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80 to watch in ’08

for The Brooklyn Paper
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We’ve looked (not so) fondly back on 2007, so now it’s time to look ahead to the people, places and things that will be making news in 2008. Here’s our report, ranked, David Letterman Top Ten style, in order of excitement:

80. The Park Slope Armory, Park Slope: Work to turn this sprawling complex into a recreation center is almost completed — but the city still hasn’t found anyone to run the place.

79. The 69th Street ferry, Bay Ridge: It will only take 22 minutes to get to Manhattan if this grassroots project started by Heather McGowan ever sets sail.

78. Jon Scieszka: This kid’s book author (you remember him best from “The Stinky Cheese Man”) is going big-time with a new book series and TV show called “Trucktown” — and they’re based on people Scieszka met at Park Slope’s PS 321. The kickoff event is on Jan. 10 at the school.

77. Carl Hum: The head of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is still trying fill the big shoes of predecessor Ken Adams, but 2008 is going to be his year.

76. BCAT, Fort Greene: This is no longer your father’s public access station. Watch for big changes at the station’s Rockwell Place facility.

75. ’C’ is for Cupid, Park Slope: This dating service for people whose lives have been affected by cancer is gaining momentum and members and lots of media attention.

74. Brad Lander, Park Slope: He’s known from his work on the Pratt Center for Community Development, but now he’s spreading his wings and running for City Council. Lander is one of at least three people (so far!) vying for Bill DeBlasio’s Cobble Hill and Park Slope seat thanks to term limits.

73. Myrtle Avenue, Fort Greene: The resurrection of Myrtle Avenue from “Murder Avenue” into a thriving (and increasingly pricey) commercial hot spot will continue, with more boutique shopping, more fancy restaurants, and throngs of new tenants moving into luxury apartment buildings.

72. Carlo Scissura, Bensonhurst: Maybe this education policy expert wants to keep moving north — first from his law office in Dyker Heights to Borough Hall as Borough President Markowitz’s counsel, and then, should Marty become Mayor…

71. Janette Sadik-Khan: Though not a Brooklynite, the city’s new Transportation Commissioner will continue to make a huge impact. She’s backing innovative bike lanes, neighborhood parking solutions, fixing Grand Army Plaza (the right way!) and advance planning in booming Downtown.

70. David Shenk, Park Slope: The author of “The Forgetting” and “The Immortal Game” is at work on a book about genius (though, he swears, he’s not the subject!). Arguably, Shenk, who coined the term “Data Smog” 10 years ago, is the Slope’s non-fiction star.

69. Victory Memorial Hospital, Dyker Heights: Politicians (like Vince Gentile, Marty Golden and Vito Fossella, below) have turned to lawsuits to breathe life into this 107-year-old, 243-bed bankrupt hospital that the state has ordered to close.

68. Andrew Kimball, Navy Yard: The CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is the biggest developer whose name you don’t know. He’s presiding over a big expansion of the Yard — and until the Admirals Row fight, had only experienced smooth sailing.

67. The Brooklyn Cyclones: The Cyclones blew through the competition in 2007 to win the McNamara Division title in the New York– Penn League (though like their parent club, the hapless Mets, they crumbled at the last minute). Will they’ll be better than ever this year? Hope springs eternal, no?

66. Ellie Massias, Park Slope: This local impresario presents klezmer, Sephardic, avant garde jazz, Hasidic rap and Israeli trance music in a Ninth Street café where you can enjoy a bottle of He’brew beer and a slice of Mrs. Sleter’s cheesecake. Nu?

65. Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer, Bay Ridge: Will this former Illinois beauty queen — whose contentious Assembly district extends into Staten Island — get to keep the sharp-looking district office she just opened on Fifth Avenue?

64. James Caldwell, Downtown: Fresh from signing onto the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement in 2005, the president of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development is now pushing for a CBA in Coney Island — no matter which developer gets picked by the city to spearhead the redevelopment of the amusement area.

63. Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association: The group is on a preservationist mission to restrict development with a two-pronged approach of down-zoning and creating a historic district.

62. Verrazano Bridge roadwork: It’s ironic how hard it is to find a parking space in Bay Ridge, considering that construction on the bridge has turned the whole neighborhood into a parking lot. The work should be done by September.

61. Janice Lauletta-Weinmann, Greenpoint: Lauletta-Weinmann is still trying to get a monument to the USS Monitor, a Civil-war era ironclad built in Greenpoint, on waterfront land she controls, but the city wants to push her off that land to build a park. She’s pushing back.

60. Jed Walentas, DUMBO: The son also rises! The offspring of real-estate titan David Walentas is starting to take a leadership role at Two Trees Management — and is the lead guy on the company’s controversial Dock Street project.

59. The “Green Church,” Bay Ridge: There will be a heated, 11th-hour fight by preservationists to save a historic church building at the corner of Ovington and Fourth avenues that its own congregation doesn’t even seem to want to keep.

58. Ben Nash, developer of the Hotel Indigo in Downtown: He’s 25 and he’s building a high-rise hotel. We’ve got underwear older than him!

57. Domino Sugar project, Williamsburg: It’s been as non-controversial as any $1.5-billion project can be — but now the hard work starts.

56. Dyker Heights buses: Like the Woody Allen joke at the beginning of “Annie Hall,” the buses are cramped and poorly designed — and there aren’t enough of them!

55. Fourth Avenue: And you thought 2007 was the year of overdevelopment on the future “Brooklyn Boulevard.” More projects are on the way — and some of them may even include ground-floor retail (we hope!).

54. Simone Dinnerstein, Park Slope: Her nervy, intuitive top-selling CD of the Goldberg Variations on Telarc makes hers the classical music career to watch in 2008.

53. Polo Dobkin, Williamsburg: What will happen at Dressler now that chef Dolokin is fresh from winning a Michelin star in 2007 for his carnivorous concoctions? Dressler joined the ranks of Peter Luger, also in Billyburg, and Saul, in Cobble Hill, as the only Brooklyn eateries to get a star from the Frenchies.

52. Jim Carden, Park Slope: The owner of the always crowded Union Hall bar on Union Street in Park Slope and Floyd on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights has shown he has the gift. Whatever his next move is, we’re in (how about a bar with a hot tub?).

51. Craig Hammerman, Park Slope: Community Board 6’s district manager is another contender for term-limited Bill DeBlasio’s City Council seat — and he’s gathering momentum from his recent induction into the New York City Hall of Fame. “It’s quite possible I’ll be the only Hall of Famer in the race,” he told The Brooklyn Paper.

50. Capathia Jenkins and Louis Rosen, Park Slope: This award-winning duo will sparkle and shine with the release of its enthralling new album, “The Moon Shines Down,” based on 12 poems by Nikki Giovanni.

49. 360 Smith St. Carroll Gardens: Learning a lesson from last year’s public uproar over his original plans, architect Robert Scarano now looks like he’ll get community input before revising his plans for the site between First and Second places.

48. Barbara Ensor, Park Slope: The follow-up to her spellbinding “Cinderella (as if you didn’t already know the story)” is “Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride” (Random House) — complete with Ensor’s wildly imaginative illustrations.

47. Atlantic Yards: The smoldering standoff pitting Brooklyn’s elected officials and Atlantic Yards opponents against the city and state over security plans at the mega-development over the Vanderbilt Train Yards (right) shows no signs of cooling off. The electeds and opponents want a public review, but the city and state are staying silent.

46. Ikea, Red Hook: Love it or hate it, this is the year the big, blue box will open for business on Beard Street. There’s no official date on the grand opening yet, but you’ll know it’s open when caravan of cars is hauling Blørg dressers up Columbia Street on the weekends.

45. Aqua traffic: Service was just cut in the Water Taxi (below) from South 10th Street in Williamsburg to Manhattan for four months, but the man replacing Dan Doctoroff as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Robert Lieber, is a proponent of increasing ferries across the East River to reduce car and truck volume. So far, that sends a mixed message.

