With Christmas and Hanukkah right around the corner, I am so thankful to be able to celebrate with my friends and family.
It feels like the year flew right by me. There seemed to be one crisis after another and great hoopla over the election, with multiple runoffs that made “Election Day” a thing of the past.
I tried to stay up on Election Night and get the results in my state and around the country, but by midnight I saw there were few final results, so I turned off my TV and went to bed.
Election Night brought back so many memories and it made me think of my dear friend Claire Shulman — who served as Queens Borough President for 16 years — and her victories, as well as the excitement of Eric Adams’ stunning victory party after clinching the mayoral race.
Claire was what I like to call a true public servant whose only agenda was to better the lives of those living in her beloved borough.
She was in office as a Democrat during the years that Rudy Guiliani was the respected mayor of New York City.
Claire was masterful at playing a non-partisan part during those years when it wasn’t about party, but about working together to make our lives better.
I love the story she told me about when Rudy visited Borough Hall for her birthday to surprise her. He burst into her huge, stately wood-paneled office with a birthday cake and told her to “blow out the candles and make a wish.”
She did and shared out loud the wish: “I wish for $1 million for the expansion of the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”
And her wish came true! Rudy allocated the money and the project was completed!
But that wasn’t the only project that she spearheaded. Throughout her career, she put more shovels in the ground and built more cultural institutions than any other elected official! Whether it was the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center or the Queens Museum or the Queens Hospital Center expansion or bringing a new skating rink and pool to Flushing Meadows Corona Park or improving the sewers of southeast Queens, she was always getting things done!
She was a thoroughly Queens person, but I forgave her that she was born in Brooklyn, like me.
She met her husband Mel, a psychiatrist, at Queens Hospital Center where she was a nurse and they shared over 60 years of marriage. After becoming a mom, she ran for PTA president, then became a community board member, then ran the community boards boroughwide before becoming a deputy for former Borough President Donald Manes. Following his death, she took over as Queens Borough President and served us proudly for 16 years. She was an activist who took no nonsense from anyone. She ran a tight ship that never saw scandal.
Claire was a true public servant who got things done benefiting the people she represented.
Soon, our current Borough President Donovan Richards will give us a present and deliver a gift of gratitude he promised for the woman who made so much happen in our beloved borough.
Claire oversaw the expansion of the Queens Hospital Center and we both believe there is no better gift than to rename it the Claire Shulman Hospital.
Giving the hospital a wonderful name representing the enormous quality of service the hospital plays in the lives of our millions of residents would be a fitting way to say thank you to an extraordinary woman who deserves our gratitude.
I was so grateful to be at the victory party for Eric Adams, who won the mayoral race with ease on Election Night. He’s another public servant who is working 24/7 to bring back the glory days of our magnificent city. I know his goal is to make us all feel safe, secure and proud of the greatest city in the world.
This is a time of year for showing gratefulness and giving back to our critical community services.
As a founder of the nonprofit Life’s WORC, I understand the power of giving and how important the work of serving people with special needs is.
It is essential to give back, whether it be through volunteering or dollars.
Our publications over the next few weeks will be highlighting many organizations similar to Life’s WORC that serve the community that you might consider supporting either by donating or volunteering.
I love listening to John Catsimatidis’ WABC Radio show on Sundays featuring Dr. Pete Michalos, who John refers to as his “resident genius.”
This week, they were talking about how healthy it is to give back and to be generous.
Dr. Pete spoke about how being kind and generous can even add to your longevity and better your health. He said that the body literally feels good when you do good.
I laughed when I saw the tough, leather-suited Harley motorcycle guys drive up to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island and deliver toys to the sick kids, bringing them joy and brightening their day. One of the motorcyclists admitted, “it made me happy to see the kids’ smiling faces!”
What’s sweeter than seeing a smile on a child’s face when you give them a gift?
My friend Stacey Soloviev came over for lunch and shared with me her daily routine of giving gratitude for the sunrise, knowing a new day has begun, and taking great joy with the sunset, knowing the beauty it brings.
She shared a famous Buddhist quote that I want to share with you all:
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.”
That’s why I wear a frog ring. It’s the only species that can’t look to the left or to the right. It can’t turn its head back and can only look forward.
In life we remember and cherish the past, but we must look forward and cherish each day with thanks and gratitude.
I always feel when I give, I get so much more back.