Borough President Markowitz knows how to ride a bike — and he obviously knows how to ride a city agency.
The Beep, who famously opposed the Prospect Park West bike lane on the grounds that it is anti-car, rode a two-wheeler into his annual State of the Borough address last night at Sunset Park HS.
“As you can see, I’ve taken advantage of the Department of Transportation’s newest bike lane,” Markowitz joked about his government foe at the start of a 90-minute speech to a full-house of lawmakers, community leaders and his buddies. “Of course, I can tell it’s still under construction, because the D.O.T. hasn’t yet removed all the seats in the auditorium to make room for it!”
But aside from his brief mention of the city’s supposed pro-cyclist, anti-motorist policies, Markowitz steered clear of polarizing statements. Instead, he spoke as if he were a proud parent at Brooklyn’s bar mitzvah, raving about the borough’s recent developments. Markowitz touted gains like the revitalization of Downtown, the Coney Island amusement district and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
As usual, he promised to promote the borough as a major tourist destination and focus on the problem that’s on everyone’s minds: the economy. Brooklyn actually added more than 14,000 jobs last year, according to Crain’s New York Business, but Markowitz said that’s not enough.
“We need MORE jobs, jobs, jobs right here, right now,” he proclaimed. “Jobs should be ‘job one.’ ”
But aside from his frank economic outlook, the state of the borough generally stayed on the bright side. Markowitz glossed over the stuff that bums out Brooklynites, like public transportation cuts, public school closures and didn’t even mention the cancerous Gowanus or the federal slaughter of hundreds of geese in Prospect Park.
The crowd, however, didn’t seem to mind sitting through a 90-minute puff piece.
“He didn’t miss a beat!” said Saul Katz, a Kingsborough Community College dean. “The speech was terrific.”
Even Mayor Bloomberg showed up to praise Markowitz, saying that “Brooklyn has arrived — and it’s very much due to Marty.”
And in true Markowitz fashion, the State of the Borough address had plenty of bells and whistles. The Beep’s nostalgic look back at 2010 even featured a photo montage that included a shot of him and Beyonce, and a photo of him with Brooklyn Decker, Esquire Magazine’s “sexiest woman alive.”
“I am the perfect size for her if she needs an arm rest,” Markowitz said.
DUMBO resident Decker may not have schlepped down to Sunset Park for the speech, but another Brooklyn beauty did make an appearance: this year’s Miss Brooklyn, Christina Moore.
Moore was one of more than 20 honored “Brooklyn characters,” who also included national texting champ Brianna Hendrickson and Det. Feris Jones, who was off-duty when she busted a gun-wielding robber at a Bed-Stuy hair salon.
The extravaganza concluded with a performance by another woman who gets the Beep’s heart beeping — Bay Ridge strip-tease and exercise teacher Stephanie Mancuso. It was likely the first and only time someone pole danced on a public high school stage.