Bay Ridge

Justice Schack returning to his old stomping grounds

Will be guest speaker at Bay Ridge board he once led

November 8, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack when he speaks at the next meeting of Community Board 10. Schack is a former chairman of the Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights board.

Schack, who lives with his wife Dilia in Bay Ridge, has accepted an invitation from Board 10 chairman Brian Kieran to be the guest speaker at the board’s Nov. 18 meeting to take place at the Norwegian Christian Home, 1250 67th St., starting at 7:15 p.m. In his remarks, the justice is expected to discuss the topics of the court system and community leadership.

Schack, who been a justice for 14 years, is known on the lecture circuit as a lively speaker who sometimes startles audiences with his candor. In a presentation to the Dyker Heights Civic Association in January, Schack talked about the kinds of cases that come before him. He admitted publicly that he’d rather be behind the bench at a murder trial rather than hear a divorce case.

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“No two days are alike on the job,” he told civic association members at that meeting.

Schack, who was a member of Board 10 from 1983 to 1998, served as its chairman for three years, from 1986 to 1989. His wife is currently a board member.

Kieran asked Schack to participate in a Board 10 tradition known as the “Honor of the Pledge,” in which a prominent person living in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights leads the board members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to start the meeting. The honor has gone to business leaders, educators, and soldiers, among others.

The person leading the pledge is usually asked to offer a brief presentation to the board.

“We are delighted to have him back,” Board 10 District manager Josephine Beckmann told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We invite him back to do the swearing-in of our officers. He has done that many times for us. Whenever we call upon him, he is there for us. But when we looked at the list of people who have done the ‘Honor of the Pledge,’ we realized that we’ve never asked him to do that,” she said.

In addition to his role as a justice, Schack is also a civic leader in Brooklyn. According to his profile on, he has been a member of the national council of the Boy Scouts of America since 1991 and has served on the board of directors of the Friends of Historic New Utrecht group since 1997. Last year, he and his wife volunteered to help communities ravaged by superstorm Sandy. “I remember seeing them loading up their car to take supplies to a school,” Beckmann said.

Board 10 member Kevin Peter Carroll said he is looking to forward to hearing what Schack has to say on Nov. 18. “This is a real honor for the community board,” he told the Eagle.

Carroll noted Schack’s leadership on the issue of home foreclosures. Schack is known as a stickler on the bench who refuses to grant banks permission to throw people out of their homes unless the banks have followed the letter of the law, right down to the paperwork.

“My feeling is, if you want to take away somebody’s house, you have to follow the letter of the law,” he told the civic association earlier this year.

“He has made a lot of great rulings from the bench. On foreclosures, he is a leader on that issue,” Carroll said.

Prior to becoming a justice, Schack was a lawyer for the Major League Baseball Players Association. Before that, he taught social studies in New York City public schools.

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