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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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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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Image Source: Rob MacKay

Sometimes good things happen to good organizations. The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, which has been spearheading relief efforts in Southeast Queens since Hurricane Sandy, recently received a $1,500 donation from Applebee’s and the Queens Tourism Council.

The money was raised via Breakfast with Santa, an event that took place at the Applebee’s branches in Astoria, Bayside, Fresh Meadows and Rego Park on Dec. 22, 2012.