Ridge VIPs crowd annual BRCC luncheon

As they do every year, the movers and shakers of southwestBrooklyn gathered together to celebrate community activism at thepresidents luncheon hosted by the Bay Ridge Community Council(BRCC).

Local activists rubbed shoulders with elected officials at theannual gala, held on Saturday, January 28 at the Bay Ridge Manor bythe now 61-year-old umbrella organization, which brings togetherdozens of area groups to advocate for the people of Bay Ridge,Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.

In this room are the crème de la crème of Bay Ridge, remarkedBRCC Executive Secretary Arlene Keating as she kicked off theafternoon’s program.

Those who stopped by to offer their greetings concurred.

The BRCC luncheon is the place where it’s almost like theagenda gets set for the entire year, noted city Comptroller JohnLiu. While 2012 is going to be tough, he noted, thanks to thestill-weak economy, I have every expectation that, workingtogether, we will achieve great things.

It’s the work of such organizations as BRCC that make thedifference in maintaining quality-of-life in Brooklyn’scommunities, added Senator Charles Schumer.

The neighborhood looks like it’s in good shape, he told thecrowd. We all know that it wouldn’t be without you. The averageperson, particularly in middle class neighborhoods like Bay Ridge,is not used to bothering government. When you have a strongneighborhood organization to squeak a little so the wheel getsgreased, it helps the neighborhood stay strong.

This is really the all-star cast that makes Bay Ridge thewonderful community that it is, added Assemblymember NicoleMalliotakis.

This is a big, big community and It takes many, many people tomake it a great community, agreed City Councilmember VincentGentile.

And, added State Senator Marty Golden, it’s a huge part of whatmakes the area, The greatest community in the greatest city in thegreatest country in the world.

The organization’s profound impact was also noted by BoroughPresident Marty Markowitz, who proclaimed the day, Bay RidgeCommunity Council Annual Presidents Luncheon Celebration Day.

For BRCC President Alex Conti, now serving an unprecedentedthird term at the council’s helm, participation isn’t about thetitle, it’s about reaching out to everyone to make a difference inthe community.

Among the council’s achievements, under his leadership, havebeen the launch of its website and the creation of a Culture andArts Committee that, last year, produced the neighborhood’s firstTeen Idol event. Such an extension, he said, brings the council toanother arena and exposes us to other people who are perhaps notaware of what we do.

Looking ahead, Conti said he was hoping to create a committeethat would replicate the funding model that had helped bring theannual council picnic for the neighborhood back to vibrant life forother annual council events. That, he said, would, Open the doorfor financial services and other categories to come in.

Participation in the council – and even putting together a largeevent like the presidents lunch — is not a job, Conti stressed.It’s fun.

As for being president, said Conti, The third time’s thecharm.

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