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He’s no ‘Schmuck’

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The borough honored the life and work of a beloved Brooklyn photographer, writer, and comic book illustrator on Oct. 4, when the corner of Hubbard Street and Shore Parkway in Sheepshead Bay was co-named “Seth Kushner Way.”

Kushner, a graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School and the School of Visual Arts, was born and raised in the Borough of Churches, and his work drew a heavy influence from the city he loved, according to his mother Linda Kushner-Silverman.

“Everything he did was about Brooklyn,” she said. “Everything is from his being brought up in Brooklyn, his references are about Brooklyn, everything revolved around him living in Brooklyn. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world.”

Kushner made his debut in the New York art scene as a freelance photographer, best known for his iconic portraits of pop-culture personalities, including the Beastie Boys, Art Spiegelman, Steve Buscemi, and Paul Auster.

His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, The Hollywood Reporter, BusinessWeek, Sports Illustrated, L’Uomo Vogue, and in galleries around the world.

One of his most acclaimed works was “The Brooklynit­es,” a book documenting the patchwork of wildly varying neighborhoods and disparate denizens who comprise the County of Kings.

Now, just as Kusher always carried a bit of Brooklyn in himself, part of the borough will bear his name, said one local official.

“Seth Kushner was a true Southern Brooklyn talent, who was taken from his family and community much too early,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). “But his significant cultural and artistic contributions will always be remembered, and this street co-naming is one small way of keeping his spirit alive in our community.”

For six years, he labored on the semi-autobiographical web comic “Schmuck,” which came out in print just a few weeks ago in September — but the artist didn’t live to see it.

Kushner succumbed to leukemia earlier this year at the age of 41. He is survived by his wife Terra and 6-year-old son Jackson.

He lived in Bay Ridge when as an adult, but the Sheepshead Bay corner where loved ones gathered for the co-naming ceremony is less than a block from the home where Kushner was raised, and where his mother still lives.

Its a great honor,” she said. “It’s wonderful. I like the idea that people, when they see the sign, they’ll Google his name and find out about him and his work. He has many published works, and it shows what kind of human being he was.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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