Star of Brooklyn: Brian L. Gotlieb


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Brian Gotlieb, a man of many hats, cares deeply about community and firmly believes that everyone in a neighborhood is affected when something happens there.

“If a crime is going to be committed, it’s not against one person per se,” said Gotlieb.

“”If someone has a drug problem, it is something that will affect the entire community rather than just the specific individual.”

With that in mind, Gotlieb has done a stellar job at caring for the children of Coney Island. Now co-chair of Community Board 13’s Education, Libraries & Youth Services Committee, as a former chair of Community School Board 21 (2002-2006), Gotlieb developed a deep understanding of what needs to be done for the future of Brooklyn.

“While I’m not qualified to say how math should be taught,  I do understand that if a child doesn’t feel safe for whatever reason or have the tools they need to learn, it takes away from their ability to focus on what their teachers are trying to teach them. At the end of the day it’s students that are hurt the most,” Gotlieb explained. “You have to do right by them.”

Gotlieb also served as chair of Community Board 13, and created the board’s Economic Development and Affordable Housing committees for redevelopment of Coney Island. “You have to be prepared to answer the question of what affordable housing means. It has to be expanded to make sure everyone can enjoy what’s happening.”

Perhaps the most important organization to him is the one he founded in 1995 in memory of his mother, Myrna, who died at the age of 52, called Shorefront Toys for Tots. “ “Among the things that I’ve done, it’s the most meaningful because it’s dedicated to my mother combined with the fact that we have thus far reached out to more than 30,000 children,” recalled Gotlieb.

“It’s done with the understanding that its not going to cure financial problems,” Gotlieb continued. “If you let the child play with the toys for an hour, that’s an hour they don’t have to worry about being in the hospital. And it’s something to help them feel better, to know that someone in the community cares.”

CAREER: “Over the years, I’ve been privileged to be able to represent and serve my neighbors in a variety of ways,” said Gotlieb.  For instance, he worked for former Congressmember Anthony Weiner. He is currently an attorney, with the law firm of Frekhtman and Associates.

PERSONAL LIFE: Gotlieb graduated from Midwood High School. He received his BA from New York University, his MA from the University of Florida and his JD from New York Law School.

Gotlieb currently resides in Coney Island. “I moved (to Coney) during the summer between high school and college. I’ve been here 29 years.”

MOTIVATION: Gotlieb credits his mother as the biggest influence on his life.“She’s the one who pushed me in the direction of helping others. She reminded me that there are a lot of people worse off than me. She would say, “You’re not going to save the world but if you’re able to help some people, you should,” said Gotlieb. “Whatever you’re involved in, it’s important because you make community the better.”


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