Charles F. Otey Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The BBA dinner evening was memorable for the elegance of new Appellate Division Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix, who introduced honoree Justice Sylvia Ash; the chic presentation of speaker par excellence Hon Barry Kamins, administrative judge for Criminal Matters in Kings County, who highlighted the many contributions of Past President Allen Lashley; and the candid comments of Appellate Division Justice Reinaldo E. Rivera, as he reminded all of the public service of honoree Andrew Fisher and the vital role the Fisher family has played in the Kings legal community going back 70 years.
His late dad Harold was chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and brother Ken – there that night at the dinner to honor his brother -- served two notable terms in the City Council.
Since this was a really big party, I toured the huge BBA room with Eagle Executive Mark Hibsher who noted, "I never saw a dais that big!" I replied using a quote from a retired Kings Justice who told me that "You don’t put presiding justices and honorees out there in the audience. They’re accustomed to sitting up on the bench."
Our joint venture revealed that some of the city and state’s leading jurists and barristers were enjoying the repast, including retired Appellate Division Presiding Justice William Thompson, Associate Appellate Division Justice Robert Miller, Justice Donald Scott Kurtz, Justice Lawrence Knipel, Justice Deborah Silver, Justice Mark Partnow, Judge Peter Sweeney, Justice Gerard Rosenberg (ret) and Justice Jules Spodek (ret).
We managed to chat briefly with many among the elite yet intimate crowd of five hundred such as Justice Marsha Steinhardt and husband Jeff Feldman — who helped found and operate the Kings County American Inn of Court, headed this year by President Marc Dittenhoefer with wife Helene Blank (a past Inn president), the fabled Bonina “kids” -- Hon Beth, Andrea and John Jr. (probably the best active basketball player there); immediate Past Inn president Rosario Marquis D’Apice, the noted trial lawyer.
Marc and I then chatted with attorney Debra Scotto (stunning and statuesque like her mom who, like this writer, originated in Pittsburgh, Pa.) with her Dad Salvatore " Buddy" Scotto who is (was?) a Republican but nevertheless a key, longtime Carroll Gardens ally of the aforementioned Bari Democratic Club.
Buddy Scotto has led many progressive efforts and was at the forefront of cleaning up the Gowanus Canal long before late-comers embraced Superfunding the odiferous stream. Despite its long-standing reputation of being a dumping ground for toxic elements and perhaps some gangland victims, the contiguous area has been named by the designation of the new, heretofore non-existent community of Gowanus.
Okay! People lived there but no one would say (or admit) they were from Gowanus. Go figure! Imaginative realtors did -- and rental prices there have skyrocketed.