The Christmas blizzard of 2010 has come and gone, but evidence of it still lingers as the snow and ice
left in its wake still remain. Before our attention shifts to the next storm, I decided to provide a few
images I made shortly after the blizzard hit, documenting life on the streets of Jackson Heights.
The following shots were made in the span of two days.

The streets of Jackson Heights at dusk were bright and colorful due to the holiday decorated trees
that line the sidewalk. It is always nice to see the holiday spirit in full effect. The often busy 37th Ave.
was unusually quiet.

Moving on to some of the less popular streets one can truly feel engulfed by a winter wonderland,
or trapped in a giant snow globe.

Although we were all advised to keep off the snow covered streets, some people, like the taxi cab
above, were determined to drive on. Eventually the spinning wheels caught traction and the car
moved forward. (Probably to get stuck again a block later)

There was a real sense of community in Jackson Heights, as strangers would randomly band
together to help vehicles unable to escape the blizzard's icy grip. When I wasn't shooting, I too
helped a handful of cars out of the snow.

Some individuals, like the taxi above gave up midway through an attempt at parallel parking. For
three days this cab made no attempt to properly park or leave the spot. The bright light on the cab
is from an oncoming truck making its way down the street.


In closing, despite the clean up effort, the overall spirit of the season prevailed and the good in
people was brought to the surface.



Today I present to you a black and white photo of the Croton Dam waterfall. This waterfall is located in the Croton Gorge Park. To make this image I ran into a small problem that in fact helped me solve another problem. Let me explain. First come my small problem, I got lost. Driving around looking for the Croton Dam after plugging in the wrong name in my gps, I was quickly losing daylight. In order to make a good exposure, proper light is needed and mine was quickly setting. Now to explain why my small problem turned out for the best. In order to create the soft, 'flowy', cotton candy water effect you need to use a long exposure. When shooting very long exposures during the day, we sometimes end up with too much light and an overexposed image. To combat this neutral density filter/s can be used. I had none when making this image. Thankfully I got lost, lost some daylight, and was able to take a long exposure shot without having too much light to deal with. This image is about a 20 second exposure. Thankfully I did have my tripod to stabilize the camera and not wind up with a blurry mess.




Motion-Control (Warp Speed Photography)

It is amazing how fast this year has come and almost gone. The older I get the faster each year seems to pass by. I realize more and more that when I recall an event from "a couple days ago" it usually took place weeks ago, and it was "about a month ago" really means several months ago. It wasn't long ago that I had the super come in to install my air conditioner, but just the other day I took it down for the winter. It really is hard to slow down. They say when you snooze you lose, I think that's true.

Now on to the technical-ish part of this post.

For this image I wanted to create motion where none existed before. Unless this was an Ent, this tree for all practical purposes does not move. To contrast the peaceful scenery in Central Park I decided to add a hectic element. In this case speed. When I wanted to add speed, I did not want just a little motion blur, I needed to go big, warp drive speed kind of big.

To create the warp speed motion effect I would first recommend using a good sturdy tripod. I did not use one this time, but I was still able to attain the result I was looking for. The next thing you will want to have on your camera is a zoom lens. All that is left to do is take a picture. The idea is to quickly zoom your lens while pressing the shutter release at the same time. You need to use a slow enough shutter speed to create the warp speed motion effect. If your shutter speed is set fast you will get a very static image. Whether you decide to zoom-in or zoom-out while taking your shot is entirely up to you. The important thing is to experiment and have fun learning at the same time.


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I was not going to let a little rain stop us from going down to Little Italy this year for the San Gennaro Festival. The only day I was able to make it was on the very last day of the festival. As luck would have it, rain was on the forecast. Nothing that an umbrella or a zip lock freezer bag could not handle. So off to the San Gennaro Festival my camera went, and I followed.

After you are done drooling, feel free to click on the image below to be taken to a few more photos of the 2010 San Gennaro Festival, and see a little of what you might have missed.



(P.S. - I tried a deep fried oreo cookie and lived to tell about it.)




Here is a quick post. The long days and one day weekends for the last few weeks have slowed me down a little. But I am back and will be posting a few more pics in the days to come. This photo was not taken in Cuba, but instead was taken in Little Italy earlier this year.




