Queens Hip Hop Festival

Tommy Lasorda, one of baseball's greatest managers ever to coach the game once said, "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination." When I met Ashley Dean, lately known as the Queen of Astoria, a few years back, the first thing that stood out was all the ambitious goals she held. After working with her on countless events (both mine and hers) over the last two years, I have noticed that she is more determined to realize all her lofty goals and dreams, than most people I have ever met. For myself, a Queens born kid, it has been an honor to watch this adopted Queens kid do her thing, in my home borough. From lending a hand in volunteer efforts in parts of Queens where even Queens born residents would never touch foot in, to organizing the 2nd Annual Hip Hop Festival to debut at the Queens Museum this Friday night, Ashley is accomplishing all her goals, one by one. Click on the link below for details & to purchase tickets for the 3 day event. See you guys there. https://www.queenshiphopfestival.com/ words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez   flyer by Queens Hip Hop Festival  

Tommy Lasorda, one of baseball's greatest managers ever to coach the game once said, "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination." When I met Ashley Dean, lately known as the Queen of Astoria, a few years back, the first thing that stood out was all the ambitious goals she held. After working with her on countless events (both mine and hers) over the last two years, I have noticed that she is more determined to realize all her lofty goals and dreams, than most people I have ever met. For myself, a Queens born kid, it has been an honor to watch this adopted Queens kid do her thing, in my home borough. From lending a hand in volunteer efforts in parts of Queens where even Queens born residents would never touch foot in, to organizing the 2nd Annual Hip Hop Festival to debut at the Queens Museum this Friday night, Ashley is accomplishing all her goals, one by one. Click on the link below for details & to purchase tickets for the 3 day event. See you guys there.

https://www.queenshiphopfestival.com/

words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez   flyer by Queens Hip Hop Festival

 

The spare parts of the Corona Railyard

Known to most insiders as "The Barn", the Corona Railyard serves as the home yard of the IRT Flushing Line 7.  It is located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park near Citi Field, the National Tennis Center, and the site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs. Corona Yard opened in 1928 and maintains the R188s and R62AS used on the 7 line. It also contains the Casey Stengel Bus Depot. (We'll save the details about the Casey Stengel Bus Depot for another day, another post.) While most of the photographers who come to the Corona Railyard look to shoot the wide angle view of the many trains lined up side to side, lately I am starting to find intrigue in the outlying sections of the railyard. The sections of the railyard that feature the trains old rusty abandoned pieces, as well as the newer shiny colorfully packaged train parts, yet to be installed. There is something visually pleasing to the eye when you contrast these old brown and new blue parts, amongst other industrial knick knacks, against the gray gravel backdrop of the railyard floor. Throw in some shadows, and add some key light that ALWAYS seem to drop down into the depths of this spot,  no matter what time of day, and you get some really interesting images. Curiosity always gets me though. What part was taken from what part of the 7 train? What new piece still in wrapping, will serve in making the 7 train faster? And on a different level who decides on how these items are arranged so haphazardly on the ground? Hopefully, I will take a tour soon, to get some of these questions answered, but in the meantime, I have fun wondering. So the next time you come out to the Corona Railyard, trying to chase the perfect sunset light to bounce off the top of those mammoth silver cars, think about moving your lens behind the light and into the shadows, you might find something you never knew existed. words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez facts via Wikipedia.com  

Known to most insiders as "The Barn", the Corona Railyard serves as the home yard of the IRT Flushing Line 7.  It is located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park near Citi Field, the National Tennis Center, and the site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs.

Corona Yard opened in 1928 and maintains the R188s and R62AS used on the 7 line. It also contains the Casey Stengel Bus Depot. (We'll save the details about the Casey Stengel Bus Depot for another day, another post.)

While most of the photographers who come to the Corona Railyard look to shoot the wide angle view of the many trains lined up side to side, lately I am starting to find intrigue in the outlying sections of the railyard. The sections of the railyard that feature the trains old rusty abandoned pieces, as well as the newer shiny colorfully packaged train parts, yet to be installed. There is something visually pleasing to the eye when you contrast these old brown and new blue parts, amongst other industrial knick knacks, against the gray gravel backdrop of the railyard floor. Throw in some shadows, and add some key light that ALWAYS seem to drop down into the depths of this spot,  no matter what time of day, and you get some really interesting images.

Curiosity always gets me though. What part was taken from what part of the 7 train? What new piece still in wrapping, will serve in making the 7 train faster? And on a different level who decides on how these items are arranged so haphazardly on the ground? Hopefully, I will take a tour soon, to get some of these questions answered, but in the meantime, I have fun wondering.

