Photo by Robin Michals

Photo by Robin Michals

With apologies to Francis Scott Key, whose famed “poem” just turned 200 years old. From the photographer:

Stillwell Avenue Station, September 12, 2014

I have walked by this so many times and never noticed how drop dead gorgeous the light is in the early evening.

Love it.

Photo by Robin Michals

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.

Family, friends and police brass pose with the new vessel named for Harry Ryman; inset: Ryman (Source: NYPD)

Family, friends and police brass pose with the new vessel named for Harry Ryman; inset: Ryman (Source: NYPD)

The fallen officer's grandson, Mathew Ryman, posing with the vessel (Source: NYPD)

The fallen officer’s grandson, Mathew Ryman, posing with the vessel (Source: NYPD)

NYPD top brass helped christen two new police response boats, one of which was named in memory of Police Officer Harry Ryman 24 years after he was shot and killed in front of his Marine Park home.

Commissioner Bill Bratton oversaw the event with members of the NYPD leadership team, Inspector David Driscoll, commanding officer of the harbor unit, and family and friends of Ryman to dedicate the vessels. Ryman was honored alongside fallen officer Joseph McCormack, who was shot and killed in 1983.

“Today we gather with the family, friends and colleagues of two NYPD heroes to remember the sacrifice they made,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “With the dedication of these two Harbor Unit launches we ensure their memories will forever sail on the beautiful waters that surround New York City.”

On August 14, 1980, Ryman was sleeping at his Marine Park home when we awoke to noise in the street. He grabbed his shield and his revolver and went to investigate. Outside he found three men attempting to steal a car. Though off-duty from his post at Coney Island’s 60th Precinct, Ryman jumped to action and identified himself as a police officer. The thugs opened fire, striking him. Even though he was critically wounded, he returned fire and hit one of the assailants, and due to his actions all three suspects were apprended.

Ryman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was 43 years old when he died, and a 17-year veteran of the force.

His grandson, P.O. Mathew Ryman, is assigned to the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, and he wears his murdered grandfather’s badge.

The vessels, two 62-foot ships to be used for patrol functions, counter-terrorism and rescue operations, are among the largest boats in the NYPD fleet. In addition to sonar equipment, the ships can detect radiation and also have underwater cameras.

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Gnomiki Day Care at 2221 Ocean Avenue, which was closed due to its history of violations. Its sister site at 2623 Ocean Avenue has been recommended for closure as well. (Source: Google Maps)

The operators of nine child care facilities – seven in Brooklyn and two in Staten Island – were charged last Friday with submitting false documents to the city to cover up a slew of health and safety problems, according to Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation Mark Peters, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Jr.

At the centers, which served about 400 children, investigators said they found a long list of egregious conditions, including rat droppings, poison, a mountain of trash, and a fire alarm falling off the wall, the Daily News reported. Additionally, the DOI said they discovered owners had submitted fake educational degrees, forged medical records, and falsified letters stating employees had been trained in child abuse identification.

The city recently closed four of the centers:

  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., 2221 Ocean Avenue, closed due to the site’s violation history, city officials said.
  • Next to Home, 1123 Flatbush Avenue, was shuttered due to a city Department of Buildings vacate order issued in response to multiple DOB and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene violations.
  • Next to Home, 1159 Flatbush Avenue was closed because investigators said the program had been operating under an expired DOB certificate of occupancy.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, 6318 Amboy Road, Staten Island, ended operations after DOHMH petitioned to revoke the permit.

At the remaining five sites:

  • Next to Home, 5566 Kings Highway, was “never leased and never provided services to children,” the DOI said
  • ABC Little Star, 2345 85th Street, is still operating and city officials said DOHMH inspected it this week, finding no new violations.
  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., Group Family Day Care, 2623 Ocean Avenue, has been recommended for closure.
  • Next to Home, 353 Ocean Avenue, closed after the owner stopped operations, city officials said.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, a group family daycare operating at 6306 Amboy Road in Staten Island, is operating, but the owner that was arrested will be excluded from the program, officials said.

The site owners who were arrested were:

  • Viktoriya Federovich, 38, of Brooklyn, was the owner of Gnomiki Day Care, Inc. She was charged with presenting fraudulent documents to the city, including two Certificates of Completion for Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment for an assistant teacher and a volunteer, the DOI said.
  • Elena Kaplan, 53, of Brooklyn, was the owner ABC Little Star Day Care, and, according to the DOI’s investigation, she allegedly submitted a number of false documents to the city, including a a fake public school teacher certificate for herself and state Nurses Association Certificates of Completion for various members of the staff confirming they had received training in identifying child abuse, when, in fact, they allegedly had not, the city officials said.
  • Owen Larman, 41, of Brooklyn, a convicted felon who was found guilty of operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme in 2007 and who was also charged in this case with stealing close to $60,000 in public funds. He was the owner and operator of Next to Home Child Care, which provided services at three locations in the borough. Next to Home also obtained a registration to operate a fourth child care program at 5566 Kings Highway, but the DOI said this site did not actually provide any services.
  • Gina Schiavo, 44, of Staten Island, was the owner of One of a King Child Care. According to the DOI, she allegedly introduced an individual to a DOHMH inspector under another teacher’s name and fraudulently provided documents with the name and qualifications of the teacher. When the inspector questioned the individual about her identity, Schiavo allegedly admitted that the individual was using another person’s name.

“These defendants forged and falsified documents in order to cover up safety risks and steal money intended for actual child care, as charged,” Peters said in a prepared statement. “Our investigations underscore the importance of continuing to vigorously police the integrity of the city’s child care systems, an effort that is very much continuing.”

In his statement to the press, Thompson too issued harsh words for the defendants.

“Each day parents throughout the city count on child care providers to protect the safety of their children,” he said. “It is disgraceful that greedy operators would circumvent safety provisions for their own benefit. Our parents and children deserve better and that’s why we worked so closely with the Department of Investigation on these cases.”

Some of the damage in Sea Gate, at the tip of Coney Island, left by Sandy. Photo by Erica Sherman

Some of the damage in Sea Gate, at the tip of Coney Island, left by Sandy. Photo by Erica Sherman

The following is a message from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

As the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, Council Member Chaim Deutsch is reuniting various first responders who were instrumental in assisting thousands of residents during Hurricane Sandy in affected neighborhoods throughout the 48th District.

Council Member Deutsch is organizing an event for his constituents that will offer training under the auspices of Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in crisis intervention, emergency response and disaster preparedness.

Participating in the kick off will be members of United Search & Rescue, Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, Rockaway Safety Patrol, New York Rescue Response Team, East Flatbush Safety Patrol, volunteer establishments and community residents.

Council Member Deutsch is inviting members of the community who are interested in learning more about how to become a first responder for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to join him. The event takes place on Thursday, September 18th, at 7pm at the Shorefront Y located at 3300 Coney Island Avenue.

For more information please call the Council Member’s District Office at 718-368-9176.

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Cops are turning to the public for help in their search for Nashaly Perez, a 15-year-old girl who went missing Monday.

Perez, who lives near West 33rd Street and Mermaid Avenue, was last seen just after 1pm leaving her school, P.S. 371, in Sunset Park.

She was wearing a white bandanna, red blouse, black jeans and red and black sneakers at the time of her disappearance. She is 5’3″ tall and weighs 120lbs.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Photo by Albert Dashevsky (a.k.a. Albert718)

Our resident dronesman sent us some cool droney pics again.

Photo by Albert Dashevsky (a.k.a. Albert718)

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.

vivibubbletea

ViVi Bubble Tea, a franchise serving tapioca-ball-filled beverages, is setting up shop at 1501 Avenue U.

Signs went up at the location last week, and it replaces Boss Dental. It will be one of several places on Avenue U where one can get bubble tea, including Kung Fu Tea across the street.

ViVi is a growing franchise, with more than two dozen stores in the metro area. They most recently opened a shop on Bensonhurst’s Bay Parkway.

The Avenue U spot will be the third location in Brooklyn.

According to the franchise’s Facebook page, the store was scheduled to have a soft opening and was serving customers this past Saturday. The above photo was taken on Wednesday, and we haven’t yet confirmed whether they’ve opened or not.

Has anybody been to any of ViVi’s locations? What’d you think?

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement. (Source: Adams’ office)

Several local schools are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each for repairs, upgrades and improvements as part of a $3.1 million allocation by Borough President Eric Adams to education institutions across the borough.

