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Can it be 36 years ago that Lou Powsner tried to live his ‘impossible dream’? Returning from war and graduating college, my Dad needed help. He was aging and needed aid running his Coney Island Men’s Shop full time. It was time to step in and help to run his store. We joined my Dad just as the tides of crime were beginning to engulf the tides of Coney Island and the City at large.
Poverty−perpetuation slowly moved into Coney Island and bathed Coney Island in crime. Ugly, rusting iron gates became necessities. The sounds of alarms resounded above and beyond our gates.
On many corners autos sat on milk boxes after someone stole their wheels, tires or both. Before that next election in 1973 Lou Powsner threw his Stetson hat in the ring, determined to get help for other merchants and the people of the whole borough of Brooklyn.
We were running against five other Democratic candidates in a Primary election for Councilman−At−Large, for all over Brooklyn. One of them was a kid, over−loaded with backing, because his dad was Speaker of the NY State Assembly, a Democratic big wig with lots of monetary supporters for “his boy” who eventually went on to win hands down.
But among that campaign, I often met a young Marty Markowitz who was running for local Councilman along the Coney−Brighton shorefront. Wherever we campaigned in that part of Brooklyn, many women would say, No “We’re voting for Marty. He’s so cute.” I had to explain that I was not running against Marty. I was going to be at large, all over Brooklyn. We both lost − even though Marty established himself as “a barrel of fun”.
That same “barrel’ stayed where his heart was − in politics, running as a Tenant Advocate in Flatbush. Almost immediately fun−loving Marty put his fingers on Wingate Field in his Flatbush district and he provided oodles of summer fun featuring prominent performers to cool the summer evenings there.
Among his perennial expansion ambitions, jolly Marty wanted to expand his realm of fun.
One afternoon, my store phone rang, I had not seen Marty for some 12 years, but he asked me if I could help him land Steeplechase Park for summer theater. We explained to Marty that although I was on the local Community Board, I was not on our Parks Committee, but I’d bring it to their attention.
Their response at the time was a resounding no.
Marty’s expansion bubble thus bursted − but now as our Boro Prez, fun−lover Markowtiz wants to build a master amphitheater in the midst of a dense residential area − in a park in a housing district, considered vital by so many residents.
But now Marty is the Boro President and is also Brooklyn’s president of fun, always spreading warmth and laughter.
Now is the time for our Boro President to recapture his solidarity by conforming to true planning’s.
We staunchly acknowledge and appreciate his jovial ambitions and now we turn his eyes to his original target. He can really take his choice.
That same Steeplechase Park where Coney fun really began is one−prospective target. The Coney Cyclones, nor their parent NY Mets, do not own Keyspan Park. With a stage out at second base, it could bring many shows to the shorefront area. Domed it could go year−round.
A second choice nested in the amusement zone could be the Abe Stark Arena, that was not built primarily as a skating rink.
The city planners built it for multi−faceted uses, but our Parks Department never fulfilled that plan, just freezing it into uni−purpose oblivion.
Perhaps even better, would be the large Surf−to−Boardwalk block, from W. 20th to W. 21st streets. Our Parks Department has neglected it ever since it was deeded to them in 1968.
It became a forest of wild trees bordering our Boardwalk and streets until now, finally, cleared to bring in the circus, for two summers months.
Bring in the Theater − Right things in right places. Please.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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