Queens Writers Resist and the Great Outdoors
Since its inaugural reading, Queens Writers Resist has been happily ensconced at neighborhood bar and live music venue Terraza 7 on Gleane Street in Elmhurst. Last Saturday, QWR ventured into the great outdoors and held an ambitious reading in the open air at Diversity Plaza, a stone's throw away from the Roosevelt Ave/Jackson Heights subway station. This is one of the busiest stations in Queens, with five trains and seven bus lines crossing paths here. Not for nothing is Queens known as the most diverse neighborhood in the world, and nowhere is it more evident than in Diversity Plaza, which recently underwent a multimillion dollar renovation to turn two blocks of 37th Road into a pedestrian friendly public square.
The 7 train rumbling overhead and Saturday street traffic rolling down 74th Street were the least of the challenges in holding what is usually a reflective and intimate event in a venue that is a literal crossroad of cultures. There was also the ice cream truck parked directly opposite the reading space blaring 'Pop goes the weasel' on an endless loop, and honking busses and taxis.
Readers also had to contend with a drunken heckler who stumbled upon the reading who thought it was a forum for the airing of grievances, rowdy commuters, barking dogs and even a tour group doing some urban exploration of Little Manila.
Despite the obstacles, a large and appreciative crowd, including curious shoppers and families eating momos and drinking chai, heard from Queens based writers Abeer Hoque, KC Trommer, Bino Realuyo, Reese Francis, and Goussy Celestin. As is customary, the audience reacted to writing prompts and an open mic concluded the event.
It was noisy, it was messy, and it was slightly chaotic —just like the neighborhood it was held in—but it was the essence of what makes Queens great