Generally Speaking: New Beep does countdown to New Year at Prospect Park

January 8, 2014 Theodore W. General
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It was a frigid night on New Year’s Eve, but we were bundled up at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park as we joined new Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams ring in the New Year along with at least 5,000 revelersas he counted down to midnight and cheered the arrival of 2014.

Minutes earlier, while still Brooklyn borough chief, Marty Markowitz introduced his successor inthe post he has held for three terms, totaling 12 years. Alsopresent for the hand-offand to applaud and congratulate the new beep were Marty’s wife JamieDiana ReynaBernie Graham, Kings County Democratic Chair Frank Seddio and President of the Prospect Park Alliance Emily Lloyd, a former New York City DEP Commissioner. Adams took the occasion to say that next year Brooklyn will have its own New Year’s Eve ball drop!

At the stroke of midnight, the dark wintry skies over Prospect Park and the surrounding area were lit up with a terrific barrage of fireworks. Additionally, New Year’s revelers were treated to free hot chocolate and champagne.


A virtual bouquet of roses and congratulations to Brooklyn’s new Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, a longtime member of the Brooklyn delegation of the City Council who was the first Dominican-American female to serve on the Council, and who is now the first Hispanic to serve as Deputy Brooklyn borough president. Reyna’s husband is a NYPD sergeant.


We were especially pleased to see Mayor Bill de Blasiotap two fellowprominentBrooklynites, Rabbi Joseph Postasnik and Monsignor Robert Romanoto deliver invocations at his inaugural on New Year’s Day.

Romano, who wore his NYPD uniform, is the deputy chief of chaplains, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Bensonhurst, and a Knights of Columbus chaplain.

Postasnik,who wore his FDNYblues, is a veteran Fire Department chaplain andis the senior rabbiofCongregation Mount Sinaiin Brooklyn Heights, as well as a Sunday radio talk show host on WABC radio. He is also executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

During their prayers, both offered words of encouragement for the new administration that were refreshing, inspirational and uplifting.


One of the hottest tickets in town for local area civic activists and community leaders is for the Bay Ridge Community Council’s annual luncheon, on Saturday, February 1, at the Bay Ridge Manor.

This auspicious event honors the presidents and heads of several organizations affiliated with the council. It also includes past council presidents, civic award winners, and members of the fourth estate, military, police, education and fire department representatives. However, it is by invitation only.

This year’s bash is being chaired by current council Executive Secretary Robert KassenbrockWalter and Vincent Kassenbrock who founded the council back in 1951.


Among the hundreds of New Year’s Day bathers who braved the sub-freezing waters of the Atlantic at Coney Island for the annual Polar Bear Club plunge were Bay Ridgeites James QuigleyTom McCarthy and Larry Stelter.

Stelter, an architect with the New York City Buildings Department is also a longtime member of Community Board 10. He is also the past vice president of the Bay Ridge Historical Society and is currently serving as one of their trustees. McCarthy, a banking executive, is a past president of the Cathedral Club and former GOP candidate for the New York State Assembly. Larry told me he has been doing Sunday afternoon dips during the winter since 1998.

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club was founded in 1903 by Bernarr Macfadden. One of the first jobs I had was with Macfadden Publications, across the street from the old Daily News Building on 42nd Street. While working there, I was told by older employees he would hold lunch hour calisthenics sessions on the roof of the building which held his offices.

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