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Local students win Congressional art contest

Congresswoman Grace Meng recently announced this year’s winners of the annual Congressional District Art contest.

The competition consisted of entries from high school students in Queens, and is part of “An Artistic Discovery,” the national art contest held annually by the House of Representatives.

The contest displays the artwork of all Congressional District Art contest winners from across the nation.

Natalie Niselson, a freshman at Bayside High School, was selected as the winner of the Meng’s contest, for her original artwork, entitled “Brainwashed.”

Meng said that her winning piece, along with the winning artwork from Congressional Districts’ contests throughout the U.S., will be displayed for a year in the halls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Meng announced Niselson as the winner during a reception she recently hosted for students and their families.
The reception was held at the Elmhurst branch of the Queens Public Library in its second floor reading room, where all the submitted artwork was on display during the event.

Other finalists in the contest were recognized at the reception, including second place winner Angela Lin, a 10th grader from Rego Park for her artwork, “Returning to Normalcy,” and third place winner Siya Gupta, an 11th grader from Rego Park for her artwork, “New York Under the Light.”

Their artwork will be displayed for one year in Meng’s Flushing office.

“Each year, I love seeing such beautiful, creative, and inspiring work that our young artists create, and this year was no exception. I look forward to Natalie’s winning piece representing our congressional district in Washington, D.C. and I am proud to highlight her exceptional talent,” Meng said. “I also thank Elmhurst Library for providing a wonderful space for the reception and exhibition. As we continue to move past the COVID-19 pandemic, I am glad that we can continue to hold this competition, and spotlight the tremendous creativity of our young people.”

All students who entered were presented with certificates of Congressional recognition.

The contests’ entries included different styles of paintings, collages, drawings, and prints. The finalists were decided by a panel at Flushing Town Hall.

The Artistic Discovery contest was launched in 1982 for members of Congress to highlight the artistic work of high school students from around the nation.

Since it began, more than 650,000 high school students from throughout the United States have participated in the competition.

Four local scouts earn Eagle rank

Four young men from Troop 45 of Woodside have recently joined the four percent of Boy Scouts in the U.S. to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

Massimo Accardo, Eamonn Dobey, Aidan Haran, and Oisin Haran — all natives of Maspeth and Middle Village — have climbed the necessary ranks throughout their scouting careers to achieve this ranking.

Prior to planning their Eagle Scout projects, all of which serve local communities, they earned six rank advancements and a minimum of 21 merit badges.

The scouts were also responsible for finding, planning, and coordinating the entirety of their projects, as well as raising funds and purchasing all supplies needed.

Accardo and the troop worked to revamp some dilapidated conditions in Forest Park, Queens.

 

Accardo and Dobey devoted their projects to the upkeep and preservation of Forest Park.

Accardo, who’s been involved with the Boy Scouts for 12 years, got the idea for his project by reaching out to NYC Councilman Robert Holden, who referred him to Joseph Block, who is responsible for managing and overseeing the operations, inspections, and maintenance of Forest Park.

During a tour of the park, Accardo decided to work on an overpass on Myrtle Avenue which cuts through the park that hadn’t had any work done on it for nearly 10 years.

“If you look at my before pictures, there was foundation exposed, a lot of mold and rusting, and concrete that was crumbling. There was also a lot of dirt on the sides of the manmade trails that were not safe and very steep,” he said. “So our plan was to resurface the surface itself.”

 

Accardo and other members of the troop took ample time to scrape off old paint and mold, test for lead, and repaint the surface of the overpass.

They also added cribbing to the neighboring man made walking trail, which involves wooden planks embedded in the ground to use as steps for safer navigation.

Accardo said that this was the troop’s first project during the pandemic, which caused a lot of challenges, including mask mandates and social distancing. However, he is proud of the end result.

“We decided to resurface the entire wall itself, so both sides of the overpass had contrasting colors,” he explained.

“It made it not just look like a project, but like a detailed job, which is what I’m really proud of because it looked professional.”

Dobey took inspiration for his project in a similar fashion, and decided to restore a dilapidated trail in Forest Park.

He said that the path was hazardous for park goers, and was full of potholes, cracks, raised concrete, overgrown thorn bushes, and litter.

He added that the steps that lead to the trail were completely unsafe, with missing parts and slabs that had come off the foundation.

“We repaved all the slabs and filled in the cracks by recementing the whole thing,” he said. “For the trail, we cut back the overgrown bush, shoveled out the soil and added wood chips and mulch, and picked up the garbage that made it unusable.”

