Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is just a week away from his departure, but he has one last Christmas message for the Borough of Kings.
Here, in full, is Mr. Markowitz’s new Christmas song, a Brooklyn-themed version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” (We’re told Mr. Markowitz’s communications director, Stefan Ringel, crafted this gem.)
Marty Markowitz first knew he wanted to become Brooklyn’s borough president when he was in his teens. But if it hadn’t been for an event that threatened to kill his political career long before he ran, he may have never have achieved that dream.
The year was 1982. Mr. Markowitz, a former tenants’ organizer, had spent four years representing a slice of Brooklyn in the New York State Senate only to see his former district diced up during a round of redistricting. To stay on the job, he needed to win re-election in a new, overwhelmingly African-American and Caribbean seat.
“I must tell you that when I was reapportioned, for a few minutes, I was not a happy camper … I was like shell-shocked,” Mr. Markowitz recalled, speaking to Politicker earlier this month at his office in Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Could outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn’s de facto ambassador to the outside world, become the official ambassador for the city writ-large?
Public Advocate-elect Tish James and Councilman David Greenfield hope so.
An Ongoing Series
Bill de Blasio appeared for the final time on the campaign trail today, choosing Crown Heights–the neighborhood at the center of the 20-year-old race riots that his rival, Joe Lhota, attempted to blame him for–to triumphantly greet a slew of ecstatic voters hours before the polls close.
It was the front-running mayoral candidate’s only public stop of the day, aside from a photo-op as he voted earlier this morning.
The Eight-Day Week
Later this afternoon, President Barack Obama will nominate Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve, one of the world’s most powerful economic policy-making jobs.
And because Ms. Yellen hails from Brooklyn, Borough President Marty Markowitz naturally has a pun-filled opinion on the development.
Street Fighters Too
It’s All-Star Week in New York, and who better to tell the story than five-time All Star and leader of one of the best Mets teams ever—Keith Hernandez? This will be a special week for baseball fans in the big city, and The Observer is delighted that Mr. Hernandez is sharing some of his favorite spots with our readers.
Friday is the first day of T-Mobile All-Star FanFest at the Javits Center. For five days, the Javits Center will be transformed into the world’s largest interactive baseball theme park. More than 100,000 people will enjoy games, activities and exhibits for fans of all ages, with dozens of baseball Hall of Famers and legends on hand to sign autographs.
on the rebound
For the past six years, thousands of people a day have descended on a 150-foot long stretch of black top across from Borough Hall. There, nestled among planters and folding chair, Brooklynites and visitors, workers, students and tourists would all relax, meet up, hang out, maybe enjoy a shack stack.
Willoughby Plaza was one of the very first asphalt strips formerly dedicated to cars that was closed to vehicles, taken over and transformed into a space for pedestrians, helping to inaugurate the city’s popular if occasionally controversial NYC Plaza Program. Before Times Square and the Broadway Boulevard, before the new Grand Army Plaza or Fordham Plaza, before Janette Sadik-Khan even became DOT commissioner, there was Willoughby Plaza.
And now it is permanent, a thoughtfully designed, well-integrated piece of the streetscape rather than a bastardized piece of roadbed dressed up as well as DOT and the local business groups could manage. This is the dream for all 50 (and counting) of the city’s new temporary plazas, and 16 finished spaces are already in the works. But standing in the freezing cold with Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz trading barbs, one wonders how many more plazas might be in store for the city.
Basketball is back. Three weeks after opening night was canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, four months after the Knicks let Jeremy Lin slip out of town, 13 years since the Knicks’ fluke run to the NBA finals, and two decades since Pat Riley’s tough-guy team captivated New York in the early years of the Giuliani era, fans in the world’s greatest basketball city care without cynicism again.
The Isiah Thomas era and the Knicks’ failed pursuit of LeBron James are old news. The Nets’ long struggle for big-city relevance got lost somewhere in New York harbor. When the teams squared off Monday night in Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center, the city had plenty to cheer about: real stars, the top two spots in the Atlantic Division standings and the eyes of millions upon us.
Sodom by the Sea
Amid reports that looting has occurred in neighborhoods like Sea Gate and Coney Island in Brooklyn, as well as the broader recovery needs of hard-hit areas, Borough President Marty Markowitz has called on the military for further help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
“Governor Cuomo also acted quickly by activating the National Guard prior to the storm, and I urge him to allocate as many troops as possible to Brooklyn—troops from New York or any other states that can spare them,” Mr. Markowitz said in a statement. “During my tours of the hardest-hit Brooklyn neighborhoods yesterday and again today, it was apparent that the devastation is so widespread and overwhelming that it’s in the best interest of all of our residents for a more significant National Guard presence to supplement the great work being done by our brave—but overwhelmed—first responders, including our amazing NYPD and FDNY.”
Called “the People’s Playground,” Coney Island is perhaps the most popular piece of New York City’s entertainment puzzle, Times Square and the Bowery having been thoroughly scrubbed of any excitement the past few decades. Chic and refined it’s not—at least not yet—but in terms of crowds, ice cream cones, corn dogs and cheap(ish) amusements, this corner of the city is the one calling.
The season may be over, but the enthusiams persists.
Today, the city’s Economic Development Corporation announced an RFP seeking the development and operation of new amusement rides, game booths and other entertainment attractions at a vacant site at the heart of the Coney’s amusement hub.