The BHB Ten 2009

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!

bivDoug 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.

hitchensHeather 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.

philipsSeth Phillips – Principal, Public School 8, Brooklyn. As any P.S. 8 parent will tell you, Phillips has led his school to a level rivaling private schools in our area.

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.

32b1d1fTom 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.”

bkhts-winebar1Mark 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.

jsw_img_6500_edited-11Chelsea Mauldin- Executive Director Montague Street BID.  Sure, it’s her job but Mauldin’s tireless efforts as a cheerleader for Montague Street’s Business Improvement District are worthy of praise.

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.

shahumBrian 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.

pozpic3Paul 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_ruplingerScott 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.”

718770341_tbrcr-s-1Gabriel 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.

Share this Story:

, , , , , , , , , , ,

  • my2cents

    Great choices! Nice to learn about some people I hadn’t heard of before.

  • sue

    I agree with all you choices with one exception. Chelsea Maudlin has done a terrible job on montague st. The proof is in the pudding take a walk on montague st and compare it to court st. and smith street. Montague St. has empty stores and a deaded out feel… Bring in some new talent to work on the street.

  • melanie hope greenberg

    Congratulations to the 2009 Ten!

  • nabeguy

    sue, in fairness to Ms. Mauldin, the BID doesn’t control the rental market. Gouging landlords are at the heart of the empty storefronts…the BID’s job is to make sure that the remaining stores benefit from her initiatives.

  • Homer Fink

    There’s one other person who should receive some kudos for his work in 2009 – our own Claude Scales. His Park Progress reports have been a great addition to BHB this year. It also has proven that, yes, there is progress and there will be a park soon! Thanks Claude!

  • sue

    the proof is in the pudding… Montague St. is dead and Ms. Maudlin is responsible .

  • Pat Mazzei

    Yea! Brian. Congrats!

  • anon

    @ Sue – There’s no reason to be nasty. Ms. Maudlin is not responsible for greedy landlords overcharging on rent. Think about how much worse Montague would be without her efforts to bring carolers, car-free summer weekends, lights during the winter holidays, etc. Montague could stand to be better, for sure, but its shortcomings are not the fault of one person — who, by the way, is doing much more to fix the problem than I’m sure you or I are.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot Claude Scales

    Thanks, Homer. I’ll see you at Roebling Inn this evening.

  • AAR

    Agree with kudos to Claude Scales for BBP coverage and more, especially his nose for news and use of camera to illustrate sites and events in BH….and, of yes, his blog. Alas, problems on Montague Street are the fault of many, including local residents who are so Manhattan oriented that they (we) do not fully support our community retail shops. I suggest that the blog contributors start talking up local merchants instead of disparaging Montague Street and the businesses on other local commercial streets. How about a daily or weekly profile of local businesses? Happy New Year and heartfelt hopes for better times in 2010!

  • sue

    I am not being nasty just reiterating what I hear over and over… She is the head of an organiztion that has failed and she is responsible.. Have a very happy new year and I am putting this topic to bed on my end

  • alarm clock ringing

    Wake up Sue! You don’t get off that easy. Why don’t you start by telling me what the goals of the business improvement district are and then tell me how it and Chelsea have failed.

  • nabeguy

    By sue’s definition, its purpose is putting lipstick on a landlord…um, pig.

  • Jen

    Wow, just looking at the pics, sure are lots of white people in the top ten..
    like ten out of ten of them. That is .. how to say… odd.

  • The Where

    Mr. DuBois is dead. Last year y’all complained about only one gal being on the list. Jen, I suggest getting over “what” people are and focus on “who” they are. Have an electric day.

  • AEB

    An electric day sounds rather…shocking, Where. An ECLECTIC day…closer to the mark, no?

  • melanie hope greenberg

    I was the one who said anything about there being only one woman on the 2008 list because the only woman was me. I am happy to see more than one woman this year. My concern is that we are not teaching children that women are also great, talented, wise, hold positions of leadership when the ratios are so glaringly obvious. Hope you will be attending and crow about the Women’s History Month Celebration in 2010 that I am coordinating and curating with 6 female picture book authors and illustrators, local bookstores and a gallery show.