Ed Eisenberg at the 2010 Sheepshead Bay Memorial Day Parade

For more than 40 years he was entwined in the fabric of the Southern Brooklyn community. He was ever-present at community meetings, where he was frequently recognized for stellar attendance. He was a member of numerous civic groups; so many that no one can list them all. He rubbed elbows, and sometimes chewed out, politicians including every Brooklyn borough president from Howard Golden to Eric Adams, and too many councilmembers, state legislators and congressmen to count. He charmed with self-deprecating jokes, and had a habit of starting conversations smack-dab in the middle of it. And he loved his local parks, his waterfront and his community up until he drew his final breath.

Longtime community activist Edward “Eddie” Eisenberg passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 79 years old, after being admitted to Maimonides Medical Center with heart-related complications.

“It was just his biggest passion to have everything clean and safe around here. To the very end. Lord knows, even when he was losing it at the end, he wanted his attache case because he had the results of the previous Community Board elections in there,” said Leigh Eisenberg, 42, the younger of Eisenberg’s two sons.

Born in Flatbush in 1934, Eisenberg attended private high schools before obtaining an associate degree at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

Eisenberg in Fort Ord, Salinas, California

As armistice negotiations were being finalized on the Korean peninsula, Eisenberg enlisted in the United States Army and served at Fort Ord in Salinas, California, where he worked as an information specialist from 1954 to 1956.

He returned to his home borough and began his career as a salesman of packaging supplies. He met his wife, Eileen, now 74, at a singles event and the two married in 1965. They moved to Manhattan Beach shortly afterwards.

Eisenberg took to civic involvement in his adopted neighborhood with a fervor “as soon as they moved into the neighborhood,” said Leigh. “He loved Manhattan Beach and he really just always wanted to see it well maintained and safe from the moment he moved into the area.”

No one can recall exactly when he joined Community Board 15, but the lowest estimates of his tenure from friends and family put it at 38 years, easily making him the longest-serving member of the 50-person body – and perhaps the most passionate.

“I just remember as a little kid, he was so involved taking us kids fishing at Kingsborough Community College, sharing his passion for the water around the neighborhood. He just couldn’t help out in the community enough,” said Leigh.

His chief concern, Scavo said, was in lobbying the city to invest in parks.

“He always, always wanted parks – that was his shtick in life. Not transportation, parks. That was it. Every meeting, you had to support the parks, he was very, very, very involved with Parks Department issues,” said Scavo. “He was always crazed with parks.”

Former Councilman Lew Fidler, who recommended Eisenberg for reappointment to the Board in recent years, added that Eisenberg stood out for his eagerness to go above and beyond in considering Board matters.

“He was always vocal about getting to the bottom of every land use issue that came before the Board. He was so committed that when an application came before the Board he would visit the site and talk to neighbors about what they thought about the project,” said Fidler. “It really didn’t matter to him if it was across the street in Manhattan Beach or all the way in Homecrest. It makes you wonder how good a Community Board could be if every member took it as seriously as Ed.”

Local elected officials have issued statements on Eisenberg’s passing.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz posted on Facebook:

He knew the details of every community meeting and neighborhood event, almost before they were scheduled. He was generous of spirit, always eager to help and ferociously proud of the community he called home. My condolences to his wife, Eileen, and everyone who knew and loved him. Ed, you will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch said the following in a press release:

“I’ve known Ed for a long time, and have always admired the passion he held for his favorite part of Brooklyn,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, his two sons, and all the friends he’s left behind. Manhattan Beach will never be the same.”

Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement as well:

My sincerest condolences go to out to Ed’s wife, children and relatives, as well as the larger South Brooklyn family that knew and loved his commitment to the community. From his service to our country to his deep civic engagement, Ed left a legacy for all of us to admire. He was the epitome of the volunteer spirit, an example for Brooklynites today and tomorrow to follow.

Eisenberg’s idiosyncrasies and sense of humor will be as well remembered as his advocacy.

“Ed was, if nothing else, a unique character,” Fidler remembered. “And for whatever else people want to say about Ed, he really cared about his community and his family. He used to speak about his son in Australia all the time. Quirky, of course, but you couldn’t really question where his heart was. Community was his whole life outside his family.”

Scavo remembers the costumes, stuff of legend among those involved in local civic life. Eisenberg kept a closet full of costumes, which he donned at annual gatherings over the years.

“Night Out Against Crime was always the Keystone Cop. When it came to Memorial Day, he always used to pull out Army uniforms. He always had Halloween masks and costumes, and no matter what he had a costume to go with that occasion,” she said.

His quirks did not escape his family’s notice, and they remain fond memories in the wake of his passing.

“Everyone knew him. Lord knows the man was eccentric but he had a heart as big as the moon and everyone knew it,” said Leigh Eisenberg.

Eisenberg is survived by his wife, Eileen; his eldest son, Glenn, 46, who with his wife Simone gave Eisenberg a grandson, Aaron, 2; and his youngest son, Leigh, who with his wife Jill gave Eisenberg two granddaughters, Raya, 11, and Anissa, 9. Eisenberg is also survived by his sisters Marianne and Lisa, and his brother Steve.

A service will be held for Ed Eisenberg on Tuesday, March 4, at 1:00 p.m. at Parkside Memorial Chapels (2576 Flatbush Avenue, at the corner of Avenue V). The family has chosen not to direct donations, saying that Ed had cared for too many things to pick just one, and requested that anyone wishing to make a donation send them to any community-oriented charities or groups.

Update (March 3 at 2:30 p.m.): A statement from Borough President Eric Adams was added to this post.

