Society of Old Brooklynites welcomes new president

July 1, 2013 Editorial Staff
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On Sunday, June 23, the Society of Old Brooklynites officially initiated Ronald Schweiger as its new president at the group’s annual luncheon, while also celebrating the organization’s 133rd birthday.

Founded on May 9, 1880, the mission of the non-profit, voluntary society is to promote good fellowship and social exchange among its members; to collect, collate and preserve the revolutionary, genealogical, civic and social reminiscences of Brooklyn and its inhabitants; to protect its rights; to cherish and cultivate a local pride and spirit; and to promote science, literature and the fine arts.

It was Schweiger’s passion for Brooklyn history that encouraged his nomination and essentially clinched the spot for president. According to Ted General, a member of the society’s Board of Directors, Schweiger was the “ideal choice.”

Borough Historian Schweiger is no stranger to the society himself; he is a life member and a past member of the Board of Directors. As the group’s 48th elected president, he follows in the footsteps of prior distinguished presidents, such as poet Walt Whitman and the society’s first president, John Ward Hunter.

When asked how he felt about taking on this new role, Schweiger admitted, “When I got the phone call a little over six months ago [asking me to become president], I was hesitant at first, but said okay. I look forward to it.”

One of Schweiger’s duties as president is to supervise each monthly meeting, which features lectures from guest speakers on the borough of Brooklyn. These meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month, except July, August and January, in the conference room at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Schweiger also assumes the position of chairperson of the Board of Directors, where he will supervise day-to-day activities.

Schweiger’s love for his home borough doesn’t end at its borders. In January 2014, Schweiger will travel to Florida to speak at a presentation for the 654 members of the Brooklyn Club. He plans on talking about the things that these residents grew up with here in Brooklyn and the times they lived through. Topics that will be addressed include Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay’s Lundy’s Restaurant, Ebbets Field, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the borough’s lamented trolley cars.

The June 23 luncheon was held at the Bay Ridge Manor. Highlights included the swearing in of the new board of officers by Borough President Marty Markowitz, and a talk by Daniella Romano, vice president of exhibits and programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s new Museum – Building 92.

You don’t have to be considered “old” to join the society. Anyone who has resided or worked in Brooklyn for at least 25 years (non-continuously) is eligible for membership. For more information about the Society of Old Brooklynites, call 718-748-3165.

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