Brooklyn-born comedian Joy Behar, Host of ‘The View’, inducted at BBG’s celebrity ‘Walk of Fame’ ceremony
BP Adams Helped Relaunch ‘Welcome Back to Brooklyn’
Last weekend brought together many old friends that have worked for nearly half a century to bring notable Brooklynites home. Celebrities and notable figures in sports and public life with strong Brooklyn roots returned to their native borough to take a spot of tribute in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s (BBG) “Walkway of Fame.” This year’s inductee to BBG’s Celebrity Path was Joy Behar, a Williamsburg native.
Past recipients have included Jackie Robinson, Neil Diamond, Danny Kaye, Mary Tyler Moore, Lou Gossett Jr., Mae West, Jimmy Smits, Eubie Blake, Rosie Perez, Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen, Martha Raye, Lainie Kazan and Connie Stevens (just to name a few).
Speaking at the ceremony last weekend was former Chairman of Brooklyn Union Gas Company Bob Catell, one of the original sponsors of “Welcome Back to Brooklyn.” He paid tribute to Lou and Fran Zigman, who have acted as producers of countless programs saluting celebrities with Brooklyn roots, both in their current home, Los Angeles, and in New York City. Lou Zigman, a nationally known labor arbitrator in California, graduated from Lincoln High School. The Zigmans’ ability to garner celebrity participation in Brooklyn booster events has brought together a wide variety of celebrated comedians and singers who have Brooklyn roots — and memories.
Working with Catell and former Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden, the Zigmans succeeded in getting huge stars and former Brooklyn Dodgers to return to Brooklyn for celebratory events, remembering and cherishing their roots.
Today, the current borough president, Eric Adams, is discovering the rich treasure trove of Brooklyn memories and devotion that still lives in the hearts and minds of sports and business figures and stars such as Elliott Gould (recently profiled by the Brooklyn Eagle).
On June 26, Adams, along with a host of Brooklynites, international and domestic cultural enthusiasts kicked off the inaugural Central Brooklyn Arts & Cultural Walk (CBACW). Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Museum served as the official campuses for this festive affair that helped celebrate the official launch of One Brooklyn Fund, Inc. (OBFI), the borough of Brooklyn’s very own charitable arm.
In partnership with key sponsors NYC & Co., Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, WBLS FM, the New York Daily News, WPIX, ABC7 AND News 12, the famed Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch located at Grand Army Plaza served as the official staging area for the family-friendly CBACW. Activities included live entertainment by the cast of “Motown the Musical,” Dwana Smallwood Performance Arts Center’s dancers, conscious rapper Path P, legendary Broadway actress Ebony Jo-Ann, Brooklyn Dance Festival dancers, Cumbe Dance Ensemble and countless others.
Other activities include the Brooklyn Public Library’s 75th Anniversary celebration, which featured live entertainment and family-friendly activities in the plaza area. Brooklyn Botanic Garden rolled out its kid-friendly Discovery Garden workshop and the Brooklyn Museum provided arts and crafts for all ages in the plaza area. CBACW also unveiled its annual Children’s Village, which included the BK Chill Ice Cream Social. The event matched children with senior citizens around a tasty treat. The NYC Department for the Aging and many health care providers supported the effort. This all-day affair also included family-friendly workshops, demonstrations, health screenings and numerous treats from an array of food truck vendors along Eastern Parkway.
The CBACW ended on a high note as supporters and dignitaries came together for OBFI’s Welcome Back to Brooklyn Fundraising Dinner. This festive affair was sponsored by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and Black Hawk Imports featured its exclusive Vintale wine imported from South Africa. It took place in Prospect Park and featured a moonlit barbeque surrounded by a cabana setting.
Established in 2015 by Borough President Adams, OBFI serves as the official nonprofit organization affiliated with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President. OBFI seeks to build engagement and collaboration among Brooklyn’s diverse communities through services, programs and events while connecting people, fostering partnerships and providing resources to facilitate a healthy and secure future for the borough. At the same time, OBFI promotes the culture of “One Brooklyn” as it encourages civic pride and enhances the lives of all Brooklynites.
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