The new year has arrived, and we can all finally stop reflecting about what a horrifically bad year 2016 might have been — and hope for better things to come this year.
Let’s begin the new year not with a resolution but with action — specifically, by looking forward to some important dates on the Queens calendar ahead. Here are just a few worth mentioning:
Jan. 27: Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will deliver her fourth State of the Borough Address, this time from York College in Jamaica. Katz will set out her agenda for what she hopes the city will achieve in Queens in the months ahead. The speech comes just a week after Donald Trump takes office as the nation’s 45th president, the first-ever Queens resident to occupy the Oval Office.
Feb. 12: Spring officially starts on March 20, but for baseball fans everywhere, the season really starts when the pitchers and catchers of their favorite teams arrive for spring training. Mets fans can mark Feb. 12 on the calendar as their start of spring, as pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie, FL to begin preparing for the 2017 baseball season. The Mets open at Citi Field in Flushing on April 3, hosting the Atlanta Braves. Might this be the year the Mets win their first World Series since 1986? We’ll see.
March 5: Sunnyside and Woodside will again play host to the St. Pat’s for All Parade, as thousands will march from the corner of 46th Street and Skillman Avenue to the intersection of Woodside Avenue and 61st Street. The annual celebration of Irish heritage, held nearly two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, was the first parade of its kind in New York City open to LGBT organizations. Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those who participated in last year’s St. Pat’s for All march.
April 11-16: Jewish and Christian residents across Queens will mark an especially holy week. April 11 marks the arrival of Passover, the Jewish festival that celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from their Egyptian captors. April 14 is Good Friday, which marks Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and precedes Easter Sunday, April 16, which celebrates his resurrection.
May 27-29: Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer, and Queens residents will again be grilling in their backyards and rushing to Rockaway beaches to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. There will also be a host of parades and ceremonies across the borough honoring the sacrifices of those who served in defense of the nation. Make sure you attend one of them and thank the troops before heading out for some summer fun!
June 10: Belmont Park on the Queens/Nassau border will host its biggest day of thoroughbred racing of the year, headlined by the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Two years ago, American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to capture the Triple Crown in winning the Belmont Stakes, and it will be a few months before we know if another horse enters the Belmont Park with a chance to do the same.
June 28: Barring any unforeseen snow days or other cancellations, this is the last day of public school in New York City for the year. Students and teachers have probably marked this on their calendars long ago, but we thought it’s worth a mention.
Aug. 1: Police precincts across the city will host the annual National Night Out Against Crime. These events feature fun activities for the family as well as the opportunity for local residents to meet with the officers who serve to protect them every day. It’s a great way for the police and the community to build a stronger bond with each other.
Aug. 28: The U.S. Open tournament will officially begin its two week run at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The tournament not only features the greatest tennis players in the world, but also a great opportunity to people-watch, with many celebrities seen watching the matches from Arthur Ashe Stadium. Visitors will find a major change to the tennis landscape, as Louis Armstrong Stadium was demolished and is being rebuilt on the footprint of the old arena. A temporary tennis stadium is being built in Parking Lot B, and the new Louis Armstrong Stadium will be served up in 2018.
Sept. 11: Communities across Queens will again hold vigils and memorial services on the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93. One of the more poignant vigils takes place in Middle Village’s Juniper Valley Park on the night of Sept. 11; the Tribute in Light, twin beams of light representing the former Twin Towers on the Manhattan skyline, is clearly visible from the park.
Sept. 12: The all-important primaries for municipal elections will be held. This year, all citywide elected offices and all 51 City Council seats will be up for grabs. With registered Democratic voters far outnumbering Republican voters across Queens, the primaries will be the deciding contest for many local seats. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is seeking a second term in office, already has one challenger in the Democratic primary in Queens State Senator Tony Avella, and other Democrats are reported to be considering a challenge to the incumbent mayor. Who will occupy Gracie Mansion and the offices of City Hall will officially be decided in the Nov. 7 general election.
Oct. 31: Halloween falls on a school night this year, but that won’t stop thousands of kids across Queens from roaming the streets to go trick-or-treating. Communities across the borough will also hold Halloween parades around this time, including Glendale, which has the oldest such parade in all of Queens.
Nov. 24: Thousands of bargain-hunters will again fill malls across the borough the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Others will head to their local shopping strips the next day for “Small Business Saturday” specials. The week after Thanksgiving also brings a host of holiday activities across Queens including tree/menorah lightings and concerts celebrating the season.
Dec. 25: Christmas Day is just 357 days away. Have you filled out your wish list yet?
Happy New Year from all of us at QNS!