Graham Ave. Mourns the Passing of Michael Ellis Katz

Katz sign_web
Katz Drugs on Graham Avenue was established in 1898 by the family of Michael Ellis Katz’s. While the business was sold, its current owners retained the Katz name on the building which is still owned by the Katz family. Michael Ellis Katz passed away on June 5.

“Katz Drugs remains today a well-respected business on Graham Avenue. This is surely a tribute to Michael Katz,” said Leslie Drossman, friend and former Graham Avenue BID colleague who practiced at the legal offices on Graham Avenue his father opened. Mr. Drossman’s father became friends with Michael Katz’s father, and these two paterfamiliases started the Graham Avenue Merchants Association. This association was formed to assist the storekeepers to better their businesses along the avenue and improve the living conditions of the neighborhood’s residents. Mr. Drossman started his law practice in his father’s offices in 1961 and Michael Katz started working at the drugstore with his father a few years later. “You could say we both learned the ropes from our dads,” said Drossman.  After both their fathers died, Michael and Leslie formulated the Graham Avenue BID to replace the merchants association.

Michael Katz was the initial president of the Graham Avenue BID. “He was very aggressive in working with local legislators and politicians to improve business conditions for the local merchants and living conditions for the local residents. He insisted that I become active in the BID with him and stated that since we were both born in Williamsburg we were obligated to see that the neighborhood flourished,” said Drossman. Katz made sure every politician that represented the neighborhood attended the BID monthly meetings in person or via representation.

“Mike Katz was truly rewarded by the friendships he enjoyed throughout his life. He was always on the floor within Katz Drugs, knew all of his customers by their first names, and was loved by all his employees. As a matter of fact, his wife, Maria started as an employee, and they were married 56 years,” said Drossman.

After Michael Katz retired, he passed the torch of the Graham Ave. BID presidency to Leslie Drossman. “This was the right thing for me to do because I wanted to carry on his legacy and do everything within my power to continue what he started,” said Drossman.

Michael Ellis Katz passed away on June 5, 2019; three months and eleven days shy of his 81st birthday.  He is survived by his wife Maria; two sons, Aaron and Max; as well as his precious granddaughter, Remi.

Author: The Greenline

Your monthly source for North Brooklyn community news covering Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. Currently 13,000 copies are distributed throughout the community free of charge.

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