Thursday, November 1, 2007

THE END

THE PROGRESSIVE SOUTHSIDE
MAY 20, 2007 - OCTOBER 31, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Beginning of The End: THE PROGRESSIVE SOUTHSIDE


Faithful readers, I'm sure you've noticed we haven't posted in a couple of weeks. We hope you've miss us because we've missed you. Busy lives filled with extreme change is the only words we can use to say why we haven't posted. Which leaves us to the worst news of all - we're moving. Moving out from the southside. Moving out of Queens (and back to Brooklyn).

We're behind in reporting the constant changes. Yet, we're aware of them. Are you? The new strip of stores across the street from Carmichael's Diner are getting settled in. 137th Avenue between Rockaway Blvd and Guy R. Brewer Blvd are getting new cemented corner curbs. And we heard of Universoul Circus, The Big Apple Circus, Circus du Soliel, but never of The Firehouse Circus, which opened yesterday at Roy Wilkins Park. There's some sort of art gallery or some equivalent on Guy R. Brewer and Sayres, but we didn't get a chance to investigate it. We would be wrong not to point out the changing leaves around Baisley Pond Park.

We're concerned about this blog's future. We're desperately looking for a person or two who understand the position and the purpose for this blog. That's the hard part. Many eyeballs reading the logs, but we don't know if anyone believes in actually take over. If you live in South Jamaica, Rochdale Village or Springfield Gardens and you can see yourself reporting on the positive and interesting things of this community, please contact us at progressivesouthside@nycmail.com. This is not "our" blog. This is OUR BLOG. Do you know what we mean? We've planted the seed, but you added sun and water to make it grow.

October 31st is our last day. Don't let the tree die.

Pictures from Rosedale's Idlewild Park Preserve Canoe Launch



Here are pictures from Rosedale's Idlewild Park Preserve Canoe and Kayak launch, held last month. Special photo credit and thanks to Mitchell R. Miller at zenmirror.com.


Pictures From The Banner Day Picnic




Here are pictures from last month's Banner Day Picnic and parade, hosted by Councilman Thomas White. The parade march down Rockaway Blvd. Special photo credit and thanks to the council staff of Councilman White.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

SEARCH AND EMPLOY - This Thursday @ Ambiance

SEARCH & EMPLOY
This Thursday Evening,
October 4th @ Ambiance
133-18 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11434




Alchemy is defined as "any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value." Those behind SEARCH & EMPLOY are musical alchemists, promoting awareness of conscious hip-hop music.

Conscious hip-hop? "That's not to be confused with gospel music or inspirational music," says Maom (pronounced May-ohm), one of the featured artists on the bill this Thursday. "It's a realm in the sense of being aware of your culture, your surroundings, but you don't have to be a radical about it."

He believes positive lyrics don't get too much of a push. Maom respects rappers like Saigon ("He's the perfect voice to make change") and Nas for giving a platform for the Queensbridge Projects in Long Island City a true voice. He says today, artists are claiming to do that, but are only creating an image for themselves. "If they don't put out music that is relevant, we're going to die out." He continued to express that songs are lacking creativity and lacking responsibility, which glorify wealth, fame and violence without any alternatives. "If you chose to speak about how they made it and how much they got out of it...but let me know it's hell in a four minute song. Give me roadblocks and let me know that I can do something else. The guy next door was just as poor as I was, but didn't choose the same path." Check out Maom's Myspace page. A track titled "Cake Revenge" he wrote deals with the pressures of having money and conformity.

Wendell Jordan, COO of I.F.A Recordings/BlackTone Music had a couple of shows, but this is their first real show. "Basically, we want to go to neighborhoods and find local talent who is pushing the envelope of true art and to have a true show." He hopes to have more shows like this in Queens and to give a clear sign that you don't have to go into Brooklyn or uptown to Harlem to hear great talent.

Don't forget to also check out Raw Stalin, Choyce and Jugga - all will be performing This Thursday. The Movement is: SEARCH AND EMPLOY.

Friday, September 28, 2007

That Wasn't There Last Month!

A new house is built on 156th Street btwn. North Conduit Ave. and 140th Street (behind Burger King and across the street from Kennedy Plaza).












A house conversion (originally a ranch style home) on 144th Drive, at 175th Street.

Be Prepaed to Stop..

This week, new stop signs were placed on east bound/west bound 137th Avenue, at the 161st Street intersection. Drivers will also see the "stop ahead" warning signs several yards before they reach the intersection. Looks like it will take some time for local drivers to see this. Several drivers failed to stop. The stop signs were probably placed after a car hit corner property a couple of months ago. Notice the south Rochdale Village buildings in the distance.

