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Brooklyn Paper's top stories of 2020! • Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn Paper’s top stories of 2020!

Year in review

As we wind down an eventful 2020, Brooklyn Paper is looking back at some of the most important stories of the year, from the COVID-19 outbreak to the protests against racial inequity in policing.

But while the last 12 months have been packed with heavy-hitting news that captured the attention of the borough and the nation, 2020 has also been filled with many light-hearted stories, too — like a rare sighting of bigfoot in Bedford-Stuyvesant and a man that proposed to his longtime beau while sailing on the noxious Gowanus Canal.

So as we head into the new year, here’s some of 2020’s top stories from Brooklyn Paper:

JANUARY

House of D’ closes: Mayor Bill de Blasio officially shuttered the Brooklyn House of Detention as part of the city’s $8.7 billion plan to close Rikers Island and move detainees to four newly-built borough-based jails by 2026. City Corrections officials relocated the roughly 390 detainees at the Atlantic Avenue holding facility, between Smith Street and Boerum Place, to other lockups in November in Manhattan and the Bronx to prepare for the building’s demolition. 

State closes down controversial Woodland Bar in Park Slope: State booze officials revoked the liquor license of a controversial Park Slope watering hole Woodland after months of locals blasting the bar for the loud and ruckus atmosphere that often spilled onto the streets late into the night. The final decision came just days before a Dec. 22 stabbing inside the bar that sent a man to the hospital.

Brooklyn Democratic Party Boss Frank Seddio resigns: After eight years serving as chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party, Seddio abruptly stepped down from the post, allowing Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte to take his place. Seddio has been a staple of local politics, having previously served as Community Board 18’s district manager, a state Assemblyman, and a surrogate court judge. 

Anti-fracking activists protest Nat Grid pipeline: Northern Brooklynites blast National Grid reps at a Community Board 1 meeting for building a seven-mile fracked gas pipeline underneath the borough’s streets from Brownsville to the Newtown Creek in Greenpoint. The protest kicks off a year-long campaign against the utility company’s controversial plans.

Protestors were joined by elected officials at a protest against the installation of gas pipelines in East Williamsburg.Photo by Todd Maisel

Boro Pres assails midwesterners in incendiary speech: Borough President and Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams ruffled feathers when he ranted against transplants and gentrifiers at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Harlem. Adams accused midwesterners of “hijacking” apartments and demanding they return to wherever they came from. “Go back to Iowa, go back to Ohio, New York belongs to New Yorkers!” Adams said, drawing applause at the event but outrage from critics.

Clinton Hill man registers beer as emotional support animal: Local jokester Floyd Hayes filed a certification with the USA Service Dog Registration to claim his preferred alcoholic beverage as an “emotional support animal,” hoping the designation would allow him to carry the brews aboard public transit and other currently-banned destinations. A government rep later clarified, however, that the certification will not give Hayes the special privileges he thirsts for. 

MTA looks to revive Bay Ridge Branch: The MTA commissioned a study of a proposed billion-dollar passenger train that would run through southern Brooklyn. The agency awarded infrastructure firm Aecom with a $1.3 million contract to determine the feasibility study for the project, which would revive passenger service on the Bay Ridge Branch — a freight line that once carried straphangers through Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Midwood, and East Flatbush until it was decommissioned in 1924. 

Councilman Espinal resigns: Bushwick Councilman Rafael Espinal suddenly resigned to take up a new gig heading up the non-profit Freelancers Union. His departure opens up a contentious special election in the district, which Darma Diaz won during the June primaries. 

Mayor’s BQE expert panel issues report: A mayoral panel to study fixes for the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway’s triple cantilever section that wraps around Brooklyn Heights released its long-awaited 72-page report, which punts on providing actual repair recommendations and instead advocates for more panels between local stakeholders and all three levels of government to find a solution. 

FEBRUARY

Park Slope’s oldest barber shop closes after more than a century: Brooklyn’s longest running scissor shop hung up the shears after over a century of buzz cuts and fades. After taming manes with his two brothers since the 1960’s, John Fiumefreddo called it quits after his brother Angelo passed away and his brother Vito retired. “I always felt it was my brother’s place,” John Fiumefreddo said. The barber shop had existed under different owners on the same block of Seventh Avenue near Fifth Street since 1903.

