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Looking ahead: 22 big stories to watch in 2022!

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While 2021 was jam-packed with news, we are still looking toward the new year — and Brooklyn Paper is predicting 22 stories to look out for in 2022! Here’s a look at what may be to come in the coming months!

COVID-19

The ongoing pandemic has managed to continue, and will follow us into 2022 — and there’s still a lot to look out for. While the residents of New York are mostly vaccinated (as around 82 percent of the city’s population has received at least one dose), the virus continues to tear through the city. New mayor Eric Adams took the reins on New Year’s Day, meanwhile, and has promised to continue his predecessor’s vaccine mandates (including at bars and restaurants).

The Adams Administration

The new mayor’s first week has been eventful already, as he’s seen lots of new appointments and major transitions among the City Hall staff. Going forward, there’s a lot to look out for amongst Mayor Eric Adams’ first term in office: including new appointments, new land-use policies, and much more.

A new borough presidency

When Eric Adams went to City Hall, he left Borough Hall behind for his successor, outgoing North Brooklyn councilmember Antonio Reynoso. As the new borough president, Reynoso will have significant sway over issues facing Brooklyn, including appointments to community boards, and weighing in on land-use changes.

Will the coney ferry happen?

The proposed Coney Island ferry has been long in the works, as locals have debated for years now over the proposed landing location. Located on the more in-land side of the Coney Island peninsula, the ferry would not take travelers to the local amusement park, which many advocates have deemed as a missed opportunity. It’s also raised environmental concerns, with activists calling the dredging of Coney Island Creek harmful to the community at large. Work on the new route was recently put on pause until next summer, but advocates say they’ll keep pushing back in the meantime.

The Grand Prospect Hall, pre-scaffolding.Photo by Susan De Vries

What will come of the Grand Prospect Hall?

Grand Prospect Hall, the iconic Park Slope-based event venue, was sold and later gutted by a developer. Along the Prospect Expressway, the venue became notorious for its commercials boasting that the hall would “make your dreams come true.” The owner of the establishment, Michael Halkias, died in 2020, and the building was later sold, crushing the dreams of scores of Brooklynites.

Construction in Gowanus

The highly-controversial Gowanus neighborhood-wide rezoning was passed at the end of 2021, allowing private developers to build much taller towers in the area, provided they include affordable housing units. Now, construction companies are gearing up to pour into the area and kick-off the long-debated construction.

A decade since Sandy

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which rocked New York City and devastated the infrastructure in the Five Boroughs. Now, as lawmakers in the nation’s capital have passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Gotham will see a significant amount of investment in the city’s subways, roads, and shorelines — including much investment along the Kings County coast.

Business recovery

When the pandemic hit, countless businesses were sent into a state of worrying despair as customers flocked to their homes and avoided in-person gatherings. Now, thousands of mom-and-pop shops will head into the new year looking to rebound after a particularly trying two-year stretch.

NYPD budget

The much-debated budget of the New York City Police Department will be up again this year, with a new mayor that has pledged to keep the amount of funding for the police the same (or more), while many members of the incoming City Council have committed to voting on behalf of reducing the budget. The budget process will need to be resolved in June.

Redistricting

As 2020 brought the census, 2022 will bring redistricting to New York State. The process of drawing new maps for local congressional seats and state legislative districts may change who voters are represented by, and will certainly change the electoral prospects of many local politicians.

Crown Heights Associated

The site of Nostrand Avenue’s Associated supermarket has a new owner, throwing yet another wrench into the contentious redevelopment of the site. That puts the area in a severe shortage of local supermarkets, if the Associated branch closes — which the local landlords have pledged not to do permanently. Will they hold up their end of the bargain?

The Brooklyn Bridge bike lane opened on Sept. 14.Photo by Kevin Duggan

More bridge bike lanes?

The long-awaited Brooklyn Bridge bike lane opened in 2021, and inspired the hope of countless cyclists to dream of more infrastructure supporting local pedal pushers. Mayor Eric Adams will now take the reins, with the ability to (potentially) open new cycling lanes.

Community boards

One of the lowest levels of government, the community board, is a constantly evolving body of locals who turnover yearly in their unpaid posts, which serves as the eyes and ears of the city government on issues like land use. Now that Antonio Reynoso is in borough hall (which appoints community board members), the boards may look significantly different, and weigh in differently on various issues.

Vaccine mandates

New York City had one of the strongest vaccine mandates in the United States. As unvaccinated Americans are legally barred from entering bars, restaurants, and other indoor activities, people and businesses around the Five Boroughs are wondering if the mandates will loosen during Mayor Adams’ tenure. On the contrary, will city or state officials move to include booster shots in the criteria for full vaccination?

The return of big events?

Life in the big city is more than just bars and restaurants — as we have easy access to large-scale events, including the Mermaid Parade, big-name concerts, and more! Brooklynites will undoubtedly be keeping their eyes on the future of concert venues and other indoor activities that have been shuttered during the Omicron wave.

River Ring

The City Council has approved a massive waterfront development in Williamsburg, officially known as River Ring, and constriction will likely start this year. The proposal contains a pair of towers with over 1,000 housing units, office space, a pool, and a beach to the northern Brooklyn shoreline.

Dick Zigun leading the Mermaid Parade.File photo by Paul Martinka

Will Coney get a new ‘mayor’?

Dick Zigun, the longtime unofficial “mayor” of Coney Island was recently fired from the venerable sideshow organization he co-founded, which runs the Coney Island Museum and puts on the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and the annual Mermaid Parade, after apparently reaching an intractable impasse with the group over the terms of his succession. Despite apparent negotiations, the ugly battle will undoubtedly play out in the court of public opinion, and maybe real court, too.

The Brooklyn Nets title chances

The team from Barclays Center has a legitimate claim to being the best team in the NBA, and could potentially bring a trophy back to Brooklyn. The finals will begin on June 2, and the winner will be decided by June 19.

The governor’s race

When former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned, it kickstarted a wide-open race that now includes incumbent Kathy Hochul, along with Brooklynite Jumaane Williams. The primary will be decided in June, and the general election will be decided in November.

The pedestrianization of Brooklyn’s streets

There has been a long-running debate about Brooklyn’s streets, and how much space should be turned over to bikers and pedestrians. The issue was far from settled under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and will figure to be a large issue in 2022.

The new City Council

The new crop of local legislators elected to the City Council last November took office earlier in January, and now they’ll shape the future of the city’s legislative process.

Drinks to go!

The pandemic has put bars into a state of flux, but Gov. Hochul has pledged to bring back the Parisian concept of to-go drinks. As the local economy rebounds, many bars are sure to be serving up cold brews to those looking for some outdoor comfort.

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