Self-published books showcase western Queens scenes

Two new self published books celebrate two neighborhoods in western Queens. Photo courtesy Michael Huhn
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Two photographers in western Queens have released photo books about their neighborhoods, and both are self-published but at different ends of the spectrum. Using an online platform called Blurb, they have produced interesting looks at Long Island City and neighboring Sunnyside.

Michael Huhn has received favorable reviews for “Long Island City New York,” a hardcover, coffee table-top book that studies the dichotomy between old and new, from the gritty warehouse districts to the gleaming steel towers.

“Every artist wants to do something for the city, like write a song,” Huhn said. “For me it’s this book.”

After nine years of celebrity photography in Los Angeles, Huhn returned to his roots in Queens, having grown up in Ridgewood.

“My father owned Pete’s Bar on 114th and Jamaica Avenue. It’s that old New York I was looking to get back to,” said Huhn. “I found it when I got lost driving and ended up in Long Island City.”

He opened a studio just south of the Queensboro Bridge and his work can be seen at the Z Hotel at 11-01 43rd Ave., where he is negotiating to do a full show of his work.

Huhn believes his book can change some of the misconceptions about his neighborhood.

“It’s only when I turned away from the Manhattan skyline that I realized that LIC was the better story,” said Huhn. “I just think it’s reminiscent of that old New York. There’s no accident that there are movies being filmed in our streets all the time.”

Copies of “Long Island City New York” sell for $130 at

George Romanation’s “The Fine Art of the Hang” is a different book. A soft cover, 22-page look at the nightlife along Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside Gardens, it sells for $20.

At a book release party at Flynn’s Garden Inn, at 46-08 Skillman Ave., Romanation signed each copy.

“I’ve lived at the Phipps Houses for 15 years and wanted to do a book,” he said. “Call it a visual appreciation of the art of the hang in my neighborhood, hence the title.”

It is the second time Romanation has self-published a book using Blurb. The first was a photo journal about Paris.

Romanation is a corporate travel agent who learned photography at the Parsons School.

“Self-publishing is a challenge; it’s also a labor of love,” he said.

Blurb was founded in 2004 and has delivered more than 6 million books that were created by half a million customers.

To purchase the books, go to the website and enter the author’s name in keyward.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Posted 12:00 am, November 22, 2013
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