By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Arthur Aidala, the honoree and “Man for All Seasons” at the Winter Gala of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, proved beyond a doubt that he is “Brooklyn through and through.” He still lives on the same Bay Ridge block where his father Louis taught him how to ride a bicycle when he was a child. And he declared publicly last week at the gala that when he and his fiancée Marianne Bertuna get married, they will live in Bay Ridge.
On Dec. 17, the El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin was packed to capacity with family, friends and admirers from civic, business, religious and legal organizations, all of whom came to honor Aidala, who is also the newly elected president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, a Fox News channel legal analyst and a college lecturer.
The attendees, who included a number of elected officials, also paid tribute to the Chamber of Commerce, which under the leadership of President and CEO Carlo Scissura now boasts more than 2,200 members.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, state Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblymembers Peter Abbate, Joe Lentol, Jo Anne Simon and Helene Weinstein and Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio were among the attendees.
“I am very humbled to be up here today and so pleased to be the one honored here tonight,” Aidala told the guests that packed the ballroom.
Aidala, a former senior assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, is the managing partner in the law firm Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins. Bertuna is Marianne Bertuna, Aidala’s fiancée. The two have been working together professionally for years. Aidala and Bertuna brought in retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Barry Kamins to the high-powered law firm earlier this year.
The Chamber of Commerce honored Aidala for his efforts to improve public safety in Brooklyn over the years.
The Gala also raised money for soup kitchens and food pantries across Brooklyn. Raffle tickets were sold for such prizes as a weekend in Sicily and gift baskets filled with products made in Brooklyn.
The evening had many light-hearted moments.
Scissura joked that the outspoken Aidala is quiet, shy and reserved. “And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you for $5,” he said.
Aidala recalled that he ran in the Democratic Primary for Bay Ridge’s City Council seat back in 1997 and lost. The general election that year was won by Republican Marty Golden, who served in the council until 2002 and then won a state Senate seat. Golden said that things worked out quite well for Aidala, despite the loss in the primary. “I was meant to go to the City Council. You were meant to become a millionaire!” Golden told Aidala.
The event also gave leaders of the Chamber of Commerce a chance to celebrate the organization’s growth and success.
“We have over 2,200 members and we continue to grow,” Scissura said, paying tribute to the Chamber’s members. “You really make the Chamber the hottest place to be.”
Denise Arbesu, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, said the organization reflects the borough. “Tonight is really about celebrating. Brooklyn is so diverse and that is evident tonight,” she said.
In addition to promoting business in the borough and mentoring fledgling business owners, the Chamber also operates the Brooklyn Business Solutions Center. “You name it, we do it,” Scissura said.
Business is booming in Brooklyn, according to Golden. “We are on fire, from the Brooklyn Army Terminal to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It’s because of the good work of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce,” he said.
Lentol said the strength of Brooklyn is in its small businesses and its neighborhoods. “This is the biggest and the best. It’s because of you, the small businesses of Brooklyn. Our strength is in our neighborhoods,” he said.
Aidala also paid tribute to Chamber of Commerce members, many of whom are small business owners. “Small businesses in Brooklyn are part of what makes America great,” he said.