BY NATHAN DUKE
Queens will get its chance to shine in March during a second annual event that connects borough business leaders with the elected officials who represent them in Albany.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s office will host Queens Day in Albany on March 20. The Queens Tribune and PRESS of Southeast Queens will be the event’s media sponsor.
The borough’s business leaders, restaurants, cultural organizations and tourist groups will trek to the state’s capital to meet with state leaders and give them an understanding of Queens’ needs and concerns, but also introduce them to its culture and cuisine.
“We had a really good first year out of the gate, and now we want to add to it and refine it,” said Tom Grech, the president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “It seems now more than ever that Queens has emerged—even since last year—with development finally underway at Willets Point, shovels in the ground at Resorts World Casino and other real estate opportunities in the borough. Melinda Katz has been reelected and I know she’ll work really hard in her second term to grow the borough.”
Buses will leave from the chamber of commerce—located at 75-20 Astoria Blvd. in Jackson Heights—at 6:30 a.m. on March 20 and take attendees to Albany, where they will engage in a day filled with activities and food.
The event will include breakfast, a luncheon and an evening food tasting that will include Queens restaurants and performances by Queens cultural groups. Key speakers during the event will include leaders in the state Senate and Assembly.
Last year, the chamber’s buses took approximately 300 people to Albany. Grech said that he is expecting more people to attend this year.
More events for Queens Day will soon be announced on the floors of the state Senate and Assembly. During the course of the day, participants will be able to take part in tours and meetings with elected officials. The entire Queens delegation is taking part in the event. Guest speakers have yet to be announced.
Grech said that the specific goals for this year’s event are still being discussed.
“We’ll be putting forth a legislative agenda that is underdevelopment now,” he said. “We’ll broadcast it in the next couple weeks. In the meantime, the message from our elected officials from the state Assembly and Senate to other members should be how important Queens is to New York City and the state.”
During last year’s event, the chamber showcased the borough’s numerous educational institutions, startups, businesses, restaurants and arts and cultural centers.
“We advocate for our members to lobby for themselves and their businesses,” Grech said.
Those interested in taking part in this year’s Queens Day in Albany should RSVP to the chamber of commerce on the group’s website at www.queenschamber.org.