Corona CAN and Queens Museum of Art host International Family Day on June 13th at Corona Plaza. Featured performers include Juarez Show Mariachi, Blue Pipa Trio, and Charlie Cajeres Salsa Ensemble. Ruben Pena from Corona Action Network took time to talk to the Queens Art Express about his role as a community leader and this upcoming event at Corona Plaza.
Ruben, you have worked in Corona for many years-how has the community changed?
I have worked in Corona since 1974, over 35 years ago, when I opened a Colombian restaurant by the name of La Herradura Rest. I first started with a small restaurant serving delicious Colombian and international food. It was a very successful restaurant because of the food we served and the friendly atmosphere. After 4 or five years we expanded and with our good reputation we because well-known not only in Queens but abroad too.
Corona has changed a lot, but we still maintain the working class residents and wide variety of ethnic groups. Corona’s proximity to Manhattan and very easy access by train and highways makes it a very popular location for living, working, and running businesses.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Queens?
I came to the United States from Colombia in 1960, over 49 years ago. My residence has always been Queens and I would never move anywhere else.
What do you do for fun in Queens?
We take long walks and go biking in Flushing Meadows/ Corona Park.
You are hosting the International Family Day, June 13th day event at Corona Plaza, tell us about your hopes for the event and a little about your organization (or any organizations you would like to talk about)?Corona Community Action Network main objective is to benefit the neighborhood, to improve the looks of Corona in order to make Corona an attractive place to visit and to shop and conduct business. We are hosting the event on June 13th to attract people to our community, to show them it is safe and pleasant to come to Corona to whatever necessity they have, we need everyone’s support and help.
As a community leader in Corona what is the biggest issue that you see facing your community?
We need the attention of government agencies and especially community leaders. We need them to focus more on our needs and to make them a priority in their agendas.
We have been struggling for the last 6 or 7 years with the business trucks parking around the plaza and taking all the parking space and meters we need for our patrons, business owners and residents. The sidewalks are crowded with street vendors that not only are taking the business away from merchants who are paying taxes, rent, employees etc. but they are also taking away pedestrian space for carriages, wheel chairs etc.
What do you think people should know about Corona?
Corona is a wonderful place in so many ways, it is close to Manhattan, CityField, Flushing Meadows Park, they should bring their families to have a fun day, eat out, visit a museum, the zoo and enjoy every minute they have and enjoy all the good things we have to offer