Last Friday, I am told, the temperature was twelve degrees fahrenheit. It would hard for me to comment on it, as my entire body was so thoroughly numb that it would be a lie to suggest that I felt anything at all. Warm, cold, happy, sad… toes… nothing.

There was a twenty mile an hour wind blowing, and when the TV Weather Lady said that it would feel like negative eight degrees on unprotected skin, she was right. Last Friday (and this seems to happen to me each and every February) I found myself standing at the shoreline of the East River on the second coldest day of the year (so far, at least). You will notice, it is trusted, the vast amount of ice in the river? Brrr.

An interesting event was underway, organized by an LIC area group which calls itself HarborLAB, is why I found myself at Hunters Point South Park, at the East River shoreline on the second coldest day of the year (well, so far, at least). Have I mentioned the cold? This was Viking Apocalypse cold. You either had to be crazy dedicated to be out here, or just plain crazy.

More after the jump…


Last week, 122-year old Jamaica High School, 168th Street and Gothic Drive, graduated its last class, in a phase-out that began in 2011 when the school ended admissions. As recently as 1985 the school was considered the best secondary school in America in 1985 by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dear Old Jamaica High, by Harwood Hoadley:

There is a certain High School out in old Jamaica Town

Of all the schools we’ve ever known she most deserves renown

Her boys are strong and manly and her girls are beyond compare

And Royal Red and Loyal Blue are the colors that they wear

In gym, on track, on diamond her honor we maintain

In oratory and debate for her fresh laurels gain

Her fame’s upheld by song and play, for loyal each and all

We rally to defend her name and gather at her call

Then cheer for old Jamaica High, the school without a peer

We’ll cherish long the memory of the days we’re spending here

Prosperity be always hers, courageous purpose high

And loyal love attend her and fame that shall not die

That’s from The Beaver Book, a fascinating history of Jamaica High School from 1892-1927. The book took its name from the now-filled-in Beaver Pond, just south of downtown Jamaica. The school mascot was also a beaver.


This week Oakland Gardens’ PS 213 held its annual International Fair, in which students celebrated all the different cultures represented in the school. The Times Ledger attended and took some wonderful pictures of the six different dance performances, which included Korean circle dancing, Latin American bullfighting dancing and Israeli line dancing. The school has hosted the two-day event for seven years now — on the first day the focus is on learning about different societies around the world and the second day is dedicated to the dance performances. Students began preparing for the dances way back in October, and parents volunteered for hundreds of hours to organize, decorate, and provide all the costumes.

PS 213 Students Learn about Cultures Around the World [Times Ledger]

Photo by Christina Santucci for the Times Ledger


The Queens Central Library branch, at 89-11 Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, just opened a brand new teen section. The 4,000-square-foot space features a video game lounge, a multimedia room featuring computers with editing software, a quiet room, two conference rooms and a study area. The area fits about 600 teenagers. There are three game consoles — PS3, Xbox and Nintendo Wii — and the library selected games with educational or fitness value. DNAinfo reports that this is part of a larger, $10,000,000 branch renovation which includes a cafe, new computer center and an expanded media center. Most of those renovations will wrap at the end of this year.

New Jamaica Library for Teens Goes Hi-Tech with Gaming Center [DNAinfo] GMAP

Photo via Queens Library


Youth Made Media, a program sponsored by the City Parks Foundation, just kicked off its fall semester in Queens. Youth Made Media offers young people, ages 13 to 19 from low-income communities, an opportunity to gain experience in video and audio production, media literacy and new media. They work out of the Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center in Rego Park. This year, 30 past participants of the program were hired as peer educators. Around 430 middle school and high school students as well as 130 adults participate annually in the program, which is located in all five boroughs. Debrasue Lorenzen, the Director of Education for City Parks Foundation, expects 45 students and an additional 25 adults this year in Queens. The fall semester runs from late September through December 20th, with the spring semester running from January to early June.

Photo by the City Parks Foundation


The new, snazzy Glen Oaks Library opened to the public over the summer, but it will celebrate the grand opening on Tuesday, September 3rd. Government and community leaders plan to come together to ceremonially open the new space on Tuesday, then the library will host a free children’s carnival in honor of the reopening on Wednesday, September 4th. Queens Mamas just posted some great interior photos of the three-story building, which features a sky-lit reading lounge, outdoor reading space, and a dedicated teen area. Outside, there’s a 24/7 self-service check in. This $17,100,000 million project took more than three years to build.

Queens Gets a New 18,000 Sq Foot Library and It’s Awesome [Queens Mamas]
Glen Oaks Will Get a New, Swanky Library in Spring 2013 [Q’Stoner]


Here’s a look at the construction progress on the new Elmhurst Library, at 86-01 Broadway. This renovation is part of the city’s shift “to transform… libraries into community destinations,” according to a Queens Courier piece last year, when construction first started. The new Elmhurst Library, which is expected to open in 2014, will be a total of 30,000 square feet, roughly double the size of the old library. The new four-story building will feature separate library areas for adults, children and teens, a 32-computer Cyber Center, an Adult Learning Center, an interior reading atrium, and front and rear community gardens. While construction moves along, the city is operating a temporary library at 85-08 51st Avenue, off Broadway. Check out another construction shot after the jump, as well as a rendering of the final product.

Elmhurst, East Elmhurst Libraries to Become ‘Destinations’ [Queens Courier] GMAP


Image Source: Dripbook

They were discovered by Michael Jackson’s choreographer while freestyling at a Southern California club. Then they skyrocketed to dance fame. Brothers Rich and Tone Talauega have since danced with Madonna, Usher, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, The Backstreet Boys, Gwen Stafani and Black Eyed Peas, among others. They are probably most famous for rocking Madonna’s Super Bowl XLVI halftime show at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2012. On April 26, the Taluegas will present highlights and give a live demonstration of their choreography at the Museum of the Moving Image. Their performance is part of Spectacle: The Music Video, an exhibition celebrating the art and history of the music video.

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria/LIC
Friday, April 26
7pm – 9pm | Free, but first come, first served


Image Source: Arcadia Publishing: Jamaica Bay

It’s a chance to make history, star in a movie and live on in perpetuity. Dan Hendrick, who is currently working on the documentary Jamaica Bay Lives, and the Queens Memory Project are looking for people to share their stories, photos, mementos and thoughts on the neighborhoods stretching from Howard Beach through the Rockaways to Breezy Point. On April 24, Hendrick and QMP partners Queens College and Queens Library will be interviewing past and current area residents during Jamaica Bay Community History Night at the Broad Channel Branch Library. Hendrick noted that this is the chance to preserve local history before it becomes a fuzzy memory. He added that Hurricane Sandy has added a whole new chapter to this project.

Jamaica Bay Community History Night
Broad Channel Branch Library
16-26 Crossbay Boulevard, Broad Channel
Wednesday, April 24
4pm – 7pm | Free


Image Source: ict4us

What is the meaning of human life? This phrase, of course, is the essence of many existential conversations, but it is also the name of a book by Raymond A. Belliotti. The Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Fredonia has also written the thought-provoking tomes Happiness is Overrated, Roman Philosophy and the Good Life, Stalking Nietzche and Good Sex. On April 22, Belliotti will discuss the meaning of life at the Central Queens Y. Part of the human condition, this Harvard Law School grad with a Ph.D. from the University of Miami argues, is that the questions most important to us evade answers and instead underscore the limitations of human reason. Seriously confronting such questions threatens our mundane lives. Belliotti purports that the meaning of life is best understood through two metaphors: telescopes and slinky toys. Find out what he means on Monday.

Central Queens Y
67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills
Monday, April 22
1:30pm – 3pm | $6 suggested donation