It has been a messy and tragic 2020.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a glimmer of hope and resiliency, as frontline workers and communities came together to help others during this unprecedented time in our history.
As we say goodbye to 2020, QNS is taking a month-by-month look at a year we will never forget, with photos ranging from scenes of the pandemic to protests throughout the borough and everything in between.
January: A celebration at Neir’s Tavern
Mayor Bill de Blasio raises a glass with Neir’s Tavern owner Loycent Gordon on Jan. 10. The mayor stopped by the historic 190-year-old pub in Woodhaven and announced a deal keeping it in business. Neir’s, located at 87-48 78th St., was nearly forced to close its doors to unaffordable rents and insufficient sales, according to Gordon. The “handshake” agreement was made possible by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, along with de Blasio, Councilman Robert Holden and Assemblyman Mike Miller. (Photo by Dean Moses)
February: Coronavirus fears emerge in Flushing
A Flushing resident on Main Street wears a face mask to protect himself from the novel coronavirus that has caused panic and fear in the community. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, led to cancellations of the festive Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. Following the coronavirus outbreak, many businesses and restaurants in Chinatown, Flushing and Sunset Park suffered. Despite there being no known cases in the city, restaurants and shops in Flushing experienced a 40 percent decline in business, according to Peter Tu, of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. (Photo by Dean Moses)
March: St. Pat’s for All Parade held in Woodside
Before the COVID-19 spread in the second half of the month, a massive crowd celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early on March 2 in Woodside. The annual St. Pat’s for All Parade, which touts “inclusiveness” for all, brought out several city leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Charles Schumer, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney, among others on the city, state and federal levels. (Photo by Dean Moses)
April: A ‘thank you’ to healthcare workers
When COVID-19 hit Queens, hospitals across the borough were overflowing with patients. In appreciation of their tireless efforts to save lives, Jamaica Hospital staff workers received a sweet treat from a local restaurant. At the forefront of the pandemic, healthcare workers were referred to as heroes, as community organizations and volunteers thanked them through deliveries of meal donations, cards and letters.
May: Black Lives Matter protests
Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, nearly a thousand Queens protestors gathered at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights and took to the streets protesting “Black Lives Matter,” calling for an end to injustice. The protest was organized by the People’s Power Assemblies. Queens had joined the nation in a wave of protests after video footage surfaced of Police Officer Derek Chauvin allegedly kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, killing him. (Photo by Angélica Acevedo)
June: Blue Lives Matter demonstrations counter Black Lives Matter protests
While people all over the world were protesting against police brutality demanding both justice and police defunding, hundreds of demonstrators in Middle Village led a march in support of the NYPD. The crowd had gathered in the Juniper Valley Park’s basketball court located on 80th Street and Juniper Boulevard North chanting “Blue Lives Matter.” The exhibition commenced with a fleet of motorcyclists leading those on foot to Juniper Valley Park in the twilight. (Photo by Dean Moses)
July: Hitting the beach
It wasn’t a typical summer season at Rockaway Beach, as city beaches were not open to swimmers on Memorial Day Weekend. However, the best part of summer wasn’t canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as beaches began to open on July 1, welcoming crowds for swimming and sunbathing, at a social distance, of course. (Photo by Dean Moses)
August: The loss of a legend
Former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, a true “trailblazer” for the borough, died on Aug. 16, after battling lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. Shulman was the first woman to be elected as Queens borough president, a position she held for 16 years from 1986 until 2002. During her tenure, dozens of neighborhoods were rezoned, generating development which led to the economic revitalization of downtown Jamaica, Flushing and Long Island City. Shulman had also secured 35,000 additional school seats and the completion of Queens Hospital Center, the largest healthcare provider in the borough.
September: Teachers rally for help
Teachers held a rally outside of Bayside’s Benjamin Cardozo High School on Sept. 17 calling on the DOE to address their staffing needs before the start of the school year, which was set for Sept. 21 after it was delayed from Sept. 10. They were joined by Senator John Liu and Councilman Barry Grodenchik. While staffing was one of their worries, the teachers said they were also concerned about students without tech at home, the Wi-Fi capability at the school and having to share a room with fellow teachers during live instructions due to classroom ventilation. (Photo by William Artuso)
October: A ‘spooktacular’ Halloween
The Vanbrunt family dressed to impress as horror movie all-stars at the socially distanced Halloween celebration for children at the Queens County Farm Museum’s trick-or-treating event on Oct. 31. Parents and their children were transformed into monsters, superheroes and even first responders. In addition to collecting candy, visitors enjoyed exploring a spooky corn maze, hayrides on large tractors, feasting on roasted corn shish kabobs, and taking selfies in a flower garden housing animal-shaped plants and walls overgrown with vivid flowers. (Photo by Dean Moses)
November: Thanksgiving donations
Throughout the pandemic, there were long lines at food pantries throughout Queens, as residents lined up to pick up a bag of groceries. For the Thanksgiving holiday, La Jornada Food Pantry and the Food Bank of NYC donated 4,000 turkeys to Corona residents. Dozens of volunteers handed out bananas, chips, milk and other materials for daily use and special treats for Thanksgiving. The pantry has been working tirelessly to help feed food insecure families suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Dean Moses)
December: A new borough president
Former Councilman Donovan Richards became the first Black man to serve as Queens borough president. Richards was sworn in on Dec. 2 after the results of the November general election for the Queens borough president race were certified by the New York City Board of Elections. Richards beat out Republican challenger Joann Ariola in the election, receiving 518,840 votes to Ariola’s 205,893 votes. The former southeast Queens councilman takes over the office from Sharon Lee, who served as acting borough president since January 2020, when former Borough President Melinda Katz was sworn in as Queens district attorney. (Photo by Mark Hallum)