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Senior Appreciation Month 2017_Event Listing

Its time to celebrate seniors. Check out this very extensive list of great programs for seniors.  Events include concerts, luncheons, movies, bowling and more.  There is something for everyone!


 Senior Appreciation Month 2017

 Elected Official Event / Date Arrival Time Location Contact Name Contact Phone
Mayor Office of Community Affair Sept. 7, 2017

“Oldies But Goodies”

1pm – 4pm Jamaica Performance Arts Center

153-10 Jamaica Avenue

Jessica Douglas 212-442-0508 (phone)

James Sanders

Sept. 8, 2017

Movie “Fences”

10am – 12pm Jamaica Multiplex

159-02 Jamaica Avenue

Hayden Horsham 718-327-7017 (phone)
Council Member I. Daneek Miller

Co-Sponsors: Public Advocate James & Assembly Member Vivian Cook

Sept. 9, 2017

Gospel Concert

2pm-6pm York College Performance Center

153-10 Jamaica Avenue

Margaret Denson 718-776-3700 (phone)

718-587-3580 (fax)

646-300-1913 (cell)

Congress Member Gregory Meeks Sept. 11, 2017

Movie “Detroit”

10am – 12pm Jamaica Multiplex

159-02 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica NY 11432

Patsy Simmons 718-883-9800 (phone)
Council Member I. Daneek Miller

Co-Sponsor: Public Advocate James

Sept. 12, 2017

Senior Breakfast

9am-12p Thomasina Catering Hall

205-35 Linden Boulevard

Margaret Denson 718-776-3700 (phone)

718-587-3580 (fax)

646-300-1913 (cell)

Council Member Donovan Richards Sept. 12, 2017

Doo Wop

3pm-5pm Springfield Park Jessica L. Luina 718-471-7014 (phone)

718-327-4794 (fax)


Leroy Comrie

Sept. 18, 2017

Senior Breakfast

10am – 1pm Thomasina Catering Hall

205-35 Linden Boulevard

Lois Menyweather 718-765-6359(phone)




Clyde Vanel

Sept. 21, 2017

Variety of Entertainment

12pm – 2pm Majority Multi-Purpose Room

115-21 Farmers Blvd

Aaron 718-926-5960 (cell)
Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman Sept. 22, 2017

Senior Bowling

10am-12pm JIBS Lane

67-19 Parsons Blvd

Cherise Parson 718-723-5412 (phone)

718-810-3019 (cell)

Assembly Member Michele Titus Sept. 23, 2017

Senior Fitness

Springfield Park

147th Avenue & 184th Street

Norman Jones 718-327-1845 (phone)


Councilman Barry S. Grodenchik Sept. 25, 2017

Senior Information session

10:30am 11:30am SNAP Senior Center

80-45 Winchester Blvd

Irene Cheung 718-468-0137 (phone)

718-468-0178 (fax)

Council Member

Rory I. Lancman

Sept. 27, 2017

Senior Musical Performance

11am Highland Church

160-20 Jamaica Avenue

Ronnie Sylvain 718-217-4969 (phone)

347-561-6116 (Fax)

Assembly Member

David I. Weprin

Sept. 28, 2017

Senior Comedy

11am – 12pm Holliswood Jewish Senior Center at Young Israel of Holliswood

86-25 Francis Lewis Boulevard

Rianna Young 718-454-3027 (phone)

718-454-3178 (fax)

All Elected Officials


Sept. 29,2017

Senior Luncheon

12pm Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center

172-17 Linden Blvd

Margaret Denson 718-776-3700 (phone)

718-206-2748 (fax)

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So You Want to Open A Food Business

So you make a killer oxtail stew and you want to be in the food business.  Then the Jamaica Food Entrepreneurship and Services Training Space is for you.  Jamaica FEASTS is a free incubator program for aspiring food entrepreneurs.  It entails 12 weekly classes on how to open your own food business.  Topics include, but are not limited to, licensing, fees, menu planning, banking, human resources and real estate.  Expert guest speakers from the food business community including lawyers and QuickBooks professionals will help guide participants.

Halfway through the program, participants are assessed by their presentation of a business plan, elevator pitch, operational plan along with planned next steps to ensure they are advancing successful through the program.  At the end of the program, participants are given a final evaluation and recommendations for future success. 