Here is a shot I took while waiting to take the 7 Train into the city one day. I made a few more shots that day but they didn't make the cut. I was trying to get a shot of an approaching train, but without vibration reduction on any of my lenses, this proved to be nearly impossible. If you have ever stood on an elevated train station you know that they move a lot. Even before the train got to the station, I knew that I would have a lot of blur, but I still tried to make a usable image. As a low resolution .jpg file at about 600 pixels wide, they look decent. But being that I have the full resolution file to look at, and am highly critical of my own work, I could not show it off here.

What I do have to share with everyone is a scene I see often. The 7 Train line in Queens. Sometimes I am waiting at 4am for the train on my way to work and other times it is 4am on my way home. One of the best parts of waiting for the 7 Train is getting a view of the New York City skyline. On some days you can be witness to some of the most spectacular sunsets. For the most part, the buildings that line Roosevelt Ave. along the 7 line are only a few stories tall, so as the train travels, you can see all the different rooftops. Some have parabolic antennae, others have HVAC units and fans, and most do have graffiti. One thing you can always count on is for the smells of all the restaurants and street carts and trucks to waft into your nose whetting your appetite. Another detail worth mentioning is the close proximity of LaGuardia Airport to the 7 Train line. I was lucky enough to capture an airplane flying out of frame in the image below.

Wake up your senses and take a ride on the 7 Train. Next time you are on your way to Citifield, do yourself a favor and get off the train in Jackson Heights and spend a few moments on the platform and experience the things I have mentioned for yourself. If you have a little time I encourage you to get down to the street and explore the area by foot.






Recently in Jackson Heights, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, 82nd Street was closed off one block north and south of Roosevelt Ave. The area one block south of Roosevelt Ave. was mainly geared more towards kids and there were giant inflatable castles for kids to jump around in. The one block north of Roosevelt Ave. was where the action was at. In addition to a few vendors the majority of the people in attendance congregated in one of two places. The performance stage that featured live music and cultural dances that took place directly in front of the stage. The second area was further down the block where HPI-Racing was demoing their cars.

HPI-Racing had set up a jumping ramp in the middle of the street and had several gas powered radio controlled cars racing around and hitting the ramp at full speed to catch a lot of air time. As a kid I used to drool over these kinds of cars. As a kid I learned the hard way the difference between a remote controlled car and a radio controlled car. Typically a remote controlled car is exactly what you would think it means... kind of. Yes there is a fast car. And yes, there is a remote control. But in addition what is usually in very small print is the part of the description that says that a the remote and the vehicle are tethered by a wire. Can you imagine the heartbreak a little kid suffers when he finds out that in order to fully enjoy his new toy, he has to run around chasing this little car? In today's day and age we use the term "FAIL".

Eventually I must have been old enough and also properly educated my parents on the difference between remote control and r/c (radio controlled) cars, that I got as a gift for a birthday a battery powered off road r/c car. I could not play with this car enough. I was recharging the battery a few times a day. I would use anything I could get a hold of to build makeshift ramps and obstacles to challenge my r/c car. I would even line up my small Matchbox and Hotwheel cars and drive over them as if my car was either Bigfoot or Grave Digger.

I never did get the chance to upgrade to the big leagues and get a gas powered r/c car. When I saw the guys from HPI-Racing out in the middle of the street jumping their cars off ramps, I was instantly a kid again. It didn't take me long to quickly fill up my memory cards. It was great re-living my childhood for a little while. This was also a good opportunity to shoot fast moving objects. Being that I don't normally shoot moving targets, let alone fast moving targets, this was a good way to hone those skills.

-Enjoy ( Click below to view the full gallery )



When I looked out my bedroom window the other day I saw a massive dark gray wall of a cloud over the buildings off in the distance. Just above the wall of clouds the sky was perfectly clear. The clouds became the horizon that the sun would set behind. It would only be a few minutes after the image below was taken that the sun was completely set behind the clouds and they literally appeared to have a silver lining.

