Readers’ choices: Our most-read stories of 2014 • Brooklyn Paper

Readers’ choices: Our most-read stories of 2014

We have a weiner: Smallest Penis pageant champ Rajeev Gupta, shown here with official “penis kitten” Cherry Pitz, won $200 and a hot date with two sisters.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Tragedy, comedy, partying, police violence, and bike lanes are just some of the things our readers wanted to learn about during the past year. The scope of your interests is as broad and multi-faceted as Brooklyn itself, but in this business we like things we can measure and our website’s numbers don’t lie. Here are Brook‌lynPa‌per.com’s 10 most-viewed articles of the year.

1) The smallest-penis contest returns

Brooklyn’s most notorious member-measuring competition popped up a second time at Kings County Bar in Bushwick, and boy did people want to know about it — before it happened. Interest petered out so dramatically that our follow-up on what actually went down at the compact contest drew just more than 3 percent of the pageviews of our preview, giving the recap the smallest audience for a smallest-penis-contest story in 2014.

2) Cop knocks out Clinton Hill teen

Last summer was the first in 35 years with no Coney Island concert series.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The debate over police officers’ use of force reached a fever pitch this year with the NYPD killing of Gowanus native Eric Garner on Staten Island, and a grand jury’s subsequent finding that no crime had been committed, despite video showing officers choking him and piling onto him when he objected to being stopped. Another disturbing video surfaced in October of a plainclothes officer punching and apparently knocking out 16-year-old Marcel Hamer in Clinton Hill as Hamer lay on the ground pleading, “Mister, it was just a cigarette sir.” Hamer’s friends and family said the officer had jumped out of an unmarked van and accused him of smoking marijuana, that he was partially handcuffed at the time of the blow, and that he has suffered from neurological problems since. We broke the story and it prompted international headlines. District Attorney Ken Thompson said his office is investigating, and the NYPD said its Internal Affairs Bureau is, too.

3) No summer concerts in Coney Island

News that former Borough President Marty Markowitz’s summer concert series would not return to the People’s Playground during his first summer out of office struck a bad chord with Brooklyn music lovers. It was the first season without the shows in 35 years, and you read it here first.

4) World Cup screenings in Dumbo

Dumbo was the place to be to watch the World Cup.
Dumbo Improvement District

Brooklyn contains multitudes, and so it’s only logical that legions of people would want to know where to watch the World Cup, that Olympian, once-every-four-years tournament of the world’s game, soccer. The Manhattan Bridge archway offered a picturesque backdrop for screenings of many of the games back when the weather was warm enough to laze around outside in shirtsleeves, and the price was right: the screenings were free.

5) Gowanus Whole Foods blocks bike lane

Few debates are more fierce than the one over who gets space on Brooklyn’s streets. One that came close was whether Gowanus needed, or was safe for, a Whole Foods Market. So when the new organic-centric grocer opened its doors alongside the fetid Gowanus Canal and started clogging the Third Avenue bike lane and sidewalk with forklifts, delivery trucks, and pallets, you can bet people paid attention.

6) Ken Thompson reviews dubious murder conviction

Freshman District Attorney Ken Thompson was at the center of a few of the year's biggest stories.
Ken Thompson

When District Attorney Ken Thompson took office in January, unseating top prosecutor Charles Hynes after 23 years, he set to reexamining old cases, including that of David McCallum, convicted of a 1985 kidnapping and murder under Hynes’s predecessor Elizabeth Holtzman. Thompson would assemble a special team to pore over questionable convictions, and McCallum would be exonerated in October, but our February article laying out the particulars of McCallum’s case drew the most interest.

7) 18th Avenue Feast snafu

Organizers of the Festa di Santa Rosalia — better known as the 18th Avenue Feast — asked the city in March to move the 11-day street party’s start date forward to Aug. 14 so that it wouldn’t end on Labor Day weekend. But the city said fuggedaboudit in a letter issued to the organizers and Community Board 11 on July 30, after the Santa Rosalia Society, which puts on the event, had spent weeks advertising the earlier date. The by turns beloved and reviled annual street festival has been besieged by scheduling and paperwork problems in recent years.

8) Killarney Pub closes

The 18th Avenue Feast happened on Labor Day Weekend, despite its organizers best efforts.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Bay Ridge’s Killarney Pub closed in October, ending 90 years of pulling pints. We broke the story, and word of the closing party the next night, and regulars flocked to our comments section to share stories of the good old days.

9) Pratt student suicide

The story of Pratt Institute scholar Mareena Jacob’s leap from a dorm balcony was a tough one to report.

10) Williamsburg woman’s fatal fall

Killarney Pub owner Paddy Finn closed the storied watering hole in October.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Another sad and senseless death. A woman took a fatal fall in Williamsburg in April when she tried to climb into the window of her boyfriend’s fourth-story apartment. She had been drinking with friends, according to police, and had been locked out of the apartment by her boyfriend following an argument, per the New York Post.

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