By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — Ann Nicosia, a longtime member of the board of directors of the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and the operations manager of Kleinfeld, the world famous bridal gown store, died Jan. 21 after battling cancer. She was 57 years old.
Mrs. Nicosia served on the BID board for several years, first as a representative of Kleinfeld, and then as a Fifth Avenue resident when the bridal store moved from Fifth Avenue to Manhattan in 2005.
The BID board is composed largely of merchants and property owners, but one seat is always reserved for a resident living in the BID’s catchment area.
Mrs. Nicosia’s association with Fifth Avenue goes back many years, according to BID President Jim Clark.
“She went way back. She was active even before the BID started back when we were the Fifth Avenue Board of Trade,” said Clark, who praised her as “a great lady.”
The Fifth Avenue Board of Trade was the predecessor to the current BID.
Mrs. Nicosia was admired by her board colleagues for her steadfast dedication to one of the BID’s pet causes — children. The BID sponsors a holiday toy drive for underprivileged children each year. Mrs. Nicosia worked with her co-workers at Kleinfeld to purchase dozens of toys for the BID’s effort.
“Most of the toys we had for the toy drive were donated by Kleinfeld, thanks to Ann,” Clark said.
“Ann was a wonderful, wonderful person,” said BID Executive Director Patrick Condren. “She had a great heart and was a super big asset to the neighborhood.”
In addition to her role on the BID, Mrs. Nicosia also volunteered her time at several youth programs in the community, Condren said.
Mrs. Nicosia was a lifelong resident of Bay Ridge. She was a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School.
Ronnie Rothstein, the owner of Kleinfeld, described Mrs. Nicosia as a dynamo who was a trouble shooter for the shop.
“Whenever anything happened, a flood in the building, a problem with a customer, our employees would say, ‘Go get Ann.’ She was our ‘go-to’ girl. She knew how to solve any problem and nothing made her nervous,” Rothstein said.
Mrs. Nicosia’s association with Kleinfeld went back 30 years.
“Thirty years ago, she walked into Kleinfeld when it was on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, looking for a job. There was a sign in the window reading ‘Cashiers wanted.’ She got the job and she moved up to become our operations manager,” Rothstein said.
“Ann was instinctually very bright. She learned everything about every single job all 160 employees did in Brooklyn. She had a good nose for who could do what. And she was the most trustworthy person in the world,” he said.
Rothstein had the sad task of breaking the news of Mrs. Nicosia’s death to his employees. The shop currently has 240 employees.
“People just broke down and cried. You just can’t imagine that Ann is not here,” he said.
Everyone in Kleinfeld recognized Mrs. Nicosia’s ties to Bay Ridge and her love for the community, Rothstein said.
“Ann was a true Bay Ridge girl,” he said.
Mrs. Nicosia is survived by her parents, Ann and Jim Seaman, her son Kristian, her daughter Jessica, her brother Kevin, her sister-in-law Betty, her nieces Michelle and Melissa, and her nephew Erik.
A wake for Mrs. Nicosia was held at McLaughlin and Sons Funeral Home at 9620 Third Ave. on Jan. 23. A service took place at Green-Wood Cemetery the following day.