Before I lost the sun to the cloud wall, I ran and got my camera. I instantly knew that I wanted to create a starburst effect with the sun. The starburst effect basically simulates an exploding star, where you can see individual rays of light emitting from the source. The starburst effect creates a dramatic look that can greatly enhance a photograph. Any light source will work. Of course there is always the photoshop solution where the starburst effect can be created using software, but if an effect can be created in-camera, then there is no need to destroy pixels.

To create the starburst effect one must simply stop down. This photo was made at f/16. The same image at a much bigger aperture... let's say f/2.8 would have not created the starburst effect in the sun, but would have instead just been a big ball of light, and not as exciting.





Today I was making prints to give as part of a thank you package and in order to maximize my photo paper real estate, I decided to add a few extra photographs. One of the photos that I decided to add was one I took a few months ago while walking around New York City. I was surprised that I had never uploaded this image of the Flatiron Building to my smugmug or flickr sites (links are above the search bar --->). When I saw the Flatiron Building I knew for a fact that there already existed thousands of other images of the Flatiron Building. To make a unique photo of the Flatiron Building something needed to be different in mine. What I chose to do was make the Flatiron Building my background, and put the focus on a foreground object, in this case the Fifth Avenue Building Clock. When busy walking or driving all over Manhattan's busy streets, I do not usually have time to notice every detail. Luckily on that day I was walking around with no hurry and had time to observe new things. This was the first time I had ever seen the Fifth Avenue Building Clock. A worthy subject on its own. But an even better idea would be to put my focus on the Fifth Avenue Clock and to use the land mark Flatiron Building as a backdrop. Of the over 6000 google search results on "flatiron building" and "fifth avenue building clock" only 30+ results showed up when searching for images.

If you are a New Yorker (or tourist) and/or love photography, take a walk over to the Flatiron Building and take a shot. Feel free to leave a comment or even post a link to your photo.





So... It is no secret that I love food. And you might also have guessed that I have a passion for photography. What better way to mashup two of my interests than to photograph my food. If you know where to look you can find out some of the places I go to eat out at and also see photos I have taken using either my DSLR or even my phone's camera. It has been said that the best camera out there is the one you have with you. One thing I have not been doing is photographing the home cooked meals that I enjoy. What I decided to do was to start photographing my home cooked meals. Generally I eat at home a lot more than outside the home, so I should have a lot to shoot in the coming weeks.

What you see here are stuffed peppers. To keep things interesting both red and green peppers were used. The peppers were stuffed with a mixture of rice, turkey sausage, shredded baked chicken, and a few other goodies for flavor and texture. Everything for the stuffing was cooked separately and then mixed and stuffed into the cut out peppers. The stuffed peppers were then baked in the oven and topped with good mozzarella cheese.

You are going to have to trust me on this one, but they smelled great and tasted just as good! (Thanks to my GF who did most of the cooking and prep work)






This is a post mainly to test out the blogger app for my new Motorola Droid X. I am using swype to compose this mobile blog post. If this works out, I will not be limited to sharing my thoughts and images only when I am home. I will be able to blog my ideas when they are fresh in my mind, and also post pics seconds after taking them. Having an 8 megapixel camera on my phone and the ability to shoot high def 720p video is a huge plus.

Currently, when I post a blog entry, a tweet automatically goes out, then my tweets automatically go out to both facebook and google buzz. And with the fact that anyone can subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog, I am able to reach and affect a wide audience.

I am also trying out a few new things on this blog.now there is an about me section. And to bring things full circle, there is also a link to my tweets.

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As promised in my last blog post (http://enzoem.blogspot.com/.../queens-globe-unisphere.html) the following is a slide show from photographs made in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. If you have trouble viewing the images below, feel free to view them directly here.




This image is from a recent trip to see the site of past World's Fairs that have been held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. I will be uploading a few more in the next few days. But until then, please enjoy the image I made of the famous globe, called the Unisphere.

When someone mentions Queens, we usually think of the NY Mets, the Unisphere, the US Tennis Open, and two major airports. I dare to say that the Unisphere is the most iconic symbol of Queens and I am sure most readers will agree with me on this point.

This image would also look very good larger and hanging on a wall. IMHO.




