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.