FEAST is part of a two year grant from the New York Economic Development Corporation.  The program is administered by the Queens Library and classes are held at the Central Branch.  The grant covers 3 sessions a year.  The upcoming session, which begins in October, is its final cohort for 2017.  The next session will open in January of 2018.  On Tuesday, July 25, Jamaica FEASTS Manager Morgan Earle held an information session for interested entrepreneurs at which she outlined the details of the program and the selection process.

Participants selected for the program must begin by submitting an application.  After that, individuals will be interviewed to assess their level of program readiness.  The program is looking to seat individuals that have a clear vision of what they want to do in the food industry including tested recipes.  Just wanting to open a bakery and sell muffins and scones are not sufficient objectives warranting entry.  Interested parties must know the types of scones or have proven muffin recipes.

Resources for starting and running a food business as well as the food truck industry are also covered in the program.  Future iterations of the program will include access to a commercial kitchen space.  (The kitchen space is currently under construction.)

The application deadline for the upcoming session is Friday, August 4th at 5PM.  To apply online visit this link.  For questions and more information call 718-990-8699.

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Young Democrats Protest Incident in Charlottesville

On Tuesday, August 15 the Queens County Young Democrats’ (QCYD) Caucus of Color hosted a rally against hate and bigotry.   The rally was in response to the recent events in Charlottesville VA at which one person was killed.  The Charlottesville rally was organized by White Nationalist. 

The rally was the brainchild of one of QCYD’s newest members, Kemar Newman.  A member of QCYD for just two months, the young immigrant and veteran was affected by the events in Charlottesville.  With two young daughters, Kemar was fearful of the country they would inherit.  It motivated him to take the initiative to gather individuals together in a show of unity.

“You are the change,” he said.

The rally was held at Rufus King Park under an overcast sky.  It set a somber tone and reflected the sadness of the fatal conclusion to the rally.

Protestors unwittingly gathered in a circle while listening to elected officials in attendance at the event speak out against the violence.  At the end of the event, protestors held hands forming a circle for an ending prayer. 

It was a multicultural gathering of mostly young individuals.  The low turnout was in sharp contrast to the widespread opposition to the events in Charlottesville. 

While elected officials gathered for the event condemned the actions in Charlottesville there was more of a focused on the positive.

“The war has just begun,” said Senator James Sanders, Jr. during his turn at the podium.  “The worst is yet to come…We all need to get in shape.  Take these folks seriously.”  The Senator was speaking about how heavily outfitted the White Nationalists group was in Charlottesville highlighting its intent and preparedness.

“We know how to live together…We’ve demonstrated how to love each other,” said Council Member I Daneek Miller referring to Queens’ diversity.  “We are going to stand for all our citizens.”

The rally ended on a fiery note with remarks from Amir Abbady, QCYD VP of diversity and outreach.  Amir believed that the Democratic Party had “another year” to get it right. 

“We should create a government that represents us all.  We are diverse Americans and we all deserve a seat at the table,” he passionately exclaimed. 

The city of Charlottesville became a scene of violence as white nationalists, many with confederate flags and in Nazi gear and apparel, clashed with counter protesters.  The rally included racial taunting, violent physical exchanges and brawls.  The Governor declared a state of emergency and the National Guard had to clear the protest area. 

As the rally was dispersing, a car plowed into the crowd killing a woman and injuring more than 30 individuals.  Footage showed the driver accelerating into the crowd and quickly retreating. 

President Donald Trump refused to denounce the white nationalist hate groups at the center of the protest, choosing instead to blame the violence in Charlottesville on “both sides”.  Police were viewed as acting minimally toward protest participants.  This is in sharp contrast to their aggressive stance at Black Lives Matter demonstrations. 

Two days after the clash, the President gave a carefully delivered condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan and neo Nazi groups.   He reverted back to blaming both sides a day later.  He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were very violent when confronting the white nationalists groups that gathered in Charlottesville. 

“You had a group on one side that was bad.  You had a group on the other side that was also very violent.  Nobody wants to say that.  I’ll say it right now,” said President Trump in a Press Conference several days after the event.


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Residents Celebrate Summer 2017 with a Host of Events and Giveaways

Backpack and school supplies giveaways, health fairs, Caribbean Festivals, Outdoor concerts and Friends and Family events had residents enjoying the outdoors these final weeks of summer.  Music can be heard filtering through the streets while bouncy houses frame the landscape with the sounds of children’s laughter.  Residents will not let summer go without a good fight.  With the weather complying with warm days and unusually cooler nights, it has been easier to enjoy neighborhood parks.

