Tag Archives: Queens Economic Development Corp

Op-ed: The spirit of giving


| oped@queenscourier.com


COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

Every year, the holiday day season gives us an extra special opportunity to reflect upon our blessings and take time to give back to those we love.

With Chanukah just ending and Christmas and Kwanzaa fast approaching, it’s clear that the spirit of giving is already in the air – almost everywhere you look you see folks with shopping bags full of holiday presents just waiting to bring joy.

While I have always found truth in the age-old saying “Tis better to give than to receive,” I could not help but relish the happiness that one sizable gift brought to our community last week.

On November 26, just days before Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of joining Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and representatives from the Queens Museum and the Queens Economic Development Corp. at Corona Plaza to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from J.P. Morgan Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

This gift will not only benefit countless New Yorkers by creating 100 jobs for workers maintaining 20 of the City’s existing plazas, but it will also ensure that the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods, like Corona, will have the support they need to maintain clean, green and vibrant public plazas.

Since 2008, the DOT has installed 22 plazas throughout the City, and it plans to bring another 37 in the near future with the goal of putting all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of quality open space.

Corona Plaza is a perfect example of how effective and important these green spaces are to our local neighborhoods. To so many children who grow up in apartments without any front or back yards, neighborhood plazas are the only safe access they have to the outdoors.

Just 18 months ago, the site where Corona Plaza now sits was open to traffic and cluttered with parked trucks, causing a safety hazard for all pedestrians entering and exiting the nearby subway platform. Today, the plaza is a space bursting with activity, serving as the go-to destination where locals can have a cup of coffee, exercise outdoors and enjoy free family-friendly events.

Public plazas go a long way in helping our communities enhance economic activity, air quality, community safety and the overall quality of life.

Although Chase’s gift will undoubtedly go a long way in improving plazas throughout the City, it’s clear that there is still much work that needs to be done. The cost just to maintain Corona Plaza alone ranges between $50,000 and $75,000 every year, not including the hundreds of volunteer hours donated by those who want to add to the beautification efforts.

This holiday season, I urge everyone to spend time at their nearest neighborhood plaza and consider the immense benefits they generate. If you can spend just a fraction of your time investing in your local plaza, you will not only help improve these vital green spaces, but you will also create a better future for generations to come.

In the spirit of giving, please consider volunteering at your local plaza today. The gift of your time will surely be one that keeps on giving!

To learn more about the services offered by the DOT Public Plaza Program, please visit www.nyc.gov/plazas or contact 311 or plazas@dot.nyc.gov.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. Through her leadership, Corona Plaza continues to be a premiere outdoor destination for the local community.

 

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‘This is Queens’ app launches


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

All of Queens is now available right in your pocket.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of the “This is Queens” app for Android and iPhone mobile devices on June 27, in time for tons of tourists at upcoming major events in the borough.

The app, which can be downloaded at ThisisQueens.com, is free and lists numerous Queens sites, restaurants, hotels and adventures that tourists and even residents can experience.

“This is going to help people around the world learn about all the great things they can do in Queens,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “And we’re not talking about the normal things. We talking about visiting 5 Pointz in Long Island City, we’re talking about taking kayak rides on the East River.”

The New York City Regional Economic Development Council supported the application and pushed for funding from the New York State Department of Economic Development, which gave the chamber $100,000 to develop it.

The app is expected to attract fans attending the upcoming MLB All Star Game at Citi Field next month, the U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in August and the 2014 Super Bowl at the Metlife Stadium next year.

After viewing the events visitors can use the app learn about unique sights, diverse restaurants or get exclusive deals from businesses in Queens.

“People use the Internet today for just about every part of their life and so to have this app sends a message to people all around the world that we are on the map,” said Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik. “It will bring a lot of tourism dollars here, a lot of investment and we are looking forward to that investment as the years go forward.”

“This is Queens” was developed in two-and-a-half months by Digital Natives, a digital marketing agency in Long Island City. The app is real time and will be upgraded to reflect changes to businesses and sites, such as the designation of Forest Park Carousel in Woodhaven as a landmark, which occurred the day before the app was launched.

Businesses and Queens sites already seem to be excited about the app.

“We have so many events, programs for the entire family, this [app] is great so that people know what is going on in Queens,” said Malika Granville, a spokesperson from Flushing Town Hall.“If they’re looking for something to do on a Sunday they zoom through the app and ‘oh Flushing Town Hall has free yoga.’”

The app is not optimized for iPads, however, so pictures and passages won’t appear as they should. And although the app represents the most diverse borough in New York, English is the only language currently available, while plans to add Spanish, Chinese, Korean and other languages are in the works.

 

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Mets stars announce Sandy relief efforts, offer sneak peek of Queens Taste 2013


| events@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of Queens Economic Development Corp.

Legendary former New York Mets pitcher Ron Darling and current outfielder Mike Baxter, a Whitestone native, headlined a small business luncheon at the Irish Circle Tavern in Rockaway Beach on May 7. In addition to signing autographs and posing for photos, the athletes discussed Citi’s local efforts to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy and plugged Queens Taste 2013. The Irish Circle is one of about 45 restaurants and other food or beverage purveyors that will offer samples for roughly 800 attendees at Queens Taste 2013.

Tickets for Queens Taste 2013 are available at www.queensny.org or 718-263-0546.