Nov. 1, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Several Queens organizations will host a series of events Wednesday to celebrate Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The events, which will feature music, dance as well as moments of remembrance, will take place simultaneously at separate plaza areas along the 7-line route from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The celebrations will be hosted underneath the elevated tracks in Sunnyside at the Lowery-40th Street subway station and at the Bliss-46th Street subway station. There will also be an event at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, located between 73rd Street and 74th Street, and at Corona Plaza, located between 104th Street and National Street.
Day of the Dead is typically celebrated by people of Mexican heritage where the deceased are honored and remembered.
For instance, at tomorrow’s events, residents are encouraged to memorialize loved ones by bringing items to place on a communal ofrenda, or altar. All are welcome to attend the festivities, organizers say.
The events will feature various cultural activities including Mexican mariachi music, dancing, and performances by Manhatitlan Mexican Dance, a Mexican folklore group. Various small businesses located near each plaza will be offering specials, organizers say.
The celebrations are being organized by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), and the Friends of Diversity Plaza voluntary group. The Street Vendor Project, a Manhattan-based group that advocates for street vendors, is also a co-organizer.
Dirk McCall de Palomá, the executive director at Sunnyside Shines, said the events are an important way of acknowledging the contribution Mexican people have made to the neighborhood.
“This year’s event celebrates the continuity of Queens communities as you travel along the iconic 7 train while honoring the heritage of neighbors for whom Día de Muertos is an important tradition,” McCall de Palomá said.
“For some, this will be an opportunity to observe a beloved and familiar tradition, and for others, it will be a way to learn more about the diverse traditions that find their way here to Queens.”
Karla Pérez, a local curator and co-founder of Manhatitlan Mexican Dance, helped establish the event in 2020 and is the lead organizer.
Pérez said that the events have proven popular, and this year’s marks an expansion to a fourth location – up from three – with the inclusion of the 40th Street subway station.
“It is gratifying to see that last year’s modest celebration in Sunnyside is blossoming into a cooperative, multi-neighborhood affair.”
For a schedule of events, see below.
Lowery Plaza (40th Street under the elevated 7 train)
4 p.m. – Music and Dance
Bliss Plaza (46th Street under the elevated 7 train) and at the Sunnyside Arch, Sunnyside:
4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Quiet contemplation and remembrance of loved ones at the community ofrenda
5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Manhatitlan Mexican Folkloric Dance
5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Academia de Mariachi Nuevo Amanecer
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Final moments of contemplation and remembrance at the ofrenda
Diversity Plaza (74th Street at 37th Rd., Jackson Heights):
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Music and Dance
Corona Plaza (Roosevelt Avenue between National Street and 104th St., Corona)
3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Quiet contemplation and remembrance of loved ones at the community ofrenda
6:30 p.m. – Charros y Quetzales
7 p.m. – Manhatitlan Mexican Folkloric Dance
7:30 p.m. – Academia de Mariachi Nuevo Amanecer