Refreshingly honest, with a thirst for knowledge and good people, he was driven to make Queens a better place to do business. Friedman was the face of the Queens business person throughout the city of New York, and has been leading the Queens Chamber of Commerce for nearly a decade.
He took over as the executive director at a time when doing business in this borough had little, if any, cache. He was the first in recent memory to face that kind of a job every day with a simple mission: Grow commerce in Queens. The way to do it? Care and share.
On the surface that mission seems rather simple. But what most don't know about Friedman is that he truly lived that edict all day, every day and it meant more to him than meets the eye.
To him sharing started by sitting down with any business he could, any entrepreneur who wanted to meet with him and truly care about what that business was going through and what they needed.
That way he could connect them with some other business in Queens. That's grassroots Jack.
Friedman did that because he cared about business growing here, and he thought he could use his power and influence to foster business relationships between Queens businesses and the rest of the city. Brilliant!
Much to the dismay of his friends and Queens Chamber staff, he rarely, if ever, turned down a meeting request. Whether it was a new app or an old problem, Freidman dropped the ball when asked to help with something.
Everyone wanted to meet Mr. Queens, and he always obliged. The “super secret” side of Friedman was truly in awe of the top business people in Queens, like Chuck Callahan, from Plaza Business College, Thomas Chen of Crystal Windows and Carol Conslato of Con Ed.
He saw each of them as incredible successes. One building a business from nothing here in Queens, another taking a family business to the next level and still another having a utility company willing to play an integral part in nearly any growth plan the Chamber had.
The “super secret” Jack was on display one hot day last August. He could be heard arguing congestion pricing before the City Council in the morning, and in the afternoon manning the Discover Queens booth at the US Open.
He was giving directions to a family from New Orleans who was looking for a good Chinese restaurant in Flushing. After leaving the Open, he was on his way to meet an immigration attorney who was looking for his help.
He wanted to “feel” the best experiences in Queens to share it with others. The ambassador to Queens will be missed.
It's going to be a tough task to fill those shoes.