Brooklyn’s elected officials were tripping over each other in the scrum to take credit for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s decision to bring the B64 back to Harway Avenue on Thursday — with one pol hijacking another elected official’s press conference for an extra few ‘atta boys!
Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Bensonhurst) was the first neighborhood legislator out of the gate on Thursday, putting out a press release claiming that he had helped get the B64 bus line restored. The route used to run from Shore Road in Bay Ridge to Harway and Stillwell avenues in Bensonhurst, but the MTA cut it by 12 blocks in 2010.
“I’m honored that we were able to come together with the MTA to secure funding for the restoration of the B64 bus route and other transportation routes,” Recchia said, even though the MTA is funded by the state legislature, not City Hall.
Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) wasn’t far behind, quickly shooting off a statement of his own.
“I was just at a rally two weeks ago fighting with my colleagues for the restoration of the B64 to southern Brooklyn,” the Councilman bragged.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), a member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Capital Review Board, held a press conference at the Ulmer Park Bus Depot on Harway Avenue between Bay 38th Street and 25th Avenue in Bath Beach to announce the victory on Thursday afternoon.
“The petitions, the letters, the rallies, it all worked,” said Golden, who called himself a leading advocate for the B64 — even though those who fought to bring the bus back to Harway Avenue didn’t remember seeing him at any of the three community pow-wows calling for the route’s return.
This flurry of self-imposed pats on the back began to smart when Courier Life columnist Carmine Santa Maria, who had written a Big Screecher column demanding that the route be fully restored, and his boss Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst) crashed Golden’s press conference. Golden apprehensively let Santa Maria say a few words, but when Colton asked to speak, Golden flatly refused.
“It’s my press conference,” Golden said. “He can hold his own press conference.”
Colton did just that. With a handful of aides standing behind him holding up marked-up manila folders reading “Assemblyman Colton Restores B64 Bus Service to Harway Avenue,” Colton held an impromptu press conference right in the middle of Golden’s event.
“This is a victory for the whole community,” Colton said. “It’s a new beginning.”
But no matter who took the credit, Santa Maria was glad that the B64 will once again be stopping in front of his Harway Avenue home.
“People in my co-op depend on that bus,” the Big Screecher said. “A lot of them are senior citizens and they don’t have any other way of getting around.”
Bringing the B64 back to Harway Avenue is just a small part of the MTA’s $29 million reinvestment to the city’s bus and train system, which will bring back bus stops across the borough and extend the G train to Church Avenue.