Brooklyn Boro

Hey, DNC: Brooklyn is the place to be

Eye On Real Estate: For the 2016 Democratic Convention, of course

February 10, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Here are Barclays Center and the surrounding streets, laid out nicely on a map. Attention DNC: This is the place to be. Image courtesy of
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Goodbye, Columbus.

(Readers in our age group remember that 1969 movie with the incomparable Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin.)

Farewell, Philly too.

Hey, Democratic National Committee members: If you want delegates to have a terrific time at the July 2016 convention, forget about those other two finalists and choose Brooklyn as your venue.

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We lived in southern Ohio. So trust us on this: Columbus is an exciting place when Ohio State’s football team has a home game. The rest of the time it is not, except possibly for folks taking a day off from their farms in Muskingum County.

And we’d never trash-talk a city where you can find both the Liberty Bell and a statue of Rocky Balboa. But Barclays Center and its surrounding streets would be a waaay more fun site for your presidential nomination shindig than the City of Brotherly Love.

In making your selection, you have requirements to consider like safety and security, logistics and the host city’s fund-raising abilities. Brooklyn can deliver on all of those.

But beyond that, B’KLYN’s the best place to throw yourselves a Grand Old Party (sorry, we couldn’t resist the pun, though it’s the wrong political party).


By this time, surely, our host committee has told you all about our popular new arena. So instead we’ll give you the lay of the land — or more specifically, the streets — within walking distance of Barclays.

You could stage after-parties at jaw-dropping landmarks like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, which has an events venue called Skylight One Hanson.

For their spare moments, your delegates could pick and choose from a dazzling array of places to eat, drink and shop — places with personality — or just walk around and enjoy a good look at our stellar real estate.

Merchants on the nearby streets would be happy to welcome you.

“Tell the Democrats the elephant is only on that wall because it’s a safari,” quipped a worker at LuLu’s For Baby at 44 Fifth Ave. in Park Slope, pointing out a pachyderm included in an artful display of toys.

Park Slope is a real Democrats’ neighborhood. The elephants you will find in its toy shops are winsome playthings, not symbols of the Republican Party.

Women who want to buy chic clothes that don’t cost a gazillion dollars can head for Flirt at 93 Fifth Ave. or Goldy + Mac at 219 Fifth Ave., to name just two options.

Workers at Goorin Bros., a hat maker that has been in business since 1895, said they would be pleased to have convention-goers stop by the shop at 195B Fifth Ave. By the way, we noticed that some of the finely crafted hats it stocks are bonny shades of blue — just like the blue states your party dominates.

Speaking of true blue, if your delegates wish to do some strolling, send them to Prospect Place in Park Slope. One of the prettiest rowhouses on that street is the party’s favorite color. And if they cross Flatbush Avenue into Prospect Heights, they will find eye-pleasing brownstones on Prospect Place, Carlton Avenue and other nearby streets.  

If you choose our borough as your convention venue, we expect to see a long-term pay-off.

“It would be huge,” predicted James Famularo, senior director of the retail leasing division of Eastern Consolidated.  

Short-term, hosting the convention would bring money and cachet to our borough. Long-term, it would pave the way for other big conventions and shows to come to Barclays Center, he said.

That would cause an increase in property values and bring an influx of spending to the area and an uptick in hotel construction, he added.

Famularo, who was born in Bergen Beach and grew up in Sheepshead Bay, was at the arena recently for a Nets basketball game.

“I was looking around and saying, ‘Is this really Brooklyn?’ It has changed so drastically,” he recalled.


You probably already know this: Brooklyn is a foodies’ haven. If we made a list of all the nifty noshing (and drinking) places on the blocks surrounding Barclays, it would fill a book.

We’ll start with the really important stuff: Dessert. One great place to get it is The Chocolate Room at 51 Fifth Ave. in Park Slope, which serves big, beautiful brownie sundaes. We tried one the other day to make sure it’s worthy of delegates’ discerning palates. It gets our vote.

Since Democrats do not live by dessert alone, also keep Park Slope’s much-admired restaurant al di la at 248 Fifth Ave. in mind. Don’t be put off because celebrities eat there. The ones who live in our borough go about their lives without fuss or fanfare.

Down the street from al di la, Calexico at 278 Fifth Ave. dishes up dandy tacos. The noodles at Naruto Ramen at 276 Fifth Ave. are crave-worthy. The roll call of fun places to eat could go on and on.

At Flatbush Farm at 76 St. Marks Ave., locally sourced produce and meats are the focus.

At 460 Bergen St. — on a block where landlord Michael Pintchik has assembled a lineup of very cool retail and restaurant tenants — Sun In Bloom is a gluten-free, vegan and raw food kitchen.

By way of culinary contrast, its nearby neighbors include the Shake Shack at 170 Flatbush Ave., which makes très tasty burgers and fries, and the Doughnut Plant at 245 Flatbush Ave. in Prospect Heights, which sells superb square doughnuts.

So, Dem decision-makers, you’ve got Mayor De Blasio’s number. Spare us the suspense. Call him and Just Say Yes.


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