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Borough President Marty Markowitz promoted Brooklyn as a future home to professional basketball, the city’s first Ikea furniture store and, most conspicuously during his State of the Borough address, a dock for commercial cruise ships.

Kicking off the address at the Brooklyn Museum on Jan. 27, Markowitz walked on stage alongside actor Tony Danza carrying a cardboard mock-up of a cruise ship.

“Thanks, dock it in my usual spot — Pier 11 in Red Hook,” Markowitz told the Brooklyn-born actor and TV talk show host as he approached the podium.

Two cruise ship lines, Norwegian and Carnival, are expected to dock at Pier 12 in Red Hook as early as this fall with Pier 11 used as a vehicular entryway to the dock.

“Those cruise lines will bring tens of thousands of new tourists into Brooklyn,” Markowitz said of the construction, which is scheduled to begin in March. “So it’s a good thing that last week we broke ground for the expansion of the Brooklyn Marriott — we’re gonna need it.”

More contentious, however, were his endorsements of an Ikea store that is to be built on the Red Hook waterfront and developer Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. The latter, a 24-acre plan, would be built on a portion of Prospect Heights, stretching from the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, and rely on eminent domain property condemnations to construct apartment and office skyscrapers and a basketball arena for Ratner’s New Jersey Nets.

The mention of the Ratner project drew loud boos from anti-arena activists Patti and Schellie Hagan, who sat among a pool of reporters in the back of the auditorium. When Markowitz promised that the project would create “about 10,000 permanent new jobs” and “15,000 construction-related jobs” the sisters shouted in unison, “Lies.” The shouting drew two community affairs police officers, who on two occasions threatened to throw out the critics.

Possibly predicting protests, Markowitz also acknowledged criticism of the plan in his address.

“I want to say right now that I fully understand — and share the concerns — of local area residents who have spoken out in opposition to this development,” said Markowitz. “People of goodwill can differ.

“And constructive opposition is something I value and cherish because I honestly believe that — in the end — it makes for a better plan.

“The Nets arena — and the Atlantic Yards project — will go forward, but it must work for both Brooklyn and for the community surrounding the arena,” he said. “Because people do not move out of Brooklyn today seeking a better life. They move out because they can’t afford the good life we have here.”

The two-hour oration differed little from last year’s address, save for a break in tradition that found Markowitz inviting several guest speakers to the podium.

Besides Danza, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Council Speaker Gifford Miller were also given brief turns at the mike. All four used their time to praise Markowitz.

“I love being here with Marty,” said Miller, a likely mayoral candidate, who did not mention Bloomberg, or any of his projects, in his speech. “What other elected official could stand on stage with Tony Danza and go toe to toe with him other than Marty Markowitz? None of us would even bother to try. Marty, I’m sure, has been serial calling him for 10 years. And nobody says ‘no’ to Marty Markowitz.”

He added: “Brooklyn without Marty is like Junior’s without cheesecake. You can do it, but it wouldn’t be as sweet.”

Updated 3:21 am, April 12, 2013
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