Monday, September 24, 2007

UPDATE: What's That Smell? It's Not Garbage!

Three months ago, we posted a story about the smelly dumpsters at our local Dunkin' Donuts, located at Guy R. Brewer and 137th Avenue. We have an update. Today, we received a reply from an anonymous poster who writes, "that dunkin donuts has really improved a lot i don't see anymore garbage pilled up and i eat from there everyday and their food is good. also the employees are very welcoming."
First, whoever you are, thanks so much for posting. It's nice to have a witness in the neighborhood and it's even nicer that you took the time to express their point of view.

We can confirm that Dunkin' Donuts really HAS cleaned up their lot, but we wanted to make sure that it wasn't by chance. We recall a couple of days after we posted the alert, the rear parking lot was cleaned and the bins had lids on them! Was that by chance or is it really the power of the blog? A couple of moments as the weeks passed, where it appeared that garbage was starting to pile up again. But we concur with this anonymous poster. The garbage bins are no longer in an overflow and the awful smell is gone. Good food and welcoming employees is a bonus! I guess for starters, we can do some coffee and a bagel...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunset At A Busy Intersection, Hours Into Autumn

Capturing the sun setting at South Conduit Avenue and Rockaway Blvd.
(South Conduit Ave. looking west)

Show Some Love to Your Tot - Fridays @ 10:30am

If you're a parent, guardian or an adult caregiver with a toddler between the ages of 18-36 months, make sure you're at The Rochdale Village Public Library for the next five weeks.

Starting this Friday, specialists will be invited to the library introduce interactive activities for the adults and tots - such as nutrition, storytime and more.


Special Toddler Program

Fridays at 10:30am - September 28th and in October
Rochdale Village Branch Library
169-09 137th Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11434
718.723.4440

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Springfield Gardens or Carroll Gardens? $1775 for a 1-BR Rental @ The New Yorker

A one bedroom rental is going for almost $1800 a month at the new and finished New Yorker building. We're sorry we don't have pictures right now. But you've probably seen it already, since its grand opening around June. It's located at the intersection of South Conduit Avenue and Guy R. Brewer (177-50 South Conduit Avenue). It's the third in a series of luxury sister apartment complexes. The first building built was The Empire House several years ago, followed by The Liberty House

The New Yorker is the first out of the three to house residential and commercial space. Look out for more pictures of the finished New Yorker building, along with its sisters Liberty Building and Empire Building in our next post.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The New York Times Reports: LIVING IN SPRINGFIELD GARDENS

Check out the article that ran in this weekend's New York Times about SPRINGFIELD GARDENS.
Among some of the topics discussed: the influx of new housing, population increase and environmental awareness - all topics of focus since the creation of this weblog. Accurate? Inaccurate? Please post your thoughts.

An expanse of homes with a note of suburban calm, Springfield Gardens, like some other Queens neighborhoods, has also been the site of feverish development in recent years as investors have gobbled up and demolished single-family houses and replaced them with multiple-family dwellings. Many residents worry that the population increase ushered in by the larger buildings is more than the neighborhood’s infrastructure can accommodate.

“People care about their homes and look out for one another,” said Yvette Kearse, an agent with Century 21 Milestone Realty. “If you want a neighborhood with manicured lawns, larger homes and not a lot of problems in this section of Queens, a favorite is Springfield Gardens.”

Sunday, September 16, 2007

SEARCH AND EMPLOY - A New Hip-Hop Revolution??

SEARCH & EMPLOY.
Photocopies were posted all over Guy R. Brewer Avenue, along the Rochdale Village strip a couple of days ago.

SEARCH & EMPLOY
- Support change in local hip hop and urban music
- Support local talent and originality

- Hear the music before the media gimmicks

- Take control over the course of your culture


A change in local hip hop and urban music? Take control? The Southside has birthed many rap and hip hop artists (ie: 50 Cent). We're about change, especially if it has a positive impact. If Search & Employ are spearheading a movement, then this is worth investigating.

Now, each artist has a myspace page and is featured at www.myspace.com/searchemploy. Maom, Raw Stalin, Snatch, Juggah, and Choyce will be showcased at the nightclub Ambiance on Thursday, October 4th (133-18 Guy R. Brewer Blvd). More to come. In the meantime, check out the artists myspace pages.