It's the weekend, and I thought I would keep my writing and your reading to a minimum. I recently took a long train ride of the F to the last stop to visit the world famous Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, NY. Coney Island is also home to the annual hot dog eating contest sponsored by Nathan's Famous. You must have one of their dogs if you visit. My last trip to Coney Island was when I was a child, and this was my first visit as a grown up. If crowds and a ton of people and tourists is not your thing, do what I did and go midday on a weekday.

There were more people walking the boardwalk with cameras than without, so I know that there is no shortage of Coney Island images on the internet. I hope you enjoy mine, featuring the iconic Wonder Wheel and several images capturing the essence of the boardwalk.








Here we have a restaurant with outdoor seating. This outdoor seating area is located in NYC's "The Village" in front of Wogies. Very good buffalo wings can be found here also. This late afternoon day we sat and ate outside. The strangest thing was that out of the five or six tables, only the one pictured below had utensils, a napkin holder, and a bottle of ketchup. Luckily for me I was sitting right next to that table and was able to reach over for some napkins. The ketchup bottle was not needed this time... I only ordered buffalo wings. Had I ordered some fries or a burger, then I would have make quick use of that ketchup bottle.

As far as making this photo, the scene did not benefit from being shown in full color. The only thing that stood out was the red ketchup bottle. Everything else was mainly grayish. Going black and white for me made this photo a lot more interesting. Leaving the red ketchup bottle untouched was part of my original vision when photographing the scene.





Of the many taco trucks lining the majority of Roosevelt Ave. in Queens, the one pictured below is a bit different. I have not tried this one in particular, but I have a strange feeling that like the rest, it is also very tasty. For one thing this taco truck is large, meaning that they can turn out a lot of food, and a huge variety of food as well. Just looking at the vast menu, you know that you are in for a treat. I tend to call these mobile restaurants "taco trucks" but they sell a lot more than just tacos. I recommend you explore one for yourselves and enjoy the experience. The one thing that stood out and drew my attention this this one taco truck were the chairs in front of it. Genius! Line is too long, take a seat and wait. Want to have a sit down dining experience, take a seat. Tired of shopping and just need a quick bite, take a seat. This taco truck gets my approval.





After recently buying two dozen roses to bring home, I decided to make a picture of them before they wilt away.



Dumbo Street

A shot showing one of those emergency Fire/Police boxes. I found this one in DUMBO, Brooklyn with both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges in the background. The image was slightly post processed to give a more surreal effect to the photo. I mainly changed the following: contrast, recovery, fill light, saturation, and exposure. It is important to have fun with photography, and this is a lot closer to what I envisioned when taking this shot than what was in the original RAW file.

Dumbo Street
Originally uploaded by enzoem



Manhattan at Sunset

Here is a photo I recently made on a photography excursion. I had a main subject in mind, actually several, but shooting sunsets and bridges was not it. I was photographing street pianos. The point of this post is to be open to other possibilities and to fully take advantage of what is presented to us. I suppose I can keep this location my own little secret, but that would be mean. Also if you read my last entry I reveal where I was. This was made at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I highly encourage you to go there for a relaxing time. You can picnic, walk, talk, or like the man in the picture below did, just stop for a moment and take it all in.




Play Me I’m yours - Tri-boro Edition

... the follow up to my previous post has finally arrived.

After starting my piano exploration in Jackson Heights, I decided that it was time to further explore some of the other 60+ pianos that "Play me, I'm yours" had to offer. On a side note, it was sad to hear that some of the pianos had been abused and/or vandalized and unplayable. Over the course of two days, I was able to visit and photograph an additional 5 pianos in two boros.

In Manhattan I saw two pianos in Times Square, one in Herald Square, and one in Chelsea Market. Unfortunately I failed to find the pianos located in both Bryant Park and Madison Square Park. This was a lot of walking for one day under the scorching sun, but well worth the efforts. Although I am not a huge fan of all the additional pedestrian areas of Times Square, it was an ideal location for pianos.

Moving on to Herald Square, a man in a USA hat was playing good music. I am not sure if they were together or just a passerby, but a woman also briefly sat at the piano to play a quick tune. The man in the USA hat eventually returned to the piano and continued to play. People were sitting all around the nearby chairs and benches to enjoy his playing.

The final stop in Manhattan was the piano inside Chelsea Market located all the way towards the back closer to 10th Ave. The pianist was accompanied by a violinist. The two seemed to be getting on as they made music with their instruments.

