Whitestone, he loved the water views: “We are close on the sound. It is a beautiful thing to see the vessels, sometimes a hundred or more, all in sight at once, and moving so gracefully on the water.”
In 2003, a British newspaper writing about the surprise Academy Award victory for actor Adrien Brody described him as being from “Woodhaven, a New York City suburb about ten kilometers east of Manhattan.”
They were wrong of course — Woodhaven is a neighborhood within, not a suburb of, New York City — but anyone who has been to the community could easily forgive their mistake.
City school teacher and film producer Derek Phillips was tired of seeing the failings of black fathers dominate their portrayal in the media. Not all, he knew, were unemployed drinkers who abandoned their children and left their wives and girlfriends to raise them alone. But Phillips worried that was the only impression many people were getting.
Prepped, primed and determined to win, the Rosedale Jets represent more than just a football team for many of its over 250 young players.
For the last 21 years, Anthony Battaglia of Howard Beach has run a summer basketball league for children ages 8 to 18, and he doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.
Steven Fiedler’s office is a silver 2003 Honda Civic. It’s the Middle Village resident’s roving command center, equipment caddy and sanctuary rolled into one trusted, aptly-named vehicle.
Ann Bruno has lived in Astoria her whole life and wouldn’t have it any other way. “I really do love Astoria. I like everything about it,” Bruno said as she reclined in her doctor’s office last Thursday, receiving treatment for her arthritis.
In a nation focused on horrendous oil spills, ineffective if not dysfunctional government and terrorists trying to damage New York City and elsewhere, we sometimes wonder how anything positive gets done.
Joe Aiello learned a lot from his father. Two of the most enduring lessons Sylvester “Sal” Aiello imparted to a young, impressionable Joe are the importance of community and aiding your fellow man.
In a one-on-one competition for service to one’s community, Glendale’s Vincent Arcuri Jr. would undoubtedly run rings around most people — even those who are half his age.Now in his early 70s, he boasts leadership roles in at least a dozen community-based organizations.
Ray Normandeau is not altruistic. “I wouldn’t go to another neighborhood to help people out unless it’s to piss off the Housing Authority,” he said during an interview at his Queensbridge Houses apartment.
Alan Wolfe and Mark Jesse Schwartz, state-certified emergency medical technicians with the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps, won’t hesitate to tell you: Whether paid or not, EMTs are always on duty.
Like the mythical phoenix that rises from the ashes, the ARROW Community Garden, located on 35th Street in Long Island City, blossoms on the site of a former junkyard, offering a touch of suburban life in the midst of the crowded area that surrounds it.
In a parallel universe, Phyllis Inserillo would be reporting to a crime laboratory each day, analyzing criminal evidence and interrogating the most nefarious scofflaws in the city.