Downtown Flushing kicks off reopening of local business with film screening and forum

First Stop on the 7_02
Photo courtesy of The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce

It’s officially summer and as New York City enters Phase 2 of its reopening on Monday, downtown Flushing is celebrating by inviting the public to view a virtual film screening and forum on a successful local eatery called Joe’s Steam Rice Roll on Friday, June 26.

The film is produced by Daniel Nalladurai and Helena Kincaird-Nalladurai of Sixty First Productions, a Queens-based media company. The screening will take place via YouTube Live from 5 to 7 p.m. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, is organized by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Sixty First Productions, and Queens food writer Joe DiStefano, in partnership with the Museum of Food & Drink (MOFAD) and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). 

The film is part of “First Stop on the 7,” a documentary series that explores what it means to be an immigrant entrepreneur in New York City today. The film highlights the personal stories of business owners and the hurdles they’ve overcome to find success. This episode features Joe Rong, owner of Joe’s Steam Rice Roll, a humble food stall, in Flushing, selling authentic Cantonese rice rolls that has received critical acclaim from The New York Times and has branched out to the East Village and Manhattan’s Chinatown since opening in 2017.  

Photo courtesy of The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce

“Joe’s Steam Rice Roll is one of my favorite places to eat in downtown Flushing, but more important to me than his delicious cheong fun is Joe Rong’s indomitable spirit,” DiStefano said. “That spirit fueled the vision for a business squarely focused on this classic Cantonese comfort food, and I believe motivated him to be one of the first hawker stands to reopen in Flushing’s Chinatown.”

The virtual screening is part of the #FlushingRising campaign to encourage New Yorkers to return and support the business community, according to John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. 

“We are here to say Flushing is very much alive and here to stay,” Choe said. “Daniel and Helena’s film series, First Stop on the 7, is an ode to the amazing entrepreneurs who have struggled to overcome the odds and transformed what it means to be an American. If you can make it in Flushing, you can make it anywhere!”

Taehoon Kim, president of the chamber, said they’re excited to kick off the reopening of the business community with the global premiere of Joe’s Steam Rice Roll, which he says is “one of the amazing eateries that makes Flushing a foodie destination.” 

“Our business community was devastated by the pandemic and we welcome all New Yorkers to come back and help Flushing get back on our feet,” Kim said. 

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Cathy Erway, author of the cookbook “The Food of Taiwan” and the memoir “The Art of Eating In.”

Panelists will include filmmakers Daniel Nalladurai and Helena Kincaid-Nalladurai; John Choe; Joe DiStefano; Peter J. Kim, executive director of MOFAD; Eric Sze, Chef of Taiwanese restaurant 886; and Andrew Rebatta, associate curator of MOCA.

For advance registration and event details, click here.

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