Marty Markowitz on the Rise of Brooklyn

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, knows some people disparagingly call him a "cheerleader," but he says a big part of his job is to "lift people's spirits." He discusses his twelve years in office, his regrets (not bringing more manufacturing to Brooklyn), bike lanes (still very skeptical), and the rise of the Brooklyn "cool." Oh, and the fact that Brooklyn is the lesbian capital of the Northeast.

Update: We asked our listeners to weigh in on the "lesbian capital" question.


Marty Markowitz

Comments [57]

Daniel from Flatbush, Brooklyn

Thank goodness we're finally rid of thst schmuck!

Jan. 22 2014 08:59 PM
Kate Steinberg from Bklyn

my post on FIPS on Marty's Claim re Lesbian Capital:

Dec. 13 2013 10:26 PM
Desiree from Dyke Slope Baby

That Arizona/SF caller is a total buzz kill!
Lesbian Capital of the North East!
We're Number 1!

Dec. 11 2013 11:40 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Dear hjs- I live near the PPW bike land and it has made it much more stressful to crtoss the street. Once you cross the car lanes you have to go between the parked cars and pop your head out very carefully to see if there are any bikes coming. And while the car traffic goes in one direction and goes in regular clesuters because of the traffic lights bikes can be coming in either direction at any time. They are much less predictable than cars. And of course they don't pay any attention to traffic lights. And they don't yeild to pedestrians even though there are signs posted to yield. The argument was repeated over and over by defenders of the bike line that it was going to calm traffic and slow it down. After a young boy was hhit by a car those same vocies are now saying that the cars fo to fast and they need to lower the speed limit. This would lead one to think that their much vaunted traffic calming plan hasn't worked. And finally why shouildn't those who ride bikes and use the roads carry responsiblity for maintaining those roads. And some of the money in fees from bikers could go toward policing so bikers actually followed traffic laws. Crazy idea I know.

Dec. 10 2013 02:30 PM

art525 from Park Slope
Bike lanes serve your interest even if you don't ride a bike
By reducing monster cars traffic flows better and fewer people will be on the subways.
I don't bike either but I'd like to see more bike lanes
Less cars better air also.

Dec. 10 2013 01:47 PM
Charles from Tribeca

By his part in overturning voter mandated term limits, Mr. Markowitz awarded himself a NYC Pension and expensive health insurance for him and his family for Life - paid for by taxpayers. His quote from the NYT “Obviously, I’m being selfish and somewhat self motivated”

10 years of city government service are required for a New York City pension. Mr. Markowitz only had 8 years - his second 4 year term was finished.

In office, Mr. Markowitz was caught accepting illegal gifts and violating fund raising regulations.

Dec. 10 2013 01:26 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Dear dboy-The self righteousness of bikers amuses me, as if they are on a holy crusade making the world a better place. I don't drive a car, I don't ride a bike, I walk and take the subway. Does that put me on a higher level of holiness than you bikers? I mean having a bike means that someone has to mine the titanium or whatever fashionable metal they are building bikes out of these days. And of course it takes oil to make all those bike tires. So as a pedestrian I am doing more of my part to keep the earth clean. But I am also subsidizing the road maintainance and the building of those bike lanes with my tax dollars. Why wouldn't bikers pay the cost of those bike lanes that serve only their interest?

Dec. 10 2013 12:46 PM

Bikes should definitely be licensed.

However, bicycles don't crap on the environment and induce life-robbing disease. I think we can give cyclists a break on the tax idea. They more than make up for it with their low, clean footprint.

Yes, free, regulated, courteous, law abiding ride.

Dec. 10 2013 12:30 PM
art525 from Park Slope

A question for -paulb from Prospect Heights- I wonder if you think that bikers should pay for their transportation choices? Shouldn't bikers shoulder a majority of the 1.2 million dollars cost that the PPW bike lane cost? Drivers pay registration fees that go to road maintainance and construction. It seems to me that bikes should be taxed and licensed. Or do you think bikers deserve a free ride?

Dec. 10 2013 12:09 PM
Milos from Brooklyn

Every time I pass by the ugly brown girders and beams that comprise the behemoth of Barclay Center I am disgusted and shocked all over again. It hijacks the skyline like a mammoth, decrepit rusted-out piece of scaffolding that should have been torn down long ago. Sometimes it reminds me of a shipwreck. The project itself -- MAYBE -- could have been a boon to downtown Brooklyn, but the so-called design of that monstrosity screams DISRESPECT to the community loud and clear.

Markowitz is such an extravagant blowhard that he's a caricature of his own self. Bye bye, Marty.

