Chamber, mayor honor Business Persons of the Year

While the wicked weather may have prevented some people from getting to Terrace on the Park, it was still a star-studded evening as the Queens Chamber of Commerce and special guest Mayor Michael Bloomberg recognized four business leaders for their contribution to the Queens business community.

At its 99th Anniversary Dinner, the Chamber presented its Small Business Person of the Year Award to Victoria Schneps-Yunis, Publisher of Schneps Communications and The Queens Courier chain of newspapers; Medium Business Person of the Year to Lou Vlahos, tax partner at Farrell Fritz; and Large Business Person of the Year to Hal Rosenbluth, President of Kaufman Astoria Studios. The Chamber also recognized New York Community Bank and its Chairman, President and CEO with its Hall of Fame honor.

“I am very proud of the honorees that the committee came up with because they are fantastic leaders in their fields,” said Chamber President Carol Conslato, during the reception held on Thursday, September 16.

Celebrating its 25th year of in business Schneps-Yunis Publisher and CEO was recognized for her community newspapers including of The Queens Courier group. El Correo de Queens, Queens’ first and only Spanish-language community newspaper; El Comercio, the monthly Queens Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Newspaper; HealthWise, a bi-monthly health and lifestyle magazine; and monthly publications including Queens Business, The Long Island City Courier, North Shore Towers Courier and Le Havre Courier.

“It will be a night long remembered for the borough and myself. I am grateful that those attending got home safely, despite the terrible damage done by Mother Nature,” said Schneps-Yunis.

Vlahos is a partner at Farrell Fritz, P.C., where he leads the firm’s tax practice and its pro bono program. Vlahos has extensive experience in corporate, individual and partnership income taxation and in estate and gift taxation, including tax planning, ruling requests and tax controversy.

As president of Kaufman Astoria Studios (KAS), Rosenbluth has helped to solidify the historic studio’s reputation as one of the largest and most comprehensive studio complexes in New York City. Rosenbluth has led the executive team that has brought the glory days of Astoria Studios back while invigorating the neighborhood and diversifying the businesses of KAS. A 30-year veteran of KAS, Rosenbluth commenced his career with the studio in 1980. 

New York Community Bank is the 23rd largest bank holding company in the nation, with assets of $42 billion, and its two primary subsidiaries, New York Community Bank and New York Commercial Bank. Under Ficalora’s leadership, the company has evolved from a mutual savings bank with seven branches in Queens and Nassau Counties to a publicly traded multi-bank holding company with 282 branch offices.

“It is obviously an honor to be recognized by the chamber,” Ficalora said. 

During the evening, Bloomberg praised the Chamber for its great work in leading the business community and gave thanks to the honorees for their contributions to the borough. He also took questions about the proposed paid sick leave legislation and ways to keep up the character of neighborhoods that are experiencing problems with foreclosures.

In addition, he talked about putting more of an emphasis on creating jobs in small businesses and how eliminating the bureaucratic red tape that often makes this difficult is one of his priorities.

“I’ve got 1,202 days left to go, and if I could take on one thing and I could leave this city with a government that is a lot more efficient where government got out of the way of small business and job creation…we’d really make an enormous contribution,” Bloomberg said.