North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce holds Fall Orientation in The Brass Factory

Greenpoint and Williamsburg Businesses Watch as Door Opens to State’s Largest Chamber of Commerce

October 30, 2017 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Secretary Martha Holstein; North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce board Chair Elaine Brodsky; and Publisher of, Julia Moak. Eagle photos by Andy Katz
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North Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce President Paul Samulski hustled back and forth within one corner of the cavernous work space, directing the placement of benches and tables, setting out bottles of wine and placing baskets of edibles in a neat row.

“It’s easy to explain what we do,” Samulski said, in reference to the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “But now that we have reciprocal membership, many of our people don’t realize what’s available to them compliments of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.”

In March of 2016, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce announced a partnership with the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (also known then as the “Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce”) that would give all North Brooklyn members automatic membership in New York state’s largest chamber of commerce.

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“The idea,” Samulski went on, “is for us to do this hopefully quarterly. The Brooklyn Chamber has pages and pages of programs. For the most part, our people aren’t aware of them and don’t know how to take advantage of them.”

After guests were seated and the orientation program began on Oct. 25, Samulski introduced himself to the new members, and also introduced Meg Helming, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce director of membership, and Communications Associate Adam Kilduff, also of the Brooklyn Chamber.

“One of the things we’re doing with this program,” Samulski continues, “is to use different locations — to try to show members what commercial and retail spaces are available to them, and also different kinds of working areas.”

Autumn’s orientation session took place in The Brass Factory, a refurbished factory and warehouse on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. Boasting the largest “co-working space” in North Brooklyn with some 22,000 square feet, mostly contiguous space, brightly lit with large windows and white interior paint, The Brass Factory offers a single desk for just over $5000 monthly, or private offices at substantially more.

Given its location, it comes as no surprise that basic amenities include indoor bicycle parking, a working kitchen with snacks, coffee, teas and beer and even 1960s-style mod hanging egg chairs for creative rest and recuperation.

Of course, because it was designed as a factory, no one paid close attention to acoustics, and they’re atrocious. It’s nearly impossible to hold a conversation when a large group is producing generous amounts of ambient sound nearby. But in all fairness, The Brass Factory is intended as a workspace, not a lecture hall.

And thankfully, Kilduff and Helming brought audio-visual aids.

“We try to cut down on the amount of white noise members encounter in the business community,” Helming declared. Her presentation emphasized the Chamber’s networking events. “It can be very intimidating, putting yourself out there,” she acknowledged. She displayed the Chamber’s signature events that include Brooklyn Designs, Brooklyn Eats and the Building Brooklyn Awards.

“The Chamber advocates for its members,” Kilduff said. “We’ve had members and experts visit legislators, offer public testimony, examine legislative agendas on behalf of other members.”

With more than 2,000 members, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce staff are confident that they have the bases covered in virtually any field of commercial endeavor.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” Samulski told the audience. “You need to go to events, you need to meet people. If you say they [the Brooklyn Chamber] probably don’t do that, they probably do. If you think they probably can’t help you, they probably can.”

After the presentations came a call for questions. One prospective member raised his hand: “My building is on a corner very close to here, 12th and Wythe Avenue. Traffic is dangerous. We need a light. People have complained, but we can’t get action.”

After referencing the need to address the NYC Department of Transportation with a problem like that, Helming paused: “Give me a call in a few days, and we’ll talk about it.”


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