The top 10 Brooklyn stories of 2012
Jan 03, 2013 | 2985 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police monitored gas stations during the shortage.
Police monitored gas stations during the shortage.
Despite controversy, Building 2 breaks ground and will provide affordable housing for residents across the street from the Barclays Center.
Despite controversy, Building 2 breaks ground and will provide affordable housing for residents across the street from the Barclays Center.
Residents of Carroll Gardens are briefed on a homeless shelter that was dropped into their neighborhood with no community input.
Residents of Carroll Gardens are briefed on a homeless shelter that was dropped into their neighborhood with no community input.
The ribbon was cut at the Barclays Center which became a home for the Brooklyn Nets and soon to be host of the New York Islander.
The ribbon was cut at the Barclays Center which became a home for the Brooklyn Nets and soon to be host of the New York Islander.
1) Hurricane Sandy

While the entire New York City area was hit by the hurricane, parts of Brooklyn were left devastated. Red Hook and the neighborhoods of south Brooklyn felt the effects of the storm long after the water receded and the winds died down.

The hurricane caused $37 billion in damages. After all was said and done, 48 New Yorkers lost their lives and 100 homes in Breezy Point were burnt to the ground.

Many residents were left without power and heat for weeks. With the destruction around Brooklyn, the volunteerism of local community members became evident quickly. Signs on temporary shelters read, “No More Clothes Please,” and some volunteers were being turned away because there were simply too many people willing to help.

Over three weeks after Sandy hit New York, residents of Red Hook lined up for a free Thanksgiving meal to eat and one to take home. When asked, one resident said she needed the food because the grocery stores in the area had been destroyed and she didn’t know where to get food.

But it was heat and electricity that was needed the most. Many criticized the city’s “Rapid Repair” program for not getting anything done, as many residents were frustrated by weeks without utilities in their homes.

Looting and other criminal activity resulted in the wake of the storm, as criminals targeted those in need. However, with the extensive volunteerism and charity from a multitude of areas, the storm helped illustrate how Brooklynites will take care of one another when the time comes.

2) Barclays Center

The Barclays Center opened it’s doors in the fall and brought with it a home team. While Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z christened the new arena with string of sold-out concerts, it's the Nets who are the stars at the Barclays Center.

Controversy surrounded the Barclays Center from the day it was proposed, and opening day was no different. Residents with oversized masks of elected officials handed out fliers stating that Forest City Ratner, the developer of the arena, didn’t fulfill its promises of job creation.

And it was announced shortly after it opened, that the Nets will have some company in the Barclays Center, as the New York Islanders announced that they too will be moving out of Nassau County and will be using the arena as a home venue in a couple of years.

And the arena has already hosted a bevy of start, such as The Who, Lady Gaga, Neil Young and even Barbara Streisand, who made her Brooklyn debut.

3) Vito Lopez

Longtime Brooklyn political boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez found himself in hot water at the end of the summer, as allegations came to light of sexual misconduct. In mid-July, two women who worked in Lopez’s office filed sexual harassment complaints saying that the inappropriate behavior began as early as June of 2012.

Lopez wasn’t the only one disgraced by the allegations; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was also roundly criticized for organizing a $103,080 taxpayer-funded settlement.

Despite being publicly accused of sexual harassment, Lopez continued to flex political muscles, and to no one’s surprise he still maintained significant power in the borough. During the redistricting of the City Council, he worked to have the new lines drawn in his favor, and even had Kings County Democratic Party events moved in an attempt to make it difficult for opponents to fill his old position a chairman.

In November, despite the controversy, Lopez won re-election as he trounced his lesser-known Republican opponent Richy Garcia by a margin of 90 to 10 percent.

4) Gas Shortage

Following Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn residents quickly noticed that getting gas for their cars and generators would prove to be a difficult task. A chore that normally took little time resulted in hours of waiting on line for a tank of gas.

Police had to be sent to some stations to control the crowds and keep the lines moving, and gas rationing measures were put into place. At the height of the shortage, tempers flared and a fistfight broke out at a gas station in Brooklyn.

One gas station owner said that he witnessed past shortages, but this was the worst he had seen because it resulted from a natural disaster. People were getting gas not just for their cars, but also for generators to heat their homes.

