Remembering the Outer Boroughs (New York City)

  • Local Projects
  • 2013

In March of 2013, health-care entrepreneur Donald Rubin and his wife, Shelley, donated $500,000 to the Bronx Museum of the Arts to expand and extend its free admission policy. In May, the couple gave another $500,000 to the Queens Museum of Art. And in September they presented $300,000 to the Socrates Sculpture Park, hard by Manhattan’s Upper East Side—except that it’s on the opposite shore of the East River, in Queens, on a former landfill site. “I haven’t seen anybody else do this ‘we-believe-in-the-rest-of-the-city’ tour,” said Queens Museum of Art director Tom Finkelpearl. “They’re definitely not cookie-cutter philanthropists.”

The Rubins do have some counterparts, however. For instance, Alan and Stuart Suna, brothers who co-own the TV production facility in Queens where shows like “The Sopranos” were shot. They have been loyal donors to museums, parks, and theaters in their unglamorous borough. “We’re Queens guys,” Alan told the New York Times. “Our business is in Queens, and Queens is always getting short shrift, so we’re there to help.”

Compared to Manhattan,  four times as many New Yorkers live in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.