44. Josh Skaller, Park Slope: Skaller is the third announced candidate to replace term-limited Councilman Bill DeBlasio. He’s been honing his political skills as president of the Central Independent Brooklyn Democrats club.

43. Red Hook Ball Fields: When spring is in the air, The Brooklyn Paper’s thoughts will again turn to tacos. But this year, it’s not known if the beloved Latino food vendors will retain their spot near the soccer pitch, because the city will accept open bids to sell food there.

42. Lara Wechsler, Park Slope: Combining the finesse of fine art with the grit of street photography, her photos of Coney Island (larawechsler.com) are show-stoppers.

41. “Democracy Wall,” Carroll Gardens: Every couple of weeks a new mural and message pops up at the plaza on the corner of Second Place and Smith Street, and it’s a barometer for public sentiment on local news.

40. Jo Anne Simon, Boerum Hill: The Democratic District Leader has been waiting in the wings to run for City Council —and now she has her chance thanks to term-limits on David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights). Williamsburger and former Yassky staffer Evan Thies is also in the race.

39. Craig Eaton, Bay Ridge: The chairman of the Kings County Republican Party (above) is starting his own “school of politics,” realizing that if the GOP really wants to win some more elections in Brooklyn, it needs some candidates who know how to play.

38. Paul Auster: Another lion from the Brooklyn literary den will publish his new novel “Man in the Dark” in August, just in time to take to the beach.

37. Jonathan Safran Foer, Park Slope: The greatest writer of his generation (“Everything is Illuminated”) is giving the already-privileged undergrads at Yale the opportunity of a lifetime by teaching a writing workshop this semester. We hope a new book is in the offing; Foer is far too young to be jumping into academia, the last bastion of the retired novelist.

36. The Public Place, Carroll Gardens: The City has received five proposals for residential development — about 50 percent of it below market rate — at the Public Place site (fenced-in above), big brownfield between Smith Street and the Gowanus Canal. A decision on who gets the project is due early in the year.

35. The L-train: The simple route of the L-train has made it a guinea pig for innovations in subway transit for years. The latest City experiment to improve service is the creation of a line manager, who, in theory, will have more control over the trains

34. One Story, Park Slope: Eighteen times a year, Marybeth Batcha and Hannah Tinti produce an award winning, acclaimed lit mag that contains, simply, one story by a top-notch writer.

33. L&M Equity, Columbia Street Waterfront District: The developers of three apartment buildings in the Columbia Waterfront District have won rave reviews from neighborhood residents for listening to community input. Then again, the final plans haven’t been drawn yet.

32. David Konigsberg, Park Slope: His delicious narrative paintings of airships, swimmers, men in suits and other fictional characters full of style and wonder make him one to watch in 2008.

31. Columbus Park, Downtown: Maybe this year, Brooklyn’s Supreme Court judges and devoted public servants and will finally follow through on their commitment to stop using Columbus Park as their personal parking lot.

30. Brooklyn Mercantile, Park Slope: Is it a shop for sewing, home goods, handcrafted furniture or a way of life? It’s all that and more and owner and style diva, Tamara Lee, is one to watch.

29. Fort Greene foodies: Local gourmands are intent on creating their own version of the famous (and infamous) Park Slope Food Co-op. But will they actually succeed? Stay apprised of their activities at fortgreenecoop.wordpress.com

28. Aaron Naparstek, Park Slope: This transportation-minded activist has been cranking out solutions ever since he started writing “Honku” poems. Last year, he worked on a solution to the mess at Grand Army Plaza and defeating the one-way Seventh Avenue plan. This year, keep an eye on his Streetsblog Web site.

27. Fort Greene Park: Keep your eyes on the obelisk at the center of this greensward. The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is expected to lose its scaffolding and have its crowning torch permanently lit this fall.