Border patrol agents shoot a Mexican man in Gravesend: Agents with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement shot a Mexican man in the face in Gravesend while trying to arrest his mother’s boyfriend. The 26-year-old victim was in the US legally, his family said, arguing that the officer used excessive force, and filed a lawsuit against him about a week later. 

Canarsie rapper Pop Smoke shot dead: Pop Smoke, a rap artist native to Canarsie, was shot dead inside his Los Angeles rental home. The 20-year-old, whose real name was Bashar Jackson, made headlines the month before his death for transporting a stolen vehicle from California to his mother’s home in Canarsie. He was the sole victim of the shooting, where gunmen broke into his home in the early morning, as he was awaiting trial for the carjacking. 

Drag racing leads to six-car pileup in Park Slope: Five people were sent to the hospital after a six-car pileup in Park Slope that resulted from an illegal drag race, according to first responders. Locals living along Fifth Avenue say that racing has been a “long standing problem.”

A six car pileup in Park Slope was caused by an illegal drag race.Photo by Aidan Graham

Council passes Park Slope legislators bill to curb reckless driving: The City Council passed a historic driver-accountability bill, dubbed the Reckless Driver Accountability Act, which would require scofflaw drivers to take a road safety course or have their vehicle booted. The idea came about after a driver fatally struck two children and injured three others in Park Slope in 2018. Despite being signed into law by Mayor de Blasio, the program was not funded in the 2021 budget due to coronavirus-related budget craters, and currently remains in limbo. 

Sea Gate residents call for police chief to resign amid corruption allegations: Residents in a southern Brooklyn gated community demanded that the chief of the community’s private police force resign, arguing that he gave out phony police paraphernalia to the board of the homeowner’s association and repeatedly re-hired and protected an officer who used racial slurs against two other police officers. 

MARCH

First coronavirus case and death: The severity of coronavirus pandemic began to hit home in early March when the first first Kings County case was confirmed on March 5, and the first death in Brooklyn was confirmed on March 14, when an 82-year-old advanced emphysema patient in Bushwick passed away.

State bans plastic bags: New York State banned single-use plastic bags, prompting businesses around Brooklyn to swap the environmentally-damaging bags with paper ones and charge customers five cent per bag to encourage buyers to bring their own to the store. 

Brooklynites raise thousands for dog injured in southern Brooklyn crash: Southern Brooklyn denizens rallied to raise thousands of dollars for a beloved dog who survived a March 5 car crash that killed her 66-year-old owner. Stormy and her owner, Frank, were walking near 101st and Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge when they were tragically struck by a speeding driver. Despite traumatic injuries including breaks to her pelvis and leg, Stormy managed to make it home before collapsing on the ground. 

Neighbors came together to raise money for Stormy, whose owner was killed in a crash.Britton Woodruff

Road rage leads to fatal shooting in Park Slope: A gunman shot a 31-year-old man to death in broad daylight in Park Slope during a fit of road rage. First responders found the bloodied man inside his car, just steps from PS 321, with multiple bullet holes littering the windshield. The victim later died at Methodist hospital, and police have not yet found the shooter.

Brooklynites foster pets en masse amid COVID-19 outbreak: Pent-up Brooklynites started fostering four-legged friends en masse during the first weeks of COVID-19 quarantine, with some Kings County shelters having to turn away some fur-crazy would-be pet owners due to the high demand. 

Ample Hills files for bankruptcy: Prospect Heights-born Ample Hills Creamery filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 15. Shortly after selling the bankrupt creamery to an Oregonian manufacturer in June, its husband-and-wife founders announced they were leaving the company. Schmitt Industries closed the $1 million purchase of the chain on July 10 and promised to keep open the scoop shop’s 13 locations and Red Hook factory. 

APRIL

Coney Island Hospital workers given one face mask per week: Emergency room workers at the city-run hospital in southern Brooklyn said that they were given only one face mask per week and little to no other protective gear while COVID-19 was spiking. Some healthcare workers claim they had to come in even when they didn’t feel well, because of the increase in patients.

