A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of The Honorable Claire Shulman

About Claire Shulman

Claire Shulman was Queens’s first female borough president, a position which she held from 1986 until 2002. As the highest ranking elected official in a borough of over two million people, Mrs. Shulman had a role in a wide range of issues including those related to land use, development of the City’s expense and capital budgets, economic development, and health care.

As Borough President, her accomplishments included: the rezoning of dozens of neighborhoods to create appropriate zoning restrictions that generated reasonable and responsible development while preserving the character of the existing neighborhoods; the economic revitalization of many communities, particularly downtown Jamaica and western Queens; expansion of the Borough’s infrastructure; and increased funding for senior citizen centers, cultural programs and libraries.

A project of great personal significance was the successful completion in 2001 of the Queens Hospital Center, a $200 million complex that serves 400,000 patients annually, making it one of the largest health care providers in Queens. Furthermore, Ms. Shulman was pivotal in ensuring the development and growth of a number of Queens cultural institutions like the Queens Museum of Art, the Hall of Science, the USTA National Tennis Center, the Queens Zoo, the Queens Theatre in the Park, and the Museum of the Moving Image, Flushing Town Hall, PS1, the Noguchi Museum and the South Queens Park Association. She was also largely responsible for the passage of legislation to reform the co-op/condo conversion process. As Borough President, Ms. Shulman played a major role in helping secure funding for 35,000 additional school seats in the Board of Education’s five-year Capital Plan.

Ms. Shulman was one of the first women to enroll in Adelphi’s Central Collegiate School of Nursing. She attained both her Registered Nurse and Bachelor of Science degrees from Adelphi University and was later also awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree. In 1988, CUNY Law School presented her with the Deans Medal and in 1993, she received an honorary Doctorate of Sciences degree from the College of Aeronautics. She received additional honorary Doctorate degrees from St. John’s University and Queens College. She was also the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Queens College Medal and the LaGuardia Community College Medal.

Building NY: A 2012 interview with Claire Shulman