We bring you the most knowledgeable experts on New York City history and geography anywhere.
Canvasback Kid Productions
Chief Executive – AQ Spectra
Author of the timely book “Plagues, Pandemics and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid 19”, documenting the history of pandemics since the time of the Ancient Greece. You can read about it in the Daily News or this write up by the New York Journal of Books.
From the New York accent (“If These Knishes Could Talk”) to New York’s hidden cemeteries, from Citibikes to the 1986 New York Mets, Heather Quinlan films territory in the Big Apple that few would think to cover and her work has been featured in The New Yorker, NPR, BBC, BBC Scotland, the New York Daily News, WNBC-TV, CBS This Morning.
Heather was nominated recently nominated for a Daytime Emmy, along with Clint Baker and Mark Hill for NatGeo Kids’ Weird But True! Her work is on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Roku, and was screened at the Smithsonian. She has worked with Penny Marshall, Alan Dershowitz, Amy Heckerling, James McBride, Pete Hamill, Pat Cooper, and Joe Franklin, as well as local stars like Michele Carlo, Frankie Clinton, Alyssa Chiarelli, Joseph John Vincent, Noah Wildman, Ed Shevlin, and the irrepressible Ben Lee.
Specialties: Storytelling, Filmmaking, Interviewing, Networking, Creativity, and Management
Adolfo Steve Vasquez
Program Director – AQ Spectra
Since 2014, artist Adolfo Steve Vasquez had documented every Queens neighborhood, posting his finding to Instagram Page @Queensscapes. After numerous exhibits and IRL events associated with Queenscapes at the end of 2015, he noticed that it was already more than just an Instagram page. With time, Queenscapes quickly evolved into a community initiative, and it was time to expand on that idea. Today, Queenscapes is a community based organization that creates photography programs for schools, community centers, after school programs and local businesses.
Steve is working on four separate programs, our biggest one being a project titled, “Queens (as the world’s) Village: Know Your Neighbor” which examines the Queens Village sub-neighborhood covering the area east of Hillside Avenue from 215th Street to Springfield Blvd. The project addresses and exposes the issue of cultural indifference by educating and uniting the diverse business owners and residents in this area in a series of workshops, exhibit and panel discussions.
Steve is a regular contributor to features on Queens Library, NewYork.com, The Future Project, and Street Dream Magazine. As a proud, life-long Queens resident, his work serves to strengthen the many diverse Queens communities who yearn for activities and projects that unify them and help keep residents involved and caring about their communities.
Forgotten New York
Research Director – AQ Spectra
Forgotten New York (forgotten-ny.com ) is a website about the hidden, out-of-the-way and off-the-radar places that NYC guidebooks ignore. Webmaster Kevin Walsh had noticed ancient advertising and unremarked-upon scenes in New York City for years, but it wasn’t till he moved to Flushing and saw the ancient Victorians standing among cookie cutter brick apartments that he noticed that no one was calling attention to the artifacts of a long-gone New York. Forgotten New York began principal photography throughout 1998 and launched in March 1999. Within weeks, it was profiled by David Kirby in the New York Times, and FNY began a slow yet steady build in readership.
FNY is on Forbes Magazine’s ‘Best City Blogs’ and the Village Voice twice ranked it their ‘Best in NYC List.’ PC Magazine listed it as one of the ‘Top 99 Undiscovered Websites’ in the country dubbing it ‘your tour guide to the NYC of the past, from 18th century cemeteries to nightlife neon’. It has been profiled in all of NY’s daily newspapers and was often cited by the New York Times’ late Christopher Gray and the New York Sun’s Francis Morrone.
FNY was the first recipient of Outstanding New York City Website by the Guides Association of New York City in March 2015. The website has thousands of unique visitors each day and a traffic of about 2 million people each year with more than 23,000 Facebook likes and 2,400 Twitter followers. FNY’s collection of more than 200,000 photographs of New York City, taken over the past two decades, is considered the largest contemporary collection of the city. It will be made available to AQ Spectra.
Greater Astoria Historical Society
Executive Director – AQ Spectra
Bob Singleton is a Long Island City, New York historian with deep community activist roots. The Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society left a challenging career on Wall Street and the corporate world for an even more daunting task – community preservation in the Borough of Queens.
He manages the day-to-day operations of the largest historical society operations in Queens and is responsible to coordinate nearly 70 annual walking tours, exhibits, and lectures which take place thorough the city.
A special project is to establish a library and research facility related to Long Island City’s rich history, the source for a series of newspaper columns for Queens Media. He co-authored five books on Queens’ history.
Mr. Singleton, at the request of the late Henry Steinway, assumed the responsibility of Public Tour Guide at the Steinway & Sons factory in Long Island City. Continuing its nearly 170-year factory tradition, he escorted nearly 15,000 people through the facility over the course of two decades. The tour has a yearlong waiting list.
He is also a guide for the legendary Municipal Art Society Public Tours of New York City.
Finally, in addition to his responsibilities as Executive Director at both the Historical Society and AQ Spectra, he helps Kevin Walsh manage the fabled urban blog, Forgotten New York.
His additional duties include maintaining the Friends of Steinway Mansion, an initiative to make the former home of the Steinway family a tourist destination, a museum, educational center, and performance space.
Mr. Singleton was responsible for managing Quinn’s Gallery (1995 – 2018) – a 10,000 sq. ft. space in Astoria, which included lecture halls and exhibit spaces, community gallery spaces, archive space and a number of small non-profits spaces.
Quote: “Our finest hour? Scanning the largest postcard collections of New York City and having it pay off when we landed a plum assignment as credited historical advisers to Baz Luhrman’s ‘Great Gatsby.’ It earned Baz an Oscar for Set Design and gave us another page in our playbook.”