Golden Age Society transports seniors back to high school

‘Senior prom’ held at O’Neill’s

By Stephanie Meditz

The Golden Age Society, a senior group at St. Mary’s Winfield church in Woodside, turned up the rock-and-roll tunes and opened the dance floor to its members last week.

Prom king Herbie Wiley poses with his queen, Catherine Berger.

Members of the society came together to socialize, dance, and reminisce on their high school days at a “senior prom” at O’Neill’s in Maspeth.

The Golden Age Society typically hosts parties like this twice a year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for seniors to spend time together.

Father Rolvin Romero, a visiting priest at St. Mary’s church for the summer, is grateful to be in the U.S. after two years of travel restrictions.

He is currently studying canon law in Spain, where he will return in the fall to pursue a doctorate.

He emphasized the importance of social interaction for seniors and is glad that the Golden Age Society could finally get together again.

“I know that they were trying so hard to get people back because there are still people, I guess, who are afraid to go out of their houses,” he said. “It’s a good thing to gather them again and we have to go on with a new normal.”

Usually, Father Romero only interacts with the seniors when they attend Mass, so he was honored to be invited to the prom.

“It’s very nice to bond with these wonderful seniors,” he said. “I am Filipino and we value our family ties, we value our grandparents, and so it’s like this is to be with my grandparents.”

Carol Cappiello has been a member of St. Mary’s parish since 1968 and worked in the rectory for 19 years.

As a member of the Golden Age Society, she is grateful for the chance to meet new people and keep in contact with old friends at meetings.

“It’s a nice place to meet and gather and socialize with all our friends that you don’t get to see every day,” she said.

The prom inspired Cappiello to recall her own prom and the loud rock-and-roll music she listened to when she was a senior at All Saints High School in Brooklyn.

Joseph Yee, another long-standing member of St. Mary’s parish, likewise reflected on his high school days at Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan, which has since closed.

He was a student there at the same time as former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whom Yee knew as “Lou.”

“We never lost a basketball game. Maybe once,” he said, proudly displaying his Power Memorial baseball cap. “That’s my claim to whatever fame that Power brings me. When I go shopping, it’s amazing how many people know about Power, not because they went to Power, but because of all the other Catholic high schools that used to get beaten by us.”

Yee was a leader of song at St. Mary’s for 30 years before he retired, and he is still an active member of the parish today.

Parishioners from St. Mary’s and St. Adalbert’s shared a table with Father Romero.

A two-time lung cancer survivor, his faith is a central aspect of his life.

“Having survived death, basically, I have a certain different perspective of life,” he said. “Your whole life is based on the Lord now… the Lord is kind and merciful.”

Yee is a member of St. Mary’s Holy Name Society and helps take up collections at the church.

“I enjoy the camaraderie of the Golden Age even though it took a while before I got used to being a Golden Ager,” he said.

In the true spirit of the event, the Golden Age Society’s current president, Carol Smykowski, crowned Herbie Wiley and Catherine Berger king and queen of the prom.

Smykowski recalled a previous event at which Wiley danced with Berger by spinning her around in her wheelchair. The two shared a “first dance” at the prom as well.

Donning her rhinestone tiara, 85-year-old Berger remembered a beauty contest that she won as a teenager.

She is grateful to the Golden Age Society for keeping her close to the friends she has made over the years.

Wiley, a first-year member of the society, did not expect to win the title of prom king.

“I had a great time, it’s been a great year. And I was lucky they chose me as the king,” he said, showing off his bow tie. “I did wear my tuxedo.”

The Golden Age Society is open to all community members ages 50 and older. Members come from various places, including AARP and the parishes of St. Mary’s, St. Adalbert’s, and St. Sebastian’s.

Jean Bednarczyk, a member of AARP and St. Mary’s parish, loves the community aspect of the society, especially in wake of the pandemic.

“At this point in my life, I want to socialize with people,” she said. “For so long, we couldn’t get together… now, things are opening up, so it’s nice to get out and mingle again.”

The group meets on Tuesdays from noon to 3 p.m. in the parish room at St. Mary’s to play Bingo or cards and socialize over cake and coffee.

As president of the society, Smykowski works to ensure that it brings seniors together “not just as a community, but as friends.”

“I really like this group, I like what I’m doing,” she said. “They like to have fun, and that’s what I like. This is my first full year as president, so I try to come up with some different ideas.”