Rochdale Village’s Friends & Family Day

Saturday, August 20 was Rochdale Village’s annual Friends and Family Day.  Residents took to its vast manicured lawns of the Village for food, fun and fellowship.  The DJ was spinning the tunes, a bouncy house and rock wall for the kids, a special section for seniors and a good time for all.  Rochdale Village Board of Directors cut the ribbon on its newest water park in Circle Three’s playground.  The water park made its debut during Friends and Family Day was Rochdale’s second of two new parks installed in the Village, the other in Circle One’s playground.  The water park comes equipped with sprinklers, rain walls and water shooters.  It runs on a timed cycle once engaged by participants by stepping on an in-ground button.  Look forward to the addition of aquatic items and images to adorn the grounds of the water park soon.  Photo Water Park (k.clements)


Ready, Set, Engage

The 103rd Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit used the park adjacent to P.S. 40 to celebrate community in their Ready, Set, Engage event.  The event was a culmination of work precinct personnel had been doing to clean up the park and bridge the gap between PS 40 students and the precinct.  The event included giveaways, music, photo opportunities with police vehicles and food fresh off the grill.  Cops and Kids and Community engaged in a high paced game of basketball.  Team Cops were a surprising strong force on the courts against the young male athletes.  The event included a backpack giveaway with items collected from Boys Scout Troupe 485 Nassau County.  Boy Scouts put out the word via social media that they would be collecting items.  They then gathered all the donations from those who responded. 


New Jerusalem Worship Center’s Back-To-School Giveaway

New Jerusalem Worship Center held a back-to-school giveaway on Saturday, August 12.  The church opened up the space typically reserved for its charter school and transformed it into a meet, greet and fun area.  Children had the opportunity to climb and slide in the playground, there was food off the grill and a catered meal as well.  Backpacks were fully loaded and in a variety of colors.  The whole neighborhood received a Caribbean treat as music from its live concert filtered through the streets courtesy of the Higher Levin Inc. Steel Band Group.  The musicians were all under 18 and they performed a sweet serenade of music from classic tunes to Bruno Mars that punctuated the day.  Photo Baptiste Sisters (k.clements)



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‘Central Park Five’ documentary screens to community youths

Korey Wise speaks to youth after documentary viewing

[This article was originally published in 2013. As renewed interest in the ‘Central Park Five’ story emerges, this article is being reposted.]
It is one movie that you are happy to know the outcome.

‘The Central Park Five’, is a documentary that examines the 1989 case of five Black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a White woman in Central Park. The movie is currently being screened throughout Southeast Queens to audiences, both young and old. Recently, the documentary was screened at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center and the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

At the Ross Center, seventh and eight grade students from the nearby Eagle Academy comprised a large portion of the guests who had come out. While the case of the Central Park Jogger left an indelible mark on New York City and its residents at the time, this younger segment of the population had not experienced the case but certainly its implications.

Young Black and Latino men are among the highest percentage that are stopped by NYPD in their stop, question and frisk policy. It was one reason why the Central Park Five were implicated in the rape. They were stopped when reports of teens carousing and causing mayhem through Central Park were reported.

Audience members were transfixed throughout the documentary. The film gave a glimpse of New York City of the late eighties, a city of financial gains and deep pockets of poverty. The film followed the discovery of the woman and how the teens were implicated in the crime. It delved into their taped confessions, a main component of the guilty verdicts, and the inconsistency of the statements. The film included interviews with all five of the men, teenagers at the time they were implicated, and several of their family members and community leaders.

A range of emotions were evident in the audience during the screening. There was anger and frustration evident from the lip smacking and a shout of ‘Tawana Brawley’, when the issue of believing a young woman’s rape story. There were tears wiped away and a huge surge of applause at the ending.

After the screening, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise, two of The Central Park Five, engaged in a dialogue with the audience. Kharey was the oldest at the time of the guilty verdict and, as such, was sent to Rikers Island to serve out his sentence. Yusef was his friend at the time. The two ventured to the police after hearing they were being sought in connection with events in the park. Knowing they had no part in crimes that night, they believed their trip to the police would be short and they would return home before their parents. “Kharey came home thirteen years later, Yusef came home eight years later,” they said to the audience.

Kharey shared that he was thankful to be alive. “I died every day for thirteen years,” he said of his prison incarceration. “I am messed up in the head from dealing with [the NYPD]. It’s good to laugh after going through hell.”

