Editor: Lizabeth Nieves is a photographer, event organizer and founder of the Astoria Art Festival.

Creative Director: Nurgul Asik received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from one of the top leading design
schools, Fashion Institute of Technology in May 2007. Two years upon graduation, she earned a Master’s Degree in Media Management at MCNY.  Nurgul spent time in New York, Italy, France and Turkey, she built hands on experience in the fashion and media industries across different cultures. As one of the winners of QVC “Emerging Faces of Fashion” Design Competition, she was awarded by QVC and FIT “Some of the most talented students in the country.”

With her combined knowledge and education of fashion, media and the entertainment industry, she founded Para Arts Foundation, Inc. in October 2012 along with two other partners with the purpose to enrich the lives of disabled individuals by developing and executing visual and performing arts festivals and programs. Nurgul was responsible for all the Astoria Art Festival Graphic Design since 2013, while helping coordinate the weeks long worth of events.

Sales/ Marketing Editor: Nicole Carnaggio is the long time manager at The Sparrow Tavern first introduced to Astoria 10 years ago. Grew up in Central Islip Long Island, graduated with a 2 year associates in hotel restaurant Management with minimal culinary credits. I soon realized the world of hospitality was a world I felt most comfortable in. I am grateful to be a part of Astoria’s old meets new very social, creative and inspiring neighborhood that continues to grow and amaze every chance we get.There are only great things to come.


Ashley Balavender is a writer and editor living in Astoria. After moving to New York City to study fashion design, she soon realized that her heart belongs to the written word. Ashley studied English Literature and Journalism at Brooklyn College, exploring interests in photography and multimedia storytelling. During that time she also worked in Marketing and Communications at LaGuardia Community College and wrote an undergraduate thesis, “Female Writers of the African Diaspora and Their Influence on Cultural and Ideological Movements of the Early Twentieth Century.” Apart from reading and writing, Ashley’s interests include cooking, French culture, distance running and creative fundraising. She currently works in higher education.

Alessia Donati earned her BA at Smith College in Italian Studies and later completed an AAS at FIT in Advertising and Marketing. Her Instagram photography has been showcased during the annual Astoria Arts Festival and she has participated in two writing/performance workshops at Astoria newcomer Q.E.D. Alessia loves to write and used to keep a food blog that is now defunct called Daddy’s Little Fatty. She has lived in Astoria, always in close proximity to Sparrow, since 2006. She currently pays the bills by working in lingerie development for Calvin Klein. If you see her around Astoria, say hi!

Dave Harrison is a writer and musician based in Astoria. A native New Yorker, Dave has spent time sleeping in four of the five boroughs of NYC, but has made Queens his home since 2010. In addition to freelance writing, he plays guitar and sings for garage-punk band The Mess Around, and has seen the inside of every dive bar, music venue and VFW basement in the tri-state area. His other interests include baseball (Let’s Go Mets!), food and cooking, collecting records, obscure pop-culture references and loudly correcting the poor subway etiquette of strangers. In between all of this, he works as an marketing communications executive at a NYC-based agency.

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