Restoration of Hallets Cove nearly complete

Neighbors and residents of Astoria Houses will soon have a newly-beautified waterfront in Hallets Cove with its restoration nearly complete.

What used to be a community eyesore — filled with trash, shopping carts and dead animals — is now a revitalized part of the northwestern waterfront of the borough thanks to a $5 million restoration project.

Elected officials and community leaders celebrated the near completion of the restoration project at Hallets Cove in Astoria.

When the project broke ground last November, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards applauded the collaborative effort of the New York City Economic Development Corporation,  former City Councilman Costa Constantinides and the Mayor’s Office to help see old structures and debris be replaced with new wetland vegetation.

“What a difference. Just in time for summer, we’re here to celebrate making the Astoria waterfront healthy and beautiful,” Richards said. “For far too long, this beautiful piece of waterfront has been anything but that.”

Richards continued, “And while the rest of Western Queens waterfront wasa being developed into hubs of culture and community, this space was left to deteriorate and decay. We will never accept that. We lead with the premise, no matter what your socioeconomic status, it should not be a determinant on whether your waterfront sees investment.”

The site was also where longtime Astoria Houses resident Claudia Coger took Constantinides to see the abandoned pier along Vernon Boulevard. Constantinides then took new City Councilwoman Tiffany Caban to the site, continuing to advocate for its cleanup.

The project will bring new trees lining the street and new railing along Vernon Boulevard. The former eyesore also was the home of a longtime radio tower that began to decay in the cove.

“The first thing that my predecessor did with me was walk me right over here,” Councilwoman Caban said.

She added that the revitalization of a community landmark can help revitalize the people within the community as well.

“This is not going to just have public health impacts, but public safety impacts,” Caban said. “We know that restorations like this make our communities that much safer.”

A total of $3 million had been allocated by the Borough President’s office across fiscal years 2016 and 2017 towards the restoration project, under Melinda Katz. Constantinides and the Mayor’s office each allocated $1 million in funding.

The Parks Department is also currently working on a separate project adjacent to the Hallets Cove playground.

Queens Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris praised the ongoing commitment to the environment and highlighted the many steps the project has taken to get to its current point, which includes a pair of Borough Presidents and a pair of City Council Members.

“This shows how when people work together, things can change and people can make a difference,” Koulouris said.

Local teacher creates short film

‘Coming Home’ made quarterfinals in Big Apple Film Festival

Between school plays, off-off Broadway shows, and the front of school classrooms—Angelo Amato has performed in various arenas.

Most recently, his journey in the performing arts community has taken him to the world of short films, leading him to write, produce, direct, and star in his new short film, “Coming Home.”

Filmed entirely in Whitestone, where Amato lives, “Coming Home” is a drama about an Italian-American family of four living in Queens and experiences a great loss.

Much of the film’s theme is inspired by his own Italian heritage, as well as his local connections to Glendale, where his father owned a luncheonette on Myrtle Avenue; Howard Beach, where he spent some of his childhood years; and Nassau County, where he lived before coming to Whitestone in 2003.

Amato grew up loving films and acting, looking up to big names such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, and Jack Nicholson.

However, his greatest influence is John Hughes, who is best known for his iconic ‘80s films, which he says heavily inspired his own filmmaking style.

“When it comes to film, I think of myself as a product of ‘80s pop culture. To me, those films were the best because the technology met at the perfect spot with the storytelling,” he said. “Films are about relationships between people, and each character in ‘Coming Home’ has their own deep backstory, something that they’re struggling with—like their relationship with the father or their relationships with each other.”

Amato plays Matthew, the responsible older brother figure, Zack Glassman plays Robert, the rebellious younger brother, Julia Caine plays Samantha, the little sister who’s just gone off to college, and Sarah Marie Miller plays Gail, the mother who navigates the family’s path and supports them during a tough time.

“[Samantha] is just coming to that age where she is realizing that her parents are more than just her parents, they’re also people… people that are not perfect, they make mistakes, they have their own lives, wants, fears, and hopes,” Caine said of her role in the film. “She’s going through a lot; it’s a complex character for a really interesting story.”

“It’s always really interesting to tell a story that has so much humanity in it,” Miller said. “These are universal things, whether the specific events of this story resonate with you or not, we all understand what it’s like to deal with grief and loss and the questions that can sometimes come up with that. It’s definitely a story that’s really just a slice of life.”

