By Mark Hallum
Community leader Jack Friedman once again drew attention from Queens leaders with a street co-naming in his honor, three years after his death.
Friedman was an advocate for the elderly and business services in the eastern part of the borough and served as executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce from 2007 until his death in 2015 at the age of 56.
“My father, ‘Mr. Queens,’ dedicated his life to this borough and the people in it. Every time we drive by, we will be reminded of the incredible impact he made on all of our lives,” Cara Friedman, the daughter of Jack Friedman, said.
The southwest corner of 254th Street and Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks will carry the name Jack Friedman after City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) sponsored the bill to have his contribution to his community memorialized.
“It is hard to believe that three years have gone by since Jack M. Friedman passed away,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing). “Jack was a great advocate and resource for the business community in Queens, and he worked tirelessly to assist local business owners and strengthen our borough’s economy. I miss working with him and tapping into his expertise. I also miss the excitement and enthusiasm he constantly showed for helping entrepreneurs succeed.”
State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) remembered Friedman for his contribution not only as a business leader, but also as his chief-of-staff during his tenure in the City Council and chairman of the Finance Committee.
“The co-naming of 254th street as ‘Jack M. Friedman Way’ could not be a more appropriate way to honor a man so dedicated to his community and the borough of Queens,” Weprin said.
Corey Bearak, chair of the boards of Services Now For Adult Persons and the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, said having worked with Friedman for up to 30 years made clear how important family and friends were to the man.
“Jack and I knew each other and worked together for some three decades,” Bearak said. “His most distinguishing feature was putting family, friends, colleagues, and the public before himself. We served on Community School Board 26 (which I left after one term as planned) where Jack’s colleagues later elected him president… We also served together until his passing on the SNAP board, which we collaborated to strengthen, and on Community Board 13Q. As one might imagine, Jack proved an invaluable connector for so many.”
Tom Grech now serves as the executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall