Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams on Sunday expressed sadness over the passing of former Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler.
Adams said Fidler, who worked on the Borough President’s Office, died on the same day. He was 62.
“I join all Brooklynites in paying homage to our brother and friend Lew Fidler, and I extend my most heartfelt condolences to his loving wife, Robin, his sons, and all in his family upon his passing,” said Adams in a statement.
“Lew was of great assistance to me in my formative political years,” he added. “As a result of his assistance, we later became colleagues; and, during my tenure as borough president, he has served as a vital member of my team.
“As an elected official, Lew was truly committed to fighting long and hard for those he served,” he continued. “He always stood up for what he believed in, with true courage in his convictions.”
Adams also described Fidler as “a man of high integrity and strong moral values, a devoted husband and father.
“He made a tremendous mark on New York City, and, in particular, the borough he proudly called home,” he said. “Lew will be missed but never forgotten.”
Williams, the former representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said Fidler, a former Democratic District Leader and his longtime friend, brought him into politics.
“I’m still in a state of shock and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lew Fidler,” the son of Grenadian immigrants said. “There are few times when you can specifically and directly point to a moment in time that directly links to your journey. People are genuinely surprised to learn that, for me, Lew Fidler is a part of one of those times.”
Williams said that, about two decades ago, a woman named Linda Ashkenasi ran the Hillel House at Brooklyn College (BC).
“As a student activist at BC, we had many debates and discussions,” he said. “We didn’t agree on everything, but we had great mutual respect; so much so that she introduced me to a local District Leader, someone who had been around local civic and political life for a long time, and was then a candidate for City Council, named Lew Fidler.
“Lew brought me into Brooklyn politics and began to show and introduce me to how it all worked,” Williams reflected. “He brought me to the Thomas Jefferson Club; yep, that one always surprises a few folks, too.
“In Lew, I found someone who I didn’t agree with on some things, but, like Linda, there was genuine respect,” Williams added.
He said Fidler eventually appointed him to Community Board 18, which was Williams’s first foray in formal civic life.
“Lew never asked me to vote a particular way, even through our many arguments over dollar vans, we still never got to a good place on that one,” he added. “Still, that was a lesson I took and applied when it was my turn to do the appointing; doing my best to focus on a person’s involvement in the community, and less on their allegiance on every issue.”
Williams said his friendship with Fidler continued through many races and offices held.
“This life is so short and sudden, it must transcend any one political race or disagreement,” he said. “With Lew, we tried to make sure it did.
“I can honestly say to all those who wonder who helped this Brooklyn kid get started in causing so much trouble, even if he didn’t intend quite so much, maybe ask Lew Fidler, or, as my mom called him, her favorite ‘Words with Friends’ partner,” the Public Advocate added.
Fidler, a kidney transplant survivor who served as a Democratic Party official for many years, was found unconscious in a movie theater on Astoria Blvd. in Queens about 11 p.m. on Saturday, police said.
He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he died, according to the New York Daily News.
Police said an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death, but added that criminality was not suspected.
An attorney who served on the Council from 2002 through 2013, representing neighborhoods in southeastern Brooklyn, Fidler was a leader of the 41st Assembly District Democrats Club, along with Lori Maslow and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, the Daily News said.