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Queens Chronicle

Tell your favorite Jamaica Bay tale

Queens Library hosting residents, patrons for story-sharing event

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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 5:16 am, Wed Dec 24, 2014.

Did you once take a fishing trip on Jamaica Bay and get caught in an isolated thunderstorm?

Did your favorite uncle take you to Charles Park to watch the Concorde take off from JFK Airport when you were a kid?

Or maybe you grew up in a house that hovered over the water on stilts, waiting nervously for each coastal storm to pass.

If you have a story about Jamaica Bay you love to tell, the Queens Library and producers of the upcoming documentary “Jamaica Bay Lives” want to hear it on April 24.

They’ll be recording the stories for posterity from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Queens Library’s Broad Channel branch at 16-26 Cross Bay Blvd.

“We’re hoping to talk to people who live right around the bay,” said Dan Hendrick, the “Jamaica Bay Lives” producer. “But then there’s also a lot of people who have just spent some time at Jamaica Bay who we want to hear from. We’ve had so many people who want to participate in this project and who really see Jamaica Bay as a forgotten place. There is a lot of unfulfilled potential.”

The event is in coordination with the Queens Memory Project, an online archive of historical photos, news clippings and other items that tells the history of the borough.

The site is a collaboration between the Queens Library and Queens College funded by a 2010 grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

Natalie Milbrodt, director of the Queens Memory Project, said the Broad Channel event will give the group a great opportunity to reach out to a section of the borough it has not yet covered.

“We’re really excited to start documenting South Queens,” she said. “It is exciting to think we could use this night to connect with people.”

Milbrodt said she hopes to be able to give residents around Jamaica Bay the tools to do their own documentation of history. She said the project will allow people to really get up close to the borough’s history and be able to add their own experiences to the archives.

“It altogether gives you a richer, multilayered history.” she said. “You get to see a lot of different life experiences happening simultaneously.”

Hendrick noted that much of Jamaica Bay’s history remains untold or unknown outside of the communities around it.

He is especially interested in hearing stories about Hurricane Sandy and also what people think should happen with the bay in the future.

“We are encouraging people to come in with family photos and films, whatever they have,” Hendrick said. “The idea is to have people come in for as much time as they can give us and tell us their story and then tell us where they think we should go with the bay.”

He hopes the event will trigger a discussion about the future of the bay and the communities around it.

“This could be the time to really start ushering in some long-term views of how to shape the bay,” Hendrick added. “It really reinforces the value of Jamaica Bay”

Residents can register to share their Jamaica Bay story by contacting Dan Hendrick at jamaicabaylives@gmail.com or (917) 207-8715.

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