Amato has been acting since he was a child, and played Kenickie in his 8th grade rendition of “Grease.”

“The only way I can describe it is to say it was like the first time you fall in love,” he said.

Throughout high school, he starred in plays such as “42nd Street,” “South Pacific,” “Our Town,” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Iona College where he attended.

After college, Amato was involved in numerous off-off Broadway productions, but eventually stepped away from acting and started teaching Social Studies, which he says feels a lot like acting.

“When you’re teaching, I feel you’re definitely on stage,” he said. “It’s funny because I don’t really talk about it at work. I stepped away from acting for a while, but when something’s in your soul, it calls you back.”

This led him to star in a play at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in 2019, and create “Coming Home.”

“Coming Home” finished as a quarterfinalist in the Big Apple Film Festival, and Amato said he plans to enter it into other well-known film festivals such as Tribeca and Sundance.

When it comes to his goals with acting and film, Amato’s motto is “go big or go home.”

“At this point in my life, I can honestly say that it has nothing to do with money or fame. I’ve come to a point in life where I realize we are all here for only a certain amount of time,” he said.

“It’s never too late to pursue what you love…and it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else other than yourself. For me, that’s the takeaway.”


Pro-choice leaders rally together at Borough Hall

Borough President joined by activists, elected officials to protest Supreme Court abortion decision

By Juan Arturo Trillo

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the “Roe v. Wade” landmark decision, the Queens Borough President’s Office organized an abortion rally on Tuesday, June 28—the same day as New York’s primary elections.

Deputy Borough President Ebony Young kicked off the event, saying that “Queens will not stay silent.”

Young explained some of the implications that the Supreme Court abortion ruling may have, specifically on minority women. About 70 percent of black women are breadwinners for their families, Young said. A forced birth may necessitate that they give up on their careers and income, she added.

Young also stated that when performing unsafe abortions, women of color died at 12 times the rate of white woman before the original “Roe v. Wade” ruling.

“Why are we going backwards?” Young asked, adding that young black women have less rights than she did during her youth.

Young was joined by various leaders in the pro-choice and reproductive justice movements.

Anjali Seegobin, member of South Queen’s Women’s March, called the Roe decision “alarming and unethical.”

Seegobin said that the black women, low-income women, and trans-men who led the pro-choice and reproductive justice movements will be the ones to face the harshest consequences of the Supreme Court’s new ruling.

According to Seegobin, 80 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legalized.

Maryam Mohammed-Miller, director of Government Relations at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, affirmed that “abortion is healthcare, and it is still your legal right here in New York state.”

“New York is proud to be a safe harbor for those who are forced to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to seek abortion services,” Mohammed-Miller said.

Mohammed-Miller added, “one should not have to travel from Jackson, Mississippi to Jackson Heights, Queens to access abortion care.”

Mohammed-Miller said that Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s abortion appointment availability has increased by 20 percent for all 23 health centers in response to the Supreme Court ruling.

Mary Lou Greenberg of Choice’s Women’s Medical Center, who was present at the 1989 pro-choice demonstration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, said that women from other states are already making abortion appointments at Choice’s.

Greenberg wore a green scarf, explaining that it was the same color as bandanas worn by women in South and Central American pro-choice demonstrations. Greenberg wore the scarf to stand in solidarity with these women and recognize their discipline and dedication.

Cecilia Venosta, president of the Center for Women of New York, added that her father said to “look forward” when immigrating to the United States. Since then, Argentina has legalized abortion.

Venosta called the Supreme Court ruling “another manifestation of the same regressive forces that always appear when people demand equal protection under the law.”

The rally occurred on the same day as New York State primary elections.

Emily Paez, director of Government Affairs and Civic Engagement at Hispanic Federation encouraged people to get out and vote. She asserted that the influence of elected officials is most vivid in situations like these.

Various elected officials were present at the rally, including Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzáles-Rojas and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi.

Gonzáles-Rojas claimed that “in 2022, corporations and guns have more rights than women and pregnant people.”

Hevesi added, “as a straight white male, nobody ever tells me what to do with my body. But they sure just told my daughter, and they sure just told my wife.”

They were joined by Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, whose great-grandmother passed away attempting to give herself an abortion.

Borough President Donovan Richards acknowledged stories like Schulman’s great-grandmother, saying that “elections have life and death consequences, and let’s be clear—there are women who are going to die because of this decision.”

