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Queens Chamber counts down to centennial celebration

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The Queens Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday.

The centenarian business organization kicked off on Friday´╗┐ the 100-day countdown to its Sept. 24 centennial celebration with a gathering of business leaders and chamber members at its headquarters in Jackson Heights.

The event was a chance for the business and political community to begin to honor the momentous occasion and discuss the important role the chamber has had in shaping the borough’s economic strength.

“Over the past 100 years, Queens has gone from being farms and manufacturing and a ´╗┐residential community to who knows what next,” said John Postyn, a member of the chamber’s board of directors. “Hopefully, it’ll be technology and education and other high-tech industries, and the Queens Chamber of Commerce will have a key role in leading the change.”

The fete at the Bulova Building, at 75-20 Astoria Blvd., also featured charitable giving, furthering the chamber’s mission of community empowerment and development.

“It’s not only businesses that contribute to the growth of the borough, it’s all the different areas of Queens, and it’s about their contributions from education to civics,” Chamber President Carol Conslato said before awarding a $500 check to the 100th Precinct.

The precinct plans to use the money to help pay for its annual Night Out Against Crime Aug. 2.

In continuing with the theme of “100,” the chamber also donated $500 to PS 100 and 100 USB drives to a Queens library branch´╗┐ that has been in existence for more than 100 years.

A troupe of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade music students from PS 100 performed three songs on recorder and voice at the event to thank the chamber for its generous donations.

Melva Miller, a representative for Borough President Helen Marshall, spoke in support of the chamber and its legacy of uplifting businesses throughout Queens.

“To be celebrating 100 years serving the Queens business community is phenomenal,” Miller said. “Thank you for making Queens a great place to do business.”

Corey Bearak, a policy adviser to the chamber and member of its Communications and Public Affairs and Legislative Advocacy committees, said the place of the Queens Chamber of Commerce is one of utmost importance for small businesses in the borough.

“The chamber will continue as an advocate, spokesman, facilitator, guide and a one-stop place to help businesses succeed,” he said. “We bring businesses together to help them maximize how well they can do and to make sure they’re connected to all the resources they need to ensure they succeed.”

The chamber plans to hold a number of commemorative events leading up to its centennial black tie gala celebration from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sept. 24 at Terrace in the Park.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 10:53 am, October 12, 2011
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