Tag Archives: QEDC

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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Op-Ed: More airport terminal gates = More Queens jobs


| oped@queenscourier.com


BY SETH BORNSTEIN

In late May, Delta Airlines officially opened nine more gates at JFK’s Terminal 4. This is great news for the borough of Queens and our on-going efforts to create, retain and attract jobs.

Here at the Queens Economic Development Corporation, where I serve as executive director, we offer numerous business- services programs that provide counseling; train people to get proper licenses and permits; coordinate commercial revitalization programs to upgrade our commercial neighborhoods; operate the Entrepreneur Space, a business incubator for small food businesses; and run the Queens Tourism Council, which promotes our cultural and recreational venues.

However, the most overlooked economic development program in Queens is not offered by my office. Rather, that program consists of our two Queens airports: LaGuardia and JFK.

The two airports are the unsung heroes of job creation and retention in Queens — with over 50 percent of airport employees being borough residents. That’s why so many of us know someone connected to the airports — whether it’s a friend who is a gate agent, a relative who works at a hotel or a neighbor who runs a catering company that supplies an airline.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates LGA, JFK, Newark and two additional regional airports, generates close to 500,000 jobs, $25.6 billion in wages and $65 billion in total economic activity. In Queens, LaGuardia generates over 100,000 jobs, about $5 billion in wages and almost $14 billion in total economic activity. JFK generates more than twice the number of jobs and wages as LGA — thanks to the large cargo presence, with a total of over $30 billion in economic activity.

The simple fact is that more gates at JFK means more jobs for Queens. The Port Authority estimates that for every 1 million passengers the airports serve, 4,100 jobs are created annually in the region. These are direct airport jobs as well as jobs in the myriad of businesses in and around the airport, including restaurants, florist shops, car rentals, gas stations, uniform manufacturers and retail establishments, as well as the tourism industry. And the people of Queens have benefited from this more than any other county.

Additionally, the Port Authority awards hundreds of contracts every year to New York-based firms for work at LGA and JFK. Last year alone totaled $68.5 million. Since the implementation of the Queens Air Service Development Office, which was founded at the QEDC over 25 years ago, the borough has been awarded nearly 7,000 contracts, totaling approximately $1.1 billion to Queens-based operations. Organizations such as All Lock and Glass Service Inc. of Long Island City, Glenridge Fabrications of Ridgewood, Solar Insulation Company Inc. of Maspeth and Capital Contractors Inc. of Douglaston. In addition, many small and minority-owned businesses have taken advantage of the Air Services Office.

Unfortunately, the future of this highly successful airport jobs program is in jeopardy. This is because our region’s airports are facing severe capacity limitations that will only get worse in the coming decades.

A critical component of the effort to increase airport capacity is the implementation of technological advances needed to bring our airspace into the 21st century. This is why QEDC was a founding member of the National Coalition to Advance NextGen. NextGen is a complete overhaul of the national airspace system, from the air traffic control system to its airports, using 21st-century, satellitebased technologies, operational improvements and new procedures. The system includes never-before-attempted innovations designed to ensure future safety, capacity and environmental goals.

Portions of NextGen are already in place or being tested around the country, including in New York. Working together, New York area airports and airlines including United and jetBlue, have initiated improvements that permit some flights to fly more precise, direct paths that preserve safety, save time, save fuel and lower emissions. These changes will help ease delays and cancellations, which will in turn ensure that LGA and JFK continue to serve as engines for job growth for Queens and all of New York City.

Seth Bornstein is executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation

 

 

Rumored NHL outdoor games snub Citi Field


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

It looks like Citi Field has been “shut out” from an outdoor NHL game next season.

The Sports Network (TSN) reported the league plans five outdoor games on top of the traditional Bridgestone Winter Classic – slated between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day, 2014.

NHL officials first have to ink a deal with the teams before anything is made official.

Yankee Stadium will host two games in New York, TSN reported, with the Rangers facing off against the New Jersey Devils on January 26, and Rangers vs. Islanders on January 29, nearly coinciding with Super Bowl XLVIII, to be played just across the Hudson on February 2.

The Blueshirts played in the 2012 Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park.

Citi Field is slightly smaller than Yankee Stadium, with the latter able to hold nearly 9,000 more spectators. The home of the Amazin’s can hold 41,800; the Bronx Bombers’ stadium can fit 50,287.

But some Queens officials are already calling the NHL off-sides if Citi Field, which opened the same year as the new Yankee Stadium, is iced out of the plan.

Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), said he was disappointed the league shot for the Bronx, but is still leaving an open net for a future outdoor game.

“So as the biggest Queens fan on this planet,” he said, “I am a bit disappointed that the NHL chose a different, more remote borough for these games, but I still welcome them. Hopefully we’ll see them in Queens soon, as it would be good for the NHL executives, the players, the fans and of course our hospitality sector.”

Queens hotels will already be stacked because of overflow from the Super Bowl, MacKay said, although the game is at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. QEDC is still looking forward to the revenue these additional games could bring to the borough.

There was talk roughly five years ago of the Islanders coming to Willets Point before the team eventually settled on the already-built Barclays Center last year.

Fan group and clothes manufacturer We Bleed Blue – specializing in Rangers gear – is excited just to have outdoor hockey in New York. Founders Brendan Gebert and John Rizzo, while cheering for the same hockey team, vary in their baseball loyalties. Gebert is a Met fan; Rizzo is a Yankee fan.

Regardless, the duo told The Courier any sort of outdoor game within the city will drive more people to hockey and allow for more games of the sort in the area.

“Getting mad at the location would be like getting mad at Jay-Z for having a concert at Yankee Stadium,” Rizzo said.

“Plus we’re willing to bet that if this goes as planned, this won’t be the last time we see something like this in the area. Guess you gotta just ‘save something for tomorrow,’ and the next go around, I’d like to think Citi would get the next one.”

 

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It’s In Queens! Events around the borough


| events@queensny.org


“Visit Queens, see the world,” is one of Borough President Helen M. Marshall’s favorite sayings. Well, upcoming events will give the local visitor (and/or resident) the chance to experience aspects of various world cultures and enjoy shows by performers whose fame stretches around the globe. Here’s the rundown:

  • Sept. 27, afternoon and evening, Ella: A Swingin’ New Musical about the First Lady of Song. This new theatrical production, which opens on Sept. 27 and runs until Oct. 7, puts Ella Fitzgerald’s life into…what else?…music. Expect more than a dozen of her most famous hits. $25-$49. Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, 718.760.0064, www.queenstheatre.org.
  • Sept. 27, 7:30 pm, The Best of the Fest at the Top of the Z. The Queens World Film Festival 2012 will screen its winners: Queen by Adam Rose (Best of Festival); Easy Street by Russell Greene (Best Narrative Short); and Andrew, Story of a Closet Monster by Elliot Lobell (Emerging Filmmaker Award). $1 off wine/beer. Z Hotel 11-01 43rd Ave., Long Island City, 212-319-7000, www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.
  • Sept. 28, 6 pm, Old Hock & Bach. The Queens College Baroque Ensemble will perform J.S. Bach with Baroque Era bows. A variety of German white wines, the modern equivalent of the “Old Hock” that was listed on the 1822 inventory of Rufus King’s wine cellar, will be served. Reservations only. King Manor in King Park, near Jamaica Avenue between 150th Street and 153rd Street, Jamaica, 718.206.0545, www.kingmanor.org.
  • Sept. 29, 10 am – 7 pm; and Sept. 30, 10 am – 6 pm, Maker Faire. Deemed “The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth,” this annual event will feature more than 500 maker exhibits, the world’s most diverse showcase of creativity and innovation in technology, craft, science, fashion, art, food and more. Expect outrageous attractions such as the Life-Sized Mousetrap, Coke Zero and Mentos Show, Power Racing Series, iconic Cupcake Cars and other spectacular surprises, such as workshops on soldering, lock picking and Arduino. New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Corona, 718-699-0005, www.nysci.org.
  • Sept. 29, 11 am – 3 pm, National Estuaries Day Festival. This festival commemorates Little Neck Bay, the local estuary. Meet people from health service, recreational and civic associations, school groups and government organizations. Hike along Alley Pond Environmental Center’s unique and beautiful estuary trails, listen to live music, visit educational booths and exhibits from neighborhood organizations and participate in children’s activities and crafts. Free entertainment, hands-on demonstrations, fun games, boat and canoe rides. Please pre-register. APEC, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston, 718.229.4000, www.alleypond.org.
  • Sept. 29, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm, Viewing party for Latin Beat. Watch the encore dance performance of Latin Beat, streamed live from Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. Join viewing parties at the Cambria Heights, Central, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Langston Hughes, Lefferts, Ridgewood, Rochdale Village and Sunnyside branches of Queens Library. Free. 718.990.0704, www.queenslibrary.org.
  • Sept. 30, 3 pm, Dionne Warwick in Concert. Singer Dionne Warwick received her first Grammy Award in 1968 for “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and her second for “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.” Watch her live in Queens. Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Ave., Bayside, 718.631.6311, www.qcc.cuny.edu/qpac.
  • Sept. 30, 4 pm – 6 pm, Autumn Moon Festival. An afternoon of moon cakes, arts & crafts and cultural performances celebrating an ancient holiday that reflects on the summer harvest, the fullness of the moon and the myth of the immortal moon goddess. Bring picnic blankets and summer chairs. Free with admission. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing, 718.886.3800, www.queensbotanical.org.
  • Sept. 30, 6 pm, Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi. One of the greatest percussion ensembles in the world, the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi, have performed in the same way for centuries, passing down traditions and techniques from father to son. Their performances were traditionally a part of particular ceremonies, such as births, funerals and the enthronement of kings. In Burundi, drums are sacred and represent, along with the king, the powers of fertility and regeneration. York College Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. (between Liberty Avenue and Archer Avenue), 718.527.4357, www.york.cuny.edu/centers-institutes/performing-arts.
  • Sept. 30, 2 pm, Seventh Book Fair at Queens Museum of Art. A selected group of Caribbean authors will discuss their production and success in the publishing world at QMA’s auditorium. Following the round table, the public will have the opportunity to meet and greet the authors and enjoy the largest book party in the city at the Unisphere Gallery. Free. QMA, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 917.238.3155, www.queensmuseum.org.
  • Sept. 30, noon – 6 pm, Forest Hills Street Festival. A family fair on seven blocks with about 150 vendors, promotions, kiddie rides and crafts. Plus, Austin Street stores will be open. Rain or shine. On Austin Street from 69th Road to 72nd Road, www.foresthillschamber.org.
  • Sept. 30, 2 pm – 5 pm, 2012 Latin Pride Concert. As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latin American Cultural Center of Queens will present several performances including concerts by Francisco Cantilo and Nelson Cuevas. Free but space is limited. El Paraiso Tropical, 102-11 42nd Ave., Corona. RSVP via 718.261.7664 or laccq@aol.com.
  • Oct. 2, 7 pm, An Evening with Don Francisco, Celebrating 50 Years of Sábado Gigante. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Don Francisco —a.k.a. Mario Kreutzberger. In a rare New York appearance, the variety show host will participate in an intimate discussion with a special guest moderator and show a selection of unforgettable clips from his Saturday night show’s 50-year history presented by Univisión. Sábado Gigante is the longest-running variety show in television history, entertaining audiences around the world since it went on the air in 1962 with a mix of live entertainment, contests and human-interest stories. Don Francisco has been there from the beginning, hosting more than 2,600 episodes. $25, $15, free for Silver Screen members. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria, 718.777.6888, www.movingimage.us.
  • Oct. 3, 7 pm, Lecture on Contemporary Colombia. Ana María Ochoa, an ethnomusicologist and music professor at Columbia University, will lecture on the culture of the African-Colombian population of Colombia’s Pacific Coast. The lecture will include special guests from Bella Vista and the National University of Colombia in Bogotá. Ochoa will also talk about the 2002 massacre in Bella Vista, Bojaya. Free with performance tickets, please see following event. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, 718.463.7700, www.flushingtownhall.org.
  • Oct. 3, 8 pm, Bella Vista Dance Performance. Bella Vista is a dance commemorating the 10th anniversary of the massacre in Bella Vista, Bojaya, on Colombia’s Pacific Coast. The massacre took place in 2002 during a battle between the guerillas and the paramilitary forces. The entire town was displaced, and many were killed. By incorporating traditional dances and rhythms from Colombia’s Pacific Coast with Modern & Contemporary Dance, the performance tells this story while celebrating the strength of the survivors. $5, free for members. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, 718.463.7700, www.flushingtownhall.org.