Kharey advised the young men there to become familiar with their Miranda rights. And to not talk until you see someone familiar. “The life you save may be your own,” he said.

There was no condemnation for all police and the lack of resentment was noticible in both men. Yusef talked about channeling his anger into education and inspiring people.

The men have not been in contact with the woman at the center of the jogger case, but had deep sympathy for her. “She has been victimized several times,” said Yusef. He was referring to the initial crime, then being told, as she had no memory of the events, The Central Park Five were the culprits only to find out that a serial rapist ultimately confessed to the crime.

After the rapist’s confession, the DNA evidence gathered at the time, that did not connect to any of the five teenagers, were a match for the serial rapist. The role of the prosecutor in the pursuit of a guilty verdict, was also a key component of the film.

Brandon Aiken, a student at Eagle Academy, came away from the screening believing that “sometimes cops can help and sometimes they can’t,” he said.

Tanya Sledge was nineteen at the time of the incident and remembered the events contained in the movie. She remembered thinking “Oh My God,” several years back when the incident occurred. “To see the truth now,” she said “the same phrase still resonates but for a different reason, the injustice”.

Vivett Hemans was also a young adult during the events depicted in the movie. “I remember that word wilding,” she said. “It became part of our vernacular”. She said the movie is a “must see”. She has been taking her children and as an educator, encouraging her students to see the movie.

Councilman Leroy Comrie, one of the sponsors of the free screenings, spoke about resolution for the Central Park Five. “We have not come to terms with this malicious prosecution,” he said. “The City Council is working to “help them get the restitution they so deserve.”

Councilman Comrie urged residents to put pressure on the Mayor by sending emails about the case to his office. He also said this case should be a “litmus test” for the next Mayor.§

Published in Communities of Color News April 2013 Issues

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Community Fights Against Alcohol at Parks Events

Days prior to the R&B concert event ‘Groovin’ in the Park’, civic leaders, residents, elected official representatives and Southern Queens Parks Association (SQPA) board members met with representatives from the Parks Department to discuss authorizing alcohol as part of the event.

The community’s position was clear. No alcohol.

Although NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver’s presence was requested, Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski was the designated representing official. She was apologetic about another appointment she had that would mean leaving the meeting early.

The issue at hand was whether the promoter would be able to add alcohol to the event slated to take place in three days. Alcohol would be in the form of four two ounce wine samplings which would be reserved for the event’s VVIP and VIP sections and not for the general ticket holders at large. There would be an estimated 1500 concert goers and samplings would be tracked by a wristband system.

In order to have this item attached to the event, the promoter was required to fulfill three requirements: reach out to the local community, provide a site security plan and have a license from the NYS Liquor Authority. At the time of the meeting, the promoter had only done one of those three items, provided a site security plan.

It was a who’s who of community leaders that gathered for a heated conversation in opposition to granting authorization to the promoter including civic organizations in closest proximity to Roy Wilkins Park: Addesleigh Park Civic Association, St. Albans Civic Association and Greater Tri-Angular Civic Association.

The community was concerned about ‘Groovin’ and alcohol because it was outside of the scope of the mandates regarding liquor at events. Furthermore, the promoter did not do his due diligence in order to be in compliance with the waiver by reaching out to the community and obtaining a liquor license. As other promoters are lining up for the same types of alcohol provisions, there is a concern that there is no standing policy. Most who gathered in favor of the community were clear that they were not against alcohol being served at events, but rather at the manner in which this particular case was being decided.

“A policy needs to be established,” said Andrea Scarborough, Addesleigh Park Civic Association. “Follow the law that is in place”.

Policy aside, those in attendance not in favor of granting the waiver felt that the addition of alcohol burdened an event already plagued with issues.

“Who knows what affect alcohol adds,” said Scarborough.

Concerns surrounding the event included loud noise that begins early in the day with sound checks and is followed by a concert which lasts well into the late hours. A myriad of parking issues arise as concert goers use and block driveways, park multiple cars at dead ends and double-park throughout the neighboring community causing residents to be trapped in their homes less they lose a parking space. Other issues were the garbage left behind and a parade of unlicensed merchants who congregate along Merrick Blvd.

There was concern that SQPA was acting independently of the community. “SQPA being run like a private club. We don’t know what is going on. We see a sign, buses or vans. We deserve better than this. This is a first class community,” said Archie Spigner, former Council Member, to applause, about not learning of upcoming events until he sees signs in the community.

