What a year it was — from the installation of the Long Island Rail Road’s massive stone bollards at its new Atlantic Terminal to the snowstorm of the century during the last week of 2010. And through it all, The Brooklyn Paper has been there for you (try to remember us with something nice next Christmas!). But without further ado, here it is — our loving, somewhat cynical tribute to 2010.
Concrete coffins: The new Long Island Rail Road opens at Atlantic Terminal and everyone rips the granite sacophagi outside that give the place the look of a Green Zone fortified bunker. Not only did the NYPD admit that the cement bollards were bigger than they needed to be, but even Bruce Ratner’s architects said they stunk.
Domino falls: The city begins its public review of Williamsburg’s largest development project, the former Domino factory, leading to months of predictable bickering and the inevitable approval by City Council.
Slope armory: Finally! The long-delayed Park Slope Armory opens, giving Park Slope parents, who already have a well-funded park one block away, another property-value-increasing amenity.
Coney makeover: An Italy-based amusement firm gets the contract to build a new amusement park at Coney Island’s former Astroland site, ushering in more worldly brand of seediness to America’s favorite beach attraction. By year’s end, the company would evict the last old-time businesses on the Boardwalk, including Ruby’s Bar, which dated to the Depression (and helped ease plenty over the years).
Deli-wars: Brooklyn finally achieves pastrami greatness as Mile End Delicatessen opens in Boerum Hill (the name refers to a Jewish neighborhood in owner Noah Bernamoff’s native Montreal). The place becomes so popular that Brooklyn Paper lunch meetings quickly need to be scheduled as breakfast meetings, before being turned into “Gersh picks up the deli before coming into the office” meetings.
New moniker: Just when we got used to calling it Keyspan Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones and National Grid ended their naming rights partnership with Brooklyn’s “field of dreams.” The Beach Bums eventually inked a deal with Municipal Credit Union to re-name the green — tada! — M.C.U. Park. But the Cyclones were the same old team on the field — carving a swath of destruction through the New York–Penn League, yet falling in the playoffs.
Doggone it: Thanks to our dogged coverage, an anonymous canine crook was spooked into releasing a Brooklyn hound who was pooch-napped while romping with his family in Prospect Park. Cops didn’t have a chance to eyeball the heartless hound-thief’s ransom demand before “Sugar” miraculously reappeared tied to a bush at the park where a concerned citizen alerted her owners. They told us that Sugar’s “big doe eyes aren’t saying anything, except how happy she is to be home.”
Brooklyn poet: Tina Chang is named Brooklyn’s poet laureate, and promptly tells us that she considers the edge of the Gowanus Canal the most romantic spot in Brooklyn — we have a lot in common.
Jackson station: The MTA says that it will not rename the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop after Michael Jackson, but the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership pushes its plan to hang a mural of the late great pop star above the station entrance.
Jumpin’ Jehovahs: The Jehovah Witnesses announce plans to leave Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO after 101 years for a compound in upstate New York, no doubt because they got tired of running into actor Paul Giamatti, who kept pestering them to see his movies. But their departure may bring about a gift for Brooklyn Bridge Park enthusiasts, as parks officials voted at year’s end to consider using tax revenue from the former headquarters to help maintain the park.
Yards groundbreaking: Developer Bruce Ratner, Gov. Paterson and future Gov. Jay-Z break ground at Atlantic Yards while about 100 counterprotesters mostly break Borough President Markowitz’s chops. By year’s end, the first set of steel pillars were up and Ratner was already making production deals.
Marty flambé: Borough President Markowitz squirmed on the hot seat during a four-hour grilling about a discrimination lawsuit filed against him back in 2007 by former spokeswoman Regina Weiss. A ruling in the case, which includes allegations of a “pattern of disparate treatment of female employees” and “evidence of blatant discrimination against older job applicants,” is pending.
It’s a Tish-grace: Councilwoman Tish James (D–Fort Greene) files a lawsuit against an itinerant worker for walking into the hitch of his truck — and then drops it after we wrote about it (and after realizing that you can’t sue a guy when you bump your knee into a parked car).
Meadows of shame: Reporter Stephen Brown stumbles upon a horrific scene of animal cruelty in Prospect Park, leading to a gripping mystery that we have already sold to Miramax as “The Butcher of Prospect Park,” starring Alec Baldwin as The Butcher and Bjork as a murdered goose. Brown’s sighting was just the first of many throughout the year, a number of mysterious entrails, pools of blood and disposed carcasses were found by parkgoers in the same spot near the lake — most disturbingly two bags of animal parts and bones and a goat’s head found within two days of each other in October.