The “It’s In Queens” column is produced by the Queens Tourism Council with the hope that readers will enjoy the borough’s wonderful attractions.

Corona plaza’s sense of community


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

DSC_2345w

Telma Reid now has a place to sit outside and eat lunch.

The child care center employee, whose Corona office is just around the corner from the neighborhood’s new pedestrian plaza, is excited for the development.

“It’s definitely an improvement in the neighborhood,” said Reid. “It looks nice.”

Once a parking lot, the pedestrian haven, now filled with chairs, tables and umbrellas and known to locals as “La Placita,” shines as a symbol of growth and development among western Queens neighborhoods. With the help of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and New York Community Bancorp, the first phase of the plaza was completed, with officials and locals excitedly awaiting the next steps.

“With this first phase, we already have a great public space that is business and people friendly, and it’ll only get better after the second phase,” said QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to install permanent street furniture, flagpoles and a water fountain as part of phase two.

Alexander Polanco, who works at the Walgreens next to the plaza, took a quick midday break in the open space, smoking a cigarette and chatting on his cell phone. He frequently comes outside during his breaks and relaxes at one of the tables. Polanco said response from the community has been predominantly positive, but some older patrons don’t like the lack of parking in front of the store. Regardless, he said the plaza has brought positive changes.

“Business has gone up,” he said. “Everyone loves it.”

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras is ecstatic that the plaza project has finally taken off. She hopes development in the neighborhood brings more safety and structure to the Roosevelt Avenue corridor.

For many years, her office received countless complaints about the dilapidated drive, overrun with seedy bars and prostitution. The councilmember said she looked forward to assisting the neighborhood’s return to prosperity.

“People want a clean space and a space they can maintain and bring their families to,” said Ferreras. “We have to take pride in our community and pride in the different projects that are rolling out so our community can improve.”

Ferreras, who grew up in the neighborhood, said residents have approached her at church, the supermarket and the hairdresser, just to tell her how happy they are to have the plaza.

The councilmember said the plaza awakened the volunteer spirit in many of her constituents, who have a newfound sense of community.

Competition to help you StartUP! your business


| brennison@queenscourier.com


Have an idea for a startup business? It may be worth $10,000.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) launched its seventh annual Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition, which will award three businesses $10,000 to get their idea off the ground.

“We are extremely happy to offer StartUP! again,” said QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein.

The competition is backed by a $50,000 grant from the Citi Foundation.

The contest includes a series of free workshops beginning in October at the Jamaica branch of the Queens Library. Running through January, classes can also be taken via webinar.

“Entrepreneurial business is the bedrock of Queens’ economy. Queens Library has so many resources to help businesses grow and succeed,” said Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO of Queens Library.

StartUP! had well over 200 participants in 42 teams submit business plans to the judges last year. The winners included a plan for an all-natural premium ice cream and sorbet truck, Itizy Gourmet; a start-up that eliminates the need to dig through purses for personal items, Seez-it; and an accent-reduction services business, Social Enterprise.

For the first time, this year’s competition will include a $5,000 entrepreneurship award handed out to a Queens College student.

James Muyskens, president of Queens College, said the school’s inclusion this year reflects the “commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit that is crucial to the borough’s development.”

To enter you must live in Queens and want to start a business that will be registered, owned and operated in the borough. Your business must still have less than $20,000 in revenue or still be in a concept phase.

Business plans are due by March 1, 2013.

For more info, visit www.queensny.org/qedc.

All-Star Game may be boom for Queens business


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Citi Field

Businesses owners are hoping that the 2013 MLB All-Star Game will hit one over the fence.

As baseball fans everywhere flock to the 84th All-Star Game next year at Citi Field, Queens businesses are prepping for the influx of customers.

“It gives Queens a huge national event. We’re planning to promote ‘the All-Star Game comes to Queens’ not to New York City,” said Rob MacKay, an executive committee member on the Queens Tourism Council, an arm of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC).

He added, “We’re very excited about it. It can bring an economic boom to the borough.”

