The first video of a series, looking to bringing awareness to public plazas throughout the city, gives a taste of the different ways Queens residents say “I love you,” just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a nonprofit organization of The Horticultural Society of New York, released the YouTube video “How to Plaza like a New Yorker Tip #1: Say ‘I Love You,’” two days before the Feb. 14 holiday.
In the video, which takes place at Diversity Plaza, officially called 37th Road Plaza, in Jackson Heights and was filmed by P2Films, people are asked how they say “I love you” in languages other than English.
The clip features people speaking in seven out of the 138 languages spoken in Queens. The languages featured are Farsi, Bangla, Hungarian, Italian, Urdu, Basaa and Tibetan.
Almost all the people in the video were just walking by the plaza during the filming and were asked if they would participate in the project.
“Everybody was just on their way, coming and going, and we just tried to stop people and asked if they spoke another language other than English and if they wanted to teach others how to say ‘I love you,’” said Micaela Birmingham of P2Films. “It was just fascinating to stand on one block and have all these voices pass by.”
Although seven languages are featured in the video, filmmakers encountered more than a dozen languages during the two to three hours at the site.
“These days you always have people on the street asking you to do something,” Birmingham added. “I was just so happy that people were generous enough to take a few minutes.”
This “how to” video is the first of a series by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, which will highlight activities that might already be happening at plazas throughout the five boroughs and showcase the neighborhoods surrounding them.
“I love this video,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said. “Queens and especially Jackson Heights is a mix of languages and cultures. This video is a sweet way to showcase our diversity and Diversity Plaza. Hats off to Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.”
The idea of the video series came after the organization noticed that although bigger plazas, such as the one in Times Square, receive a lot of attention, there were smaller plazas in neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that people need to know exist.
“These videos are about getting more people to know about the plazas and understand all the great social capital that exists in and around them,” said Laura Hansen, managing director of the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. “There are a lot of people that know about these plazas, but we really want people beyond that to recognize the vibrancy and importance of the plazas.”