Van Bramer gives honors to LIC Asians

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (second from r.) gives proclamations to four significant Asian-American residents of Astoria and Long Island City: Jonathan Imperial of the LIC YMCA (l-r.), Amy Hau of the Noguchi Museum, Wendy Chan of 5SL and community activist Melissa Lee. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) presented proclamations to four dedicated residents of Long Island City and Astoria last week in recognition of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“These four individuals represent the best in our district,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman held his event May 23 at Skinny’s Cantina, a Mexican restaurant at 47-05 Center Blvd. in Long Island City. This was the first ceremony for Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month that Van Bramer has hosted, and he said he wanted to use the opportunity to acknowledge how the community was enriched by its diversity of residents as well as to thank the honorees, whom he called “unsung heroes.”

“They’re exactly the kind of people who should be honored at events like this,” Van Bramer said, “people who are doing important work really, really quietly.”

The first honoree was Astoria resident Amy Hau, the director of administration and external affairs at the Noguchi Museum. The institution, at 901 33rd Road in Long Island City, was established by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, who died in 1988, to show off his life’s work.

“I’m thrilled to death about this,” Hau said about receiving the award.

Next Van Bramer recognized Melissa Lee, a community activist from Dutch Kills who is active at PS 166, the Long Island City YMCA and the Long Island City Runners Club.

Lee, who attended the ceremony with her husband and children, said while she does a lot of work in a lot of places in the neighborhood, she had lived in the area for only a short time.

“We really enjoyed making Astoria-Long Island City our new community,” she said.

Van Bramer also honored another active YMCA member, Jonathan Imperial, who is the organization’s healthy lifestyle and communications director. The councilman said Imperial has worked hard to reinvigorate the organization and get people to exercise.

Imperial said after growing up in Houston, where he felt there was less diversity, he was proud to be part of the multicultural neighborhood of Long Island City.

“I am honored to be a servant and to be serving such a great community,” he said.

Van Bramer’s final honoree was Wendy Chan, president of the co-op board for the 5th Street Lofts, at 509 48th Ave. in Hunters Point. Van Bramer said Chan is a person who looks out for her neighbors and who has been fighting for a stop sign to be put on 5th Street.

“Thank you for all that you’ve done for your new home in Long Island City and all that you will do,” Van Bramer said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 8:32 pm, May 30, 2012
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