The Bay Improvement Group boogied down and gave props up last Thursday night at their annual Oscars gala, when it celebrated a pack of heroes who went above and beyond to help neighbors during Superstorm Sandy.
Bay Improvement Group members, neighbors and friends of the award recipients packed into Il Fornetto Restaurant (2902 Emmons Avenue) to bestow the unique award, a golden trophy that sports the iconic Oscar figure alongside a fish, in a nod to the neighborhood character.
The group honored Missy Haggerty, Bill Goeller and Peter McCandless, the quick-thinking residents of the bungalow-lined Lake Avenue who risked their lives to guide 60 neighbors on the block out of the submerged alley and into a nearby condo building, a story first told on Sheepshead Bites.
Awards were also doled out to members of the 61st Precinct and FDNY Ladder Company 161’s Lieutenant Edward Gonzalez, who served, protected and saved the lives of neighbors around Southern Brooklyn during the late-October disaster.
In a first-ever, BIG unveiled the BIG Community Medal of Honor, giving it to State Senator Marty Golden aide Anthony Testaverde, who spent long hours in the neighborhood in the weeks after Sandy to help divert resources to Plumb Beach.
Michael Taylor, co-founder of Gerritsen Beach Cares, and Laura McKenna, BIG’s acting executive director, were also recognized for their leadership and community service, as was Chaim Deutsch, founder of the Flatbush Shomrim which served the neighborhood with an emergency response vehicle and hot meals.
The event was attended by Borough President Marty Markowitz, who surprised BIG executive director Steve Barrison with the rare honor of a model Brooklyn Bridge, which the beep has only given out to a handful of other honorees including Vice President Joe Biden. Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Councilmembers Lew Fidler and Michael Nelson also attended.
After the awards were given out, a John Travolta impersonator in costume as Saturday Night Fever protagonist Tony Manero regaled the crowd with disco moves.
Photos by Erica Sherman.