The beep today unveiled 16 school-related capital projects that will benefit from the allocation, which was packed into the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

“If you look around Downtown Brooklyn, something new is rising up every day and this is an exciting time for the borough and this area, as education and schools represent the vibrant energies of what’s coming up at this time,” said Borough President Adams. “This budget spans the far reaches of the borough; from Metrotech to Midwood and from Bed-Stuy to Bath Beach, we are leaving no school behind. Our goal is education, education, and education.”

The allocations are largely for technology upgrades, although some schools are receiving it for more general improvements.

Schools in our area are slated to receive the following:

  • $350,000 to James Madison High School for upgrades to the school’s library and media centers;
  • $225,000 for improvements to the library at Sheepshead Bay High School;
  • $200,000 for classroom technology purchases at Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281;
  • $100,000 for classroom technology purchases at P.S. 169;

Local elected officials joined Adams during the announcement this morning to celebrate the funding.

“School libraries and media centers are essential to the success of today’s high school students,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “I thank Brooklyn Borough President Adams for this funding, which will enhance these services at Sheepshead and James Madison High Schools, and allow students to reach even greater heights.”

“Investing in education is the best investment we can make for the future of our state and country,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “These capital improvements will help bring much-needed technological advancements to our local Brooklyn schools that will better our children. This $200,000 capital grant for I.S. 281 will allow for the school to make technology improvements, including by purchasing smartboards and computer laptops, that will benefit our students by enhancing their learning experience, and provide valuable resources for our educators.”

The intersection of Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. Source: Google Maps

The intersection of Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. Source: Google Maps

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, September 17 at 8:00pm inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch will be the guest speaker. Also on the meeting’s agenda: a police report, the status of efforts to reduce speeding throughout Manhattan Beach, the traffic light at Ocean Avenue and Oriental Boulevard, the recent electrical outage, paving the streets, improvements to the Manhattan Beach Park, MBCG Nominating Committee, and more.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

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Galina and Lev Berenshteyn in front of Lady Liberty

A retired limo driver from the former Soviet Union is building a 16-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty in his East 21st Street front yard as a tribute to his adopted homeland.

Lev Berenshteyn, 68, began working on Lady Liberty approximately two weeks ago. It’s built of a 7.5-foot-tall replica they picked up from a business in Southampton, Long Island. It sits atop a custom 8-foot-tall concrete base that Berenshteyn is sculpting himself.

If it seems unusual, the purpose appears to perplex even Berenshteyn’s wife, Galina, 65.

“Why [build it]? I don’t know. Just because my husband wants to do this,” she said.

Her husband gave a more definitive answer.

“Why? America. I like it,” he said.

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The 16′ tall statue towers over the fence, a beacon of freedom for anyone passing by on Shore Parkway or East 21st Street.

The two became part of the huddled masses to which Lady Liberty beckons when they fled the portion of the former Soviet Union that is now Uzbekistan. Stateside, she worked as a computer programmer, while he was a limousine driver that frequently shuttled passengers to the Circle Line ferry that serves the Statue of Liberty.

The Berenshteyns purchased the rustic corner house at East 21st Street and Shore Parkway in 1996, and are now working on that part of the American Dream in which you build 16-foot-tall statues of French women in your front yard.

And it isn’t cheap: Galina Berenshteyn said it has cost them about $3,500 so far. Soon the statue’s torch will shine, and they will install lights at the base to illuminate the statue, catching the freedom-loving eyes of passersby on Shore Parkway.

“Lights, everything, soon we will make like original. We’ll finish, a couple days it will be nice,” Lev Berenshteyn said. “It looks like the original because we made many, many pictures of the original and made it like that.”

liberty-3

The couple say they still have a few more days of work before it’s completed.

The real Statue of Liberty, dedicated in October 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. A beacon of freedom and welcoming signal to immigrants, it has a long history of inspiring duplicates, including in Paris, the U.K., Germany, China and Israel, among others. The oldest replica in New York City, at approximately 114 years old, is a 55-foot-tall statue that originally stood at Liberty Warehouse, and has since been moved to the Brooklyn Museum.

Little do the Berenshteyns  realize, just around the corner on Voorhies Avenue is the former home of the Circle Line’s founder. Where Sheepshead Bay once brought visitors to the Statue of Liberty, now, thanks to the Berenshteyns, the Statue of Liberty comes to us.