Tag Archives: Queens Economic Development Corporation

Corona Plaza becomes first public plaza in Queens with free Wi-Fi


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' office

Visitors to Corona Plaza this summer will be able to surf the net while enjoying some sun.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras announced Monday morning that Corona Plaza, located on Roosevelt Avenue between National and 104th streets, will be the first plaza in Queens to offer residents and visitors free WiFi, along with two AT&T StreetCharge stations.

This service is provided by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a citywide program to help plazas flourish in high-need communities.

“Corona Plaza is a booming community space deserving of all the amenities. I am thrilled to have these free services that will increase Internet access and eliminate the digital divide for thousands of people in this neighborhood,” Ferreras said.

Sky-Packets, which brings high-speed Wi-Fi services to about 30 neighborhoods throughout the city, will provide the Wi-Fi service at the plaza. Corona Plaza’s service will accommodate several hundred users at any given time.

AT&T has also donated the two solar-powered mobile charging stations to Corona Plaza for the summer and each unit can charge up to six phones, tablets or other wireless devices.

“The new tech amenities at Corona Plaza are another milestone in the transformation of this former street space into an even more inviting destination for residents and visitors alike,” said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia.

Before 2012, Corona Plaza was a busy area filled with trucks and traffic, with no open space. After the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC) partnered with the Queens Museum, Ferreras and other local groups, the plaza became an open public space allowing residents and visitors to sit down and relax.

Corona Plaza is now one of 70 DOT pedestrian plazas throughout New York City and on average about 20,000 people go through the subway station by the plaza every day.

“In many parts of the city, free Wi-Fi and charging stations are now expected amenities, while in high-need areas they’re a luxury. Bringing this service to Corona Plaza is one of several ways in which we work to ensure that clean, beautiful, vibrant public spaces flourish in every kind of community,” said Laura Hansen, managing director of Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a program of The Horticultural Society.

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Queens Taste 2015 satisfies appetite of hundreds


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

Here’s to another year of fun and fancy foods.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation’s 13th annual Queens Taste festival drew attendees from the whole city Tuesday to sample some of the borough’s most diverse and delectable dishes and drinks.

The New York Hall of Science hosted a total of 67 vendors providing every imaginable flavor to attendees, who jumped from crunchy, creamy, spicy and salty, and from bite to bite. Live Afro-Latin jazz music drifted over the crowd as food from 20 different countries was eaten, a considerable growth since the event’s first year of only 12 vendors.

“We’ve got a little bit of everything, which, to me, is the beauty of Queens: its diversity,” said Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism for the QEDC, which works to create jobs by promoting tourism and business development. “And it’s not just diverse people; we also have diverse cuisine.”

Local eateries had to keep up a quick pace to satisfy the appetite of the 650 guests. Many of the booths featured chefs creating fresh dishes from raw ingredients as if by magic, flipping burgers, frying chicken and slicing beef tenderloin for passersby to admire. With so many options available, anyone lucky enough to attend left the night with a very full stomach.

“It was full. There were a lot of people,” said Christina Nastasi, pastry chef at Rudy’s Bakery and Cafe in Ridgewood. “I totally finished everything. I had 500 [desserts], and it’s gone an hour before the event is even finished.”

For many restaurateurs, the event was an opportunity to reach out to new audiences who had not yet tried their styles of cuisine. Luccas Leite of Beija Flor, a family-owned Brazilian eatery in Long Island City, said that the event was a chance to introduce people to the culture of the South American nation, which can also be experienced as a total package in live music performances at the restaurant.

“Brazilian food isn’t very popular but we’re very happy to be able to expose people to not only the food but a couple of drinks too,” Leite said.

While guests may have had their head spinning because of all the excitement surrounding the event, most knew which flavors stood out as their favorites.

“I really like spicy food,” said Sarah Kam, who said that one of her favorite flavors was the Tango Chili hot sauce, a tangy and salty Central-American-born condiment with a hint of lime. Kam also enjoyed a cocktail made with fresh cucumber, celery and Queens Courage gin from Astoria Distilling Company.

