The federal courthouse in Brooklyn was officially renamed the Theodore Roosevelt United States Courthouse last week — a snub to not only former Gov. Hugh Carey, whose name was originally slated to adorn the building, but also to Rep. Ed Towns, the Fort Greene congressman whose bill to give Carey the honor was turned aside by Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer’s bill to honor Roosevelt — the former president and New York governor — was submitted in April, about 13 months after Towns’s bill to honor the still-living Carey passed House by an overwhelming margin.
But Towns’s bill then got bogged down in the Senate’s environment and public works committee as Schumer, a lion of the upper house, outmaneuvered his House colleague behind the scenwes.
Towns’s spokeswoman Shrita Sterlin said the Congressman “supported the name change.”
“It was agreed upon [to name the courthouse for Roosevelt], and to my understanding, it was a non-issue,” she said.
Perhaps, but when Schumer’s “Roosevelt” bill came to a vote in the House on Sept. 8, Towns mysteriously did not vote.
A spokesman for Schumer also said that there was nothing behind the Schumer-Towns bill battle, and said that New York’s senior senator has been “working on this for a long time.”
And besides, Schumer told The Brooklyn Paper, Carey will be recognized in due time.
“Gov. Carey is a true Brooklynite,” he said. “Gov. Carey’s great service to New York should and will be recognized in similar ways and I look forward to making that happen.”
A spokesman for Carey did not return two calls for comment.
Had the courthouse been named for the 89-year-old Carey, lawyers and tourists alike would always remember the man who served seven terms in the Congress representing his native Park Slope, the governor who saved New York City from bankruptcy, the Democratic powerbroker who tightened the belt on the state’s profligate spending by saying “the days of wine and roses are over,” the liberal whose greatest regret is that he didn’t run for president in 1976, the savvy marketer who put the term “I love New York” on every tourist’s lips.
In addition, he is the only Brooklynite to become governor.
Instead, borough residents will now honor Roosevelt, who before becoming president in 1901 was best known for reforming the then-corrupt NYPD, serving in the state Assembly and, later, as the state’s 33rd governor.
The federal courthouse, at 225 Cadman Plaza East, is the seat of the Eastern District, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.