Sections

Credit where due — and not

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Many elected and appointed officials deserve credit for the wonderful new map, lighting and signage that will help countless tourists find their way from our end of the Brooklyn Bridge footpath to the cultural and historical wealth that Brooklyn has to offer.

The installation, called “This Way,” is outstanding and worthy of the praise it is receiving.

That said, forgive us for not genuflecting before the burghers of power in this borough, but the $1.5-million lighting and signage project was so long overdue that it boggles the mind that officials like Borough President Markowitz would actually stand at a podium, as he did at the Wednesday unveiling, and celebrate the achievement.

Given how little it actually cost to get the artwork, signs and lighting commissioned, fabricated and installed, why did tourists — and the natives who are constantly called upon to direct them around Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO — have to wait more than a decade for something as simple as a few signs and a map?

A decade ago, a Brooklyn Heights woman named Roslyn Beck, on her own initiative, started hanging up handmade directional signs in Cadman Plaza Park and around the bridge. For a while, city workers actually tore down the quaint, small-town-ish wayfinders until they realized that Beck maintained her signs a lot better than an official map nearby that stood for years — for years! — covered in so much graffiti and stickers that it was entirely useless.

Even media coverage of this gross affront to our international guests failed to shame the bureaucracy into even just cleaning up the sign!

On Wednesday, we asked Markowitz why a simple map and guide at the foot of the borough’s premier tourist attraction took so long — and his answer amounted to a stunning admission of ineffectiveness.

He graciously credited the DUMBO Improvement District, which has done a good job enhancing city services in a neighborhood with barely enough residents to show up on the radar of the various public agencies.

“We need a partner like the DUMBO Improvement District to make things like this happen,” Markowitz said. “My office can’t just do it ourselves. We can’t come up with a design, build it and install it ourselves, you know.”

No, we didn’t know. Call us naive, but we shudder at the thought that our elected officials are impotent to accomplish even the simplest civic improvements, no matter how clearly they are needed.

Coming from Markowitz, who has made tourism a centerpiece of his entire public persona, it’s especially galling. Indeed, he told the New York Times that tourists had been facing “a comedy of errors” as they “searched for the entrance to the most-famous bridge on the planet.”

Forgive us if we don’t laugh at Markowitz’s “comedy.” His failure on this, his singular issue, is just more evidence that he is indeed Brooklyn’s main cheerleader — in other words, someone who remains on the sidelines while other people are actually competing in the game.

Updated 5:06 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Brooklyn really does nothing to promote itself as a tourist destination, despite having a wealth of things which toursits would be interested in.
I don't know who is to blame for this, but at a time like now where the low dollar is brining greater numbers of european tourists to new york, Brooklyn really could be doing more to attract some of these people to it's nightlife, arts, parks, and restaurants/bars.
Perhaps and advertising campaign?
Or reaching out to guide book writers to ensure that they have sites in brooklyn listed (up to date sights, not only the old favs).
May 28, 2008, 4:49 am
Robbo from Park Slope says:
Markowitz is always there to grab the microphone or pose for a picture. As a leader, he is a failure. His accomplishments are few and his initiative is non-existent.

"Blowhard" is the best all-encompassing description for this political opportunist.
May 29, 2008, 1:28 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: