The convening took place prior to St. John’s men’s basketball team’s final home game of the season against Xavier.
Hosted by BQE Media in connection with the Queens Chamber of Commerce and This Is Queensborough magazine, the networking event was sponsored by Maspeth Federal Savings, Zara Realty and Petro Home Services. Chip NYC and Aigner Chocolates provided desserts for attendees.
The Johnnies’ new athletic director Mike Cragg, spoke about his recent move to Queens four months ago. Cragg spent 31 years at Duke University.
“This is an extremely welcoming and inclusive community,” he said. “That’s what appealed to my wife and I from the beginning.”
Cragg lived on campus for the first three months, with his home literally facing the Grand Central Parkway. Now he lives in Forest Hills. “I got used to the noise of the traffic,” he said.
Cragg said St. John’s is on the brink of a special season, particularly after beating Villanova in Madison Square Garden earlier this year. They’re strong contenders to enter the NCAA Tournament in March.
“That’s the dream,” he said. “That’s what we want at St. John’s want, playing in MSG, playing in the Big East and the ultimate dream of playing for a national championship.”
He praised the team for playing hard and being good teammates. “They have fun playing,” Cragg said. “That’s been part of the growing maturity of this group.”
Several business leaders from Maspeth Federal Savings, Colliers International and Petro Home Services spoke at the networking event as well.
Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, shared with attendees that a coalition of business and civic leaders has been working behind the scenes to get Amazon to revise its plan to open a new headquarters to Long Island City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo been quoted in the press as saying that he’s been talking to Amazon executives about making a possible return to Queens. Grech said the 25,000 jobs that Amazon would have created is too good to pass up.
“My members were dying for this opportunity,” he said.