Yesterday, the "Roots of Modern Brooklyn" events concluded with "Neighborhood Day" at Borough Hall. There were several panel discussions, ending with a televised discussion featuring State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy, Carroll Gardens community activist Salvatore "Buddy" Scotto and Brooklyn College Professor Jerome Krase. Brooklyn born writer Pete Hamill moderated the proceedings, and began by noting that he believed the changes that took place in the 1970s and '80s, on which the "Roots" series focused, had their origins in the 1960s, which he described as a time of both despair and determination.
Mr. Scotto gave an amusing account of how he became a community activist in the '60s, gave Carroll Gardens its present name, and was drafted to run for Congress on an anti-Vietnam War platform in exchange for the promise of a group of "kids" (who included some latter-day political figures such as Eileen Dugan) that they would support his efforts to clean up the Gowanus Canal, get affordable housing constructed, and secure day-care facilities.
After the speeches, there was a lively question and answer session that touched on education, the need to preserve the mixed income character of the Borough, and, of course, Atlantic Yards.