Woman arrested for killing elder over social distancing: Cops collared a Crown Heights woman for manslaughter after she allegedly shoved an 86-year-old woman for not keeping a distance of six feet at Woodhull hospital. The victim hit her head on the ground and later died inside the hospital.

Non-binary political candidates sue Brooklyn Dems: A group of non-binary political candidates sued the Brooklyn Democratic Party and the city’s Board of Elections because their ballot petitions only allowed for male or female gender designations, demanding the party drop gender parity rules originally intended to bring more women into the political sphere. The judge tossed the petition on a technicality later that month, but the action prompted Democratic Party Boss Rodneyse Bichotte to convene a task force to address the gender issues. 

Bigfoot spotted in Bedford-Stuyvesant: While New Yorkers were hunkering down at home as COVID-19 swept the city, one Brooklynite took a video of a person dressed as bigfoot wandering the desolate streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant. 

A man spotted a person dressed as Big Foot in Bedford-Stuyvesant.David Berry

Park Slope do-gooders pay for hospital staff meals at local bagel shop: Healthcare workers in Park Slope were welcomed to stop by La Bagel Delight for a free meal paid for by good samaritans who wanted to pay it forward at a time when hospitals were taking in patients at overwhelming rates. The idea began after one generous community member called the Seventh Avenue bagel shop — located across the road from Brooklyn Methodist Hospital — and asked if they could foot the bill for a delivery of food to first responders and healthcare workers across the street. 

Brooklyn cemeteries struggle to keep up as COVID-19 deaths mount: Cemeteries across the borough struggled to keep up with the substantial increase in deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted an influx of burials and cremations. Some cemetery operators started limiting the number of graveside attendants for ceremonies, while others advised people to stream services online in order to stem soaring coronavirus infection rates. 

Gov. Cuomo declares L-train shutdown/slowdown over: After more than a year and regular closures, the MTA’s extensive repairs of the L-train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan finished months ahead of schedule and under budget. The Superstorm Sandy repairs were originally slated to close down the busy line for 15-months, earning it the nickname “L-pocalypse,” but Cuomo intervened at the eleventh hour with a team of experts and an alternative plan requiring only partial closures, mostly on nights and weekends. 

MAY

Authorities shut Flatlands funeral home for storing bodies in U-Haul trucks: Health officials shut down a Flatlands funeral home on May 1 after decaying bodies were found stored inside a U-Haul truck outside of the home, and were said to have been decomposing on the flatbed for weeks. Police said the home’s storage practices while appalling were not criminal, but families of the deceased filed a lawsuit for the alleged mistreatment of their loved ones.  

Southern Brooklynites blast city for face mask distribution snub: The mayor’s initiative to supply thousands of free masks to Brooklynites at dozens of the borough’s parks entirely left out southern Brooklyn — leaving some locals fuming for the apparent snub. Shortly following the backlash, the mayor announced the program would be expanded to distribute 7.5 million masks at grocery stores, ferry stops, NYCHA buildings among other locations that included sites in southern Brooklyn. 

Squibb Bridge returns: A new and improved revamp of the beleaguered multi-million-dollar Squibb Bridge reopened, connecting Brooklyn Heights to the waterfront. The connector is a metallic revamp of its former iteration which Brooklyn Bridge Park opened in 2013 had to close a year later due to decaying wood support structures. 

Police crackdown on social distancing mostly affects Brooklynites, people of color: In the beginning of the pandemic, the city tasked the NYPD with enforcing social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing ordinances. Brooklynites received more summonses than any residence of any other borough, and people of color 93 percent of all coronavirus-related arrests. The crackdown led to a number of widely-criticized police encounters that went viral on social media, prompting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to launch an investigation into a string of violent and “disturbing” arrests.   

Over 200 arrested as protesters clash with police over George Floyd killing: The end of May marked the start of the protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, a Black man whom a Minneapolis police officer killed by kneeling on his neck. During one of the first protests outside the Barclays Center, violence broke out, with protesters throwing debris at police and cops pepper-spraying peaceful attendees. 

