This Emerging Curator Is Bringing Art and Culture to Flushing

By Clare Baierl |

Outside of the opening of the Flushing Green Market, Xinya Li was making the rounds approaching everyone she could to announce her newest art exhibit opening this month. 

She has soft brown eyes, jet-black hair and a warm smile. As Curator and Artistic Director for the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Li is using her unique worldly perspective to highlight artists throughout Queens. 

Born and raised in China, at the mere age of sixteen, Li moved across the world to Connecticut to complete her high school education. 

All by herself, with her family and friends still in China, Li finished off her education in the US with a degree in Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

“I used to go to the city every weekend,” Li explained. “I knew that if I wanted to pursue my art career, I needed to move.” 

So she set her sights high, grabbing her first job out of school working under John Choe in the Commission on Human Rights. Li worked on Choe’s campaign team, helping to shape his brand personality, a position that would eventually lead her to her current job. 

With a goal of artistic curation, Li moved on to work for The Flushing Chamber of Commerce. Within this position and the unique skills she brought to it, Li found her passion. 

“I’m always having random, creative ideas,” Li said with a laugh. “I’m very energetic.” 

Working as an artistic curator, Li travels throughout Flushing to find and work with emerging artists. Each month, Li works to create original art exhibitions throughout the brough. Often bringing together different cultural perspectives and unique ideas such as her newest project, Museum Without Doors

This exhibit, opening on July 19th at Bowne Park in Flushing, will bring together the work of two artists, Chia Hsuan Kuo and Pin Hsin Chu. The exhibition will be free and open to the public. The concept will be a departure from the traditional gallery experience, as it will be held outside in the park. The goal being, “to bridge the gap between the general public and art,” said Li. 

“I get my inspiration from literally anything,” Li explains. “Everything can be your inspiration, even a coffee shop could be the inspiration for my next exhibit.”


New Green Market Now Open In Flushing, Helping To Provide Equitable Access to Local Food

Members of The Flushing Chamber of Commerce Celebrate The Opening Of The New Green Market at Bowne Park

By Clare Baierl |

Just off of Main St. in Flushing, one of the busiest areas in all of the city and home to the largest Chinatown neighborhood, sits a lively fresh market on the corner of Sanford Ave. Underneath the tents piles of fresh vegetables sit in the glowing sun. 

There is everything from multi-colored carrots, ripe tomatoes, bright green lettuce, to even baked goods and fresh speckled eggs. This market, a new location made possible by the non-profit GrowNYC, is on a mission to give Flushing residents access to quality food and support, no matter their income level. 

GrowNYC operates over 45 green markets within the city, and yet only four within Queens. In partnership with the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, it became clear for both groups the need for locally produced goods in Flushing. 

This is the operation’s first market to serve Flushing. With their services and markets expanding every year, the fact that this large neighborhood did not have a market yet made it the obvious choice for the new location. And for residents, it couldn’t be more welcome. 

“I’m so excited we are finally getting a new market here,” said Deni Barrios, a local resident. “Finally!” 

GrowNYC operates with the needs of their communities at the forefront. Meaning most locations are requested by community members through their online submission form. With over 3 million residents that participate in their programs, according to the GrowNYC, the requests are always coming. 

Along with the markets, they provide fresh food box pickups, youth markets, food scrap collection sites, free waste reduction training, community gardens and educational programs to name a few. 

Going along with their mission of equal access, all their markets operating within the city accept various types of nutrition support programs such as, SNAP/EBT, WIC and Senior FMNP coupons and Greenmarket Bucks. 

The new market location seeks to bring fresh, local food to Flushing – while only using producers located within 200 miles of the city. There are multiple farms that will provide weekly produce to this location including Breezy Hill Orchard, Knoll Krest Farm Orchard and R+G Produce. 

Multi-colored carrots delivered to the market by R+G Farms

R+G Produce, a family-run business located in Orange County, NY, has been operating since the 1800s. Their farm, originally set on swamp-land, now produces thriving crops in fertile, compost-mixed soil. 

