From the Queen of Salsa to the culinary delights of Queens, New York is a city of cultural exploration in the coming weeks. There’s literary adventure, too, from an International Book Fair to children’s story time at The Africa Center to a pair of big anniversaries for a much-loved poetry slam and performance arts organization. Here are some of our favorite upcoming events that celebrate life and diversity in our city.
The Woodlawn Conservancy, Celia Cruz Estate and Celia Cruz Legacy Project have partnered to present "Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa.” The exhibit, which is open September 12–15, features the legendary singer’s costumes, wigs, stage hats, and shoes along with personal photographs and a documentary video. Visitors can also take the Trolley from the exhibit to the Celia Cruz and Pedro Knight mausoleum to pay their respects.
September 13–14 marks the launch of the Feria Internacional del Libro de la Ciudad de Nueva York (FILNYC, known in English as the International Book Fair of New York City) at the Cervantes Institute. The event, which is free and open to the public, features 90 writers who represent 20 countries, including the United States, Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Hundreds of books will be available for sale, and there will be activities for adults and children, including storytelling, paper flower workshops, a photo exhibition, and more. FILNYC was organized by the City University of New York (CUNY) Mexican Studies Institute in collaboration with the Coalition of Latin American Consuls of New York, Cervantes Institute, Consulate of Spain in New York, New York Public Library, and El Diario. From September 15–October 15, the Feria will continue at Lehman College.
Visit The Africa Center from 10–11:30 a.m. on September 14, when Roda Ahmed reads her books for children, Mae Among the Stars (about Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space) and Good Night, Wiggly Toes. The Story Time event, which is free with your RSVP, is best suited for children age 4 or older, but all are welcome. HarperCollins author Ahmed was born in Somalia, grew up in Norway, is fluent in five languages and lives in Los Angeles.
Can’t decide what you want to eat? Sign on for the Long Island City Food Tour by Queens Food Tours and spend an afternoon sampling a bit of everything. The former industrial neighborhood is being transformed into an arts enclave but hanging onto its diverse ethnic heritage and cuisines.
The company says: “We’ll taste a burger with a recipe that goes back 100 years, an authentic French patisserie, a rustic Italian eatery from the heart of Naples, and many more! The historic, cultural and culinary attractions of Long Island City each have their own story and unique flavor that excites the senses. All of our restaurant tastings are locally run with globally inspired recipes that tell the story of Queens as the most diverse county on the planet.” This is a popular outing, but if tickets to the tours on September 15, 21, and 22 have sold out, don’t give up! There are more tours every Saturday and Sunday. Click here for available dates and reservations.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Nuyorican Poets Café and the 20th anniversary of its Friday Night Poetry Slam. To celebrate, the Park Avenue Armory offers a Sunday Salo that’s an afternoon of literature, performance art, poetry slam, and hip-hop theater starting at 3 p.m. on September 22. Headliners Ishmael Reed and Staceyann Chin are joined by Craig “muMs” Grant, Erik “Advocate Of Wordz” Maldonado, Darian Dauchan, and Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz.
Header photo credit: Michelle Rick NYC & Company