Thousands of Brooklynites marched in the streets against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Brooklyn mourns death of Grand Prospect Hall owner Michael Halkias: Michael Halkias, the beloved owner of Park Slope’s iconic Grand Prospect Hall died from COVID-19 on May 6. The 82-year-old was remembered for his “larger than life” personality — especially recognized from his long-running commercial where his wife, Alice Halkias, exclaims “We make your dreams come true!” 

JUNE

More than 500 complaints filed regarding police misconduct at George Floyd protests: The Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates reports of police misconduct, logged more than 500 complaints related to the George Floyd protests. In one case, two officers were suspended without pay for pushing a woman to the ground, and one was criminally charged

Man shoots, stabs NYPD officers in Flatbush: Dzenan Camovic, a 20-year-old Serbian national living in Brooklyn, allegedly stabbed a police officer in the neck, and used the wounded cop’s gun to shoot two other officers on Church Avenue in Flatbush. Responding authorities then shot Camovic during the ensuing panic. All four injured people sustained non-life threatening wounds, and have since recovered. Federal authorities arrested the suspect on a slew of charges, and claim he was influenced by terrorist organizations like al-Qaida. 

Inmate at Sunset Park prison dies after officers pepper spray him: Jamel Floyd, a 35-year-old inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center died after prison guards pepper sprayed him in the face, saying he was “being disruptive” and “potentially harmful to himself and others.” The incident came during a series of protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and sparked several more protests outside the detention center. 

DOT alludes to Brooklyn Bridge bike lane before quickly backtracking: A Department of Transportation revealed that the agency was in talks with the mayor to turn one lane of the Brooklyn Bridge roadway into a bike lane at a local community board meeting. Four days after Brooklyn Paper broke the news, DOT spokespeople said the staffer “misspoke.”

Coney Island Group Unveils Plans for reimagined Mermaid Parade: The organizers of Coney Island’s beloved Mermaid Parade announced that they would hold a “decentralized” event later in the summer in lieu of the arts festival. The online celebration, which doubled as a fundraiser for local organizations, would feature the classic costume contest, fun hosts, music, and more. 

Jay and Lloyd’s Kosher Deli bids farewell to Sheepshead Bay: Sheepshead Bay mainstay, Jay and Lloyd’s Kosher Deli, closed their doors much to the remorse of their longtime patrons in June. The infamous duo, always known for entertaining their guests, said the ongoing pandemic and a decline in the popularity of Kosher delis left them with little choice. 

JULY

Carroll Gardens gym building collapses: The three-story structure at the corner of Court and Union streets that once housed Body Elite Gym was reduced to rubble, injuring one person with non life-threatening injuries. A subsequent investigation found that the building had previously received thousands of dollars worth of fines from 15 years of complaints about the building’s instability — prompting an investigation by the city’s Department of Investigation. 

Firefighters at the scene of the building collapse at Court and Union streets on July 1.Photo by Todd Maisel

One year old killed amid rash of gun violence: Tragedy struck Bedford Stuyvesant in July, when 1-year-old child Davell Gardner was struck and killed by a stray bullet at a barbecue. The killing came as the borough became the epicenter of a separate public health crisis, as gun violence rose to levels not seen in nearly a decade, and critics accused the NYPD of a “slowdown” in response to the “defund the police” movement. Gardner’s killers remain at large.

Progressives trounce establishment in Democratic primaries: A slate of progressive upstarts unseated establishment-backed candidates in the primary elections for statewide office. Democratic socialist Marcela Mitaynes beat 26-year incumbent Assemblyman Félix Ortiz in Sunset Park, insurgent Greenpoint Assembly candidate Emily Gallagher defeated 23-term incumbent Joe Lentol, tenant organizer Phara Souffrant Forrest overcame Assemblyman Walter Mosley in Fort Greene, and public school teacher Jabari Brisport beat the party-favored Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright in the race for northern Brooklyn’s state Senate District 25. 

