Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Case You Missed BP Marty Markowitz' State of the Borough Speech

Here's the two-minute summary of yesterday's State of the Borough, as sent to us by the office of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz:

On February 3, BP Markowitz was joined by Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City Comptroller John Liu, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and more than a thousand guests and honorees for the 2010 State of the Borough Address at the Park Slope Armory. Mayor Bloomberg administered the oath of office for BP Markowitz’s third term.

Among the major initiatives and updates outlined by BP Markowitz:

Loew’s Kings Theater. The announcement of an agreement between the City and Arts Center Enterprises—the company behind the Boston Opera House, the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., and the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore—who will work to restore and manage this historic jewel in Flatbush.

Bedford-Atlantic and Sumner armories. The borough president will allocate $1 million in capital funds for each armory, to begin the redevelopment of the historic structures into vibrant community centers mirroring the successful transformation of the Park Slope Armory.

Brooklyn Book Festival grows! This year, the Brooklyn Book Festival Weekend (September 11 and 12) will be launched, with special Saturday readings, parties and events followed by the main programming on Sunday.

Brooklyn’s new poet laureate. After an extensive search by an advisory committee formed by BP Markowitz, Tina Chang of Park Slope has been appointed as Brooklyn’s next poet laureate, succeeding the late Ken Siegelman. Chang is the author of Half-Lit Houses and co-editor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond.

4th Avenue streetscape. The borough president envisions a long overdue transformation of 4th Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean into a magnificent “Brooklyn Boulevard.” The borough president’s office is teaming up with New York University urban planning graduate students to develop a community-based plan for an initial scope on the reconstruction.

Borough President’s Office. BP Markowitz called for charter changes that would beef up the jobs of borough presidents, public advocate and community boards. He cited his major role in the land use process that resulted in more affordable housing and achievements such as the neighborhood downzoning in Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, North Flatbush, Greenpoint-Williamsburg and Canarsie this past year.

Other highlights of 2009 included the successful battle to provide affordable housing in the Coney Island Plan; the creation of jobs by supporting projects such as the redevelopment of Coney Island; facilitating the merger of SUNY Downstate and Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to save LICH maternity and pediatric services; providing capital money for the playground on pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park; successfully advocating for a gifted and talented school in Bensonhurst; and expanding cultural and tourism initiatives such as the Brooklyn Book Festival, Shop Brooklyn, Dine in Brooklyn and the smART Gallery Hop.

The theme of this year’s State of the Borough Address was “Brooklyn Counts”—the upcoming 2010 Federal Census and the Complete Count Committee convened by the borough president’s office to promote the Census in traditionally undercounted communities.

The State of the Borough Address also celebrated community leaders and Brooklyn “characters,” and paid tribute to Brooklynites lost in 2009, including Rev. Timothy Wright, Brooklyn’s “Godfather of Gospel”; Anna Gonzalez, longtime chair of Community Board 4; Frank Mickens, beloved principal of Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant; Rosemarie O’Keefe of Bay Ridge, former commissioner of the mayor’s community assistance unit; Jackie Randazzo Page, longtime owner of Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay; Louis Valentino, Sr., community activist; Louvinia Pointer of Great Day Chorale; Suzanne Fiol of Issue Project Room; Pulitzer Prize-winning teacher and author Frank McCourt; New York Daily News columnist Joyce Shelby; Rena “Rusty” Kanokogi, “The Mother of Women’s Judo”; and Army Specialist Kevin Hill of Bushwick.

Photo by Kathryn Kirk

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