Queens Village begins orbiting in cyberspace

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“I am trying to teach him a little something so he’ll be on board...

By Adam Kramer

“We are now on the Internet,” Maurice Harrison of Queens Village told Hollis resident Leroy Smith as the two men sat in front of a computer in Queens Village’s first Internet cafe.

“I am trying to teach him a little something so he’ll be on board surfing the Net,” said Harrison, who works for the MTA, sitting next to the older Smith. “Soon he will be able to come in here and check out stocks.”

The two men staring at the computer paid no mind to the jazz music filling the restaurant as old and new friends of Dealia Gwaltney mingled throughout the place talking and sipping coffee while waiting for the moment when the Thirst Quencher’s Cyber Cafe would officially open with its ribbon-cutting Friday. Thirst Quencher’s had opened three weeks before to work out the kinks before the public launch.

But it was smooth sailing when the cafe at 216-18 Jamaica Ave., the community’s first such Internet establishment, threw open its doors Friday at a bit past 11 a.m. when Gwaltney, her daughter Michelle, son Michael, daughter Ebony and state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) cut the ribbon sending Queens Village into the cyber era.

“It is a wonderful place. My staff has been telling me about it,” Clark said. “It is a great idea and a great addition to Jamaica Avenue.”

She said she thinks Jamaica Avenue is changing for “the better” and the new stores that are opening on the Avenue should begin to attract community residents, many of whom now leave the area when shopping or looking for place to eat.

Pamela Moore, Clark’s district manager who lives in Cambria Heights, said besides having good food the cafe will provide a place where people can meet. She said the assemblywoman probably would hold some of her meetings in the restaurant.

“It will add a touch of class to the community and neighborhood,” she said. “We hope it will be a magnet for other businesses to come into the community. Once the businesses come, we can sustain many different types of stores.”

John Tear, senior vice president of Community Capital Bank who helped Gwaltney with the cafe’s financing said small businesses like the cafe are vital to the city’s economy and to the neighborhoods. He said the stores provide employment and hold up the community.

“I think the Internet will be a draw,” he said. “But the success of the cafe is based on Dealia and the quality of her food. And from what I understand, she is a great cook.”

Ebony Gwaltney, Dealia’s 19-year-old daughter who works part time in the cafe while studying forensic psychology at John Jay University in Manhattan, said the cafe is something the neighborhood did not have but needed.

“This is a little dream in the making and it is going good,” Gwaltney said.

The cafe is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. till 6 p.m. and starting in June it will stay open until 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday for poetry readings.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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