As a publisher of three newspapers in Brooklyn, I have had the joy of getting to know the indomitable Marty Markowitz. He is completing his last term in office after a political career spanning decades. Last week he held an over-the-top celebration of his years in office at his final State of the Borough speech.
I had never been to a “Marty Party” before, but knew he built the reputation of his beloved borough by his yearly celebrations, concerts and multiple achievements. His overriding legacy is where his final three-and-a-half hour party was held, the Barclays Center.
I remember when I asked Marty why he never backed down from the Barclays project under a deluge of lawsuits and community outrage.
He answered in his usual way, with a wide smile, “I called Bruce Ratner every day for weeks begging him to take on the project. How could I not support him?”
That’s Marty. Doing the right thing, even if it’s not always politically popular, is his way. And what a way it is.
Marty Markowitz, with his energy and his vision, has made Manhattan, as he said in his farewell speech, the “outer borough.” And he is right, Brooklyn is the sexiest of the boroughs.
Since I was born and grew up in Brooklyn I was bursting with pride as Marty shared project after project to add to his crown jewel, the now world famous Barclays Center, where the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards will be held in August.
Thanks to Marty we will now have what he calls the second Eiffel Tower. It’s the newly-designed parachute jump in Coney Island that boasts 2,200 lights. Then there’s his final gesture of having a theatre built on the boardwalk as a venue for his yearly concerts. No more fights with neighbors over noise.
Being a showman, Marty combined theater, music, and even became a “Johnny Carson.”
At the farewell event I was blown away by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Their prayerful, powerful voices sang at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. I was spellbound by their voices and disappointed they sang only two songs, but it was an inspiring introduction to their music.
Then he had Brooklyn-born Tony Danza rapping about all the endless famous people who came from the borough. I loved Jay Black singing old favorites as well as his love song to Brooklyn. It was a magical night that only Marty could put together.