Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Queens Library Event: June 11 at 2:30 p.m.

Another month, another Forgotten Borough event! This time, we're heading into Jamaica, Queens, this Saturday, June 11 for a reading at the Queens Central Library, starting at 2:30 p.m. The library is located at 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, and the event will take place in the auditorium.


Entry to this event is FREE, and you can get to the library via the F train to 169th street. A number of buses also travel to the nearby 165th Street bus terminal. Visit queenslibrary.org for more info.

Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Forgotten Borough in Philadelphia on May 21!

We're taking Forgotten Borough on the road to Philadelphia! (Well, technically, I live here now, but it's still a two-hour trip from Queens!) If you're in the area, come to our special event at Robin's Books and Moonstone Arts Center on Saturday, May 21 at 4 p.m. for readings by RON HOGAN, BUZZ POOLE, and editor NICOLE STEINBERG!

By the way, this event is FREE! Robin's Books and Moonstone Arts Center is located at 110A S. 13th Street in Center City, Philadelphia. For more information about the event and our readers, visit our Facebook event page.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Queens College Event Photos

Thanks to all who came out for our Queens College event in the Godwin-Ternbach Museum of Klapper Hall this past Tuesday night—above is the lovely museum space where we held the reading. All of our readers were fabulous and it was great to meet and greet lots of new people, especially the Queens College students who stuck around after class!

HUGE thanks, once again, to Nicole Cooley and the Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, as well as the Queens College communications department, for helping to put this special event together and doing such an incredible job of spreading the word.

Check out some photos of Tuesday's readers, all of whom contributed their work to Forgotten Borough, and who either teach at Queens College now or have in past years: Rigoberto González, Nicole Cooley, Jocelyn Lieu, Roger Sedarat, and Jayanti Tamm.

Rigoberto González

Nicole Cooley

Jocelyn Lieu

Roger Sedarat

Jayanti Tamm

Monday, May 2, 2011

Queens College Event: Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.!

Don't forget that our big Queens College event takes place TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 3 at 6 p.m.! The reading has been featured all over NYC media, including the Daily News, Queens Chronicle, and TimesLedger! It's a CAN'T MISS event!

Head to the Godwin-Ternbach Museum on the fourth floor of Klapper Hall and enjoy a FREE evening of readings from Forgotten Borough, featuring the following contributors, all current or former instructors at Queens College:


The readings will be followed by a free reception and copies of the anthology will be available for sale. Check out the Facebook page for more information and to RSVP, and visit the QC Web site for directions.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Queens: The New Queen of Media!

Two more press links today, in anticipation of our big Queens College event this Tuesday, May 3, happening at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum in Klapper Hall.

Queens Chronicle piece by Anna Gustafson

TimesLedger piece by Kori Tuitt

From the Queens Chronicle piece:

The reading is a reminder that Queens is a contender in the literary world, writers said. An increasing number of authors are choosing to reside in Queens, and there are an increasing number of literary readings, in a variety of languages, especially in places like Jackson Heights, Sunnyside and Astoria. And, as [Nicole] Steinberg and [Nicole] Cooley point out, it’s hard to beat this borough when it comes to diversity in what sustains authors — food and, more importantly, language.

Thanks so much to Anna and Kori for this great press!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Putting in a word for Queens

Superb press coverage for Forgotten Borough! The New York Daily News has a feature on the book today, in anticipation of our big May 3 event at Queens College, with insight from two of Tuesday's readers: Nicole Cooley and Jayanti Tamm.

Among the authors scheduled to attend are poetry Prof. Nicole Cooley. She moved to Astoria in 1999 from Pennsylvania, where she had been teaching at Bucknell University.

"I loved just wandering the streets," said Cooley, 44, who often explored the area around Ditmars Blvd. and 21st Ave.

Also included is a piece by Queens College graduate and visiting professor Jayanti Tamm, who grew up as a follower of religious leader Sri Chinmoy in Jamaica.

She has since left what she views as a "cult." Her passage notes alleged sexual abuse by Chinmoy of her fellow followers.

"Queens is really this silent borough in terms of art," said Tamm, 40. "While Queens has been overlooked, there is this treasure-trove of artistic talent."

Check out the article at the Daily News Web site! Big thanks to Nicholas Hirshon for writing the piece.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Dig the above image from Alamedainfo.com. That site has all sorts of images dating back to the 1964–65 World's Fair in Flushing, Queens. As anyone who's passed through Queens probably knows, some of those structures still stand today, most notably the Unisphere and the observatory towers, famously known as the secret spaceships in Men in Black. A friend of mine just got a tattoo of those towers, which I love.

If you have a moment, you should check out the Wikipedia entry on the World's Fair. The history is fascinating, not to mention all of the attractions of the fair itself. I think my favorite is General Electric's "Progressland."

In other news, a very big thanks to Red Weather Review for their recent write-up of Forgotten Borough, which includes a rumination on all those Queens writers who don't stick around their hometown:

The secret about the huge slab of New York City called Queens is that many of our country’s most gifted writers have lived there. Yes, I use the past tense. With Manhattan so close–and with other glitzy places (not to mention teaching and other posts) beckoning from across the country–Queens-born writers often leave. But before they do they are immersed in humanity in a way that is still rare elsewhere. With a population of immigrants from throughout the world, the borough provides an extraordinary window on our country’s multicultural future.

Click here to read the review in its entirety!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Queens College Event: Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m.!

Next month, we have another exciting Forgotten Borough event in store, this time at Queens College in heart of Flushing! The amazing staff of QC's MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation is sponsoring this celebratory event in Godwin-Ternbach Museum on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. Current and past faculty from Queens College will read from their selections in Forgotten Borough, and the reading will be followed by a reception and book sales.

This event will feature the following contributors:


Plus, did I mention that the entire event is FREE to the public?

RSVP and get more info by checking out our Facebook event page!

And a huge thanks to Nicole Cooley, Maria Terrone, and everyone else from Queens College for making this event possible!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where Passion Lives Indoors

Forgotten Borough contributor Irina Reyn has a great interview up on the Words Without Borders Web site: "The City and the Writer: In Queens with Irina Reyn." As a Queens native, Irina gives great insights here into what makes the borough such a rich hotbed of culture and diversity, and what it's like to live there.

Some wonderful excerpts:

Few people see the beauty in Queens. Unlike Brooklyn, much of Queens does not offer the same picture-perfect brownstone charm. Visitors always seem surprised to find themselves in the Hunters Point historic district in Long Island City or the stately, suburban charm of Forest Hills Gardens or the twinkling bustle of Jackson Heights on a Saturday night. I like it this way—the way Queens lowers expectations. Its many discoveries seem so much more satisfying that way.

In my Queens, passion lives indoors—around the dinner table, in malls and movie theaters and restaurants. Inside delicious, inexpensive beers and carafes of wine. It thrives on human contact. Queens can be a terrible place for solitude.

Read the entire interview at the Words Without Borders site—and thanks for the book plug, Irina! Speaking of...

Order your copy of Forgotten Borough @ SUNY Press, Amazon, or other book retailers.

Above: "Aerial Views of Forest Hills & Rego Park from Howard Apartments, 99-32 66th Rd, Forest Hills, NY" by Rego-Forest Preservation Council on flickr

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Belated but Heartfelt Thank You!

Hello, all—I know it's been a spell since I updated this blog. Hoping to get back on the horse with more news and updates about Forgotten Borough, seeing as how we have more events planned throughout the spring!

A belated but warm, appreciative THANK YOU to everyone who made it out to our official launch party last month, especially our divine readers for the evening: Marcy Dermansky, Arthur Nersesian, and Susan Y. Chi, who was kind enough to fill in at the last minute. It was also great to see (and, in some cases, finally meet!) so many contributors from the book. Some wonderful faces included Jayanti Tamm, Ron Hogan, Buzz Poole, Juanita Torrence-Thompson, Marissa Walsh, and our excellent cover artist, Sheryl Yvette, aka *bitch cakes*! The best part of the event, perhaps, was seeing so many unfamiliar faces—a big thanks to all who spread the word and gave us such a big and lovely crowd!

The above photo was taken at the party by Sheryl Yvette—whose flickr should you should definitely check out if you haven't already, as she's an amazing photog. Below is the book beside the bike that appears on the cover—Sheryl's bike! The most famous bike in Queens.

More updates to come soon! Stay tuned!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Release Party TONIGHT at LIC Bar, 6pm!

Tonight's the night! Come on out to beautiful Long Island City, Queens and meet us at 6pm at LIC Bar to celebrate the release of Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens!

Books will be available for sale and for signing, and we'll have fabulous readings from contributors SUSAN Y. CHI, MARCY DERMANSKY, and ARTHUR NERSESIAN.* And it's all FREE!

Click here for more info and to RSVP! Then take a trip on the 7 train and join us as we celebrate our collective Queens pride. Hope to see you there!

*Note: Contrary to the flyer, Nicole Cooley will no longer be reading at the event. Oh, to have Photoshop on my netbook.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forgotten Borough in The Q Note!

Forgotten Borough is the subject of today's installment of The Q Note, with a fantastic write-up from editorial director Alia Akkam and quotes from yours truly.

From the article:

"Revelations and frustrations" are what prompted Steinberg to curate an anthology featuring over 20 short pieces from writers with deep connections to the borough: "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to do something that shows Queens is more than Shea Stadium and all-you-can-eat Indian buffets?' [... Because there are so many different communities and cultures and backgrounds represented in Queens' population, I knew that there had to be a slew of engaging stories to go with them." Yes, there certainly are.

Click here to read the article!

Thanks so much to Alia Akkam and The Q Note for the support!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gothamist, TONY & Tacos

Today's round-up of Forgotten Borough mentions includes Gothamist's February 21 GothamList, where Saturday's release party makes the list of note-worthy events.

Also, check out our mention in Time Out New York's Books section!

And, can't resist including this: Sunnyside's El Vagabundo taco truck got a mention in the Chicago Tribune's new "must-hit eateries" list! Click here to see the article. (El Vagabundo is #19 in the slide show.) As a former Sunnyside resident who lived a block away from that truck and ate there frequently, I must say I'm extremely proud.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Forgotten Borough in the Queens Chronicle

Forgotten Borough is featured in the Queens Chronicle this week, in an article written by Elizabeth Daley. From the text:

Unlike many theme-centered anthologies, which may grow repetitive or feel forced, Steinberg’s selections are entertaining and varied enough so that there truly is something for everyone—even for the Queens novice.

"I tapped people from different backgrounds and parts of Queens," Steinberg said regarding her selection process. "I thought I would end up getting a well rounded book and that ended up happening. That faith served me well in the end."

Click here to read the entire article, which also discusses the book release party this upcoming Saturday, February 26. Big thanks to Elizabeth Daley and the Queens Chronicle for the kind words!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The City Would Speak

Not the city's center but its edges—Sunnyside Yards where
the train finally rises from the tunnel where ice clots
on grass scattered with trash.

The city would speak but it is currently preoccupied with
     its own defense.

—from Nicole Cooley's poem "For Joseph Crowley, 7th District, New York, Bronx and Queens" in Forgotten Borough, out now from SUNY Press

Nicole Cooley will be one of the featured readers at the official Forgotten Borough book release party on Saturday, 2/26! Click here for more details and to RSVP!

Order your copy of Forgotten Borough @ SUNY Press, Amazon, or other book retailers.

Above: "Sunnyside Yard, 12/19/09" by Wolfsburg RS on flickr

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Diversity of Queens

Thanks to contributor Marissa Walsh for the heads-up on this: The New York Times has published a highly detailed map on the growing ethnic and cultural diversity of New York City—and Queens, of course, rates extremely high on this scale! Forest Hills, Corona, and Fresh Meadows are all noted for their respective immigrant populations, and don't forget Queens Village, the most diverse neighborhood in all of NYC.

From the article: In a month or so, the 2010 census will most likely confirm a record high in the city’s foreign-born population. American Community Survey data released last month revealed a striking metamorphosis during the last decade. Traditional ethnic enclaves sprawled amoeba-like into adjacent communities. Once monolithic tracts of white and black and native-born residents have become bespeckled with newcomers.

Click here to check out the map!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forgotten Borough Book Release Party: 2/26/11 at LIC Bar!

Thanks to all who came out to the Forgotten Borough AWP event and who stopped by the SUNY Press table—and especially to those who bought copies! Such a blast!

Forgotten Borough is officially available for sale from SUNY Press and looks FANTASTIC, if I do say so myself. Order your copy from SUNY today and support a wonderful nonprofit publisher!

If you'll be in the NYC area on Saturday, February 26, we'll be celebrating the release of the book at LIC Bar from 6 to 8 p.m.! Books will be for sale, courtesy of Mobile Libris, and we'll hear short readings from contributors Nicole Cooley, Marcy Dermansky, and Arthur Nersesian!

Click here for more details and to RSVP on Facebook!
All are welcome!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Marcy Dermansky on Astoria and writing about Queens

Today's Forgotten Borough plug comes from contributor Marcy Dermansky, who has an interview up on 30th Ave, a new site that celebrates the diversity of 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens, and the stories of the people who live there.

In her interview, Marcy talks about she came to live in Astoria and her Forgotten Borough piece, "Waiting for Big Bird"—the first story she wrote about her current home turf.

[Marcy] moved to Astoria ten years ago.

"I certainly didn't know I'd be here for this long. I came to New York and people said 'move to Queens, it's happening, and it's cheap'. We like it so we've stayed and have moved a couple of times around here. Astoria is very community-oriented. I've almost liked it better since having Nina than beforehand, which you wouldn't necessarily expect. Suddenly I know my neighbors a lot more. I keep meeting mothers with strollers. People are warm and helpful."

Her short story "Waiting for Big Bird" is set in Astoria (specifically in Café Bar on 34th Avenue) and is coming out in a forthcoming anthology called Forgotten Borough – Writers come to terms with Queens. But she says: "That’s the first time I've written about Queens. I think with fiction a lot of times you write about a place after you've left it. I'll probably write more about Queens when I live somewhere else."

Click here to read the rest of Marcy's interview, and check out the other stories of 30th Avenue! Imagine if there were a website for every neighborhood in Queens...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forgotten Borough out this month!

It's February, which means Forgotten Borough is out this month! FB takes the spotlight in this month's SUNY Press newsletter. Check out the blurb below and then order your copy of the book today!

And don't forget to RSVP for our AWP reading at DC's Toledo Lounge this Thursday, February 3! It's the first FB event and a can't-miss one, at that!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AWP Event News Flash: Victor LaValle Joins Us!

Fabulous news, folks: Victor LaValle will now be joining us at our AWP event at Toledo Lounge on Thursday, February 3! It's a can't-miss event if you'll be in DC for the festivities this year!

Our full list of readers now includes Victor LaValle, Robert Lasner, Molly McCloy, Irina Reyn, Margarita Shalina, and Mark Swartz!

Click here for more information and to RSVP!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Buzz Poole on Forgotten Borough

A shout-out to Forgotten Borough comes today from book contributor Buzz Poole, who speaks at his blog about his piece for the book, "To Bridge: The Spaces Between, Behind, and Around Us" and why he loves Queens. Thanks, Buzz!

Check out Buzz's blog entry here!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Forgotten Borough at AWP 2011!

Forgotten Borough makes its debut on February 1 and you can score your own copy, hot off the press, if you're in town for this year's AWP conference in Washington, D.C.

We're celebrating with a reading on Thursday, February 3 at 6 p.m. at Toledo Lounge! Featured readers include ROBERT LASNER, MOLLY MCCLOY, IRINA REYN, MARGARITA SHALINA, and MARK SWARTZ!

Have a beer with us (some nachos, too) and indulge in a taste of Queens, NY! SUNY Press will provide copies of the book for sale and the readers will sign copies!

To learn more about the event and to RSVP, visit our Facebook event page: Forgotten Borough AWP Reading!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Refreshing the Supply

I discovered stewardesses. The airlines put them up in the high-rise condos that lined Queens Boulevard, refreshing the supply daily. Once you cleaned up (and I cleaned up nice), all you had to do was make your way over to the 5 Burros after 11 and ask one if she wanted another margarita. They were perfume-soaked sitting ducks, bored, restless, desperate for someone to listen to them about annoying passengers, heartless pilots, mothers who always phoned too early or too late. Guess who was all ears.

—from Mark Swartz's "Accent Reduction" in the upcoming anthology Forgotten Borough

Pre-order your copy of Forgotten Borough @ SUNY Press, Amazon, or other book retailers.

Above: "Forest Hills Sunset 4/11/09" by beau-dog on flickr

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Full of Secrets

I loved Sunnyside Gardens park, the wooden jungle gym that my father, an engineer, had helped design and build; the tiny two-feet-deep swimming pool; the hidden courtyards of Sunnyside Gardens that seemed full of secrets: mulberry trees dropping sweet, ripe fruit, a hutch of baby bunnies in a neighbor's yard, weeping willows and magnolias and maples. I thought the squat brick houses were beautiful, with the snow collecting in their eaves, and the giant trees arching over the street, their roots cracking up the cement sidewalks.

Still, it wasn't exactly a bucolic idyll.

—from Margo Rabb's "Love and Shame" in the upcoming anthology Forgotten Borough

Pre-order your copy of Forgotten Borough @ SUNY Press, Amazon, or other book retailers.

Above: "Sunnyside Gardens: Common Court in Spring" by Kate Anne on flickr

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SUNY Press 2011 Catalog

The SUNY Press Spring 2011 is now available to peruse online. Click here to read more about Forgotten Borough and other upcoming SUNY titles!

