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September 12, 2017

Vote for Justin Brannan for Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge, I hope you will go out and vote for Justin Brannan today. He’s passionate about this community and will make an amazing councilman!




Today I am re-running my December 2016 post about Brannan.



Justin Brannan is running for City CouncilI was glad to see that Brannan wants to be our Councilman as he already had a great position with the Department of Education (and well paying too).  If you live in Bay Ridge, you know Brannan is an asset to us! He loves Bay Ridge!   


Nicknamed, “The Mayor of Bay Ridge,” Brannan can be seen at almost every Bay Ridge event.  He’s the one helping, laughing, smiling  and loving it all!  Earlier this year, Brannan was given the Brotherhood Award and he said, “If you can find a job where you’re helping people and you love what you do, there’s nothing better.”  One of the most unique things about Brannan is that he is an excellent communicator. He really listens and tries to find a middle ground so everyone is happy. Brannan easily can see both sides of a situation because he’s a resident and he’s worked for the government. I think being a press guyand reading many different forms of media has made him open to hearing other’s viewpoints. I’ve seen Brannan be very open to people questioning why something is being done a certain way when it could be done a better, cheaper or easier way. He loves communicating and will quickly chime in with information on social media if he thinks he can help people (Translation: every day).  During this past election for NY Assembly, Brannan wasn’t running, but many Bay Ridge residents didn’t want to vote for the candidates we were given so we wrote Justin’s name in





Justin and his friends started Bay Ridge Cares. Bay Ridge Cares is an organization that helps out people and the community too. In 2012, Bay Ridge Cares cooked and provided 25,000 hot meals a day to Coney Island residents (see video). The organization continued to be lead Bay Ridge in supporting fundraisers (see video), park cleanups (you have to see these pics),  delivering Thanksgiving meals on Thanksgiving Day, pajama drives (see video) and other events. Why is this important? Because having a job in a politician’s offices is very different than starting a community outreach group. Bay Ridge Cares has called on the community in helping them give the Senior Center kitchen a makeover


Justin Brannan City Council Candidate for Bay Ridge

I don’t know Brannan personally (nor have I ever spoken to him in person), but I can tell Brannan has a lot of connections. Brannan was named one of The Observer’s Political Power 80 in 2014.  One of my complaints about politicians in our area is that they don’t have enough connections, even though they should after working in a political office for many years (like why does Marty Golden’s staffer write tweets to 311 when Marty should be able to pick up the phone and call someone he knows).  


When Bay Ridge residents ask Justin for help, he is never at a loss of where to go or who to go to.  Justin has always has someone he can contact.  Brannan’s Linkedin account proves he is connected as well. While having a LinkedIn account isn’t essential to be a councilman, it shows that you are part of this era and that other people care to connect with you. While many people don’t understand LinkedIn, I find that it is one of the most useful ways to contact people when you need to get something done.




Brannan, his wife, Leigh and his Mom own The Art Room in Bay Ridge. They invested their money here in Bay Ridge.  (Disclaimer: I have met Leigh Brannan as I brought little ones in our family to The Art Room). Bay Ridge thrives on having small Mom and Pop stores on the Avenues. A lot of these shops are run by residents or people who are as invested in Bay Ridge as we are.  


Having a councilman who understands that small businesses are important to the community is important. One thing I have noted is that Justin Brannan understands what businesses need to do to thrive in a neighborhood like Bay Ridge. He and have wife have run special events at The Art Room which are quite different than other events run in the neighborhood so they get sold out fast year and grow larger each year as well. I’ve seen people online ask about The Art Room’s events because they look forward to them!


When new businesses open in Bay Ridge, we always stop in and visit them several times in the first month. We want these beautiful new shops to do well here. Often when I leave a place, I think to myself, “I wish the place did this….or I wish they sold this…..or their counter would be a lot better closer to the door so people could run in and out in the morning.”   Yet, we don’t tell the ambitious owner because we know how difficult it is to start a business and we know they are “just surviving” when they start up. I think Brannan will be able to help small businesses in the area by sharing with them how he and his wife develop fresh ideas and marketed their business to the community’s needs.


