North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce holds its midsummer eve BBQ

August 15, 2017 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and grill maestro Paul Samulski works the coals to the benefit of all. Eagle photos by Andy Katz

Chamber Honors Principal Supporters with an Evening of Good Food and Conviviality

’Twas a glorious midsummer afternoon along the banks of the East River. The rainstorms that had finally quelled July’s brutal heat wave were over, leaving clear, dry days and delicately lit sunsets in their wake. Daytime temps were docile enough to make a California transplant envious and the evenings breezy and cool.

It just happened the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce had a few awards to bestow to some of its principal supporters, so what better pretext to fire up the chamber’s massive grill, ship in generous quantities of Brooklyn Brewery’s finest and invite the cream of North Brooklyn’s business community to Norm and Elaine Brodsky’s venerable trailer for an evening of grilled burgers, beer and conviviality?

“This has been a great organization for us,” Phillip Grandison, HBSC Brooklyn Senior Branch Manager, said after being honored as Director Members of the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at the event on Aug. 9. “We’ve been involved with the Chamber for some time now, and it’s been a great benefit to us reaching out to the community, getting involved in constructive ways.”

Other organizations honored for their support of the North Brooklyn Chamber were the Newtown Creek Group, Simon Baron Development Group, Normandy Real Estate, Brooklyn Bowl, RHD Projects, Metroline Car Service, the Greenpoint Gazette and Chase Bank.

It was a diverse group that had gathered, including members of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, North Brooklyn Angels and even some prospective members.  

One of the last to be honored, Judy Sahagian, president of JudyNetworks LLC and creator of the RE Subway Series, brought her 9-year-old Yorkie, Tassie.

“Real estate is more than just a borough,” she explained. “It’s the doctor you see, the movies you attend, the store where you buy groceries … What three things are more New York than baseball, subways and real estate? So, I created the series to consist of one-day conferences in each of the boroughs, that would allow professionals to network and to really delve those hidden gems and potential weak spots that characterize every neighborhood.”

For some members and prospects, the evening proved to be their first opportunity to closely inspect the North Brooklyn Angel Mobile, a food van co-sponsored by both the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Episcopal Ministries of Long Island.

“We’ve had such a great response so far,” North Brooklyn Chamber Chair Elaine Brodsky said. “People are flocking to it to the point where they have run out of food and had to come back.”

Originally designated to stop on a prearranged schedule that includes several churches and housing complexes, Angel volunteers have also discovered opportunities to serve less-obvious patrons.

“We passed a spot on Marcy Avenue,” recounted Angel volunteer driver Donna Simetar, “where groups of women had gathered, hoping to be hired for domestic day work. They were very happy we came by, and now it’s become a regular part of the van’s route.”

The evening’s plan included formal presentations of each certificate, a short speech of acceptance and formal pictures before the newly hung “North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce” banner.

“Had I known, I would have worn pants!” William Berdini, JP Morgan/Chase executive director, quipped with a glance down at his weather-appropriate Bermudas in response to the photos — but with good food and generous libations, no one really seemed to feel the need to stand on ceremony, or to make or hear speeches.

As the evening sunset gently gilded the East River’s far side, prospective Chamber member Sahagian sat with Tassie in the cooling breeze.

“This is a great organization,” she said. “There’s a lot of positive energy, mutual support and networking.”