26. Arthur Wood, Clinton Hill: The beleaguered artist who built by hand the beloved Broken Angel ziggurat on Downing Street may finally put the building’s new luxury condos on the market. How much would you pay for a piece of the Angel?

25. Admirals Row, Fort Greene: Appreciate these deteriorated Navy Yard mansions along Flushing Avenue while you can. Pending a drastic change in city policy, they’re slated to come down to make way for a much-needed grocery store.

24. Joy Chatel, Downtown: The stubborn lady who saved her Civil War-era home and supposed stop on the Underground Railroad from eminent domain — and in so doing forced the city to change its plans for Willoughby Park, the centerpiece of its grand vision for a new Downtown Brooklyn — has promised to turn her home into a museum. But will she follow through?

23. Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, Fort Greene: This should be the year in which the ersatz dental palace starts welcoming its new multi-millionaire tenants and finally finds a retailer willing to occupy its gorgeous, landmarked and therefore un-alterable first floor. Though by 2009, it may not be the tallest building in Brooklyn anymore.

22. Coney Island: This year represents Mayor Bloomberg’s final chance to plant the seeds for the resurgence of Coney Island. We’ll find out whether the amusement district’s largest landowner, Joe Sitt, will stand in his way.

21. Jed Marcus, Fort Greene: This attorney behind the Green Fort Greene and Clinton Hill initiative swears he’s got lots in store for the increasingly eco-friendly nabe in ’08.

20. Sean Meenan: The ingenious restaurateur behind Habana Outpost made headlines in 2007 with his eco-friendly toilet, which runs on rainwater, and his sizzling “Habana Girls” pin-up calendar. Only time will tell what wacky ideas Meenan will hatch in 2008.

19. Hakeem Jeffries: This dreamy Democratic Assemblyman from Fort Greene (below) took a number of controversial stands in 2007 — coming out against the Atlantic Yards mini-city and condemning rapper Nas’s use of the “N word.” We can expect more news from Jeffries as the freshman legislator gains his footing.

18. The borders of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill: Betcha $100 that real estate brokers continue their successful venture to push the borders of both neighborhoods further east as the area’s average income continue to rise.

17. Fulton Street: This Fort Greene commercial strip experienced enormous turnover in ’07, with several stores closing shop to make way for higher rents and wealthier tenants. Do we have a new Smith Street, Fort Greene-style, in the making?

16. Dermot Company: The real-estate giant continues to snap up subsidized housing units in Fort Greene. We’ve already heard some murmurings from upset residents who fear being pushed out. We can expect to hear more of the same.

15. 163 Washington Ave.: The city will finally decide whether a developer can build a 16-story skyscraper in the middle of a four-story neighborhood — a project the developer’s been fighting for ever since the neighborhood was successfully downzoned in 2007 and his project was left in the lurch.

14. Shopping in Fort Greene: The “shop local” movement in gaining steam in Fort Greene, like Park Slope before it. We can expect to see more shop local campaigns in ’08.

13. Steve Harrison, Bay Ridge: This local attorney runs in marathons and congressional elections — and, thus far, hasn’t won either. But could he change that with this year’s race against the city’s only Republican in the House, Rep. Vito Fossella?

12. The F train: Long-overdue renovations will create havoc on the elevated portion of the line between Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street — including closing Smith-Ninth Street station for a year. Good thing the bus service in Red Hook is so good!

11. Tucker Reed, DUMBO: The head of the Neighborhood Improvement District wants the city to reopen one of the arches under the Manhattan Bridge so that pedestrians can freely walk between East and West DUMBO. Mr. Bloomberg — tear down that wall!

10. Atlantic Yards lawsuits: Two suits are pending — one about the state’s use of eminent domain and the other about the allegedly poor environmental review of the mega-development. If either one succeeds, developer Bruce Ratner is in trouble. If both fail, bring on the bulldozers.

9. Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO: The Empire State Development Corporation and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy are weeks from tearing down the Depression-era Purchase Building, the controversial first step in creating this controversial 1.3-mile open space, residential and commercial development on the waterfront. Opponents want the state to spare the 1936 Art Deco building.

