North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce summer BBQ defies forecasts

Chamber tradition is outdoor soiree along the East River bank that brings networking, good food and a convivial atmosphere

August 17, 2018 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Paul Samulski with Chair Elaine Brodsky. Eagle photo by Andy Katz
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Members, guests and folks interested in North Brooklyn braved dire forecasts of rain showers to gather at Norm and Elaine Brodsky’s venerable trailer to attend the North Brooklyn Chamber’s annual Summer BBQ. Part of the draw might have been the new NB Chamber baseball caps, utterly cool with Chamber logos: blocky “NB” slashed through with lines suggesting one of the East River bridges that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan, and underneath simply: “CHAMBER”.

Dashing around beneath the hastily-erected tents, setting up food and serving drinks, Chamber president Paul Samulski sported one of the new caps.

“Oh, Norm really loves these hats,” Samulski said in response to a reporter’s compliment. The reference was to Norm Brodsky, who, along with his wife and North Brooklyn Chair, Elaine Brodsky, own the trailer that has become the chamber’s spiritual and intellectual ground zero. “He says ‘NB’ really stands for ‘Norm Brodsky’,” Samulski added with a laugh.

“We’re not the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce,” Samulski said later, after dinner and before drinks. “We don’t go for the big events. We feel we’re better when we can get everyone together to meet one another in more intimate settings.” Samulski went on to announce the next “Brooklyn Revealed”—essentially a series of field trips that enable chamber members and their guests to get behind the scenes in local businesses, and see first-hand what makes them work—would be a tour of 25 Kent Avenue, the first new commercial construction in Greenpoint since the 1960s.

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“Afterward, we’ll gather on the roof of the Williamsburg Hotel for drinks and discussion,” Samulski said.

Broadcaster and NY 1 anchor, Pat Kiernan was given a tour of the North Brooklyn Angels food truck by Angels guiding spirit, Neil Sheehan. After a brief demonstration of how meals are delivered to North Brooklyn residents in need, Sheehan guided everyone outside to get their “wings”—being photographed while standing between the truck’s angel logo.

North Brooklyn Angelmobile Volunteer Howie chats with Angelmobile guiding spirit Neil Sheehan

Chase VP and Branch Manager, Tamara Bulatovic was on hand with her team who will be responsible for opening a new Chase branch in Greenpoint on October 13.

“This is a great place to network, to meet people who have strong ties to North Brooklyn,” Bulatovic said before gathering up her people for a picture with the East River sunset in the background.

Rachel Jarren is an entrepreneur with an interest in helping young people navigate the often difficult transition from late adolescence to adulthood. She discovered the North Brooklyn Chamber and its annual summer BBQ by way of Eventbrite.

“I’m trying to get out and meet as many people as I can,” Jarren said. “I’ve done event planning in the past—even at this location, last year—and I’d like to bring that experience to create a non-profit that would give young adults the opportunity to work with the public and learn the ins and outs of customer service.”

Although her business plan isn’t yet finalized, Jarren envisions creating a mobile photo booth, similar to those seen at parties, weddings and galas, to be manned by the youngsters in her program.

“I’m a naturally shy person,” she admitted. “So events like this BBQ are really the best way for me to contact people with more experience and knowledge.”

Indeed, luckily for Jarren, Dana Rachlin, founder and CEO of NYCTogether, which helps high school students learn fundamental life and working skills, was also on hand. The two exchanged numbers, and Jarren made her first important contact of a new venture.

 NYC Together Founder and CEO Dana Rachlin gets her “wings” outside the North Brooklyn Angels food truck

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