Queens descends on Albany for a day
by Erica Finocchio
May 16, 2017 | 1038 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PHOTOS: MICHELLE KAWKA
PHOTOS: MICHELLE KAWKA
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Three buses loaded with business owners leaders left from the headquarters of the Queens Chamber of Commerce on May 8, headed to Albany to meet with state legislators and advocate for the borough's economy.

"It's really important to highlight what a tremendous economical driver Queens is," said Elizabeth Luskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. "We're the gateway to the world and the world's gateway to New York City.

"The businesses in Queens help New York become successful, and today is a great day to highlight all the ways in which Queens touches the rest of the state through airports and different industries," she added.

Over 250 people made the trip. The first stop was the Legislative Building, where attendees had a chance to meet with the Queens delegation in the Assembly.

"Queens is an exciting borough, it's a people's borough and it is the most diverse borough," said Assemblywoman Stacy Pheffer Amato.

Executive director Thomas Grech said he was encouraging chamber members to get more involved in state government.

"We're up in Albany to let the state legislators know that Queens has arrived," said QCC executive director Thomas Grech. "We need to improve the infrastructure of Queens and we need state help."

Attendees were then invited to the State Senate building, where state senators Toby Stavisky and Jose Peralta spoke about Queens in the Senate room.

"Queens is more than an outer borough, Queens is more than a place just to get a good meal," Stavisky said. "It is a place where people all over the world seek refuge."

Those who made the trip had a wide variety of reasons for doing so.

Andrea Maldonado is executive assistant for EMU Health services at 83-40 Woodhaven Boulevard.

"I came today because health is a nationwide topic, and we believe that it is important for us to join the chamber's effort to help our community understand the potential challenges in health services being delivered to Queens," she said.

Dawn Kelly is vice president of Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and new owner of the Nourish Spot. She said she attended Queens Day to advocate on behalf of the center and her own business.

"As a new owner of a juice bar, I want to make sure that my small business receives attention and commitment from the state government," Kelly said.

To conclude Queens Day, there was a tasting of the borough's many food and beverage options, from 10 Below Ice Cream in Flushing to samples from Murray Cheese in Long Island City and strawberry banana crepes from T-Swirl Crepe in Flushing.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) was giving away products made in Queens, from hot sauce to tea.

"I think Queens made a mark today in Albany," said QEDC board president Emily Lin.

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