Tag Archives: Queens Tourism Council

Op-Ed: State grants go to boost Queens tourism


| oped@queenscourier.com


BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER MARGARET MARKEY

With 52 million visitors to New York City last year, Queens is already the city’s second most important borough for the tourist and travel industry. This year, thanks to economic development funding from New York State, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tourism Council we are setting out to unlock even more of the tremendous potential of this economic sector for our borough.

There are currently more than 43,000 tourism-related jobs in Queens, nearly 100 hotels and a host of museums, cultural organizations, restaurants and such major venues as Citi Field, the U.S. Tennis Association and Resorts World Casino.

To help spread the word about this array of attractions and services in what must be the most diverse county in America, I am proud to have provided a grant of $70,000 to the Queens Tourism Council for the coming year.

This funding from the NY State Department of Economic Development’s “I Love NY” program will enable the Council to conduct an aggressive multi-media marketing campaign to promote businesses and cultural attractions to residents of the Tri-State Area and to establish a presence at international travel and hospitality conferences.

Another major tourism program that will debut this summer is the “This is Queens” smartphone app, developed with $100,000 in tourism funding from the New York State Department of Economic Development.

Launching in time to capitalize on the many thousands of new visitors who will come to Queens for the U.S. Open and the Major League All-Star Game, the free service will tell visitors where they can stay and eat and will also suggest additional activities for them at locations throughout the borough. It will also provide photos and information on the borough’s cultural and entertainment attractions and provide directions by train, bus or walking.

Unlocking the enormous economic potential of the tourism industry in Queens has long been an important goal for me.

When I was a member of the senior staff of Borough President Claire Shulman in 1990s, I created the first tourism program for Queens by establishing the Queens Tourism Council.  From that beginning with an emerging array of museums and cultural destinations and only a handful of hotels, the Council now has 50 entities and continues to grow.

As we see the continuing enhancement of Queens cultural facilities and historic sites and the expansion of tourism and entertainment opportunities in locales as diverse as Long Island City and Flushing, we can expect the travel industry to continue to produce new jobs and economic vitality for our borough and I am delighted that the State of New York State is helping.

Assemblymember Margaret Markey, who represents the 30th District of Queens, is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development.

 

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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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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

 

 

Valentine’s Day events in Queens


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo www.dreamsandmemories.net

If you want to do more than just dinner on Valentine’s Day here are some romantic events happening in Queens on February 14.

Valentine’s Dinner Cruise, 7 p.m. Take the Skyline Princess for a four-hour, all-inclusive, romantic tour of NYC harbor with a three-course buffet dinner, premium open bar, free parking at the marina, and DJ entertainment. $88. World’s Fair Marina Pier 1, Flushing, www.skylinecruises.com.

afroTango (special Valentine’s Day performance), 8 p.m. A world premiere with music arranged and directed by Latin Grammy winner Raul Jaurena, followed by a wine and tapas reception with the stars of the show. $35. Thalia Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside, www.thaliatheatre.org.

Much Ado About Nothing, 8 p.m. On opening night of a show that runs until March 2, patrons receive chocolates, a rose and two glasses of pink bubbly in a two-for-$30 deal. Tickets normally $18. The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd St., Long Island City, www.secrettheatre.com.

Romantic Evening of Dinner and Cabaret Performances with DeeAnne Goreman, 8 p.m.,  A rising talent on the jazz scene, Goreman is influenced by industry favorites including Ernestine Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horn and Jimmy Scott. Focusing on her own interpretations of jazz standards, Goreman has profitted from the city’s wealth of musical treasures. In the recording studio, in addition to working with composers and DJs on various projects, Goreman’s own first demo of standards, which she arranged, co-edited, mixed and mastered, and her second recording of select favorites – given a special jazz/Latin/MidEast touch by her rhythm section – drew attention and praise, as well as airplay on Israeli radio. Onstage, her live performances have varied from blending her own poetry with jazz song, cabaret productions she co-wrote and in which she appeared, to regular jazz gigs at both private events and public venues. Tickets for this one of a kind event are $40 per person and reservations are required. To make reservations, email rarbarlic@gmail.com or call 718-729-9009. Rest-Au-Rant, 30-01 35th Avenue,  Long Island City, www.rarbarlic.com.

Valentine’s Weekend Spectacular, 8pm. On the ultimate date night, a fantastic lineup of headliners — Mark Riccadonna, Leighann Lord, Andy Hendrickson, Scott Sharp, Miguel Dalmau and Dina Hashem — debating the he-said/she-said hilarities of life. $30, includes two soft drinks, glasses of wine or two draft beers. Laughing Devil Comedy Club, 47-38 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, www.laughingdevil.com.

-Events courtesy of the Queens Tourism Council / The Queens Courier 

 

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Ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week offers good food, great deals


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

Queens residents will be able to sample a slew of borough restaurants — and it won’t take a bite out of their budget.

The ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week kicks off next week with many eateries offering prix-fixe menus at $25 for a three-course meal. The focus is on restaurants in the borough that are widely ignored during NYC Restaurant Week.

“Sure, you can get great meals all over the city, but if you want the real thing, the real flavors, the real country you come out to Roosevelt Avenue, or Astoria Boulevard or Jamaica, there’s great places all over,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.

That diversity was highlighted at the kickoff event outside Queens Borough Hall on Tuesday, October 2. Rain could not keep scores of foodies from sampling fare from restaurants offering Mexican, Cajun, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines.

“The first thing I did was get some clam chowder from London Lennie’s,” Borough President Helen Marshall said.

As people lined up to get a taste of what was to come, many raved about the wide array of eats.

“The pulled pork mac and cheese was amazing,” said Jamaica resident Betty Bishop about Bourbon Street’s offering.

Queens Restaurant Week had humble beginnings, Marshall said, having only about 10 eateries the first year. That list has now grown to nearly 100 and the positive response has resulted in it being extended to two weeks — October 8-11 and October 15-18.

“Last year was our first year [participating], and we did really well. We got a lot of new customers who kept coming back,” said Patty Medina, owner of Uncle Peter’s in Jackson Heights.

Restaurants from every corner of the borough are involved in the event. For a full list of participating restaurants click here.

Restaurant Week is presented by the Queens Tourism Council and is sponsored by Melrose Credit Union, JetBlue, Resorts World Casino New York City, Restaurant Depot, Tequila Sunrise of Bayside, The Queens Courier and The Best of the Boro.

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.

Discounts will help you discover Queens’ ‘Real Culture/Authentic Flavor’


| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Phil Hertling

Now you can experience the “Real Culture/Authentic Flavor” of Queens.

Local officials, along with the Queens Tourism Council, launched the first ever “Real Culture/Authentic Flavor” summer promotion program, designed to highlight Queens activities and attractions for locals and tourists.

“There’s a lot to do here in America’s most diverse county,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “This program will highlight dozens of events and attractions here in Queens, and tell visitors how to get discounts.”

Through a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation, the Tourism Council is providing special offers to various venues in Queens through brochures, websites and even Facebook. The main focus is bringing people into the restaurants and entertainment centers in the borough such as Citi Field, the US Open and Resorts World Casino New York City.

“It’ll be difficult deciding where to go, what to eat, and which bargains to take advantage of,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “Real culture, authentic flavor? It’s in Queens.”

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a lifelong resident of Queens, strongly believes in what the borough has to offer.

“[Queens] is the heart and soul of culture and the arts,” he said. “Queens is the greatest borough in New York City.”

The Queens Tourism Council and its partners hope to attract more tourists and excite more locals over the next several months.

According to Assemblymember Grace Meng, the program will make it much easier for parents in the borough.

“As a mom of two young kids, if you’re hanging out in Queens you can get home really quickly,” she said. “So that’s definitely a perk.”

“Real Culture/Authentic Flavor” is set to run through November 30. For more information, visit www.discoverqueens.info; and on Facebook:

Discover Queens or Queens, New York.

 

Queens museums taking part in Museum Week


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Museum of the Moving Image

Queens museums are gearing up to make history with the first-ever New York State Museum Week.

From May 31 until June 6, local participating sites will join approximately 250 state-wide museums, zoos, gardens and art centers in an effort to lure residents and foreign visitors alike with special discounts to showcase their unique exhibits.

“Museum Week is a wonderful way to put the spotlight on the terrific array of educational, cultural and historic attractions that are available in Queens and throughout the state,” said Assemblymember Margaret Markey, chair of the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports Development Committee.

Queens sites include the Museum of the Moving Image [MMI] in Astoria; the Louis Armstrong House Museum; King Manor Museum; the Noguchi Museum; the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum at Citi Field; and the Queens Botanical Garden [QBG].

The week-long initiative was created by the New York State Department of Economic Development and is sponsored by the “I love NY” campaign.

It is designed as a way to get the word out about local and state-wide attractions to residents, who may not have known of quality art so close to home.

“It’s a great chance for people to do something that they wouldn’t normally do and the not get hit in the pocket book or burn extra gas,” said Rob MacKay, an executive member of the Queens Tourism Council, a section of the Queens Economic Develop Corporation.

The sites are advertising special offers such as half-off admission and up to 25% off souvenirs at the QBG, and a two-for-one special admission deal to the MMI by mentioning the NYS Museum Week.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum is planning to offer patrons $10 off any entrée at Bourbon Street restaurant in Bayside with admission.

“The Louis Armstrong House Museum is thrilled to participate in the first New York State Museum Week,” said Museum Director Michael Cogswell. “Queens has it all — science museums, art museums, film museums, botanical gardens, historic houses and so much more.”