There was still one more piano on my list to be seen. Brooklyn Bridge Park, located in DUMBO and as you might guess, right next to the world famous Brooklyn Bridge. Of the various pianos visited, this was by far the best setting photographically. I am sure some of the pianos located in Central Park were just as scenic, but there is something special about Brooklyn and its bridge. How can you go wrong with a piano in a park, next to the water, close to the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, across the river from the South Street Seaport, and a little further away the Statue of Liberty could be seen? Fuggedaboutit.

By the time you read this, the "Play me, I'm yours" project will be over in New York City. Thankfully it is not over, but will continue to enhance other people's lives in other cities. Having a music background, listening to piano players from all walks of life and as many different styles and skill levels, this was a true joy. Besides the music there was a social aspect to the project. And when I say social I do not mean social networking over the interwebs of the information superhighway. I mean real human interaction. Some interactions were as basic as clapping after a well played piece and the musician replying with an honest "Thank you." Many interactions I also witnessed consisted of someone requesting a specific song or piece to be played and sometimes even played and sang. Random strangers were seen talking to each other, commenting on the the event they were witnessing. I also had significant conversations with total strangers in my own neighborhood. These are people I would never stop and talk to if not for the "Play me, I'm yours" project.

Please feel free to leave me any comments regarding this post, or any photograph seen here. The below image is a collage I made consisting of photographs taken by myself of the various pianos in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.




Play Me I’m Yours - Jackson Heights Edition

Play me I’m yours.

Please see link above for full details of this art project. In short, there are currently over 60 pianos all over New York City that are free for the public to play. I happen to be lucky enough to live a few blocks from one of the "Play me I'm yours" pianos.

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A few nights ago during an early evening walk I noticed music, but not the typical music that can be heard blasting out of cars in the neighborhood, this was classical music. After walking a little further I saw a small crowd gathered around a piano next to the Post Office. We instantly realized this was the music/art project we had recently heard about but had no idea it had begun or the fact that there was a free street piano in Jackson Heights. After returning home from our walk we could not get to our computers fast enough to do a little research on the street pianos that we came to find out were part of "Play me I'm yours."

The following day we ventured out to see the local piano but things did not go as planned. A blue tarp was covering the piano with a sign saying that it was temporarily out of order. We were hoping that it would be repaired soon. It was. After dinner we decided to see what the status of the piano was. I could not see the piano as I walked closer and closer on 37th Ave., but seeing the gathered crowd was enough to tell me that there would be music to listen to.

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Quite a crowd had gathered and the older gentleman who played was a hit. Everyone standing around the piano was thoroughly enjoying the music. As you can see from the photo above, some people were making recordings of the impromptu mini-concertos on their cell phones and others like myself were photographing the event. It was refreshing to watch and listen to this older man play music and enjoy life.

play-me-I'm yours-jackson-heights-piano-queens-William-Gati-plays

Next up to the keys was a piano player/singer by the name of William Gati. He has been playing at a few different pianos and has also submitted videos of himself to the "Play me I’m yours" website. Since there seemed to be a lack of fellow piano players willing to play that evening, William Gati continued to entertain the crowd.

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Young, old, locals, tourists, and everything in between made up the audience this evening.

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Eventually a mother and daughter took a seat on the piano to play a lovely duet.

To be continued...


Jackson Heights - Farmers Market 2010


I know that I am a little late on spreading the word, but better late than never. To make up for this I have added a few more photographs than I was planning to include in this post. After getting back to town after some personal time off, we were able to continue our regular walks for a healthier lifestyle. I have lost about 20 pounds in the last year so I know the walks are a big part of it. For our Sunday afternoon walk (between World Cup matches) I decided to stop by and see the Farmers Market that comes to Jackson Heights every summer on Sundays. Stopping by the Farmers Market was also beneficial because there were things being sold that we were in great need of. The bunches of parsley and scallions that we picked up were huge and at a great price too. The various stands sold fresh foods of all sorts: veggies, fruits, fish, meats, sweets, and juices. Now you can imagine how hungry this can make a person, so a small snack was in order. For only $1.00 each a pork bun hit the spot... but now what to do about the thirst? One of the stands selling berries was giving out free samples, so I helped myself to a blueberry and a raspberry. Only a few weeks ago we picked a combined total of about 13 pounds of strawberries by hand, so I was not compelled to purchase any that day. The next stand over was selling ciders of a variety of flavors, the raspberry/apple juice was free to sample and it was great. There we bought a small bottle of the cranberry/apple cider which was a much needed thirst quencher.