Last week at a press conference to officially announce the Mets will host the All-Star celebration in July, 2013 — which includes the Home Run Derby, Fan Fest and the Celebrity All-Star Game — Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the event would draw in more than 175,000 fans and about $192 million to the city.

“It’s a good chance for us to A: bring people to our hotels, and then B: get those tourists to stay in Queens,” MacKay said.

It will be the second time ever the “Midsummer Classic” comes to the Mets, after its 1964 visit for Shea Stadium’s inaugural season.

MacKay hopes that fans stay at hotels in Queens over Manhattan and will then shop and visit restaurants, bars and various significant sites around the borough.

“It’s going to be huge. I’m extraordinarily excited,” said Brain Begos, general manager of McFadden’s bar across from Citi Field, who added he expects to have loads of customers from the events. “It’s great for New York, great for Queens, great for the Mets and great for McFadden’s.”

But there’s a curveball.

Edwin Rodriguez, a market manager at travel agency Expedia for the NYC metro area, researched the All-Star Game four years ago at Yankee Stadium and said the game may not bring as much business as expected.

“Expedia’s numbers show that MLB All-Star Games do not bring in huge amounts of compression for their host cities,” Rodriguez said. “All-Star Games typically don’t have the excitement that the World Series or Super Bowl would bring to a city.”

Rodriguez also said that during the 2008 All-Star Game, Bronx hotels only saw limited economic increases because the borough only had a few hotels, so most fans stayed in Manhattan.

That’s where MacKay said Queens has the upper hand, since there are about 90 hotels throughout the borough.

“We have luxury hotels that are as good as Manhattan, but $150 less,” he said.

MacKay said the Tourism Council has already begun discussing how to create packages for the hotels with various local businesses, such as “Borough Excursions,” to help fans enjoy Queens while they enjoy the baseball festivities.

“July and August are usually rough months for Queens hotels. So it’s coming at a perfect time,” MacKay said. “This is obviously a great opportunity and we’re not going to miss it.”

The QEDC crowns best in Queens Taste


| jlane@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Gary Leli

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) hosted the tenth annual Queens Taste 2012 festival at Citi Field on May 1. Fantastic food and refreshing beverages happily competed with unique networking opportunities and a festive atmosphere as 47 vendors and almost 1,000 individuals enjoyed at Citi Field’s Caesars Club on May 1.

Roughly 1,000 people attended the event to taste the food and beverages of 47 vendors. Queens Taste 2012 also included an art exhibit by Jackson Heights-based curator Zoescope, a stand up routine by Steve Hofstetter of the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City and a special appearance by Mr. Met. During the taste competition, Magna Ristorante of Flushing won the Best Entrée Award for its Penne alla Siciliana and Pollo alla omana, and Bayside’s Papazzio Restaurant won the Best Appetizer Award for its Pasta e Fagioli. The Best Dessert award went to Long Island City-based Tropisec, which creates flowers and other edible designs from dried tropical fruits.

Visa Waiver Program may boost borough tourism


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


One Queens politician is attempting to boost tourism to the borough by opening the nation’s doors to more countries.

Congressmember Joe Crowley recently announced he will introduce a measure in the House of Representatives that would encourage the federal government to expand its Visa Waver Program to include at least three new countries – Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows visitors from 36 countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Countries included in the program represented 65 percent of all tourists entering the country in 2010, amounting to the largest source of inbound travel that year. Crowley believes expanding the program will be greatly beneficial to Queens.

“We need to do all we can to make Queens a destination point, and not just a gateway to Manhattan,” said the congressmember. “The history and diversity of Queens has so much to offer to travelers, and increasing travel and tourism is one of the most effective tools we have in our pocket to spur job growth and foster economic activity on the local level. It’s simple: the easier it is for international tourists to visit the U.S., the more likely they will.”

Tourism generates $46.5 billion in economic impact for the city and supports over 300,000 jobs. While Manhattan may be the premier destination in New York, 25 percent of international travelers visited the outer-boroughs in 2010, and spent $6 billion there.

“Efforts that can lead to increased tourism opportunities are most welcome,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Congressmember Crowley’s measure will be a great help to maximize tourism and hospitality efforts in our nation’s most diverse county.”

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), which recently revived the Queens Tourism Council in an effort to unite businesses towards supporting tourism to the borough, also supported Crowley’s plan.

