Common Sense: Week of December 13


I recently was given a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard conducted by Andrew Kimball the President of the Industrial Park Corporation. They do amazing work to expand, attract and keep tenants that range from one of the world’s largest movie studios to a 20-acre dry dock operation and all sorts of specialized manufacturers. There is even a company that has quadrupled in size in the past 10 years that makes all sorts of Kevlar body armor products.

Literally tens of thousands of people work at the 300-acre site which is in the midst of an expansion onto property that had been retained by the federal government or had been in limbo for a variety of reasons. With the expansion, the Steiners of Steiner Studios, in cooperation with several universities and high tech specialty media groups, will have created a virtual media empire in Brooklyn that will rival anything in the world.

A more current success story involved the response of the Navy Yard to Superstorm Sandy. It did not get much attention, but not surprisingly, the Navy Yard was under four feet of water or more that Monday night around 8 p.m. Many of its businesses could have been in serious trouble.

Fortunately, Andrew Kimball’s team, working closely with the tenants who did a great job in pulling together, were able to relocate in many cases to other space on the grounds. And the Yard had the foresight to have adequate generators and other equipment in place to get everything up and running. For the most part, few businesses were out more than a few days.

The Navy Yard is one of the few positive business stories that came out of Sandy.

Since last year, public tours have been offered of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I recommend it for anyone who loves history as well as an appreciation of successful urban planning.


The Dyker Heights Christmas lights are out in full display. And, in my opinion, there are more houses decked out than ever. It is just a wonderful place to visit, with many houses having large figurines that move, music and special displays. One family each year brings in characters to give candy out to children. It is their way of celebrating this very holy season.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to see the neighborhood. The largest displays are from 10th to 12th Avenues from 82nd to 85th Streets. It can get very busy on weekends, so I would recommend you try to go on a weeknight. Park your car and walk it. You will enjoy it better, see more, and not get stuck in a traffic jam.


Before you visit the lights in Dyker Heights, it would be great to do some of your holiday shopping in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights. The various avenues and 86th Street have an incredible variety of shops. There are great bargains and you will save on the tolls that come with shopping on Staten Island or New Jersey.

Shopping locally is important for another reason. Many retailers do as much as 25 percent of their annual sales during the Christmas season. A good Christmas season can be the difference between growing or closing. It was not that many years ago that many Bay Ridge businesses were closing as a result of poor sales with store after store becoming vacant. This becomes one of the first signs of a declining community.

We must keep our local business community strong. Shopping locally is a great way.

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