Bridge bark: Brooklyn’s most anticipated park in two decades, Brooklyn Bridge Park, finally opens — but nobody still has any idea how to pay to maintain it.
The glorious Pier 1 opened in April, followed by Pier 6 in June, which offered unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline to the public as well as movie nights (it was thoroughly crowded during a screening of “The Big Lebowski”). But not everything went smoothly, when the city installed the metal orbs in the park that literally scalded the children that played on them after heating up above 120 degrees.
Dolphin Newtown: A dolphin is found swimming in Newtown Creek and the East River in Williamsburg — no doubt trying to get excellent seats for the 2010 summer lineup of Pool Party concerts at the East River State Park.
Broad appeal: Mallory Hagan, 21, is crowned Miss Brooklyn, leading many Brooklynites to say, “There’s a Miss Brooklyn pageant?”
NYU tower: New York University announces plans to build a 41-story tower in Downtown — no doubt because Manhattan finally threw them out after a night of cacophonous alcohol-fueled escapades on St. Marks Place.
Pants on the ground: State Sen. Eric Adams (D–Park Slope) wants the youth of Brooklyn to stop showing their underwear, which he said was “morally bankrupting society” — unlike his strong lobbying for state-sanctioned video slot machines to be added to the Aqueduct Racetrack, which is apparently just fine.
McMahon stumbles: Ominous signs begin in Rep. Mike McMahon’s (D–Bay Ridge) reelection campaign, as liberals lambast him over his opposition to President Obama’s landmark health care reform bill.
Chip theater: Community Board 13 approves the potato chip-shaped ampitheater backed by Borough President Markowitz at Asser Levy Park, but residents remain worried that they will constantly be disturbed by noise from American Idol also-rans such as Clay Aitken and that guy with the eye mascara.
Freddy’s closes: Beloved dive bar Freddy’s is shut to make room for Bruce Ratner’s basketball arena, but not before after an epic final party that left us wondering how the hell we ended up in the Greenpoint Hotel handcuffed to Norman Oder and New Jersey Net forward Brook Lopez.
Color it Brooklyn beige: The city backed off a plan to repaint the Brooklyn Bridge “Queensborough Tan,” blaming the mistake on a clerical error. Whoops! Double-whoops, in fact, as historical records indicate that the iconic span was originally Rawlins Red, though city officials disputed that, claiming that the 126-year-old landmark was originally painted in two shades of buff. Oh, OK!
Don’t hold your breath: The city officially acknowledged what residents have noticed for months — regular street recepticle pickups along Brooklyn’s commercial strips have been cut to twice a week, instead of five to seven days a week.
Gross award: Despite the chicken heads, blood and entrails piling up around Prospect Park lake, the feds gave the park an award for cleanliness!
Claw foot: The underground lobster roll dealer, Dr. Claw, got spotted (illegally) selling his delicious treats in Greenpoint. Then he got threatened with arrest in August (but by year’s end, we insiders still knew where to get our redcoated roll. Don’t tell the cops!).
Sweet pier: Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park opened up at the foot of Atlantic Avenue — it’s the coolest place to bring your kids for free. Next up, a restaurant, volleyball courts, and tetherball (yes, tetherball).
Smoked out: Bay Ridge’s community board voted for a crackdown on hookah bars, whose sickly sweet smoke was allegedly pouring into nearby homes (those were the lucky ones!). In response to the vote, we sent our intern to get high (and he did — legally).
Urban counterfeiters: Two vendors at Brooklyn Flea accuse Urban Outfitters of stealing their haute line of jewelry. The resemblance is indeed uncanny — but the shocking revelation did little to undermine the clothing chain, which remains in business.
Boardless Boardwalk: City officials confirmed a plan to replace sections of the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk with concrete. The rationale: It’s cheaper to maintain. But locals cry, “We want a Boardwalk, not a sidewalk!”
Unfair fowl: Key Food in Brooklyn Heights spent the entirety of June trying to win back its customers after it was caught relabeling its poultry, some of which had soured. Turns out, it’s completely legal to do that (gee, thanks for the warning, state Division of Agriculture and Markets!).
Bike complain: The controversial Prospect Park West bike lane finally opened, and then started a war between cyclists and drivers that continues to this day. But despite Borough President Markowitz’s hatred for the bike lane, the city says it’s working (but try telling that to an old lady who lives on Prospect Park West).
