Queens Chamber Hosts Annual St Patrick’s Day Luncheon

by Queens Ledger Staff  | news@queensledger.com

The Queens Chamber of Commerce welcomed leaders in business, politics and culture from across the borough to Antun’s in Queens Village for their annual St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon March 13. The event celebrated the contributions of Irish-Americans to Queens with food, entertainment, and recognition of honorees Jack Schlossberg and Mary Murphy.

President and CEO of the Queens Cham­ber of Commerce Tom Grech opened the event by honoring former NYC Council Member Paul Vallone, who passed away in January, before invocations from Bishop Robert Brennan and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik. The luncheon featured traditional Irish fare, performances by Fallon O’Brien of the Hagen Kavanagh School of Irish Dance, music by The Cobblers, and presentation of colors by the 2nd Battalion 25th Marines. The National Anthem was performed by Emily Kightlinger of St. Francis Prep.

Murphy is an award-winning journalist born and raised in Queens. She served as an anchor for PIX11 News for nearly 15 years and received multiple Emmy awards her reporting, spanning the opioid crisis, the September 11th terror attacks, the “Junior” case in the Bronx, the death of Princess Diana, Hurricane Sandy, the Black Sunday fire in 2005, and 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800. Murphy said the stories that stuck with her the most were missing people and cold cases in which families were still looking for justice.

“The main reason I lasted so long on TV is because every day, New Yorkers trusted me to tell their stories and for that I am in their debt,” Murphy said. “They gave me a career.”


Schlossberg, the only grandson of President John F. Kennedy, is an activist and attorney currently serving on President Biden’s reelection campaign as part of their voter protection team in battleground states. In his speech, Schlossberg spoke about his passion for paddleboarding. He can be found in the East River in the early hours of most mornings with a few friends and said it was an essential part of his routine as he prepared to pass the bar exam last year.

With a large portion of his speech focusing on the 2024 election and his belief in President Biden, Schlossberg looked to Queens as an example for what it means to bring the country together at a tense political moment.

“Queens is the most diverse place in our country,” Schlossberg said in his speech. “These days, people like to talk about how divided they think we are. They should come to Queens, because people out here seem to get along pretty well.”










McGuinness’s taps into spirit of St. Paddy’s Day

Even a muggy St. Patrick’s day couldn’t keep Sunnyside regulars out of McGuinness’s Saloon.

Local bar-goers enjoy a pint

At the corner of Queens Boulevard and 45th place sits McGuiness’s – a tiny hole-in-the-wall Irish joint. The place was well decorated for the festivities. Green Christmas lights were strewn across the premises, corned beef was served at the typically drinks-only bar and bountiful irish accents drowned out the traditional music playing in the background. The men’s room is to the left of the bar, as a sign clearly denotes, “Men to the left ‘cos women are always RIGHT.”

When you walk into the bar, the first chair is typically occupied by Séan Gorham. For the 25 years McGuinness’s has been open, he has been sitting in that same seat.

When asked why this was his favorite bar Gorman simply said “because it was across the street” before giving his serious answer. It’s because Marie McGuinness makes everybody feel comfortable.

McGuinness immigrated to this country from Donegal in 1987 and moved out to Queens with her husband Brandon McGuinness in 1990. They had worked in the service and bar industry priorly and had always wanted to open a place of their own together. Brandon passed away in 1996, just under a year before the bar that is his namesake opened.

Marie McGuiness wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day

While that bar has its fair share of clientele from Ireland, Marie McGuiness described her customers as “the league of nations” and speculated that even though it was St Patricks Day, the bar had about 20 people from different countries in there.

“I want customers to feel that this is their home away from home – no matter what country in the world they’re from. We have the best bartenders in the world. I want every customer to feel welcomed. If I go into a bar, whether it’s in any country, I would want to feel as welcome as people would make feel here. I always say a woman should be able to walk into any bar alone, set up at the bar, and chat to the bartender about sports or whatever,” McGuinness said.

And the approach has worked.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Marie struggled to keep the bar afloat. The restrictions placed financial stress on her business but as soon as the options for outdoor dining opened, her crew of regulars sat outside every weekend, even in the snow and crummy weather, in order to help support their favorite bar.

Joe Mennicucci has been regular with his with Kim Hirsch for as long as they can remember. He agrees with McGuiness about the bartenders being the best in the world. Before there were cell phones, he used to pay the bartender five to ten bucks every time the bartender would tell Mennicucci’s wife that every time she called that he wasn’t at the bar.

“It’s been open 25 years since February 13,” McGuinness said. “Hopefully, it will be open another 25 years, I’ll be walking around with my cane.”

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