Our pink-paper edition for Breast Cancer Awareness Month spread the word about America’s second largest killer of women, Bensonhurst took the cake with its first-ever cannoli-eating contest, and a former Marine Park councilman turned to social media to seek a donor for his kidney transplant.
Month in Review recaps these and other top stories from our print and web editions in October.
In the pink: The Courier kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a pink-paged issue devoted to Brooklyn’s pivotal role in early detection, research, and treatment. Did you know that Maimonides Breast Cancer Center is the borough’s first and only facility dedicated to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer? Or that chief oncologist Dr. Patrick Borgen helped to discover the genes that cause breast cancer, his research leading to surgical techniques that are now the gold-standard for treatment? Our rose-hued edition had the lowdown.
Holy cannoli: The icing on the cake at the Columbus Day Parade in Bensonhurst was the neighborhood’s first-ever cannoli-eating contest. Champ gobbler Eric “Badlands” Booker demolished 27 of the cream-filled pastries in six minutes, taking home $500 and sweet bragging rights. The ricotta-infused confections came from Bensonhurst institution Villabate Alba, whose masterful bakers made 300 of the treats for the contest. The bakery owner said it was delectable seeing the fruits of their hard work disappear within minutes — all in the name of good fun.
Gowanus garden: The Gowanus Canal’s toxic algae got a reprieve when a local artist installed a pair of fabric rose-bushes on the banks of the fetid waterway, using discarded designer shirts to create a burst of color he said was inspired by the trash left behind by illegal dumpers. The industrial appliances, clothing, and other cast-offs littering the ground resembled a garden if you squinted long enough, claimed Carlton Scott Sturgis, a Windsor Terrace textile artist who worked on the project with Arts Gowanus and the Department of Transportation.
Organ call: Former Marine Park councilman Lew Fidler Facebooked a plea to find a donor for a kidney transplant. “I need a kidney transplant as soon as possible,” he wrote. “Please help me search for an altruistic donor by sharing this post and encouraging your FB friends to do the same.” Fidler, 58, suffered kidney failure in 2012 after suffering a severe allergic reaction to a prescription medication, and has been on dialysis ever since. The thrice-weekly treatment can take a heavy toll on the body — especially the heart — compelling the term-limited pol to seek a transplant.
Munchkin march: Ghosties danced with ghoulies and pirates romped with princesses during the 48th annual Ragamuffin Parade in Bay Ridge. Thousands of costumed munchkins — including the cast of “Grease” in a pint-sized replica of the movie’s famous car — strutted their finery in the jubilant jaunt that has become a precursor to Halloween celebrations across the borough, drawing second and third generation revelers. Eye-popping duds included a blackjack dealer next to a stroller converted into a velvet table with cards, chips, and cash.
Street tribute: Grassroots warriors immortalized a longtime Gravesend champion, co-naming the corner of E. 12th Street and Avenue W “John E. Nikas Way.” Nikas served as chairman of Community Board 13, worked for Gov. Mario Cuomo, and cofounded Youth Dares, a charitable organization that helps at-risk kids. The new street sign was unveiled in front of family, cops from the 61st Police Precinct, and Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay).
Trump-eteers: Word that Trump Village Shopping Center may be demolished in favor of a 40-story residential tower stunned local seniors who rallied in protest. Rumors began swirling in the spring when tenant businesses started telling their regulars that they weren’t able to renew their leases, and an officer on the Trump Village board of directors launched a petition to stop the as-yet-unannounced plans to raze the shopping hub at 520 Neptune Avenue, previously owned by Robert S. Trump, brother of real estate mogul Donald Trump. Their late father, Fred C. Trump, opened Trump Village in 1964 and spawned the family’s real estate empire in Brooklyn and Queens with middle-class homes and apartment buildings.
Million-dollar playground: A Greenpoint playground of horrors is set to transform into a playpen fit for a respectable romp, after it undergoes a planned $1.3 million makeover. Construction at McGolrick Park could begin by next year on the neglected recreation space, which has dwindled into an obstacle course of splintered planks, chipped paint, and wobbly surfaces, adding up to a dismal playtime for pint-sized visitors. Neighbors secured $450,000 in city funds and received another $500,000 from Borough President Adams, with Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) kicking in the rest.
Cop gone wild: A Clinton Hill teen suffered brain damage after a cop sucker-punched him out cold for smoking a cigarette he mistook for a joint, his family claimed. Incomplete video footage showed Marcel Hamer, 17, lying in a gutter near Gates and Waverly avenues imploring, “Mister, it was just a cigarette, sir,” as the police officer who arrested him for disorderly conduct jeers, “Do you wanna get f----- up?” The alleged blow is obscured in the video, but a friend is heard yelling, “You knocked him out,” after the Finest appears to strike Hamer in the face with his left hand. The youth complained of blurred vision, a headache, and being unable to properly move his left arm, hospital records showed.
Mega-development: A long-sidelined, mixed-use project the size of several football fields will rise in Sunset Park — only bigger. The proposed Eighth Avenue Center at Eighth Avenue and 62nd Street — billed as a Chelsea Market-style retail space — aims include a 10-story hotel, a pair of 15-story residential towers, a 17-story office building, and two parks, said the Chinese developers who bought the former manufacturing site for $50 million this year. A library, computer lab, and space for a pre-kindergarten program will cap the project, which can’t break ground until the city renews a 2007 variance allowing a mixed-use building six times the lot’s size.