Craig Tamamoto said that while he enjoyed being able to taste the more unusual culinary fare at the festival, his favorite flavor was the classic burger from Bareburger, which sells organic and gourmet hamburgers in Astoria, Bayside, Forest Hills and LIC.

“It had a bacon jam on top of it, which I’d never heard of before,” said Tamamoto.

Perhaps the only person in the room who did not eat anything was QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. He said that he enjoys going to all the restaurants throughout the year, but he was so busy hosting that he would have to settle for a late-night snack at home later that night.

“I’ve got to be on to speak to everybody so I’m busy chatting,” said Bornstein. “That’s the irony. It’s all this wonderful food and I’m told it’s great, but my role is to be the host and make sure everybody has a good time.”


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Queens Taste 2015 set for May 12 at NYSCI


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

Get ready to take a bite out of Queens.

Queens Taste, an annual celebration of the borough’s diverse food scene, will take place at the New York Hall of Science on May 12, the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) announced Tuesday.

The event will give attendees the chance not only to sample food, but also to network with hundreds of others who either live in Queens or do business in the area.

Some of the culinary offerings will include La Fusta in Elmhurst, which will bring beefy Argentine fare; Jamaica’s O Lavrador, which will prepare Portuguese paella; Pa-Nash in Rosedale, with its West Indian/Moroccan fusion; and Astoria’s Zenon Taverna, which will provide Greek specialties. Latin participants include the Arepa Lady from Jackson Heights and Mexican cuisine from La Adelita in Woodside. Asian treats will come from Flushing’s Mulan, Thai Rock in Rockaway and Kimchee Smoke, which is often at LIC Flea & Food. And the Michelin-starred M. Wells Steakhouse will bring its famous beef tartare meatballs.

Queens Taste offers diverse cuisine from around the borough. (Photo courtesy of QEDC)

Queens Taste offers diverse cuisine from around the borough. (Photo courtesy of QEDC)

Also, clients of the Entrepreneur Space, a food-and-business incubator that the QEDC operates in Long Island City, will be at the event with their artisan specialties, including gluten-free products and ethnic desserts.

Long Island City’s SquareWine & Spirits will headline a beverage group that includes borough-based Queens Courage gin.

Attendees will be able to vote for the best beverage as well as the top appetizer, entrée and dessert in a people’s choice format. While they’re deciding what they like best, Big Apple Circus clowns will do magic tricks and give away free red noses.

“We’re excited to partner again with the Queens Economic Development Corp. and the Queens Tourism Council to bring neighbors together for this popular — and delicious — community event,” said Gail Grimmett, senior vice president New York for Delta Air Lines, lead sponsor of the event.

“Because of the food, drinks, desserts, people, venue and tremendous energy, I look forward to Queens Taste all year,” added QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. “It’s so much fun on so many levels.”

Queens Taste 2015 is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $125 per ticket or two for $200. To purchase tickets, visit www.itsinqueens.com/queenstaste.

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Councilman Ulrich ups graffiti removal funds by $10K


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilman Eric Ulrich

Graffiti removal has been a priority every year that Councilman Eric Ulrich has been in office, but this year he has added more funds than ever to combat the problem in his district.

Ulrich announced on Monday that he added $10,000 to his graffiti removal effort; he previously allocated $25,000 to the program back in August via his expense funding for fiscal year 2015.

The funding will go to the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), primarily its Neighborhood Development Division, which promotes economic growth by supporting community businesses. They have been working with Magic Touch Cleaning to carry out the anti-vandalism mandate.

“Graffiti is not art, it’s an eyesore that impacts property values and adversely affects our quality of life,” said Ulrich. “This allocation will strengthen efforts to remove graffiti from our neighborhoods and revitalize local small businesses corridors.”

The initiative will continue to target graffiti at six major corridors — Woodhaven Boulevard, Jamaica Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, 101st Avenue, Liberty Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard. In these areas, graffiti can be seen up and down the corridor on garages, fences and businesses, among other places.