Revel suspends service after second fatality: The popular scooter-sharing company, Revel, indefinitely suspended its service in July following the fatalities of two riders in July. One of the fatalities resulting in the closure was of CBS2 reporter Nina Kapur, after she fell off the back of a scooter in Greenpoint. Revel resumed service a month later in August with new safety-features, requiring that riders confirm they are wearing helmets and complete a short training course in their application. 

City eyes delay on crucial Gowanus stormwater retention tanks due to COVID: Citing a massive coronavirus-related revenue shortfall, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection sought to delay a crucial part of the multi-million dollar cleanup of the Gowanus Canal by up to 18 months. The agency asked the feds for the extension to build two eight million and four million gallon capture tanks designed to reduce sewage and stormwater outflows into the noxious waterway. 

AUGUST

Thousands lose power after Isaias blows through Brooklyn: Tropical Storm Isaias wreaked havoc on New York City, closing all beaches, flooding streets, and causing trees to collapse and manhole transformers to blow across the Five Boroughs. The extreme weather led over 20,000 Brooklynites to lose power for several days, in what utility company Con Edison called the second largest power outage in the company’s history, behind only Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Con Edison’s widely criticized response led several Brooklyn politicians to call for government control of the energy grid. 

Asian-Americans lead march after 89-year-old woman set on fire: Hundreds of New Yorkers took to the streets of Bensonhurst after an 89-year-old woman was set on fire and slapped by two teenagers in what attendees suspected was a vicious hate crime. The marchers, led by a well-known rapper named China Mac, demanded that the Police Department classify the attack as a hate crime. Though police never did, they arrested two 13-year-olds in September for the attack. 

A coalition of local lawmakers denounced a violent attack on an elderly Asian woman, days after Asian-American leaders led the #TheyCantBurnUsAll protest through Bensonhurst in response to the attack.

Winners announced for Brooklyn Bridge redesign competition: The City Council and their architectural design partners announced the winners of the “Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge” competition — crowing two non-binding proposals to make the borough’s namesake span more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. One proposal focuses on expanding the bridge’s wooden walkway, while reclaiming several car lanes down below for cycling and installing plantlife throughout the span. The other proposal would turn the car lanes into a space for vendors, while creating a glass walkway above the pedestrianized former-roadway.

Pol shares Facebook post equating Black Lives Matter to Klu Klux Klan: Southern Brooklyn Assemblyman William Colton shared a post on his public Facebook page calling Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and equating it to the Klu Klux Klan — which, he said, started out as a group of “well intentioned people” before becoming the notoriously violent white supremacist institution that it is today.

Man proposed to girlfriend on the Gowanus Canal: A Gowanus resident Jamison Pence proposed to Emma Borochoff while they were paddling on the neighborhood’s noxious waterway, and the groom-to-be said he chose Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory because of their shared love for the neighborhood. “Gowanus is really ingrained into our relationship,” Pence said. “We’ve lived in Gowanus for two years now and we walk past the canal every single day.”

Jamison Pence proposed to Emma Borochoff on the Gowanus Canal on Aug. 22.Nicole Vergalla

Steiner Studios to bring a new film hub to Sunset Park: Steiner Studios announced they will open a second studio at Sunset Park’s Bush Terminal. The television and film studio will be their second in Brooklyn — joining their 780,000 square-foot campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The development of the $320 million 500-square-foot facility is expected to bring 1,800 construction jobs, and the finished studio will be required to recruit qualified candidates from the local community. 

Jay Street busway opens: City transit honchos debuted their newest busway pilot project on Jay Street, between Tillary and Livingston streets, clearing the usually-busy thoroughfare of car traffic in favor of bikes and public transportation, effective on weekdays from 7 am and 7 pm.

SEPTEMBER

Virtual Mermaid Parade draws fans from around the world: Thousands of revelers tuned into the virtual Mermaid Parade from as far as Scotland to share their costumes, hear performances from Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer, and donate money to local charities during the telethon.

De Blasio says pricey BQX will be up to following mayor: Hizzoner announced that the fate of his pet project, a $2.73 billion streetcar running along the northern Brooklyn and Queens waterfront, would be left up with his successor, citing the city’s coronavirus-related budget shortfall for his reason to punt on the project. 

