Friends, Neighbors And Family To Celebrate The Life Of Beloved Brooklyn Heights Resident Brian McGorry Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

A celebration of the life of Brian McGorry, Cranberry Street resident, community activist, and beloved neighbor to many, will be held at the Superfine Restaurant, 126 Front Street in DUMBO, this coming Saturday, March 8, starting at 11:00 a.m.

Mr. McGorry’s death last Thursday was announced with great sadness by Brooklyn Heights Association President Alexandra Bowie at the BHA’s annual meeting that evening. Mr. McGorry had served on the BHA’s Board of Governors, as well as having been active in other civic organizations and efforts. He was a helpful source of information to neighbors, including this blog, about construction and other activities in the area. As our Karl Junkersfeld put it:

Brian was very active in Brooklyn Heights and a friend to all who walk around the North Heights. I assume I am not the only neighborhood resident that appreciated his efforts.

Update: Brian’s family released his official obituary this afternoon:

Brian M. McGorry died of a heart attack while sleeping in his home in Brooklyn Heights on February 27, 2014, at age 64. As beautiful on the inside as he was nurturing on the outside, Brian was born into the extended Bayside, Queens McGorry “Clan.” He was a lifelong resident, builder, and protector of the people, communities and environments of New York City, bringing warmth, compassion and wisdom. Above all, Brian was dedicated to the stewardship, nurturing, and selfless caring for his immediate family, his glorious extended family, his friends and neighbors of all walks of life which were ever expanding. Always the man behind the scenes, turning conflict into resolution and pragmatically knowing and doing what had to be done to make the best outcome for all. He leaves for us all a great hole in the universe.

Brian was a dedicated member of the Brooklyn Heights community for decades. He worked to create Brooklyn Bridge Park, both as a neighborhood activist and as a founding member and operating officer of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. The park and its success was a continuing source of pride and joy to him. Brian’s influence is seen every day at the Brooklyn Waterfront. The Floating Pool which all of Brooklyn enjoys was a favorite of his. His current project has been leading the planning for a skating rink at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. An active member of the Board of Governors of The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) for many years, Brian was lovingly known as the “tree czar” and according to Judy Stanton, the executive director, “indispensable in all quality of life issues.” Brian was also a member of the Grace Church School Board where he provided enormous stability and was instrumental in the funding, design and restoration of the auditorium. Most of all, for almost three decades, Brian has been unquestionably the “Mayor of Cranberry Street,” administering to citizens, friends and visitors from his office on his front stoop.

Brian was also a founder of Vehicles, Inc., a non-profit organization in Harlem working with motivated people of all ages to enable their success with life and work. Over the years, more than 300 people were enriched by this fine organization.

Brian was a lawyer by training and had an MBA from NYU. He was an executive and counsel for National Distillers Group for many years. Brian was able to utilize his skills, knowledge and nature in subsequent positions in service organizations and in simply helping people.

A warm and wonderful family man, Brian dedicated his life to “his bride” of twenty seven years, Kathy Marshall, and his adored sixteen year old twin daughters Ella and Kate. He loved his brother Mark, sister-in-law Lana, his sister Lenore (who predeceased him) and his bountiful clan of cherished nieces, nephews, cousins, aunt, and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Debra of America, the only national non-profit dedicated to funding research and providing services and programs for those with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)- “The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.” EB is a genetically based disease characterized by chronic, painful blistering making the skin and mucous membranes so fragile that the slightest touch can cause sometimes lethal blistering inside and outside of the body. No cure currently exists. Donation tributes may be made at

The “Celebration of Brian’s Life” will be held at 11 AM Saturday March 8th at SuperFine, 126 Front Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn under the Manhattan Bridge. Listen for the Bagpipes!

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  • Heightsman

    How about a picture of him?

  • Martin L Schneider

    Brian was a hands-on neighbor when it came to making the Heights an ever nicer place to live.
    One small but typical example from a few years ago, was in the fight against the scourge of graffiti. As a fellow board member at the BHA it was Brian who eagerly joined in the task of doing something about it. We attended a city-wide talk and demonstration fest out at Floyd Bennet field to see what the City might do for us.

    Meanwhile, every mail box, it seemed, was covered. So,we began a small effort at cleaning up the mailboxes. With Brian’s kid’s red wagon loaded with paint cans and painting paraphrenalia we repainted a number of boxes. Unfortunately, the effort, with paint provided by the Post Office was never followed up. But didn’t discourage Brian from continuing to do what he could for the neighborhood.

    Brian’s personal commitment to Brooklyn Heights made him an outstanding BHA board member who, over the years, made a practical difference in the the quality of life here. He will be very much missed.

  • ClaudeScales

    Do you have one? There’s none available through web search.

  • Loscalzo

    You know that scene in The Producers where Mostel and Wilder go to visit Dick Shawn’s character and they run into the building’s “con-see-urge”? The Queens neighborhood I grew up in was something like that.

    Seeing Brian on my way home from work or on the weekends, waving hello or stopping to talk– sometimes about the crazy stuff that happens on this blog — served as a reminder that real neighborhoods like that can still exist in New York City.

    He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

  • Andrew Porter

    Thanks for changing the heading: I was confused by a funeral in a restaurant. Brian was a really nice guy, and I am shocked to learn that he was younger than I am. With the new house coming next door and Brian gone, Cranberry Street is changing forever for me.

  • Still Here

    Many may not know this, but Brian was a major advocate for a skating rink in the BBP and while at the Park Conservancy he worked tireless creating renderings, plans, and financial analysis (he was a very practical guy) His dream was postponed by economics and other park priorities. I shall miss him. I hope that some day there will be the McGorry Rink in the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    I second that motion. Brian is included, with picture, in today’s NYTimes Obituary Section. Well deserved recognition for an extroadiinary individual.

  • Loscalzo
  • arild

    in fond memory of brian; this from late december; in character good spirits on cranberry street; in shorts temp approx -5F/-10C; fantastic landlord to us and neighbourhood at large; dear friend; good family man; from hauge family lesley, max, leo & arild