The BHB Ten 2010 – Nomination Open Thread

Who are the most influential, altruistic or just plain special Brooklyn Heights residents worthy of a spot on this year’s BHB Ten? Your suggestions and comments heavily influence our picks, so comment away!

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  • Claude Scales

    Some thoughts:

    Peter Hedges, although not a Heights resident (he has a studio here) for his novel, The Heights; soon, I believe, to be a major motion picture.

    Hope Prosky, for her many years of devotion to Grace Church School.

    Ben Bankson, president of the Willowtown Association, for his work to preserve and improve that charming neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood.

    Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and Nancy Webster, head of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, for their continuing work to bring the Park to fruition. Ms. Webster lives in DUMBO and I’m not sure where Ms. Myer lives, but their work has a tremendous effect on the Heights.

    Peter Byros, for bringing back Armando’s and the lobster. It happened in 2009, but I think he still deserves recognition.

  • AEB

    May one nominate oneself? Just ’cause it’s going to be winter soon…

  • helloheights

    Charles – he sings at Grace Church and is retired.
    Not sure of his last name…
    He’s lived in the Heights forever and you wouldn’t forget him if you met him!

  • Heather Quinlan

    Regina Myer lives in Park Slope, so I leave it to the judges.

  • Claude Scales

    helloheights: I presume you mean Charles Cole. Great fellow.

  • browning

    Richandra Rhoden is numero uno as far as I’m concerned. katy

  • lori

    Henrik Krogius of the Brooklyn Heights Press. Paul Giamatti for staying with us and not leaving deserting us like Gabriel Byrne did. Nancy Webster is a great force in the heights, before and as well as during her work with Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • A Neighbor

    Neil Calet and the BHA for recruiting and leading an enthusiastic band of neighborhood gardeners, raising money for plants, and underwriting half the cost of the Park Dept landscaper to bring glory to the Promenade gardens.

  • Claude Scales

    I’d nominate Jonathan Landsman, the promenade gardener, for his hard work and enthusiasm.

  • tb

    Seth Phillips. For working his ass off for our kids.

  • mbutz

    Diane Ravitch. Diane is an author on educational issues and a long time Brooklyn Heights resident. Her most recent opus: The Death and Life of the Great American School System is a must read for any parent who has children in the public schools.

  • Josh G

    I second Nancy Webster for her tireless efforts at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. The Park officially opened this year and we have Nancy in part to thank for that.

  • lise

    Henrik Krogius for all he has shown us of the Heights over the years. and Paul Giamiti for staying here. Richard Lloyd for his work with the Concervancy and work to keep the Brooklyn Bridge Park beautiful.

  • Pat Bianculli

    I would like to nominate my wife, Kathleen McDonald. For the past 11 years she has tirelessly brought quality music concerts not only to Brooklyn Heights but also Bed-Sty, Flatbush, Park Slope and numerous other Brooklyn Communities. Starting with a small grant from Zion Lutheran Church in 2000, then fortified with support form the Brooklyn Arts Council, Kathy has worked tirelessly, producing at least two concerts a year of Baroque music performed on original instruments, and in historic Brooklyn homes and sites.

    Her continuous positive attitude somehow allows her work to continue even through a financially strapped economy and waning interest in live music.

    She has always believed that music brings people together as neighbors and that Brooklyn is the place to make this happen. I would love to see her recognized for her efforts.

  • Heightser

    Seth Phillips! He has created what we all benefit from (whether or not we use it) – a great, neighborhood, public school.

  • Doug Biviano

    I’m not interested as much in the hired guns who get paid top dollar to do their job. I’m more interested in the unsung, unpaid volunteer heroes. They are the real backbone of any community, ours included. Please offer up more of them. Here’s some I happen to know and greatly appreciate for their service:

    Claude Scales, BHB blogger extraordinaire — Are you a volunteer? Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Lisa Kopel-Hubal, Co-President of PS 8 PTA
    For the last year and a half, she has worked tirelessly making the magic happen at PS 8… even in the summer. “It’s for the children,” she always says.

    Nick Skopelitis, PS 8 parent volunteer
    I think Nick has perfect attendance for the last six years. Everyday, among other service, he helps the students cross the streets to Squibb Park for their lunch recess and keeps an eye our children.

