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Queens Comes Back: QDEC hosts block party

Over 40 vendors and 1,000 people gathered in an outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios for the Queens Comes Back event this past weekend. The event was hosted by the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein said it was gratifying to see people come together and support local businesses, especially after the last 18 months.
“When I look at this crowd, it represents the borough,” he said. “The vendors, the people here, there’s no majority and no minority.”
Bornstein said he wanted to give back, both to local businesses and to the public, resulting in the event not charging vendors a fee and no charge to the public to enter.
From plant-based and vegan cakes by Pudding Pan Desserts to Romanian sweets from Twister Cake Bakery, sweet tooths were left satisfied as lines formed outside each vendor booth throughout the day. Spanish cuisine from Sala Astoria was served and washed down with cocktails by QNSY Sparkling Cocktails.
“As an entrepreneur, it was an exciting and energizing networking opportunity,” said Tara Merdjanoff, co-founder of QNSY Sparkling Cocktails.
Performances were held throughout the day featuring Gotham Dance Theater, Chieh Hsiung, Manhatitlan Mexican Folkloric Dance Group and Greek American Folklore Society.
The original Queens Taste event is usually held annually on the first Monday of May, said Rob MacKay, director of public relations for QEDC. In past years, places like the New York’s Hall of Science and Citi Field hosted the indoor event.
MacKay said this year’s outdoor event exceeded his expectations.
“We’ve been through a lot as an agency that helps small businesses and they’ve been through a lot, but I feel like a lot of people have stabilized and found out ways to work around stuff,” said MacKay. “It’s a morale booster to show we’re going to make it.”

Queens celebrating its comeback with a free celebration

The borough is open for business, and the Queens Economic Development Corporation is celebrating with Queens Comes Back!, a huge party in a unique venue with local vendors selling great food, drinks, and novelty items while artists provide top-notch entertainment.
And everybody is invited!
Kaufman Astoria Studios will host Queens Comes Back! in its Backlot on Saturday, October 9, from noon to 4 p.m. Restaurants are still signing up to participate, but this first-ever banquet has already attracted several dozen vendors of everything from main dishes to desserts to hot sauces.
Alewife Brewing, which is located in Sunnyside, will pour suds, and Jackson Heights-based QNSY Sparkling Cocktails will peddle mixed drinks in cans.
At some spots, members of Made in Queens, a QEDC program that promotes local manufacturers and crafters, will sell their products, which range from shirts to jewelry to handmade soaps and candles.
Representatives from Queensboro FC, a professional soccer team that will begin competing in 2022, will be there with uniforms, soccer balls, and other sports paraphernalia.
It’s not all dining and shopping, though. Queensboro Dance Festival members will perform throughout the day on a mini outdoor stage. A little Salsa. A touch of ballet. Some tap.
There’s no admission charge, but the organizers request that those interested register. More information is at queensny.org.

Groups spread word about restaurant fund

The restaurant industry was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one dire forecast predicting close to half of all food and restaurant businesses in Queens would shutter by year’s end.
To help revitalize the industry, the Biden Administration created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which provides grants for restaurants and bars equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, with a cap of $10 million per business and $5 million per location.
Members of Queens Together and the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) gathered outside The Queensboro restaurant in Jackson Heights last Friday to urge business owners to file applications to get a share of the $28 billion fund.
They handed out flyers in six different languages promoting the fund. Over the next two weeks, they plan to do the same in Rosedale, Jamaica, Laurelton, Flushing, Elmhurst, Astoria, Corona and Long Island City.
“We need restaurants to file the application as soon as possible because it’s a federal program and people across the country will be applying,” said Shurn Anderson from the office of Borough President Donovan Richards.
The application for the grant, which doesn’t have to be repaid if it is used by 2023, can be accessed online at the Small Business Administration website or by contacting QEDC, which will offer filing assistance to business owners.
Through May 24, the SBA will only approve applications from businesses that are majority-owned by women, veterans, or those who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
Ahead of a full reopening of restaurants on May 19, Jonathan Forgash from Queens Together, a grassroots group created at the start of the pandemic to advocate for the restaurants, painted a picture of an industry in deep distress.
As of last December, he said 92 percent of small businesses couldn’t afford the rent.
QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein said everyone in the restaurant industry has been hurt by the pandemic. He said it wasn’t just the restaurants that were hurt, but their suppliers as well.

Groups spread word about restaurant fund

The restaurant industry was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one dire forecast predicting close to half of all food and restaurant businesses in Queens would shutter by year’s end.
To help revitalize the industry, the Biden Administration created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which provides grants for restaurants and bars equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, with a cap of $10 million per business and $5 million per location.
Members of Queens Together and the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) gathered outside The Queensboro restaurant in Jackson Heights last Friday to urge business owners to file applications to get a share of the $28 billion fund.
They handed out flyers in six different languages promoting the fund. Over the next two weeks, they plan to do the same in Rosedale, Jamaica, Laurelton, Flushing, Elmhurst, Astoria, Corona and Long Island City.
“We need restaurants to file the application as soon as possible because it’s a federal program and people across the country will be applying,” said Shurn Anderson from the office of Borough President Donovan Richards.
The application for the grant, which doesn’t have to be repaid if it is used by 2023, can be accessed online at the Small Business Administration website or by contacting QEDC, which will offer filing assistance to business owners.
Through May 24, the SBA will only approve applications from businesses that are majority-owned by women, veterans, or those who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
Ahead of a full reopening of restaurants on May 19, Jonathan Forgash from Queens Together, a grassroots group created at the start of the pandemic to advocate for the restaurants, painted a picture of an industry in deep distress.
As of last December, he said 92 percent of small businesses couldn’t afford the rent.
QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein said everyone in the restaurant industry has been hurt by the pandemic. He said it wasn’t just the restaurants that were hurt, but their suppliers as well.

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