All eyes are on Long Island City growth: Liu

The Long Island City Business Development Corporation had numerous special guests at its annual luncheon, including Comptroller John Liu (standing second from l.), Gwen Schantz and Ben Flanner of Long Island City business Brooklyn Grange (standing third and fourth from l.), Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (standing fourth from r.) and Borough President Helen Marshall (second from r.). Corporation President Gayle Baron is seated (c.). Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

As the Long Island City Business Development Corp. honored its guests at its annual luncheon last week, its guests praised how far Long Island City has come and the corporation’s success in spurring its growth.

“The entire city has its eyes on Long Island City, waiting to see what happens here,” said City Comptroller John Liu, who was the keynote speaker at the Nov. 17 event.

At the luncheon, Queens officials and business people spoke about the future prospects for Long Island City and how the corporation had contributed to the current success the neighborhood is enjoying.

“In 10 years you’ll be able to do so much more than what you already can do in Long Island City,” Liu said.

The comptroller pointed out that Long Island City economy has multiple sectors and thus has contributed to an overall plan by the city to diversify its economic base. Liu said this was linked to how his office was making an effort to approve city contracts for goods and services for small businesses that hire from the community, especially those run by women and/or minorities.

The corporation also gave out two awards. Brooklyn Grange, a commercial farm that grows vegetables on the roof of the Standard Motor Products Building at 37-18 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City, received the Green Business Award and state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) received the William D. Modell Community Service Award.

Ben Flanner, head farmer at the Grange, said he was happy to have undertaken a “pioneering endeavour” and that the corporation had assisted in the Grange’s success. He said this summer the farm grew 12,000 pounds worth of vegetables.

“I’m proud to have them as a tenant in my building,” said Jeff Rosenblum of Acumen Capital Partners LLC, which leased the roof to Brooklyn Grange.

Nolan thanked the corporation for its working partnership she had developed with them.

“Long Island City is a great place to live, work, play and learn,” she said.

Borough President Helen Marshall said there has been congestion in Long Island City as a result of the changes and that has led to conflicts, but she was confident out of this conflict growth would come.

“I’m very proud of Queens, but I’m particularly proud of Long Island City,” Marshall said.

The luncheon was part of the corporation’s annual trade show, a tradition that stretches back 25 years. Gayle Baron, president of the corporation, said the event was successful. Despite the economic downturn, the corporation sold out all its available exhibition space and had the same amount of tables filled at the luncheon as last year.

Baron said thousands attended the event and, based on discussions with the exhibitors, they had many prospective opportunities.

“They were happy with the flow, they were happy with the types of people that walked through,” Baron said.

Gary Kesner, chairman of the board for the corporation, said there were 140 exhibitors at the event.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

More from Around New York