Brooklyn is one borough with two presidents. Our borough is home to not only Borough President Markowitz, but also Bronx Borough President Earl Brown.
The borough of Kings found itself with a double dose of presidents when Brown, then the deputy borough president, ascended to the northernmost borough’s top job after President Obama named Bronx Beep Adolfo Carrion to be his urban affairs czar.
Markowitz, of course, is a staunch opponent of East River tolls and supporter of Atlantic Yards, while Brown, who lives in Prospect Heights mildly supports tolls on city bridges and criticizes Atlantic Yards.
Is Brooklyn big enough for the both of them? The Brooklyn Paper’s Mike McLaughlin asked.
Mike McLaughlin: Where do you live in Brooklyn?
Earl Brown: I’ve lived in Prospect Heights since the 1980s.
MM: Were you pressured to leave your home borough and move to the Bronx when you became deputy beep?
EB: No, there was no pressure. My case is not unique. There has been a history in the Bronx of deputies not living in the borough. Fernando Ferrer had two deputies that were not from the Bronx.
MM: How do you get to work?
EB: I drive. On a good day it takes about 25 minutes.
MM: So you’re a driver. East River tolls are a hot-button issue in for everyone in Brooklyn. What do you think of them?
EB: It’s a controversial subject. On the one hand, the MTA needs revenue to maintain the current level of activity. I don’t relish the thought of having to pay tolls to cross the East River … but the MTA must be maintained.
MM: As a Prospect Heightser, what do you think of Atlantic Yards?
EB: I have mixed emotions on it honestly. Certainly having lived in Brooklyn my entire life, it was great to see smoothing happening there [at the rail yards], because it was a wasted resource and an eyesore. It needed to be redeveloped. But the portion on the Prospect Heights side needs development. Having a sports franchise [the New Jersey Nets basketball team] come is an interesting addition, too, especially since Atlantic Yards was supposed to be the new Ebbets Field. There a lot of issues [like] traffic. I’m not sure the environmental impact statement adequately addresses the traffic concerns.
MM: What about the scope of the project?
EB: The scale might be a little too large. Putting a Midtown-sized development in the middle of residential low-rise Brooklyn will be a permanent change to the community.
MM: With such comments, you could pick up a lot of votes if you ever ran in Brooklyn.
EB: [Laughs] I have no intention of running against Marty. Marty has been a friend for years.
MM: OK, let’s stop dancing around it: Bronx or Brooklyn — which is better?
EB: It’s like having two children, you never choose between them.
MM: Sophie did.