Part 3: Hot dogs, Vito Lopez, and Jay-Z

Jay-Z opens Barclays Center to sold-out crowd
Associated Press / Evan Agostini

Check out the third part of our four-section review of 2012:


Black Widow strikes: Competitive eater Sonya Thomas shattered the record for female gluttony at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 by cramming down 45 hot dogs — buns and all — for her second Coney Island victory in a row.

Golden’s got class: State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) made national news by advertising a free class where young women could learn to “sit, stand, and walk like a model,” improving their “posture, deportment, and feminine presence.” Golden got razzed for the etiquette seminar on Comedy Central and in the Village Voice — but it didn’t keep him from getting re-elected in November.

G wiz!: Straphangers won their fight to save a cherished five-stop extension of the G train in Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington — a victory cheered by lovers of mass transit borough-wide.

Board to death: Civic activists bent on stopping the city from converting all but four blocks of the Coney Island Boardwalk to plastic lumber and concrete sued the city in July for failing to conduct a study on the potential environmental impact of the proposal — but a judge ruled against the lumber-lovers in December.


Power grab: It was the end of an era in Brooklyn politics as embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez stepped down from his post as Kings County Democratic party boss after his colleagues in Albany punished him for allegedly groping and attempting to kiss female staffers. Former Assemblyman and judge Frank Seddio won the boss gig in September.

Thirsty park: A reporter for this newspaper snapped photos of Coney Island’s Luna Park siphoning water from a johnny pump to fill its Wild River ride — a violation of its lease agreement with the city that officials said created a potential fire hazard in the People’s Playground.

Sinking feeling: Bay Ridge residents and politicians panicked after a 20-foot-deep sinkhole swallowed a car on 79th Street — and they started to fear their neighborhood was sinking into the earth after a 70-foot-deep chasm emerged on 92nd Street and a rash of smaller pits opened up in the area.

Lane pain: Readers of this newspaper named Jay Street in Downtown as Brooklyn’s scariest bike lane, citing double-parked cars, idling police vehicles, and jay-walking pedestrians as frequent dangers.


Opening ceremony: The Barclays Center debuted on Sept. 29 after a decade of legal battles and financial tremors when rap legend, Nets part-owner, and Brooklyn native Jay-Z took the stage. Big acts including Barbra Streisand, the Rolling Stones, Justin Bieber, the Who, and Bob Dylan have since rocked the “Rustbowl” at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Restler’s match: Community Board 1 chairman Chris Olechowski defeated incumbent Lincoln Restler for Williamsburg’s Democratic district leader position — an influential but little-known party post — following a lengthy recount.

Wal crumbles down: Controversial big box retailer Walmart announced it would not open a location in the planned Gateway II shopping center in East New York after fighting a year-long media war with local business and labor advocates over the shopping giant’s plan to set up shop somewhere in Brooklyn..

Assemblyman Vito Lopez stepped down from his influential post atop the borough's Democratic party following allegations of sexual harassment.
The Brooklyn Paper / Aaron Greenhood