At the BHA's most recent Annual Meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, held at St. Francis College’ s Founders Hall, WNET Channel 13 Announcer Tom Stewart presented the BHA's Awards for Outstanding Community Service. This year there were four award recipients:
Business of the Year Award
Owner, Henry's End Restaurant
We missed Henry's End's 40th anniversary in 2013, but it is never too late to recognize a restaurant that has long been a favorite in our neighborhood.It is known for its wild game menu, its wonderful food, its superb wine menu, its cozy and informal setting, and its impeccable quality of service, all of which beckon the newcomer and the regular patron alike with the promise of a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.
Owner Mark Lahm has been central in making Henry's End special. He warmly welcomes all at the door and knows the names of many of his regular customers. This year's Business of the Year Award goes to Mark, who has owned Henry's End for 30 years, for his contribution to Brooklyn Heights' character, cuisine, and cordiality. We tip our glass to Mark and to Henry's End and wish them both many more years of serving the Heights community through providing such an outstanding dining experience.
Outstanding Community Service Award
Founder and President, Cadman Park Conservancy
Toba Potosky knew a lot about Cadman Park, as a user of the park, as an immediate neighbor, and as the President of the Board of Cadman Towers, which sits across the street. He was also very aware of the many complaints about the park and about its lack of care, and he wondered, too, about the closed War Memorial building at its center.
But Toba is not one to just sit back and complain. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Cadman Park Conservancy, a nonprofit that raises support for the park's maintenance and restoration and has created an appealing vision for its future. Under his leadership, the Conservancy has attracted hundreds of volunteers over the past three years to remove trash and leaves, plant 3,000 tulip bulbs, and do the unglamorous work of weeding, painting, and sweeping. The Conservancy has initiated movie nights and special events in the park. His advocacy has led to the commitment of public funds to upgrade the park's facilities and attracted the initial capital to restore the War Memorial as a resource for the community. The Conservancy's vision has yet to be fully realized, but Toba is the person to make it happen.
Good Neighbor Award
Robert Sage and Marilyn Brainin
Board Members, Whitman Owner Corporation
Brooklyn is changing before our very eyes. Our once low-rise borough has been the focus of rampant construction over the past decade. The high-rise towers that have sprouted up around us have reshaped Brooklyn's skyline, congested our streets and schools, and forever changed the character of our neighborhoods. These changes have been driven by forces that are seemingly outside the control of city residents.
The recent experience of the owners of 75 Henry Street appeared at first to be an example of a real estate transaction leading to another high-rise residential tower, this time a 40-story luxury coop built on land occupied by Pineapple Walk. But the story had a very different conclusion because of the Whitman Owner Corporation, the board that controls the property, and the 374 shareholders that comprise the co-op. In a process that extended over several months, they debated the merits of an offer that grew from $75 million to $130 million and would have greatly affected the financial wellbeing of the co-op and its individual shareholders. Above all, they listened to the concerns of their neighbors –both those in their building and throughout Brooklyn Heights– and rejected the offer. This award to the board and residents of 75 Henry Street is given in recognition of their true community spirit, which has richly benefitted the neighborhood.
Martha Atwater Award for Outstanding Community Activism
Founder of Save the View Now
This last award goes to someone who boldly undertook the ongoing fight to protect the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Harbor from the Promenade, a beloved treasure of Brooklyn Heights and an attraction known around the world. Steve Guterman is the founder and the moving force behind Save the View Now and he has best embodied the heart and soul of our community this past year.
His efforts have attracted over 7,000 supporters and galvanized the support of our elected officials. Steve has let our government know that we will not stand idly by while its representatives breach commitments they made to preserve the views from the Promenade and violate our zoning laws. Ironically, 2015 was the 50th anniversary of Brooklyn Heights' designation as New York City's first historic district, which set a precedent for the preservation of our community and many others. For this reason, it is particularly fitting that the BHA acknowledge and thank Steve for reinvigorating the neighborhood's preservation fervor by bestowing on him the BHA's highest honor, the Martha Atwater Award. With the support of Martha's family, it was named after the BHA’ s late board member, who was a tireless supporter of the BHA and the community. In particular, she viewed these Community Service Awards as a way to recognize those who contribute most to our neighborhood, to recognize our "local heroes".