If you are a writer living in NYC’s borough of Queens, or are from Queens, or have lived in Queens, or have a polished piece of writing — be it fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, book review, or essay — that is in one way or another Queens-esque, (“celebrating a diversity of voices and experiences, especially those often not given space,” from the submission guidelines page) now is the time to submit to Queens’ first literary journal: Newtown Literary.
I’ve written about my Yelp reviewing on this blog before, and now seems like a good time to revisit that topic since one of my favorite New York attractions that I reviewed on Yelp, the graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in LIC, Queens, has been shutdown. I wrote a tribute to it that I would like to repost below but which you can also view here and upvote if you have a Yelp account.
5 Pointz was a triumph in artistic achievement. Not only because many of the artworks on it were mind-bendingly creative, or because of the diversity of styles represented on the canvas of the building, but because it was an art space constantly in flux. A trip to 5 Pointz on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon was an opportunity to see creators at work, and not stuffy tie and jacket drawing room artists whose works make you yawn on your trip to the art museum, but real, unpretentious people making refreshing, alive art. And it wasn’t just cool. It was smart, too. Continue reading
I thought it would be fun this week to post some old stories I had written so I could give them a fresh look and accept any new feedback that came from people who have never read them.
The story for today is from the not-so-distant past, the summer of 2011 when I was brand new to New York and living with two Turkish guys in a one-bedroom in Sunnyside, Queens. It was the first time I tried my hand at writing a flash fiction piece in a surrealist style, which followers of The Midnight Diner will know I’ve continued doing (see: “Playdough for Lunch“).
This story was published last fall in the online lit journal Thirteen Myna Birds.
“Put Down The Scalpel”
The doctor’s sleepy eyes peered at Angela from under heavy wrinkled hoods. He was huffing and puffing. Sweat trickled down the grid on his forehead and the bridge of his nose and around his eyes. Angela watched his hands move to a tray of surgical instruments as she lay on the operating table, just below the doctor’s breath. She raised an eyebrow in concern. She could hear a faint buzzing.
Doctor, why are you sweating? It is cold in this room.
Patient, I am nervous.
Doctor, why would you be nervous? Why are you not calling me by my name?
Patient, I have forgotten the procedure and your name.
Today I don’t have an edifying thought piece for you, a short story, or even a poem. No, this post is a shameless plug for the bedroom opening up in my apartment because my roommate is moving in with his girlfriend.
The rent is $900 in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. All utilities and shared things (toilet paper, hand soap, etc.) included. Pictures and many more details are available at the Craigslist posting I put up this morning.
Apparently that is something that happens when you spend enough time over the course of several months writing reviews about any place you can think to write about. It can be a great outlet to gush about places you love and rage about places you hate. Like all writing, it’s a form of therapy — or at the very least, a release. Continue reading
Things have developed pretty quickly since I posted about my New York Cares volunteering orientation and first project on September 6. It was actually just two weeks ago that I had the orientation, and already I’ve participated in six projects and put in an application to become a volunteer Team Leader (interviewing at NY Cares headquarters on Tuesday after work) so that I can head projects. I’ve decided I’m interested in projects pertaining to seniors. I do like volunteering with kids, but I seem to have a stronger connection to and more skill with seniors.
I’ll summarize the five projects I participated in since the one described on my last post so that people can get an idea of the range of things you can do.
Maintain Gantry Plaza State Park
After a couple years in New York, I’ve somewhat settled into my life here. It took awhile to get there, but recently I realized I was in a place where I was comfortable and my basic needs were met and I was asking myself “OK, so what else is there?” And what else there is, I decided, is other people.
That’s where New York Cares came in. I asked my girlfriend Rachel if she knew of good volunteer organizations to look into, and she (despite not actually having done any volunteering through it yet) recommended New York Cares.
There’s an hour (more like 45 minute) orientation that everyone has to go to in order to sign up for New York Cares projects. I went to the one on Tuesday in their Financial District home office right after work.
The speaker was this pleasant middle aged guy, a bit on the short side, with a hairy face and pleated dress pants a little too baggy in the crotch, who talked about all the great volunteering experiences he has had. I found later on the website’s “honor roll” list that he has volunteered for more than a thousand projects. Just think of that. If each project were only an hour (which is highly unlikely), he’s spent more than 1000 hours of his life devoted to service. That’s more than 41 days’ worth of hours. And if the projects average out to two hours each, that’s 82 days of his life. Continue reading