KCP’s Top 20 Stories of 2020

So long, farewell, to you 2020. May we never meet again, she sings quite loudly. 

I think we can all collectively agree that most of this year has been an absolute dumpster fire. It’s pushed us as a society to a level of discomfort physically and philosophically that can only lead to radical change, I hope, otherwise what even was the point. I feel like I’ve seen so many people in this city in the grips of a fevered passion for one cause or another, probably indiscernible from the coronavirus bogeyman fever. I’m at once inspired and fearful because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that 2021 will not be a cakewalk.  

So to honor every laugh, scream, and tear, KCP’s running down the Top 20 stories our readers either enjoyed or raged over.

1. Eight Bodies Left Several Days In Crown Heights Nursing Home

The corpses of eight elderly people were reportedly left for days in a nursing home on the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Northern Crown Heights border before the city finally picked them up in April, according to local Bed-Stuy sources. KCP received calls from several reputable neighborhood sources about the dead being left to decompose at the Crown Heights Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation (CHC), 810 St. Marks Avenue.

2. Concerns Mount That Plastic Bag Ban Could Help Spread Coronavirus

The plastic bag ban was set to become law, but during the peak of COVID, new studies showed that recyclable bags might endanger people’s health and maybe spread the formidable coronavirus in February. 

3. City Leaders Battle Against Coronavirus Becomes Personal

In Brooklyn, over a dozen zip codes had more than 300 positive COVID-19 cases in the beginning of the outbreak. The most high profile elected official directly impacted by COVID-19 in New York City is City Comptroller Scott Stringer who announced that his mother succumbed to the virus in April.

4. Interview: NYC DSA Co-Chair Sumathy Kumar

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates cleaned up in elections, starting with the upset election of DSA Member U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens, Bronx) over former U.S. Rep. and Queens Democratic Party Chair Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic primary. This winning streak included Brooklyn Democratic Primary wins for DSA Candidates Jabari Brisport in the 25th State Senate District, Phara Souffrant Forrest in the 57th Assembly District and Marcela Mitaynes in 51st Assembly District in August.

5. Cumbo Comes Through Brisport’s Block

City Council Majority Leader and Councilwoman Laurie A. Cumbo (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant) convened a peaceful rally in June in front of her opponent’s apartment. The face-off was in response to Brisport and about 200 people protesting outside her home about police budget cuts the week prior.

6. Political & Real Estate Gentrification Rears Head In Bed-Stuy

Assemblymember Tremaine Wright (D-Bed-Stuy, Northern Crown Heights), who is running for the vacant 25th Senatorial District seat including Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Gowanus, and Park Slope, attributes the skyrocketing home prices in Bed-Stuy to outside investors buying homes with the intention of immediately reselling for a higher price in March.

7. In Defense of Frank Seddio & Old School Politics

As far as flawed heroes go you can’t get any better than former Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio in his battle against the many-headed serpent of current progressive politics. Seddio’s latest scrape was with Park Slope Democratic District Leader and City Council Candidate Doug Schneider in December.

8. Dozens of Bodies Found in Front of Flatlands Funeral Home

Dozens of decomposing bodies in two U-Haul Trucks emitting noxious odors along Utica Avenue were discovered outside a Flatlands funeral home at the end of April. State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Flatlands, Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Ocean Hill) said she was alerted of the grisly scene in the morning by constituents who called her district office complaining of a foul odor and fluids coming out of the two rental trucks outside the Andrew T. Cleckley’s Funeral Home, 2037A Utica Avenue.

9. Brooklyn’s Lawmakers Demand Police Reform

It was another hot day, and the borough’s downtown area was packed with people speaking out against police and social brutality this summer.

State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D 20th- Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, and Sunset Park) and Assemblymember Diana Richardson (D 43rd-Crown Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and Flatbush) rallied members of the community, advocates, members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and it’s chair Assemblymember Tremaine Wright (D-56, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Northern Crown Heights), and other city council officials for a massive gathering in support of legislative police reform in June.

10. Brooklyn Hospital Center files $1 billion modernization plan with the city

The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene announced that it filed a preliminary application with the city for a $1 billion plan to modernize and renovate its campus in September. This plan, which will undergo public review by the city, would create a new cancer center, ambulatory surgery center and outpatient diagnostic center, as well as expand the emergency room, maternity ward, cardiac center and breast cancer center at the hospital’s 121 DeKalb Avenue location.

11. Property Owners Blindsided by City Gas Inspections

Brooklyn property owners may be slapped with fines they can’t afford at the end of the year and community leaders are upset that in a turbulent COVID pandemic year, the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has seemingly forgotten to inform the neighborhoods about mandated inspections of gas pipes or Local Law 152 (LL152) of 2016. In November Community Board 3 Chairperson Richard Flateau and District Manager Henry Butler were requesting a postponement of the initial inspections.

12. Industry City pulls plug on rezoning

Industry City in September announced they withdrew their rezoning proposal on Sunset Park waterfront property.

13. Zinerman Makes Her Run For Assembly Official

Thunderous applause followed Stefani Zinerman’s announcement in February at The Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights that she was throwing her hat into the 56th Assembly District Primary race which she ended up winning.

14. Salmon, Wright Pick Up Endorsements In Open Senate Race

Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Brooklyn) and Jason Salmon each picked up solid endorsements in May in their Democratic Primary race to succeed retiring State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery in the 25th Senate district.

15.Brooklyn First Confirmed Case of the Coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that there are two new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city and one of the cases is an 80-year-old woman in Brooklyn back in March.

16. Tischler Defends Himself to KCP

Orthodox agitator Heshy Tischler, who was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for unlawful imprisonment and inciting a riot in connection with the assault of respected Orthodox Jewish Journalist Jacob Kornbluh, was eventually released in October.

17. Cornegy Steps Down as District Leader, Butler Replaces Him

The Executive Committee of the Brooklyn Democratic Committee voted to appoint lifelong Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, President of the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA) and District Manager of Community Board 3, Henry Butler to the position of Male Democratic State Committee Member, commonly known as the district leader, in April.

18.East Flatbush Grocery Run Dodges Coronavirus

Weekly East Flatbush Journal talks about life during coronavirus lockdown this year.

19. The Art of White Privilege

Most mainstream Black-Americans are as steeped in the legacy and history of black empowerment as they are of the sins and aftermath of American slavery. As such, they accept the alliance but also cast a wary eye on those progressive white people, who in examining their white privilege, have a history of usurping black empowerment. 

This was the main point behind City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo’s (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) rally in June.20.

20. Protestors flood Bklyn after cops not indicted in Breonna Taylor death

A deluge of peaceful demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Brooklyn and midtown Manhattan in September after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the grand jury decided not to indict Louisville officers on criminal charges for the shooting death of 26-year-old EMT worker Breonna Taylor. 

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