One of Brooklyn’s most venerable civic organizations, the Bay Ridge Community Council, celebrated its 68th anniversary with a gala dinner dance on Tuesday, June 4 at the Rex Manor catering hall.
Community service and volunteerism were the themes of the evening as the BRCC swore in its new slate of officers and honored Northfield Bank Vice President and Branch Manager Brian Chin and Bay Ridge Center Executive Director Marianne Nicolosi for going above and beyond in their dedication and service to the community.
Newly installed BRCC President Ralph Succar, who will be serving his fourth non-consecutive term as president of the organization, hosted the event.
Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann led the Pledge of Allegiance, Patrick Colabella performed the national anthem and Rev. Paul Knudsen offered the invocation.
Barbara Vellucci, administrator of the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund, delivered the 2019 Kassenbrock Fund report before the Hon. Theresa Ciccotto presided over the installation of officers.
Succar explained that, “The Bay Ridge Community Council was established in 1951 to promote the quality of life in the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.” He presented a special award to organization member Robert Kassenbrock for his years of exemplary service to the community.
Elected officials and civic leaders attending the dinner included Beckmann; Ciccotto; City Councilmember Justin Brannan; New York State Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar; Brooklyn Conservative Party Chair Fran Vella-Marrone; Capt. Robert Conwell, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct; and Democratic District Leader Ralph Perfetto.
Todd Fliedner, outreach and development director at the Bay Ridge Center, introduced Nicolosi. “When Marianne took over, the Bay Ridge Center was running a significant debt and was in danger of closing,” Fliedner explained. “In short order, Marianne changed all of that and since her tenure at Bay Ridge Center, the organizational budget has more than doubled, and staff has increased from 29 to 42 employees and growing.”
He also praised Nicolosi for her efforts on behalf of the BRC’s Meals on Wheels program. “When Marianne took over we were serving about 400 homebound people a day and now we’re serving 675 clients,” he said.
Nicolosi thanked the BRCC and credited her staff and board for helping to facilitate all the good work that the organization has accomplished, explaining, “When I came to Bay Ridge, I thought I’d found the dream job in the universe because it is well-known that people in Bay Ridge support their aging adults,” adding, “I’m so glad you bestowed this award on an outsider from Windsor Terrace.”
Attorney Robert Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue, introduced Chin. Howe said that Chin’s hobbies were volunteering for and being a leader in almost every community organization in Bay Ridge.
“When people run away when volunteers are asked for, Brian runs towards them,” said Howe. “He is an ambassador for our community and a tireless worker for Third Avenue and the Bay Ridge community.”
Chin thanked Northfield Bank for having a community banking philosophy, as well as “all my colleagues who are here tonight. And I would especially like to thank Bob Howe and [Merchants’ Executive Secretary] Chuck Otey for their community spirit and working on behalf of the Merchants of Third Avenue for over 25 years.
“It is truly an honor and privilege to receive this award from the Bay Ridge Community Council,” he added.
Along with the essay contest, the BRCC hosts a number of other activities including a Halloween window painting contest, food drives for the hungry, and a Hidden Treasures ceremony that recognizes individuals who work behind the scenes to support the community.