City Comptroller Scott Stringer last week came to Brighton Beach’s Shorefront YM-YWHA, the heart of the Russian speaking community, to pay homage to their strong culture in Brooklyn, the city and beyond.
The event was one of Stringer’s citywide events to celebrate the heritage and culture of the diverse communities in their neighborhoods. It is unique among citywide officials in bringing such celebrations to the communities in which they live – be it Polish American community in Greenpoint, Asian American community in Flushing or Caribbean Americans in East Flatbush.
“The fact is, immigrant New Yorkers contribute an immense amount to both our cultural landscape and our economy,” said Stringer, noting that his grandmother came from the Ukraine several generations ago.
Stringer said the economic contributions of immigrants in the city contributes a great positive impact. This includes that immigrants earn $100 billion in total income — one third of all the city earnings; and that over 83,000 immigrant New Yorkers own businesses.
“That’s why we need to make it easier for people coming here to become citizens.
Following his remarks, more than 200 people enjoyed the great voice of talented singer Iouri Viderman who performed the National Anthem and “What A Wonderful World.” Democratic District Leader Ari Kagan, who also works in Stringer’s office as a community liaison welcomed all attendees and introduced Stringer as reliable friend of the Russian speaking community.
Stringer in his remarks acknowledged a remarkable success of Russian speaking Americans in culture, medicine, sports, business, politics and science, mentioned Olympic Gold Champion in swimming Lenny Krayzelburg, immigrant from Odessa, Brooklyn Civil Court Judge Elena Baron, Republican District Leader Boris Pincus and Democratic District Leader Margarita Kagan.
The most important part of the evening was an award ceremony, honoring three outstanding leaders from the Russian speaking community. These included Tamara Katayeva, Board member of the Congress of Bukharian Jews from the USA and Canada, popular singer and actress; Michael Kremerov, President of the American Brotherhood for the Russian Disabled (ABRUD); and attorney Irina Matiychenko, Director of Immigrant Protection Unit at New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG).
City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) praised Stringer and commended great honorees.
The event also featured an array of cultures and religions from the former Soviet Union diaspora including priests and rabbis, Ukrainians and Bukharian Jews, Uzbekis and Crimean Tatars, Armenians and Georgians. They all thanked Stringer and his staff as well as Shorefront Y for their hospitality and attention to the vibrant and proud immigrant community.