Wednesday March 7th was the Bronx Chamber of Commerce Irish Heritage Luncheon, but it was former Mayor Rudy Guiliani who was the Guest Speaker that was the center of attention. BCC President Lenny Caro opened the luncheon after a small press conference by former Mayor Guiliani. He welcomed everybody, and praised his excellent staff without whom the Chamber would not be able to do the work that it does. The National Anthem was sung by Ms. Caitlin Snyder (of Mercy College), and the Invocation was given by Father Richard Gorman (chairman of Community Board # 12). Mr. Caro mentioned that at 3:30 PM that Mayor Bloomberg was to sign the Westchester Avenue Business Improvement District proposal that several BCC members had worked on.
Councilman Fernando Cabrera then spoke about the Kingsbridge Armory, and the “Living Wage” issue. Cabrera said that he lives three blocks from the armory, and that the church where he is a pastor at is only one block away from the armory. He added that the community wants the Kingsbridge Armory to be an epicenter to bring people to the area from all over the city. The Burnside Avenue shopping district is his council district, and he said that he is looking to make that area into a BID also.
Before introducing the honorees Mr. Caro introduced Mr. John Calvelli (of the Wildlife Conservation Society) who told the story of the opening of the New Congo Exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, where then Mayor Guiliani came dressed as the Lion King. Calvelli then gave former Mayor Guiliani a framed photo of the event.
The Honorees included Mr. Chris Lemmon (the son of two time Oscar winning actor Jack Lemmon), Mr. Joseph Kelleher (President and CEO of the Hutchinson Metro Center), Father Richard Gorman (chair of CB 12), Ms. Elizabeth Barker Pinapfel (General Manager of the Pelham & Split Rock Golf Course), Mr. John Habermann ( Regional Executive of Capital One Bank), and Mr. Barry Fitzgerald (of F & F Insurance).
Guest Speaker former Mayor Rudy Guiliani then spoke about what it was like being mayor during the crisis in 2001 of the World Trade Center (aka 911). He said that he calmed New Yorkers by saying that New York City will still be here tomorrow. He then mentioned the heritage of the Irish immigrants that came to America to become police officers, firemen, and other valued members of society. Guiliani spoke of his days as the U.S. Attorney and eating with friends in a Bronx Italian restaurant after jailing several big Italian criminals. He said that the there was a newscast of an $800,000.00 dollar contract on him, and that the restaurant started to empty out. He then said that it was old news, that the FBI had already arrested those who had made the contract, and said that the FBI didn't give out that part of the story. Guiliani said that the next time he arrested a big criminal after the trial he was already elected mayor, and that contract on him was only $400,00.00.
Mayor Guiliani then went into the subject of energy, and how New York City only relies on 25 percent of its power from the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. He added that 50 percent of the city's power still comes from coal burning plants, 20 percent from natural gas, and of the remaining 5 percent less than half comes from wind or solar power. He said as mayor that he was most worried about the electric grid that serves New York City, and mentioned the citywide blackouts of 1965, and 1977 where there was wide spread looting. During his watch as mayor there were two small blackouts, one in 1995 in Queens ,and !999 in Washington Heights. He stressed that in the two smaller blackouts and in 2003 under Mayor Bloomberg that there was minimal looting if any, adding by that it told him the city has turned around.
Continuing on the subject of energy, he spoke of foreign countries that are now building many nuclear power plants unlike in this country where only one is being built. Guiliani said that Indian Point had hired his security consulting firm as has many other companies from other countries. He added that he believes that New York should allow hydraulic fracturing, and ended by saying the most hallowed place in New York City is Yankee Stadium. He took a couple of questions about running for mayor again, and president which he said that the job he would love to do again is that as U.S. Attorney.
Below are photos of the event. Click on them to enlarge.
|Father Gorman and Mike Tully of the FDNY above.|
|Mr. John Calvelli presenting Mayor Guiliani with the photo of the Congo Exhibit opening.|
Left is Mr. Caro, Chris Lemmon, Joseph Kelleher, and Mayor Guiliani being served lunch.
|Councilman Fernando Cabrera and Father Richard Gorman|
Ms. Caitlin Snyder singing the National Anthem, while Father Gorman waits to give the Invocation.
|Councilman Fernando Cabrera addressing the audience.|
|Former Mayor Rudy Guiliani addressing the audience, as BCC President Lenny Caro looks on.|