The community also wondered, why now?

“Prior to this year, there have been no efforts to serve alcohol. What changed that? They make a fortune off this community. Why is it different this year to sell alcohol,” asked Elmer Blackburne.

Many who gathered felt that there was a clandestine effort by elected officials to push alcohol at events, with Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman’s name dropped frequently an agent in that effort. Their evidence of such included the speed and secrecy of the initiative coming to pass, especially in light of an approved liquor license. Some even asked why Council Member Ruben Wills’ office, who supported the authorization, had a representative at the meeting as his District does not include Roy Wilkins Park.

The community proposed a town hall, post event, to talk with promoters about issues and concerns surrounding the event. Community Board 12, which is remaining neutral on the subject, was willing to host such the event.

“Before you weigh in on something as important as this, wait, hear from the community,” said Scarborough.

Lewandowski suggested a larger conversation including a stakeholder group would be beneficial when moving forward on events in Roy Wilkins Park.

By the end of the meeting, most felt the decision would support the promoter and the event would move forward with alcohol. The next day, the Park Department’s press office confirmed the decision to approve the ‘Groovin’ event with alcohol.

The City, with SQPA, has authorized the sampling of wine in the designated VIP areas only, for this weekend’s event. Please note that the event promoter has approval from Parks, but also requires a permit from the State Liquor Authority.

The Parks department gave no rationale for their decision, despite being asked. The NYS Liquor Authority did not grant the promoter’s request. The concert took place without alcohol.

This meeting took place on Thursday, June 22 at Roy Wilkins Park. Groovin the Park took place on Sunday, June 25 at Roy Wilkins Park.

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Hip Hop Pioneers at St. Albans Library

DJ Divine

MC Davy Jay, DJ Divine, DJ Casino, Livio G…

These names may not be household names, but they represents artists one who paved the way for the likes of Jay Z, Kayne West and Kendrick Lamar. They are just a few of the Queens Hip Hop Pioneers featured in a photo exhibit curated by Queens Library’s Hip Hop Coordinator, VJ Ralph McDaniels. On Thursday, June 15 the St. Albans branch of the Queens Library hosted an opening day reception to welcome the exhibit to its new temporary home.

McDaniels, Video Music Box’s VJ is a legend in his own right and was inducted into the Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture for his work. McDaniels’ has been documenting the story of Queens Hip Hop for the Library. That has included past conversations with FUBU Founder Damon John and Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC.

The pre-Father’s Day reception assembled many of the legends depicted in portraits from the exhibit. As they gathered for the event, talk turned to dollar vans and block parties as friends celebrated the portraits new location.

“Some of us didn’t talk to each other back then, but we battled,” said MC Davy Jay. “When we started the blocks had a crew and that crew battled against another crew. It wasn’t about all this gang stuff”.

At the time, these pioneers, some who are now grandfathers, didn’t know they were playing a significant role in the creation of what is now a billion dollar industry. These men were merely on their grind. Some juggled work and school while passionately displaying their craft at area parties and on the stage. While many now have new careers and pursued very different life paths, some still work in the recording industry and encourage others to investigate careers outside of being an entertainer. However far they may have strayed from their musical beginnings, they quickly returned as the reception turned into an indoor jam! With vinyl scratching and old school callout and shout backs, the crowd was on its feet waving their hands in the air like they just didn’t care.

“Like Beef Fried Rice with Extra Duck Sauce/I’m running things and I’m called the boss” chanted MC Davy Jay to a familiar back in the day beat.

Pioneers took their turn on the mic while others, like Livio G, took time to spin.

The exhibit will continue its tour through Queens stopping at various branches throughout the system. McDaniels will continue documenting Queens’ hip hop history which will be accessible in Library archives.

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Delta Ladies Support Gun Violence Awareness

by Roslin SpignerMembers of the Queens Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., canvassed the streets of Queens distributing flyers in orange tees on National Gun Violence Day June 2, 2017.
Wearing the color orange in June is more than just a bold fashion statement.This vibrant color that demands to be seen is the color used to represent National Gun Violence Awareness Month. There are millions of Americans who want to end gun violence in America. As a tribute to those who lost their lives or were victims of senseless gun violence, the color orange is worn to demand being seen and heard.The ladies delivered a powerful message to the community: Please help us to keep our communities safe. Please help us to keep our nation safe. Get involved by calling your legislators. We need gun violence reform. We need it now!