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Bill of sale: Mayor addresses by Chamber of Commerce dinner

Celebrating Brooklyn: Mayor DeBlasio was the keynote speaker of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner at Gargiulo’s in Coney Island and was awarded the title of an honorary lifetime Chamber member.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Mayor DeBlasio came to Coney Island for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting and trade show on Oct. 5.

More than 500 business leaders and local pols packed into Gargiulo’s Restaurant to celebrate the borough and to hear the mayor’s keynote address. Hizzoner applauded the chamber’s accomplishments and touted Brooklyn’s booming popularity as a boon for the city’s economy — even if the fact makes it tough for locals to pay their rents.

“What’s good for Brooklyn is good for New York City,” said DeBlasio. “This place has become one of the centers of the universe. People all over the world are talking about Brooklyn — it costs too much I know — but the spirit of Brooklyn is a place for everyone.”

The chamber announced plans to build an “economic development hub” by 2021 — though it has not settled on a location. The space could feature a store selling only Brooklyn-made products, a health insurance center, events spaces, and a business incubator to help startups grow. Chamber members hope the building will centralize business operations in the borough.

“You are from all over Brooklyn, you can’t be everywhere,” said Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “We want a home for you that you can come and make your own.”

More than 14 million tourists flocked to the borough of kings last year — chamber members recognize that they spend a majority of their time and money only in certain neighborhoods but they hope the increased attention will boost less-frequented areas such as Brownsville and East New York, said the chair of the chamber’s board of directors.

“It’s not all about Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Bensonhurst, right?” said Denise Arbesu. “There’s certain parts that you have to bring people up, have good schools, good opportunities. We’re one Brooklyn and it has to be for everyone. It’s not perfect but we’re on our way up.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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