The Acrobat Who Flies High in the Sky
by Nancy A. Ruhling
Jan 19, 2018 | 132 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bobby at home in a tree.
Bobby at home in a tree.
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Bars are made for tightrope walking.
Bars are made for tightrope walking.
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Swings remind Bobby of trapezes.
Swings remind Bobby of trapezes.
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“Why walk when you can fly?” Bobby Hedglin-Taylor answers his own question by starting to scale a giant London Plane tree in Ditmars Park. This probably isn’t a good idea. Anything could happen. He could fall. He could reach the top. He wonders, momentarily, whether it’s illegal to climb a park-property tree. It’s too late to worry. He jumps to the top of a park bench so he can grab the lower branches. He looks upward. It’s nice to say hi to the sky, but he’d rather be in motion. Let’s go to the swings! They remind him of the trapeze, his aerial apparatus of choice. But before he gets to them, he climbs to the top of the junglegym’s tree house, hangs upside down from the rings (the metal is freezing cold on his bare hands so he doesn’t stay suspended long) and does a swift tightrope walk across a horizontal bar in his sneakers. “I’m a conspicuous person,” he says. “I’m designed to stick out — I’m a redhead.” He’s stating the obvious, but it’s probably a safe bet that given the series of stunts he executed in his impromptu park performance, Bobby’s hair is not what watchers will remember. About his hair – it’s clown curly and carrot color. His close-cropped cut keeps its playfulness in check. Bobby, a mass of muscle who describes himself as a shy person, is an aerial sequence designer, an up-in-the-air teacher/trainer and sometime performer and actor. He’s also the director of STREB’s trapeze academy. Creative types come to him for help doing everything from making fake nooses for haunted houses and music videos to safely planning stunts, like hanging a little girl upside down from her ankles while she plays the violin. “My favorite call ever went like this: ‘Bobby, we want you to dress as Austin Powers and climb down a 60-foot rope and introduce Sheena Easton,’” he says. “People come to me with the impossible, and I make things happen.” During the summer, he teaches dance, gymnastics and circus arts at the all-girls Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan. Twelve-year-old Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was one of his students. Now, she calls herself Lady Gaga. You’ve seen his aerial work in Broadway’s 2012 revival of “Pippin,” as well as in regional theatre productions. You’ve also seen his teaching at work in a variety of venues. He was, for instance, the tightrope trainer for the 2012 Broadway musical “Chaplin.” As an actor, he has shared the stage with a number of stars, including Lauren Bacall, Bebe Neuwirth, Kathy Lee Gifford and Kirstie Alley. And he was one of 17 acrobats who flew in harnesses 75 feet up to the roof of Madison Square Garden at an astounding 18 feet per second during the 2012 New Year’s Eve performance by the rock band Phish. “When I’m on the trapeze, my body is my paintbrush and the air is my canvas,” he says. “It’s floating, it’s freedom, and it’s reminiscent of my childhood home, where we used to swing on tires tied to trees.” The home he’s referring to was in Marshall’s Creek, Pennsylvania, an isolated area where Bobby and his extended family lived on the top of a hill. “My great-grandfather bought land there,” he says. “And his 19 children and their children all lived there. I was surrounded by relatives. My grandmother lived across the street. We’re Sicilian, so we called it Macaroni Hill.” Bobby’s mother and father worked two jobs. The family grew its own food in the yard, which was populated by ducks, chickens, goats and turkeys. “My older brother and I used to take a salt shaker outside and eat the tomatoes off the vine after school,” he says. “We left the remains on the vine. For the longest time, my mother thought groundhogs were doing it.” The house was filled with music, and Bobby got hooked on musical theater after he saw “West Side Story” on TV. He was three, so he didn’t really understand the plot, but his baby body grooved to the moves. By the time he got to high school, entertainment was uppermost on his mind. He learned ballroom dancing as he started studies at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. “Male dancers were needed for this ballet theater in town,” he says. “I couldn’t dance, but they taught me, and they put me in musicals.” It was a scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy that brought Bobby to New York City. The trapeze was not something Bobby ever considered, but when he had his first lesson – for a stage production that didn’t get off the ground – he never wanted to come down. “It was like a dance in the air,” he says. “And I continued to take lessons on my own.” In addition to his conventional stage work, Bobby performed under big and not-so-big tops for 17 years. “When I’m teaching, I tell my students that ‘the circus is inside you, but you have forgotten it.' You just have to make yourself remember,” he says. This is also something he has said, more than once, to his husband, David Taylor, a former singer/dancer/actor who now is an accountant. “He did try the trapeze one time,” Bobby says, astounded that his partner didn’t want to continue to play in the air. Although injuries have turned the trapeze against him, Bobby has higher goals. “I want to create a Broadway show based on flight,” he says. “Astoria Characters Day: The Second Annual Family Reunion” is September 23. Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at Nruhling@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyruhling and visit astoriacharacters.com.
