Dereszewski is a local historian who takes interested residents and visitors on tours of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, giving them a bit of history to the rapidly changing neighborhoods.
“I was always doing community work, and I always enjoyed getting to know more about a neighborhood,” he said. “When I was a kid, I remember going to the Greenpoint Library and stumbling upon a book about Bushwick's history. It definitely piqued my interest, and I realized then that I really liked local history.”
Dereszewski has always been a community activist. He chaired the Land Use Committee of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 and was also head of a local block association.
For the last 10 years, he and his wife have called Forest Hills home, and his community involvement hasn't stopped.
He is currently the chairman of the Transportation Committee for Queens Community Board 6. There he has fought for street improvements, including traffic-calming measures on Woodhaven Boulevard and Union Turnpike.
Dereszewski recently hosted a historic tour of Williamsburg and Bushwick, where he highlighted local neighborhood organization St. Nick's Alliance, and its involvement in many of North Brooklyn's issues, from police protection to city services.
“Before, sanitation was terrible and you'd be afraid to walk down a certain block,” he said. “St. Nick's helped fight to get more police in the area and more city services.”
Dereszewski said that he is excited to see how the Brooklyn area will grow. “Twenty years from now we will see a totally different community,” he said. “There has been many layers of development there.”
(Lisa A. Fraser)