8. The “Finger Building,” Williamsburg: Construction on a notorious 16-story apartment building on North Eighth Street has resumed. The Robert Scarano-designed building, which got its nickname because neighbors say it will be so tall that it will resemble an upraised middle finger, will stand 10 stories by the end of the year. The remaining six stories are the subject of a pending lawsuit.

7. Bushwick Inlet Park, Greenpoint: The city started snatching up land on the Greenpoint waterfront last year to clear the way for a 28-acre park — and this year, Mayor Bloomberg will turn up the heat on one of the last holdouts, TransGas, which wants to build a power plant. Sounds like a great place for a picnic.

6. The room boom: The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership says there will be 1,803 new hotel rooms in the neighborhood by 2012, including the Hotel Indigo on Duffield Street and the Sheraton and the Aloft hotels planned by John Lam at the corner of Willoughby Street. Look out, Brooklyn Marriott.

5. The L train, Williamsburg: The MTA just increased service on the overcrowded line last month in an effort to alleviate the congestion. Also, the agency hired a general manager to be accountable for service problems. So far, Billyburgers are skeptical.

4. The Gowanus Canal: This won’t be the year when the Lavender Lake runs cleaner than a mountain spring, but it will be a big year, as the city prepares a major rezoning to allow residential units along that fetid corpse of water.

3. Supermarkets: California-based supermarket Trader Joe’s is expected to open its Brooklyn outpost this year at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street. Joe’s is the latest arrival of super supermarkets, with Fairway dong a booming business in Red Hook while more are on the way with Whole Foods planning to open on Third Avenue, and an unnamed, upscale market destined for One Brooklyn Bridge Park.

2. “Marty for mayor”: The well-liked Borough President (above) has to make his decision whether to run for mayor. He’ll do it within the month. Our guess is that he runs the other direction.

1. Flatbush Avenue Extension, Downtown: This stretch of Flatbush leading from Fulton Street to the Manhattan Bridge will be unrecognizable in a year. The Oro condo tower (rendering of its bar, above) is done and cranes are already building three others. A half-dozen more are on the way.

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Reader Feedback

Lumi Rolley from Park Slope says:
Oy vey, I don't think that you really meant "Kyker" Heights. It looks like it made it into the print edition too.

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/1/31_01eightyinoheight.html

72. Carlo Scissura, Bensonhurst: Maybe this education policy expert wants to keep moving north — first from his law office in Kyker Heights to Borough Hall as Borough President Markowitz’s counsel, and then, should Marty become Mayor…
Jan. 5, 2008, 11:38 am
Vince DiMiceli (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Whoops! Thanks for the catch. Apparently, working from Iowa took its toll on Gersh. Of course we meant "Dyker" Heights.
Jan. 7, 2008, 12:28 pm
Dave from Coney Island says:
How about giving some props to Democratic Frontrunner Brooklyn Boy Domenic Recchia Jr. He has a much stronger shot than Harrison.
Jan. 9, 2008, 10:54 pm
keith godard from fulton ferry says:
i totally agree with tucker's suggestion of opening the arch
of the manhattan bridge for public use. ref #11.
as the designer and fabricator of the brooklyn bridge centennial exhibition 'antatomy of the bridge' in 1983 in celebration of the opening of brooklyn bridge' of which some of you might remember, i would be interested in developing, designing and fabricating a centennial exhibition under the arch of manhattan's bridge, displaying the engineering feat and design of the great bridge, designed by
leon moisseiff.
Dec 31st, 1909 is the date for the event. please contact me keith@studio-works.com to give support, guidence and fund raising sources in making a grand educational, family and festive occasion for all manhattan and brooklynites. to view the 1993 brooklyn bridge exhibition in the anchorage on the brooklyn side please go to my site www.studio-works.com under exhibitions. thanks for giving me the chance to
give my thoughts which i have thought about for a long time keith godard
May 12, 2008, 6:01 pm

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