“If we start paying attention to local races across the country, we can prevent laws being passed that force teenagers to carry their rapist’s baby to term,” Richards added.

He listed ways people can get involved in the pro-choice and reproductive justice movements. These include volunteering at abortion clinics or advocacy groups and donating money to abortion programs in conservative states or other funds.

Richards made it clear that despite abortion being a women’s issue, men must also speak up.

“We all have a choice now,” Richards said. “Do we hang our heads and give up, or do we do everything in our power to protect people seeking abortions and expand access to care even in states with trigger laws?”

Ron Kim squeaks by opponent to win primary

New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim pulled it off. The incumbent in the race for the 40th State Assembly District, which encompasses Flushing, College Point, Whitestone, and Murray Hill communities, won the primary election on June 28, defeating political hopeful Kenneth Chiu by a small six percent margin—receiving only 221 votes more than his opponent according to unofficial tallies from the State Board of Elections.

“It’s hard to earn the trust of marginalized Asian working people who feel unsafe and insecure. Still, for the first time in Flushing history, we achieved this by winning an election centered around worker rights for home care attendants,” Kim said via Twitter following the results. “We won at a time when Asians feel most vulnerable by talking about the ongoing racial and gender violence against Asian immigrant women. From evictions to stolen wages, we centered everything around their pains and voters responded.”

Kim became the first Korean-American elected to the state legislature in 2012, filling the seat vacated by future Congresswoman Grace Meng, which he has held for the past 10 years. During his tenure in office, he has consistently stood up to corporate interests, leading the charge against the development of Amazon’s HQ2, he has been outspoken against Gov. Cuomo’s failure to react in the face of the COVID-19 nursing home deaths, and has continued to be an advocate for small business, elderly residents, and immigrants living in the district.

“In my 22 years in Flushing politics, I have never seen as much shady real-estate money poured into an election as I did this time around,” Kim said. “For weeks, I have encountered endless negative attacks trying shamelessly to distract, lie, and erase the work my office has done and will continue to do for our seniors and immigrant workers. To those dark money groups – I want to say thank you. You have affirmed my belief that I am taking on the right people, the people who exploit the fears of others to enrich themselves.”

Unlike past elections—including the 2020 primaries where Kim won against Democratic candidate Steven Lee by a nearly 40 percent margin—the 2022 primary election was a tight race right up to the end.

Chiu, founder of the New York City Asian American Democratic Club, previously ran against Assemblywoman Nily Rozic in the 2020 primary election. After being contested over the validity of his ballot signatures at an in-person hearing with the Board of Elections, Chiu’s candidacy was withdrawn from the race, handing the Democratic party line to the incumbent.

This year, however, Chiu took no quarter, giving Kim a run for his money in a nail-biter at the polls.

Kim, having just barely won the Democratic ticket, still has more campaigning to do before the general elections in November, when he will face off against GOP candidate Sharon Liao to keep his seat in Albany.

Two women assaulted in Glendale

Perpetrator still on the loose

On June 16 at around 12:30 p.m., two women were physically assaulted on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale.

A 33-year-old woman, who requested to remain anonymous, said that during her regular lunchtime walk, an unknown individual came up from behind and punched her in the back of the head.

The incident occurred on Myrtle Avenue across the street from Mount Lebanon Cemetery, near the Glendale Library.

“It wasn’t my first thought that somebody had hit me,” she said. “I thought maybe something had fallen from the roof or some kids were playing with a basketball—almost like something had been thrown at me very hard.”

Instead, a male bystander working at a garage for the cemetery told her, “That man just punched you in the head.”
In the distance, she could see the perpetrator walking away casually in the opposite direction.

A few moments after the male bystander allowed the woman to come into the garage to call 9-1-1, another woman pushing a child in a stroller approached them, visibly shaken up.

“The man I was with said to her, ‘Did he hit you, too?’ and she said, ‘Yes, he punched me in the head and tried to push me into the street,’” the woman said.

“At that point, I was still kind of on autopilot trying to explain to 9-1-1 what the situation was. After we hung up and the police were on the way, I started to get upset and was processing what was actually going on,” she continued. “I could still see [the perpetrator] walking in the distance, continuing down Myrtle Avenue toward the McDonald’s.”

She added that the other woman who was assaulted said she was afraid to walk home as she needed to go in the same direction.

