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The Promenade’s New Queen

Gina Naomi Baez

plays Garden City

It might not be cold enough to build a snowman, but that hasn’t stopped Elsa from Disney’s Frozen from parading the streets of Garden City this summer. In fact, young Disney fans in the village went nuts at her last appearance at the Garden City Promenade, a weekly event on Seventh Street.

Gina Naomi Baez, famous for her impersonations of the Disney character Elsa, performed at the promenade twice last Friday, Aug. 9. For her first performance, she disguised herself as Elsa and sang hits from the movie Frozen. These included “For the First Time in Forever,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and of course, “Let It Go.” Prior to the show, Baez also signed Elsa’s autograph for the crowds of excited children attending the event. She let parents snap photographs of their kids with Elsa. Some of the girls, so enthusiastic to meet her, had even dressed in their own Disney princess attire for the occasion.

The Rockville Centre native has been performing as Elsa for around a year now, dressing up in a blue gown created by a friend and a braided white wig. She states that it all began with her Youtube channel, where she sings a mixture of cover songs and her own music. After seeing Frozen, Baez uploaded a cover of “Let it Go” onto her channel, and the video got a much larger response than she anticipated. After watching the video, a mother from Rockville Center asked the Hewlett resident to perform as Elsa at her daughter’s birthday party. “I thought it’d be a one time thing,” Baez said. “But I kept getting calls after that.” Subsequently, she became so busy that she got in touch with her own agent, Samantha Carrell, who now helps Baez plan each of her appearances and signing events.

Gina Baez’s Queen Elsa performance wasn’t her only spotlight on Aug. 9 though. She also played a show as herself, singing songs from her debut album You and Me. Produced by Chip Hardy, the CD features completely self-written material, just came out and was on sale for the first time during the Promenade. She performed her music with her Youtube sidekick, Tinkerbelle the dog. Afterwards, Baez and Tinkerbelle gave away autographs and “pawtographs” to fans.

“Queen Elsa” has been writing and performing her own music for years dating back to when she got her start as an eight-year-old. “Ever since I was five, I always wanted to be a singer,” Baez said. Having attended Pace University and earned a theatre degree, she’s done everything from voice lessons to community theatre. Baez has done several professional productions too, such as the off-Broadway shows Under Fire and 8 Minute Musicals.

Even with all of her experience, Baez never expected that her talent would blow up the way it has. “I’m speechless,” she said. “It’s so cool that I get to sing and be an inspiration to all of these kids.”

Not only has Baez been performing in Garden City, but she has also been doing similar performances for charitable causes. She sang at the United Cerebral Palsy Center on sibling day and at Winthrop Cancer Center for Kids. Being a cancer survivor herself, the professional vocalist was particularly pleased to be able to bring her voice to these locations.

Baez has also been working on “Cupcakes,” another track that didn’t appear on her new album. She flew out to LA recently to record the song with producer Patrice Wilson. The song started as a joke, according to Baez, however the song has recently been featured on MTV, Perez Hilton’s site, Huffington Post, and other popular media sources.

“I feel like I work 24/7, and even when I’m sleeping, I’m dreaming about working,” Baez said. Well, it seems that all of her hard work is paying off. Long Island may be seeing its newest superstar in the making.

News

The Senior Advisory Committee is the Senior group that helps plan trips, parties, and programs for all seniors in cooperation with the recreation and parks department. It consists of: Kathy Auro, Richard Bankowsky, Evelyn Iagrossi, Joe Leto, Ellen Moynahan, and Gloria Weinrich. Please feel free to suggest trips to anyone on the committee.

Preparedness is the best remedy for Ebola

Winthrop University Hospital hosted a presentation on the current Ebola epidemic, at the Garden City Library, on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sponsored by the village’s Property Owners’ Associations, John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop University Hospital and Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Officer provided an overview of the disease along with an update on Winthrop’s preparedness plan.

Dr. Ammazzalorso began his presentation heeding that despite the waning in the press, the disease is still with us. He provided both historical and current day perspectives regarding the epidemic, advising that Ebola is not a new disease. The medical community has been aware of the disease for at least 40 years. Originating in the Congo, Ebola is a zoonosis a disease which has its reservoir in animals and was known for small sporadic outbreaks associated with people who handled bats and rodents or those who consumed bush meat. The current outbreak originated in West Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He noted in Africa that more than 45,000 people have died from the disease.


Sports

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes begin the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, please visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave. Space is limited so please register early.


Calendar

Sultans of String to play

Friday, November 21

Garden City Chamber Music Society Performance

Sunday, November 23

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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