With 2011 just hours away, it’s time for Sheepshead Bites’ Top 10 list. It’s been a huge year, too. We had mosques, garbage, plows and concerts. Television shows and meeting videos and movie theater shutdowns (not to mention bed bugs!). It was the year of dead bodies found floating in the Bay, disastrous storms and douchebag eyeglass retailers.
It’s been a good year.
We’ve gone through the site’s statistics for 2010 and discovered that these 10 stories snagged the most eyes from those in the neighborhood and beyond.
Thousands of people from across the tri-state area turned to Sheepshead Bites, as it became the first outlet to publish the 2010 lineup for Marty Markowitz’s seaside bash. We uncovered the lineup in pieces, starting with Neil Sedaka and Brenda Lee, and eventually we were the first to announce headliners like John Legend, Belinda Carlisle and the B-52s.
Since this has been going on this week, it probably doesn’t need a recap. But our outrage at the storm resonated with residents across the city and was picked up by news media as far away as London. And my damn street still has not been plowed. What’s a guy gotta do?
Sheepshead Bites was the first to discover the casting call for the planned series, just five days old at the time. Since then, it has been picked up by Lifetime and has been shooting all over the neighborhood. Our coverage – which included the first interview with the show’s producers – was so good Perez Hilton sought fit to plagiarize a quote from us.
What can we say? Some people are just gaawbage. After local teens were busted wreaking havoc on their neighborhood by GerritsenBeach.net, their parents went ape-shit on… well… on the blogger for exposing them. That’s right, not the kids. The blogger. When Sheepshead Bites was the only one with a camera running at Gerritsen Beach Property Owners’ Association meeting, where blogger Danny Cavanagh came to answer questions from parents, we caught the barrage of insults, accusations and threats tossed his way by upset parents.
Singer/songwriter Annika Vitolo, a native of Marine Park/Gerritsen Beach, composed this amazing homage to Brooklyn – with a heavy focus on its southern reaches – in a spin off of Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” Though made in 2009, we came across it in April and it has remained a hit ever since. It continues to draw significant traffic through Facebook and Twitter sharing, proving once again – Brooklyn’s got heart.
We reported on the closing of Kings Plaza 6, the movie theaters at our infamous mall, back in January. The closure left the Sheepshead Bay United Artists as one of Southern Brooklyn’s only major movie theaters – and, with that – totally unpleasant to go see a movie in.
Parents were outraged to discover a slew of violations about Royal Crown Day Care, a new large facility that opened on Avenue Y near Coney Island Avenue. After a stunning 12 inspections, Health Department officials shut them down for unqualified teachers, improper maintenance of records, inadequate staff-to-child ratios and more. Sheepshead Bites later discovered that the center went seven months without a city-registered director, and many staffers had not had required background checks. Royal Crown’s owner recently commented on Sheepshead Bites that he will soon open a new “child profit center.”
The city recently decided to keep Sheepshead Bay High School and nearby Dewey High School open for at least another year, though the principal of Sheepshead Bay H.S. is fighting to keep her job. But when we first reported that the school was at risk of closing, parents, students, faculty and alumni were beside themselves. We’ll see what 2011 has in store for the neighborhood institution, which faces major restructuring challenges.
We first brought to light opposition to the planned Voorhies Avenue Islamic Cultural Center – a.k.a. the Sheepshead Bay mosque – in January. But the story kept moving forward as opponents – and proponents – held rally after rally after rally. The plans were approved in October, then pulled for additional review the next day, and then approved again the day after that. Opponents vow a fight in 2011, and have submitted challenges to the zoning.
The run down house at 1811 Voorhies Avenue has been a local curiosity for as long as I can remember. Its massive columns hinted at a previous magnificence locals could only imagine. Shortly after upset tenants vandalized the property, scrawling “Welcome to Hell” and “Bedbugs Paradise” in spray paint, we rediscovered the building’s lost history. It is the former home of Windsor McCay, one of America’s pioneering cartoonists and the grandfather of animation. A fire did some major damage to the property after our discovery, and it was recently gutted for renovation into a two-family home. The property owner promises to keep the columns and the aesthetic, and we hope some of the historical value is preserved.