Downtown Brooklyn

Thousands Of Bookworms Attended Annual Book Festival

September 24, 2012 Denise Romano
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Borough Hall was brimming with bibliophiles on Sunday, September 23 for the seventh annual Brooklyn Book Festival.

Little Carroll Gardens resident Henry Wolfe, 14 months, enjoys his Dr. Seuss book.

Readers of all ages got a chance to meet their favorite authors, including Carol Higgins Clark, Pete Hamill, Tony Danza, Dan Savage, Joyce Carol Oates and Gordon Korman.

On the main stage at Borough Hall Plaza, Borough President Marty Markowitz did a candid interview with Tony Danza, discussing his new book, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as Rookie Teacher at Northeast High, which chronicles the year-long break he took from acting to teach in the Philadelphia school system. Danza shared anecdotes from his book and openly discussed topics such as charter schools, standardized testing and new technology.

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Thousands of bookworms filled Borough Hall Plaza for the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Born and raised in Cypress Hills, Danza’s dad was a sanitation worker. He said that he grew up poor and never realized it, but kids growing up today have more unfortunate circumstances.

“Every day they have their noses rubbed in it,” Danza contended, adding that the wealth disparity in the city is alarming to him.  “It’s not like it was when I was a kid. We could goof around in high school, or barely graduate, and could get a good job in an assembly line…earn enough money to raise a family and be middle class.”

Markowitz asked Danza how he felt about the current trend of “demonizing” teachers.

“Every day, teachers and unions are demonized,” Danza said, calling himself a “union guy” who has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for 34 years.

“Get into a classroom for a year and see what it feels like,” he went on. “When I used to get in trouble in school, I got in trouble at home. But today if that happens…[parents] don’t give you the benefit of the doubt. Teaching is a noble profession.”

When asked about if charter schools should make uniforms mandatory, Danza had a loaded response. “Kids moaned and hated them [school uniforms], but it all worked out in the end,” he said.

But Danza did not have kind words for charter schools. “Isn’t it kinda like education for profit?” he commented. “If charter schools were so great, we would not be having this conversation. Once you start worrying about profit, you forget about the kids.”


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