And don't forget to visit SUNY Press on Facebook!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Labor on the Night Shift

Maspeth consists of warehouses, factories, Western Beef Supermarket, New Penn Trucking, Asian Import/Exporters, gas stations advertising diesel, garages, the surprise of nearly forgotten train tracks that still transport freight, junkyard cemeteries encapsulating the vestiges of dead cars, junkyard dogs roaring unexpectedly at fences. It's the workplace of men and women who perform physically demanding labor and retire with back problems and painkiller addictions. A place where black P.O.W./M.I.A. flags still hang proudly below the promise of, "You are not forgotten." The workplace of men and women on work release—convicts. The workplace of newly arrived immigrants with limited skill sets, who have yet to achieve fluency in English. The workplace of labor on the night shift.

—from Margarita Shalina's "The Maspeth Holders" in the upcoming anthology Forgotten Borough

Pre-order your copy of Forgotten Borough @ SUNY Press, Amazon, or other book retailers.

Above: "Moon over Maspeth, Queens" by LuckyRVA on flickr

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Politics of Space

There is a convergence of train lines at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue station in Queens that makes Times Square seem downright tame. It's a place where the politics of space have devolved to anarchy, not violent but jostling. South Asians, Chinese, and Latinos are the majority; their prominence mirrors the world. The E train fills with them, as well as those from the projects of Jamaica and the more suburban settings of Queens that flirt with Long Island, plus the intrepid travelers who have just flown in from JFK, worrying that New York doesn't look like it does in the movies.

—from Buzz Poole's "To Bridge: The Spaces Between, Behind, and Around Us" in the upcoming anthology Forgotten Borough

Pre-order your copy of Forgotten Borough @ SUNY Press, Amazon, or other book retailers.

Above: "Jackson Heights in Three Levels" by lizzard_nyc on flickr

Friday, January 7, 2011

Forgotten Borough in the Queens Tribune

Forgotten Borough is featured in the leisure section of this week's Queens Tribune, in an article by Domenick Rafter. Read about editor Nicole Steinberg's connection to Queens and her process in putting together the book: "An Ode to our 'Forgotten Borough'"

Many thanks to Domenick and the Queens Tribune!

Like the above shot? It's by FB cover artist Sheryl Yvette, aka *Bitch Cakes*, a truly talented photographer. Stay tuned to the FB blog for more Queens photos, as well as news about the book and excerpts.

Above: "Overhead the 7 Train rumbles into the 45th Road Stop" by bitchcakesny on flickr

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Forgotten Borough available for pre-order!

Forgotten Borough is now available for pre-order! Check out any or all of the following book retailers to secure your copy before the book's release from SUNY Press on February 1, 2011!

SUNY Press
St. Mark's Bookshop
Barnes & Noble

Twenty-four contemporary writers reflect on life in New York City's biggest underdog, the "forgotten borough" of Queens.

The stories, poems, and essays in Forgotten Borough offer twenty-four takes on New York City’s biggest underdog: Queens. From the immigrant communities of Forest Hills to the unsung heroes of Maspeth and the bustling crowds of Flushing, Queens is the most diverse county in the United States, but unlike the iconic boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx, it’s neither as well known in other parts of the country nor as well traveled by New Yorkers (at least those who don’t need to take the 7 train to get home). Featuring writers who hail from the borough as well as those who have moved there and have come to call it home, Forgotten Borough uncovers the New York stories that most of us don’t get to hear, tales that reflect not only upon contemporary life in Queens but also its humble history and its evolution to the multicultural community—the community of communities—it is today. Taken together, they offer a vivid, layered portrait of Queens as a microcosm of America, where race, ethnicity, class, and industrial growth all influence our collective past, as well as our present and future.

"Though Queens has been home to many great writers—including the father of American poetry Walt Whitman, Beat pioneer Jack Kerouac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Alan Dugan, two-fisted journalist Jimmy Breslin, singer-songwriter Paul Simon, rap legend LL Cool J, and renowned novelist Mary Gordon—it rarely comes to mind as a breeding ground for major literary talent. Nicole Steinberg's first-rate book should go a long way toward rectifying that situation. A terrific read, it makes a powerful case for this long-overlooked borough as a place of remarkable artistic richness and vitality."
—Kimiko Hahn, author of Toxic Flora: Poems

Edited by Nicole Steinberg

Contributors: Julia Alvarez, Susan Y. Chi, Nicole Cooley, Marcy Dermansky, Jill Eisenstadt, Rigoberto González, Ron Hogan, Marc Landas, Robert Lasner, Victor LaValle, Jocelyn Lieu, Molly McCloy, Arthur Nersesian, Buzz Poole, Margo Rabb, Irina Reyn, Roger Sedarat, Margarita Shalina, Mark Swartz, Jayanti Tamm, Juanita Torrence-Thompson, Marissa Walsh, John Weir

Cover art by Sheryl Yvette, aka *Bitch Cakes*