What a wonderful place Corona is!
Reviving the sentiment once shared by the late famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong was the goal of the Queens Museum of Art (QMA), The Louis Armstrong House, and Neighborhood Housing Services of North Queens and Rebuilding Together New York City (RTNYC), who came together on June 5 for a project called “My Neighborhood, My House.”
The groups, who organized a day to celebrate the rich cultural traditions of Corona and East Elmhurst, also unveiled a mural in honor of Armstrong as a statement against the alarming number of foreclosures in that area.
“This has been a notable and collaborative effort,” said Prerana Reddy, director of public events at QMA. “The program wants to support the efforts of the community in the beautification of the neighborhood, we want to honor of diverse heritage and also build a collective memory.”
A lot jazz greats lived in Corona and one of the most endeared was Armstrong, who, with his wife Lucille, lived at 107th Street for more than 20 years until his death. During those years, when Armstrong was not on tour around the world, he played music on his porch and befriended the kids in the neighborhood. His home on 107th Street and 34th Avenue is now a national monument and a museum.
“The unique relationship Louis Armstrong had with his community in Corona adds another level of intimacy and understanding to this project,” said Ricardo Cortes, the artist of the 30 foot long mural along the wall to the new lot, which will house the future Visitor’s Center to The Louis Armstrong House. “I’ve been inspired to create a painting that reflects the international fame and charisma of Louis Armstrong and the love and admiration he received from the community.”
The mural, “Louis Armstrong in Corona and the World,” represents Armstrong’s vibrant life not just as an artist but as a devout resident of Corona. The mural’s visual statement lends a hand to the transformation current residents want to see happen on their block.
“The work we did here with the volunteers today demonstrates what we can do if we came together,” said Melania Fernandez, a homeowner of 20 years on the same block, who helped to spruce up her street. “I am very grateful for all of the efforts that we put in today; I love the mural and we are so happy that The Louis Armstrong House is on our block.”