Rory Lancman, who represented Queens in the New York State Assembly for 16 years, recalls the day he was schlepping grocery bags out of the car at his house. At that moment U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer rolls by on his bicycle.

“I may have looked like a schlub with the plastic bags,” he says, “but the senator didn’t look any more dignified with his helmet.”

That reminiscent got a chuckle out of Chuck.

Schumer was guest speaker at Rory’s inauguration as a newly elected New York City Council member. The swearing in took place two weeks ago at Queens College. “This is where I met my wife,” Rory said.

Rory succeeds James F. Gennaro who represented the Queens district for 12 years. “People say I look well rested,” the outgoing Councilman cracked.

Schumer said Rory got here the old-fashioned way — he earned it.

Schumer, who served in the New York State Assembly in the late ‘70s, told how duty came before family. On the day of his daughter’s eighth birthday, he was summoned by a church whose lights were cut off in a dispute with Con Edison. More than 500 people had gathered there for an Easter pageant.

“I came over,” Schumer said. “I negotiated with Con Ed, and the lights came back on. But I missed my daughter’s birthday.”

adam@jewishweek.org