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Hell's Kitchen Native to Lead Community Board 4 in the New Year

By Maya Rajamani | December 15, 2015 10:56am
 Hell's Kitchen native Delores Rubin will take over as Community Board 4's chairwoman in 2016.
Hell's Kitchen native Delores Rubin will take over as Community Board 4's chairwoman in 2016.
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Delores Rubin

HELL’S KITCHEN — A Hell’s Kitchen native will take the helm at Community Board 4 starting next year.

Incoming chairwoman Delores Rubin, 46, who has moved through the board’s ranks from general member to first vice chairwoman in the four years since she joined CB4, will take over for acting chairwoman Christine Berthet when her term limits expire.

“As I hit my 40s, I realized I hadn’t been involved as much civically and wanted to get involved,” said Rubin, who grew up in a home at 55th Street and Eighth Ave. and has lived there ever since, with the exception of her college years at Duke University.

“I sought out organizations that had different events and joined listservs about lectures and networking in different political groups, and was seeking ways to be more civically involved,” said Rubin, who has worked as a director at Deustche Bank for 21 years, focusing on equity trading, as well as asset and wealth management.

As she started attending block association meetings, lectures and other civic engagements, former councilwoman and current Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer became a familiar face.

Brewer, then a councilwoman, encouraged Rubin to apply to become a board member, but Rubin was bogged down by other commitments and missed the deadline.

“I said, 'I’m really sorry I never applied,'” Rubin recalled. “She said, ‘No problem — someone just left and there’s a vacancy, so put your app in now.'”

Since then, Rubin has delved into Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea’s most pressing issues — from the Hudson Yards development and issues with homeless shelters in the neighborhoods to disputes between residents and many of the restaurants and bars that have moved into the neighborhoods.

“It’s interesting — when I was growing up, the neighborhood was just changing from being heavily Irish to heavily Hispanic, and when I came back from college it was very different,” Rubin said.

She has watched the “Chelsea flavor” move north, and has been a firsthand witness to the boom in restaurants and bars in Hell's Kitchen.

“It became more of a scene and a destination than it had been growing up,” Rubin said.

In spite of the changes, Rubin, who graduated from P.S. 111 Adolph S. Ochs elementary school on West 53rd Street, said some things have remained the same.

“I think the fact that the neighborhoods continue to be family-friendly is really wonderful considering we’re right in the heart of a very vibrant city,” she said.

With Rubin stepping up to fill Berthet’s shoes, CB4’s Burt Lazarin will take her place as first vice chairman.

Rubin said she will continue to tackle issues like development and affordable housing in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen as she moves forward as chairwoman.

Rubin, also co-chairwoman of Board 4’s Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee, also counts herself lucky to live in a neighborhood that sits so close to both the Hudson River Park and Central Park.

“It’s a very vibrant two neighborhoods,” she said. “You really can want for nothing.”