Five Brooklyn Stories to Look for in 2014

Incoming Borough President Eric Adams will try to put his stamp on an office that predecessor Marty Markowitz managed to turn into an effective platform for boosting Brooklyn. (Photo by Pearl Gabel, via Brooklyn Bureau)

Incoming Borough President Eric Adams will try to put his stamp on an office that predecessor Marty Markowitz managed to turn into an effective platform for boosting Brooklyn. (Photo by Pearl Gabel, via Brooklyn Bureau)

Year 2013 was eventful in many ways — it saw Bill de Blasio’s win in the mayoral election, a federal court’s verdict against the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy and the not-so-shining performance of New York sports teams, posting a combined .458 winning percentage in their 2013-2014 season. Brooklyn Bureau’s Jarrett Murphy wants us to watch out for five Brooklyn stories that could be most interesting during 2014.

Topping Murphy’s list of stories is Kings County’s district attorney Ken Thompson who defeated Charles “Joe” Hynes first in the primaries and then in general elections last November.

Now he’s the top law enforcement official in the county and possibly the most powerful black official in the state. We’ll read about him when high-profile cases make the news, but he’ll have a larger, subtler, daily impact on how crimes are prosecuted and punished in Kings County, from the bail decision at arraignment to the choice between hard time and alternative sentences when it comes to mete out justice to the guilty.

Next on Murphy’s list is the borough president and former NYPD captain Eric Adams whose uncontested ascension to the office was “barely noticed.”

Adams is an interesting figure, going from stoking controversy as a founder and leader of 100 Black Men in Law Enforcement Who Care, which antagonized the police brass, to a brief and cautious career in the state house, Adams will now try to accommodate his sizable political talent within the modest power and profile of the borough presidency. He’ll likely try something different from predecessor Marty Markowitz’s indefatigable boosterism, but exactly what that will be—and whether he’ll succeed—remains to be seen.

Also on news watch during 2014 will be stories related to post-Sandy reconstruction and rehabilitation of residences and businesses in Red Hook, Canarsie, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay and elsewhere.

Another story to look for this year will be how Mayor Bill de Blasio, with his Brooklyn roots, approaches the prospect of continued development in the New Brooklyn. Murphy notes that de Blasio, who embraced development from Gowanus to Atlantic Yards, has stated that he will display more caution in offering subsidies to developers. Such an approach may have ramifications for his affordable housing plan, which will largely depend on continued and robust real estate development citywide.

With much of the Atlantic Yards project still rolling out (here’s coverage of the first tower), and with Gowanus reshuffling following the EPA’s superfund designation, de Blasio may as mayor have a chance to shape and re-shape some of the controversial projects he supported as a councilman.

Look out this year, finally, for coverage of the New York City Housing Authority, which has been squeezed over the past decade by funding shortfalls at all levels of government and an aging housing stock.

How NYCHA fares under a new mayor and a post-sequester federal government will say a lot about the future of several neighborhoods—and of tens of thousands of Brooklynites.

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