GL's Best & Worst of Brooklyn 2007
Achievement in Hellish Construction/Demolition
1) 143 Huron Street. This building appeared to have been virtually above the law.
2) 525 Union. They were on the job virtually every weekend and DOB never saw a thing.
3) 5 Roebling. This nightmarish demolition job and the fact that no one could seem to get a handle on it is Brooklyn's best symbol of why the entire buildings system is a vital municipal system that is terminally ill and a threat to the quality of life of every Brooklynite.
Adventures in Rebranding
It started the year as an oily mess you could smell a block a way and ended the year as Warehouse 11 or W-11. Here's hoping that luxe condo buyers don't look at online pictures.
Community Groups of the Year
1) CORD. They are loud. They are insistent. They have made enemies. But good community groups are supposed to do all those things.
2) Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights. Major props to this group. It's hard for anyone in the South Slope or Greenwood Heights to slip anything past them.
3) DDDB. The model of long-term commitment to a cause they have created will be followed by groups in the future.
Bright Ideas of the Year
1) The proposed ban on listening to an MP3 player while walking, brought to you by State. Sen. Carl Kruger. Yes, that Sen. Kruger. Much more to come in '08 as well, as the State Senator appears ready to the be leader of the anti-Bloomberg plan group.
2) The proposed ban on feeding pigeons, brought to you by City Council Member Simcha Felder.
The Nevermind Award
The Department of Transportation's short lived one-way proposal for streets in Park Slope. Didn't go over too well.
Participatory Democracy Award, Checkbook Version
The busloads of Coney Island meeting "protestors" paid for by Sen. Carl Kruger with campaign funds. Is political theater legitimate campaign spending?
Participatory Democracy Award, Genuine Version
1) The Carroll Gardens Development Moratorium movement. It started with opposition to a single building and became a neighborhood-wide cause.
2) The F Train Express Effort. A lot of people signed the online petition. Of course, by the end off the year the MTA was not only saying "no way" until 2012, give or take, it dropped the bomb that it was shutting the Smith-9th Street Station for repairs.
Ugliest New Buildings
1) Northside Piers. Even if the building was shorter, it would still be one of the ugliest new tall buildings in New York City. And what's with the college dorm-looking brick crap in front?
2) Oro. One could say that, well, it's only on Flatbush Avenue and that anything would have to be better than the car washes and other stuff that's been demolished, but Oro makes a car wash look kind of pretty.
3) 525 Union Avenue. The ugliest Karl Fisher building on the planet?
4) Novo Park Slope. Mental institution or college dorm? You decide.
Ain't Nature Grand
1) The Bay Ridge Tornado. Here's hoping it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
2) Gowanus Canal Clap. Seriously.
3) Sludgie the Whale. Gave us hope, then crushed our spirit.
4) Brooklyn Parrots. They are spreading to new neighborhoods and we hope the poaching problem is finished.
Saved by the Bell
227 Duffield. We're not sure that it will really matter in the end, but it was still nice to see one of the Underground Railroad Buildings saved.
Developer of the Year (aka the Foot in Mouth Award)
Joe Sitt/Thor Equities. Rarely have we seen a developer alienate just about everyone through a series of unfortunate public statements, miscalculations and PR disasters. One by one, even those who had been relatively supportive or open minded about Mr. Sitt's Coney Island plan became opponents. Then, the big bomb dropped. Not pretty.
Community Spirit Medal (aka the Ektorp)
Ikea. It's not that Ikea is coming to Red Hook. That has been a forgone conclusion for years now. It's Ikea's attitude about things like filling a valuable Graving Dock and chopping up piers that could prove useful in the future and its refusal to even pretend to care about many community concerns that have made the Swedish retailer a class act.
Mean Idea Award
The Parks Department for threatening our beloved vendors. Their future is still up in the air. Shame on callous bureaucrats behind this boneheaded move.
Williamsburg Overdevelopment Trophy
Williamsburg, of course. Is it a neighborhood or a construction site?
Best New Brooklyn Blogs of 07
1) Brooklyn Junction. We look forward to a lot more intelligent coverage of Flatbush.
2) The Bay Ridge Three. We'd fill all our slots with these new Bay Ridge blogs so, instead, we'll cop out and name them all here: Bay Ridge Blog, The Bay Ridge Rover and Right in Bay Ridge.
3) Icky in Brooklyn. A bright new voice from Windsor Terrace. A lot more to come in 2008.
4) Bed-Stuy Banana. Started in the second half of '07 and made an impression.
5) Brooklyn 11211. They're paying attention to development and land use issue in Williamsburg, which need all the attention they can get.
Video of the Year
Going Postal at the Kensington Post Office, of course.