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We can’t think of a better time to salute the work of our persevering reporters than on Labor Day week. Summer may be winding down, but rest assured that our staff keeps the heat on timely issues, year-round. Read on for a recap of the top stories in August that made our print and online editions soar with the rising mercury.
Ferry’s the ticket: The Metropolitan Transit Authority halted R train service between Bay Ridge and Manhattan for more than a year to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy. But it replaced it with ferry service from 58th Street in Sunset Park through January 2014, proving it goes our way — some of the time.
Dying hospital: Interfaith Medical Center is set to close, making it the second Brooklyn hospital this year — alongside Long Island College Hospital — to bolt its doors. Workers at the Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital vowed to fight the closure, saying it would threaten lives for miles around. But officials filed for bankruptcy and said the facility would flatline in mid-November.
Mini-Me-n-You: A self-portrait was worth about six inches for revelers mugging for the Great Fredini at his Coney Island Scan-A-Rama. The former magician and freakshow barker invited visitors to the People’s Playground to step into his pop-up 3-D printshop to be scanned from head-to-toe and recreated as a plastic figurine to populate his scale model of the original Luna Park.
“It sort of converts you into an action figure of yourself,” said Fred Kahl, the entrepreneur behind the Great Fredini.
Aldi’s arrival: The German-based Aldi supermarket chain celebrated the debut of its first Brooklyn franchise inside Nostrand Avenue’s old Pathmark building, where a line of early bird shoppers stretched around the block to get the scoop on Sheepshead Bay’s newest grocery store — and maybe some generic-brand ice cream. The clean — if crowded — grocery store occupies about half the floor space of the Pathmark it replaces.
Bard Ridge: Thespians young and old made all of Owl’s Head Park their stage when they took to the Bay Ridge park’s main knoll for Brooklyn’s first-ever Shakespeare Festival. Child performers recited sonnets and danced, while adult actors played out scenes from the writer’s most famous plays. Organizers said they wanted to introduce William Shakespeare’s time-honored art to new generations at an event they hoped would become a new Bay Ridge tradition.
Sheepslead Bay: Veterinary volunteers rescued a swan off Emmons Avenue suffering from lead poisoning, and nursed it back to health before releasing it to a Connecticut nature center last month. That left city officials pondering a wild goose chase to discover if the bird — affectionately named Leady by this newspaper — was poisoned as a result of lead pollution in the water or soil of Sheepshead Bay. Stay tuned, folks.
Surf’s up for bridge: After 50 years of neglect, the forsaken Surf Avenue pedestrian bridge, linking the New York Aquarium to the train station, finally got some attention from the city — which tore it down overnight. The shark-painted span’s swan song went over swimmingly with critics, but left fans high and dry. The city plans to compensate for the walkway with wider sidewalks, a traffic light at W. Eighth Street and Surf Avenue, and a new entrance to the seaside promenade at W. 10th Street.
Beachy keen: Southern Brooklyn’s Sandy-scrapped seashores could emerge bigger and better, after the Army Corps of Engineers rebuilds the coastline of Brighton Beach and Coney Island with $7.2-million worth of brand-new, tax-payer-funded sand to replace beaches the superstorm washed away. Contractors will dredge sand from the bottom of Rockaway Inlet and deposit it along Brooklyn’s southernmost coast. The project is designed to protect area residents and businesses — in addition to vital infrastructure like the Belt Parkway — from the ravages of future storms.
Weiner’s low blow: Community newspaper reporters are the “cockroaches of the media landscape,” according to cyber creepy-crawler Anthony Weiner. The disgraced serial sexter and mayoral aspirant bit the hand that stroked his ego, when he bugged out during a community newspaper roundtable he convened in the hope of talking about something other than his sexy selfies.
Last call: The state deep-sixed controversial Ridge watering hole 93 Lounge — but not because neighbors had complained for years about the fighting, noise, and drug activity from the nightspot. The State Liquor Authority finally yanked the 93rd Street taproom’s booze permit because the revel mecca allowed customers to boogie without having a cabaret license.
End of an Era: James McCullough — the great-grandson of legendary Steeplechase Park founder George Tilyou, and the former owner of Coney Island institutions like the B & B Carousell and McCullough’s Kiddie Park — passed away on Aug. 19. His family helped define the Coney Island of the last century, but the harsh economics of the new century drove most of their attractions out of business by the time McCullough got his ticket to the great amusement park in the sky.
Dog story: Author Francesco Marciuliano chewed the fat about canine lyricists in his latest book, “I Could Chew On This,” giving us an opportunity to debate life’s profundities with a real live mutt — with Marciuliano’s help. We asked the furry respondent, “What do you think is a city dog’s greatest fear is?” His reply? “That their person completely misjudged their size in relation to their apartment.”
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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