Dobey takes pride in the finished product, and said that the project aligns with the overall mission of the Boy Scouts because it focused on cleaning up the community and making it a pleasant place for people to enjoy.

Haran dedicated his project to making repairs to St. Mel’s in Flushing.

Oisin Haran also kept his project local by helping St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Flushing prepare for the school year.

“The project was to repaint the outside fence into the playground, paint the vents on the lockers inside the classrooms, build a new wooden fence to surround the garbage area, and modify the iron railing leading down to the basement to make it safer for children,” he said.

He explained that the outside gate was rusted and needed to be repainted, as well as the bike racks that were damaged by being hit by a car at one point.

He feared that the schoolchildren could get injured as a result of these conditions, which is what inspired him to take on the project.

Haran feels immense gratitude for his fellow scouts and troop leaders including Scoutmaster TJ Kerins, COR Fred Coltrinari, and Anthony Chorzepa, who is a retired carpenter.

His twin brother, Aidan Haran, ventured out into Bonitas Youth Service in the East Village for his project, which he completed in November 2021.

Bonitas Youth Services is a student hostel that houses young people from around the world, and Haran discovered that its backyard needed intense restoration.

“The yard was all old bluestone set in dirt, which was uneven. There was also a lot of garbage that needed to be cleaned up,” he said.

“The project included digging up the old backyard, putting in poppies and a drywall for drainage, making raised flower beds, and leveling the backyard to place new patio blocks that made it safe to walk on and suitable to hold events,” he continued.

In fact, the new patio blocks that were put into the yard came via a job in the city, from Martha Stewart’s roof.

Haran made extensive renovations to the backyard of Bonitas Youth Service, which houses young people from all over the world.

To honor the heritage of Father Patrick Moloney, an Irish priest who resides there, Haran arranged for the patio blocks to be engraved with symbols like St. Brigid’s Cross and the ichthys symbol.

To honor their hard work, the four scouts will be recognized during their Eagle Court of Honor on June 17.

Accardo is excited to finally partake in his ceremony, and says that they are “long overdue” as a result of delays from the pandemic.

“An Eagle is made through their actions in their leadership, depending on what they can do to a group and with a group. As for accomplishing it itself, a big part of it is attributed to the leaders,” he said.

“They put in a lot of time, effort, and volunteer hours, and they’ve been like parents to us. They’ve had to deal with a lot of crap from kids who are just stubborn a lot of time, and it takes a lot of patience,” he continued. “So a big part of it is to respect those who have done so much for us.”

Flushing hosts inaugural Memorial Day observance

By Juan Arturo Trillo

[email protected]

At Kissena Park in Flushing, a group of veterans, families, community leaders, and elected officials joined together on Friday afternoon to honor those whose lives were taken in the line of service. The inaugural Flushing Memorial Day Observance was hosted by City Councilwoman Sandra Ung and co-sponsored by the Kissena Park Civic Association, Holly Civic Association, Fujian Association, and the Youth Orchestra, which provided live music for the ceremony.

The service commenced with the presentation of the national colors, and followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner, and speeches from Flushing’s leaders and politicians. Speakers included Councilwoman Ung, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, and others.

Photo: Emil Cohen

“I know that Memorial Day weekend is often about backyard barbecues and spending time with friends and family,” Ung said. “So, I want to thank everyone who joined us to take time to start the weekend by honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.”

U.S. Rep. Meng added, “As our world becomes full of distractions, it is so important that we still come together to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Afterwards, everyone placed a flower at the foot of the Korean War Memorial.

Thomas Oliva, candidate for Queens Civil Court, asks people to “have a moment of silence, a moment of remembrance as to why and what we’re really celebrating on this three-day weekend.” Three of Oliva’s uncles served in the Korean War.

Johnny Kelly, president of the Kissena Park Civic Association, said that Ung “helped bring our community together and have a moment of silent reflection for the souls of those people who died for us.”

He added that “the real question is—they gave their lives for us—what are we doing for our country?” Kelly said, “if we want this country to move forward, we have to fight, like these people fought. We have to fight for our democracy.”

The observance was attended by the Korean Vietnam War Association of New York, Korean War Veterans Association of Greater New York, and the Queensboro Hill Post of the VFW. Cadets from the Francis Lewis High School JROTC led the Presentation of Colors.

Assemblywoman Rozic said she hopes the inaugural event is the start of a newfound tradition in Flushing.

“As someone who has seen what this community has gone through the last couple of years, it is heartening to see everyone from all walks of life coming together for this Memorial Day in what will hopefully be a tradition for many years to come,” Rozic said.

Flushing hosts first-ever restaurant week

To promote the exceptional food and culture in the downtown area, the Flushing Business Improvement District will host its first-ever Flushing Restaurant Week from Monday, May 23, to May 31.

During the week, fifteen participating restaurants in the community will offer prix-fixe lunch and early dinner menus for two, starting at $20. Participating establishments will serve a variety of different Asian cuisines, including Japanese sushi, Malaysian, Spicy Sichuan Style, North China BBQ style, Taiwanese and more.

Celebrate the fantastic dining experience with this week-long event featuring local restaurants including 1392 Seafood, NOLA Seafood, Dim Sum Garden, Betong, Royal Queen Restaurant, Yoi Sushi, Friendship BBQ, Zhang Liang Spice Hot POt, Gao’s Seafood & Kabob, Liuyishou Hotpot, Daxi, OK Ryan Restaurant, Gan-Hoo BBQ, and Hope To See You.

An additional $5 voucher will also be available at the Flushing BID’s info booth in front of the Flushing Library from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The quantity is limited and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information on the first-ever Flushing Restaurant Week, visit flushingbid.com

NYC Comptroller visits Flushing businesses

Lander connects local business owners to city resources

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander ventured out into the streets of downtown Flushing last week to visit with Asian-owned small businesses.

Lander met with Flushing BID Director Dian Yu to speak with businesses in Downtown Flushing.

Dian Yu, executive director of Flushing’s Business Improvement District, met with Lander, intent on engaging in dialogue with entrepreneurs, learning more about their day-to-day lives, hearing their concerns, and connecting them with the appropriate city resources to best meet their needs.

“Asian American small businesses are such an important part of New York City. Many of them had a hard time during the pandemic; from the very beginning, they were some of the first businesses that were hit,” Lander said.

“But if we’re going to have the recovery that brings the city back and brings people opportunities to start businesses and get them jobs to thrive in New York City, it’s going to run through businesses like this.”

Lander’s first stop was to meet with Robert Cheng, the owner of Golden Shopping Mall on Main Street.

The mall was forced to shut down as the result of a fire, but Cheng renovated his property and brought in new tenants.

Cheng’s chief complaint was the fact that a few of his tenants could not open up their businesses due to delays in getting permits approved and securing fire inspections.

“We have to open,” Cheng said. “My tenant is frustrated.”

“Everyone is ready to go and we’re just waiting,” he continued. “Once the inspection is done, they can finalize and open, because nobody wants to dump money in here to sit here for months.”

Lander supported the various businesses he visited, including Tong Ren Tang, a Chinese herbal shop.

In response, Lander called Laura Kavanagh, the FDNY fire commissioner. She acknowledged that the department is understaffed and facing time-related issues, and said that a multi-point plan to expedite the process has been brought to the attention of Mayor Eric Adams.

“The more that we can tell businesses that we’re hearing them and we’re working on this, the better for everyone,” Kavanagh said. “We want to be a part of the city’s recovery,” she continued. “So even though we’re underwater as many people are, we think the city’s recovery is as much our responsibility as anyone else’s.”

In addition to addressing the needs of businesses in Flushing, Lander also paid visits to business owners who gave back to the community during the height of the pandemic.

Maxi Lau of Maxi’s Noodle was presented with a commendation from Lander for her community service.

He presented Maxi Lau, owner of Maxi’s Noodle on 38th Avenue, and Young Jin Gee, who owns Korean beauty store Aritaum on Union Street, with commendations for their efforts.

Lau opened up her business mid-pandemic, and despite just getting started, she and her father visited local hospitals each week to donate authentic, handmade wontons to healthcare workers.

Gee, who’s been in business for over 20 years, committed herself to handing out PPE to other businesses on Union Street.

“It’s really encouraging. What we need to bring New York City back is the energy of entrepreneurs like the ones we see in Flushing today,” Lander said.
“We have to think about what the city can do to help. There’s so much entrepreneurial creativity, and in some ways it’s just the city getting out of people’s way.”

On the last stop of the tour, Lander spoke with John Park, executive director of Minkwon Center for Community Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving, educating, and organizing low-income Korean, Asian, and immigrant communities since 1984.

They discussed a myriad of topics including the organization’s Hate Free Zone — an initiative to create safe spaces for Asian Americans in downtown Flushing — given the rising number of hate crimes occurring in that community.

“We didn’t think we were really moving the needle with the typical tools: refining or clarifying hate crime legislation, which is important. Even if you have that kind of legislation, and we support it, it’s not a deterrent,” Park said.

Lander met with John Park executive director of Minkwon Center for Community Action to discuss issues impacting the Asian community in Flushing.

“Our approach is that moving the culture is better than moving policy, because what we do recognize is you cannot cannot legislate racism out, or we cannot police racism,” he continued. “These are not the right tools for the problems we’re trying to analyze. The right solution is actually a community-driven initiative.”

Park also brought up the issue of a lack of language accessibility within city resources for those who do not speak English.

Lander said that his office is launching the next phase in its language accessibility work, and trying to figure out how it can partner with other organizations and media to open up the conversation for those who need resources.

“Finding out how the city can help people, where the city is causing problems, or where the city could get out of people’s way is really important,” he said.
“There’s nothing like coming out and meeting people on the ground and hearing what’s working and also what we have to fix — so we can support folks like you and other entrepreneurs that are making Flushing and our whole city the place we love.”

Flushing playwright writes memoir

By Daniel Offner

[email protected]

Growing up in Flushing had a profound impact on Alvin Eng, a local author, playwright, performer, educator, and punk rock raconteur, whose family was one of only a few immigrant Chinese families to move into the community at the time.

His parents were from a different generation. They had an arranged marriage and moved to New York from a different part of the world, during a time when U.S. laws restricted Chinese immigrants from becoming full-fledged U.S. citizens. Here they faced numerous obstacles all while raising five kids and operating a successful hand dry laundry business at 29-10 Union Street.

Eng said he didn’t learn how to speak and write Chinese as a kid, because he was desperate to try and fit in. His first experience with the literary world came unexpectedly when he was just a 17-year-old reporter working for the Flushing High School newspaper.

Thanks to a chance interview with a music pioneer, he quickly found himself deep in the heart of New York City’s burgeoning punk music scene in the ‘70s.

“I was very lucky. David Johansson of the New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter, let me interview him at 17 and that changed my life,” Eng said. “All the misfits at that time went to the punk rock world.”

Known for being rebellious and loud, it was the perfect place for a teenager. Eng was enamored by the culture and began incorporating it into his work.

He began writing plays in the ‘80s, after being invited to a production of David Henry Hwang’s Broadway hit, “M Butterfly,” and once again, his life was forever changed.

It was not long after that when Eng wrote his first stage play, a punk-rap musical entitled, “The Goong Hay Kid,” which he performed at a number of small venues across NYC including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 1994.

His next production was titled, “The Flushing Cycle,” which he went on to perform at Queens Theatre in the Park in 2000 and the Pan-Asian American Theater. His performance, in essence, would form the basis of his forthcoming memoir about his childhood, which is told through a series of spoken-word monologues and poems.

Eng said that he lost his father when he was just 14, which dramatically changed his relationship with his mother. He took care of his mother for a long time, and in 2002, when she died, he decided he would write a little more about her.

His next play, “The Last Emperor of Flushing,” was based on his mother, whose real-life relationship played a tremendous influence on his work. Since 2005, he has performed the play to several crowds all across New York City and other parts of the country.

“I wrote about a lot of issues I faced as an Asian-American,” Eng explains. “But I didn’t want to only write about identity issues.”

In that regard, he went on to write a series of “portrait plays,” which explore and dramatize the parallels between portraiture, history, and power as manifested in the convergence of different disciplines, eras and cultures.

As both a theatrical practitioner and professor, Eng found himself intrigued by the under-chronicled influence China played on Thronton Wilder’s classic production, “Our Town,” which became an unexpected catalyst for his psyche-healing pilgrimage to the City University of Hong Kong.

There, both he and his wife, Wendy Wasdahl, led a Fulbright Specialist devised theater residency to teach Chinese students how to write and perform English language plays in response to Wilder’s theatrical masterwork.

It was thanks to this residency that in 2011, the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, extended an invitation to Eng to come and perform “The Last Emperor of Flushing” memoir monologue in his family’s ancestral Guangdong Province.

His latest work, “Our Laundry, Our Town” is a prose-style memoir of his life, from his childhood in Flushing to his productions on the Downtown Stage and beyond.