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Local author discusses new work, “Soular Return”
by Crystal Wolfe
Jan 19, 2018 | 126 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodside resident James Duignam, a health and wellness coach, recently published his new book, “Soular Return: Soulutions for Body, Mind, and Soul.” “I decided to write the book in May 2016 when I was steered in that direction by a number of events, one being attending a conference for writers at Tarcher Perigee,” he said. Likewise, the school were he studied to become a health and wellness coach, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, offered graduates a program called “Launch Your Dream Book,” which helps a person write a book in six months. “I signed up for the program and began writing my book at that time,” he said. “It was good to write about the seminal events that shaped my life, such as overcoming depression and the breakup of a relationship,” he added. “Sharing my experiences with others has assisted in my healing.” In the fall, Duignam held a book-signing event at Project Life Center in Woodside. “Project Life Center supports women and artists and offers different events to the community,” he said. “It was the ideal location for the book launch.” “James Duignam has crafted a marvelous, personal blueprint on how to raise your own self to its highest plane,” said fan Richard Price. “I would greatly recommend using this book to reach your highest physical, spiritual and soulful heights.” “Some people who read the book say they are more aware of their ego and the mechanics of it,” Duignam said. “The ego being the false or separate self, which is the cause of our suffering, whereas the soul is our true self and source of our joy and oneness with all. “The most important thing the reader will glean from the book is to understand the human being from a body, mind and soul perspective, and realize we are a spiritual being having a human experience,” he added. “There is more to us than meets the eye.” Duignam also wrote an ebook in 2013 called “Why Meditation Works: A Glimpse inside Your Mind and Brain.” You can purchase his books on Amazon or his website at jamesduignam.com.
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Queens communities talk officer-civilian relationships
by Meghan Sackman
Jan 19, 2018 | 74 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, the first Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) meeting since the passing of the Right to Know Act took place in Long Island City. Police officers, community members and elected officials sat down to discuss what could be done to improve police-civilian relations. The Right to Know Act, passed late last year, encourages transparency and accountability between members of the NYPD and the public. The law requires a police officer to clearly state his or her name, rank, command and phone number when making a stop. The officer also has to state his reason for the approach. The CCRB divides complaints into four categories: force, abusive authority, discourtesy and offensive language. In 2017, the agency received 769 complaints in Queens. Sixty-two percent were related to abusive authority. Many of these complaints are unsubstantiated without video evidence. Many of the speakers were concerned with the familiarity between police officers and members of public housing developments. “They’ll bring [police] in from the Bronx, Staten Island, people that are not familiar with our communities, and they bring whatever mindset with them,” said Karen Dennis. “So they’re not really connecting. We don’t really know who the officers are in our community, and sometimes that shows up very negatively.” Vanessa Jones spoke about how the local police conducted a planned raid on her housing development, Astoria Houses, on the first day of school. It was described as traumatic for the children who witnessed it. When the community expressed their outrage, the police actually came out and apologized and tried to make amends by organizing a family fun day for the development. “We do have good officers, and even when I mentioned that they came into our community to do that raid, they did make amends to that because we were outraged when they did that,” Jones said. Jones went on to discuss how children see police in uniform getting away with doing things they know is wrong, and how it makes it difficult to look up to or respect them. The community member also offered some concrete solutions. “They just need to be more engaging, they need to get involved with the young people,” Jones said. “Come into the community and sit and chat with them. That would make a big difference.” Other speakers at the meeting were concerned about why this relationship is so shaky in the first place. Jonathan Logan,vice president of the Cambridge Heights Civic Association and member of Community Board 13, expressed his concern that implicit bias is the underlying issue when it comes to police-civilian relations. He spoke about how this was evident at the height of stop-and-frisk, how racial profiling played a part in this issue, and how quotas that are imposed upon police officers are causing harm to innocent people. “Conversations and dialogues that focus around how interactions should be between the public and the police, they’re kind of tuned in on how civilians should act when they are confronted with the police,” he said. “I think that’s somewhat of a reverse narrative, whereby I think that the real focus should be on how the police officers should interact.” Officers from the 108th and 114th precincts were also present at the meeting. Officer Diaz from the 108th Precinct spoke about his relationship with his community that he has been working with for the past 13 years, as well as solutions that should be initiated in areas with these issues. “My experience around the neighborhood, speaking from the 13 years I’ve been here, it’s been good,” the officer said. “More community meetings where the police and the community members of specific neighborhoods where they are having problems should be held, I wholeheartedly agree with that.”
