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.

liberty-1

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.”

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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.

Jamaica F Train

Local leaders are putting pressure on the MTA to restore express service on the F train in Brooklyn, last experienced by commuters in 1987, while the MTA remains a bit iffy on the issue.

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast today, a bipartisan group of 14 city, state, and federal leaders said that the “benefits of restoring the F train express service in Brooklyn would be felt throughout the borough with decreased travel time to Manhattan, decreased delays along the entire line, and a better quality of life for all subway riders in our communities.”

To that end, they’d like to see limited northbound F express service restored in the mornings and southbound F express service in the evenings, saying this could also help ease crowding caused by an increase in ridership over the past year at 19 of the 22 Brooklyn F stops.

The MTA has been studying the possibility, but says that track work on the Culver Viaduct would have to be completed before they could do it — and they don’t have an end date for that, reports AM New York. Additionally, there are other challenges to restoring express service — track space for when the rails merge between the Bergen St and Jay St stops, as well as figuring out how riders at different stations will be impacted by the change.

“The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told AM New York. “How much savings is there really? That’s why we’re doing the study, to find out.”

2009 review of the F line that State Senator Daniel Squadron created with the MTA cited those issues, and added that express service “would require additional trains and cars; such a service increase would increase operating costs.”

The elected officials who sent the letter are Borough President Eric Adams; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler, and Michael Grimm; State Senators Martin Golden, Diane Savino, and Squadron; Assembly Members James Brennan, Steven Cymbrowitz, William Colton, and Joan Millman; and Council Members Stephen Levin, David Greenfield, and Mark Treyger.

They all believe the benefits outweigh the costs — what do you think, do we need express service back on the F?

Photo by Gabriel Gelman

Photo by Gabriel Gelman

Because it’s late, and my reservoir of clever headlines has run dry.

Photo by Gabriel Gelman

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.

missingThe search for a missing 73-year-old woman may have come to a tragic end, with a body believed to be Crucita “Lucy” Alvarado found on the roof of a Coney Island building nearly a month after she went missing.

Police found a decomposing body on the roof of 2930 West 30th Street last Thursday. The corpse was so decomposed the first responders could not identify it, or even determine its gender.

The medical examiner is still working to identify the body and the cause of death as of this morning, but investigators believe it to be that of Alvarado, an Alzheimer’s sufferer who went missing August 12. Alvarado lived around the corner from the West 30th Street building between Surf Avenue and Mermaid Avenue, where the body was found.

The corpse was wearing black sweatpants and a dark-hooded sweatshirt, the same clothing Alvarado was last seen wearing, amNY reports.

The body was found by a maintenance worker just after 10am, police said.

Since Alvarado went missing last month, family members and friends have plastered the Southern Brooklyn area with fliers of the missing woman.

“It’s been hell, day in and day out, nights and weekends,” Pedro Delvalle, Alvarado’s son-in-law, told the Post.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who said his office has been assisting the family in their search, released the following statement after the discovery was made.

“I am very sad to hear this terrible news, especially knowing how many loved ones have been searching for Lucy and praying for her return over the past few weeks. I send my truly heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Alvarado and will continue pray for them and assist them in any way possible,” Treyger said. “Nobody should ever face the type of ordeal that Mrs. Alvarado’s family and friends endured over the past month. Thank you to everyone who cared enough to look out for Mrs. Alvarado and help spread word of her disappearance. We must come together now as a community to be there for this family as they grieve their loss, and work as a city to find ways to help prevent this from happening to any other families.”

Source: dtanist/Flickr

B LINE

From 9:45am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Brighton Beach-bound B trains run local from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy.

Q LINE

From 9:45am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Ditmars Blvd-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.

F LINE

From 11:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from W 4 St to Jay St-MetroTech.

From 12:01am to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains run local from 71 Av to Roosevelt Av.

From 10:15am to 3pm, Tuesday to Thursday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip Avenue U.

All times until 5am, Monday, September 22: 179 St-bound F trains skip Van Wyck Blvd and Sutphin Blvd.

Gavrin

Source: Gavrin family via Daily News

Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered flags across New York State to be flown at half mast today in honor of U.S. Army PFC Bernard Gavrin, a Midwood resident who went missing in action during World War II whose remains were recently discovered.

Gavrin was reported missing in action on July 7, 1944, while serving in the Pacific theater at the age of 29. On June 15, as part of an Allied strategic goal to secure the Mariana Islands, U.S. forces were ordered to take Saipan. In one of the bloodiest sieges during the war, the Japanese forces threw wave after wave of soldiers at Allied forces on suicide missions known as banzai attacks. The 105th Infantry Regiment Gavrin served in sustained heavy losses of more than 900 killed or injured.

