What they’re giving thanks (or not giving thanks) for

It’s our national holiday of gluttony and appreciation, so what better way to celebrate than to invite borough luminaries to discuss what they’re giving thanks to this season.

“Each Thanksgiving we give thanks for our blessings, and remember we can always better help those in need. Certainly, I’m thankful to live in Brooklyn — the most diverse, vibrant place on earth — and thankful we’re moving forward on projects bringing more visitors and jobs. This year, the stunning Brooklyn Bridge Park opened to acclaim; we saw progress on our revitalized Downtown and Coney Island as well as Atlantic Yards, with its promise of union jobs and affordable housing.”
Borough President Markowitz
The Brooklyn Paper / Sarah Portlock

“Thanksgiving is a time to focus on the things that give us daily strength; it’s a time to treat as extraordinary what we so often take for granted. This season, I’ll remind myself of the power of the unconditional love my family gives me, and the joy I get in giving them the same. I’ll give thanks for my health, and even the fact that my 1999 Chrysler is still running! But I’d also like to do something nontraditional — express thanks that so many residents have the guts to fight for what’s right. We demand to be treated fairly, we demand common sense — we go to bat when it matters. Without that fight in us, we wouldn’t stand a chance of making our streets, our schools and our homes the places they should be. Without that spirit, we wouldn’t be Brooklynites.”
Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge)

“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve, for the opportunity to make a difference for people’s lives and for our communities. I am grateful for the money that I’ve been able to provide for the 3,800 children who sleep on our streets every night with neither their families nor proper shelter. And, most of all, I am grateful for my wonderful family.”
Councilman Lew Fidler, (D–Sheepshead Bay)

“Every day, I ride my bicycle through Brooklyn on new bicycle lanes and walk through pedestrian plazas where vehicles once sped. So every day, I am thankful for the ways my borough is safer. The Prospect Park West protected bicycle lane has cut speeding 80 percent in my neighborhood; traffic calming measures continue to spread across downtown Brooklyn; fast and efficient Select Bus Service is in Bedford-Stuyvesant’s future. I am thankful every day to be a Brooklynite under Mayor Bloomberg who understands that a city safe for walking and bicycling is a better city — a city to be thankful for.”
Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives

“The thing that I’m most thankful for is when people ask me to write about what I’m thankful for. I’m also thankful for the workers that are renovating the apartment below me. Sunday at 8:30 am is the perfect time to do extremely loud work. I’m also thankful for Jimmy McMillan from The ‘Rent is Too Damn High’ Party. I’m just happy that he exists.”
Hannibal Buress, comedian
Photo by Mindy Tucker

“I’m grateful for my family and friends. I know that many of us will singing together this Thanksgiving. I’m grateful that within a mile of my house there are families with roots in China, Senegal, India, Colombia, Ireland, Trinidad, Israel, Yemen, Mexico, and even New Hampshire. I’m grateful that I live in a city that has a park with a drummer’s grove. I’m grateful that almost everywhere in the world when people gather to sing and dance there is food. I’m grateful for all of life’s musical possibilities in the coming year — and sweet potato pie.”
Dan Zanes, musician

“I’m thankful for just being alive, you know. This is the number one thing I take for granted, but when I really stop and think about the idea that I’m actually here, on this planet, in a body, I feel really thankful for that. That’s something that’s not a given, the fact that I have a life. Whatever struggles there are, the ups and downs, all of that is a part of it, the ability to go through everything, to experience being in this world.”
Matisyahu, musician
Mark Mann

And here's our cartoonist's take — Thanksgiving relaxation at its best.

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