Queens neighborhood wants Billie Holiday statue

ADDISLEIGH PARK, Queens — Billie Holiday may have been born in Philadelphia and raised in Baltimore, but the legendary jazz singer spent many important years in her too-short life in Queens, first singing in clubs in Jamaica in the 1930s and eventually living in a house on Linden Boulevard in Addisleigh Park in the 1940s.

That’s why members of the Queens Community Board 12 and the Addisleigh Park Civic Organization would like her statue to be in this historic district, whose slogan is “Jazz Lives Here.”

“She lived here. It signified who she was,” Charmaine Perry, Vice President If the Addisleigh Park Civic Association, told PIX11 News. “It was one of the first black communities where many musicians lived here at the time,” she added.

Addisleigh Park was home to Count Basie, Fats Waller and Ella Fitzgerald, among many other jazz greats. One possible spot is this triangle near Holiday’s home on Linden Boulevard.

“We don’t have any statues here and children walking by might see it and get interested in who Billie Holiday was and learn about her music,” Rene Hill, chairperson of Queens Community Board 12, told PIX11 News.

The proposed Billie Holiday statue isn’t expected expected to be installed until 2021, one of 4 statues honoring trailblazing women, part of the First Lady Chirlane McCray’s campaign called She Built NYC. The city is leaning towards placing the statue near Queens Borough Hall because they wanted a high traffic area.

Chirlane McCray and the New York City Cultural Affairs Department will have the final say but the community board and Addisleigh Park Civic Association are hoping to sway them with a letter writing campaign.

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