Photo via Shutterstock

The new year is finally hear, and there’s plenty to be excited about in Queens in 2018.

New Year’s Day marks the start of a new city government. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz are being sworn in for second terms in office. All 51 City Council members will also begin their new terms, including a few rookies from Queens: Adrienne Adams of southern Queens; Francisco Moya in Corona/Elmhurst; and Robert Holden, who represents Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

There’s no formal swearing-in ceremony for Katz, but she will be holding her State of the Borough Address on Friday, Jan. 26, at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria. Her fifth address will focus on her agenda for the “World’s Borough” in the year ahead.

Other important dates to remember in 2018 include the following:

Feb. 12: The eyes of Queens baseball fans will be turned to Florida on this date, as pitchers and catchers will report to the Mets’ spring training camp in Port St. Lucie. After a disappointing, injury-marred 2017 season, the Mets are looking to turn things around under the leadership of their new manager, Mickey Callaway. Yankee fans, meanwhile, are looking forward to Feb. 13 as the Bronx Bombers begin reporting for spring training in Tampa. They’ll have plenty to be excited about coming off an unexpected playoff run in 2017, and the recent addition of Giancarlo Stanton, one of the game’s best power hitters. Opening Day for both clubs is March 29.

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Feb. 16: Thousands of Queens residents will celebrate the start of the Asian Lunar New Year. This marks the “Year of the Dog” in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. Public schools are closed this day, and the following week, too, for mid-winter recess.

Photo by Josef Pinlac

Photo by Josef Pinlac

March 3, 4 and 24: Irish eyes will be smiling across Queens as the borough plays hosts to three St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. March 3 is the annual Queens St. Patrick’s Day in the Rockaways, followed the next afternoon by the St. Pat’s For All parade through Sunnyside and Woodside. While St. Patrick’s Day is officially celebrated on March 17, Bayside will hold its first-ever St. Pat’s parade the following Saturday, March 24, along Bell Boulevard.

March 25-April 1: Christians and Jewish residents across Queens will mark one of the holiest weeks of the year. March 25 is Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem days before his crucifixion on Good Friday, which this year is commemorated on March 30. At sundown on March 30, Jewish residents in Queens will gather around the Seder table to celebrate the first night of Passover, the festival celebrating the Israelites’ liberation from their Egyptian captors. Finally, Christians will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 1, commemorating Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

File photo/QNS

File photo/QNS

May 26-28: The arrival of Memorial Day weekend is not only the unofficial start of summer, but also a time when Queens pauses to honor the sacrifices of local residents who served in defense of our country. Before you head out to a barbecue or the beach, stop by one of the many parades and ceremonies being held across the Queens and offer your gratitude to the troops. Check QNS.com in May for more information about when those events will take place.

June 9: Tens of thousands of horse racing fans will converge at Belmont Park once again for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel of the Triple Crown. With any luck, the excitement level will be high if a horse enters the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in May. The last horse to do that, American Pharoah in 2015, went on to win the Belmont and become just the 12th Triple Crown Winner in American thoroughbred racing history.

Courtesy of Thomas Suozzi's website

Congressman Tom Suozzi’s 2016 campaign. (Courtesy of Thomas Suozzi’s website)

June 26: This is a doubly important date on the calendar in 2018. It’s the day of the Congressional primaries in New York State, as candidates seeking their party’s nomination for seats in Washington will be on the ballot. The Congressional primaries are the first of three times in which voters will head to the polls in 2018; there’s also statewide office primaries in September and the Nov. 6 general election. June 26 is also the last day of public school for teachers and students, provided we don’t have too many snow days before then.

File photo/QNS

File photo/QNS

Aug. 7: The National Night Out Against Crime brings together cops with members of their local community for a fun evening of food, activities, music, entertainment and more. All of Queens’ 16 police precincts will host Night Out events across the borough. It’s a great way to spend a late summer evening and a perfect opportunity to get to know your local police officers.

Aug. 27: The start of the U.S. Open tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be extra special this year. The U.S. Tennis Association will unveil the new Louis Armstrong Stadium adjacent to the center court of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The U.S. Open has become one of the most popular sporting events in all of New York City, bringing tens of thousands of visitors each year to watch some of the game’s greatest stars.

Sept. 11: For many Queens residents, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, seem like they happened only yesterday. Now 17 years removed from the terrorist attacks that forever changed our country, residents across the borough will pause that day to remember those who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on board United Airlines Flight 93.

Photo via Facebook/Halloween in LIC

Photo via Facebook/Halloween in LIC

Oct. 31: Spooks will run wild across Queens once again on Halloween night. Children will converge on local shopping strips to trick-or-treat at stores. Many neighborhoods including Glendale and Jackson Heights will also hold nighttime Halloween parades, where costumed spectators will walk through the neighborhood scaring the “yell” out of everyone.

Nov. 4: The first Sunday in November means two things in the five boroughs: turning the clocks back one hour, and the annual TCS New York City Marathon. The 26.2-mile test of endurance and the human spirit includes a trip through Long Island City, as runners head from the Pulaski Bridge to the Queensboro Bridge. If you’re thinking about running in this year’s marathon, head over to the New York City Road Runners’ Club website for more information. If you’re not running, plan on attending the marathon and cheering on the tens of thousands of people making their journey through the greatest city on Earth.

Thanksgiving is Nov. 23, followed the next day by Black Friday, the busiest shopping date of the year. Bargain-hunters will be combing Queens’ various shopping centers looking for the perfect gift. And if you’re still thinking about Christmas, there are just 358 shopping days left until Santa’s sleigh bells sound again.

Have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year everyone!

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