So the next time you come out to the Corona Railyard, trying to chase the perfect sunset light to bounce off the top of those mammoth silver cars, think about moving your lens behind the light and into the shadows, you might find something you never knew existed.

words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez facts via Wikipedia.com

 

Queens Night Market - Summer Recommendation

In 2015, John Wang left the state of his native Texas, and headed out to Queens with the ambitious goal of opening the first ever night market in New York City. Three years later, the Queens International Night Market features over 50 food & art vendors combined, a beer garden and also invites multiple performers each Saturday to the back lot of the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Park. "First and foremost, I wanted to create a beloved and welcoming cultural event - a community that prioritized affordability and inclusivity. I wanted to really leverage and celebrate what I thought was one of Queens' and NYC's greatest assets: its unparalled diversit." says Wang. Following John and his very early days with the Queens Night Market starting at the small parking lot at the the New York Hall of Science, I was super impressed and proud to see how far he has come with this simple yet awesome idea. On a good weather day, the Night Market easily attracts over 8,000 diverse visitors a night, and has become one of Queens' top summer attractions, and with a pretty reasonable price tags for ANY food item on sale, you cannot go wrong. If you had to attend only one Queens event that captured the true essence of Queens' international flavor, the Queens Night Market which has featured over 130 food vendors in over 60 different countries, is the one to attend this summer. Go to queensnightmarket.com now for more details. words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez

In 2015, John Wang left the state of his native Texas, and headed out to Queens with the ambitious goal of opening the first ever night market in New York City. Three years later, the Queens International Night Market features over 50 food & art vendors combined, a beer garden and also invites multiple performers each Saturday to the back lot of the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Park.

"First and foremost, I wanted to create a beloved and welcoming cultural event - a community that prioritized affordability and inclusivity. I wanted to really leverage and celebrate what I thought was one of Queens' and NYC's greatest assets: its unparalled diversit." says Wang.

Following John and his very early days with the Queens Night Market starting at the small parking lot at the the New York Hall of Science, I was super impressed and proud to see how far he has come with this simple yet awesome idea. On a good weather day, the Night Market easily attracts over 8,000 diverse visitors a night, and has become one of Queens' top summer attractions, and with a pretty reasonable price tags for ANY food item on sale, you cannot go wrong.

If you had to attend only one Queens event that captured the true essence of Queens' international flavor, the Queens Night Market which has featured over 130 food vendors in over 60 different countries, is the one to attend this summer.

Go to queensnightmarket.com now for more details.

words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez

The "Dollar Van" Lines of Queens

Growing up in Jamaica, Queens for a significant chunk of my life, you could not escape the existence of the "Dollar Van" circuit, and if you grew up like us without a family owned vehicle, you could not escape how essential Dollar Vans actually were. Birthed in 1980 after an eleven day MTA strike in New York City, the Dollar Van, (which is basically a larger sized gypsy cab) arose to help folks, primarily Caribbean immigrants, to get to and from work each day. Given the tab "Dollar" because it matched the fare of a typical one-way MTA ride at the time. Dollar Vans became less practical to use once the MTA introduced free bus to subway transfers in 1996, because it would cost almost double if you still had to use the subway. The popularity of these Dollar Vans however never really waned. Because of the overcrowding of a typical MTA bus during peak hours, and the huge population growth of Southeastern Queens, it looks like the Dollar Vans are here to stay. It has been established that Queens has at least seven Dollar Van Lines. Five that run from Jamaica up to the border of Nassau County and even extending in Valley Stream, Long Island, and two that originate in Manhattan's Chinatown and end in Chinatown Elmhurst and Chinatown Flushing. While the vans that service Southeastern Queens are primarily Caribbean owned and run, they are not exclusively used by any one ethnic group. The vans that occupy two out of the three Chinatowns in Queens (the third in Corona), are widely accepted to be shuttles that predominantly service the Chinese community. These Chinese lines are much smaller and don't run as frequent as the Jamaica lines.  Below are the 5 Primary Dollar Van Lines of Southeastern Queens (in order from top to bottom mirroring the map above): - Q83 route via Liberty Ave to Laurelton. - Q4 route via Linden Blvd to Cambria Heights. - Q5 route via Merrick Blvd to Valley Stream. - Q111 route via Guy Brewer Blvd/147th Ave to Rosedale.  - Q113 route via Guy Brewer Blvd/Rockaway Tpke to Far Rockaway.   words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez map provided by the New Yorker Magazine.  