SE QUEENS' FIRST CANOE/KAYAK WATERFRONT ACCESS POINT

For this post, we're traveling over to the farthest south and east area one can travel to in Queens - Rosedale.

The Eastern Queens Alliance will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Idlewild Park Preserve Canoe & Kayak launch at the street end just beyond the Huxley Street and Craft Avenue intersection. This will be the first waterfront access point in Southeast Queens. It is the result of a collaboration between the Eastern Queens Alliance and the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation. Commissioner Benepe and Queens Commissioner Lewandowski will both be speaking. They've stated that if you have a canoe or kayak (even rowboat), to bring it along. They will kayak and canoe as a group after the ceremony.
For further reading, check out this article released four years ago from Queens Press, which talks about preserving this wetland area.

Idlewild Park Preserve Canoe & Kayak launch
Saturday, September 22, 2007
11:00AM
South of Huxley Street and Craft Avenue intersection
Rosedale, NY

866 372-4255 (RSVP)

The following statement is not meant to exclude any nationality or ethnic group, but BLACK PEOPLE - you have FOUR PARKS featuring fantastic (and in some cases disappearing) wildlife - Baisley Pond Park, Springfield Park, Brookville Park, and Idlewild Park. Others would kill to have such beautiful parks and waterfront property nearby. You're blessed to have them within steps of your front door. We must do our part to help preserve them. We are a people of nature. Or maybe once were. Let's not forget that. The green spaces in our backyards are beautiful, but we're asking you to go a little further out. Endorse the park near you. Be some sort of an advocate.
You don't have the time to get involved? Then simply visit them.


Grown Men & Women on Mopeds: The Pleasure Cruise Ryders

Grown men and women with souped up, tricked out bikes n mopeds. Have you noticed how many adults (women!) are into them? There are black biker communities all over NYC. Are more adults taking interest into this hobby or are they the teens that were riding around 10 or 15 years ago are now adults?! Regardless, they're everywhere and they LOVE their toys and the people who love them.

We go straight into the heart of the Southside to a bikers club called The Pleasure Cruise Ryders. A visit to their website reveals they're a full functioning club, with a new member application and monthly dues. And some serious rules as well. One rule reads, "In the event that we are on a road trip and you feel the need to break formation you will be fined $10.00 for every violation by the Road Captain or the Sergeant at arms." Whatever you do, don't break formation!

The Pleasure Cruise Ryders do a little more than just ride around. They boast of positive accomplishments like food drives, Toys for Tots and raffles.
Next month, the gang turns three. This leads nicely into their 3rd Annual "Black & Gold This Is How We Roll" Trophy Party. Yes, wear black and gold. They'll be giving out trophies for several categories, such as "1st through the door 10 or more" and "furthest distance 5 or more." We wish them a happy anniversary and a great turnout. For more information, contact the president - Alvin BIG WILL Wilson at 917.295.1690.

Friday, September 14, 2007

More New Commercial Real Estate on Rockaway Blvd.

A small strip of newly constructed stores/offices for rent
(Rockaway Blvd. and 135th Ave.).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Business Owners - Big Up Yourselves at The Annual Bash @ Baisley Pond Park



Councilman Thomas White, an advocate for Baisley Pond Park and a resident of Rochdale Village, will be holding the Banner Day Picnic and Parade this Saturday. He briefly talked about this event during July's Gospelfest event. Their staff are calling this a special community relations day and they will be honoring New York's best businesses, organizations and agencies. They're expecting over 3000 to attend. If you're a business owner, this is the event to really show up and show out with your banners and/or displays. A very special shout-out to David Quintana, a political activist and blogger from "the other southside" of Queens - Ozone Park! A man who is always in touch with local political and environmental affairs. Thanks for the heads up and reminder.
Annual Banner Day Picnic & Parade
Saturday, September 15th
Baisley Blvd. and 157th St (park sign-in area)
1:00PM - 7:00PM
Parade starts at 11:00AM

at Van Wyck Service Road and Rockaway Blvd.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Progressive Southside Back in Session

An apology because of the unexpected hiatus. We decided to celebrate the unofficial end-of-summer by taking a spontaneous break. Tried to enjoy the last days of the summer sun. Did you? Well, back to work covering the better sights and signs south of the southside.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

NEW BAR & RESTAURANT: D'noche

D'NOCHE
RESTAURANT & BAR

118-23 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11434
718.712.2929
_____________

"Ven y disfruta la mas deliciosa variedad culinaria en un ambiente elegante y acogedor. "

"See and enjoys the delicious culinary variety in a welcoming and elegant environment."


