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June 10, 2006 / Brooklyn news / Development / Around Brooklyn

Yards rivals on same ‘path’

The Brooklyn Paper

No need to clean your glasses — that is Steve Buscemi and Charles Gargano posing together.

Has hell frozen over?

Not quite. The anti-Atlantic Yards thespian and pro-Yards chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation earned their leaves on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s “Celebrity Path” last week in a ceremony that required some dicey commingling.

Some say such mixing and matching is part of the beauty of Brooklyn. (Others say Buscemi shoulda decked him.)

“Only in Brooklyn would these people be all together,” said Brian Vines, spokesman for Borough President Markowitz. “Their love of Brooklyn was the guiding principle.”

But many were mystified why Gargano, a bureaucrat, was even on a “celebrity” path. “I could think of better Brooklyn celebrities,” said one political insider. “But, then again, the thought of stepping on his name is rather fulfilling,”

The three honorees were chosen by Markowitz, Markowitz-appointed Borough Historian Ron Schweiger, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Markowitz said that the inductees differ on politics, but they do share a certain something.

“Like all celebrity path honorees, this year’s inductees possess that unique Brooklyn combination of pride and swagger, tinged with humility and selflessness,” said Markowitz.

Gargano was chosen for applying those “Brooklyn sensibilities to initiatives such as the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site,” Markowitz’s office said in a statement.

Few would consider that stalled redevelopment an accomplishment, yet Gargano’s name is now tucked between those of George Gershwin and veteran character actor Vincent Gardenia on the Garden Web site’s list of inductees, and his bronze leaf lies along the Japanese Garden walkway.

The Celebrity Path, the humble cousin of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inaugurated in 1985. In 2005, it was expanded to include both cultural icons and, more broadly, “civic leaders.”

For his part, Gargano, who was born in Italy but grew up in Park Slope, said he was thrilled to be honored. “Everywhere I go, I carry Brooklyn in my heart, and am deeply grateful to be recognized this way.”

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