To date, Magic Touch Cleaning has removed graffiti from roughly 100 area locations.

“Graffiti is a scourge that gives a retail area the appearance of disorder in a way that discourages shoppers while encouraging the bad element,” said QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte. “We are extremely happy to work with Council member Ulrich and Magic Touch to eliminate graffiti in commercial corridors throughout Queens.”

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Councilman Ulrich allocates $25K to clean up graffiti in district


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cross Bay Boulevard can draw comparisons to 5Pointz with the amount of graffiti that has stricken its surrounding neighborhoods, but clean-up is on the way.

In his discretionary budget, Councilman Eric Ulrich has allocated $25,000 to graffiti clean-up in the district. Ulrich is teaming up with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which will choose a company for the clean-up, for the first time and is hoping to start the job next month.

Cleaning up graffiti in these neighborhoods and all of Council District 32 is something that Ulrich has funded throughout his time as councilman, but this year he has allocated more money than ever to hit even more problem areas, according to Rudy Giuliani, a representative for the councilman.

The focus areas that Ulrich outlined are the neighborhoods of Woodhaven and Ozone Park. This is where graffiti is the biggest problem in Ulrich’s district, Giuliani said. The company that is hired by the Queens EDC will then move on to other areas in the district, which include Howard Beach, Lindenwood and the Rockaways.

 

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Queens Taste returns April 29


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) wants more people to — literally — have a little taste of Queens.

The organization announced its Queens Taste 2014, the borough’s premier food and networking event, which will take place at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing on April 29.

As Queens is known for its vast cultures and diversity, foodies attending the event can expect dozens of vendors, serving everything from Mexican to Portuguese food, and a range that includes sweet, savory, crunchy and creamy. At $100 a ticket or $175 for two, people will have access to the food and the ability to network with hundreds of others.

“I look forward to Queens Taste all year,” said Seth Bornstein, QEDC executive director. “It is so fun on so many levels. The food. The drinks. The people. The venue. The celebration.”

Clients of Entrepreneur Space, a food and business incubator that the QEDC operates in Long Island City, will be on hand with artisan specialties, including gourmet cheesecake balls and designer meatballs. Long Island City’s SquareWine headlines a spirits group that includes Queens Brewery and Punzoné Vodka among others.

Besides the food, the QEDC and the Queens Historical Society will host a table dedicated to show memorabilia from the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs as the borough is celebrating the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the events.

 

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Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios coming in May


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Astoria, get ready!

LIC Flea & Food and Kaufman Astoria Studios have announced they will be partnering up to bring the city’s first-ever backlot market called Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The new market, launching Sunday, May 4, will bring the community the best in food vendors, antiques, collectibles, art, crafts, fashion and much more.

“After a phenomenal first season in Long Island City we are thrilled to expand to Astoria,” said Joshua Schneps, Astoria Flea & Food president. “Kaufman Astoria Studios offers the perfect location and we look forward to creating a fun and vibrant destination for the community.”

Located in the studio’s outdoor lot, the first of its kind in New York City which opened in December on 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues, Astoria Flea & Food will operate every Sunday for eight consecutive weekends.

“The Kaufman Astoria Studios neighborhood has grown into a wonderfully vibrant center for art, food and culture,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president at Kaufman Astoria. “Astoria Flea is a terrific addition to our community. We look forward to making our new backlot home to eight great Sundays filled with food, art and fashion.”

Visitors will also be able to pass through a brand new 40-foot high steel gated entrance, designed by David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, located at 35th Avenue.

This market will act as an incubator to help promote and foster businesses, as well as be a fun and vibrant weekend spot for the entire family.

“This is extremely exciting news and another example that the borough is a fantastic place to live and do business,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “Kaufman Astoria Studios is a nationally recognized landmark that has hosted such classic TV shows as ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘The Cosby Show.’ It will provide the perfect scene for a flea market.”

