BY NATHAN DUKE
On March 20, Albany will host the second annual Queens Day, during which borough business leaders, cultural organizations and restaurateurs will get a chance to discuss Queens’ needs with state legislators and give them a sense of what the borough is all about.
The event will be hosted by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s office and the Queens Chamber of Commerce, which will shuttle several hundred people to the state’s capital. The Queens Tribune and PRESS of Southeast Queens will be the event’s media sponsor.
Tom Grech, the president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said that the event is a great opportunity for state legislators to sample Queens’ cuisine and learn about its diversity and cultural institutions, while at the same time giving borough business leaders the chance to discuss their concerns with the elected officials who represent them.
“We want to continue to advocate for the issues that are important to Queens businesses and residents and continue to have a voice up in Albany,” said Grech, adding that the intention is to make Queens Day an annual event.
During last year’s event, the chamber showcased the borough’s numerous educational institutions, startups, businesses, restaurants, and arts and cultural centers.
In the morning, participants will meet with the state Senate and Assembly members from the Queens delegation. This will be followed by a lunch, to which Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and state Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) have been invited.
There will be a food tasting at 5 p.m. at The Egg, a performing arts venue. Katz will speak during the event.
During the course of the day, participants will be able to take part in tours. The entire Queens delegation is expected to take part in the day’s activities.
Grech said that approximately 25 to 30 Queens restaurants, beverage providers and other food purveyors are expected to join in the event.
“We have a whole host of restaurants from last year and a bunch of new ones as well,” Grech said.
Some of the participating restaurants include Astoria’s Mama’s Empanadas, Howard Beach’s Russo’s on the Bay and Glendale’s Zum Stammtisch.
Buses will leave the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s office, located at 75-20 Astoria Blvd. in Jackson Heights, at 6:30 a.m. on March 20 and depart from Albany at 7:30 p.m. Grech said that those interested in attending should RSVP on the group’s website at www.queenschamber.org.