On this episode of HeyBK, we journey to South Brooklyn to one of the most famous places in the world – Coney Island. Ofer Cohen speaks with Dick Zigun, the “unelected mayor” of Coney Island, a playwright, a circus fanatic, and the creator and leader of the annual Mermaid Parade. Dick has spent decades advocating for this unique pocket of NYC and its great potential which has not come without its own course of challenges and interesting events.
In this episode of HeyBK, Ofer sits down with Susan Feldman, the Artistic Director of St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The program’s trajectory is closely linked with Brooklyn’s resurgence. St. Ann’s relationship with Brooklyn as a place and Real Estate as a business is a great model for activating neighborhoods while supporting the arts. Over 35 years later, and not without a struggle, St Ann’s moved to its permanent, very special home on the DUMBO waterfront.
HeyBK host Ofer Cohen speaks with Jared Della Valle & AJ Pires, the founders of Alloy, LLC, a DUMBO-based development and architecture firm. Jared and AJ explain how meeting through a mutual friend turned into a life-long friendship, successful business, and a true Brooklyn story. Their joint passion and ideas about responsible development, keen architecture, open lines of communication, and love for the neighborhood of DUMBO have played a key role in their accomplishments.
On this episode of HeyBK, Ofer speaks with Andrew Kimball, the CEO of Industry City. Since taking over in 2013, Andrew and his partners transformed the largest industrial complex in NYC into a renowned creativity and innovation hub. Andrew gives us the scoop on what it takes to run such a huge transformation project, how sometimes new opportunities take priority over initial strategic plans, the challenges of managing such a massive space, as well as many of the rewarding moments that come with such a demanding project.
Ofer sits down with Jed Walentas, the real estate developer behind the transformation of DUMBO, one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York City. In the mid-90’s, Jed became involved in his family business, Two Trees, and spearheaded the transformation of the area. In their conversation, Jed talks about growing up in a grittier NYC where DUMBO was not merely as exciting as it is today, discovering what it meant for his father to “own a neighborhood,” and about his own parenting experience.
In this episode, Ofer sits down with Karen Auster, a key force behind the new Brooklyn experience. During the past two decades, Karen’s Dumbo-based marketing firm, Auster Agency, has helped launch some of Brooklyn’s most exciting projects, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, 1 Hotel, the new Atlantic Antic and now Domino Park. Karen fell in love with Brooklyn after having an ice cream in Brooklyn Heights but it was her role as a mom that helped her find find her path.
Eran Chen, Founder of ODA Architecture, speaks with Ofer Cohen about his big dreams as a young student in Israel, to becoming one of NYC’s most renowned architects with an expanding international clientele. Beginning his career designing McDonald’s restaurants, to eventually starting O.P.E.N and creating a mega-museum of street art, he believed that he could bring new architectural perspective to Brooklyn.
Born and bred Brooklynite, Dave Maundrell, chats with Ofer Cohen about growing up in Williamsburg and witnessing, first-hand, the changes throughout Brooklyn over the last two decades. Dave has great respect for the history of the neighborhood. He’s watched it evolve from its industrial and gang-ridden past in the 70s and 80s, to an artist driven hub in the 90’s, and to what is now a vibrant artful, family-oriented and high-end residential haven.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams discusses his concerns, goals and vision for the ever-changing communities throughout Brooklyn. A born and bred Brooklynite, Eric Adams started his career as a police officer, serving 22 years on the force. He began his political career as a State Senator representing Brooklyn districts. To say Adams has experienced the transformation of Brooklyn first-hand would be an understatement.
Ever since he moved to Brownstone Brooklyn in the early 2000s, Jonathan Butler’s entrepreneurial projects have fostered a unique Brooklyn brand, which has since spread to other cities. He’s the creator of some of the borough’s most transformative projects, including 1000 Dean, and co-founder of the Brooklyn Flea and the food market Smorgasburg.
On the sixth episode of Hey BK, Ofer Cohen catches up with Jacqui Williams, a real estate lobbyist working on some of Brooklyn’s biggest projects. Jacqui lets us into her remarkable life story – from some dark moments in her past, to becoming a power player in some of the most important projects across the city.
Regina Myer is President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a local development corporation that is tasked with supporting Downtown Brooklyn’s emergence as a center for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, as well as a world-class cultural, education, residential destination. Regina moved to Brooklyn in 1991 and over the last two decades was instrumental in the growth and transformation of Brooklyn.
David Belt, Co-Founder and CEO of New Lab, speaks with Ofer Cohen about the path that led him to the aspirational real estate development work he is involved with, in the intersection of art, technology and architecture. From his early years touring with a punk rock band, through the idea of converting dumpsters into swimming pools, to creating the largest, advanced tech hub on the East Coast, David is a true example of how, and why, it is an inspiring time to be in Brooklyn.
Hey BK Host, Ofer Cohen, chats with Toby Moskovits, President of Heritage Equity Partners. Toby speaks about growing up in Brooklyn and how she was able to “beat the odds” to gain success and credibility in the commercial real estate industry. She also touches upon her interest in the Williamsburg and Bushwick markets, and what drives her to continue investing and developing in Brooklyn.
In 1986, MaryAnne Gilmartin graduated from university and was given an Urban Fellowship, an opportunity in NYC to experience public service before jumping into the private sector. It was here that Gilmartin realized her passion for real estate and development. Listen here to learn more about the leader behind some of NYC’s biggest development projects including the Barclays Center and Pacific Park.
David Kramer, President of the Hudson Companies, speaks with Ofer Cohen about his path to becoming a developer in New York City and more specifically, Brooklyn. Tune in to hear why David moved back to NYC from L.A. to follow his dream, how his team celebrates office victories, where in Brooklyn he grew up and more.