By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In many categories, Brooklyn is a leader not only within the metropolitan area but in the world, said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
However, he said, Brooklynites should realize that although Downtown Brooklyn is the commercial and civic center of the borough, Brooklyn isn’t just Downtown. ‘Brooklyn doesn’t look like me,” said Scissura. “It looks like every one of us.”
He was speaking to a meeting of the Brooklyn Bridge Rotary Club at the Archives Restaurant at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott on Thursday. The club, founded in 2011, is comprised of business and professional leaders in the greater Downtown area.
In keeping with Rotary’s tradition of service, it supports projects like . Frances Residence, for single mothers and young children; and provides volunteers and other help at P.S. 38 in Boerum Hill.
The club is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of Rotary in Brooklyn. Another borough club, the Verrazano Rotary Club, mainly serves the southern part of the borough.
Scissura began by saying that “Brooklyn is hot.” Mentioning the borough’s recent developments, such as Barclays Center, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the revived Coney Island, he said, “Many cities would kill for just one of these projects, and we’ve got about 10 of them.”
He predicted that Sunset Park will become “one of the largest manufacturing areas in the world.” New industries there, he added, will not follow the old model of large “smokestack” factories, but will include smaller high-tech businesses, solar-power firms, “green” companies and more.
In food business, he mentioned that the most recent Brooklyn Eats event attracted from 120 to 130 locally-based firms. Turning to Barclays Arena, he called it “the hottest arena in the world. People in Italy, in Greece talk about it.”
Scissura also discussed population trends in the borough. As has been the case throughout its history, Brooklyn is getting many immigrants from abroad, from places like Latin America, the Caribbean, Russia and China. “It’s also getting a lot of immigrants from places like California, Michigan and Ohio.
“According to the most recent Census, the fastest-growing groups of newcomers are immigrants from China and young men under the age of 30 from the Midwest,” he said.
He then talked about the activities of the Chamber, obviously hoping that many there would join. While the Chamber once concentrated on Downtown, he said, today its outreach activities extend into every part of the borough, from Greenpoint to Brighton Beach to East New York.
“We get our biggest response when we go to the outlying areas of the borough,” said Scissura. “When we held a meeting in Bay Ridge in the heat of the summer, we got 220 people. And everywhere we go, we partner with local business organizations. In Bay Ridge, we partnered with the Fifth Avenue BID and the Merchants of Third Avenue. In Brighton Beach, we partnered with the Brighton Beach BID.”
After his speech, the club’s president, Ed Weintrob, revealed that the Brooklyn Bridge Rotary board had recently applied for Chamber membership [Editor's note: Weintrob is a paid consultant to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle].
Weintrob also distributed coins bearing Rotary International’s “Four-Way Test,” a guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test poses these four questions:
“Is it [the planned action] the truth?
“Is it fair to all concerned?
“Will it build goodwill and better friendships?” and
“Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”