Astoria Flea will work as a great setting for business owners to grow their businesses and gain prominence, even if they might not be ready to afford a storefront. The market will be within walking distance from the M, R, N and Q train lines.

“Astoria Flea & Food will offer a world-class shopping and culinary experience on the grounds of what has become a world-class film and television studios,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “Its unique setting and easily accessible location will be attractive to tourists and Queens residents alike.”

In addition, Astoria Flea will allow visitors to have an experience within one of the city’s most historic film and television studios, first built in 1920, which is currently home to shows such as “Orange is the New Black,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Alpha House” and “Sesame Street.”

“With this neighborhood growth comes a greater need for fostering artistic culture and strengthening our small business community,” said Councilmember Costa Constantinides. “The market will be a vibrant place for Astoria’s artists and chefs to showcase their work, and will also be a place for entrepreneurs throughout the city to gain visibility for their small businesses.”

Astoria Flea has partnered with The Queens Courier to promote every vendor of the market in the newspaper and online. In addition, BORO Magazine and the LIC Courier will also feature a monthly vendor guide focused on painters, sculptors, photographers and food.

“LIC Flea is a very successful part of the Long Island City community and its expansion to Kaufman Astoria Studios is a welcome addition to our neighborhood,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “Astoria Flea & Food will bring together the great food and artistic flair that put Astoria on the map and made it a destination for people all over the world.”

Vendors, from the small to the big, can apply to sell at the market at www.LICFlea.com. Updates will be available through the Facebook and Twitter accounts at Facebook.com/AstoriaFlea and @AstoriaFlea.

 

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LIC’s Entrepreneur Space: Helping businesses grow for the past three years


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Entrepreneur Space

For the past three years the Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City has been that light at the end of the tunnel for many aspiring self-starters looking to get into the food business.

The Entrepreneur Space, located at 36-46 37th St., is a 5,500-square-foot food and business incubator available for clients to rent by shifts, on a 24/7 basis, for a “low cost.” The space is administered by the Queens Economic Development Corporation and funded by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“There are people out there that want to [start] their own business and running a food business legally cannot be done from your home kitchen,” said Kathrine Gregory, founder of the Entrepreneur Space. “What we are doing is we are taking people out of their home kitchen and giving them an opportunity to grow a business [at] their own pace.”

The space offers clients a professional kitchen atmosphere, which includes equipment such as commercial mixers, a hearth oven, small wares and pans, a freezer, and cold and dry storage. Clients bring any ingredients or packaging needed. A client assistant is also available to help the clients with any tasks.

“We always have staff in the kitchen,” said Gregory. “You aren’t in the kitchen by yourself. You don’t have to worry about something going wrong.”

There are also classrooms and conference rooms available to rent for meetings, teaching and small or large events.

Since starting in 2011, over 400 aspiring business men and women, who Gregory calls “food-preneurs,” have come through the Entrepreneur Space. Some realized starting a food business was not for them, while others continued creating their treats.

One business that has been with the space since the very beginning is MitchMallows, which offers handcrafted marshmallows with unique flavors, such as churros and ginger wasabi.

“It was a godsend that the Entrepreneur Space even exists, otherwise a business like mine would have no home,” said Mitch Greenberg, owner and head chef of MitchMallows. “It’s the perfect solution to start up culinary businesses like mine. My business keeps growing and everyone at the kitchen is terrific to work with.”

The Entrepreneur Space celebrated its third anniversary on Feb. 11, with about 40 clients displaying and selling their products.

The celebration’s theme commemorated the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, where the Belgian Waffle made its debut. MariePaule Vermersch, daughter of the originator of the waffle in the U.S., was on hand to make waffles with the requisite powdered sugar, whipped cream and strawberries.

The event was sponsored by Coffeed, Fairway, Fortune Society and Square Wine & Spirits.

“It feels really great, I can’t believe it has been three years,” said Gregory. “The best part comes back to the people who come in with their dreams and now they see a light at the end of the tunnel and they see how they can do it. That’s the exciting part; that’s the inspiring part.”

 

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Katz rebrands Queens as center of the city in speech


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Queens is the center of New York City, according to new Borough President Melinda Katz, and she wants people from the “outer-boroughs” to know that.

Katz gave a patriotic lecture on Tuesday, explaining her economic initiatives and rebranding Queens as the city’s prime tourist destination.

“Manhattan should be known for recommending Queens restaurants and shopping, and all the cultural events that we have to offer,” Katz said.

Katz vowed to restart predecessor Claire Shulman’s “War Room” to help solve overcrowding in school, and also voiced her support for universal pre-kindergarten.

“Space is needed, pre-k is needed,” she said. “We need to at least have our children start on equal footing and get the education they need.”

The Borough President pledged that her administration will help future small businesses owners to navigate the process of creating their companies, and she plans to use real estate development projects to spur job growth.

She wants to assist Long Island City become the next major tech hub so more entrepreneurs, especially those graduating from the forthcoming Cornell-Technion school, stay in Queens.

Katz additionally expressed her excitement for Governor Andrew Cuomo taking the lead to renovate the area airports.

“You come to the city of New York, we should have the top flight– excuse the pun– airports in the entire world,” she said.

Turning to the Rockaways, Katz voiced support for permanent ferry service and said she wants reconstruction on the boardwalk “done before 2017.”

She also reiterated in the speech that she will save the New York State Pavilion.

“The speech hit all the right notes,” said Rob MacKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “I feel that Queens is ready to steal Brooklyn’s mojo.”

 

 

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Convention center and 25-story hotel headed for Corona


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Fleet Financial Group

A convention center complex as big as a city block, with a 25-story hotel and apartments, may be coming to Queens. 

Fleet Financial Group plans to build a roughly 106,000-square-foot convention center, the largest in the East Coast, at 112-21 Northern Blvd. in Corona.

The $200 million real estate project also includes 292 river-view hotel rooms, 236 luxurious apartments, a shopping center and a high-class restaurant.

“That area is really booming. It’s going to be great for Queens,” said Fleet president Richard Xia.

The site is near Citi Field, where a major $3 billion redevelopment project, including a mega mall, is slated for Willets Point. It is also by the Grand Central Parkway, about two miles from LaGuardia Airport.

“People pass by, but they never stop here,” said Xia, who lives and works in Flushing. “It’s going to be something that will create a lot of jobs and, in the meantime, bring a lot more business activity to Queens.”

Fleet purchased the 1.67-acre property — currently the site of the DiBlasi Ford dealership — last month for $17 million, according to Xia.

The company is also in the midst of completing an 18-story Westin Element hotel, with a medical center, at 42-31 Union St. in Flushing.

Construction of the massive complex in Corona, dubbed the Eastern Emerald Center, would create nearly 3,000 jobs, Xia said.

Work is expected to start this June and end in 2017, though the proposal still needs approval from Community Board 3, the Queens borough president and the city.

The project has support from Queens Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Seth Bornstein and Queens Chamber of Commerce President Al Pennisi.

“It sounds like a really good idea,” Bornstein said. “We lack quality, large-scale space for events. It would really be a benefit to the borough.”

Pennisi said the city “could use more than one” facility like the Javits Center in Manhattan.

“[The Chamber] thought of this project,” Pennisi said. “It’ll bring conventions of all sizes into a modern facility. Everybody will benefit from it.”

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and Victor Rodriguez, a Corona resident who owns a mini market near the proposed complex, hope the development will be a boon for the neighborhood.

“I think it’s good for us,” Rodriguez said. “It’ll bring more people here.”

But a local educator, who did not want to be named, said the slated site is near too many schools on an already accident-prone portion of Northern Boulevard.

“To have something of that magnitude, and all these people coming to town, I can’t see how that improves anything,” she said. “Money is good and people need jobs, but there are so many other things not fixed as is.”

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LIC Flea & Food Holiday Market: One of a kind gifts, food and fun


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Trees

The LIC Flea & Food Market is back for a fun-filled holiday season.

