In the mix with the Brooklyn Heights Association

In the mix with the Brooklyn Heights Association
Community Newspaper Group / Matthew Perlman

They fastened pearls before wine.

The Brooklyn Heights Association partied the night away at its annual get-together on Feb. 27. The main event at the century-old civic group’s meeting was a lecture by internet expert and occasional Ted-talker Clay Shirky, who the organization’s head said delivered up real food for thought.

“I thought it was fascinating,” said association director Judy Stanton. “I was scribbling notes as fast as I could.”

The brainiac waxed authoritative to the Brooklyn Historical Society crowd about how the World Wide Web is blurring the lines between amateur and professional media-makers and upending conventions about when humor is appropriate.

“Any hope of keeping the serious-silly distinction is eroding,” Shirky said. “They were never separate for any deep reason.”

The group’s president Alexandra Bowie kicked off the evening with updates on Brooklyn Heights issues, including the group’s involvement in the fight to save Long Island College Hospital, the expansion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and promoting pedestrian safety.

Bowie said her group has been interested in traffic-slowing measures for a long time and she hopes that the Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero initiative will help speed the addition of car-squeezing features to the neighborhood as part of its official Slow Zone designation. She also announced the transportation department will begin repairing portions of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway this spring, replacing defective joints and resurfacing the upper deck. Neighbors of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade have long complained about vibrations coming from vehicles hitting cracks and potholes on the bedraggled expressway.

The Squibb Park pedestrian bridge, which links the Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, was named best addition to the neighborhood. CLark’s Restaurant on Henry Street at Clark Street bagged the title of best diner based on an online poll of Association members. Included with the votes were remembrances from the eatery, including one from a family whose daughter projectile vomited in a booth but was welcomed back for years afterwards.

Best business contribution went to the Alperin family and Herminia Sullivan for finding a new owner to carry on the long legacy of Long Island Restaurant, now the Long Island Bar, on Atlantic Avenue at Henry Street.

The Association also presented a new award this year, in honor of Martha Atwater, who was killed on Clinton Street last February when a pickup-truck driver jumped a curb and smashed into her. The award went to Brooklyn Eagle reporter Mary Frost for her coverage of the Long Island College Hospital saga.

At the end of the event, Bowie took questions from the audience, but cut things short when a group of activists began shouting about how the association is not taking a stand against the planned redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Library branch.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Inter-net gain: Professor Clay Shirky dropped by the Brooklyn Historical Society to tell civic activists about how the information superhighway has changed the world.
Community Newspaper Group / Matthew Perlman