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Jonathan Lethem To Visit Sunnyside To Discuss ‘Dissident Gardens’

Sept. 24, 2013 By Christian Murray

Jonathan Lethem, the author of the recently-released novel Dissident Gardens, will be visiting Sunnyside on Saturday, Oct. 12, to discuss his book.

The event, which will be held at the Sunnyside Community Services Center, will begin at 2 pm and is expected to last 1 ½ hours including time for book signings. It is a free event, open to all.

The event is Lethem’s only Queens visit.

Dissident Gardens is set in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, which is described by the author as “the official Socialist Utopian Village of the outerboroughs.”

For a quick overview of the book, please click here:


Saturday, Oct 12, 2013

Time: 2 pm

Location: Sunnyside Community Services,  43-31 39th Street, Sunnyside, NY

email the author:


Click for Comments 
Longtime resident

I think it’s likely the publisher organized the event.

I like Molly Bloom’s as much as the next person, but without knowing how many people will show up (and not only buy a book, but buy a drink or two) it’s hard to make the argument for setting aside a big space for a speaking event and book signing without a rental fee. And without reserving the space (and being able to turn off the music) and discussion would be hard to hear.

The community center probably has the A/V equipment, the subject likely fits in very well with mission of the center, and it can bring in a locals who have never set foot in the center before. Seems like a goodfit to me.


It’s a shame people use these terms (communism, socialism) without any real understanding of what they mean, and how they are different. So many older people grew up during the Cold War, when the USSR was our sworn enemy. Millions of lives were lost in the sixties when we fought communism in Viet Nam, because we were so afraid that communism was going to take over the world.

Today, a social program is right away suspected as being “socialist” and while there are still countries that are socialist and communnist, they are no longer our enemy.

I look forward to reading this novel. It’s too bad our country is still so politically fractured.


@ house of O’shea: Where is the photo of this author that is making you feel this way? Why in the world would you feel like sharing your feelings like this?

Franklin Bruno

Hi — My name is Franklin Bruno; I’m a writer and musician in Jackson Heights. It’s not mentioned above (which is fine), but Mr. Lethem asked me to introduce and moderate this event — I’ll just be asking him a few questions to get the conversation going. It’s a terrific novel, and I hope that the fact that it’s partly about social and political history doesn’t make people assume that that’s -all- it’s about, or that it takes an obvious or one-dimensional stance on those issues; it’s also about family, baseball, music, and of course Queens. But the author can speak to all this better than I can, obviously.

I hope you’ll come, and let people — especially within the community — know about it. I feel the same way about Jackson Heights that some of you probably feel about Sunnyside, so I’m sympathetic to many of the comments above. But I wouldn’t worry too much that the publication of this book, or this event, will suddenly turn your neighborhoods into Williamsburg!

Looking forward to meeting you –

Tequilla Mockingbird

Intellectuals, culture and socialist themed books coming to Sunnyside?

What’s next? Hippies? Hells Angels?


Can anyone smell the stench of outsize granny knickers on fire?


In the interests of socialism, I think all profits of this book should be distributed equally amongst less successful authors. How dare this man try to make a buck. Just because he has talent and ambition doesn’t mean he should profit from it!


@43rd & 43rd

“most of Lethem’s fans are not people I want moving in and driving up the rent!”

People who read books? Absurd.

Some publicity and foot-traffic should be welcomed, considering the dozens of failing businesses and “FOR RENT” signs on Greenpoint Ave. alone.

43rd & 43rd

Just what we want, more publicity for the neighborhood.

I think it’s cool someone is recognizing what a unique neighborhood we are — but most of Lethem’s fans are not people I want moving in and driving up the rent! Sunnyside isn’t hip, and I like it that way.


The book Radical Son has several chapters on what it was like to be a red diaper doper baby in Sunnyside Gardens. Should be interesting.

Preschool Teacher

This is a famous, literary author. If you’ve ever visited a bookstore, you will know his book “Motherless Brooklyn.” We are fortunate to have a cool event like this in Sunnyside.

Think big

I doubt people JUST from Sunnyside will go. There will be lots of people from throughout Queens.
Therefore the location is fine. Also isn’t Molly Blooms kind of small for an event like this. I mean the patio there is nice, just not that big.


Who is organizing this? Wouldn’t it be better to host it somewhere more fun, central, and literary, like the back patio at Molly Blooms?


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