Another year, another successful Seneca Club Dinner. The Polonaise Terrace hosted what has become perhaps the premier networking and socializing event in Greenpoint Thursday evening, where politicians, judges, and other local bigwigs rub shoulders and dine on a delicious buffet while accepting awards for their contributions to the community.
Steve Cohn, one half of the Club’s Executive Committee along with Linda Minucci, was the evening’s host and emcee, dashing across the dining room greeting guests with bear hugs, kissing wives, and posing for pictures. Amidst all the well wishing, Cohn managed to describe the importance of the Club and its role over the last century—it was founded in 1899—as a sounding board for community issues.
“Before [New York City] had districts and Assemblymen, Seneca Club was a seed of government that helped people with every issue they had,” said Cohn. “It’s been an asset to the community in terms of fighting for things we don’t want and things we do want.”
The evening was casual in tone, as Cohn periodically called award recipients to the podium to accept an award without silencing the crowd. This was designed, Cohn said, so that people could enjoy their dinner and the company of friends, families, and colleagues without the formalized structure of most awards dinners. Indeed, most of the crowd chose to mingle around the dining room and pose for pictures, all while enjoying food provided by the Polonaise.
Despite the relaxed format, there were those who came to the podium with something to say. Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes made a point of thanking the audience for their combined efforts in helping keep crime down in the region.
“Seneca is a great tradition in our community,” said Hynes. “Last year for the first time since 1963, there were fewer than two hundred murders in Brooklyn. That has a lot to do with the community support you give the police department and the DA’s office.”
Others came to the podium to promote their local businesses or causes, hardly frowned upon at an event that has become renowned for its ability to connect community businesses and residents. After Cohn handed them their award, Dewey Thompson and Christine Holowacz of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning, called for more volunteers to help out with the organizations open space projects.
“Dewey and I represent GWAPP and we’re trying to get as much open space as possible,” said a beaming Holowacz. “We need money, we need volunteers. I’m going to use this moment!”
Even with the attendance of several mayoral candidates, including former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, current Comptroller John Liu, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Cohn said he was just as proud of the presence of the non-political community staples, such as local doctors and school administrators as well as the national champion chess team at IS 318.
“[The dinner] was one of the best we’ve ever had,” said Cohn, rattling off the list of nominees who attended. “IS 318, those kids were thrilled to be here, and elected officials who may have been overlooked, doctors in the community who never thought they’d be honored. It was very successful.”
Type your name and email address below, then click "Submit" to be added to our spam-free email list.