Photo by Savva Svet; Click to enlarge

Don’t be offended, other photographers – I frequently embrace hyperbole as a literary device.

From the photographer:

Phantom 2 drone and a GoPro Hero 4. Stitched two photos together. It was taken from Corbin place… To the right you can see the bay on Emmons ave, and to the left Brighton 15th boardwalk.

Sweet!

Photo by Savva Svet

nypd-1

Car break-ins remain one of the biggest drivers of crime in the area. Thieves smashing car windows to steal sometimes as little as pennies from a cup holder are one of the reasons for the spike in crime recorded in the latest Compstat report from the 61st Precinct.

While motorists should feel comfortable parking their car wherever they like, the reality of the situation is that thugs take advantage of dark streets and look for indications that the car might have valuables inside. The local precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit recently sent out a batch of tips to help reduce your risk, and the area’s crime stats.

To make sure you’re possessions are as safe as possible, here is a list of safety tips:

  • Do not leave satellite radios, portable GPS system, or suction cup on windshield whether temporarily parking or parking overnight.
  • Do not leave wallets, purses, backpacks, jewelry, credit cards or any other valuable property in your vehicle while it is parked.
  • Do not leave cell phones or other electronics in the glove compartment.
  • Activate any theft deterrent devices you may have.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables in the vehicle.
  • Do not keep your license, registration or title in the vehicle.
  • Make certain that your vehicle is locked.
  • If possible, park in a bright, well lit area.
  • If you have a garage, use it. Lock both the vehicle and the garage.
  • Install video surveillance within the vicinity of the garage or driveway where your vehicle will be parked.
  • If you have video surveillance conduct periodic maintenance to make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Position the cameras so that it will be able to capture a good image of an individual’s face but secure enough to prevent any possible tampering.
  • Install wheel locks on your vehicle to help deter theft of tire and rims.
  • Contact the 61st Precinct Crime Prevention Officer to have your vehicle VIN etched.

You can learn more about the 61st Precinct’s VIN etching and other crime prevention programs by calling the Crime Prevention Unit at (718) 627-6832.

The Parks Department says it can avoid routine maintenance by replacing wooden planks that warp over time, seen above, with concrete and plastic. (Photo by Ned Berke)

A site trailer and construction fence were installed at Brighton 15th Street this month – a first step in a controversial plan to replace the Riegelmann Boardwalk’s iconic wooden planks between Brighton 15th Street and Coney Island Avenue with cement and plastic. But several elected officials are expressing outrage about the work, and at least one is threatening to cut off funding to the project.

Construction on the Coney Island Boardwalk officially began on November 11, the Parks Department confirmed, despite fierce objection from community members, advocates, and local politicians who disagree with the plan to replace the boardwalk with artificial materials.

“I remain very disappointed that the Parks Department is moving forward with this major change to the boardwalk without completing any safety studies to determine the impact it will have on the community,” said City Councilman Mark Treyger. “The Parks Department is also ignoring the will of the local state lawmakers who allocated this funding for repairs, and not for a new concrete road down the middle of the iconic boardwalk.”

The state lawmakers in question are Assembly members Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz, who together allocated $10 million to the Parks Department in 2009 for general repairs and improvements to the 2.5-mile span. The funding can be cut off at the lawmakers’ discretion – but only before the contracts are signed. That time has passed, but Cymbrowitz said he’s still going to find a way to close the funding spigot.

“I am outraged that Mayor [Bill] De Blasio and Commissioner [Mitchell] Silver have fast-tracked the destruction of an iconic landmark in southern Brooklyn. As I wrote to Mayor de Blasio, concrete and composite plastics are a poor approximation for a boardwalk. It’s a boardwalk, not a sidewalk. There are also significant safety concerns with this project since no impact study has been done,” said Cymbrowitz in a statement. “This is an underhanded misuse of the money and the mayor knows it. I will work to make sure that the millions of dollars I allocated are cut off. I fought hard for the boardwalk to be repaired, not to fund the elimination of the boardwalk as this community and all New Yorkers know it.”

He’s backed up by both Treyger and Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who say that the funders’ intentions should be considered in how their money is spent.

“The money came from Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, and whoever gave the money for the boardwalk should have a voice in it,” Deutsch told this outlet.

Even though Coney Island’s boardwalk survived Superstorm Sandy relatively unscathed compared to the Rockaways’ concrete walk, Mayor Michael Bloomberg deemed all wooden boardwalks insufficient to withstand the ocean’s surges, and commissioned them to be replaced with concrete. That was the plan anyway, following a 2008 directive from Bloomberg’s office that city agencies would stop using tropical hardwoods – the type used to construct the boardwalk – for environmental reasons. The de Blasio administration has continued to press forward with those policies.

“Using tropical hardwoods could contribute to the climate change that helped destroy the boardwalk in the first place and it would be more expensive,” said a spokesperson for the Parks Department. Critics point out that there are other options, including sustainable domestic hardwoods such as Black Locust or White Oak, that can be used.

But the lower cost of maintaining concrete, long a part of the Parks Department’s justification for switching to cement, does not necessarily mean it will hold up better during storms, said Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents the Brighton Beach portion of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. He, Treyger and Cymbrowitz want an impact study that considers the performance of concrete in storm surges. Other areas, including Manhattan Beach and the Rockaways, saw huge concrete chunks barrel through the streets as they broke up during the October 2012 storm.

“[This is] about what is safer with the community in case another storm comes in,” he said. “It has to be safe, not just more resilient in terms of repairs, but what’s safe in regards to any kind of surge.”

Even before the storm, advocacy groups filed a lawsuit hoping to stop the plan, demanding a full environmental review. But just weeks after Superstorm Sandy, a judge ruled that the project did not need to undergo such a study since it would not constitute a signficant change the existing structure.