The two women, the child in the stroller, and the male bystander waited together outside the garage for the police to arrive.

But before they did, the suspect approached them again, yelling nonsensical statements and threatening them.

“We ran inside the garage and hid inside a tiny office in there. There was a glass window, so we can kind of see him outside,” the woman said.

“He was looking inside the garage for us, and at that point I felt like something was really wrong,” she continued. “It felt more like he intended to hurt us the second time, because why else would you come back? It was very menacing.”

By the time the police arrived, the suspect was gone, and they searched the surrounding area for him for a few minutes.

The cops could not locate him, and took the two victims’ statements.

Although the cemetery’s security cameras were able to capture a clear image of the suspect, the woman said that “nothing has been done” by the police as far as her case goes.

“It felt like the detective that I spoke to a few days later was blowing me off. He didn’t seem to know about the security footage, even though both of the officers who responded saw it, and I believe one of them took a picture with his cell phone,” she said.

“It’s been well over two weeks now, and I haven’t heard anything back. As far as I know, nobody’s been caught, and the picture hasn’t been circulated anywhere,” she continued. “It just kind of felt like nobody was going to do anything about it, or that it wasn’t an ‘important crime,’ like a ‘there are bigger fish to fry’ type of thing.

The woman described the assailant as a Black male in his mid-to-late 20s, average-size, wearing an oversized black t-shirt, a black durag, and what appeared to be red headphones around his neck.

She said that he looked very unassuming, and would not think twice if she’d simply passed him on the street.

It is unclear whether or not the individual was mentally unwell or under the influence of a substance, or if he came from the nearby Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center, a 200-bed men’s homeless shelter, which has caused a stir in the community.

“A lot of people that I’ve told the story to seem to think he came from there… I feel a lot of compassion for people who are experiencing homelessness, and was kind of an idealist when the shelter was first opening up,” the woman said.
“If this person was from the homeless shelter, I just hope he gets whatever help he needs.”

Since being assaulted, the 33-year-old Glendale resident said that she worries about the individual hurting someone else, and now feels very unsafe in the neighborhood.

“I’ve lived in Glendale pretty much my entire life, and I’ve never felt unsafe—especially in the middle of the day walking around. Now I feel like I’m constantly on high alert, and I’m afraid to go too far from my home or from my office,” she said. “I had a routine where I would walk on my lunch break and after work. A lot of times, I would go for a longer walk around the neighborhood, maybe an hour or so. I don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore.”

“I feel like there’s somebody still out there who maybe is looking to harm people or possibly doesn’t even remember harming people, depending on what his situation is,” she added. “The fact that he came back to us like that… that’s the kind of crime that can escalate. That’s the part that’s most concerning to me, and I almost feel like nothing’s going to happen unless he does something again.”

The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information confirmed that no arrests have been made at the time of publication, and the investigation is ongoing.

Jastremski: An Off-Broadway Flop

Durant & Irving’s Nets

Three years ago, the Brooklyn Nets did the unthinkable.

They landed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and beat out the New York Knicks and the rest of the NBA in the process.

The minute the Durant/Irving partnership found its way to Brooklyn, the mandate was pretty simple.

Championship or bust.

Three years later, it’s a whole lot of bust for the Brooklyn Nets.

Last week, the Woj bomb dropped right before free agency. Kevin Durant wants out of Brooklyn and vocalized his desire for a trade.

The Nets all-in approach bombed in a rather epic fashion and they shouldn’t have regrets when it comes to taking the swing on both Durant and Irving.

It’s easy to second guess now, but every team in the NBA outside of Golden State at the time would have signed on the dotted line for the two superstars.

The Nets may have won out on Durant and Irving, but they also became the center of drama and dysfunction throughout the NBA.

The last three years have been a rollercoaster.

Where to begin.

There was all sorts of Kyrie Irving drama. Does he want to play basketball? Will he get the vaccine?

Kyrie dazzled at times on the court, but also missed a whole of time in the process.

The Nets were in the middle of James Harden drama. Last year they gave up a whole lot of assets to bring in the guard, a year later he quit on the team and had to be traded for Ben Simmons.

The same Ben Simmons that still has yet to play a game for the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant’s play on the court cannot be questioned. When he was on the floor suiting up for Brooklyn, he shined.

However, he failed to deliver in taking the franchise back to the promised land.

Injuries, dysfunction or not, it is comical that the Nets couldn’t find a way to an NBA Finals yet alone a Conference Finals with this collection of talent.

Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors with two Finals MVP trophies, but with a challenge in front of him.

Could Durant go and lead his own team to a title? Not a ready-made 73 win Golden State Warriors team.

Durant was unable to do so and decided after three years, enough is enough.

Kevin Durant got to pick his head coach. the players and got the chance to sit out a full season.

It wasn’t good enough for him.

Durant’s legacy as an all-time great player is established. There’s no knocking what he has brought to the floor for over fifteen years in the league.

However, when it comes to his tenure in Brooklyn, it’s a whole lot of unfulfilled promises.

Durant is under contract for the next 4 years, I’m not rushing a trade by any means if I’m the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets must do right by the organization, not the demands of a disgruntled superstar.

The future is very uncertain in Brooklyn, but the pairing of Durant and Irving will go down as one of the all time great NY flops.

Imagine two all time great actors taking their talents off Broadway, expecting a Tony and failing to come close to winning a Tony after calling every single shot.

I don’t know when DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are taking a play to Brooklyn, but I hope it has better success than the basketball version that we witnessed over the last three years…

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Monday, Wednesday & Friday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight following Mets postgame on SNY.

Virgil Abloh’s vision brought to life at Brooklyn Museum

‘Figures of Speech’ open now through Jan 29, 2023

Virgil Abloh, a first-generation Ghanaian-American who rose to success as a fashion designer, entrepreneur, and artist, tragically died at the age of 41 after battling cancer.

One of Virgil Abloh’s many fashion forward designs.

Although he’s no longer able to share his craft with the world, his vision and art live on at the Brooklyn Museum in an exhibition dedicated to his life: “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech.”

The exhibit is organized by Michael Darling, former James W. Alsdorf chief curator at the Muse- um of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Brooklyn Museum presentation by guest writer and curator Antwaun Sargent.

“When I first started talking with Virgil about this show, I knew the best person to shape our iteration of them was Antwaun… When I would check in with Virgil to hear how the collaboration was going over a period of about two and a half years, he’d beam. He had that great Virgil smile,” Anne Pasternak, the Brooklyn Museum’s Shelby White and Leon Levy director said.

“Virgil always seemed to radiate with excitement, and that was certainly true about this show,” she continued. “He saw his art as a conceptual practice, embodying every artistic medium. Virgil wouldn’t let his practice be put in a proverbial box; his creativity was simply too big to contain, just like his energy.”

Anne Pasternak, Brooklyn Museum’s Shelby White and Leon Levy director

Pasternak added that Abloh wanted this installation to happen at the Brooklyn Museum for two primary reasons: to see his work in the context of a museum that rep- resents the best of visual culture in 5,500 years of global creativity, and to open up opportunities for young people, especially BIPOC youth, to express themselves as well as shaping culture and society.

“Figures of Speech” features a wide range of Abloh’s work from throughout his career, including collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami, musician Kanye West, and architect Rem Koolhaas, as well as material from his fashion label Off-White, and designs from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director.

The exhibit’s focal point, given Abloh’s background in architecture, is his Social Sculpture, located in the center.

Made in collaboration with ALASKA ALASKA, his London studio, “Social Sculpture” is a large, wooden house-like structure with a porch designed for artists, designers, architects, students, ac- tivists and the community to come together.

It was designed with the idea of “negritude architecture” in mind, a term coined by artist David Hammons, which describes “the way Black people make things,” such as houses or magazine stands in Harlem.

The wall text beside the sculpture reads: “Just the way we use carpentry. Nothing fits, but every- thing works. The door closes, it keeps things from coming through. But it doesn’t have that neatness about it, the way white people put things together; everything is a thirty-second of an inch off.”

Abloh’s designs will be on display at the Brooklyn Museum through January 2023.

Sharon Matt Atkins, deputy director for art at the Brooklyn Museum, played a big role in planning the exhibition, as well as working with Sargent and all of the teams involved with its genesis—including Abloh’s team.

She and the museum also worked with MCA Chicago, where the exhibit originally opened.

“We very much had a sense of his vision for what this show should look like, because New York and Brooklyn specifically was so special to him,” Matt Atkins said.

“He really wanted our presentation to be distinctive, and I can say without any question that we have done that,” she continued. “We have fully realized his vision, including the works displayed on the sculptures that appear as tables that are runways that are drafting tables, and the ‘Social Sculpture,’ which is in the center.”