“In some ways, my parents’ arranged marriage was the ultimate tragic opera in that I never once saw them dance or engage in any amorous way that went one breath or gesture beyond the bare-bones necessities of running our laundry and our family,” Eng said. “In another sense, theres was an unmitigated immigrant success story in that they both ventured to the other side of the world at a time when our race was legally blocked from becoming U.S. citizens for almost an entire century, and propsered. Against mountains of society, institutional, and legal obstacles, they raised five children and maintained a successful mom-and-pop Chinese hand laundry business for three decades, as well as two homes.”

His book, which explores his parents relationship and growing up in Flushing, Queens, will be released by Fordham University Press on May 17.

Eng said that following the book’s release, he plans to host readings featuring excerpts from the story. The first, he said, will take place at the independent bookseller’s Kew and Willow, located at 81-63 Lefferts Blvd., in Kew Gardens on May 26.

In terms of what comes next, Eng said “we’ll see. I would love to see if a film could be made out of this.”

For now, Eng is busy working on a new performance piece entitled “Here Comes Johnny Yen Again (Or How I Kicked Punk),” The title, which takes its name from character created by William S. Borough’s, explores the impact that opium played on the Chinese Diaspora and the NYC underground punk culture through the dual prisms of the character––immortalized by the Iggy Pop/David Bowie classic “Lust of Life”––and his grandfather’s opium overdose on the streets of Chinatown.

The first workshop performances were performed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while additional performances planned for April were cancelled.

He is also in the early stages of writing a new play, entitled “AARP (Asian American Rock Party) Presents a One-Night Reunion of G.O.D. (Goddess Of Democracy),” which features original new music and is told, chanted, ranted and sung from the perspective of “Goddess of Democracy,” an early ‘90s alt-rock band that performed in the wake of the 1989 Tianmen Square uprising.

To find out more about the author, visit his website alvineng.com.

Chipotle unionizer returns to work

Brenda Garcia, a 31-year-old Chipotle worker from Queens, returned to work last week, just days after she says she was fired for speaking out on the fast food chain’s scheduling practices and speaking with her co-workers about forming a union.

The Flushing resident and single mother of one says she was fired after she called in sick, despite having three sick days to use. In response, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ filed charges under the National Labor Relations Act, accusing Chipotle of firing her for union activity.

Four days later, Garcia returned to work at 136-61 Roosevelt Avenue, with the backing of local Councilmember Sandra Ung.

“This shows that when we speak up we can make a difference,” said Garcia. “Chipotle must respect workers, give us the opportunity to grow and respect our right to organize a union. I’m ready to get my job back and to keep fighting for the shifts and a schedule that I need to survive and to support my son.”

Councilmember Ung added, “I’m delighted to be here to stand alongside Brenda as she returns to work after being unjustly terminated. I thank 32BJ for amplifying Brenda’s story, and for all it continues to do to support the fight for fair working conditions for working-class people.”

In a statement to The Queens Ledger, Chipotle says Garcia was never terminated, but rather requested two weeks off.

“Ms. Garcia was never terminated, however, on April 18, she requested two weeks off,” said Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. “We are pleased that she returned to work exactly two weeks later on May 2.”

Among the provisions of the city’s Fair Workweek Law is that employers must offer more hours and additional shifts to current employees before hiring new help. Last year, the city filed a lawsuit alleging that Chipotle had violated the Fair Workweek Law almost 600,000 times in a two-year span.

Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ, says the union still has a complaint filed against Chipotle alleging anti-union intimidation tactics and for creating an atmosphere of surveillance.

“We are glad in this case that Chipotle made this decision to bring Brenda back,” Bragg said. “But the charge of alleging anti-union intimidation, threats and creating an impression of surveillance remains. This is why workers need a union at Chipotle.”

Flushing Library officially reopens

Having been closed for more than two years, the Queens Public Library Flushing Branch officially reopened its doors to the general public on April 25.

The library, which averages approximately 6,000 visitors per day, is one of the largest and busiest public libraries in the entire country.

Local elected officials including City Councilwoman Sandra Ung, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and Queens Public Library President/CEO Dennis Walcott were in attendance on Monday morning, as the facility officially reopened its doors for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a great day for the Flushing community,” Ung said. “This library is so much more than a place to check out books, it hosts community events for families, provides a safe place for teens to gather after school, and keeps our seniors connected. For the many local residents who have limited English proficiency, the Flushing Library is often where they learn what is going on in their community.”

Ung said that in fact, all of the shelves on the third floor of the library contain materials in languages other than English.

