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57th BRCC Presidents’ Luncheon Is ‘Who’s Who in Bay Ridge’ Success
By Harold Egeln   - 02/16/2009

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

It was a huge turnout of “Who’s Who in Bay Ridge” at the stellar 57th Annual Bay Ridge Community Council’s Luncheon, with a parade of praise for the Council founded in 1951.

Presiding over the invitation-only event which honors heads of the Council’s 100-plus member organizations was President Arlene Keating. Handling arrangements was Executive Secretary Gloria Melnick.

“Our neighborhoods are the keys to New York City,” said Sen. Schumer at the Bay Ridge Manor on Saturday. “Bay Ridge personifies what our neighborhoods are like, for its 156 years. It is one of the great neighborhoods of the city and everyone knows it.”

Noting the council’s long history, Schumer said: “For all the years I’ve been in public life since 1974, Bay Ridge has always stood out for the neighborhood you’ve fought for through thick and thin. To everybody who kept Bay Ridge the beautiful, wonderful place that it is, served by all its elected officials, I make a toast to 100 more great years of Bay Ridge!”

Council President Arlene Keating and Executive Secretary Gloria Melnick, luncheon chief organizer, presented Schumer with a special gift – the new photo book, the local best seller “Bay Ridge Then & Now” (Arcadia Press) by Bay Ridge Historical Society leaders Lawrence Stelter and Peter Scarpa.

“Nine years since I emigrated from Flatbush, I know there’s no place in America that has the support system for people to be directly involved in their community as Bay Ridge,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Hynes. He urged people to visit any one of three-dozen community centers in the borough that has programs that help prevent crime and improve the criminal justice system.

State Senator Marty Golden, whose longtime business is the Bay Ridge Manor, said, “There are tough times ahead. We’ve had this before and we’ll come through again.”

He spoke of current efforts to save the B37 Third Avenue bus from the MTA budget axe, along with the threatened stoppage of weekend service on the B4, B16, X27 and X28 bus routes. “There are 400 businesses on Third Avenue alone that employ thousands of people, and we’ve got to keep the B37 going for them, their customers and our seniors and disabled,” he said.

Of the threatened Roman Catholic elementary school closings, such as his alma mater Our Lady of Angels, he vowed that “we’ll make sure they stay open and help relieve our overcrowded schools” and he told of new public schools being built and planned now.

“You are a wonderful umbrella of 100 organizations, with the camaraderie, guts and gumption to fight for your community,” said Assembly-member Alec Brook-Krasny. Among others mixing with BRCC leaders were new Congressman Mike McMahon, Councilman Vincent Gentile, and Assembly-members Janele Hyer-Spencer, Peter Abbate and Felix Ortiz and state Senator Diane Savino.

“What makes a community grow are you active people in the community,” said Sen. Schumer, there with his Chief of Staff Martin Brennan of Bay Ridge and two of Brennan’s daughters.

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