WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES APRIL 29, 2021 5
Queens Borough Hall unveils tribute
to late former BP Claire Shulman
BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
Family, friends and former staff -
ers of Claire Shulman, the late
former Queens borough president,
gathered alongside elected offi -
cials and community representatives
outside Queens Borough Hall on April
26 for the unveiling of “One Claire
Shulman Way” as its vanity address.
Shulman, the fi rst female Queens
borough president, served the
“World’s Borough” for 16 years from
1986 to 2002. She became deputy
president in 1980 and interim borough
president in 1986 aft er Borough
President Donald Manes resigned.
Despite all doomsday prophecies
from the political elite, she went on to
win four re-elections before vacating
the seat due to term limits.
Shulman died on Aug. 16, 2020, at
the age of 94, leaving behind her
daughter Ellen Baker (an astronaut),
her son Larry Shulman (an oncologist)
Family, friends and elected offi cials
alike called Shulman, who was born
in Brooklyn, a trailblazer who was
tough, but fair, willing to give those
who worked hard a fi ghting chance.
Queens Borough President Donavan
Richards described how the political
her when she took over the borough
president’s offi ce.
“Boy, did she prove them wrong.
Every step of the way,” Richards said
before listing some of her many accomplishments
during her tenure as
Richards spoke about how Shulman
led the charge in the rezoning
of dozens of neighborhoods to create
appropriate zoning restrictions, generating
reasonable and responsible
development while preserving the
character of many existing neighborhoods.
She was behind the economic
revitalization of many communities,
as well as the expansion and improvement
of the borough’s infrastructure.
She also increased funding for senior
citizens, cultural programs and
libraries during her tenure.
Richards also described how his
predecessor was a powerful advocate
for Queens, fi ghting fi ercely but fairly
for the borough’s residents, never taking
no for an answer.
Richards shared that she became
his unoffi cial campaign manager last
year, sometimes texting him at 6 a.m.
about issues related to the budget.
“I miss her friendship. I miss her counsel.
I’m reminded of carrying on her
legacy when I sit in that seat every day.
And I get emotional. Last week, I was
Elected offi cials join family and friends of the late Claire Shulman celebrate the unveiling of “One Claire
Shulman Way.” Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
going through text messages from her
again. Just reminiscing on all of those
great conversations we had about the
future of this borough. And we’re going
to continue to carry out that legacy in
her honor,” Richards said. “Miss you,
Claire. Miss you, dear. Love you. I would
not be here without you.”
Shulman’s son Larry spoke during
the ceremony and recalled that his
mother was loving and expected a lot
from her kids. He also shared that one
of the few regrets he had was teaching
a 90-year-old how to text message,
noting how she frequently would send
messages, oft en at odd hours.
Dr. Shulman also spoke of the former
borough president’s dedication
to Queens and how much she cared
about the people who live in the
“She cared deeply about the borough.
But not the borough in an
abstract way. She cared about the
people who lived in the borough.
That’s really what mattered,” he said
before expressing that honoring his
mother’s legacy with the unveiling
of the vanity address means a lot to
Queens District Attorney Melinda
Katz, a former borough president,
worked for Shulman and described
her as a loving, but tough leader. Katz
recalled how Shulman gave her a
chance when so many others wouldn’t
aft er Katz lost her race for Congress.
“It takes a very strong, confi dent
elected offi cial to hire another elected
offi cial to step up into their offi ce. And
it shows her confi dence. It shows the
strength of her nature. It shows that
she was a force of nature. It showed
that she had faith in the job that I was
going to do, which I was forever grateful
for, and she knew that I’d be loyal
to the offi ce, I’d be loyal to her, and
most importantly to her, I’d be loyal to
Queens County. And I am so proud of
the years I spent with her,” Katz said.
Former Acting Queens Borough
President Sharon Lee described
Claire Shulman as legendary and
remembered that Shulman did not
waste a single moment, living life
to the fullest, moving hearts and
“When you look across this borough
from west to east, north and south,
there is so much that you see is a
direct result, a direct product of her
vision and her work,” Lee said. “No
one loved Queens more than Claire
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz
worked on various projects with Shulman
for many years and said that she
sees Claire’s infl uence when she goes
“When I was term-limited the fi rst
time, I became very friendly with
Claire personally, where we will go
out to dinner, and sit and talk. All
she ever talked about was Queens,
how she loved Queens. You could sit
and listen to her all day long, telling
stories about Queens. I miss Claire
Shulman. Claire, rest in peace. I’m
very happy this building is being
named aft er Claire Shulman, and it’s
in my district,” Koslowitz said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik
called Claire Shulman a mentor and
surrogate mother and said she helped
bring Queens into the modern era.
“There are two Queens. There is B.C.
Queens and A.C. Queens. There is Before
Claire Queens, and there is Aft er
Claire Queens. And that is really the
mark that she made,” Grodenchik said.
“Everywhere you go in this borough,
there is not a neighborhood that she
did not touch. There is not a neighborhood
that did not benefi t from her
wisdom, and her hard work, and her
dedication to the then 2 million people
of the borough of Queens.”
Shulman’s former Chief of Staff
Alex Rosa thanked Richards for the
extraordinary way he commemorated
Shulman and remembered how much
everyone loved her.
“As Sharon said, she touched our
hearts. And I have seen her move
those mountains as she said, to
make things better for everybody in
Queens, whether you were a senior or
schoolchild, and everyone in between.
She found a way to make things work
in every neighborhood to improve
our lives,” Rosa said. “I was lucky
enough to evolve from a staff member
to somebody who actually called her
mom. I miss her dearly, and I’ll look
at this address always, as a reminder
of the time that we had together. God
bless you, Claire.”