If you live in Bay Ridge, you know there are several items named after Justin Brannan.  It’s no secret that Brannan is an animal lover,  as well as a vegetarian.  Lockyard made him a special hotdog from tofu and named it the JB Punk.




At Darn Donuts, there is: “The Justin” – it’s a black-and-white cookie donut with chocolate and vanilla custard filling.





Justin Brannan understands social media and word travels fast when he tweets or shares something he likes. Brannan announces events and promotes Bay Ridge businesses with tweets (seen here, here and positive comments on Facebook. When interviewed about Bay Ridge, Brannan is happy to recommend places in Bay Ridge because he knows the area well. He loves when celebrities discover great things about Bay Ridge too (like here and here – yes, Woody Allen dined at the Pearl Room in Bay Ridge).  Seriously, I have watched Bay Ridge residents go crazy over Tanoreen’s brussel sprouts, Shangri-La’s vegetarian restaurant and even “cotton candy grapes” because Justin Brannan raved about them online.  


Justin has encouraged residents to tag him when they need help (and boy do they tag him)!  This would be an example of a message posted to Justin on Facebook:


Justin’s reply and other community members chime in:




Here is another example. Sometimes it’s a real busy week and so many messages to Justin have been posted to a Bay Ridge and a message like this is posted by the group manager:




If you dig into Justin’s background, you will find he became a great listener for this community because he worked at Councilman Gentile’s office.  Back in the 90’s, Justin played guitar in a band called Indecision (an old pic). In 2011, the words to a song the band wrote were tattooed on a 19 year old US soldier named Kyle Hockenberry who lost both legs and an arm in a blast in Afghanistan. (See Time Magazine article about Kyle here). Now many people  have the words to the song tattooed on them.  If you dig even further in Justin’s past you will see his roots run deep  and if you dig even further  well you are just being creepy, but go ahead.  


Important Issues


When Brannan is councilman, what will he be supporting? Everything he has been openly supporting for years – Bay Ridge, families, the elderly, animal advocacy, unions,  NYPD/FDNY/EMS. Brannan talked about education long before he worked for the NYC Department of Ed. He is a product of both public and private schools. In May 2017, he declared that he supports public schools. He is an artist and  musician so I know he will be supporting the arts as well.   Yup, Brannan’s  an open book so we don’t need to wonder what his position is on things. When he’s our councilman he will do what is right for Bay Ridge!


Senior Citizens:




Woman’s Rights and Equal Pay:

Justin Brannan women's rights







What won’t Brannan be supporting as our councilman? Racism, bigotry, hate, corruption and pay-to-play politics. He’s one of us, so Preet Bharara won’t need to investigate him. (Both Senator Marty Golden and former rep Michael Grimm were investigated by Preet). Politicians are often surprised when residents look at their families, but I am not. Corruption happens when politicians think no one will find out and they aren’t connected with their family, so they don’t care if they embarrass them. Brannan is very close with his mother and wife – he’d only do things to make them proud. 



Each December, Brannan’s garb includes a red suit and a beard more times than anyone I know!  He’s been doing this for many years because he enjoys making people happy! 




Brannan understands the culture of Bay Ridge – we are an area that thrives on diversity. He gets that this community is not only multi-generational, but also people from various cultures and backgrounds.While some people will waste their days insulting or harassing people, Brannan knows that our neighborhood and NYC benefit from having people with different cultures. Brannan celebrates his own Italian/Irish roots and loves to celebrate everyone else’s as well because that’s what makes the area where we live great.  He advocates for a diverse and inclusive neighborhood because that’s the Bay Ridge that we all love (here, here , here  and  here). His optimism for our community is undeniable!


As a councilman, I think the hardest thing he will have to learn to do is to turn off his phone sometimes. We are a community of people who want change to happen as fast as we tweet or post an idea on Facebook and the reality is that things take time. I’m sure his wife, Leigh will remind him to turn off his phone and take time to relax (or she could just take him handbag shopping….I wish I could find that picture – it’s the best!)


I know it was a long post folks, but I had a lot to say because Justin Brannan has done so much in Bay Ridge! He has been doing things in Bay Ridge for years – not just during election season. I’m sure I left some things about JB  so I may return and throw in a bit more. If you are in Bay Ridge and you support Brannan, visit his page (And it’s okay to notice that 370+ people liked it).



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