When the metallic silver awning was erected, we knew they were serious about their business. Latin flavored and Dominican-owned D'noche officially opened about a month ago. It used to be a grocery store. They must have spent tens of thousands (to say modestly) on renovations and they made it happen in a short amount of time. Management told us that there are no popular or happening Latin restaurants in this part of South Jamaica. With an attractive exterior and a romantic interior setting, which includes red and black tones, contemporary lighting and three flat screen televisions, we think they'll do just fine.

"Happy Hour" Mondays through Thursdays 5-8PM. Friday night is karaoke and they say it's their biggest night. On Sundays, it's an all day buffet.

Upcoming Event: "Salsa in Jamaica"
Satuday, September 29th - 9PM-3AM
Music by DJ Oscar de la Paz,
playing the best Latin, R&B and classics
$10 in advance, $15 at the door
Contact:
Rodrigo 646.209.3173
Bill 646.567.7085
E-Mail: mohabel@aol.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Q111 New Hybrid-Electric Bus

One of the new MTA hybrid-electric buses picking up passengers
along the Q111 route (Guy R. Brewer Blvd).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Annual Irie Jamboree This Sunday

IRIE JAMBOREE 2007
Sunday, September 2nd
Gates open 12 Noon/Show starts 1PM
Roy Wilkins Park
Main Entrance - Baisley Blvd at 177th St.
Jamaica, NY
________________________________

You probably know that the big reggae and dancehall jam is back. Right on time for Labor Day and right on target for those celebrating the West Indian Day Carnival.

Go to the Irie website at iriejamboree.com to view press party pics and other information. Stephan Marley is scheduled to appear, among many others. John Roleke from the about.com Queens website has a nice one-sheet of the event.

Tickets are $60 general admission, $100 VIP.
Tickets can be purchased online at their website or at any one of these Queens vendors/locations:
Genesis 1 718-739-8443
VP Records 718-297-5802
Yard Spot Rest 718.527.2007
Jamaican Flavas 718.977.4155
Twin Thumb 718.978.0108
Clippers Restaurant 718.738.6625
Laten´s Restaurant 718.527.0339
Golden Krust,
Far Rockaway
718.327.1261
GGGG SALON 718.262.9124
Golden Krust,
Parsons Blvd.
718.658.0266

The Friends of Roy Wilkins Park Needs A Helping Hand

The Friends of Roy Wilkins Park are looking for volunteers to assist in park fund raising events, event planning, flower gardening, and other activities. The Friends of Roy Wilkins Park is a volunteer non for profit organization whose primary focus is to assist in the preservation, maintenance and beautification of the park. According to an earlier article from The Daily Plant at the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation website, the group "formed in 2003 as a group of concerned and passionate park patrons. They decided to band together in order to beautify sections of Roy Wilkins Park and advocate on the Park’s behalf. Since its beginning, the group has planted and maintained two flower gardens, successfully advocated for the installation of Life Trail exercise equipment for the track, and hosted numerous clean-up days."

They meet the first Monday of the month at 10AM at the Roy Wilkins Park Family Center, 177-01 Baisley Blvd. Call 718.527.5085 or 718.528.0441 for more information. Or e-mail forwp@att.net.

Monday, August 27, 2007

SUBPRIME EMBARRASSMENT: Jamaica-Rochdale Village Tops All of Queens with 450 Foreclosure Filings

The media has been talking about foreclosures and the state of the current housing market for the past week. Among the many, the Metro New York paper reported this morning on how officials are starting to step up the crackdown on predatory lenders. State Sen. Jeff Klein also revealed stats on the hardest hit neighborhoods in NYC. Sad to report that Jamaica/Rochdale Village (predominately black neighborhoods) filed for the most foreclosures for the borough of Queens.

“Unfortunately, instead of working with endangered homeowners,” (Sen. Charles) Schumer said, “unscrupulous lenders are going out of their way to push high risk loans and preventing mortgage holders from refinancing.”

“Especially in the black and Hispanic community, we’re trying to get the so-called American Dream,” said State Sen. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx. “And in our pursuit, we are being taken and now we are living this nightmare.”

To add, here are two heartbreaking foreclosure stories. Now, we may not know the whole story of Michele McIntosh from Far Rockaway and Helen Rice-Lyles of Staten Island, but after analyzing their situation, they were foreclosure cases waiting to happen. Someone lied to them. And they lied to themselves.

