via Citizens Committee for New York City
Does your area have a project that needs some love — maybe a vacant lot that needs cleaning up, a street that needs more trees planted, walls that need graffiti removed? Show your love for your block by applying for a $1,000 grant to transform and beautify it.

The Love Your Block Grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City and NYC Service provides offers resident-led volunteer groups the chance to receive a grant of up to $1,000, as well as access to city services from the Departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The applicant has to be a volunteer-led group (can be long-established, or even in the process of forming), no individuals, for-profit projects, businesses, etc.
  • The project should strengthen your community — they’re looking for things that address important community concerns, contribute to building stronger communities through neighbors working together, and result in concrete and sustainable improvements.
  • The project should be able to be carried out between April and June 2015.
  • In your application, you have to provide a budget totaling up to $1,000, and indicate which city services your group is requesting.
  • Applications are due Friday, November 7 at 11:59pm.

Any questions? Contact Imani Brown at 212-822-9567 or ibrown@citizensnyc.org.

Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

Photo by Gennady Favel

Photo by Gennady Favel

Outside of Stop and Shop, Avenue Y and East 17th Street.

Photo by Gennady Favel

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

An example of Diwali decorations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday, October 23, for Diwali. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. The five-day event culminates with the new moon. In the days leading up to it, the approximately 80,000 Hindus in the New York metropolitan area will clean and decorate their homes, light lamps and candles, before gorging on a family feast and exchanging gifts.

It sounds like fun, and this editor is accepting invitations.

The Carmine Carro Community Center

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association’s first meeting of the 2014-15 season will be held tomorrow, October 23, 7:30pm, at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway.

A “Talking Politics” panel of political reporters, including moderator Paul Moses (Brooklyn College journalism professor and member of Pulitzer Prize winning team at Newsday), Erik Engquist (assistant managing editor at Crain’s NY Business), Azi Paybarah (senior reporter at Capital NY) and Jonathan Lentz (Albany bureau chief for City & State), will discuss “separating fact, fiction, gossip and spin in politics.”

The 61st Precinct’s new commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, will also be on hand, as will various elected officials. Light refreshments will be served.

The meeting is free and open to the public. For additional information, call (718) 375-9158.

coney-island-summit

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson will be in Coney Island tomorrow night to hear residents’ concerns about safety and the justice system.

The summit is open to any and all Brooklyn residents, and will be a town-hall style, allowing attendees to ask questions of the borough’s top prosecutor and share their concerns. It’s the second such event Thompson has done, following one in Brownsville over the summer.

The meeting will take place at Liberation Diploma Plus High School, 2865 West 19th Street. It begins at 6:30pm and lasts until 9pm.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Passersby have stopped to ogle adorable pups and cute kitties in the storefront windows of Puppy City for more than half a century. But the long-time neighborhood staple, and the place where the now ubiquitous “Wee-Wee Pad” was invented, unceremoniously closed its doors for good earlier this month.

“For rent” signs were posted at the 2539 Ocean Avenue storefront approximately two weeks ago. The store’s website declares in bold letters, “Closed – After over 50 years of service Puppy City has closed its doors,” and offers little explanation. The website and phone number now forward to that of Ozone Park-based Puppy Paws, and neighbors shrug their shoulders when asked what happened.

What happened was a combination of age and rent, according to Puppy Paws’ owner Boris.

“[Puppy City owner Kenny Simon] was getting up there in age,” said Boris. “And the store was there for 50 years. You can only imagine how much his rent went up during that time.”

Allen Simon (Source: TV Land via Pets Advisor)

Allen Simon (Source: TV Land via Pets Advisor)

Boris, a Sheepshead Bay native who worked at Puppy City for approximately a decade, said he hoped to take the reigns of the operation, but the landlord wouldn’t work with him.

“The new landlord didn’t want to budge because he thinks he has a landmark,” he said. “We wanted to purchase it, but not at the rent he wanted, so we chose to rather purchase the domain, the phone number, and the contents of the store.”

It was a lackluster end to a business with a pedigree in the industry. Once a small chain throughout the borough, the Ocean Avenue location was its first and last. And from that basement at 2539 Ocean Avenue, one of the best-selling products in pet history was devised: the wee-wee pad.