Dec. 10 2013 11:58 AM
Daniel Goldstein from brooklyn

the legacy of Marty Markowitz: a former tenant activist who oversaw the displacement of tenants by eminent domain to make way for a basketball arena owned by a Russian oligarch and an affordable housing bait and switch soon to be owned by a Chinese real estate firm. Wonderful!

Dec. 10 2013 11:54 AM

Marty Markowitz: Proof that tighter term limits could work.

Dec. 10 2013 11:41 AM

Dick from where else, Brooklyn ~

It's amazing how many Pennsylvania visitors we have here in Williamsburg EVERY single night.

SO nice that they come to spend time with friends and family…

Oh, wait… they're all the same cars - every single night…


Dec. 10 2013 11:30 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

@ladyjay114 Shea and Citibank stadium stand in the shadow of Willets point (a pretty rough looking area) and have done just fine. Of course, there the people are more yellow than brown. Maybe there in lies the crux of a problem for any advancement for ENY, etc., huh?

Dec. 10 2013 11:27 AM

I can see the make up caking on his collar...

Dec. 10 2013 11:26 AM

Brooklyn hillbilly.

Dec. 10 2013 11:24 AM
paulb from Prospect Heights

It was Marty's cheap shots at cyclists, not his "reasonable" doubts or opposition, that annoyed me. And few argue that 50- and 60-something Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay residents who work in midtown and want to drive (not a huge demographic, by the way) shouldn't be allowed to. I just believe right now it's too cheap to do so, and those car owners should pay more for that particular transportation choice.

Dec. 10 2013 11:24 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Nonsense. Bunk. Any look at FCRatner's history in Boston and elsewhere would have demonstrated from the get-go that they are scam artists. That their projects hurt the communities, that they are profiteers. FCR's "commitment" to affordable housing has been pushed out for 25 years--and his "new infusions" of money came from selling off parts of it--to buy Nassau Coliseum. Not to speed up building affordable housing, but to speed up its profit making.

No changes would have been made in the traffic patterns or any of the other local ameliorations if it hasn't been for those years of lawsuits and advocacy to make sure the eminent domain giveaway didn't give something back.

Dec. 10 2013 11:23 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Unlike the NIMBY'S.

I had no problem with having the Barclays Center where it is. I just didn't believe in the stealing of land to do it, plus I knew Ratner wasn't going to go of his way to build "affordable housing" once he got his stadium, so I wasn't shocked.

Dec. 10 2013 11:23 AM

How much money did Ratner contribute to Mr. Markowitz's campaign coffers during his regime in Brooklyn?

Dec. 10 2013 11:23 AM
jf from CAR HELL


Dec. 10 2013 11:23 AM

My father in law is 72 and he bikes 5 miles 3 or 4 times a week
This guy needs to open his mind.

Dec. 10 2013 11:22 AM

Staus quo.

Dec. 10 2013 11:22 AM
jf from DYSTOPIA


Dec. 10 2013 11:20 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Markowitz's endorsement of Atlantic Yards and the sell-off and shrinkage f the Brooklyn Public libraries both represent a sell-off the of the public realm for the benefit of real estate developers.

Markowitz may be taking a lot of contributions to his "entertainment charities" from those same real estate developers, but the current Brooklyn vogue is due to what has grown up organically in Brooklyn because such real estate redevelopment did not succeed in destroying it, rather than what was handed off to developers like Ratner.

The Ratner/Prokhorov "Barclays" arena a success? It is just a glittering pile of pirate plunder seized from the taxpayers and others in the community. $750,000 in subsidy for two Streisand Concerts? Think what would have happened if that kind of money were spent on libraries? Meanwhile, we tore down most of the Atlantic Yards site evicting thriving development and existing affordable housing that will never be replaced, and now those empty parking lots are the real blight as opposed to what was there before.

Dec. 10 2013 11:20 AM
Rachel from Sunset Park

You did a nice job getting more trees planted in some parts and getting tree guards. Do you know if this program will continue and again get implement with the new borough president?

Dec. 10 2013 11:18 AM

@Mike from Clinton Hill...

They would NEVER put a stadium in ENY. Its too far in the "hood".

Dec. 10 2013 11:18 AM

There was probably a time when Brooklyn, living in the shadows of Manhattan, needed the boosterism of Marty Markowitz. Now it needs less "development", less gentrification, and the preservation of human scale that made it attractive to folks who wanted to live in a city, but see the sky at the same time. Only affordable boroughs are Staten Island, pockets of Queens and Bronx.

