From the Wall Street Journal:
In fast-changing Long Island City, Frank Carrado is trying to hang on.
Known as the honorary "mayor" of the Queens neighborhood, Mr. Carrado can be found, week after week, holding court in the Dorian Cafe, a quaint restaurant a couple of blocks from the East River. He holds no official title and has no official constituents.
But the 80-year-old Korean War veteran and life-long resident of Long Island City has become a bit of a local celebrity for his efforts to capture the area's semi-industrial townscape before it completely succumbs to gentrification.
His tool is a camera.
In 2005, Mr. Carrado, then 75, began a quest to record in pictures a city on the cusp of architectural reinvention. Armed with a digital camera given to him by his daughter (he's "not like these guys with a $500 camera," he'll have you know), he began roaming the streets of Long Island City to snap photos of the buildings next in line for the developer's scythe.
Speaking on recent weekend afternoon in his "office" at the Dorian, Mr. Carrado said he had a simple motive in mind with his pictures: He wants to leave the next generation with some sort of record of how his neighborhood used to be.
"It was for the children, so that when they grow up, they can look back at all this and see what the neighborhood was like," said Mr. Carrado, whose pictures were on display at the Greater Astoria Historical Society for several years until 2009.