In the mayhem, many went missing and were presumed dead. Gavrin’s family never knew the comfort of certainty or the circumstances of his final hours – until now.

Gavrin’s remains were found as part of an initiative of the Japanese nonprofit the Keuntai Group, whose mission is to locate the remains of one million Japanese soldiers and return them to their families. During excavations in a cave in Saipan, the group found the Brooklynite’s tattered dog tags among the remains of several American soldiers in a mass grave.

On the dog tags was Gavrin’s home address – 1746 Ocean Avenue, near Avenue M.

Source: Gavrin family via Sun Sentinel

Source: Gavrin family via Sun Sentinel

A nephew of Gavrin’s, now 81, is the only surviving member of the family to remember the fallen soldier.

The Sun Sentinel reports:

“I am the only living relative to have known my Uncle Bernie,” [Gavrin's nephew David] Rogers said. “Words cannot do justice to the shock this news left me with.”

Rogers says he still remembers the screams of his grandmother Bessie when she opened a telegram delivered by the United States War Department.

It was the middle of summer 1944 and World War II was raging. Rogers, 12 at the time, greeted the uniformed man who stood at the door to his Brooklyn home — the bearer of bad news, every mother’s worst nightmare.

… Rogers was 8 when he last saw his uncle. He remembers having a “childish” accident that day, which left him bed-ridden with seven stitches above his eye. When his uncle stopped by for a visit, he woke up to say hello.

The next thing he heard about his uncle was when the soldier showed up at the door with the news he was missing in action.

“As a young person, to witness that, it obviously lasts the rest of your life,” he said.

Gavrin’s remains returned to the United States for the first time in at least 70 years, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. on Friday. On discovering the dog tags, the Army verified to Gavrin’s family that in addition to a Purple Heart, the soldier also won seven additional awards, including a Bronze Star Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and American Defense Service Medal.

Gavrin was buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery while his only surviving family member to remember him, David Rodgers, looked on.

“PFC Gavrin put his life on the line and paid the ultimate price to defend our nation and fight for the freedoms that it is built upon,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “After far too many years, he has returned home and has been granted a proper burial alongside the many other heroes who answered the call. I ask all New Yorkers to join me in honoring PFC Gavrin’s memory, his service and his sacrifice.”

Built around 1925, the Midwood home where Gavrin lived still stands, nestled behind large, leafy shrubs and a tree. Property records show the Gavrin family sold it in 1970.

The Gavrin family's home at the time of Bernard's death still stands today. (Source: Google Maps)

The Gavrin family’s home at the time of Bernard’s death still stands today. (Source: Google Maps)

All photos by Allan Rosen

All photos by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Last week, we discussed the switch to condensed and light (or thin) font along with the switch from uppercase to uppercase and lowercase lettering. While uppercase and lowercase lettering may increase sign legibility of the street name, legibility of the street suffix often suffers if a two-line format is used. The switch to uppercase and lowercase was well publicized, but the switch to narrow and / or thin font was not.

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Map of the primary and alternate detour routes. Stars indicate presence of traffic agents. Click to enlarge. (Source: DOT)

Map of the primary and alternate detour routes. Stars indicate presence of traffic agents. Click to enlarge. (Source: DOT)

Extensive repairs to the Belt Parkway will cause the Department of Transportation to shutter a section of the highway during nights for approximately three weeks, beginning tonight.

Contractors will be tearing up the asphalt and repaving the eastbound Belt Parkway between Flatbush Avenue and Rockaway Parkway every evening from 11pm to 5am. Work will take place during those hours every day except Sundays.

During the construction, drivers will be guided through a detour route that exits at Flatbush Avenue, continues to Utica and Flatlands avenues, then to East 76th Street/Paerdegat Avenue, to Seaview Avenue before finally returning to the highway at Rockaway Parkway.

Flatlands Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Knapp Street will provide alternative detours. See the map above for more information.

There will be signs along the detour route for additional guidance.

Work will not take place the nights of Wednesday, September 24, and Thursday, September 25, in observance of Rosh Hashanah, but will continue again Friday night.

Photo by George Burshteyn

Photo by George Burshteyn

Quote by Roman Payne, who I was surprised to discover is two years younger than me. His quote sounds like something Keats, Byron or Shelley could have dreamed up. An old soul, I reckon.

Photo by George Burshteyn

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.