Starting Saturday, December 7, the LIC Flea & Food Holiday Market will feature a wide selection of Flea favorites and new vendors.

Vendors will be selling food, jewelry, clothing, furniture, arts and crafts, antiques, collectibles and more.

Shoppers can also buy fresh Christmas trees, wreaths and other handmade decorations from brothers Louis and Harold DeLucia of J&L Farms, who provided shoppers with fresh produce during the outdoor LIC Flea market. The brothers have now launched NYC Trees, selling Christmas trees in Astoria, Manhattan and elsewhere in Long Island City.

“It just seemed the next step to be there for the holiday market,” said Louis DeLucia. “We want to keep the relationships going and continue to provide the Long Island City residents fresh products, trees and produce.”

The DeLucias will be bringing shoppers top quality, full foliage fraser fir trees that have not been sprayed with chemicals and were picked from local farms to take home and decorate for Christmas. For a small additional fee, the trees could also be delivered to your apartment.

The brothers will be selling handmade wreaths of different sizes, made from the same trees, and decorated with pinecones and ribbons. Their LIC Flea stand will also feature kissing balls, made from tree trimmings, and winter bouquets made of white birch.

Christmas trees are also available on the NYC Trees website at www.nyctrees.com where shoppers can purchase the perfect tree and have them delivered, with installation included.

Aside from the countless vendors, LIC Flea will host live holiday music, including the Danny Wellington Band, free pictures with Santa and activities from ping-pong to soccer with the New York Cosmos soccer club, the new NASL Soccer Bowl Champions.

The New York Cosmos players will be signing autographs at the holiday market each day from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., with names of players still pending. Visitors will also be able to practice kicks using inflatable goal stands.

Before the newly-launched LIC Flea & Food Holiday Market’s opening day, the LIC Partnership will be hosting a VIP Holiday Party on Thursday, December 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the site of the market. The celebration, sponsored by Modern Spaces, will include networking, a sneak peek of a selection of the Flea’s unique vendors, and installation by local artists. To RSVP for the party email yhuang@licpartnership.org.

This holiday’s LIC Flea will run Saturdays and Sundays, starting December 7, in the warehouse connected to the original outdoor lot at the corner of 5th Street and 46th Avenue.

The site is walking distance from the No. 7, E and G trains, and the LIC East River Ferry stop. It can also be accessed directly from Gantry Park’s walkway, along Anable Basin. A parking garage is available on 5th Street.

LIC Flea has partnered with the East River Ferry, Queens Economic Development Corporation, TF Cornerstone, the champion New York Cosmos and LIC Partnership.

Interested vendors can still apply by visiting www.licflea.com or calling 718-866-8089.

 

LIC FLEA & FOOD HOLIDAY MARKET VENDORS:

Tea N Milk
djinaba konde
Stella Sparkle Jewelry
Frank Gabrielson
J&L Farms
Bibingka-esk
Handpie
Infanata
Oconomi
Laila Alexander
Elephants Factory
Vint & York
Imran Jewl
Baked Apple
Forever B, LLC
Sweet Drift
Clean Plate
Hormans Pickles
Vivian Jewelry
Al Finnie
Zachary Alexander
Spoil My Bitch
Bills Balls
Latif
C Designs
Jam Jar
Rebecca Dolber Collections
Jessy’s Pasteries
Woody’s Cabin
Fav’s Treatery
Broadway Silk
Topisec
Amaki
Wonderful World of Hoz
Butcher Bar
Pita Pan
Back Thennish
Khao Man Gai
Ceil Witherspoon
Antique Antiques
Goen
Strung Out
Olive Brooklyn
Wolfy Knits
Kafe con arte
Cat Jones NY
Jessica LoBuo
2 Fab Chicks
Ice & Vice
Nomad Truck
Calmer Sutra Tea
Carmen Anderson NY
Glam Mom NY
Lynn Ellis Naretti
Filthy Farm Girl
Mushpa y Mensa
Robert Espirel
Counter Clockwise Antiques
New Amsterdam Baking
Carib Delights
Nuts & Bolts Brooklyn
JJ Fondrisi

 

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Queens helps with de Blasio transition


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy the Long Island City Partnership

Queens is taking part in Transition NYC.

Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of 60 leaders and experts to his transition committee on Wednesday, November 20.

“My charge to the transition team is to identify women and men from every part of our city and walk of life that share a commitment to progressive and competent city government,” said de Blasio. “They will be advising me based on their wealth of experience and knowledge of specific issue areas and government agencies.”

The Transition NYC team members, who will be volunteering their time during the transition, include several leaders from Queens organizations and institutions.

They are Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, executive director, Queens Council on the Arts; Udai Tambar, executive director, South Asian Youth Action; Elsie Saint Louis, executive director, Haitian-Americans United for Progress, Inc.; Dr. Marcia Keizs, president, York College, The City University of New York; and Jukay Hsu, founder, Coalition for Queens.

“I am honored to be contributing to the creation of a new administration, a team New Yorkers can be proud of,” said Krakauer in a post on the Queens Council on the Arts website. “And to do that I will look to you, the creative citizens of this amazing borough, for your ideas and thoughts to bring back to the big table.”

Queens also took part in the new administration’s transition through two panel discussions that were held at the de Blasio Talking Transition Tent in downtown Manhattan on Friday, November 22.

“Thrive in Queens,” hosted by The Noguchi Museum, the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Long Island City Partnership, focused on the creative sector of the borough.

According to The Noguchi Museum Director Jenny Dixon, who moderated the first panel, they also spoke about “the need for greater marketing dollars and better public transportation,” and requested that the de Blasio administration “affirm the borough of Queens through an inclusive agenda weighted equally for all of the five boroughs.”

“A great gathering of Queens folks were in the audience and similarly a great group of Queens’ economic drivers were represented on the panel,” said Dixon.

“We hope what we have to say will be heard.”

 

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Corona to benefit from $800K Chase gift to Neighborhood Plaza Partnership


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras’ Office

Corona Plaza has received a helping hand, along with other public plazas around the city,  to become cleaner, greener and part of the community.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras gathered with local representatives, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and residents on Tuesday to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership (NPP).

The gift allows the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods to have the support to keep public plazas clean, green and vibrant for the communities.

“Because our community deserves the same kind of public amenity as any other, we have rallied around the Plaza Program and this site for more than five years,” said Ferreras. “The Queens Economic Development Corporation has forged a wonderful partnership with the Queens Museum of Art to provide countless free programs and events year-round to hundreds of local residents. Their donated time and energy has truly made Corona Plaza one of the best public spaces anywhere in New York City. We are delighted that, thanks to Chase, the excellent service NPP provides here will expand to our sister plazas in other parts of Queens and across the City.”

The NPP gives the community partners affordable, high-quality plaza maintenance and horticulture care through The Horticultural Society (The Hort) and The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE NY). Together with Chase, the NPP helps create jobs and will work to make sure the DOT Plaza Program grows in all five boroughs.

The November 26 announcement included music from La Cumbiamba and activities from the Uni Pop-Up Library. Students from P.S. 16 in Corona spent the morning gardening and released ladybugs to show the “transformative power of neighborhood plazas.”

Ferreras also presented Edgar Gutierrez, store manager of the local Walgreens, with the “Daily Point of Light” award from the Points of Light Foundation for his volunteering and efforts to promote Corona Plaza.

“Corona Plaza is the perfect place to announce this visionary philanthropic gift from Chase, and to bestow a national award for volunteerism on Mr. Edgar Gutierrez – one of our many unsung heroes,” said Ferreras.

 

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Op-ed: Making a BID for the Jackson Heights-Corona commercial corridor


| oped@queenscourier.com

SETH BORNSTEIN

In Queens, we take tremendous pride in where we live, work and play. Whether we are in Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing or Jackson Heights, each community is unique with distinctive charms. Each neighborhood’s face is its commercial shopping district, where we buy goods, dine, stroll, and meet friends. It’s like going into “town” whether it’s around the corner from home or a bus ride away. The best commercial corridors are places we want to frequent; they are clean, safe and attractive and provide the goods and services we seek. We are fortunate that our borough has more than 100 of these strips.