    Debbie Keim, BH Girl Scouts Troop Leader
    Although a Clinton Hill resident, Debbie, her husband and her daughter have contributed much to our community. Debbie has given much to shape my daughter’s confidence, to Brooklyn Heights Players and at the Prospect Park Zoo.

    Judge Robert Clayton Carey, posthumously
    A true gentleman who has served Brooklyn Heights as BHA president and a stalwart chair for foster care. I had the opportunity to know him in his later years. Wall Street could learn a lot from this man, we all could actually.

  • Doug Biviano

    And a tad more political …

    Ken Diamondstone, community activist
    In addition to Ken’s relentless commitment to shape a better Brooklyn through politics, he also established an outreach program that has served over 50,000 meals to people living with HIV/AIDS. He volunteers at the kitchen almost every week from what I understand.

  • Heather Quinlan

    I vote for “And then there’s Claude” Scales.

  • AEB

    At the risk of a claim of sycophancy–and recognizing the inherent problem of self-anointment–I would like to nominate Homer Fink, our BHB publisher, for the list.

    The reason should be self-evident. the BHB has become THE Brooklyn Heights town square–a perfected soapbox–responsible not only for providing a place for posters to have their voice, but a kind of axis, a community that creates community better than any other neighborhood institution.

    The blog is Homer’s baby–one that has grown prettier and prettier as time has passed (despite–or because of–the 24/7 scrappiness of its contributors). It works, it’s fun, and, most of all, it’s important.

    So, again, I nominate for Homer.Fink for the list.

  • p

    sydnee jorgl – president of BAC

  • Andrew Porter

    I would nominate myself, but I’m overdue for my appointment at the Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane…

  • Bette

    I second the nomination for Homer Fink. I just moved to Brooklyn Heights and this Blog has been invaluable for finding out what is happening now, did happen, and will happen here. The forum for sharing info between those who know, and those (like me) who don’t is great.

    I think hearing what people are thinking can influence what happens here; whether that is preventing one more dry cleaner/nail salon/bank from sprouting on Montague street, or telling people about events they might otherwise not know about.

    Also, I love his writing style.

  • Hopefan

    I second Hope Prosky – her warmth and generosity, as well as her oft stated pride in hearing that the kids from Grace Church are “nice kids” – pushing parents to turn off the computer and read with their family, etc. make her a neighborhood treasure.

    And for all the parents of young boys taken to Clinton and Henry street for their haircuts, I nominate Serge, who both gives a great haircut, and the warmth and friendliness that old time merchants used to always have (and I’m old enough to remember my dad getting his shirts done at the Chinese laundry next door).

    And Bjork. Not that I think she should be on this list, I just like writing the name Bjork.

  • BigDave

    Homer and Claude…YEAH!!!

  • lori

    Homer Fink – absolutely. I start each day with the blog.

  • Homer Fink

    Thanks to all for the kudos but Claude and I are “ineligible” for our own list!

  • Dr. Allan

    When it comes to worthy, long-time, special residents of Brooklyn Heights, I nominate Daniela Gioseffi, American Book Award winning author of 14 books of poetry and prose, author of ON PREJUDICE: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (Anchor/Doubleday)—a book that has been used for many years to teach tolerance of diversity throughout many school systems and colleges in the USA from Princeton to Brooklyn, CUNY, LIU, or Harlem and Bedford Sty. to Park Slope and Scarsdale. The book won a World Peace Award from the Ploughshares Fund and was presented at the United Nations. Daniela, for some years in the 80’s, was president of the oldest chapter of SANE (the nuclear peace and disarmament org.) here in the Heights, a chapter which contained many of our senior citizens. Now nearly 7o years old, Daniela also taught at Brooklyn College, St. Francis, and LIU, and in many public schools as a Poet-in-Residence with The New York State Poets-in-the-Schools, Inc. program— publishing and bringing to light the creativity of thousands of Brooklyn’s public school children throughout the borough.
    Daniela hosted and organized and won Poets & Writers grants to pay fellow Brooklyn authors to read at The Brooklyn Heights Library from 2000 to 2004 in a series, titled CELEBRATING LITERARY BROOKLYN, introducing many Brooklynites to their authors. Earlier, she hosted and ran a series at the old Brooklyn Historical Society in the 1970’s. As an unpaid volunteer, she created and hosted the Walt Whitman / Hart Crane Poetry Series to further the image of Brooklyn Heights as a home to great writers of American literature. Daniela created and hosted the FIRST Brooklyn Bridge Poetry Walk, with a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts, 1971, using the money to pay musicians and poets of Brooklyn to read poetry and cross The Great Bridge in celebration of our beloved architectural icon. She hired the famous international jazz musician, David Amram, to lead the walk as Pied Piper playing his various flutes, and Maurice Edwards, than Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic to help in not only reciting the history of The Great Bridge, but poetry dedicated to it by Brooklyn poets such as Harvey Shapiro and Bob Hershon, as well as others. Daniela has been a tireless worker toward celebrating Brooklyn Heights cultural and historical heritage, and was awarded with a Partner -in -Education Award from the Brooklyn Public School system for her encouragement of children’s literary talents and literacy.
    Daniela’s book WOMEN ON WAR: International Writings, a women’s studies classic used in many schools and colleges in peace and literature studies, has been in print for over 25 years, first from Touchstone/Simon and Schuster in 1988 when it was well reviewed by Carl Sagan and Mikail Gorbachev, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Grace Paley, and many others, including Doris Jean Austin of The New York Times who dubbed it “a book that should be translated into every language of humankind” for it’s peace making understanding and multicultural contents. It won an American Book Award in 1990 and was reprinted by The Feminist Press in 2003 to be presented at the United Nations, and Cooper Union’s Great Hall, as was ON PREJUDICE; A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE which garnered a World Peace Award from The Ploughshares Fund, 1993. The book included a chapter by Al Gore on environmental racism, and was considered a compendium ahead of its time, with a 50 page introduction on the dynamics of prejudice, scape goating and projection by Daniela Gioseffi.
    Daniela was a featured speaker at The Conference on Global Education, at The People’s Poetry Gathering, and The National Poetry Festival sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and she has been featured twice on The Poet and the Poem, a radio show, webcast online at The Library of Congress site, and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Recently Daniela is author of a groundbreaking book on the life of Emily Dickinson, America’s most iconic woman poet, and of BLOOD AUTUMN, New & Selected Poems which won The John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry, 2007. In 2008 OSIA awarded her The New York State Literary Award for being the first woman with an Italian name to be widely published in American poetry’s mainstream in innumerable literary magazines and several books. She edits and published which features many of Brooklyn’s finest poets, and sports a special feature on poems about The Great Bridge. She has been awarded grants in Poetry by The New York State Council on the Arts and won other national awards for her socially conscious endeavors.
    I could go on, and have much more to say about Daniela’s work as a Civil Rights Activist abused by the Ku Klux Klan in Selma Alabama in 1961, at the age of 20, when she was beaten and arrested by the KKK for her work as an intern journalist at WSLA-TV, announcing Freedom Rides and Sit-ins. Daniela has been a peace and social justice activist for over 50 years and will soon be 70 years old. Old issues of Brooklyn’s local papers will turn up many of her activities through the years, including teaching Middle-Eastern Dance at the local Eastern Athletic Club as a healthy exercise for middle-aged women. Meantime, as a single mother, she has raised a daughter who graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute and went on to college and graduate school, and she has helped to raise two grandsons, while cooking delicious dinners for many friends, gardening, and painting pictures, too, as a hobby. I’d better stop here, but there is more to say about what a good friend she’s been to many, and you might find her picking up trash on the streets of the Heights, too, on her many walks around the neighborhood, pointing out the houses where writers have lived, people she has been acquainted with like Norman Mailer and Norris Church Mailer, Truman Capote, Arthur Miller, Norman Rosten, and others, and the fellow who tends the Promenade Park always gets a warm hello from her as do the guys in blue who clean our streets. She can be heard telling them how good and important their work is, and giving them a warm “good morning” smile and greeting that puts a smile on their faces. For all the above reasons, I nominate Daniela Gioseffi to be one of the BHB Ten!

  • AEB

    But what what has Daniela done for us lately, Doctor? (Hmmm. You and she share a certain…loquaciousness.)

  • nabeguy

    While this “competition” appears to be limited to Heights residents who have impacted the neighborhood in a significant way in the past year, I must say that I’m proud to share the air with a person as notable (and unsung up to now) as Daniela Gioseffi. I wonder how many other people there are among us who chose this neighborhood for the very anonymity it affords.

  • Hicks Up

    I third Seth Phillips, along with Lisa Kopel. They are tirelessly working to better the educational opportunities in Brooklyn Heights.