Puppy City was opened by Allen Simon, a former carpet installation business operator, in the 1960s. He tinkered with potential products in the basement of the store, first developing a cologne for canines before striking it big in the 1970s with the Wee-Wee pad.

Back then, pet owners used newspapers until their pets were housebroken, but the former carpet maven noticed how urine soaked through the paper.

“I said this is ridiculous; I’ll make my own pad,” Simon told Pet Advisor in 2010, and he did so by using a thicker, more absorbent material lined with plastic to prevent floor damage.

He passed Puppy City to his brother, Kenny, and launched Four Paws, a pet product company that now rakes in more than $30 million in sales annually. The Wee-Wee Pad remains the number one selling product, beloved even by celebrity trainer Cesar Milan. The Wee-Wee Pad was featured on CNBC’s The Big Idea and Simon was profiled on the Joan Rivers show How’d You Get So Rich?.

His brother kept Puppy City’s doors open for another 40 years, committed to local pet owners. He could not be reached for comment for this article.

Photo by Erica Sherman

After successfully fulfilling his pledge to begin construction on 500 homes hit by Superstorm Sandy through Build it Back by the summer’s end, Mayor Bill de Blasio set a new target on Monday to double that number by the end of the year.

De Blasio announced the new goal of 1,000 homes by December 31 at a press conference in Broad Channel Monday, where he touted the program’s progress since its overhaul under his administration. He also said the program will send 1,500 reimbursement checks by year’s end.

The New York Daily News reports:

To date, 727 homes have started construction, and 878 homeowners have received reimbursement for work they did themselves.

That’s out of 14,000 active applicants in the Build It Back program — which hadn’t started work on a single home when he took office in January.

“Every check means a family is getting back on their feet. Every construction start means a family will get back in their homes,” de Blasio said.

The new goals come two years after the storm impacted thousands of New Yorkers, leaving many without heat or hot water. While emergency measures helped many return to their homes, it left others in debt and more still with work to be done before being “made whole.”

The Build it Back program kicked off under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but stalled under its own bureaucratic red tape. No homeowners had received reimbursement checks or construction agreements by the time de Blasio took office, when the new mayor overhauled the program with new leadership and the elimination of many restrictions.

Still, with 14,000 applicants on the docket, it remains a long road ahead. There are other measures of the program’s march forward, and, the New York Times reports, de Blasio said that nearly half of the applicants – 6,400 – have been offered help, with 4,000 accepting it. As many as 1,500 have started the design process, the step before construction can begin.

A report earlier this month from the Department of Investigation noted that it “could potentially take several years to complete the work.” A survey of applicants for the report revealed that 90 percent of the 14,000 hadn’t received any help.

The mayor is hoping to ramp up the program even further, expanding the program’s design and construction capacity. The city will release a request for proposals on how best to do that soon, CBS reports.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyers Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyer Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

By Lillian Kneopp

New Yorkers are famous for not knowing – much less understanding – their neighbors. But local advocate Mark Meyer Appel wants to change that.

“Our mission is to stop this hate and invest in new ways for our very diverse population to work together to better understand each other and protect our children and families,” Appel said as he welcomed community members and local politicians to the grand opening of The Bridge Community Center (1894 Flatbush Avenue) Sunday evening, October 19.

The center is being opened through the Bridge Multicultural Advocacy Project and the Voice of Justice, a nonprofit organization, as an interactive facility that will host local meetings and community events to bring together the diverse communities in the neighborhood.

Appel, the president of the Voice of Justice, raised $300,000 in private funds to repair the 6,000 square-foot brick building he has long owned at 1894 Flatbush Avenue. Its renovated first floor open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out free of charge to nonprofits and art groups to host events.

The space will also be an art gallery. Leaders hope that communities will visit in order to learn about other arts and cultures – and that these interactions will foster understanding.

“Art breaks down barriers and helps us to uncover and discover that we are all not that different,” explained Public Advocate Letitia James in her speech.

Artists from around the world, including Russian artist Mikhail Turovsky, artist Ebony Thompson, who is originally from Sierra Leone, and Brooklyn native Sophia Domeville, exhibited pieces at the event.

Artist Robert Bery’s work reflected the spirit of the event with a piece featuring flags from around the world sewn together into a single flag.

“We are all under the same flag,” said Bery.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyers Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the Bridge Community Center.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the center.

This mentality is what many organizers hope the community center will foster.