Growing up in Jamaica, Queens for a significant chunk of my life, you could not escape the existence of the "Dollar Van" circuit, and if you grew up like us without a family owned vehicle, you could not escape how essential Dollar Vans actually were.

Birthed in 1980 after an eleven day MTA strike in New York City, the Dollar Van, (which is basically a larger sized gypsy cab) arose to help folks, primarily Caribbean immigrants, to get to and from work each day. Given the tab "Dollar" because it matched the fare of a typical one-way MTA ride at the time.

Dollar Vans became less practical to use once the MTA introduced free bus to subway transfers in 1996, because it would cost almost double if you still had to use the subway. The popularity of these Dollar Vans however never really waned. Because of the overcrowding of a typical MTA bus during peak hours, and the huge population growth of Southeastern Queens, it looks like the Dollar Vans are here to stay.

It has been established that Queens has at least seven Dollar Van Lines. Five that run from Jamaica up to the border of Nassau County and even extending in Valley Stream, Long Island, and two that originate in Manhattan's Chinatown and end in Chinatown Elmhurst and Chinatown Flushing. While the vans that service Southeastern Queens are primarily Caribbean owned and run, they are not exclusively used by any one ethnic group.

The vans that occupy two out of the three Chinatowns in Queens (the third in Corona), are widely accepted to be shuttles that predominantly service the Chinese community. These Chinese lines are much smaller and don't run as frequent as the Jamaica lines. 

Below are the 5 Primary Dollar Van Lines of Southeastern Queens (in order from top to bottom mirroring the map above):

- Q83 route via Liberty Ave to Laurelton.

- Q4 route via Linden Blvd to Cambria Heights.

- Q5 route via Merrick Blvd to Valley Stream.

- Q111 route via Guy Brewer Blvd/147th Ave to Rosedale.

 - Q113 route via Guy Brewer Blvd/Rockaway Tpke to Far Rockaway.

 

words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez map provided by the New Yorker Magazine.

 

Colombian Parade '17 - Photo Recap by @nevasatisfied

This past weekend on Sunday, July 23rd, veteran street photographer Ronald Daza, also known as @Nevasatisfied, attended the annual Colombian Independence Parade of New York City held in Jackson Heights, Queens. Daza, the talented and respected photographer has shot for clothing labels 10.Deep and SSUR, and has also been featured on the up and coming Street Dreams Magazine. The long time Queens resident of Colombian descent bared the humid temps and rainy weather to capture the joyous occasion. One of Queens' most colorful and well attended parades, it featured salsa & cumbia dancing, scenes of Colombian orgullo, and dozens of street vendors selling everything red, yellow & blue as Colombians celebrated their Independence from Spain. It was projected that over 75,000 folks came out to the parade that runs on Northern Boulevard from 74th Street to 86th Street. To see more of Daza's wide-ranging work go to his popular Instagram page: @nevasatisfied. words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez photo by Ronald Daza  

This past weekend on Sunday, July 23rd, veteran street photographer Ronald Daza, also known as @Nevasatisfied, attended the annual Colombian Independence Parade of New York City held in Jackson Heights, Queens. Daza, the talented and respected photographer has shot for clothing labels 10.Deep and SSUR, and has also been featured on the up and coming Street Dreams Magazine.

The long time Queens resident of Colombian descent bared the humid temps and rainy weather to capture the joyous occasion. One of Queens' most colorful and well attended parades, it featured salsa & cumbia dancing, scenes of Colombian orgullo, and dozens of street vendors selling everything red, yellow & blue as Colombians celebrated their Independence from Spain. It was projected that over 75,000 folks came out to the parade that runs on Northern Boulevard from 74th Street to 86th Street.

To see more of Daza's wide-ranging work go to his popular Instagram page: @nevasatisfied.

words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez photo by Ronald Daza

 

Photojournal spotlight - "Willets Point"

"The struggle is part of the story." That quote sums up my immediate thoughts every time I passed the area known as the Iron Triangle in the Willets Point section of Corona, Queens, specifically the immigrant struggle.  On first sight, The Iron Triangle was just an oversized junkyard that sat on unsteady and permanently flooded terrain. If you look a little closer though, it was evident the soul of this place lied in all of the undocumented immigrants that worked in this area. The folks (primarily men) you encountered, were right on the lip of the Iron Triangle, right off the numerous curbs off 126th Street. These men were colorful, they were animated, and they were in your face. If you drove down this area looking to replace your rearview mirror, you knew the jockeying of position to get as close to your car as possible was a deliberate move. Each man had a different approach to lure you into the garage that they would be eventually receiving a cut from for their effective referral. From sun up to sun down, this place was bustling and it was loud, and it was from sounds indicative of folks struggling to survive. My favorite photographic work from this area comes from Salvador Espinoza. You know Salvador, if you are familiar with Queenscapes, because he is the man behind all the curatorial work for the many exhibits we have featured since 2015. Salvador presented his photojournal, "Willets Point" a couple of years back, and the first time I saw it, it was the first time I was exposed to his photography. Salvador used various different formats to shoot a black and white body of work that is stark and descriptive and shows his subjects with a warmth and dignity that is not usually reserved for folks that are being wantonly displaced. "The Iron Triangle seems to possess its own unique rhythm at a time when most neighborhoods in New York all seem to be in predictable in its uniformity," Salvador writes. To view more of "Willets Point" and see a wonderful glimpse of an area almost entirely a memory click on the link below: http://www.salvadorespinoza.com/willetspoint Words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez photo by Salvador Espinoza  

"The struggle is part of the story."

That quote sums up my immediate thoughts every time I passed the area known as the Iron Triangle in the Willets Point section of Corona, Queens, specifically the immigrant struggle. 

On first sight, The Iron Triangle was just an oversized junkyard that sat on unsteady and permanently flooded terrain. If you look a little closer though, it was evident the soul of this place lied in all of the undocumented immigrants that worked in this area.

The folks (primarily men) you encountered, were right on the lip of the Iron Triangle, right off the numerous curbs off 126th Street. These men were colorful, they were animated, and they were in your face. If you drove down this area looking to replace your rearview mirror, you knew the jockeying of position to get as close to your car as possible was a deliberate move.

Each man had a different approach to lure you into the garage that they would be eventually receiving a cut from for their effective referral. From sun up to sun down, this place was bustling and it was loud, and it was from sounds indicative of folks struggling to survive.

My favorite photographic work from this area comes from Salvador Espinoza. You know Salvador, if you are familiar with Queenscapes, because he is the man behind all the curatorial work for the many exhibits we have featured since 2015.

Salvador presented his photojournal, "Willets Point" a couple of years back, and the first time I saw it, it was the first time I was exposed to his photography. Salvador used various different formats to shoot a black and white body of work that is stark and descriptive and shows his subjects with a warmth and dignity that is not usually reserved for folks that are being wantonly displaced.

"The Iron Triangle seems to possess its own unique rhythm at a time when most neighborhoods in New York all seem to be in predictable in its uniformity," Salvador writes.

To view more of "Willets Point" and see a wonderful glimpse of an area almost entirely a memory click on the link below:

http://www.salvadorespinoza.com/willetspoint

Words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez photo by Salvador Espinoza

 

Afrikan Poetry Theatre - #SeeYourCity

Established in 1976 by co-founders John Watusi Branch and Yusef Waliyaya, the theatre has been stationed at its current location, 176th Street & Jamaica Avenue, since 1979. Yusef Waliyaya and the late John Watusi Branch, in 1976 as a collection of poets, singers and musicians focused on jazz, funk, African rhythms and poetry. The Afrikan Poetry Theatre was incorporated in 1977 and found a home on Merrick Boulevard the following year. It moved to its current location, at 176-03 Jamaica Ave., in 1979. .On November 5, 2006, the theatre celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, where Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall declared the day “Afrikan Poetry Theatre” day. On June 25 of 2016, the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 176th Street in Jamaica, Queens was named John Watusi Branch Way. Words via Wikipedia photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez

Established in 1976 by co-founders John Watusi Branch and Yusef Waliyaya, the theatre has been stationed at its current location, 176th Street & Jamaica Avenue, since 1979. Yusef Waliyaya and the late John Watusi Branch, in 1976 as a collection of poets, singers and musicians focused on jazz, funk, African rhythms and poetry.

The Afrikan Poetry Theatre was incorporated in 1977 and found a home on Merrick Boulevard the following year. It moved to its current location, at 176-03 Jamaica Ave., in 1979.

.On November 5, 2006, the theatre celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, where Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall declared the day “Afrikan Poetry Theatre” day.

On June 25 of 2016, the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 176th Street in Jamaica, Queens was named John Watusi Branch Way.

Words via Wikipedia photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez