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On August 11th, 1973, Kool DJ Herc and his sister Cindy organized a back-to-school party in the recreation room of a residential building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. The shindig is credited with launching the Hip Hop movement, although Queens played a huge role in the genre’s rise, thanks to Queensbridge native DJ Marley Marl, a veritable captain of the industry, and such mainstream talent as Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa. On May 1st, Herc (above) and Marley Marl (after the jump) will spin records, talk shop, and bust rhymes at Queens Library’s central branch to kick off 31 Days of Non-Stop Hip Hop. During the entire month, the library will host free Hip Hop events at various branches throughout the borough. Here’s the schedule:

  • History of Hip Hop with Kool DJ Herc and DJ Marley Marl, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. Teens only. Free ticket is required. May 1st, 4 pm.
  • Who’s the Best MC: the Voice of Harlem and DJ Ted Smooth, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 2nd, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 3rd, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 4th.
  • Who’s the Best MC: Actor and Personality Marc John Jeffries & DJ G-Money, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 5th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 6th, 5 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 6th, 4 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 7th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own music experience, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 8th, 4 pm.
  • Battle of the DJs: Media celeb Steph Lova & DJ G-Money, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 9th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List – A Facebook event, #HipHopElements. May 10th.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 12th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 13th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 13th, 5 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book Review, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 14th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry Live: Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 15th, 4 pm.
  • Break Dance Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Dance Competition: DUOLIVE (MC Fre and DJ Sid V), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Arverne Branch, 312 Beach 54th Street. May 17th, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 18th.
  • Break Dance Expo: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 19th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 20th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 20th, 5 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 21st, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 22nd, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 23rd, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List on Facebook, #HipHopElements. May 24th.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 25th.
  • Hip Hop Elements Picture of The Day, #HipHopElements. May 26th.
  • Intro to Graffiti Art, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 27th, 4 pm.
  • Graffiti Art Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 28 4 pm.
  • Rock the Mic: DUOLIVE, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 28th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry & Art Showcase, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 29th, 4 pm.
  • Intro to the Entertainment Industry: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 30th, 4 pm.
  • A Visual History of Hip Hop: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 31st, 2 pm.

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Secret Sandy surprised many this weekend

WNYC reports that on Sunday, hundreds of families affected by Hurricane Sandy lined up at Russo on the Water, a Howard Beach banquet hall, for an all-you-can-eat buffet (hamburgers, chicken fingers, cotton candy and ice cream) and got their picture taken with Santa. They were also told to head to a room that was filled with presents, and that they could take some home. This was organized by Secret Sandy, a relief organization that pairs children’s wishes with presents; it was founded by Joy Huang and Kim Berdy. Huang said, “We knew that kids needed toys. We knew we wanted kids to be kids, and even if your house isn’t there, Santa knows where you are.”

Kids would request things like Legos and a new bike, they also got some requests – the kind that make you stop in your tracks. Things like, “I hope I see mommy stop crying.” “I hope I have a hot shower someday.” “I hope I know what normal feels like.” one little boy at the event said, “I’d probably be happy to see lots of babies smile – cause a lot have been crying ever since they lost their house.” Kids are amazing. Secret Sandy received more than 1,600 letters and more than 2,000 presents. In the words of local Belle Harbor mom Theresa Hoffman, “This is amazing, it’s a dream come true. Its so much fun for them and so touching for me. This is making Christmas so much better.”

Perhaps the 7 train will run from Manhattan after all on Lunar New Year weekends

Last week we heard that, due to public outcry, the MTA has scheduled a January meeting with Flushing leaders to discuss maybe halting service suspension during the weekends in February on which the Flushing Lunar New Year celebrations fall. The Lunar New Year is one of the most – if not the most – important celebrations in Asian culture. State Senator Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) says, “We want a resolution that they will respect the people who participate in the Lunar New Year celebrations by suspending the service interruptions. We shouldn’t have to do this every year.” They also hope to educate MTA Chairman Joe Lhota – who is leaving soon to consider pursuing a Mayoral run – on the deep importance of this holiday in Asian cultures.

Trust for Public Land received grant to study the Queensway, potentially a new “high line” in Queens

The Queensway – a 3.5 mile stretch of the abandoned Rockaway Beach LIRR line between Rego Park and Ozone Park – recently got an economic shot in the arm, and a lot of hope. Governor Andrew Cuomo approved a $467,000 grant last Wednesday for the Trust for Public Land – the non-profit group helping to get the park off the ground (metaphorically, of course) – to study the project. There is a lot of support for this project (accessible green space, new park, pedestrian/bike path to Forest Park, international food vendors) as well as opposition (concern about safety, parking, and privacy), so who knows if it will actually become a park. But the money is there to study it and we are very curious to see what conclusions are reached.

There was a part of Queens that held on to 20 years of trash, if you can believe it

The Queens Chronicle reports that the inaccessible alley behind Sean’s Place park (38th Street south between 31st Ave and Broadway – GMAP) has finally been cleaned up of 20 years of trash. There used to be just a fence there, but the DOT replaced it with replaced a a gate in the back of the park. Colloquially, it’s been called “Iglesia de muck” (Church of muck). Peter Vallone’s office did some of the cleanup in the alley and found an old cooler, scraps of metal, various pieces of debris, and lots and lots of Gatorade bottles. They were worried they’d run across some live rats or perhaps something even worse. Now there will be a gate with a key that will be in possession of members of the Friends of Sean’s Place. Here’s hoping they can keep the future trash at bay.

Queens’ ode to the Christmas holiday

If you haven’t watched it before, Christmas in Hollis by Run-DMC is worth checking out, it being Christmas Eve and all. And yes, this song is 25 years old.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR07r0ZMFb8]

Have a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Yep, that’s 25 years ago

We thought we’d leave you today with this classic by Queens rappers Run-DMCChristmas in Hollis.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR07r0ZMFb8]

For those of you that want the lyrics, they can be found here.

“And that’s what Christmas is all about
The time is now, the place is here
And the whole wide world is filled with cheer.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friends!