5) McCarren Park Pool

When McCarren Park Pool reopened this summer it seemed likely that it would close again. After just one day being open to the public, a lifeguard was punched in the face. Three days following that incident a brawl broke out between pool goers and police officers. It resulted in six arrests. A few weeks later, a swimmer experienced diarrhea that caused a day long closure of the pool.

Other problems surrounded the pool. In one case, a storeowner claimed that a few boys came into his store and stuffed bags of chips into their swimsuits. There were even reports of lockers being broken into, which resulted in a more obvious police presence in the locker rooms themselves.

Even so, the pool was a huge success, as long lines wrapped around the block. Let's hope next summer goes a little smoother.

6) Building 2

The Barclays Center isn’t the only addition to Downtown Brooklyn this year. Forest City Ratner, the developer of the new arena, also broke ground on a project across the street on Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.

This project, known as Building 2 (B2), is set to be the tallest modular building in the world, standing at 32-stories. The modular pieces that will be stacked to create the building will be constructed off-site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and transported to the site itself.

The project brought with it concern from local residents who feared that the B2 would not include the affordable housing that was promised to the community. To help ease the concerns, Forest City Ratner has promised that of the 363 rental units, 50 percent will be affordable.

7) G Line

The G train had an extension created in 2009 due to construction, which resulted in the line making five more stops in Brooklyn. As construction ended and word spread the stops would be eliminated, riders who had become accustomed to the new route urged the MTA to reconsider.

It was announced earlier this year that the train would be making those stops, indefinitely.

The additional stops are at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, Seventh Avenue, 15th Street and Prospect Park, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue.

Community members have called the additional stops more convenient and local shop owners in the area are happy to see the addition stay. At a rally for the additional stops, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said, “These extra five stops are a lifeline that Brooklyn residents and small businesses have come to depend on.”

8) Hasidic Molestation

In the tight-knit Hasidic Jewish community of Brooklyn, a crime was brought to light that changed the way many New Yorkers view the religious group.

Nechemya Weberman, 54, was found guilty after a two-week trail on 59 counts of sexual abuse of a teenage girl he was counseling. The abused girl turned 18 during the trial and was the one who revealed that the abuse started in 2007, when the victim was 12 years old.

She also told police that the sexual abuse continued for years at which time she was forced to see Weberman for counseling because of strict Hasidic Jewish laws that she had broken.

More importantly, it shed light on the issue of sexual abuse being covered up in the devoutly religious society, with victims who come forward being harassed and coerced into staying quiet.

9) Son of Sal

Sal Perrone, 64, of Staten Island went on a killing spree in Brooklyn this year. Perrone, later dubbed “Son of Sal,” is accused of murdering three Brooklyn shoppers with Middle Eastern roots.

The cops were able to identify the man from surveillance footage and brought him in for questioning. At the time, Perrone, didn’t have an issue speaking with the police, eating in front of them and even taking a nap.

He admitted to two of the killings and it was later found out that during his murder spree, he spent the one night with former police officers at a dance.

The police said that they found a Ruger 10-22 carbine rile in a black duffle bag that Perrone left in a closet in a Brooklyn apartment, where his 60-year-old girlfriend lived.

The weapon was used in all of the three homicides according to a ballistics test, and detectives claim to have lifted the suspect’s fingerprints from the weapon. Along with the gun, detectives allegedly found a bloody knife that was used in one of the murders.

In court, Perrone pleaded not guilty to the crimes, and bizarrely said that he was working for the CIA and was offered $100,000 for two of the murders. He denied any knowledge of the third.

10) Homeless Shelter

In the quiet neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, uproar began in October when residents were told that a non-profit agency was opening a 170-bed homeless shelter nearby - and there was nothing they could do about it.

On October 4, Housing Solutions U.S.A/Aguila, send a letter to Community Board 6 stating that they would open up a shelter at 165 West 9th Street. The non-profit said that the shelter would qualify as an emergency shelter by the city, allowing them to move in without community approval.

In a meeting hosted by the non-profit, representatives listened to a standing-room-only crowd of mostly outraged residents. Residents complained, mostly, because they wanted a say in the process. A petition in opposition to the shelter and demanding the right to have an input in the process was circulated, but proved useless.

The homeless shelter is now in use and houses single men who are “likely to find jobs.” However, it was made clear that anyone who comes to the shelter while a room is open will be allowed to stay.

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