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Who Is Kevin Walsh &

why is hbubble me!e writing these delectable things about Queens? Although Queens is the largest borough in terms of area, if you walk into a bookstore or library and check out the New York City section, you won’t have an easy time learning about it. Most New York City guidebooks treat Manhattan as the only borough in New York worth mentioning—while Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens are all lumped together as the “outer boroughs”or places that are “further afield.” Both city airports are in Queens… further afield from what?

Queens’ history and its neighborhoods are represented by only a couple of prosaically titled books: Old Queens, New York in Early Photographs, by Vincent Seyfried and William Asedorian, and Discovering Queens! A Useful Guide to Queens, New York, by Steve Reichstein. Ellen Freudenheim has just chimed in with Queens: What To Do In New York’s Undiscovered Borough, a compendium of restaurants, parks, museums and historical tidbits.* The small Arcadia Press also has a few Queens titles featuring old photos, much like the Seyfried/Asedorian tome. Seyfried himself should be a national treasure; now in his eighties, this longtime Queens resident has been compiling borough history and annotating old photographs for years. Reichstein’s book is a disappointment, as it seems mainly to be an advertisement for Queens real estate. While it discusses most neighborhoods, and there are large sections on ritzy Bayside and Douglaston as well as historic Astoria and Jackson Heights, Reichstein ignores Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, and most ofsouthern Queens, too. Glendale, Ridgewood and Maspeth, for example, comprisrock & rotie a huge section that has generated absolutely no media coverage anywhere… except when crime occurs there or, in the case of Ridgewood, when real-estate flacks hype it as the next stop on the M train for Williamsburg and Bushwick refugees who’ve been priced out of Brooklyn. – Kevin Walsh, from New York Calling.

while BZA’s away, Zyczymy Smacnego will play: How many Vietnamese joints are there in Queens? Not very many, which made finding this one on Grand Ave quite a surprise. The Guyanese scene of Richmond Hill & Ozone Park is more teeming, of course, thus a little Liberty Avenue night music. What tunes, melodies, airs, hymns or folksongs might Forgotten New York domo Kevin Walsh share on January 31st at Cooper Union? He might– might– take requests so what the hell, can’t hurt to ask. I don’t think Kevin does ska but… guess who did? One free pair of WWIB suspenders & a Kiss Me I’m BZA! button to the first reader to guess correctly.

* The Publisher notes: Since Kevin’s essay first appeared, Yale U. has brought out Claudia Gryvatz Copquin’s The Neighborhoods of Queens. I’ve not had an opportunity to read it yet but let’s hope it’s a significant improvement on the same press’ highly questionable Brooklyn volume.

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