“The aggressive vibrato of the bandoneon hung in the air. While the tango singer spoke of romantic spats, hopeless drunkards and lonely whores, an elderly Argentine couple clasped hands.”
But that scene didn’t take place in a steamy Latin club on the Lower East Side … no, it was a library in Jackson Heights, Queens.
“New York’s Queens borough is among the most ethnically diverse counties in the nation, its immigrant-filled neighborhoods teeming with taco joints, Dominican beauty salons and women in headscarves,” writes Code Switch's Cristina Silva. “It's no surprise, then, that the borough's library system has also strived for unparalleled diversity.”
The library system’s 62 locations boast more than 800,000 foreign language books, thousands of foreign language DVDs and CDs, and six language specialists tasked with finding the most popular materials in Urdu, Polish, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, French and Spanish, among other languages. It also regularly hosts cultural events, such as the tango performance in Jackson Heights, to draw in immigrants unaware of how libraries or library cards work — or at least how they work in Queens.
Chinese romance novels are always popular, as is the Korean version of Twilight. The library system also caters to Albanians, Croatians and Serbians in Ridgewood, Tagalog speakers in Elmhurst, Woodside and Broadway, Farsi in Kew Garden Hills and Pashto and Dari in Flushing.
“The best horror writer of the 20th century you’ve probably never heard of was a British woman who looked like a benign but mildly dotty Hogwarts teacher. But do not miss the occult mischief behind those 1980s mom-glasses; in a fairly standard Angela Carter story, Harry Potter would be mauled to death by a werewolf before a pan-species initiation of Hermione’s pubescent sexual power. She made things weird like that, which is why she was great.”
Hemlock Grove author Brian McGreevy delivers a tribute to feminist horror writer Angela Carter over on Vulture.
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