Pat Singer's Sad Chapter to Her Brighton Beach Memoir: Activist's Office Flooded Out, Her Tchotchkes Washed Away

Singer-and-Koch.jpg
Brighton Beach memoir: Pat Singer with Ed Koch
The Brighton Neighborhood Association's administrative office used to be known as a colorful Brooklyn spot awash with all sorts of memorabilia and historic photos collected by founder Pat Singer. Now the office, at 1121 Brighton Beach Avenue, is just awash. The sad details in Sheepshead Bites, whose Ned Berke captures the frustration of veteran neighborhood tenant activist Singer, who founded the organization three decades ago.

"Computers are gone, scanners are gone, files and contracts damaged — it's like a disaster," she told Berke. "I'm dead in the water."

The neighborhood association operates an "intake office" at 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue, where it dispenses help, advice, and other services to residents. But the administrative office is the place that Singer's heart and soul went into, along with some excellent political artifacts, as Berke notes:

There were the photos of Mayor Beame, State Senator Chuck Schumer -- "when he had hair" -- and other assorted tchotchkes of the group's history. Office workers, led by BNA Founder Pat Singer, pulled things off walls and shelves, wrapping in garbage bags what could be saved, and taking to the curb what couldn't. They also worried about asbestos, mold and other contaminates that could put them in harm's way.

Singer's website gives a fascinating look at Brighton Beach's history. As for Singer's administrative office? She's likely to have to move it.

edwoskin@villagevoice.com

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