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Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? • Brooklyn Paper

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

By the way, this is the "before" shot.
Wildlife Conservation Society / J.L. Maher

We asked the borough’s leaders (elected and not elected) to share with us their reasons for being thankful. Here’s what we got:

As a pastor, this can be a trickly question. I don’t want to sound all preachy or holy or anything. But, to be honest, it’s because of my spirituality that I’m able to live the good life. It’s not about material stuff, but rather about seeing each day and all that fills it as a gift from God. I’m extremely thankful that I serve such a wonderful congregation, and that our soup kitchen and food pantry are able to feed so many people. I love my job — I’m passionate about my work — and that’s a true blessing in life. I’m also thankful for my family. My partner Jen is fabulous, and we have two great kids together.

Pastor Ann Kansfield is a pastor at the Greenpoint Reformed Church

This year, my 50th, was incredibly challenging: over the summer a mammogram revealed something suspicious, and I had a surgical biopsy in September; in October I learned that the building where I’ve lived for 23 years was going on the market (and I couldn’t afford to buy it). There were big challenges even before those things happened. But throughout, my husband, neighbors and friends put up with me, stood by me, made sure I was okay. You know who you are. My gratitude to you is profound, immeasurable.

Sharon Mesmer, poet

I’m of course thankful for a happy and healthy family, and for Brooklyn becoming a place where you can get a decent bite to eat in pretty much any neighborhood, with folks who aren’t nearly as annoying as people from Manhattan. I’m also glad to see Brooklyn’s collective consciousness of equality spreading around the world at long last.

Eric Demby, curator, Brooklyn Flea

I’m thankful that Freddy’s has re-opened and provided that sorely needed refuge where creative misfits can share their gut-wrenching musings, exhibitionists can parade about in diamond-encrusted thongs, and soul-searchers can drink until their heads become mummified globes. I give thanks and live by these words: When you love something, it doesn’t matter how wet and blackened it has become; you just want to press it tight against your face and hold it there so it can’t move.

Don Ralph, lead singer, Life in a Blender

I’m thankful for my beautiful, loving wife Elizabeth, who means the world to me. For my incredibly funny and sweet son who’s growing up too fast. For my supportive family and wonderful friends. And that after nearly 22 years, I still love my job intensely and look forward to going to work each day to serve my community. (And I’m thankful for pocket aces whenever I can get them. Especially when they don’t get cracked.)

Craig Hammerman, district manager, Community Board 6

I’m thankful that Park Slope is home to New York City’s best complete street: Prospect Park West. Seventeen months after Prospect Park West was reengineered at the community’s behest, speeding traffic has been calmed, pedestrians have shorter, safer crossings and bike-free sidewalks, and thousands of cyclists, no small number of them children just learning to ride, have a safe, protected space in which to cycle. As Community Board 6 chairman Daniel Kummer wrote to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan last month, the new Prospect Park West has a “positive safety record” of “which we all should be extremely pleased.” Amen to that!

Eric McClure, Park Slope Neighbors

Thank you for the support of family that ultimately led me to find “True Lug.” It is the kind of love that rescues you from a small burning house and carries you across the hot coals of fear to a place of boundless life, where I am happily married and just gave birth to the most perfect baby boy, Ajax. Every moment of life is truly transforming into an unfolding work of art.

Marni Kotak, artist

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am, of course, very thankful to all of the amazing constituents of Brooklyn and Queens for their continued support during the election and since I’ve taken office. I am thankful for the brave men and women of the armed forces who risk their lives every day to defend our freedoms. I am grateful to all the Veterans who served our country with honor and integrity. I am above all else, thankful for my family. My wonderful wife Peggy along with our children and grandchildren, have continued to be my biggest supporters.”

Rep. Bob Turner (R–Marine Park)

This has been a special year for me and Kumiko. We learned that the citizens of New York, no matter how gruff seeming at first, will reach out and help their neighbors in need. We are so thankful to have our Winston back and we are unendingly grateful to all those that listened to the story of complete strangers and helped us. Thank you, New York.

Michael Reinhardt, whose dog Winston, was returned after running away.

This Thanksgiving, Jamie and I wish all Brooklynites peace, happiness and good health, and hope they share in our many blessings — friends and family, a wonderful place to call home and of course, living in Brooklyn, the “coolest” city on the planet. But it’s also a time to help those less fortunate, and I’m thrilled that, thanks to the donations of generous Brooklyn companies, we were able to distribute more than a thousand turkeys and trimmings to families in need again this year.

Marty Markowitz, president, Borough of Brooklyn

One of the year’s biggest blessings was the successful preservation of a certain bike lane in Park Slope. The year kicked off with a flurry of overwrought headlines broadcasting the disgruntled voices of opposition to the Prospect Park West bike lane. But the majority of Park Slope residents who support the lane stood firm and the angry voices have abated as their frivolous lawsuit blew away like so many autumn leaves. The residents of Park Slope can end the year basking in the knowledge that their street will remain as safe as it was in January. And for that, we are truly thankful.

Paul Steely White, executive director, Transportation Alternatives

I’m thankful to have a cool job, supporting a cool park, in a cool town that keeps me on my toes. I’m thankful for all the volunteers and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy supporters who give back so much to the park. And I’m thankful that I can go fishing a short walk from my front door, that Brooklyn keeps getting better and better for bike riders, and that I can finally get legally married here.

Nancy Webster, executive director, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

I am thankful for life; and being able to spend another holiday season with my friends and family as well as for a wonderful staff that supports me to live a life with a purpose.

Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D–Williamsburg)

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