Old Gray jerk: The New York Times threatened to sue the DUMBO shirt-printing business, Neighborhoodies, for “illegally” selling a “trademarked” New York Herald Tribune logo on a T-shirt. That claim is still in dispute, but one thing’s for sure — you just picked up the better community newspaper.
Frankly, we were disappointed: Weiner-gobbling champ Joey Chestnut won the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, downing 54 hot dogs and buns compared to his record-breaking 68 HDB performance a year earlier. It was a far worse day for former champ Takeru Kobayashi, who was barred from the contest after declaring his “free agency,” then was later arrested when he rushed the stage as the competition came to an end. Though by August, Kobayashi had beaten the rap, setting the stage for one heck of a rematch (or remand). Today, the scorned Kobayashi can’t even eat an entire pizza in two minutes, a symbol of his fall from greatness.
Gooseicide: The feds gassed hundreds of Prospect Park geese in the night, citing airplane safety. That’s right — Beaky’s dead. Target’s dead. Every one of them, dead. Our subsequent bulldog coverage, however, revealed that Prospect Park is actually outside the mandated safety zone, and that Mayor Bloomberg ordered the hit to avoid liability suits.
Windows 7: A Cobble Hill couple opened some old wounds by petitioning to “pull a Norah Jones” and add four windows to the side of their brownstone facing a vacant lot. Jones didn’t seem to need permission to get her seven windows, but these residents got the classic city runaround.
Hipster eviction: Cops busted a group of Clinton Hill artists, who fought for their right to party (to no avail). Darn those noise and illegal residency violations!
‘Con’-certs: We discovered that Borough President Markowitz’s concert series used Rikers Island inmates in striped jumpsuits to set up and remove chairs in Asser Levy Park. Markowitz said the free labor saved him money, but we were angry because the scheme got the song, “Chain Gang,” stuck in our heads all summer: “That’s the sound of the men working on the chain (huah!) gaaang.”
Name game: The New Jersey Nets’ new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, told us that the team would change its name by the time it moves to Brooklyn. We’re still trying to find out the big secret, but we kind of like the Brooklyn Knights (get it?) or The Brooklyn Papers.
Bike Crusader: An anonymously evil anti-bike vigilante told us that he or she was gluing bike locks in Williamsburg, because the “Yuppies are running the whole damn city!” They are, but is Krazy Glue going to fix that?
Bedbug assault: The bedbugs continued their front on the Downtown criminal justice system this month, hitting several big shot offices. Later, our own office got a bedbug scare — with adorable bedbug-sniffing dog photos!
Rest in pieces: The Department of Sanitation promised to remove the “Ghost Bikes,” which memorialize dead bikers, in a plan to get rid of abandoned bikes on city streets. Later, the Ghost Bike team made the city realize that, oh wait, people want these around.
Dust up: We uncovered — or created, depending on your viewpoint — controversy at a “historically insensitive” renaming contest for Bay Ridge’s Dust Bowl, which was eventually renamed, “Quaker Parrot Park at the Dust Bowl.”
Imperfect storm: Brooklyn was walloped by the storm of the decade, which the feds later confirmed was a tornado. Even President Obama got in on the action, declaring the borough a disaster zone, though that was small comfort to residents near the Gowanus Canal, which briefly turned into a river of human waste (and a YouTube sensation) during the storm.
What a croc!: A man dropped off a two-foot-long baby crocodile at the 88th Precinct stationhouse in Fort Greene, claiming the he found the reptile at a nearby park. Cops tossed the scaly beast in the back of a squad car and drove it to the Center for Animal Care and Control.
Trolley comeback: The city said it would finally consider returning trolleys as a form of mass transit. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said experts are “Looking back to the future.” No word on flying cars just yet.
Ring ding: A Florida man was proposing to his girlfriend on the Brooklyn Bridge when he dropped the .6-carat diamond engagement ring onto scaffolding far below. Transportation workers recovered the ring, returning it to the happy, but stressed-out, couple.
Gersh goosed: Yom Kippur meant bottoms up for our intrepid Editor Gersh Kuntzman, who added a caffeine suppository to his Day of Atonement, investigating what has apparently become a fast-day fad in Orthodox Williamsburg.
Welcome to the club: Polluted Newtown Creek joined the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site, proving true the age-old chestnut, “Polluted waterways come in pairs.” The designation is the first step in a decade-long $500-million clean up.
