Brooklyn municipal building renamed after Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Borough President Eric Adams, and family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg unveil a plaque honoring the late justice at the Brooklyn Municipal Building on Joralemon Street March 15.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

By Kevin Duggan

Mayor Bill de Blasio officially renamed the Downtown Brooklyn Municipal Building after United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday, honoring the late trailblazing Brooklynite on what would have been her 88th birthday.

“It is a moment today to celebrate one of our heroes — one of our sheroes — one of the people who made such a profound impact on this country,” said de Blasio outside the building on Joralemon Street on March 15. “There is no greater example of someone who changed American history and women’s history, no greater example than Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

The beloved legal eagle grew up in Midwood and went to local schools PS 238 and James Madison High School, and her daughter recounted the great education the late judge received in the borough’s educational and arts facilities.

“Brooklyn’s institutions shaped my mother’s intellectual development, not just its public schools of which she was a proud graduate… but also the Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, and especially the Brooklyn Academy of Music,” said Jane Ginsburg, a law professor at Columbia Law School.

The building’s renaming came just a few days after a 6-foot bronze statue of Ginsburg was unveiled at the City Point shopping complex at Flatbush Avenue Ext. on Friday.

The proposal to rename the columned 1924 building home to several city offices after Ginsburg was first floated by Borough President Eric Adams’s office in 2018 and de Blasio endorsed the idea after her death last September at the age of 87.

Another statue of Ginsburg was planned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for Brooklyn Bridge Park, but the state’s chief executive — mired in mounting twin scandals of sexual harassment and covering up nursing home deaths — has not publicly indicated any progress on those plans since establishing a commission last fall.

One Bay Ridge advocate celebrated the renaming in the heart of America’s Downtown, saying Ginsburg inspired women to aim for the highest positions of power in the land in order to work for justice.

“We hope to see more women in the Supreme Court fighting for women’s rights and for equality and for justice,” said Somia El-Rowmeim, the founder of the advocacy organization Women Empowerment Coalition of New York City.

Another passer-by said that the city should go further and name a street after Ginsburg.

“They should rename a street after her,” said East New Yorker Glynis Wheeler. “She was a trooper, she was strong.”

This article first appeared on our sister site, brooklynpaper.com