Here they are: the BHB Ten for 2009. Your recommendations and suggestions influenced this year’s list of Brooklyn Heights’ movers and shakers. This year’s members represent new trends in thought, community leadership, the arts and charitable giving. We look forward to their contribution to our neighborhood, our city, our country and the world for years to come.
Congratulations to this year’s members!
Doug Biviano – Candidate for NYC Council. His “Biv for Brooklyn” campaign for David Yassky’s NYC Council D-33 seat was a mash-up of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Al Pacino’s performance in And Justice For All. Operating out of his “Main Street” campaign headquarters on Montague Street, the Cornell educated engineer’s passion for health care reform and his Everyman persona earned him the BHB Reader’s Endorsement in the race, not to mention the backing of his mentor/Democratic Rock Star Denis Kucinich. His mission of reform hit home during the primary as he knew that his job as the superintendent at a Brooklyn Heights co-op was in jeopardy due to budget cuts the father of three believed were directly related to the cost of his health care package. Since the primary, he’s happily moved on to another Brooklyn Heights building. And while he didn’t win the Democratic nomination, Biviano has established himself as a new voice in Brooklyn Heights politics.
Heather Hitchens – Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts. A Montague Street resident, Heather has strived to preserve funding for the arts at a time of state budgetary crisis, and has supervised the development of innovative programs to encourage business, educational and arts institutions to work together.
Whether it’s dealing with the Department of Education’s weird grading system or making magic with small public education budgets, Phillips has made a huge positive impact on Brooklyn Heights.
Tom van den Bout – President, Brooklyn Heights Association. With the launch of a new website and a year’s worth of centennial celebration ahead, van den Bout is leading the BHA into the 21st century in an inclusive, contemporary and socially relevant way.
About the new website and celebration he tells BHB, “I’m hoping that we can bring a little life (civic and/or just plain old fun) to the neighborhood.”
Mark Lahm and Jim Montemarano – Owners, The Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar. After years of a “cursed” existence, the space at 50 Henry Street, most recently tainted by the Busy Chef scandal, was transformed into the Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar by the proprietors of Henry’s End and Cranberry’s.
It has quickly became a neighborhood destination and revitalized the corner of Cranberry and Henry Streets.
Whether it’s Montague Summer Space, Festival of Nosh or holiday caroling, Mauldin begins every day thinking of ways to make Brooklyn Heights a better place to live.
Brian Shahum – Altruist. In May, BHB covered AIG exec Shahum’s efforts to build basketball courts in Mozambique. “It was an amazing experience,” Shahum told our Sarah Portlock. “Not only do kids now have a place to play, but a community has a sense of pride.”
His passion for b-ball also landed him on Vs. Networks’ America’s Next Sports Star this year.
Paul O. Zelinsky – Children’s book illustrator. “P.S. 8 parent” writes: “Not only is he an award-winning children’s book illustrator, who has received the Caldecott Medal and at least two Caldecott Honors, but he has also given very generously of his time and artwork to PS 8, where his wife, Deborah Hallen, taught for many years. He is one of the most distinguished illustrators of the last 50 years. He has an original piece of art hanging in the children’s room of the Brooklyn Heights Library.”
Scott Ruplinger- The Penny School Project. “Michael” writes: “In the past year, Scott Ruplinger has launched a nationwide penny collection competition in elementary, middle and high schools to raise awareness for education in Kenya. He has built one new school in Kenya this year bringing the total up to three in the past three years. He also coaches (for free) a large number of Kenyan runners and arranges all of their sponsorships to travel internationally and provide for their families. Last month he opened a new training center for runners to train at for free as well as building a new community library. Locally, he runs three nonprofits aimed at low income individuals as well as coaches an after school youth cross country team in Prospect Park. Also, he chairs the public interest program at Brooklyn Law School raising funds, awareness,and interest in giving back to the local community. All of this while a full-time law student and making less than $30k a year. Though not a usually visible entity in our neighborhood, his impact is worldwide and much needed.”
Gabriel Byrne – Actor. When he’s not supporting theater in his native Ireland, Byrne is starring in cutting edge productions like HBO’s In Treatment. Like all of us, he’s a lover of Brooklyn Heights, frequently seen at area coffee shops and other businesses. Recently, Byrne -without fanfare, publicists or papparazzia – attended and read stories at a P.S. 8 fundraiser in DUMBO.
Thanks to: Sarah Portlock, Marc Hermann, Claude Scales and Aki Tuccu for some of the photos above.