Dec. 10 2013 11:16 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

Notice that all the area that change have been brought to are in the downtown area? It would be interesting to hear people from outskirt areas take on the Markowitz era.

Dec. 10 2013 11:16 AM
Susie from Kensington

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and was in BK during 9/11, watching the towers fall from the roof of my building. A year later when we had the blackout, I was in manhattan and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to get home. It was a very scary and emotional time, all of us remembering the attack of a year before, unable to contact loved ones, and unsure what was going on. As I crossed the bridge, Marty was standing on the Brooklyn side with a bullhorn shouting "welcome home, Brooklyn!" I burst into relieved, happy, comforted tears.
I don't agree with all of Marty's choices, but that was a real New York moment that I will always remember with fondness. Thank you.

Dec. 10 2013 11:15 AM

I will give Markowitz credit for showing up to events in the borough. He even came to the reopening of the Key Food on Neptune Ave & W 5th Street in Coney Island this summer after it was destroyed by Sandy.

Dec. 10 2013 11:15 AM
BK from Hoboken

@ Dorothy-
I find your comment very arrogant. People who move into a neighborhood during gentrification are incapable of forming a "true community"? This is ironic, since many of the old timers think the newcomers are elitist, yet your comment is an elitist viewpoint indeed. I find this ironic view where I live as well (Hoboken having undergone gentrification in the last decade).

Dec. 10 2013 11:14 AM
RJ from prospect hts

In other words, giveaways to big corporations, like Forest City Ratner. Markowitz has pushed workjing people out of downtown Brooklyn by pricing it out without regard for those who have created lives there. He's ignored the outer parts of the borough, he's allowed the MTA to curtail transit in the outer parts of the borough and used development money solely to bring the wealthy in; business development money hasn't been spent in the outer parts of the borough so people don't have to commute 2 hours by buses and trains.

I went to a so-called community meeting on the Atlantic Yards. And the jovial Mary went on at length about how open he was to new and creative ideas he was for the space. As long as it had an arena. And mass amounts of retail (not far from the densely business-filled Fulton Mall). And lots and lots of dense housing--oh, yeah, with some of it being affordable.

Right. "Open to ideas." Only his ideas.

Dec. 10 2013 11:14 AM

Atlantic Yards is Marty's disgrace. Huge influx of wealth-for-the-already-wealthy, no jobs for Brooklynites, and the affordable housing STILL hasn't even been broken ground on.

Dec. 10 2013 11:13 AM

"Institution" is the word people use when they're afraid to praise business.

Dec. 10 2013 11:13 AM
Robert from NYC

He should run for Mayor. (Nothing against De Blasio he was my choice.) But good to know there is a Marty Markowitz around maybe for next time?! Wish his enthusiasm and ideas rubbed off on Bloomberg.
Good for you and I hope it's at least 99 years!

Dec. 10 2013 11:11 AM
Heart Broken for Brooklyn from Brooklyn

I'm sadly moving out of Brooklyn this weekend after living here and loving it for 8 years. I found more affordable housing in Washington Heights and am very sad to leave, but I can't afford it any more and definitely can't afford to start a family here. Likewise, I can no longer afford the restaurants, fancy grocery stores and boutique shops. While many "creatives" have flocked here, many have also fled because of the high cost of living.

Dec. 10 2013 11:08 AM
Nancy from NY

Jobs are not enough if they don't pay enough to live on.

LIVING WAGE JOBS must be our goal.

Dec. 10 2013 11:07 AM
cat from formerly from Brooklyn

My favorite Marty Markowitz moment is during the black out of summer 2003 (?).
Thousands were marching home from work over the Brooklyn Ridge on the heat and there was Marty with a bull horn waving us on and shouting "Welcome to Brooklyn!"

Dec. 10 2013 11:05 AM

$2250 for a rent stabilized 1 bedroom in Brooklyn is great? Really?

Dec. 10 2013 11:04 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

It is interesting to hear Marty opine about the lack of development in East New York, Cypress Hills, and Bronxville. When presented with one of the best opportunity to put these community on the map and make significant impact on them, via the stadium project, he punted. Placing placing the stadium in the area of the junction (excellent transportation infrastructure) would have shown him as having substantial vision for the borough. So spare me the platitudes.

Dec. 10 2013 11:03 AM
Dorothy from New York

I agree with your comment that you would like to see manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, as that would provide employment opportunities for those in need.
As a person who was raised in Carroll Gardens in the 50's & 60's, I feel disappointed that my 'old neighborhood' and many other parts of Brooklyn have become so gentrified and unaffordable for lower and middle-class residents who made these areas true communities in earlier decades.
A comment shared with me by a 20-something recent resident struck me as particularly odd - she defined her neighborhood as being a 'real community' because the owners of a (high-priced)restaurant know her name. What is your response to the needs of the lower and middle classes who are being priced out, and is emulating Manhattan something to be proud of?

