The year 2015 was a doozy! I think we can all agree that as far as news, the antics and soundbites of Donald Trump and the presidential race dominated national headlines, peppered with tragic stories of police profiling, mass killings, prison fugitives and terrorist attacks on top. But there were also some things to celebrate: After more than a decade of misfires, the leaders of more than a hundred nations finally reached a sweeping climate deal to halt the worst of greenhouse gas-induced warming; the Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex marriage; and the entire nation of Liberia was ruled Ebola free!
In Central and East Brooklyn, we felt that reverberations of what was happening nationally. But we also had our own very local and unique news as well! To follow is a list of the top-10 stories of 2015. Not all of these stories were either triumphs or tragedies, but rather, they are the stories whose headlines had the greatest reach!
If you didn’t happened to catch some of these when they were first published, here is a look back! If you did have the fortune to read them before, reread and then share them with others!
#10 Video: Two Dead, Two Injured in Tuesday Night Fire on Hancock St A fire on on Hancock Street in Bed-Stuy left two people dead, two injured, and an entire block reeling from the reasons why they suspected it was started…
#9 Why Does Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hello Brooklyn’ Campaign Video Make Brooklyn Look So… Non-Diverse? Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton posted a video to her Facebook page about her excitement around setting up campaign digs in Brooklyn! But it quickly got under the skin of a lot of Brooklynites who noted the video’s lack of diversity. It made Brooklyn look really white. Considering Brooklyn is 35 percent black, 20 percent Latino, and 11 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one author noted, “What about the rest of Brooklyn?” Was it an innocent oversight and, really, no big deal?
#8 Brooklyn Gets Misty-fied Over World-Class Ballerina Men and women, young and old, from every background and across all boroughs packed into Restoration’s Skylight Gallery in February last year for a glimpse at Misty Copeland, the third African-American soloist ballet dancer and the first in two decades to dance for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). She was in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for a book-signing of her latest memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.”
#7 The Glory of Empire’s Lucious Lyon and the Pain of ALS At the height of the television show “Empire,” the show’s main protagonist Lucious Lyon was diagnosed with the devastating ALS disease. ALS which stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease and for years was more commonly know as “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” after the famous New York Yankee from the 1920s and 1930s who succumbed to the disease.
Other notables such as Jacob Javits, former NY US Senator in the 1950s; and Jon Stone, the creator of Seasame Street, also died as a result of ALS. Last year, a younger generation became familiar with ALS when celebrities participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge on social media to raise money for ALS research. Viewers watched closely to see what would become of Lyons and this debilitating, life-threatening disease.
#6 The Amazing Story of Nathaniel Mary Quinn and the Day he Decided to be Free! On December 22, 2015, the Brooklyn Reader re-published the most popular story of 2014, and guess what? It rose to popularity again. If you haven’t read this, you should. It’s an inspiring story of inspiration and freedom! Two years ago, Nathanial Mary Quinn, 38, discovered his freedom, which then led to the birth of “Charles.” And there’s no doubt in Quinn’s mind that it was only after the birth of “Charles.” Since “Charles,” Quinn has gone from virtual obscurity, to become one of the most sought after artists in New York City, represented by one of the most reputable galleries in the world! Read why.
#5 Report: 2 Central Brooklyn High Schools Rank in NY’s Top 100 Niche.com released its 2016 list of the best public high schools in the country, and schools in New York, New Jersey and Illinois made a strong showing, with 23 New York City schools and two Central Brooklyn high schools ranked among the top 100 in New York state. Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene ranked number 24 in the state and number 100 nationwide. Brooklyn Latin School in East Williamsburg ranked number 43 statewide. Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences in Manhattan Beach ranked number 72 statewide. And Bedford Academy High School in Bed-Stuy ranked number 75 statewide.
#4 Brooklyn hipsters fight school de-segregation: They ‘aren’t racists’ — ‘they just don’t want to be in a ghetto’ More than 100 parents showed up in September to oppose a proposed rezoning plan that would desegregate two public elementary schools in Brooklyn Heights. The rezoning plan would push upper-middle-class white families from an overcrowded public school that serves the Dumbo and Vinegar Hill neighborhoods to an under-capacity elementary school that currently serves black families who live in the city-run Farragut Houses, reported the New York Times.
#3 Did Someone Say Free Membership to 40 Major NYC Cultural Institutions and Museums? Yes! Here’s How! Our city is known for its world-class museums and cultural institutions. That’s why when The Brooklyn Reader published a story about the ID-NYC giving local residents a free one-year memberships to 33 New York City major institutions, including the New York Botanical Garden and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (That’s literally thousands of dollars in savings for one person and the rare opportunity to go on a literal museum), the crowds went crazy!
#2 Beloved Brooklyn Writer, Brook Stephenson, Passes Suddenly On August 9, 2015, Brooklyn resident Brook Stephenson collapsed and passed away suddenly while attending a friend’s wedding reception. The sudden death sent shock waves throughout Central Brooklyn and beyond, as Stephenson, a writer, was revered amongst all who knew him as a source of light– a man who was passionate about his work and even more passionate about art, music and life!
#1 Report: Nearly 50,000 East New York Residents Will Face Displacement with City’s Rezoning Plan The biggest story of the year by far had to do with the dwindling affordable housing options in New York City. The Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York– already deemed the next new target for mass development (read: gentrification)– is first up on the mayor’s list for rezoning for affordable housing. However, according to a report released today by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, these so-called affordable units (at around $1,300/mo), by the City’s own standards would be too expensive for 55 percent of the neighborhood’s current residents.