“As the most diverse county in the country, Queens has a great deal to offer visitors,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the QEDC. “The QEDC/Queens Tourism Council is supportive of Congressman Crowley’s efforts in showcasing our borough and encouraging more people to ‘Discover Queens’.”

 

From (Rooftop) Farm to (Restaurant) Table


| ddynak@queenscourier.com


Food and real estate. Not always in the same sentence, yet actually always connected. Our food (after it arrives from farms) is washed, sorted, peeled, processed, packaged and shipped from a warehouse in the industrial part of town. It is then sold as grocery or served by a waiter at a retail location near you. Or, for a great number of New Yorkers, delivered via bicycle, trucked by Fresh Direct, or mailed inside a box full of dry ice. It’s been this way for quite some time, ever since the farms of the Long Island began converting into factories and apartment buildings of today’s Queens County.

It seems what we eat, and how it is grown and prepared, is always undergoing transformation. For example, organizations like Brooklyn Grange, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms and BK Farmyards, among many others, grow food crops on rooftops and inside urban gardens. A growing number of restaurant chefs attempt to grow their own herbs and vegetables in the city. The most ambitious one: Valentino’s on the Green in Bayside will try to “produce 80 percent of the restaurant’s herbs, vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood and mushrooms using stacks of modified shipping containers”.

I myself have noticed increased tenant activity in the organic, sustainable and natural food category. From hydroponic farms inside warehouses to organic stores, neighborhoods like Long Island City and Astoria are slowly catching up to Brooklyn. From BluePrint Cleanse juices on 38th Street, to BAO Foods’s Kombucha Tea on Borden Avenue, ultra-healthy products made naturally or organically in Queens are making headlines nationally. BAO has even initiated a sort of a food incubator inside its factory, offering access to USDA-certified organic kitchen to start-ups and small operators who normally can’t afford access to commercial space or equipment. We’ve also worked recently with a gluten-free commercial bakery and raw cookies manufacturer. It seems everyone wants to come to this part of town because NYC is simply the most exciting market for these specialty foods.

Even the city government is chipping in. On 37th Street off Northern Boulevard, a special kind of Entrepreneur Space sponsored by Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) sits inside a warehouse: a Food and Business Incubator. It features 24/7 access to commercial kitchens, use of professional equipment, commercial refrigeration and office space for food start-ups, offered at below-market rates, allowing small businesses and newbie operations to get started without large capital investment and expensive overhead.

As food consumers, New Yorkers now have a grade system to help them choose a restaurant based on cleanliness. We judge restaurants using “A’s,” “B’s” and “C’s” as if we really understood how these grades are assigned. But looking at store shelves and menus, words like “organic,” “all-natural,” “raw” and “locally-grown” are on the rise and certainly in vogue. And, it is actually quite possible today to eat a whole meal made using ingredients entirely grown and prepared somewhere between 58th Street and the East River, between Bowery Bay and Newtown Creek. It’s come a full circle in a way, because as recently as 100 years ago most of Queens was actually all farmland. Take a trip to the Queens County Farm Museum to see the proof. Bon Appétit!

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/21/2011: Former Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy dead


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Woman fatally stabbed, 2 teens injured in Rockaways

The NYPD is investigating a stabbing spree in Queens in which a woman was killed and two teenage girls were injured. Police say the three were attacked on Beach 96th Street in the Rockaways. Police say the woman, 48-year-old Elizabeth Harris of Queens, suffered a stab wound to the abdomen and a laceration to the head. She was taken to a hospital where she later died. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

You can name a Queens park

The New York City Economic Development Corp. is asking residents to dub the 1.5 acre open space at the eastern end of Queens Plaza in Long Island City. The contest is open to New York City residents. The winning name will be selected by city representatives and the local community. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Former Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy dead

The former Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy was killed Thursday, according to the country’s prime minister. Reports early yesterday morning indicated that Khadafy was either captured or dead. Later Al-Jazeera showed footage of a man resembling the former leader bleeding from gunshot wound to the head. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Courier’s Best of the Boro: Health & Beauty nominations now open

Health is your greatest asset, but sorting through the myriad of doctors is often a fool’s errand. Now, residents who think their doctor or salon is the best can make the opinions heard by nominating them through November 17. Click here to nominate.