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More than 8,000 attend Long Island City’s annual street festival showcasing local businesses in the community

Thousands attended the Long Island City Partnership’s 11th annual street festival on Vernon Boulevard, highlighting more than 130 local businesses and organizations. Photo courtesy of Long Island City Partnership

May 29, 2024 By Bill Parry

More than 8,000 people and an unknown number of puppies took part in LIC Springs!, the signature street festival organized each year by the Long Island City Partnership to showcase the booming neighborhood’s vibrancy and diversity. Vernon Boulevard was closed to motor vehicles to make way for live music, dance performances, art exhibits, fitness classes, interactive lessons, outdoor dining, pop-up activities, and games.

Photo courtesy of Long Island City Partnership

“LIC Springs! Is one of the best events every single year, and we’re excited to support all of our small businesses because they are really the lifeblood of our district and we want to make sure we support our mom-and-pop shops,” Council Member Julie Won said.

She was among a number of elected officials who welcomed the crowd on Saturday, May 18 who were introduced by LIC Partnership President Laura Rothrock.

State Senator Kristen Gonzalez was also in attendance and highlighted her efforts to allocate $7 million for various projects in her district. “There’s a lot of work to be done in Long Island City,” Gonzalez said. “The rents are rising, and there’s an incredible amount of construction…we need more green space, we need more schools in the neighborhood.”

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, now in her 14th term on Capitol Hill, urged everyone to support small businesses.

“Small business is big business in America. They are invested in our community… they always show up, and we gotta show up for them.” Velázquez said, emphasizing the importance of addressing the needs of the fast-growing community, particularly in terms of infrastructure, and highlighted efforts to pass a non-partisan bill that will bring billions of dollars to New York State. “We are here celebrating the character of this community and supporting small businesses and the different community organizations, particularly arts & cultural organizations,” Velazquez added. She also expressed her excitement about representing Western Queens and her commitment to requesting funding for community projects in LIC.

Photo courtesy of Long Island City Partnership

The festival featured a range of small businesses and organizations, many of which were eager to share their experiences and the importance of community engagement. Silvano Spagnuolo, community outreach manager for the Long Island City School of Ballet, expressed gratitude for the community’s support over the years.

“We believe in bringing ballet from the studios into the neighborhoods. Ballet fosters an understanding with your body as well as your mind,” he said, reflecting on the school’s nearly two-decade presence in LIC. “We’ve been in the neighborhood for 18 years; we’re approaching two decades. And we are so grateful to be able to watch the community grow around us to be able to invest ourselves in the community,” Spagnuolo said. “We see kids grow from two to 18 at our schools and stay the entire time, and that’s like a wonderful payoff.”

Photo courtesy of Long Island City Partnership

Alan Wong, owner of Chun Yang Tea and a third-year participant in LIC Springs!, highlighted the event’s marketing benefits.

“Hopefully, this can help us to promote our brand as well,” Wong said. “We try to meet more new people; you actually meet a lot of owners in the area. Those new businesses want to do a collaboration, they want to try to do something together. So hopefully, by doing that, we can also gain more businesses.”

Photo courtesy of Long Island City Partnership

Ana Rodriguez, director of community relations & volunteer services at Mount Sinai Queens, highlighted the event’s role in promoting cultural diversity and community engagement.

“[LIC Springs!] fosters community engagement, bringing together residents and local businesses to celebrate and support each other,” she said. “This event also promotes cultural diversity, showcasing various art forms, music, and cuisine, and really enriches our community, and we are so proud to be here supporting the LIC Partnership.”

LIC Partnership has several exciting summer events lined up to highlight local businesses and the vibrant community. One of the highlights is a public art project on Vernon Mall by renowned LIC neon light artist Kenny Greenberg. The installation will feature lights that change colors throughout its duration to celebrate different holidays and special occasions. Additionally, the Summer of Sports campaign, running from July 26 to August 18, coincides with the Paris Summer Olympics and will spotlight LIC’s burgeoning sports and active lifestyle businesses. This initiative aims to engage local residents and workers through a series of events and activities designed to promote fitness and wellness in the community and showcase LIC’s unique venues.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
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