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Remembering Howard Golden: Former Brooklyn Borough President and WWII Veteran

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Edited by: Fern Sidman

Brooklyn bids farewell to a towering figure in its history, Howard Golden, former Brooklyn Borough President, who passed away at the age of 98 on Tuesday night, as was reported on Wednesday in the New York Post.  A lifelong Brooklynite, Golden’s impact on Kings County and his remarkable career in public service, including his role as a medic during World War II, have left an indelible mark on the borough he loved.

Golden served as Brooklyn Borough President from 1977 to 2001, making him the longest-serving individual in that position. According to the report in the Post, during his 25-year reign, Golden became one of the city’s most influential powerbrokers, navigating the complexities of local politics and advocating for his beloved borough.

Golden’s political career included serving on the old Board of Estimate, where borough presidents held significant power over budgeting and land use matters, as was indicated in the report in the Post. His influence extended through an era of change, including the elimination of the Board of Estimate by the U.S. Supreme Court. Known for his Brooklyn bluntness and sarcasm, Golden engaged in both camaraderie and conflict with mayors, governors, and even sat with presidents and celebrities visiting Brooklyn, according to the information provided in the Post report.

Speaking to the Post, his daughter, Michele Golden, described him as “one of a kind” and highlighted his dedication to the borough and city he loved. As per the report in the Post, Golden’s political journey also included a seven-year stint on the City Council, and he played a pivotal role in leading Brooklyn through challenging times, from the fiscal crisis of the 1970s to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Following his tenure at Borough Hall, Golden briefly worked in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. Despite facing criticism for the nature of the job and its compensation, he resigned after nine months. The report in the Post also noted that as a proud Jewish American, Golden was a steadfast supporter of Israel and often visited the Jewish State.

Golden took pride in witnessing the revitalization of Brooklyn during what he referred to as the “Brooklyn Renaissance.” The Post also reported that he celebrated successes such as the opening of Metrotech and the Brooklyn Marriott hotel, the refurbishing of Prospect Park, and the emergence of cultural institutions such as the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. He also noted the positive transformations in neighborhoods like Williamsburg, the report added.

Upon leaving office, Golden expressed confidence in the future of Brooklyn, stating, “I am confident that the people of Brooklyn will continue to build a future for our borough that’s brighter and more prosperous than ever before,”  as was indicated in the Post report.

Before his political career, Howard Golden served as a Navy medic during the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944, the Post report said. His daughter Michele described him as a “tremendous patriot.” Howard Golden is survived by his wife of 65 years, Aileen, his two daughters Michele and Dana, and two grandchildren, Jamie and Andrew.

Howard Golden’s legacy extends far beyond his years in public office; he was a Brooklynite who dedicated his life to the betterment of his community. His influence, characterized by resilience, pride, and commitment, has left an enduring impact on Brooklyn’s landscape. As the borough mourns the loss of one of its most prominent leaders, Golden’s contributions will be remembered as integral to the story of Brooklyn’s growth and transformation.

 

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