Remembering RBG: Brooklynites came out in droves to remember the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Brooklyn-born legal eagle who grew up in the Midwood area and died Sept. 18 at the age of 87. Governor Cuomo later announced that a statute to the late justice would be erected in Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the Statue of Liberty. On Sept. 22, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to rename the Brooklyn Municipal Building after “the Notorious RBG.”

Thousands marched in remembrance of thee late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Photo by Todd Maisel

Industry City withdraws rezoning application: After a years-long battle with local officials and some activist groups, executives at the sprawling Sunset Park complex scrapped their rezoning application, which, if approved, would have allowed for a 12-year, $1 billion redevelopment of the 35-acre campus. 

Mystery man spotted dumping eels in Prospect Park lake: A ecological super villain was spotted by park-goers dumping hundreds of live eels into the Prospect Park lake in view of dozens of witnesses. The man, dressed in what appeared to be a cook’s uniform, told baffled onlookers he was “saving” the eels as he dumped them into the freshwater lake. Dumping is punishable by fines up to $10,000 in New York State, and invasive species can have severe negative impacts on ecosystems.

OCTOBER

Brooklyn Friends School leaders withdraw anti-union petition: The principal of a Downtown Brooklyn Quaker private school filed a petition for the National Labor Relations Board to consider decertifying the school’s staff union, citing a Trump-era ruling that barred employees from organizing at certain religious institutions. The move set off a firestorm of criticism among the progressive school’s teachers, students, and staff, prompting a teacher’s strike that finally caused the school’s leadership to give in

Iconic Dizzy’s Diner says goodbye to Park Slope after 22 years: The beloved diner at the corner of Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue permanently closed, devastating locals who had frequented the greasy spoon over their 22-year tenure as a staple of Park Slope. Longtime owner Matthew Pisciotta cited the economic strain brought on by the pandemic as the death knell for the laid-back bistro. 

Dottie Turano, longtime Community Board 18 district manager, retires: Longtime southern Brooklyn civic staple Dottie Turano stepped down from her post as district manager of Canarsie’s Community Board 18, marking an end to her nearly four decades of community service.

Nat Grid protesters lock themselves to pipeline: After months of protests and rallies against National Grid’s controversial fracked gas pipeline through eastern and northern Brooklyn, activists descend into an active construction site in Williamsburg and lock themselves to a gas pipeline in protest. Four are arrested, but the environmentalists return the following day despite the heavy rain and chain themselves to another work site around the corner. 

NOVEMBER

Brooklynites celebrate Biden victory, Trump defeat in spontaneous fashion: After the major news networks officially called the presidential election in favor of now President-elect Joe Biden, Brooklynites took to the streets for a series of impromptu celebrations. Drivers honked their horns, stoop-sitting locals banged pots and pans, and champagne corks popped from noon until sundown as jubilant revelers ushered in a new day in American politics. 

Brooklynites took the the streets to celebrate Joe Biden’s win the 2020 presidential election.REUTERS

Feds ban boating on most of Gowanus Canal: The Environmental Protection Agency issued a sweeping ban on all recreational boating in the Gowanus north of the Third Street Bridge, to avoid canoers from interfering with barges as part of the Superfund Cleanup. The move irks local Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, whose members hoped to eke out some exceptions with the feds for some limited continued access. 

Split tolling to begin on Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge Dec. 1: Transit officials announced split tolling on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is set to begin on Dec 1. The initiative is expected to help improve air quality by reducing the volume of cars passing between Brooklyn and Staten Island by eliminating a 30-year loophole that required travelers to pay the full toll fare on just one side of the bridge. 

Angel Guardian becomes Dyker’s first landmark: City officials voted on Nov. 10 to designate Dyker Heights’ century-old Angel Guardian Home a landmark — making the building the neighborhood’s first preserved, historic site. The vote from the Landmarks Preservation Commission came after years of pressure from local activists, who’ve pushed for the preservation of the stately 1899 building that spans 12th Avenue between 63rd and 64th streets. 

