Remembers Nelson Mandela, thanks supporters
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In below-freezing temperatures Tuesday night, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz presided over his last Borough Hall Christmas tree lighting in a ceremony filled with steel pan music, kids and warm memories. The lighting was dedicated to Nelson Mandela.
Markowitz thanked his staff and supporters for standing by his side throughout his tenure, and pointed to the borough’s incoming officials as proof of the multicultural future of Brooklyn.
“We are blessed to live in Nelson Mandela’s time,” Markowitz told the crowd assembled in the whipping wind outside Borough Hall. The fact that the incoming Brooklyn Borough President, Brooklyn District Attorney and NYC Public Advocate are African-American, and that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio belongs to a famously mixed-race family, “indicates all that Nelson Mandela gave his life for,” Markowitz said.
Brooklyn’s borough president-elect is Eric Adams; Kenneth Thompson has been elected D.A.; and Letitia James is the incoming NYC public advocate.
Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey linked the tree lighting to Nelson Mandell’s “ability to bring light to issues and demand change.”
After a countdown, Boerum Hill resident Jazhara Crawford, age 9, pulled the giant switch that lit up the festively-decorated 40-foot evergreen, and everyone swarmed into Borough Hall to meet Santa, a giant snowman and a big, brown gingerbread man. Kids got to pick a toy from the present table.
The 84th Precinct’s Captain Maximo Tolentino told the Brooklyn Eagle that Brooklyn “does the holidays” better than anywhere else in the city. “You get a sense of a small town feeling in a large metropolitan area.”
“There’s no one like Marty,” said one admirer. “He brought everyone together.”
The event’s music was provided by the Sesame Flyers.