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
“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
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
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
“And constructive opposition is something I value and cherish because
I honestly believe that — in the end — it makes for a better
“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
©2005 Community News Group