Malliotakis, Gounardes, Frontus win elections: While the majority of Brooklyn is solidly dominated by securely Democratic districts at every level of government, the southern portion of the borough featured three hotly contested races in this November’s national and state elections. Most prominently, Republican Nicole Malliotakis unseated first term Democratic Rep. Max Rose for the congressional seat covering Bay Ridge and parts of Staten Island. Meanwhile, two Democrats, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus, each eked out reelection to their respective seats. 

Feds officially start Gowanus Canal Superfund dredging: Senior Environmental Protection Agency officials finally kicked off the long-awaited dredging of the Gowanus Canal’s Superfund Cleanup, marking a new milestone in the decade-on battle to cleanse Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory

Borough President Eric Adams declares bid for mayor: After months of speculation, the Beep officially entered the race for Gracie Mansion, leaning on his time as a police officer, a state legislator, and borough president to stand out in the increasingly crowded June 2021 Democratic primary. Adams would go on to outriase nearly all of his opponents, and was immediately crowned as one of the race’s frontrunners. 

Boerum Hill woman tracks local CityMD wait on Twitter: As Brooklynites lined up in masse to receive tests for COVID-19 at various CityMD locations around the borough, one do-gooder used her proximity to the medical facility’s Atlantic Avenue branch to help inform neighbors on Twitter about the length of lines stretching outside, so they could opt for an ideal time to go get tested. 

City reaffirms Gowanus Green will be 100 percent ‘affordable’: The city returned virtually to Gowanus to present its development proposal dubbed ‘Gowanus Green,’ a sprawling residential development atop a former gas plant site called Public Place at Smith and Fifth Street. The plans, which date back in various forms to the Bloomberg administration but were revived in 2019 as part of the Gowanus rezoning, propose to build 950 units of housing at below market rates in accordance with the federally-designated Area Median Income. 

DECEMBER

City planning proposes suite of new zoning regulations for southern Brooklyn: City planning honchos proposed a suite of new zoning measures for southern Brooklyn’s coastal neighborhoods, which intend to ease restrictions that prevent property owners from improving their home’s flood resiliency. At the same time, scientists released a new interactive map predicting swaths of Brooklyn will suffer annual floods by 2050 because of rising sea levels. 

Judge reverses Brooklyn Democrats’ 2,400 illegal vacancy appointments: A Kings County Supreme Court judge reverses the controversial appointment of some 2,400 low-level members of the Brooklyn Democratic Party by its executive ranks, saying the move violates state Election Law. Progressives previously accused party bigs of using an expansion of some non-gendered seats in the party as a “pink-washing” power grab by party honchos to consolidate power among its leadership

COVID-19 vaccine brings Pfizer back to Brooklyn: The COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Brooklyn on December 14 and some healthcare workers have already gotten their first dose. The vaccine, produced by Pfizer alongside German-based BioNTech, marks the return of Pfizer to the Brooklyn borough where the massive global pharmaceutical company once made its humble beginnings. 

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in New York City in December.REUTERS

Brooklyn Bridge plaza to be named after Emily Roebling: Local greenspace stewards announced that a planned civic square beneath the Brooklyn Bridge will be named after Emily Roebling, who oversaw the completion of the borough’s iconic span after her husband, Washington Roebling, became bedridden with caisson disease. The new public area will mark the final section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

City announces official Gowanus rezoning start date: City planners officially announced that the hotly-debated neighborhood-wide rezoning of Gowanus would start its public review process on Jan. 19

Brooklyn Dems host chaotic 13-hour full membership Zoom call: The Brooklyn Democratic Party’s first ever virtual full membership meeting went off the rails, with party bigs miscounting votes and members pushing them for more transparency during a wild 13-hour Zoom call. After hours of back-and-forth, progressives secure a slate of victories aimed at making the party more transparent……that were reversed the day this round-up went to print.

Controversial Crown Heights developments killed: In one week, two contentious rezonings in Crown Heights hit serious road blocks. One, the 960 Franklin Avenue rezoning across the street from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, was all but killed when the mayor came out against the multi-tower mega development. The second, the 2018 Franklin Avenue rezoning, was annulled when a Kings County Supreme Court Justice sided with neighborhood activists in a lawsuit and de-certified the rezoning. The Department of City Planning has since filed an appeal.

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