“This opens doors to people talking to each other, which is always positive,” Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, the spiritual leader of Linden Heights and the Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America explained.

Local politicians, Council members and community leaders filled the new center to support the project and enjoy the kosher wine, Haitian food and sushi.

A Haitian jazz band, Buyu Ambroise and the Blues In Red Band, entertained the crowd with traditional Haitian tunes with jazz infusion.

In the spirit of the evening, the band collaborated with a Jewish group for a portion of the evening improvising together. The crowd danced the Hora to their music after symbolically cutting the grand opening ribbon.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyers Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero's Award.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyer Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero’s Award.

Local community leaders were honored during the evening as Appel awarded Hero’s Awards to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Ezra Friedlander, founder and CEO of The Friedlander Group, a public relations company; and Ed Powell, a Democratic district leader and New York State Committeeman of the Kings County Democratic Party, for their service to the community.

Powell will be partnering with Appel on a task force through the Bridge Community Center that will be working to train local law enforcement.

“When local law enforcement understands civilians are real human beings, not jobs they are responding to – not just 9-11 calls- there will be an opportunity for real justice,” Powell said in his Hero’s Award acceptance speech.

Appel was also awarded for his commitment to the Brooklyn community for opening The Bridge.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running to represent the 42nd Assembly District, presented him with a citation from the Brooklyn Borough president, Eric Adams, congratulating him on the opening of the center. He also received a citation from the NY Assembly presented by retiring Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, also of Assembly district 42.

Amid the artwork and awards, community members celebrated coming together to learn to better understand each other.

Appel marked the whole evening as a turning point for the community saying, “Today in Flatbush, Brooklyn, we are extinguishing the flames of evil and lighting the flames of hope.”

Photo by Michelle

Photo by Michelle

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

corner media logoWe’re hiring our first full-time Account Executive to help serve existing advertisers and find new ones. Please check out the job description below, and if you think you’re the right fit for our team, send an introduction email and a resume to Liena Zagare at liena@cornernewsmedia.com.

Account Executive at Corner Media

Corner Media is looking for an entrepreneurial, experienced, passionate, and committed account executive to help build and professionalize our growing business.

We are Brooklyn’s leading local publisher, focused on hyperlocal journalism with integrity and heart. We are a network of seven sites stretching from Sheepshead Bay to Fort Greene, with deep roots in our communities, a full-time staff, and a mission of building a sustainable model for local media. This position will report to and work closely with the Publisher.

The ideal candidate will have experience and relationships in digital advertising and marketing in Brooklyn, New York, and will genuinely believe in our mission of doing great journalism in the communities we cover. This person will sell both display advertising and sponsored content, with a focus on large local institutions and regional advertisers, and will also work to ensure that campaigns satisfy our clients and stay true to our commitment to our readers. She or he will have a track record of success, knowledge of the market, and an entrepreneurial spirit that will allow her to shape our products, build new relationships, and begin generating revenue quickly.

This job is based in Brooklyn and can work out of our office in Ditmas Park. We offer competitive compensation and commissions, as well as the satisfaction of helping to build a lasting local institution.

Responsibilities

  • Prospect for new business, pitch advertisers, and make sales
  • Focus on larger — five- and six-figure — buys, and on shaping products around that scale
  • Create clear and compelling sales material
  • Generate and traffic insertion orders
  • Manage all aspects of relationships with clients
  • Serve as a channel for client feedback to publisher
  • Hit or exceed quarterly sales targets

Requirements

  • Digital sales or marketing experience
  • Understanding of and relationships in the Brooklyn marketing community
  • Experience negotiating, structuring, and closing complex five-figure insertion orders
  • Genuine passion for hyperlocal media, and ability to explain its importance to potential clients

About Corner Media

Corner Media is founded on the belief that local news can be run as a sustainable business through careful growth, and a relationship of trust with local readers and advertisers. Corner Media offers readers unvarnished news from people who really care about their neighborhoods. Its seven sites —  Park Slope Stoop, South Slope News, Ditmas Park Corner, KensingtonBK, Fort Greene Focus, Sheepshead Bites, and Bensonhurst Bean — have deep reach into key Brooklyn neighborhoods. Corner Media provides advertisers a platform and email and social channels that connect with Brooklyn communities, and offers both sponsored content and display advertising.

Corner Media is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other classification prescribed by applicable law.