Rain and clouds didn’t stop foodies from heading down to the Long Island City waterfront to get a taste of the booming neighborhood.
The Chocolate Factory Theater celebrated its Tenth Annual Taste of LIC, a community-wide festival highlighting Long Island City’s culinary and cultural accomplishments, on Tuesday night at Gantry Plaza State Park.
This year marked the event’s 10-year anniversary and featured food and beverage tasting from a record number of about 60 local restaurants and establishments.
To honor the anniversary, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who was a “Chocolate Lover Honored Guest,” presented a Citation of Honor to Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater, proclaiming June 2 as Chocolate Factory Taste of Long Island City Day in Queens.
“Long Island City is moving and shaking, but as we move and shake and as people want to come here and spend their money, let’s remember that at our core, we are a community and a neighborhood of families—and people growing right here in Long Island City and we are proud of that,” Katz said.
For the first time, and to celebrate a decade of fun, the Taste of LIC recognized 10 honorees for their contributions to the community and The Chocolate Factory Theater. Each honoree received a chocolate-colored hoodie featuring a nickname for each individual and a certificate of recognition signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Each of these people did something very special at some time where they intersected with us,” Lewandowski said about choosing the honorees.
Honorees included Michelle Coffey, Lambent Foundation; Icema Gibbs, jetBlue; Paul Januszewski, Rockrose Development Corp.; the late John Kocan; choreographer Juliana May; Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan; Martha Sherman, Audience Queen of Dance in NYC; Rebecca Trent, The Creek & The Cave and LIC Eats; playwright Mac Wellman; and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
“I love The Chocolate Factory. I love Long Island City. I love being your City Council member and champion of the arts in New York City,” said Van Bramer, who was also the master of ceremonies for the event. “It’s my honor and privilege. I will always support The Chocolate Factory and will always be there for Long Island City.”
All of the event’s proceeds will go toward The Chocolate Factory Theater, located at 5-49 49th Ave., and its season of dance, theater, music and multimedia performances.