They run a busy operation, with over 800 acres of farmland, and only 50-70 employees. “We are like a big family,” said Rick Miller, a delivery driver, worker on the R+G Farm and retired farmer. 

The market will sell a rotating variety of produce and other goods locally produced. Residents will have access to everything from carrots, tomatoes, onions, baked goods, cider, fruit, eggs to pasta, among much more. 

Miller is one of the many passionate people behind the food. 

“It’s so fertile, so soft, so healthy,” he explained while rifling through the food. Soil makes a big difference for R+G, Miller explained. “Their carrots are sweeter than anything.” 

While R+G Produce still uses pesticides, they are trying to get away from it by using new technology. Miller described one of the new high-tech machines; a laser-weeder, that can kill weeds as fast as an acre an hour. But cost cannot be ignored when trying to go fully organic, Miller explains. 

As a retired farmer, Miller knows the challenges of running a farm, especially an organic one. “Organic is much harder to sell,” he explained. “You lose 70% of your crop.” 

On top of that, farmers, organic or not, face piling costs of operating within the United States. Taxes such as electric, fuel and land are a big factor. Along with insuring their crops in case they lose anything to unexpected weather. The burden of insurance is put upon the farmers to pay monthly. 

“Farmers are the backbone of this country,” said Miller. “But we aren’t taken care of.”

Andrina Sanchez, Communications Director for Grow NYC, explores the market on opening day

This is one of the reasons why GrowNYC is so proactive in their mission, by providing access to quality and fresh produce to residents, they are also helping local farmers thrive.

“Support your regional markets,” said Andrina Sanchez, Communications Director at GrowNYC. “They have the freshest local food you can buy.” 


Ana Angelica Perez passed away on Saturday, July 1, 2023 at the age of 89. Beloved wife of Israel Perez, loving mother of Vilma Perez and Madeline Perez, cherished sister of Monserrate Acevedo and Antonio Ruiz, also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial ws offered at Most Holy Trinity Church, 138 Montrose Avenue, Brooklyn, NY on Friday, July 7, 2023. Interment followed at St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth NY 11378.


Francesca Barretta passed away on Friday, July 7, 2023 at the age of 76. Beloved wife of the late Salvatore Barretta, loving mother of Giuseppe Barretta, Nicolo Barretta, Maria Barretta, Fabiola Barretta and Salvatore Barretta, cherished grandmother of Rosa, Francesca and Salvatore, dear sister of Natale Gambino, Biagio Gambino and Graziella Gambino, and also survived by numerous loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Mass of Christian Burial offered at Our Lady of Hope Church on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at 9:45 AM. Entombment followed at St. John Cemetery Christ the Redeemer Mausoleum, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth NY 11378.


Patricia ‘Pat’ Spaldo, also known as ‘Gammy”, of Woodside, passed away on June 26, 2023 at the age of 88. Pat was born on February 6th, 1935 in Williamsburg, NY as one of three children.

She grew up in Williamsburg, where she met her late husband Frank Spaldo. The two got married in October of 1955 and moved to Woodside Queens, where she raised her four children: Donna, Susan, Joanne, and Frank. She was an amazing woman, mother and grandmother (Gammy) to her grandchildren: Patricia, Julia , Sofia, Grayson, and her great-grandson Nicholas. Her family meant everything to her. We remember fondly the Sunday dinners she would host each week, with her specialty: spaghetti and meatballs, and mashed potatoes.

Pat’s bright personality was infectious. She would light up every room she entered, and have the whole room laughing in a matter of minutes. Anyone who knew Pat knows how much love and joy she exuded, and undoubtedly will have endless funny stories to tell.

She was a kind, compassionate, and hilarious woman and her impact and memory will live on in her children, grandchildren, and friends.

Pat will be buried alongside her husband at Calvary cemetery in Queens.


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