The boardwalk construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 beach season, according to the Parks Department. Elected officials are asking the city to terminate all construction until the concerns of residents are addressed.

Here is a map of the proposed plan via the Coney Island Boardwalk Alliance:

boardwalk-map

Click to enlarge

– With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

Tsob Tsobe! at Coney Island Avenue

Tsob Tsobe! at 2817 Coney Island Avenue

It was with great dismay that we noticed Back to USSR pulling down its signs over the summer, after two years in business. The kitschy, Soviet-themed restaurant at 2817 Coney Island Avenue was a great place to bring people from outside of Sheepshead Bay, pulling back the curtain a bit on the area’s Russian-speaking cultures with a tongue planted firmly in-cheek.

But the storefront didn’t stay empty long. Some time in the past few weeks Tsob-Tsobe! took its place, declaring itself a”cafe lounge bar.” They redid the entire storefront, interior and exterior. Unlike its predecessor, which elevated the atmosphere with a large statue of Vladimir Lenin with kielbasa in hand, Tsob-Tsobe! is tastefully decorated and is earning kudos from Yelpers.

The online directory says it’s serving Mediterranean, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, but we’ve learned that with local restaurants, that could mean Turkish, or it could mean the menu is a smorgasbord of Turkish, Uzbeki and Russian foodstuffs. With their website not yet built and no menu available online, we’ll just have to wait to visit to find out.

As for the name? We’re having trouble tracking down its provenance. Some Googling suggests it’s something Cossack cowboys yelled at their cattle, or farmers upon receiving a good harvest – but we can’t say for sure. Anybody able to fill us in?

Nostalgia Train via MTA on Flickr

Nostalgia Train via MTA on Flickr

If you’re looking for fun outside of the neighborhood this weekend, and have a young (or old) train fan in your life, be sure to catch the MTA’s Holiday Nostalgia Train, running along the M line between 2nd Avenue and Queens Plaza on Sundays (10am to 5pm) through December 28.

The cars, originally in service between the 1930s and 1970s, ran along the lettered lines from the Grand Concourse to Coney Island and have everything from ceiling fans and padded seats to incandescent light bulbs and vintage advertisements.

It’s definitely a great (and inexpensive…there’s no admission outside of your normal subway fare) family activity to check out this holiday season.

For more information on the nostalgia train, and other special events taking place this month, visit the MTA website.

Photo via the MTA

- Christine Bush

Photo by Mary Bakija

Photo by Mary Bakija

Apparently this is a practice done virtually everywhere.

Photo by Mary Bakija

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.

Community Board 15 is meeting tomorrow, November 25, at 7:00 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College  (2001 Oriental Boulevard) in the faculty dining room.

On the agenda are public hearings for three zoning items. Here are the applications being considered:

  • 1963 McDonald Avenue - Application to legalize a variance for floor area, lot coverage, rear yard and open space regulations.
  • 1620 Shore Boulevard  – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 1601 Oriental Boulevard - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.

In addition to the zoning items, the board’s chairperson and district manager will deliver their monthly reports. There will also be time to hear residents’ concerns and discuss various committee reports, and elected officials may be in attendance.

Refreshments will be served.

red-mango-1

After a blitz of independent and local chain frozen yogurt joints opening up in Sheepshead Bay these last few years, national franchise Red Mango has staked out a location on Kings Highway.

Located at 1222 Kings Highway, it’s the second Red Mango to open in Southern Brooklyn (the first is in Bensonhurst), and the fourth in the borough.

The storefront looks small, but opens up to a larger space and upstairs dining area once inside. Employees told Sheepshead Bites that the business began serving frozen treats to customers on November 13.

It replaces Scott Jewelers, which just a month ago made headlines after a failed robbery attempt ended with a security guard knocking a gun out of the thief’s hand, and causing a shot to go off. The thieves lost their nerve and made for the door; apparently the owners did the same.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Red Mango. And best of luck to the owners of Scott Jewelers on their future endeavors!

Updated (5:16pm): Whoops! As our Facebook readers were quick to point out, we screwed up. Scott Jewelers actually moved across the street, which we’re very glad to hear. Apologies to Scott Jewelers for the error, and to our readers for the confusion!

Gil Hodges Bridge (Photo by Stan Kaplan)

Gil Hodges Bridge in the distance (Photo by Stan Kaplan)

The Marine Parkway – Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge got stuck in the up position this morning, spurring advisories to motorists to use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternative for those going to or coming from the Rockaways.

The bridge was lifted to allow a ship to pass beneath it at approximately 11:30am. A problem with the electrical cables, owned by Consolidated Edison, stopped it from closing after the vessel passed.

Traffic remained blocked in both directions as of 1:00pm, and authorities did not provide an estimated service restoration time.

Source: dtanist/Flickr

Due to ongoing construction, there are major service changes on the B, Q and F lines until next Monday, December 1. Making things a little crazier this week is Thanksgiving on Thursday, when most buses and subways operate on a Sunday schedule – meaning no B service whatsoever on that day.

B LINE

Until December 1: there are no B trains between Brighton Beach and Kings Hwy – take the Q instead. Additionally, there will be no service on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

Q LINE

All times until 5am Monday, December 1: there are no Q trains between Brighton Beach and Stillwell Av. Q service operates between 57 St-7 Av/Ditmars Blvd and Brighton Beach. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service, stopping at Brighton Beach, Stillwell Av, Ocean Pkwy and West 8 St.

F LINE

All times until 5am Monday, December 1: there are no F trains between Avenue X and Stillwell Av. F service operates between 179 St and Avenue X. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service, stopping at Avenue X, Stillwell Av, Neptune Av and West 8 St.