This past Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege to join Assembly Member David Weprin on a stroll along Main Street to greet locals and interact with store owners ahead of Pesach.
“It’s Chag HaAviv, what a beautiful Sunday afternoon,” exclaimed Weprin during our crawl. Pesach brings to light feelings of redemption and salvation; and the bright sun and warm weather on the first Sunday of Spring 2021 fostered a year ahead of prospects and hope for a better tomorrow. Our walk showcased the resilience of the everyday people of Queens and was laden with support for small businesses and neighborhood eateries. As many may recall, Weprin was one of the first elected officials to call for a return of indoor dining, holding a widely covered press conference in mid-September calling for relief for restaurateurs.
Our walk began with a delicious slice at Bravo Pizzeria, and we then sent Pesach greetings to the Patels, proprietors of Suhag Wines & Liquor, as the busy week before Pesach approached. Next, we sent Pesach greetings to Eli Sdayeb, an owner at Vital Med Pharmacy. At Carlos and Gabby’s, we met popular manager Aaron Siegel amid a restaurant bustling with activity. A family, members of Congregation Ohr Bekhor HaLevi in Kew Gardens, were quite fond of Weprin, as were the other patrons who gathered for a photo. Around the corner, Aaron Epstein, the pizzaiolo of The New Pizza Professor, reminisced on his elementary school days at the Yeshiva of Central Queens, where he was classmates with Weprin’s twins Max and Stephanie. Excited by the prospect of having Weprin as our next Comptroller, Aron affixed promotional signage in his storefront window.
Pesach preparations were in full swing at Hakerem Wine & Liquor, where we found an endless array of options for the Seder table. At Safra Judaica, customers were abuzz with Pesach purchases, eager to find the best Haggadah to enlighten their children. Owner Dovid Feldstein recalled the proud Weprin legacy in Queens and was happy to offer a vote for David this June 22. At Grill Xpress/Sushi Kingdom we met an enthusiastic Rabbi Nachum Kaziev, who owns both eateries and is the longtime rav of Congregation Ohr Natan in Rego Park. The rabbi and Assembly Member recalled memories at the synagogue’s dinners and discussed a bright future. Nearby, we found Robbie Aboff, the events coordinator for the Chazaq Organization, leading a special pre-Pesach shoe sale with a cheery group of volunteers. Customers were proud to see Weprin taking an interest in the Kew Gardens Hills community.
Weprin is an Orthodox Jew from Hollis and came to Kew Gardens Hills on a mission to delight his grandchildren. Yisrael Yakubov of Main Sweet was happy to assist Weprin in choosing pareve marshmallow-filled chocolate confectionaries as a Pesach treat. Across Main Street, Shulem Brach, at the helm of Wasserman Supermarket, shared Pesach inspiration and well-wishes with Weprin, who found the perfect matzah sh’murah in a recently reconstructed portion in the rear of the store.
As we returned to our starting point at Main Street and Jewel Avenue, we encountered several residents who recognized Weprin and were happy to see him taking the time ahead of Pesach to reach out to our community ahead of his Comptroller race.
Mayoral Candidate Scott M. Stringer is the current Comptroller for New York City. In this position, he has acted as the Chief Financial Officer for the City, safeguarding its fiscal health, unearthing the waste, and highlighting fraud and abuse in local government, especially regarding contracts issued. With 800 employees, the Comptroller conducts performance and financial audits of all City agencies and serves as a fiduciary to the City’s five public pension funds, monitoring $247.2 billion in assets. The Comptroller also negotiates settlements prior to a lawsuit against the City, sells bonds to support the City, and works on wage figures.
Weprin pledges to use his lifelong career in public service and as a financial warrior to get the city back on track and stand up to Albany and Washington, demanding that New York City get its fair share. In a previous role, Weprin chaired the City Council’s Finance Committee and navigated the City out of the 2008 financial crisis. He has managed the City’s budget when in peril and is prepared to do so again to get the City out of the pandemic’s shortfalls while keeping city workers and first responders at their paid jobs.
By Shabsie Saphirstein