Dec. 10 2013 11:03 AM
John Tucker from Rose Water from Park Slope

Marty, thanks for your role in supporting and advancing the great dining scene in BK! John from Rose Water.

Dec. 10 2013 11:02 AM
MC from Brooklyn

By appointment to TM the Royalty of Brooklyn, soon to be President Emeritus of the Republic of Brooklyn, Markowitz's title will be held in honor when the (people's) Republic of Brooklyn is established in 2014.... stay tuned ...

Dec. 10 2013 11:01 AM
lk from Fort Greeene

Markowitz played his part for the destruction of a thriving community with historic buildings that should have been landmarked. In exchange we now have an arena and a blighted area where we use to have a neighborhood. Everything the opposition said has come true but Markowitz never would listen to the thousands who opposed the destruction of a beautiful neighborhood. We have a team owned by a Russian and a proposal by the developer to have the whole development owned by the Chinese government. The arena has done nothing but speed gentrification and force out local owners of businesses. All paid for by taxpayer subsidies.

Dec. 10 2013 11:01 AM

Credit for the improvements in Brooklyn over the past 12 years can be traced directly to extremely high Manhattan real estate prices. Artists, then yuppies, and now hipsters all made the move across the east river due to rent relief.

Dec. 10 2013 11:01 AM
Jill from Brooklyn of course

As a 15 year lesbian resident of Brooklyn, 3 cheers to Marty for singling out our contribution to the boro! Lesbians usually get lumped in with the gay community as a whole, it's so refreshing to hear someone recognize as our own group, which has indeed impacted the economy and culture of Brooklyn. And he's right- Brooklyn is the lesbian mecca!

Dec. 10 2013 11:01 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

As a Brooklynite, I thank Marty for all his hard work in promoting Kings County over the years. I remember him greeting us, as we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, during the blackout.

I thank him also, for all those summer concerts, that he has hosted with glee.

It's a shame they botched his final, farewell concert appearance in Coney Island.

Dec. 10 2013 11:00 AM
Tony from Not Brooklyn Anymore

Marty seems to be turning a blind eye to the large number of people who were priced out of Brooklyn. I used to live there. Now I'm in Queens. The near-in suburbs of Nassau County are teeming with ex-Brooklynites. He's been a champion of a certain kind of socio-economic resident. If you're a white hipster, Marty is your guy.

Dec. 10 2013 11:00 AM
Cynzanne from Boerum Hill Brooklyn

Highrise development in Brooklyn is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Brooklyn is wonderful BECAUSE of it's HUMAN SCALE.
I was born here and these highrises sicken me.
Can't the housing at Atlantic Yards be made more Brooklyn scale?

Dec. 10 2013 10:57 AM
Dan from Boerum Hill

His voice is so grating, Brian successfully kept him out of the studio all these years!Lol

Dec. 10 2013 10:56 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Marty Markowitz loves Brooklyn's lesbians!

Dec. 10 2013 10:56 AM
Steve from Fort Greene

The least ironic thing I can think to say to Mr. Markowitz is to thank him for educating me how hopeless our political system is in his unrelenting support for the awful Atlantic Yards project.

Dec. 10 2013 10:55 AM
Dick from where else, Brooklyn

Does he have anything to say about the plague of "out-of-state" vehicles that take up valuable street and parking space in Brooklyn and those other boroughs. His office produces an extensive report on this damaging practice and then did nothing to advance a solution that would benefit all New Yorkers even the non-car-owning citizens who did not park on the sidewalk every day.

Dec. 10 2013 10:32 AM
antonio from baySide

Does Marty have any news from 'Bob Diamond', the Red Hook resident who is trying to revive streetCars?
Given the fact streetcars are cleaner, do not emit pollution AND CHEAPER then a capitlal project like the SAS seems like a no brainer...What's the hold up?

Dec. 10 2013 10:19 AM

What does he think of Chris Christie's high school friend who had to quit his high ranking government job after he used his office to punish north jersey?
And what does he think about Christie's chances in the GOP primary even with all his tough guy showing off

Dec. 10 2013 10:09 AM
Victoria from Brooklyn

Will Marty have emeritus status to continue creating the wonderful signs that welcome everyone to Brooklyn? Fingers crossed the answer is not Fuggedaboutit.

Dec. 10 2013 10:01 AM

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