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The Brooklyn Paper
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This year, The Brooklyn Papers would like to honor the people, the businesses, and the neighborhoods that make our pages so lively. So, without any further ado, here are the winners of “The Brooklyn Papers Awards” for 2005:

The “Win-win of the year” award: When Park Slope residents protested Commerce Bank’s plans for a drive-thru window at a new branch on Fifth Avenue, the bank actually changed its design to suit the community. Too bad all developers don’t treat their neighbors the same way.

The “1970s Revisited” award: In our only tie of the year, this award is split between two big stories: The sale of the famed “Saturday Night Fever” dance floor from Bay Ridge’s 2001 Odyssey nightclub and a reported rise in gas-siphoning during the summer’s gas crisis. What’s next? The return of Banlon pants? Exploding Ford Pintos? Tony Orlando and Dawn?

The “We have seen the future and it’s dressed in velour jogging suits” award: In September, the first cruise ship docked at Red Hook’s Pier 12, a portent of what city officials promise will be a wave of cruise ship moorings in Brooklyn.

The “I love the smell of fecal coliform in the morning” Award: Mega-star Heath Ledger (“Brokeback Mountain”) and girlfriend Michelle Williams (aka “Dawson’s Creek hottie Michelle Williams”) snubbed Los Angeles, Manhattan, and even Park Slope, by buying an apartment on Douglass Street in Boerum Hill. The house is just a couple of blocks from the Gowanus Canal, where most of Brownstone Brooklyn’s sewage goes when it rains. But, hey, it beats the persistent threat of earthquakes.

The “Mother Earth” award for environmental stewardship even in the face of great expense: The famously crunchy Park Slope Food Co-op voted unanimously to buy electrical power from a wind farm rather than from greenhouse-gas-emitting power plants. The move will cost the market $15,700 more per year for electrical power. But if the price of organic, fair-trade, shade-grown heirloom kale goes up, all bets are off!

The “Caveat emptor” award: A few months after Magic Johnson’s development company bought the Williamsburgh Bank building, mercury vapor was found on the site, which for years housed dentist’s offices. It could have been worse; imagine if Johnson had bought a building that once housed a porno studio.

The “Merchant of the year” award: If you’re going to own your own business, you’re going to fight for every penny. But the owners of F-line Bagels in Carroll Gardens had to do that while also fighting the MTA. The transit agency sued the store, claiming its F-line logo infringed on the MTA’s copyright. Our guess is that the MTA really sued out of jealousy because F-Line Bagels is actually much cleaner than the Smith/9th Street station across the street.

The “Last picture show” award: The residents of Bay Ridge deserve this bittersweet honor for watching the demise of their two remaining movie theaters. Now if they want to watch a movie, they will need to, um, rent one.

The “Left at the altar” award: Again, Bay Ridge takes the honors here, thanks to bridal Mecca Kleinfeld’s decision to relocate to Manhattan. Like anyone gets married there!

The “Crime of the year” award: If you’re watching porno movies in a private booth at an adult video store, it’s probably not a good idea to take a picture of the pervert in the booth next to you. A 30-year-old man learned that the hard way when he angered his fellow adult-film aficionado by taking his picture on his cellphone. The camera-shy customer fought back, stealing the camera and an iPod from the would-be portraitist.

The “What rhymes with kidney?” award: Brooklyn poet laureate Ken Siegelman pulled an entirely different set of heartstrings after we reported in February that he’s in desperate need of a new kidney. Despite still needing a renal transplant, Siegelman finished a new book, “City Souls,” which will be honored at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble on Jan. 12. Siegelman’s talent and strength under excruciating circumstances inspired this piece of doggerel: “He’s in dialysis half the week/Yet still writes poetry that’s hardly meek/Got a book coming out that’ll burnish his name/This poet laureate puts all writers to shame.”

The Noah Webster award: Thanks to a rash of ugly development in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and the southern part of Park Slope, the term “Fedder’s Houses” entered the Brooklyn lexicon. The term became so widespread, in fact, that the company’s CFO went into spin mode: “I would hope the houses are as well built and as high quality as the air conditioners they’re named after,” Robert Laurent told The Papers.



Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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