Former Queens Borough President
Claire Shulman led Queens during the economic boom of the 1990’s.
What one factor is most important to success?
Hard work and focus.
What do you look for in an employee?
Intelligence, loyalty, interest in the job and willingness to work, long hours if necessary.
What’s the best way to save money?
Whose money? Mine or the governments? Before you spend taxpayer’s money, you should study the subject very carefully, from beginning to end both in capital and expense. Both in construction and program, and hedge your bets. Make sure success there is a greater percentage of that happening.
What’s the best way to spend money?
Where it will help the most people. [In terms of quantity of people served?] Yes.
What’s your greatest pleasure?
In this order: My children and watching a government program succeed. So many different ones and they’re of equal value. If you’re building schools or hospitals. It’s hard to prioritize it. They’re all important.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Turn on the coffee.
How do you deal with stress?
Well, I find that working is the best treatment for stress. Deciding what it is you are going to do, how you’re going to do it, and then doing it has always worked for me.
What one lesson do you hope to pass on to your children?
To work hard and make sure that part of your work, or all of your work is helpful to the society around you.
How do you bounce back from adversity?
Hard work and always look forward. Don’t look back.
What’s your favorite thing about Queens?
The people that live here. They’re the most exciting thing in this borough.
Queens’ first female Borough President, Claire Shulman, served from 1986 to until the end of 2001. Under her 15-year leadership, Shulman oversaw the creation of 35,000 new public school seats throughout Queens; the construction of the borough’s first skyscraper, the 48-tower Citicorp Building in Long Island City; the creation of numerous historic districts including ones in Jackson Heights and Ridgewood; and was part of the negotiations that led to the expansion of the Queens Center Mall, the most profitable per-square-foot in the country. She holds honorary degrees from
Shulman, and her husband, Dr. Melvin Shulman, have three children and five grandchildren. Their daughter, Ellen, a physician-astronaut, became the person from Queens to travel in space when she boarded the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1989.