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Queens Chronicle

Sunnyside explored through sound

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Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 12:00 am

Writer Sabine Heinlein is getting to know her neighbors through sound.

Heinlien started the Sunnyside Sound Project in January and has been interviewing Sunnysiders as part of a community project ever since. “I wanted to do something that everyone could get involved in,” she said.

So far, she has interviewd 20 Sunnyside residents, including an anthropologist turned pastor; a meter reader; a retiree-cum-school crossing guard, who was born and raised in Sunnyside; and a Taiwanese tailor who speaks Spanish fluently and who, with the help of the community, has raised a daughter in her store.

Heinlein’s interviews shed light on community relations, intergenerational and political conflicts and intersections between cultures. They also expose the many different reasons that people end up in Sunnyside.

An immigrant from Germany, Heinlien said she ended up in Sunnyside and in the United States for love. She met and married her husband shortly after she arrived in the United States. “I am an adventurer and an outsider in my own right,” she said. Heinlein has spent years observing her surroundings and interviewing people for long-form writing pieces and now, she would like to pass her skills on in the small community she calls home.

Heinlein is offering an oral history workshop at the Sunnyside branch of the Queens Public Library on Saturday. At the workshop she will teach residents to tell and record their own Sunnyside-related stories. The tales will be featured on the Sunnyside Sound Project website, sunnysidesoundproject.org.

Heinlein holds a master’s degree in journalism and she says her work always focuses on the human-interest aspect of a story. “People have heard about the project and local officials whom I have never met know my name. It shows that there is a tight knit community,” she said. “Sunnyside is like a village.”

The Sunnyside Queens Public Library is located at 43-06 Greenpoint Ave. the workshop will take place from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. The project is co-sponsored by the Artist and Audience Exchange Program of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Those wishing to participate should RSVP by email to to sunnysidesoundproject@gmail.com. The workshop is limited to 20 participants.

For more information about the projectplease contact Heinlein directly at sabine@sabineheinlein.org.

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