The retiring chair of the tenants association at the Riverside Apartments in Willowtown in Brooklyn Heights, William “Bill” Ringler, and the restorer of a long neglected brownstone also in Willowtown, Jonathan Marvel, are the first recipients of a new award, The Alfred, established by the Willowtown Association.
Named for pioneer neighborhood developer Alfred T. White, the new Alfreds were presented to Ringler and Marvel at the potluck dinner and 2010 annual meeting of the Willowtown Association on Wednesday evening, November 17, at the community center on Willow Place that also bears White’s name. The presentation to Ringler was made by Jean Campbell, an association director and also a Riverside resident, and the presentation to Marvel by William “Bill” Newbury, another association director and Marvel’s next-door neighbor.
The evening’s special guest was Joan Millman, just reelected as the area’s representative in the New York State Assembly. She is a lifelong Brooklyn resident and former schoolteacher and librarian who has served in the assembly for the past 13 years. She discussed such subjects as the state’s new voting machines that leave a previously lacking paper trail and the veto power she now has to the development of housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park through her representative on the park’s board.
The new Alfred Award, says Willowtown Association President Ben Bankson, is a way to recognize significant contributions made by residents to the quality of life in the neighborhood and express appreciation to them.
Ever since his move in 1979 into an apartment in the historic Riverside complex built by A.T. White in 1889-90, Bill Ringer, a copywriter and printer, has been active in the tenants association and was its chair since 2007. He spearheaded the so far successful fight with the landlord to block his plan to build an unwanted commercial parking facility on the property.
Jonathan Marvel, who was born and grew up in Puerto Rico–“a Brooklyn outerborough,” he calls it–is a founder of the Manhattan-based firm, Rogers Marvel Architects. Last year he bought the brownstone at 25 Willow Place that the descendants of the last residents finally agreed to sell after it stood empty for more than four decades. He has restored and enlarged it as his own residence with a rental unit on the basement floor.