Wow, Brooklyn! We’ve made another rotation around the sun, and what a year 2021 has been!

Although COVID-19 and vaccinations shaped much of the reported news these past 12 months, local life in Brooklyn was still full steam ahead, with all the highs and lows, triumphs (and some tragedies) that go with living in the fastest-growing, most diverse and greatest city in the world

So, whether you are a regular Reader or someone new to BK Reader, we’ve compiled a list of the top-12 stories that captured the community’s imagination … and ire:

From the dancing crossing guard, to the class action lawsuit launched by residents against the city, to the story that helped reverse the destruction of a beloved community garden, Brooklyn was on the move! And BK Reader was on the ground to report it all.

Whether this is a first-look or a lookback, please enjoy BK Reader’s top stories of 2021.

  1. Don’t Be a Karen:’ Celebrated Crown Heights Marching Band Fields Rash of New Complaints: “You don’t call 911 for children playing drums.” Complaints about a marching band practice in Crown Heights is raising calls of gentrification in the neighborhood.

2. Lawsuit Alleging City Program Took 100s of Homes From Black and Brown Brooklynites Can Go Ahead, Judge Rules: A class action lawsuit filed on behalf of NYC residents who had their properties taken by the City under the controversial Third Party Transfer program can proceed, a judge has ruled

3. One Year After Losing Sha-Asia Semple, Family Celebrates Life of Baby Khloe and Legacy of Her Mom: Sha-Asia Semple died giving birth to her baby girl Khloe one year ago. On Saturday, her family gathered to throw a special first birthday party for Khloe and remember her beloved mom.

4. New One-Stop COVID-19 Recovery Center Connects New Yorkers with Relief and Resources: Comptroller Scott Stringer launched the new site to connect New Yorkers with city, state and federal services

5. Secret Society With Underground Railroad Roots Reintroduces Itself in Bed-Stuy: Faced with a declining membership and crumbling clubhouse, the United Order of Tents in Bed-Stuy is allowing a glimpse into its secret society in the hopes its legacy will be preserved

6. NYPD Crossing Guard Says She ‘Can’t Stop’ Dancing, Even When It Nearly Cost Her Job: Esther Bishop has been a crossing guard for 13 years, and she’s danced her way through every year on the job, despite those who have tried to stop her groove.

7. 680 Free Parking Spots Under BQE to Be Removed: DOT Plans: The Department of Transportation has released plans to remove hundreds of parking spaces under the BQE to make way for bike lane, pedestrian improvements.

8. City Leaders Failed Homeless New Yorkers During COVID-19: New Report: The report released by Coalition for the Homeless found that a record number of single adults spent the night in NYC homeless shelters this February

​​9. Man’s Clinton Hill Gardens Saved After Months-Long Battle With City Over Rats: The community has helped save nine gardens that volunteer John Cook spent 14 years building at a NYCHA housing complex, after the City recently pressured him to tear them up due to a rat problem

10. Education Council Calls for Resignation of Crown Heights Principal Over Alleged Misconduct: The principal of P.S. 243 has been called on to immediately resign after numerous reports surfaced of verbal abuse, bullying and other misconduct towards students

11. New Music Venue ‘Unlike Any Other’ in the Country Coming Soon to Bushwick: New state-of-the-art music venue Brooklyn Made is currently under construction in Bushwick, with tickets going on sale this week

12, Owner of Popular Brooklyn Restaurant Receives Pushback for His DJ Dance Party During Open Streets: Omarahe Guarriello, owner of American Vegan Restaurant, struggles to resolve issues around persistent noise complaints

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