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  • Maxwell Smart

    He was one of a kind..condolences to the family

  • Allen Popper

    Baruch Dayan Hamet. Ed will be missed. He was a credit to his Community. He cared about everyone. He will be irreplaceable. My sympathies to his family.

  • BrooklynBus

    I am pretty sure the first Community Board 15 meeting I attended was either in the Spring or Fall of 1974, where I attended as a representative of the Department of City Planning to announce our Southwest Brooklyn Bus Study to solicit bus related problems in the community and Ed Eisenberg was on the board. Ray Bierer was head of the Transportation Committee and I believe other members were I Stephen Miller, Millie Silverstein, Warren Samuels, and Maurice Kolodny. I think the Board was headed by John Nikas at that time. I also believe I read somewhere that Ed joined the board two years earlier in 1972. That would make his time on the board 42 years not 38. Condolences to the family.

  • tinafg

    My heart is so sad. Ed was a lovely, lovely man. He came to our 9/11 memorial every year and always slipped me money – concerned that I paid for it myself. Always enjoyed talking to him when I’d meet him on the street. A true lover of my Sheepshead Bay. Sheepshead Bay has lost an icon and advocate. My condolences to the entire Eisenberg family. Rest in Peace, Ed. You will be terribly missed….

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    I thank Ed for being among us. He enriched the lives of everyone who knew him, even casually. I hope each of us can continue in our own way to keep his passion for our community alive.

    My condolences to his family, we will all miss him greatly.

  • Rebecca

    My condolences to Ed’s family and friends. I will always remember him camera in hand taking pictures of all the wonderful events our little community had to offer. I would eagerly await the day when he would drop the pictures into our mailbox. It made living in one the largest cities in the world a little more personal.

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  • Tinman

    Kudos. A very worthy tribute to a man who defined dedication to his community . We need more to emulate his goodness and civic pride.

  • Missy

    He truly was a one of a kind man!!!!!!! Thoughts & prayers to his family…..

  • guest

    Was this the same man that wrote letters to the editor very regularly? Especially in Bay News? Many on education and the need for discipline, I almost always agreed with him and meant to write to say so. A loss to all of Brooklyn, my condolences to all.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Yes, he wrote to newspapers constantly, especially local ones.

      • ES

        The Ed who “guest” is referring to is Ed Greenspan, not Ed Eisenberg. Ed Greenspan is a frequent letter writer to the Paper That Shall Remain Unnamed, on the subject of education.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          I was thinking of years back, when Ed did constantly write letters to that “paper”. I haven’t read that rag in years.

        • BIG Steve

          Correct.

  • nolastname

    What a man. Gotta’ love him and his antics. Rest in peace Ed.

  • Jessica S

    beautiful article. Sad I never met him, but I am lucky enough to know Leigh and after reading this article it is clear that apples don’t fall far from trees. RIP Mr. Eisenberg

  • Georgia

    My condolences to the family. He was a community icon for us. He spoke what he thought and well respected. He will be missed. RIP Mr. Eisenberg

  • agent 99

    Rest in Peace, Ed. A Brooklyn treasure is gone!

  • BIG Steve

    Most of what was said for Ed already we will not repeat. Having known him since about 1983, he certainly had the passion for Parks, the kids and Sheepshead Bay. He was a one man press core, and yes drove us all crazy at meetings but we knew he had his heart in it no matter what side of an issue. He also dressed up at BayFest for may years in so many outfits from King Neptune, to prison garb, or Keystine cops, to aquaman etc.
    A few weeks back I ran in to him and he didn’t look well and I asked him but he said he was fine.
    Truly one of a kind person. Our condolences to the family. Support a park, a clean up, the beautiful waterfront or just help your community; that is what Ed would have liked. Ed was always trying to help the area and we at Bay Improvement Group thank him for all his support.
    You can too support Ed, to as the family stated, by supporting the community wherever you happen to live.

  • Debbie Kosick

    I was lucky enough to know Ed Eisenberg fairly well. I was a Police Officer in the 61st Pct. For several years, I had Manhattan Beach as my Beat when Community Policing first came into being in the late 1980s. I then went on to become the 61 Pct. Community Policing Unit Coordinator. Ed would come into the Stationhouse quite frequently, always bringing a list of “quality of life” problems that he would observe in the community and bring them to my attention so that they could be addressed. He was such a force of life. He cared so very much about people and about making this world a better place. He never missed a community meeting, or an opportunity to help the community in any way possible. He was always pleasant and always smiling, and that smile was usually accompanied by a joke. He was an amazing man and my heart goes out to his family. I retired from the N.Y.P.D. almost nineteen (19) years ago, and I have never forgotten my dear friend Ed. P.O. Debbie Kosick (ret.)

    • Subway Stinker

      Nice tribute, Officer, to a man who clearly loved his neighborhood. He typified what makes Brooklyn really a group of small towns. You don’t have to live in Mayberry to get a small town feeling when Brooklyn grows people like Ed. E. Thanks to Ed and to his family for sharing him with us.

  • satan

    oy, and if he was irish, italin or anything other than a jew we would have NEVER ever heard a thing about him, but being that he was, of course he waaaaaas, and, so, of course the media is all over it, since the media IS all jew owned, of course, and always has to shove what jews do down our throats. did he solve world wars and spread peace to it ll? NO, did he cure cancer, poverty, famine, starvation? NO, so why is he even news? Ohhh right, a jew! OY VEI

    • nolastname

      Shut the hell up Satanass. I am not a jew….Ed was a good man period.
      What did you do that makes you think you have the right to judge? Defamation is a crime.

  • hriell

    I worked with Ed as a young reporter at the Bay News. Nice, nice man. Always happy to help me, the community, anyone. I’m sorry to hear of his passing; my condolences to family and friends.

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