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Chase makes changes at several Queens locations
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Jan 19, 2018 | 76 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A neighborhood Chase Bank branch will soon close. The branch located on 100-26 Queens Boulevard, one of several in the Forest Hills and Rego Park area, is scheduled to close sometime in March. “We continuously review our footprint to make sure we’re setup to best suit our customers’ need and behavior, and we’re consolidating two branches because of redundancy,” said JPMorgan Chase spokesman Erich Timmerman. “The branch on Queens Boulevard was acquired through a previous acquisition and is less than a mile from our branch on Yellowstone Boulevard,” he added. “The Yellowstone Boulevard branch is able to accommodate and meet the needs of our customers in the area, so we’re consolidating to that location.” Although the two current branches are about 0.6 miles apart, the closing of the branch near 67th Avenue has been a concern for residents. “I will start using the bank on 71st Street and I’m not very happy about that,” said Jacqueline Bibas Scarzella, a resident who has used the 100-26 Queens Boulevard location for 25 years. “I’m turning 70 in a few weeks and it’s a long walk, but nothing I can do. So far it's fine.” While one branch is closing, three new locations in the borough will be some of the first to test out Chase’s new technology-driven “Everyday Express” branches. The three branches, located along Jamaica Avenue and 89th Street in Woodhaven, Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park, and Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, were chosen due to customer behavior, according to Timmerman. Chase’s research found that the Queens market, as well as three sites in California, had customers who were tech savvy and early adopters of new technology. The bank decided to offer services to customers that prioritized technology, such as ATMs and apps, in both markets. While customers will still be able to do routine tasks such as opening a checking, savings, or credit card account, the new everyday express branches are equipped with new digital technology features designed for speed, self-service and simplicity. Central components include a Digital Advice Bar, where customers can learn and engage with the bank’s products and services. Each “Everyday Express” branch will also incorporate a telepresence to further connect customers through video chat with nearby companion branches for more complex matters. Additionally, public Wi-Fi and a redesigned floor space are set for the express branches. The Queens branches will open on February 12th.
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POTENTIAL NEW U.S. STAMP IN 2018
by godfather
 POTENTIAL NEW STAMP IN 2018
Jan 18, 2018 | 103 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
STUPIDITY IS A DISEASE
STUPIDITY IS A DISEASE
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HE REALLY DESERVES THE RECOGNITION. THE BIGGEST DISGRACE AS THE PRESIDENT IN HISTORY. BETWEEN ALL HIS AFFAIRS WHILE MARRIED, SPEAKING ABOUT WOMAN LIKE THEY ARE WORTHLESS SEX OBJECTS, ONLY CARING ABOUT HIMSELF, DISCRIMINATING AGAINST OTHERS, DISRESPECTING MANY, INSULTING PEOPLE AND FOREIGN LEADERS AND WILL HAVE TO HAVE HIS OWN HISTORY BOOK PUBLISHED FOR SCHOOLS IN AMERICA.
ASK ANY VETERAN, HE IS BY FAR THE WORST EXCUSE OF A HUMAN BEING ON EARTH, LET ALONE THE LEADER OF THIS COUNTRY.
MY OPINION, BUT LETS FACE IT, HE CARES NOTHING ABOUT PEOPLE AND THE HEALTH BILL. HIS TAX BILL ONLY HELPS THE RICH. OUR COUNTRY FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS WERE MADE UP OF IMMIGRANTS BUT HE WANTS TO THROW THEM ALL OUT.
HE DESERVES TO BE PLACED ON A U.S. STAMP.
HE DESERVES TO HAVE HIS ASSETS FROZEN.
HE DESERVES TO BE CONVICTED OF OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
AS A PEOPLE WE CAN NOT LET CRIMES BE COMMITTED IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CRIMINALS AT HAND. TRUMP SUPPORTERS AT THIS POINT IN TIME, HAVE TO BE SIMILAR IN MIND AS OUR PRESIDENT. THEIR MAKE UP HAS TO INCLUDE RACISM, DISCRIMINATION, THE ATTITUDE OF THINKING THEY ARE BETTER THAN EVERYONE, BELIEVE IN MARITAL AFFAIRS, AND ENJOY BEING WITH PHONY PEOPLE, LIARS,ETC.. 
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