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Photographer Shows Off Queens Library, Borough Lit in Instagram Project

By Katie Honan | October 29, 2014 8:55am
 Steve Vazquez, aka "Mr. Queenscapes," will take over the Queens Library's Instagram page for a week. 
Steve Vazquez, aka "Mr. Queenscapes," will take over the Queens Library's Instagram page for a week. 
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Queens Library/Steve Vazquez

JACKSON HEIGHTS — A local street photographer is focusing on the borough's expansive library system in the hopes of highlighting everything it has to offer.

Steve Vazquez, 34, a limo dispatcher, started his Queenscapes photo project to highlight every neighborhood in the borough in January 2014. 

He came up with the idea of working with the Queens Library's Instagram account while sitting in the Flushing branch researching subway architecture throughout the borough. 

He sent a message to the account and heard back right away — and was given the opportunity to spend seven days highlighting the borough's expansive library system, which he says is often "undervalued."

He'll post a photo of selected branches along with a quote from a book, short story or poem based in that neighborhood. 

"There are so many people, so much talent," in Queens, he said.

Vazquez, who has more than 4,700 followers on his personal page, found the online Instagram community a welcoming place as he pursued his passion, which he said started as he took photos of his 8- and 9-year-old children. 

It's also the perfect place to show off the library, and hopes his weeklong experiment will bring additional followers to the active account. 

His first posting on Oct. 27, of the Jackson Heights branch, features a quote from the newly released "We Are Not Ourselves" by author Matthew Thomas, which takes place in the neighborhood.

A representative from the library said they're glad they inspired Vazquez's latest project.

"Libraries are inspirational, as community spaces as well as for the books and resources they provide," the spokeswoman said.

"Many have found their hearts and voices in the library."

The project, which runs through the week, is just part of his mission to show off his beloved Queens.

He looks for landmarks, interesting people and good light when traveling, and so far has shot his favorite photos in Flushing and Corona — diverse places that are practically their own cities, he said. 

"It's been my quest to find out not just about every single neighborhood, but other things that are under-appreciated in Queens and try to show them off," he said.

You can follow the Queens Library project on its Instagram page, or Vazquez's page here. http://instagram.com/mr.queenscapes