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Brooklyn’s 13 to watch in 2013

Brooklyn Daily

No one knows what the future holds — but that doesn’t mean we can’t make educated guesses. These movers, leaders, shakers, and makers will likely have a profound impact on Brooklyn in 2013, our panel of experts concluded.

1: Eric Adams

It’s hard to believe it, but Borough President Markowitz won’t be borough president forever.

Next year will be his last year in office — and someone will need to fill his shoes.

The current frontrunner in the Beep race is Prospect Heights state Sen. Eric Adams, a former cop who made a name for himself by trying to stop the sale of assault weapons, battling stop-and-frisk, and attempting to “Stop the Sag” — an effort to keep the borough’s youth from wearing pants below their waistlines.

“I’ve always wanted to be borough president,” Adams told us in 2012.

Watch to see if 2013 is the year when his dream comes true.

2. Joshua Rechnitz

Reticent Manhattan philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz came out of nowhere in 2012 when he announced his whopping $40 million donation toward the construction of a velodrome and athletic facility in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Then he stunned Brooklynites for a second time by buying up a derelict Gowanus warehouse dubbed the “Bat Cave” in a bid to turn it into an arts space.

What’s next for the borough’s tight-lipped, bike-riding benefactor? Brooklynites will have to wait and see — because he certainly won’t tell us!

3. Mitik

Times are bound to get easier for Brooklyn’s biggest baby in 2013.

Mitik, the new walrus in Coney Island, had a tough first year. The infant nearly lost his life when he was separated from his pack and left stranded in the open ocean off of Alaska. Rescuers nursed the orphan back to health and brought him to the New York Aquarium, where he was scheduled to rest in a quarantine before meeting his new walrus buddies and legions of adoring fans — but Hurricane Sandy promptly slammed the People’s Playground and put the tourist attraction under water.

Mitik escaped the storm without injury, but the damaged aquarium isn’t expecting to reopen until May at the earliest. Lovers of undersea life will have to wait until then before they finally have their chance to meet the borough’s handsomest mustached mammal.

4. Frank Seddio

He’s the new boss — and only time will tell if he’s the same as the old boss.

Ex-judge and former Assemblyman Frank Seddio took control of a fractured Brooklyn Democratic Party after Assemblyman Vito Lopez stepped down from the influential post amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Seddio, a longtime Lopez ally and member of the old guard Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, will spend 2013 leading a party split between former backers of the Lopez-machine and those who fought to overthrow it.

Politicos will watch to see if he can keep the union together — and he told us last year that times have changed since Lopez left.

“This is the new Brooklyn,” he said. “It’s not them and us but we.

5. Silent Barn

Queens’s loss could be Brooklyn’s gain.

The quirky, experimental art space Silent Barn is making the move from Ridgewood to Bushwick — and 2013 will determine the future of the acclaimed do-it-yourself venue.

Will Silent Barn continue to book the kinds of wacky, buzzed-about, of-the-moment arts events that made it a must-hit destination for gallery-hoppers now that it’s in the county of Kings? Or will it become just one more drop in the paint bucket that is the Bushwick art scene?

Stop by in 2013 and find out.

6. Sir Patrick Stewart

Plenty of stars have settled in Brooklyn — but none has traveled as far to get here as legendary Star Trek captain Sir Patrick Stewart.

The man who made his name playing Jean-Luc Picard relocated to Park Slope in the summer of 2012 and immediately won the respect of his neighbors when he turned to Twitter to rant about how tedious it was to get his cable hooked up, earning him an honorary column in this newspaper.

Tech-connected Brooklynites should be sure to keep an eye on his tweets in the coming year.

7. Diane Savino

Puff, puff, and pass that bill!

That’s what state Sen. Diane Savino hopes to do in Albany this session, where the Bay Ridge politician is leading the way in the push to legalize medical marijuana in New York state.

Savino told an upstate paper that she is counting heads before introducing a piece of pot legislation early in 2013.

“I believe there is sufficient support in both parties in all three conferences in the Senate,” she said.

Keep watch to see if she can make it happen.

8. The Alliance for Coney Island

If Coney Island ever becomes a glitzy, year-round entertainment destination, these are the folks who will make it happen.

The Alliance for Coney Island united the biggest names in People’s Playground amusements in 2012, forming an advocacy group that could help shape the future of the borough’s seaside escape.

The organization got to work helping Coney recover following Hurricane Sandy — expect its members to keep at it in 2013, and pay close attention to the other initiative launched by the group, which boasts big names including Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones, Luna Park, and Gargiulo’s Restaurant.

9. Hakeem Jeffries

Mr. Jeffries is going to Washington.

The former Prospect Heights Assemblyman has replaced retired Rep. Ed Towns in the House — and the borough is watching closely to see what the first-term Congressman will do once he hits the nation’s capital.

He already snagged a spot on the House judiciary committee, and if his recent tweets are any indication, gun control is one of his big targets.

10. The new coach of the Nets

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has high expectations of Brooklyn’s new home team.

“Only championship, no more, we’re only human,” he told the press last week.

That win-or-get-fired attitude means the coach of the Nets has the hardest job in the borough going into 2013, and potentially the hardest job in sports.

As of press time, P.J. Carlesimo was leading the squad as an interim coach after November “Coach of the Month” Avery Johnson got canned for a poor December and a .500 record.

No one can be sure exactly who will be drawing the Xs and Os for the Nets at the end of this season, or the beginning of the next one.

11. Chris Olechowski

This year, Williamsburgers will be following the leader.

North Brooklyn is paying close attention to new Democratic district leader Chris Olechowski after he defeated incumbent Lincoln Restler (a member of our “11 to watch in 2011”) for the obscure party position.

During the 2012 race, both Restler and Olechowski, who is the chairman of Community Board 1, framed the wonky party post as a position that would allow them to have a real impact on the lives of Brooklynites — not just on internal Dem business.

Keep an eye on Olechowski in 2013 to see how he treats the new gig.

12. Third Avenue’s restaurant row

Move over Fifth Avenue — brownstone Brooklyn has a new dining strip!

Third Avenue emerged as a culinary destination in 2012, with the Littleneck drawing crowds, the Pines garnering praise from high up in food media, relatively recent additions such as Four & 20 Blackbirds and Bar Tano demonstrating staying power, and the legendary Two Toms continuing to do what it does best.

In 2013, look for Runner and Stone — a new bakery and all-day restaurant opened by alums of Blue Ribbon and Per Se in late December — to continue the culinary push, reinventing Third Avenue one meticulously crafted sandwich at time.

13. The waterfront

Hurricane Sandy devastated the borough when it hit Brooklyn’s shores, with waterfront communities suffering the worst damage.

Families lost their homes, entrepreneurs lost their livelihoods, and Brooklyn lost some of its landmarks.

The borough banded together in recovery efforts in late 2012, but so much work must still be done. Restoring, repairing, and redeveloping the waterfront will be the story of 2013 — and likely many more years to come.

Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments?

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