Supersize me: A Barneys Coop opened on Atlantic Avenue, but our normal-sized gal reporter wasn’t too impressed by being dubbed “too fat” for the fancy clothes that are clearly targeted to a select — and apparently gaunt — clientele.
Guitar hero: Donovan Dwyer is the greatest 8-year-old guitarist playing in Brooklyn, who we know of.
Windy city: Red Hook could be home to the borough’s first modern windmill, potentially transforming the neighborhood into a “New Holland.” (Which sure beats the neighborhood’s original name: “New Holland.”)
Groovy pot-ential: A community theater troupe in Park Slope revived the marijuana play, “Reefer Madness,” a spoof on the anti-weed propaganda film of the same name. We don’t know about the play, but those Reese’s peanut butter cups sold during intermission were amazing, dude.
Silent beep: Borough Hall went silent — mercifully, some may say — for a week after Borough President Markowitz lost his voice after a throat operation. The prolix pol regained his prodigious pipes in no time.
And now, the most romantic story ever: A Park Slope bodega owner renamed his Seventh Avenue store The Bad Wife — but he insisted that his dearly beloved is quite the opposite. “She’s the queen,” said Jim Lee. Local feminists were appalled.
Grimm day: Republican Michael Grimm bested one-and-done Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon to become Bay Ridge’s next congressman. We welcomed Grimm — whose piercing blue eyes were the talk of the office — with a warm editorial. He takes off just after the new year.
Fur is murder — unless you’re a hipster: Brooklyn designers and artists teamed up to stage Nutria-palooza, a fashion show and wetlands benefit in Bushwick. The creatures are described as “an invasive pest” — just as Bay Ridge’s beloved Quaker parrots once were dubbed.
Thank you R.J. Reynolds: The tobacco giant must hate hipsters as much as everyone else — they’ve launched a “Williamsburg” version of Camel cigarettes, a brand it says is not about hip, but rather, “breaking free.”
Pizza to go: Manhattan burger shrine Shake Shack is coming to Downtown, and that means Tony’s Famous Pizzeria — a quintessential greasy slice joint — will be getting the boot.
The descent: Greenpoint resident Philippa Kaye was passing Flatbush and Fifth when she encountered a hole in the sidewalk so huge she just had to climb in. The city fixed the chasm after we published our pun-filled (“sinking feeling,” “lowdown shame,” “the hole truth,” we could go on) story.
Smokin’ warehouse: The St. Ann’s Warehouse theater company was awarded the contract to renovate the vacant Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park, converting it into a $15-million mixed-use performance hall and plaza.
Exxon gassed: The state reached a settlement with ExxonMobil, forcing the energy giant to shell out $25 million for projects to improve the area near the Greenpoint spill, which it is liable. But critics say that the energy giant should pay more.
Farewell, bird: The beloved cockatoo of community activists Leslie and Miriam Lewis cast off his avian coil, making earth a slightly less interesting place. The bird was a living link to history, having once been owned by an aide to Henry Kissinger!
Green thief: Smartphone uses were shaken to the core when at least four women had their fancy iPhones stolen across three precincts by a thief on a bicycle — a chilling reminder of a crime wave cops thought they pitted last year.
Bank on it: A low-rent hostel chain paid $4.5 million for the iconic Williamsburgh Savings Bank branch on Driggs Avenue, and already, there’s talk of its transformation into a high-end lodge, restaurant or retail shopping center.
Tunnel vision: The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel will be renamed for Brooklyn legend Hugh Carey — the Park Slope congressman who as the governor is credited with rescuing New York from fiscal ruination. By comparison, a tunnel seems a bit shabby.
Parker’s plight: A jury acquitted state Sen. Kevin Parker of felony assault charges arising from a 2009 tussle with a New York Post photographer. The pugnacious pol was found guilty of two misdemeanors, could be sent to the slammer for a year, but will — after all that — probably get to keep his office.
Two-wheeled fury: Borough President Markowitz remains so angry about the Prospect Park West bike lane that he sang his vitriol at a City Council hearing, a version of “My Favorite Things” called “The Borough of Lanes” that he later used in his annual tongue-in-cheek Christmas card. He hadn’t cooled down by Christmas, when he even refused a gift bike from cycling advocates.
Apple pitch: The city moved forward with a plan to convert part of the Municipal Building in Downtown to a retail store or restaurant, and Borough President Markowitz hopes to attract an Apple store to the austere locale. Maybe he’ll sing to Steve Jobs?
Gowanus made whole: After years of false-starts, Whole Foods finally announced it will indeed open on its formerly toxic site at Third Avenue and Third Street.