August 23, 2020 Your Neighborhood — Your News®
PA GE 7
Former Queens Borough President Claire
Shulman leaves behind legacy for the ages
BY BILL PARRY
Queens lost a towering figure over the
weekend when Claire Shulman, the first
woman to serve as borough president, died
on Sunday, Aug. 16.
Shulman, 94, passed away after battling
lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
In her 16 years as borough president,
Shulman changed the way Queens ran its
government, taking office during the dark
days of scandal at Borough Hall in the
spring of 1986. She ushered the borough
into a new era of growth and economic
revitalization, leading the way with the
discipline and persistence she learned as a
registered nurse during World War II.
During her humble leadership
beginnings as president of the Bayside
Mother’s Club in 1955, Shulman
demanded the city renovate her
“I told the Board of Ed I’d sue them for
being slumlords and they weren’t familiar
with the term,” Shulman said during a recent
interview with QNS.
The renovation was completed a mere
18 months later and her fast results caught
the attention of then-Borough President
Donald Manes, who named Shulman director
of community boards in 1972 and his
deputy in 1980.
When Manes was embroiled in scandal
and later committed suicide, Shulman was
elected to replace him by a unanimous City
Council vote in February 1986.
“She brought Queens through some of
its most turbulent times with gusto, determination
and love,” said Former Congressman
Joe Crowley, the longtime leader
of the Queens County Democratic Party.
“Claire Shulman was a giant in the annals
of Queens County. She did it all from being
a scholar, nurse, spouse, mother and public
A lasting legacy
Shulman’s style of government depended
on her leadership and the strength of her
staff, which featured future leaders such
Continued on Page 4 Former Borough President Claire Shulman is remembered as a trailblazer who transformed Queens. File photo
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