So this branch doesn’t just serve Flushing residents, it’s a resource for the diverse immigrant communities across the borough,” Ung said. “I’m so pleased that it is finally open to the public again.”

The Flushing Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Adult Learning Center also reopened on Monday with classes for the public. The Center will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The library originally closed at the start of the pandemic along with all other QPL branches. The branch temporarily offered to-go service from November 2020 until March 2021, when the city began using the library as a free COVID-19 vaccination site. It quickly became one of the city’s most visited locations.

However, the city was forced to close it in mid-June when the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system failed. The system failure came at approximately the same time as a planned closure of the branch to construct a second elevator. Work on that project started in December.

The second elevator is scheduled for completion in April of 2023, at which point the current elevator will be closed and refurbished. Both elevators should be operational by December of 2023.

In order to reopen the library to the public, QPL officials agreed to complete the bulk of the work on the elevators at night, so the building can be open during the day. The current HVAC system will still heat the building, while a temporary chiller sitting on a trailer along Kissena Avenue will cool the library. A new permanent HVAC system will be installed within the next two years.

The Flushing branch is the busiest library in the nation. Back in 2019, the facility drew 1.7 million visitors, circulated 1 million items, and brought in 184,000 program attendees, who participated in English classes, GED prep courses, job readiness workshops, and a variety of other programs.

Ung previously toured the library last month with Congresswoman Grace Meng, Richards, and Walcott, who assured her the library would be open in April.

I want to thank QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott and his team for keeping their promise and reopening the library before the end of the month,” Ung added. “I’m sure in no time this will again be the busiest library in the country.”

Flushing Library to reopen on April 25

The Queens Public Library Flushing Branch will officially reopen to the public on Monday, April 25, at 10 a.m.

The facility closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, along with other QPL branches and it remained closed while other branches began offering partial in-person and pick-up services.

For a brief period in 2021, it was reopened as a vaccination site, offering more than 200 appointments a day, before problems with the HVAC system caused the facility to shut down entirely.

While a temporary HVAC system was put in place, the branch still remained closed for the construction of a second elevator. The work is still ongoing for now, however, a safety plan has been put in place so the work can proceed while the public resumes visiting the library.

With an average of approximately 6,000 visitors per day, the Flushing branch is one of the largest and busiest public libraries in the entire country.

NYC Councilwoman Sandra Ung said that reopening the library has been a priority for her, even before taking office.

I’m so pleased that we finally have a definite date for the reopening of the Flushing Library,” Ung said. “The library is truly the heart of this community, especially for our large immigrant population. More than just a place to check out books, it is essential to our seniors and families, as well as a place for students to gather after school. Not having this facility in our community for over three years was a real hardship.”

Last month, Ung toured the facility alongside U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott.

The Flushing Library is one of America’s busiest, and getting this branch open again couldn’t be more critical for all those who rely on it,” Richards said on Twitter back in March when the announcement was first made.

Beginning April 25, the Flushing library will be open from Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while Sunday service will be restored at a later date.

Flushing’s Adult Learning Center will also reopen on April 25. The hours will be Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Street Vendors cause congestion for Flushing pedestrians

The rising number of street vendors along Main Street in downtown Flushing is creating congestion for pedestrian travel, making it difficult to navigate the sidewalks.

In an effort to address the proliferation of vendors and other businesses using sidewalk space to sell their wares, New York City Councilwoman Sandra Ung recently invited Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga to visit the area and discuss ways to try and alleviate the issue.

“Vending is a complicated issue and Flushing is one of the areas where we know there is an especially difficult balance to strike between vendors, businesses, and pedestrians,” Mayuga said. “I appreciate Council Member Ung meeting with us and walking through the neighborhood as we work to educate vendors and hear the concerns of all involved.”

During her tour with DCWP officials, last week, Ung stressed the importance of enforcing existing regulations requiring all street vendors to be licensed by the city.

“The goal here is not to be punitive, but rather to ensure that our sidewalks are clear and safe,” Ung said in a statement.

Ung added that she looks forward to working with DCWP to ensure a safe and hygienic experience for shoppers and pedestrians in the downtown business hub.

“I want to thank Commissioner Mayuga for visiting Flushing to walk the streets and see many of the issues local residents have brought to my attention regarding the increasing congestion on our sidewalks,” Ung said. “I appreciate that the Commissioner and the Adams Administration have been responsive and willing partners in addressing this matter.”

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