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Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hosts immigrant experience-themed networking event

May 2, 2018 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: New York City TD Bank Market President Peter Meyer, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Chair Denise Arbesu and Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello. Eagle photos by Arthur De Gaeta
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Brooklyn has long been influenced and defined by the contributions of immigrants who brought their ideas, cultural heritage and business skills to the borough.

On Monday, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce continued its year of centennial programs with a networking event at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights. It was hosted by DeSales Media Group, the technology and communications arm of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn with support from the TD Charitable Foundation.

Seventy-five business owners and their guests attended the networking event that took place in the restored rectory of the cathedral with a cocktail party and violinist.

“It’s always nice to see Brooklyn’s diverse business community come together in one room, especially when it is comprised of the many immigrants who contribute so much to the borough’s economy,” said Chamber President and CEO Andrew Hoan.

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“And to be able to gather in this recently renovated, magnificent house of worship that dates back to 1914 just made the evening that much more special.”

The theme of the event was the contribution of immigrants to Brooklyn. In fact, the Diocese of Brooklyn is also known as the Diocese of Immigrants. There was an interactive video experience where attendees were able to report their family’s immigration history.

“The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph was built by immigrants more than 100 years ago,” said Vincent LeVien, director of external affairs at DeSales Media Group.

“Today, the church, which has been restored to pristine condition, continues to serve Brooklyn’s diverse and dynamic community.

“What a pleasure to share the parish’s rich history, and stunning architecture with our friends at Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. The event has inspired us all to do even more great things for Brooklyn.”

There was also a guided tour of the Co-Cathedral. St. Joseph’s was initially founded to serve the vast immigrant population fleeing the Irish famine from 1846-1852. The first church building was a small brick structure that was dedicated in 1855 by Bishop John Loughlin, the first Bishop of the new Brooklyn Diocese.

“What I thought was really special here tonight was the fact that it’s reflective of all the different neighborhoods that we have in Brooklyn and that the Brooklyn Chamber is continuing to do its neighborhood visits,” Chamber Chairwoman Denise Arbesu told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“There were also a lot of new members here today and it’s the first time they’ve been in this neighborhood in Prospect Heights. I thought that was pretty impressive. It was a different venue and it shows how we’re all collaborative, how we’re all into partnerships and how everybody is networking and attempting to meet new people.”

New York City TD Bank Market President Peter Meyer was especially pleased with the event.

“I think it was wonderful that tonight’s theme was the immigrant experience and there’s no better place to celebrate it than Brooklyn with all its churches and synagogues and all the religious communities in this borough that have sustained and have served generations of Americans,” Meyer told the Eagle.

“And it’s wonderful to see the diversity in this crowd that was here tonight. It’s very reflective of Brooklyn.”


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