G-COP Swears in A New Board Committee

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. addresses the G-COP members at the monthly meeting

By Clare Baierl | [email protected]

A large room filled with women and men of the 104 District G-COP group stood together, hands raised to their hearts and said the pledge of allegiance. At the monthly meeting of the largest G-COP force in the city, members gathered together to hear from city officials, discuss changes, and welcome the board members. 

The 104th Precinct Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol has been around since 1976. The group works with the local police department, as their “eyes and ears,” said GCOP President, Elizabeth Delacruz. Without weapons of any kind, the group helps with a variety of tasks from patrolling the neighborhoods, finding suspects, to blocking off intersections during car accidents, natural disasters, parades, and even church processions. 

The monthly meeting started off with a surprise guest in tow, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. of the 15th District. Addabbo spoke to the group with updates on the legislative session. Addabbo spoke about his office’s plans to give money to the MTA, but “not before a forensic audit”, he urged. His department will hire an outside expert to look at their expenses, and “see if we can cut some fat,” Addabbo explained. 

Addabbo also answered an audience member’s question about a new cannabis store opening near his office. While the senator was against it, he emphasized that keeping these stores away from schools and young children is crucial. “Whether you are for or against it, you must think of placement,” said Addabbo. “Placement is essential.” 

Continuing off the night, a representative for Councilman Robert Holden’s office gave a few remarks. The representative started off by thanking the group for all their work and support within the community.

“The councilmen appreciates GCOP,” he said. The representative also gave a few updates on Holden’s current agenda. “We are making sure the NYPD is funded, and funded properly,” he said. “We want to show that the police are good, they are necessary.”

To end off the night, the group held their annual Board of Directors swearing in ceremony. Addabbo had each board member place their right hand in the air and repeat the GCOP pledge. Afterwards, the group president took the stage and expressed her thanks to the community of members and supporters. 

“You are the backbone of this community,” said Delacruz.

Meet The Man Fighting for Flushing’s Small Businesses

John Choe, Director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce stands on the corner of Northern Blvd in Flushing

By Clare Baierl | [email protected]

John Choe, arrived on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Main St. with a bike, big smile and a t-shirt that said ‘Flushing.’ If you are looking for the neighborhood’s biggest fan, look no further. 

As Director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Choe has spent decades fighting for the rights of his neighborhood. His current work focuses on protecting small businesses, a cause that hits especially close to home. 

Growing up in Korea, Choe felt first-hand the importance of investing in citizen-first care. 

“I grew up malnourished,” he said. “Housing is a right. Being able to feed your family is a right. That’s what’s motivated me for many years helping this community.”

After living in over 100 countries, Choe eventually made his way to Flushing, a neighborhood he has now called home for over two decades. His work at the Chamber focuses on issues of equity.

 “We’re a community organization that helps to boost Flushing,” he said. “To really tell the story of all the people and businesses that make Flushing so unique and amazing as a destination.”

There is a high rate of new development projects entering the neighborhood, Choe explained, causing local businesses to be pushed out. Many residents that have lived here their entire lives are now gone. “We have one of the highest concentrations of bank branches in the entire country,” said Choe. “Probably because they’re the only ones that can afford rent.”

Throughout his time in the Chamber, Choe’s administration has secured over $1.5 million in funding to support the neighborhood. Providing everything from customized marketing consulting for businesses to creating the first ever local Community Supported Agriculture Program in the neighborhood. 

Though the Chamber is currently struggling with a loss of resources after the pandemic, Choe isn’t giving up. “Even though I feel like we’ve struggled against the Goliath here, I feel like we’ve built a sense of community,” he said. “This country has given so much to me, that if I can leave it better than I found it, I would say that I was able to achieve a great deal, that’s my legacy.”

Ukrainian War Play Debuts in Woodside

Director, Richard Vetere, takes notes during tech rehearsals of the play, “Even Here”

By Clare Baierl | [email protected]

A silence creeps over the stage, as the lights flicker red, then pink to a soft blue. The sound of bombs and crumbling stone starts, as a moody violin filled song fills the room. The actresses shuffle across the stage, moving to their right then left, stopping when the lights hit them just right. For director, Richard Vetere, tech rehearsals are where the play comes alive.

Starting July 20th at Secret Theater in Woodside, debuts renowned playwright Richard Vetere’s newest play, Even Here. The play written by two Ukrainian women, Alice Evermore, and Anastasiia Chala, tells a story of the war, a heart-felt cry for hope within the darkness.

The play, with only two actors, follows the story of two young women living through the war. Based on writer Chala’s real-life experience, the play takes place in Dnipro, Ukraine following the bombing of her building.

One of the characters is a ghost, visiting from the city of Odessa, which was bombed in the early nineteenth century. The ghost visits the other girl, helping her through the current trauma of the attacks.

“Not a day goes by, I don’t want to do something or say something,” said Evermore. “

This play is an artistic response.” Inspired and driven by the war in Ukraine, both Evermore and Chala felt as though writing this play was a way to channel their emotions, and hopefully offer some type of solace.

“We want to reach deep down inside those victims of violence and to let them know that there is an inner peace within the individual that never dies despite the atrocities of the world we live in,” said Evermore.

Displaced by the war, both writers currently live in Berlin, making this play a truly cross-continental effort. Director, Vetere, a native of Maspeth, was introduced to the two through an online mentoring group called, Young Playwrights Ukraine.

After reading the story, Vetere helped with rewrites,  “I had no idea or intention of directing it,” he said. But once finding the festival at Secret Theater, Vetere knew the play would be a perfect fit.

To find the actors that would bring the story alive was another story. “I went through an arduous casting process,” said Vetere. But with recommendations and a lot of luck, Vetere eventually landed on two up-and coming actresses, Alisa Mironova and Isabel Renner.

Actresses (left to right) Isabel Renner and Alisa Mironova adjust their stage positions during rehearsals

Both women got their starts in acting at a very young age. “I always wanted to express myself,” said Mironova. “I wanted to find myself through characters.” Growing up shy as a child, for Renner, acting was an escape. “Acting was the one place I felt comfortable expressing myself,” she said.

The two women first met at the beginning of rehearsals a few months prior, but that didn’t stop them from becoming fast friends. “I love our dynamic,” said Mironova.

As the debut show is fast approaching, everything is down to the wire. “We have a custom-made dress coming in from Portugal,” said Vetere. “It should have arrived last Friday!”

Excitement and nerves creep through the cast, but after all the work involved, they look forward to bringing the message of the play alive. “Hate can never extinguish love,” said Chala.   

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing