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More on that statue of Claire Shulman

Last week in passing, we mentioned that a statue of former Queens borough president Claire Shulman was unveiled at Crystal Windows & Door Systems, a private company in Flushing.
We didn’t really dwell on it, but we were very curious as to why a private company would install a statue of the former borough president on its property. After the column was published, we learned more about the story behind the statue.
Thomas Chen, the founder of Crystal Windows, apparently considered Shulman a mentor and friend who helped him expand and grow his business while she was borough president. Even after she left office in 2001, the two remained in close contact.
“When I was starting my window manufacturing company in Queens, Claire helped me avoid many of the typical setbacks immigrant entrepreneurs face,” Chen said in a statement. “She encouraged me to take executive business courses, engage reputable service providers and suppliers, and make Crystal Windows a good corporate citizen.”
To show his gratitude, Chen decided to commission award-winning sculptor Yutien Chang to create the statue of Shulman. In fact, Shulman had a hand in designing the statue before she passed away in August of 2020, even meeting with the artist in 2019 to discuss concepts.
The statue is made of bronze and stands six feet tall. According to a press release, the statue depicts “Shulman in motion, as was characteristic of the former Queens borough president.”
The statue will be on display at Crystal Windows at 31-10 Whitestone Expressway until October 22. The public is welcome to visit if you would like to get an up close and personal look at the piece of work.
After October 22, it will be moved to Crystal Park, Chen’s private 200-acre art park and nature preserve in Dutchess County. (What, you don’t also have a private art park and nature preserve?!)
The statue will stand on an 18-foot by 8-foot metal pathway base in the shape of an infinity sign, “symbolizing Shulman’s continuous drive forward and her boundless energy,” according to the release.
“I was thrilled Claire was able to visit Crystal Park in October 2019 to see the location selected for her statue along a wooded path overlooking the lake,” said Chen. “Sadly, Claire did not get to see the completed work, but we are glad to share it with her many friends in Queens.”
And apparently Shulman won’t be alone. This is just the first in a series of statues that Chen intends to have created honoring people who have contributed to his personal and business success.
We guess Chen will be able to stroll among people from his past as he wanders his private nature preserve. We’ll be waiting for word on when we should come in for our sitting!

Borough Hall dubbed ‘One Claire Shulman Way’

When Claire Shulman passed away last August at the age of 94, Queens lost one of its greatest advocates. However, the legacy of the borough’s trailblazing first female borough president continues to live on and inspire.
This past Monday, Borough President Donovan Richards presided over a ceremony unveiling “One Claire Shulman Way” as the vanity address of Borough Hall.
“Claire Shulman was a larger-than-life figure who consistently defied expectations with her uncanny ability to get things done for the people of Queens,” said Richards. “Her death last year was a huge loss to all of us who relied on her friendship and counsel, but we keep her legacy and memory alive by permanently and prominently affixing her name to Queens Borough Hall.
“From now on, everyone who visits the people’s house will see the name of Claire Shulman and reflect on the great work she did to build a better Queens,” he added.
Shulman was one of the first people to get behind Richards’ campaign for borough president.
“Claire Shulman was my unofficial campaign manager,” Richards said. “I can’t believe she supported me.”
Shulman served as Borough President from 1986 until 2002, and played a role in a wide range of issues.
Her accomplishments included the rezoning of dozens of neighborhoods to curb overdevelopment, expanding the borough’s infrastructure, and increasing funding to senior citizen centers, cultural programs and libraries.
“She expected a lot out of me and she expected a lot out of everyone,” explained Larry Schulman, the son of the late borough president. “She could not give up the task of making Queens a better place.”
Former borough president and current Queens district attorney Melinda Katz echoed similar sentiments.
“Claire was a loving person, there was no doubt about it, but she was tough,” said Katz. “I am proud of the years I had working under her and the years I had working with her.”
Taking part in the ceremony were former borough president Sharron Lee and City Council members Karen Koslowitz and Barry Grodenchik.
“There is B.C. Queens and A.C. Queens, before Claire Shulman and after Claire Shulman” said Grodenchik. “There is not a single neighborhood she didn’t touch.”

Borough Hall dubbed ‘One Claire Shulman Way’

When Claire Shulman passed away last August at the age of 94, Queens lost one of its greatest advocates. However, the legacy of the borough’s trailblazing first female borough president continues to live on and inspire.
This past Monday, Borough President Donovan Richards presided over a ceremony unveiling “One Claire Shulman Way” as the vanity address of Borough Hall.
“Claire Shulman was a larger-than-life figure who consistently defied expectations with her uncanny ability to get things done for the people of Queens,” said Richards. “Her death last year was a huge loss to all of us who relied on her friendship and counsel, but we keep her legacy and memory alive by permanently and prominently affixing her name to Queens Borough Hall.
“From now on, everyone who visits the people’s house will see the name of Claire Shulman and reflect on the great work she did to build a better Queens,” he added.
Shulman was one of the first people to get behind Richards’ campaign for borough president.
“Claire Shulman was my unofficial campaign manager,” Richards said. “I can’t believe she supported me.”
Shulman served as Borough President from 1986 until 2002, and played a role in a wide range of issues.
Her accomplishments included the rezoning of dozens of neighborhoods to curb overdevelopment, expanding the borough’s infrastructure, and increasing funding to senior citizen centers, cultural programs and libraries.
“She expected a lot out of me and she expected a lot out of everyone,” explained Larry Schulman, the son of the late borough president. “She could not give up the task of making Queens a better place.”
Former borough president and current Queens district attorney Melinda Katz echoed similar sentiments.
“Claire was a loving person, there was no doubt about it, but she was tough,” said Katz. “I am proud of the years I had working under her and the years I had working with her.”
Taking part in the ceremony were former borough president Sharron Lee and City Council members Karen Koslowitz and Barry Grodenchik.
“There is B.C. Queens and A.C. Queens, before Claire Shulman and after Claire Shulman” said Grodenchik. “There is not a single neighborhood she didn’t touch.”

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