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The ongoing battle over which borough has the best restaurants will have a friendly skirmish during Queens Taste 2015 in Corona on May 12. More than 50 restaurants, dessert makers, and beverage providers are getting ready to provide samples of their products to an expected 800 attendees at this annual celebration, which will take place at the New York Hall of Science this year. More information and more foodie photos are on the jump page.

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Food, more food, and books on food. What’s not to like? The Entrepreneur Space is a kitchen-and-business incubator that has about 175 clients who make everything from Finnish bread to designer marshmallows to catered finger food. On February 3rd, this Long Island City-based venue will celebrate its fourth birthday  with about 30 clients providing samples of their artisan products to attendees. Plus, authors of recent books about the borough — Andrea Lynn of Queens: A Culinary Passport; Adrienne Onofri of Walking Queens: 30 Tours for Discovering the Diverse Communities, Historic Places, and Natural Treasures of New York City’s Largest Borough; and Meg Cotner of the Food Lover’s Guide to Queens will be on hand to sell and sign copies of their tomes. To add to the fun, SquareWine & Spirits will provide alcoholic beverages, while caffeinated drinks will come from Coffeed, a specialty roaster/café less than a block from the E-Space. The event’s lead sponsor, Oscar, will be offering a new kind of health insurance plan before ObamaCare’s open enrollment deadline on February 15th.

Details: Cooks & Books Bash, Entrepreneur Space, 36-46 37th Street, Astoria/Long Island City, February 3rd, 6 pm to 8 pm, free.

Photo: Queens Economic Development Corporation

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Describing it as “vandalism,” “a blight,” and “a crime,” civic and political leaders from the Richmond Hill/Woodhaven area helped launch an anti-graffiti initiative with a press conference (below) and demonstration (above) on Wednesday. City Council Member Eric A. Ulrich, who represents these neighborhoods, announced that he had allotted $25,000 to eliminate graffiti at six major corridors — Woodhaven Boulevard; Jamaica Avenue; Atlantic Avenue; 101st Avenue; Liberty Avenue; and Rockaway Boulevard. The borough’s only Republican council member directed the funds to the Queens Economic Development Corporation‘s Neighborhood Development Division, which promotes economic growth by supporting community businesses. QEDC will sub-contract with Ridgewood-based Magic Touch Cleaning to carry out the initiative.

Saying this was a priority for him, Council Member Ulrich stated that he planned to seek more funding for this program in the future. QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte opined that graffiti is bad for business. He stated, “This type of vandalism has a domino effect, discouraging shoppers, encouraging lawlessness, and deterring investment.”

See a photo from the press conference after the jump.

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Do you live in Queens? Are you looking to start a business? Would a $10,000 grant and some free instruction help? Do you already have a business that you want to build? Or are you one city license away from going big time with your construction skills? The Queens Economic Development Corporation has just announced its fall programs, which aim to help small business owners, budding entrepreneurs, and home improvement contractors.

Much more information and many more photos appear after the jump.

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Recently, I received an invite to attend a Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) mixer and cocktail event at the Z Hotel in Long Island City. Normally, this sort of business card exchange leaves me flat, but I’ve been eager to check out the view from the Z Hotel’s roof top lounge since it opened, so I gathered up my camera and convinced my wife to meet me in Queens Plaza after she got out of work in the city.

The views certainly did not disappoint either of us, and since my ulterior motive in attending the thing was to gather some shots, I left her chatting with a few other attendees and got down to business. Pictured above is mighty Queensboro on the right with a still quite industrial LIC acting as a frame for the East River, Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan.

It’s hard not to take notice of the 1,396 foot 432 Park Avenue rising between 56th and 57th Streets over in the Shining City of Manhattan, by the way.

LOTS more after the jump, including special guest stars…

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Three of the band members are dead, and the original crew hasn’t been seen together since an event at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on July 20, 1999. Nevertheless, the Ramones are the focal point of a recently launched Queens tourism campaign. The punk legends’ song “Rockaway Beach” is part of a radio ad campaign to attract visitors to the peninsula, where businesses have been rebuilding since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Working with the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Volunteers of Legal Service, altruists from the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, led by attorney Jennifer Carmen, secured the rights to the ditty, which was first released in 1977. Citi Community Development then sponsored the ads as part of a larger project to restore businesses along Beach 116th Street.

In a way, the Ramones have come full circle, as they grew up in Forest Hills and rode many waves at Rockaway Beach during their youth. Here are some lyrics from the song: Chewin’ at a rhythm on my bubble gum; The sun is out, I want some; It’s not hard, not far to reach; We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach. Click here to listen to one of the ads, which are currently playing on WFAN, WCBS and WINS.

Some of those seeking to boost tourism in the Rockaways gathered for a photo on Beach 116th Street on Thursday. They are (from left): Seth Bornstein, Queens Economic Development Corporation; Robert Kaskel, Thai Rock; Tom Murphy, Curran’s Superior Meats; Denise Diehm, The Gift is Love; Mark S. Mina, MSM Elite Productions; Michael Adel, Paninico Café; Krzysztof Sadlej, Beach 116th Street Partnership; Glenn DiResto, Rockaway Jet Ski; Ben Cox, Volunteers of Legal Service; Sharon Banks, Citi Rockaway Branch Manager; Edward Odom, Citi Community Development; and Michael Badalov, M & L Hair & Nail Salon.

Top photo: Ramones FB; Bottom photo: Queens Economic Development Corporation

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April showers bring…hungry party attendees. Exactly 50 vendors served entrées, appetizers, beverages and desserts to more than 700 attendees in a festive atmosphere during Queens Taste 2014 on April 29. With Fairway Market as the lead sponsor, the Queens Economic Development Corporation hosted this twelfth annual event at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing. Please scroll down for more information and mouth-watering photos.

Jamaica-based O Lavrador Restaurant served a pleasantly palatable paella.

Kim Chi Smoke Barbecue offered…well…smoked kim chi.

La Fusta, an Argentinian restaurant in Elmhurst, fired up the kebabs.

Desserts galore! Thanks to Take a Break & I’ll Bake.

Queens Brewery tapped a hometown keg.

There was also a competition as judged by a team of local foodies and media types. Zenon Taverna, which serves Greek and Cypriot cuisine in Astoria, took Best Entrée honors with a Mediterranean octopus dish, lamb meatballs and taramosalata. Sunnyside’s Murphy’s Lobster Grill, which gave out oysters and clams on a half shell, won Best Appetizer, while DF Mavens, which makes a wide variety of dairy-free ice cream flavors, prevailed as Best Dessert. In the photo are (from left) Elena Papageorgiou from Zenon Taverna, Francis Zalewski from DF Mavens and Michael Murphy from Murphy’s Lobster Grill.

QEDC also announced the winners of the Eighth Annual Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition, a five-month challenge-and-instruction course sponsored by Citi and hosted by Queens Library. The winners received $10,000 each to jumpstart their businesses. The Food-Based Category honors actually went to a beverage maker, Astoria Distilling Company, which is about to launch a craft spirits distillery with Queens Courage, an “Old Tom” gin with a subtle sweetness derived from botanicals, malts and honey. Gamal Byfield and his martial arts studio, The Branch of Life, took first place in the Community Category. Jaime Montalvo prevailed in the Innovative Category. Montalvo is also known as Soraya Sobriedad, a trim and sassy drag queen who offers tasty recipes for healthy Latin dishes on a her internet cooking show. Seen in photo are (from left) QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein; Christopher Murillo from Astoria Distilling; Sobriedad; Byfield; Bridget Quinn-Carey from Queens Library; Ed Odom from Citi Foundation; Ricardi Calixte from QEDC; Sante Antonelli from QEDC; and Michael Gillen from QEDC.

Photos: Dominick Totino

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It’s the food-and-networking event of the year … and Queens Brownstoner will be there as a sponsor and taste master! The Queens Economic Development Corporation recently announced that Queens Taste 2014 will take place at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, 135-20 39th Avenue in Flushing, from 6 pm to 9 pm on April 29th. The reasons to attend are as diverse as the borough. Foodies can expect everything from sweet to savory to salty; Mexican to Malaysian to mainstream; and crunchy to creamy to crispy. For example, La Fusta in Elmhurst is planning to bring Argentine cuisine, while Flushing’s Mamak will serve Malaysian treats and Jamaica’s O Lavrador (below) will delight with Portuguese paella. Plus, clients of the Entrepreneur Space, a food-and-business incubator that QEDC operates in Long Island City, will be giving out samples of their artisan specialties, including gourmet cheesecake balls, soul snacks and designer meatballs. Then there are the drinks. LIC’s SquareWine headlines a spirits group that includes Queens Brewery and Punzoné Vodka. Finally, the networking. QEDC hopes that at least 1,000 people will attend, and most of them either live in Queens or do business in the borough.

Queens Taste 2014 costs $100 per ticket or two for $175. Click here to buy tickets. For more information, call 718.263.0546 or send an email to rmackay@queensny.org.

Photos: QEDC

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Whether they are from Spain or Long Island, tennis fans will know what’s going on in Queens from August 26th to September 9th. The USTA has donated a kiosk to serve as an information center for the borough during the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships. Organized by the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tourism Council, volunteer staffers will be on hand for the entire two-week tournament to provide information on the borough’s best restaurants, hotels, cultural organizations and parks. Seen in front of the kiosk are the following: Rob MacKay, director of the Queens Tourism Council; Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Assemblymember Ron Kim; Assemblymember Marge Markey, who chairs the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development; City Council Member Julissa Ferreras; Nancy Conde, chief of staff for State Senator José Peralta’s Office; Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Daniel Zausner, COO of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; and Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

Details: QTC/QCC Kiosk, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, August 26th to September 9th, free with admission.

Photo by Megan Montalvo

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Last night there was twice the fun at Flushing Town Hall. Upstairs in the theater area, our friends at the Queens Economic Development Corporation hosted a networking event, while art-lovers flocked to the first floor gallery to attend the opening of Erasing Borders, an exhibition of contemporary Indian painting, sculpture, video art, installation art and photography.

As part of the networking event, which Delta, the Mets, the USTA and Magna Restaurant co-hosted, QEDC announced the nine finalists (some in above photo) of the Seventh Annual Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition, a five-month challenge-and-instruction course sponsored by Citi.