I, of course, remember our public library. Flushing, where I lived, had the Main Street branch and the smaller McGoldrick branch, conveniently located near the Prospect movie theatre and a Jack-in-the Box burger joint, respectively.
Back when I was a kid in New York, though, being from Queens wasn’t exactly something you bragged about. The shiny, more educated people lived in the city, it seemed, while the rest of us mere mortals, like my mother, who worked in a transistor factory, were out in the boroughs. Our building was at the end of the number 7 line, plus a short ride on the Q 12 bus. I went to school at P.S. 22 on Sanford Avenue, survived JHS 189, and later came back to study and graduate from Queens College.
All to say, the Queens connection runs deep inside me, even though I’ve lived outside of New York for 30 years now. When I think about home, Queens is the first place my heart goes.
I wish I hadn’t believed the snooty hype against Queens when I was a kid. Turns out a lot of folks, who would eventually find their way in the arts, were growing up there, too. Cyndi Lauper, Jerry Seinfeld, LL Cool J, not to mention kidlit icons like Jacqueline Woodson, Mitali Perkins, and my own BFF, R.J. Palacio. Check out for yourself the many famous faces from my old streets, and the tons of books that have been set in the eclectic neighborhoods of Queens, over the years.
I’m doing a free, virtual family event with the library this Wednesday, May 26, 3 – 3:45 PM, EST. You can watch it live on Facebook with your favorite young reader. Details here. We’ll talk about Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away and Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, but I’ll take questions about all my books that mention my beloved borough. Can you name them? I’ll bet there’s one you’ll miss…
Come on down with your questions and your memories from Queens!
Can’t make this one? Don’t forget to check out Meg’s next events.