The ones that really stand out are the Business Improvement Districts – or BIDs. These areas have distinct advantages; they allow local businesses to take control and make decisions to keep them cleaner, safer and more inviting. In Queens, there are BIDs in Astoria, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, Ridgewood Sunnyside and Woodhaven. All have enlivened their communities, benefiting businesses, residents and shoppers. Without exception these corridors are better places to do business now than they were prior to the BID designations. Just look at the cleaner streets, fewer retail vacancies and increased property values.

Under the direction of members, BIDs enhance and improve the look, feel and ambiance of the street. And in every single instance, the BIDs in Queens have proved their worth. They are bargains, too. Fees are based on property size, and the average cost per store owner is $37.50 per month. Considering what shopkeepers pay for sanitation tickets and holiday lights, this is a real savings. Other benefits include staffers who advocate for the business community.

The proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID will tie together the Roosevelt Avenue commercial corridor. One of the borough’s most important, this long shopping strip under the No. 7 train is certainly worthy of a BID. Between 82nd Street and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, there are over 1,000 small businesses that are vital to the area’s economic well-being. In the last few years, the 82nd Street Partnership has increased services, adding cleaning, marketing and promotional programs. The Queens Economic Development Corporation is proud to have helped transform Corona Plaza at 103rd Street into a pedestrian paradise that has been heralded as one of the best public spaces in the city. (My prediction: It will get even better!) But to maintain these improvements and enhance the entire commercial strip, a BID is crucial.

Change is sometimes daunting. But BIDs throughout the city have created stable and exciting commercial districts. I invite any skeptic to walk with me through any borough BID and witness their vibrancy, cleanliness and diversity.

Seth Bornstein is the Executive Director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation and has helped establish many BIDs in the borough.

 

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Potential plans for Corona Plaza released


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of The RBA Group

Corona residents and business owners got a first look into the future of Corona Plaza.

Before 2012, Corona Plaza, located on Roosevelt Avenue between National and 104th Street, was a busy area filled with trucks, traffic and no open space. After the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC) partnered with the Queens Museum, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and other local groups, the plaza became an open public space allowing residents and visitors to sit down and relax.

Although the public space was expected to be temporary, in March the Department of Transportation (DOT) met with the community to introduce first plans and designs for keeping and improving Corona Plaza as a public space.

During this meeting the public gave its input as to what they wanted to add to the plaza and picked the best initial design from three options.

“We want the community to feel like this is their spot and they helped build it,” said David Strauss, director of external Affairs and Capital Projects of the Queens Museum, which has been working close with the community to receive continuous, direct input.

The DOT and design firm The RBA Group met with the community for a second time on August 24, during the plaza’s one year celebration, to debut two options of the first renderings of the future Corona Plaza.

“We really wanted that second meeting to be outside and allow the people to come up and give their input,” said Prerana Reddy, director of public events at the Queens Museum. “I feel like we’re hearing the same things over and over, so it feels like we got it. People were excited about it.”

Some of the ideas that were included in the renderings were plaza seating, bicycle racks and corrals, a stage for cultural performances, green area, benches, additional trash cans, signage, improved lighting for security, utilizing the space under the No. 7 train for storage, an information/storage kiosk and a drinking fountain.

“Corona Plaza is a vision that the community and I had shared for several years,” said Ferreras. “Since its creation, it has only continued to attract more and more visitors who are seeking a place to meet friends, enjoy a cup of coffee and take in the rich diversity that is our district. As additional plans for the plaza continue to unfold, it is my hope that Corona continues to thrive and becomes a must-see destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike.”

The DOT and design firm will now present the renderings to the city’s Public Design Commission in the next couple of months. According to Reddy, the earliest the community will see the new plaza would be by 2015.

 

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