Don’t look down, but do look back.
That is what Borough President Markowitz, who leaves Borough Hall in less than two weeks, seems to be saying from his perch in a reindeer-drawn sleigh in his Christmas card this year.
Each of the Beep’s past holiday dispatches have highlighted and made light of the year’s biggest borough stories from his perspective, as rendered by Portland cartoonist Dennis Adler. But this winter’s takes the kitchen-sink approach to the past 12 years, cramming the geographically footloose card with references to big borough changes old and new. For instance, the Nets spin basketballs alongside a film crew, a stone’s throw from a massive thoroughfare that is a mishmash of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Flatbush Avenue, and Cadman Plaza, but bearing two bike lanes. Markowitz lampooned the Prospect Park West bike lane in his 2010 Christmas card, but generalized his disdain in this year’s, writing, as part of a song sung to the tune but not the rhyme scheme of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “too many bike lanes” in the place of “eight maids-a-milking.”
It is clear that Markowitz wants us card recipients to do some accounting of his time in office, so let us run the numbers on this year’s missive.
Number of Christmas trees: Seven, including four growing on a roof and one strapped to the back of a car.
Menorahs: Three, but the one atop the Manhattan-side arches of the Brooklyn Bridge gets prime placement.
Sports teams: 2. There are the Nets, which Markowitz takes credit for bringing to Brooklyn, and the Islanders, which he advocated for moving to the Barclays Center and which is slated to begin playing there in 2015.
Number of carousels: 2. The geography is screwy — since when is the Navy Yard on the way to Red Hook from the Brooklyn Bridge? — but we get the picture. Navy Yard-side there is Jane’s Carousel, perhaps relocated inland to save it from the next Hurricane Sandy, and Coney Island’s B&B Carousell, reopened this summer after its Sandy-provided saltwater dunk.
Miley Cyrus appearances: 1. You can tell it is her because of the giant foam finger, but apparently flesh-colored underwear and twerking were details too far for the Beep, who once ended his State of the Borough speech at a high school with a performance from a pole dancer.
Boats in the harbor: 2. A cruise ship, apparently in or headed for Red Hook, where Markowitz hailed the arrival of luxury liners in 2005, and a ferry in the East River. Interestingly, the boat is a New York Water Taxi and not an East River Ferry operated by Billybey Ferry Company. The latter receives public subsidies and just scored a five-year service extension and a pat on the back from Mayor Bloomberg.
Awkward uses of Photoshop: 3, all involving media organization logos. We could see the BAM sign, but are the BRIC logo and the Steiner Studios entrance placard really more iconic or hard to draw than, say, the Nets insignia?
Newspapers that matter in Brooklyn: 1. The Brooklyn Paper, of course. Here it is, front and center, being hawked by a seller precariously positioned in the median-less middle of the six-lane road. Adler may not have been able to fit the paper’s whole name on the fingernail-sized front page, but its royal blue banner gives it away.
And for those hungry for a few non-numerical holiday card factoids, here you go.
Room for debate: Are the outdoor diners a nod to Markowitz’s efforts on the winning side of the War on Brunch?
Noticeably absent: The Orthodox Jewish man who has appeared prominently in the card for at least 6 of the last 8 Christmas cards. Is that him headed toward the Brooklyn Bridge (which sports a signature Markowitz “Leaving Brooklyn Oy Vey!” sign by the way) in a menorah car? Oh, wait, there he is, piloting the sleigh along with two diminutive Santas, one white and one black, while Markowitz and wife Jamie ride in the passenger seat.
Say, Markowitz looks an awful lot like Bill Clinton in this drawing. Is he gearing up for a Country President run? Or have we just spent too much time looking at this thing?
Full inside text:
The Twelve Years of Marty
sung to the last verse of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
In the twelve years of Marty
who would have thought we’d see …
MTV in Brooklyn
Barclays is booming
Nets playing Downtown
GQ said we’re way cool
Too many bike lanes
Donna Summer singing
Cruise ships in Red Hook
FUH - GEDD - A - BOUD - IT
Coney came alive
Foodies all rejoiced
Leaving Brooklyn … Oy Vey!
And the hippest zip is one … one … two … !
How Sweet It Was!