“Watch your toes! Step over this way,” Said Steve Cohn, district leader for the 52nd assembly district as he motioned a Yeshiva Flatbush student away from the crowded corridor. “I don’t want you to get trampled by all of these elected officials!” Front to back, side to side, the banquet room was packed with politicians, elected and appointed officials and community leaders from all five boroughs, all of whom flocked to Junior’s Cheesecake Shop in downtown Brooklyn for Cohn’s annual networking breakfast last Friday morning.
“I started doing the breakfast two decades ago to raise some money, and it’s just grown from there,” Cohn said. “Aside from a fundraiser though, this breakfast is a chance for people to come together and do their business.”
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the breakfast, whose notable attendees included Governor David Paterson, New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Elect Bill de Blasio, a score of state senators, a crowd of councilmembers and members of congress. Though the tone of the breakfast is an inherently political one, Cohn makes a note to emphasize its social function, insisting that aside from a networking event, it is an excuse for friends and colleagues to get together, talk shop and enjoy each other’s company.
“The breakfast also provides an opportunity for the most important public figures in New York to talk politics, though some guests attend the event year after year strictly for good food, good company and a good time. The major decisions here usually consist of: Should I have my eggs over easy or sunny side up?”
Cohn then recounted a conversation he had had earlier that morning with Senator Daniel Squadron.
“Senator Squadron said to me, ‘I got more done today than I would have in a month of meetings!’”
Notable figures from Greenpoint/Williamsburg included North Brooklyn Development Corp. Executive Director Rich Mazur, Councilmember Elect Stephen Levin and CB1 District Manager Gerry Esposito, to name a few.
“I come out every year for this,” Esposito said, taking a break from his scrambled eggs. “Steve’s a real politician’s politician, and we’re always happy to be here.”