Those interested in seeing Virgil Abloh’s life through his creations are fortunate to have a wide time-frame to catch the exhibit, as it will be on display in the Brooklyn Museum now through Jan. 29, 2023.

Family fun day kicks off July 4 weekend at Victory Park

Just days after New York City Public Schools closed for the summer, kids and families flocked to Victory Park in Woodhaven on Thursday for a community and family field day organized by the NYPD’s Anti Domestic Violence Unit and supported by Community Board 9.

Organizers and supporters of the event, like Community Board 9 Chairperson Sherry Algredo, praised the teamwork and community effort to host the all-day celebration complete with the NYPD’s Sports Unit, the department’s game truck, and many other festivities.

Algredo highlighted the need for a tight knit partnership with the NYPD’s 102nd Precinct, which presides over Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill East, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, and the northern part of Ozone Park.

“It’s very important for the community and the cops to work together because it establishes that trust factor within the community,” Algredo said. “It’s all about community support.”

Community Board 9 sponsored the highly-popular cotton candy machine and a bouncy house in Victory Park.

CB9’s District Manager James McClleland echoed Algredo’s remarks, saying it is “vitally important” to promote cooperation between the NYPD and the community.

The event serves as a precursor to the annual Night Out Against Crime events held throughout the city in August, he added.

He says that the community has been dealing with derelict vehicles, sometimes parked for months at a time and on side streets, often with out-of-state license plates, throughout the district. It’s a combination of education and enforcement, he says, that are needed to combat the quality-of-life issues, including illegal dumping.

“The new commander is making a commitment to get rid of these cars,” McClelland said. “Cars are sitting idling while residents look for open parking spots. It’s all over.”

Meanwhile, a game of cricket was set up for youngsters by the 102 Precinct officers.

Raju Sukhdeo, a member of the NYPD’s 102nd Precinct, and a five-year member of the department’s cricket team, helped teach the globally-played sport to a group of kids at the event.

Formed in 2010, the cricket team consists of both uniformed and civilian members and competes in international tournaments against other police teams.

“Not a lot of people from different cultures are exposed to it,” Sukhdeo said of the sport. “Having to do this is all the more fun.”

Drunk driver hits grandma, 8-year-old girl

A 52-year-old driver faces charges after causing multiple collisions along 31st Avenue in Flushing, striking multiple vehicles and two pedestrians—an 8-year-old girl and her grandmother—before attempting to flee the scene.

According to police, the incident occurred on June 28, at the intersection of 68th Street and 31st Avenue, where they observed the defendant, Alexandra Lopez of Sunnyside, sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2020 Toyota RAV 4 with the engine running.

Responding officers also identified a young girl who was crying and screaming underneath the front of a parked van nearby with blood on her face, head, and clothing. She also had scratches on her feet.

Her grandmother, Maria Polazzo, 74, was observed limping and had similar scratches on her feet. She informed the police that they were crossing the street when a red vehicle hit them, causing the young girl to fall under the van.

Both victims were immediately transported to a local Queens hospital where the young girl continues to be treated for a broken nose, head trauma, and liver damage. Her grandmother is being treated for swelling to her legs.

According to another eyewitness, Myosha Watson, after Lopez allegedly struck the two victims, she continued driving. Watson claims the defendant crossed the double yellow line twice and struck two additional vehicles, including her own 2018 Honda. According to the court documents, Lopez at no time attempted to stop until she crashed into a 2020 Hyundai.

Lopez was subsequently arrested and transported to the 112th precinct, where police administered a breathalyzer exam after they observed an odor of alcohol on her breath, bloodshot watery eyes, and swaying on her feet.

Based on the results, she had a blood alcohol content of .196, more than double the legal limit of .08.

“As alleged, the defendant drove drunk and, in doing so, endangered the lives of two pedestrians and other motorists on the road,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “Few choices are more selfish than taking the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A young girl is now seriously injured, and her grandmother is recovering from trauma sustained from the car crash. The defendant will face justice in our courts for her callous actions.”

Lopez was arraigned on June 30 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Marty J. Lentz, on a 13-count complaint charging her with vehicular assault in the first and second degree, two counts of second-degree assault, three counts of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, four counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reckless driving.

She has been ordered to return to court on Aug. 18, 2022. If convicted Lopez faces up to 11 years in prison.

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