All images were made with my D200 and my 50mm f/1.4 lens. The harsh midday light was not a problem in making these images because all the vendors had pop up tents shading their products.


One more thing... I did also sample the pumpkin butter spread on a cracker and I will be sure to show up with a little extra cash next week to bring a jar home.



Sunset Behind Trees

"If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset."
-Jiddu Krishnamurti



Manhattanhenge 2010

Today May 30, 2010 is what many people in NYC have named "Manhattanhenge" as a way of saying, this is our version of the famous English Stonehenge. I must first clarify that the date is not set in stone, it changes from year to year, but it actually happens twice a year. Manhattanhenge is when the sun can be seen to set directly in the middle of New York City's East-West cross-streets. This event is similar to the solstice but a bit different... since NYC is not aligned due north but actually a few degrees off, the dates change from year to year. The final result is Manhattanhenge. There is more. Not only does the sun set twice a year in direct alignment with NYC's cross-streets, but twice a year the sunrise also aligns itself in a similar manner.

For a few years now I have been aware of Manhattanhenge but somehow always managed to miss it for some reason or another. This year I was ready. I was not going to miss seeing (and shooting) Manhattanhenge. Nothing was going to stop me. And nothing did. I arrived early and found the perfect spot to stand on Park Ave. and 33rd Street. First there was just one other photographer and myself. This was the best spot I could have been in. I had originally chosen a different cross-street to shoot, but the little voice in my head said "keep going, look a little more", and I did. As the minutes ticked away (I forgot my watch at home, so no real audible ticks) more and more photographers arrived for the big moment.

Manhattanhenge was upon us and for a few minutes the sounds of shutters being released filled the air creating photographic chamber music. My instincts took over then my mind then my instincts I was two photographers yet I was one. I was living in the moment and witnessing an amazing sight. It is actually possible that I did not breathe for the duration of the shoot. Once the sun had gone out of view I let out a big sigh. This work is truly exhausting but very rewarding once you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and show the world.


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Jackson Heights Theater

After moving to Jackson Heights it was not long till we discovered the local Jackson Heights movie theater. This is not one of those modern multiplex 14 screen set ups. This movie theater is special. For one thing it was very old. I do not recall the exact age, my girlfriend is the one that remembers all the small details after scouring the google for every tidbit of information available. I am sure it was one of those places we have all seen in old black and white movies where everyone in the audience is dressed up and wearing suits and hats. (The Jackson Heights Theater opened in 1924) One thing I did love about the Jackson Heights movie theater is the fact that it has stadium seating, which is great when a tall guy with a big head decides to sit in front of you blocking your view.

After going to see a movie (tickets were only $5.00 USD with spanish subtitles) I decided to go back one day and bring my camera to shoot some photos of the interior of the movie theater. That did not work out so well. The front door was locked and chained and a posted sign read "For Rent". We were hoping that this was just a temporary closure and that the theater would re-open again in the near future. (now tickets are $10.00)

Thanks to the wonderful internets I was pleased to read that the Jackson Heights movie theater was set to open up again as a fully functioning theater. I plan to go see Kites in the next few days.

Below is a photo of the marquee.




The Green Agenda for Jackson Heights

This past Saturday in Jackson Heights' Travers Park the Jackson Heights Beautification Group revealed and spoke about the "The Green Agenda for Jackson Heights". Refreshments were served and a wide range of community members of all ages took the mic and spoke about the group's vision and efforts. I arrived at Travers Park a little late, but I knew I was at the right place when I saw a large green "Jackson Heights Beautification Group" banner hanging off a fence with a large crowd already gathered. I found out about the Jackson Heights Beautification Group thanks to a tweet by @JacksonHtsLife

For more information go to www.jhbg.org or thegreenagenda.webs.com

The following are photographs I made during the event:


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