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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

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

New online company debuts

Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

“When Mike and I decided to start a business, we knew it had to reflect our shared love of food, address the lifestyles of our fellow Long Islanders, and be socially responsible,” said Reich.


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


Calendar

Financial Options For Students

Thursday, October 16

Kids In The Kitchen

Friday, October 17

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 20



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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