More than 160 Ridge movers and shakers supped and stepped the night away at the Bay Ridge Community Council’s first annual dinner dance at Dyker Heights catering hall Sirico’s on June 4.
The group had caroused at El Caribe in Mill Basin for the last 63 years, but nobody was complaining about the bash in Bay Ridge’s back yard an organizer said.
“Everybody likes it because it’s close to home,” said Irene Hanvey. “Nobody has to get on the Belt [Parkway] after happy hour.”
The council honored two outstanding women for their contributions to the Ridge — Nordic cultural maven Arlene Rutuelo and Greek-American community powerhouse Zoe Koutsoupakis.
“These are two women who have given everything to make Bay Ridge a better place,” said freshly sworn-in council president Vincent Bocchino.
The recognition was a capstone, said Koutsoupakis, a Greek-American banker who moved to the U.S. at 14 and has since guided — and raised piles of cash cash for — neighborhood Greek organizations.
“It’s the reward of 38 years of community service,” she said. “This award belongs to all of you, because you made me what I am.”
Lifelong Ridgite Rutuelo credited her public school upbringing (PS 170, McKinley, and Ft. Hamilton High School) and tight-knit neighborhood for her will to give back.
“In our public schools, we were taught about civic duties at a young age,” the longtime community council member said. “We had living models in our teachers, parents, and neighbors — and all of you are part of that.”
The pair couldn’t even carry the load of plaques, proclamations, accolades, and felicitations that the civic club and every single politician with a block in Bay Ridge bestowed.
The Bay Ridge Community Council is a 100-member umbrella organization formed in 1951 by brothers Vincent and Walter Kassenbrock. Now it hosts the neighborhood’s powerhouse political debates, maintains the Halloween window art contest, and grants more than $40,000 in college scholarships annually.