Nocturnal noises of summer

Observation of note, depending on where you are in the Southside:
Listen to the nocturnal noises of summer.
A pleasant noise.
Late at night, sometimes all night.
Robins sang strong in July.
Crickets and other critters clicking in August.
Many of them are calling tonight.
Always better than gunshots!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Bus Shelters Near Rochdale Village South/LIRR Locust Manor Station

Located at the intersection of Bedell Street and 134th Road on the Q85 route.

New Homes Over Yonder & A Small Change To The Local Map

Virtual maps will need a little updating. A tiny new community of new homes now exists just north of the Locust Manor Railroad Station. United Homes erected several two family homes that were built over the past several months. New roads were recently tar paved. 132nd Avenue and 133rd Avenue were extended to meet with Garrett Street, also a street extension. Originally, Garrett Street started south of Railroad Park.



You can see the new homes from a distance on the
LIRR Locust Manor platform.


Looking north standing on Garrett Street cul-de-sac
from Railroad Park.


Looking north on Garrett Street, at the intersection of
132nd Avenue. Notice the newly placed wood guardrails
to the left. Beyond the guardrail is undeveloped land.


Looking east on 132nd Avenue. The foreground displays
the new two family homes. Further down the block are
older tudor-style homes.


Looking east on 133rd Street, south side of the street.
More new homes to the right. More older tudor homes
are down the block.


Standing on Garrett Street, looking south toward the
cul-de-sac and Railroad Park.



Standing near the Railroad Park entrance. The Garrett
Street cul-de-sac in the rear.


Railroad Park, closer to the LIRR platform. Notice the
vegetable patch near the fence to the right. Undeveloped
land in the rear.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brick Towers Greet You on 157th St & North Conduit Ave.

Stanchions can add a look of class and prestige to any block. They're common in historic districts. It simply states "affluent" or "private property." Some are well kept. Others are neglected. These two brick columns greet you when you're making a right turn off of the North Conduit onto 157th Street. They stand a little over six feet. Not sure as to when they were built, but they're not historical. Sad to say, it appears they've been neglected as well. Many stanchions have cement flower bowls as a crown or perhaps a cement globe. With these columns, it appears that whatever was at the top was knocked off. A closer look shows that there's a thick cable (or two) that pokes out at the top. Perhaps they were crowned with a large classic globe or a lantern that lit up at night? That would give a warm welcome at night. We also found it interesting that the columns were placed on the property, and not between the sidewalk and the curb. Also, the stanchion on the west side of the street has been fenced in while the stanchion on the east side sits on an open lawn.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Progressive Southside Makes it to RADIO!

We made it to public radio! I (Kel) represented this blog on WNYC's (FM 93.9/AM 820) The Brian Lehrer Show this morning's live broadcast. I joined bloggers Meg Cotner of OuterB and Joey in Astoria and Steve Tiszenkel of Queens Central to discuss what Queens bloggers are blogging about.

Media can sometimes paint a one-sided view about a community. And negative always triumphs over the positive. Our prayer is to represent the progressive and interesting Southside Queens that you just don't see or hear about. Some good news, as people like to say. We're only a couple of months old! So we're still growing and learning. Southside - if you're reading, please post/e-mail some encouraging words. We'd like to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tornado Warning This Morning



Conditions were ripe for a tornado early this morning. A tornado warning was issued as a severe thunderstorm cell passed over Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island a couple of hours ago. The strong cell hit JFK between 6:30 and 7:00am. The tornado warnings for Queens and Long Island were canceled at 7:15am. This photo was taken this morning around 6:50am and the streetlights were still on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

11434 Block Associations?

Question: Do neighborhood block associations still exist? They used to be very popular around 20 years ago or so. Do neighbors even care about uniting like they used to? If you know of any active block associations or united block groups in this code, please contact us.

We're Losing Our Capes! Part 3

More signs of the times. For this post of "We're Losing Our Capes!" we go to 175th Street at 144th Terrace. Eight months ago, a cape cod home stood here. No signs of reconstruction at the time. Now stands TWO semi-detached, two-family homes. So a one-family home has been replaced with a four-family.




Check out this short video clip of the cape-lined street. At the very end sits the conversion.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pedestrian Memorial


In memory of William Chaftain. This was a hit and run.
(140th Avenue and 156th Street)

From The Street Memorial website:
The Street Memorial Project began in early 2007 to honor and remember pedestrians that have been killed by cars and trucks in New York City. Every time a person dies in our streets we place a memorial plaque at the site.