Greenpoint Gazette

Congratulations Commissioner Spiegel!

BY Jeff Mann

A huge crowd turned out at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday night to honor outgoing Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel who retired after 37 years on the job. Spiegel, who quipped during his speech that he was retiring during the prime of his life because he couldn’t remember the passwords (to his computer, blackberry, etc.), oversaw more than $1 billion in improvements to Brooklyn parks during his career. Members of the city council, state assembly, state senate, mayor’s office and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz presented Spiegel with plaques and spoke about his years of service to the borough. Assemblyman Lentol who presented Spiegel with a Proclamation on behalf of the Brooklyn Assembly delegation thanking him for his thirty years of service as Parks Commissioner for the Borough of Brooklyn. “I have worked with Julius for his entire tenure as Parks Commissioner and I am very grateful to have had the chance. He is a truly dedicated and hardworking individual, who loves parks. He is very good at his job and he is going to be a very hard act to follow,” said Lentol. “Julius has the ability to really build coalitions and get things done because he understands just how important open space is to people and how strongly people feel about their local parks and he understands the red tape and bureaucracy and how to cut through it. He is a public servant in the true, old school sense of the word. I respect him immensely,” Lentol added. “Commissioner Spiegel has always been an advocate for Brooklyn and I personally am very grateful to him for all of the work he has done to further our parks. He has especially made it a personal goal to bring the McCarren Pool back to life. I think we all owe him a debt of gratitude because that is currently under construction and on its way to being on the most outstanding structures Brooklyn Parks have to offer. We would not be where we are with regard to appreciating open space and advocating for open space here in Brooklyn if it were not for Julius Spiegel. I wish him all the luck in the world in his next adventure,” concluded Lentol. BP Markowitz released this statement on Spiegel’s retirement: “From the restoration of the Coney Island boardwalk to the overhaul of McCarren Park in Greenpoint, Julius Spiegel understands better than anyone that our borough’s parks and open spaces define the character of Brooklyn. Who else would have the foresight to open the city’s first dedicated cricket field, at Gateway Mall, knowing how important the sport is to many of Brooklyn’s communities? Who else would have seen so much potential in a vacant lot in East New York that has become Robert Venable Park? He may hail from Montreal and favor smoked meat, while I’m a Brooklyn boy who prefers pastrami, but I can you tell that everyone in Brooklyn agrees that because of Julius Spiegel, our parks make the rest of America ‘green’ with envy.”

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