Officers Elected At LIC Chamber Luncheon
The Long Island City Chamber of Commerce held what Arthur Rosenfield, its newly-elected president, estimated was its sixth luncheon, near the end of June. At the luncheon, chamber members got officers elected and resolved to get quotes on insurance for the chamber and file for incorporation. A couple of guests addressed those gathered for the meeting at the Waterfront Crabhouse, talking about the Hunters Point branch of the Queens Library, which is to come, and Gantry Park, which has been developed for more than a decade. There was talk of dues to be charged and a list of committees was distributed, partially in an attempt to attract volunteers for one or more of them.
Chamber Board Member Brent O’Leary said that in managing the election of the chamber’s officers he called for ballots to be returned to him by June 26 and got 20 of them. At the meeting, he extended a last opportunity for voting to anyone who hadn’t returned a ballot but nobody responded. The officers were announced: Renos Kourtides of Alma Bank was elected chairman of the board; Arthur Rosenfield of Our LIC is president; Erhan Bahcecr of Foodcellar Market is vice president; Rigoberto Cardoso of New Pronto Limousine Service is treasurer; and John Dallaire of MaidPro is secretary. Chairman Kourtides addressed the meeting briefly, saying that one of the chamber’s first duties is to come up with a plan for increasing membership.
There were two guest speakers at the meeting, each one talking about vital matters in the life of the expanding Hunters Point community. The first speaker, Peter Wayne, was from the Queens Library Foundation; the second, Bill Bylewski, has spent years working on Gantry Park.
Over the years, the Queens Library & Cultural Center at Hunters Point has acquired legendary status, mainly because it doesn’t exist, though more than $30 million has been pledged for it up to now. It has an auditorium, a roof garden and other grand appointments, which exist at present only in architectural illustrations, though splendid ones, by Steven Holl. A lot remains to be done, Wayne said, mainly in the matter of brownfield detoxification, before groundbreaking, which reportedly will occur next year on the Center Boulevard site between 47th Road and 48th Avenue. Wayne identified Holl, an architect of international renown, though with few completed structures in New York; but when Victor Clavie asked who the contractors were, Wayne said that hasn’t been decided yet. Hearing that, Arthur Rosenfield said a drive for contractors from Long Island City or Astoria should be initiated, which Wayne said was a fine idea. Rosenfield said that a temporary library has been suggested in the past but never been realized. Now, with a chamber of commerce formed, the idea should be revisited, he said. Wayne said that Shi Lee, of the restaurant on Center Boulevard called Shi, has proposed a golf outing to raise money for an endowment in memory of Fausta Ippolito, a Long Island City resident and teacher who was greatly interested in establishing the library, up to the time of her death from cancer in 2011. The outing is to be held July 23 at Bethpage Red Course on Long Island, and $200 pays for a day of golf and a luncheon barbecue.
Bill Bylewski is the head of Friends of Gantry, a group that was started in 1998 when Gantry State Park was opened in Hunters Point with what he said was no discernible plan for development. It had no horticultural program, just a bunch of volunteers, himself included, who tended to it until there was official landscaping, after three years. It now has 16 tree pruners, has grown considerably, but fewer local volunteers tend to it than before. Parks & Trails New York (PTNY), the Albany-based non-profit, awarded Gantry Park a $2,600 grant it send out 12,500 postcards. It has volunteers coming in from throughout the city but not many from Long Island City. But those tending to this state park will expand their effort when the Hunters Point South Park, a city operation in conjunction with the HPS residential complex, is opened, he said. It’s just what they do.
More business matters were covered, including a proposal for insurance. Nick Vaglica of the Vaglica Agency, a Nationwide Insurance unit, said he would prepare a proposal for a policy covering the chamber. Glenn Laga, of Guardian Data Destruction, said he would look up competitive quotes. The meeting’s final item was a complaint by Victor Clavie of the board that the election process had been distorted, which is why he registered the only vote of disapproval when a motion was made to confirm the election. Clavie said also that the first board meeting has yet to occur, and he demanded one. At such a meeting, the matter of what dues to charge could be taken up, rather than trying to settle it in a public meeting, as Rosenfield was doing at the time Clavie interrupted to protest it and the elections. The long list of chamber committees was then passed among the membership.
The next Long Island City Chamber of Commerce meeting is on schedule for July 16 at 12:15 p.m.