Why leave Jackson Heights when there is so much going on?
This sentiment, shared by many local residents, became the catalyst for the first-ever “June in Jackson Heights” initiative, announced on Tuesday, June 1 and focused on encouraging local residents and visitors to participate and patronize businesses, restaurants and cultural centers in this vibrant and multi-ethnic neighborhood.
“The broad range of arts and culture we have here [Jackson Heights] has made this a unique neighborhood in which to live, work, eat, and shop,” said New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “June in Jackson Heights is also wonderful example of how arts and culture can be a driving force for economic development.”
An array of events have been planned and to kickoff June in Jackson Heights an opening reception for “Illumination” by Laura Fayer and Sandra Mack-Valencia will take place on Friday, June 4, at Espresso 77, located at 35-57 77th Street.
“The reason I opened my coffee shop, Espresso 77 here is because I love this neighborhood and because as an artist myself, I wanted to give other artists an opportunity to showcase their work in my shop,” said Afzal Hossein, a Jackson Heights resident, architect, and small business owner.
On June 12, readings by Asian American voices of Jackson Heights will be held as part of the Asian American Writers Workshop at The Jackson Diner, a landmark Indian restaurant on 74th Street. It is part of the Queens Art Express, a program of the Queens Council on the Arts.
At the 37th Avenue Art Gallery, local merchants will host works by local artists from June 10 through June 30 and on June 16, Queens Media Arts Development (QMAD) invites the public to BABEL, an exhibition held at Space 37, that explores the relationship of language and the visual arts.
As part of the month long program, organizers have also invited restaurant owners to take part in Jackson Heights Restaurant Week, from Sunday, June 20 through Saturday, June 26.
“June in Jackson Heights is a great way for artists and businesses to work together to strengthen our community,” said Consuelo Quintero, owner of Natives restaurant on Northern Boulevard and 82nd Street. “By working together in support of each other we build better businesses and more opportunities for artists of all kinds to have their work seen.”
The event organizers have created a website, www.juneinjacksonheights.com, containing a list of all the June activities, as well as restaurants participating in Jackson Heights Restaurant Week.