Business leaders from across the borough made the annual pilgrimage to Albany for “Queens Day,” which was held in person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago.
The annual event, hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce at the state Capitol on May 10, promotes small business and tourism throughout the borough.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of Queens’ diverse neighborhoods, and throughout the pandemic, they have played an essential role in keeping our communities afloat, all while facing unprecedented challenges,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “One of the most important things we do as a chamber is advocate for the interests of our members. It was inspiring to meet with our elected representatives in person, so they could hear from our members first-hand about the challenges they face. I thank all of the business leaders who joined us, as well as Senator [Joseph] Addabbo and his colleagues in the Legislature, who listened to their concerns.”
Addabbo, who chairs the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, delivered remarks during a luncheon with chamber members, who later met with dozens of state Senate and Assembly members.
“One of my favorite days during the legislative session is Queens Day in Albany,” Addabbo said. “It was great to welcome back Queens Day to Albany, demonstrating that we can overcome a pandemic and make attempts to return to normal life. Queens Day allows us to meet with our constituents, as well as great community organizations and businesses, while we are upstate working on legislative issues. Queens Day reminds us why it’s important to promote our local businesses and to recognize what they’ve been through during COVID and their efforts to help others throughout the pandemic.”
One hot topic was support for Resorts World New York City to be awarded a full-scale commercial casino license that would enable it to double its workforce by adding more than 1,000 more union jobs.
Also on the agenda was extending and expanding the state’s Film Production Tax Credit which has allowed production studios in western Queens such as Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios to become economic engines, and will soon welcome Robert DeNiro’s Wildflower Studios. The 2023 budget would extend the credit for an additional three years.
“I was privileged to sponsor the Senate resolution celebrating Queens Day in New York state,” state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said. “If you want to experience the cultural diversity of our borough, look no further than the small businesses and restaurants that enrich our neighborhoods.”
Following the meetings, and before returning to Queens, the visitors to the capital enjoyed a dinner catered by dozens of Queens restaurants.
“Queens Day in Albany 2022 was a complete success,” Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman said. “I was so glad to welcome the best county in the state to our capital once again to showcase our small businesses, culture, food and customs. The Albany crowd engaged with Q-Boro effortlessly and had the best time.”
For dessert, a cake was presented to Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to mark her upcoming retirement after representing western Queens in Albany for the past 38 years.
“It was wonderful to have Queens come to Albany to share our great diversity and talents with everyone in New York state,” Nolan said. “I enjoyed tasting all the food items from our district, particularly the three-generation, female-owned restaurant, Ricas Pupusas & Mas, as well as meeting small business owners from across Queens. I am very appreciative that I was honored with my Queens colleagues.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris summed up the annual event.
“If you want to see all the world, you only need to visit Queens,” Gianaris said. “I’m honored to represent a borough with the best neighborhoods, restaurants, small businesses, parks and baseball team in the world. This is a great way to celebrate all we have to offer and show the rest of the state who we are as a people.”