90-year-old Mary Kay Gallagher still showing houses in Ditmas Park

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Some Ditmas Park residents consider 90-year-old Mary Kay Gallagher the mayor of the Brooklyn micro-neighborhood bordered by Prospect Park, Avenue H, Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Avenue. Gallagher, who began selling real estate in the area 40 years ago under her eponymous firm, Mary Kay Gallagher Real Estate, has no plans to retire despite her age and a recent double-knee replacement surgery. Admirers credit her with preserving the historic neighborhood’s single-family homes and warding off the invasion of apartment buildings that swallowed many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. Others say she pushed minority buyers away from the most sought-after homes. Gallagher said she’s not a racist; she’s just always wanted to find owners who care about their properties and can afford to maintain them. “I live here. I care who moves in, because what happens to these houses matters to me,” she told the New York Times. In 2007, her company made more than $1 million. “Corcoran and those other ones who come over here from Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope are a thorn in my side, but I still have the best houses,” Gallagher said. “Most people who want to buy or sell a house in this neighborhood know enough to come see me. I am a resource. No one knows this neighborhood like I do.” [NYT]

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