Bad breaks: The year when everything fell apart

The Brooklyn Paper
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There was no more important story in the borough this year than the double-fracture of my ankle.

Yes, all of Brooklyn opened its heart to my ankle (and one man opened his raincoat to it on the subway, though his show of support had nothing to do with my bone err), but the implicit suggestion that I have passed from healthful middle aged into a death spiral to hip-breaking decrepitude got me thinking about all the other bad breaks in 2008:

Broken hearts: No one better chronicled the exciting foibles of Ayveq, the masturbating walrus at the New York Aquarium, than this columnist (I spent a lot of money on dry-cleaning). But the big bad boy’s death in June at the age of 14 saddened even this cynical journalist’s heart (and other organs).

Broken homes: No one covers marital strife better than this happily married scribe, so imagine my horror when acting Administrative Judge Abe Gerges told me that uncontested divorce filings were up 30 percent in just four years in Brooklyn. Even the experts were separated in their opinions. Some blamed the good economy, others blamed the bad economy. My favorite was the guy who blamed his wife.

Broken dreams: No one covers the kid book scene like this columnist. So I think I spoke for every 6-year-old when I lambasted legendary Park Slope children’s book author Mo Willems’s relocation from Brooklyn to parts north. Willems won six Emmys, three Caldecott Honors, a Geisel medal, a Carnegie medal, an Audie (for books on tape), multiple state ‘Best Book’ awards, the New York International Children’s Film Festival Grand Prize, and a BAMmy, from BAM. Before moving to Brooklyn, all he ever won was a “Participat­ion Certificate” for middle school choir in 1977.

Broken wind: No one covers feces like this columnist, so of course I was one of the first to try out a unique solar-powered flushless toilet in Fort Greene. Despite a breakfast of two cups of coffee and two bowls of extremely high-fiber cereal, this green latrine stood up to everything I could dish out. What a relief!

Broken wallets: No one covers the Prospect Park Bandshell like this reporter. So, yes, it was cool that Bob Dylan performed in the park this summer, but I broke the big story: those tickets were damn expensive! And earlier in the year, I busted open my billfold to pay $3 for a cup of coffee brewed in a machine that costs more than a car.

Broken idols: No one covers overindulgence better than this reporter, so it’s no surprise that I’m always at the center of the action at the Nathan’s hot dog eating championship on July 4. But this year, the much-lauded integrity of the sport of competitive eating was shattered by my stunning report (and podcast!) that six-time champion, Takeru Kobayashi, cheated.

Broken integrity: No one loves Latin food like this columnist — so no one was angrier about the way the city treated the Latin food vendors in Red Hook Park. Thanks to new city regs, vendors were forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to comply — and some didn’t return. That meant long lines and bad feelings all around. So my blood was boiling (and my stomach grumbling — seriously, you can hear it on the podcast) when Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe showed up for a press conference. Maybe I should have just thrown my shoe at him rather than grill him as intensely as I did (“Chimichanga Chuck” Schumer had to bail him out!), but what can I say, I was hungry.

Broken roots: No one likes a green block more than this columnist, but when Eighth Street in Park Slope was named “The Greenest Block in Brooklyn” by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I was the only columnist in the city to call it what it was: a black-and-blue mark on the Garden’s integrity. If this is the greenest block in Brooklyn, I’d hate to see Canarsie!

Broken skin: No one loves his 1-year-old son more than this columnist, but I had a job to do when I allowed my boy to crawl around on the back porch to test my theory that the borough was in the middle of a mosquito invasion. These pictures don’t lie: My boy was a pincushion — but I got my international exclusive.

Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at
Updated 10:14 am, December 30, 2008
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Reasonable discourse

kiki from red hook says:
this is a hilarious piece.
Sept. 25, 2009, 2:38 pm

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