Look out Jimmy Kimmel — Borough President Markowitz is coming for your job.
Markowitz used his final state of the borough speech to ask a question frequently whispered these days in Brooklyn political circles: what will the Beep do come 2014, when he is no longer the Beep? Faux-struggling to answer that riddle, Markowitz put on a white jacket, changed the stadium floor of the Barclays Center to resemble a TV studio, and hosted his very own late night talk show during his last annual address, complete with “celebrity” guests including Stoop Talk’s Cat Greenleaf, Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy, and NY1’s Pat Kiernan, going so far as to put on a Carnac the Magnificent routine (turban included).
The politician-turned-late-night showman riffed on diversity in Brooklyn — “you have the young people, the hipsters, and the old people, the artificial hipsters!” — and his support of gay marriage — “I believe love is love, unless you love the Knicks. Then you’ll burn in hell.”
Brooklyn-bred actor Tony Danza, a recurring state of the borough attendee, took on the role of musical guest when he rapped about famous Brooklynites: “Folks born in Brooklyn that you might know / here’s a bunch of famous people from my favorite borough.”
Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn sang a song in the Beep’s honor — a horribly off-key version of “How do you solve a problem like Maria,” changed to “How to you solve the problem of losing Marty?”
Markowitz’s chief of staff Jon Paul Lupo, who was master of ceremonies, told her to keep her day job.
There were even, at one point, indoor fireworks.
The address was mostly bereft of actual news, besides the formal, but previously reported announcement of the most recent incarnation of the Beep’s passion project: the construction of a Coney Island amphitheater that will serve as a permanent home to Markowitz’s long-running summer concert series. Out is the controversial “potato chip” plan, in is a new proposal with private developer iStar Financial that calls for building the 5,000-seat performance space in a part of the Childs Restaurant building on the Boardwalk and an adjoining lot, and reopening the landmarked space as an eatery.
But the address was more of a victory lap for the Beep, who has served in this role since 2001 and headed the borough during a time of astonishing metamorphosis that saw condos rise, Downtown transform, Williamsburg boom, and big league sports return to the borough.
Not for nothing did Markowitz — a huge booster of the Atlantic Yards project that brought the Nets to Brooklyn — choose to deliver his address in the Barclays Center.
“A special thank you to ‘cousin Brucie,’ as I affectionately call Bruce Ratner, the CEO of Forest City Ratner,” he said of the stadium’s developer, before calling the Barclays Center “America’s most beautiful arena.”
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