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Source: Lisanne Anderson

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association met on Thursday to create a roadmap for tackling the neighborhood’s trash problem, but faced pushback from the Department of Sanitation, which claimed some of their concerns were better addressed to other agencies.

Approximately 50 neighbors gathered at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, located at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, to voice concerns to their local government representatives.

Bruno Iciano, the Community Affairs Liaison from the Department of Sanitation spoke first, opening up the floor to concerns from the group about ongoing garbage problems along major corridors, as well as underneath the Brighton Line subway overpasses. The group’s leadership expressed his hope that the department will work closely with the community to improve conditions.

“Our goal is to create a plan to attack all aspects of sanitation,” said Ed Jaworski, the civic association’s president. “It is our hope that grassroots might drive policy.”

Iciano spoke to the audience about several ways that local communities could get involved with neighborhood problems. He spoke highly of the “Adopt-A-Basket” program, the “Sponsor-A-Basket” program, and the Doe Fund. These first two projects would, respectively, allow property owners and individuals to take responsibility over local trash baskets and allow participants to sponsor “high-end” baskets that discourage residents from using them for household trash. The third program would provide local merchants the ability to hire individuals “going through tough times” at a low-cost to help clean up the streets.

The initiatives, though, fell short of satisfying neighbor’s questions, which focused on enforcement:

  • “What do you do with repeat offenders?”
  • “How can we tell if neighbors that get fined actually pay those fines?”
  • “We need to do something about the subway overpasses by the B and Q train on Sheepshead bay. What can you do?”

Not many of these concerns were resolved. Rather, the conversation seemed to resemble a game of hot potato, a diffusion of responsibility by government agencies.

“We’re not responsible for cleaning sidewalks… The overpasses, those are the responsibility of the MTA… You’ll have to call 311,” Iciano said during his presentation.

The MTA, however, sees it differently. Responding to Sheepshead Bites’ questions about maintenance in February, the MTA has previously said that cleaning underpasses and removing hazards like snow and ice are the city’s responsibility, either through the Department of Transportation or the Department of Sanitation.

On preventing sidewalk litter baskets from overflowing, Iciano said they hope to work more closely with residents who live above the storefronts.

“We’re gonna have to do outreach on Avenue U,” he said.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the crowd he would work to keep the pressure on the agencies.

“Keeping our communities clean is our main mission. We want people to stay and shop here. We don’t want them to go to other areas,” he said. “We need to educate small business owners. But that isn’t the only step. It’s a process, and I will be holding every city agency accountable.”

Jaworksi noted that he wished the MTA had sent a representative so that both, the MTA and DOS, could take ownership over the sanitation problems surrounding the local train stations.

“I wish someone would make the connection and take responsibility, say, ‘Let’s talk and get this done.’ How long can they keep passing the ball around?” said civic member Kathy Jaworski.

Source: Selbe B/Flickr

If the crazed crowds, projected low of 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and scary Black Friday mobs still don’t hinder your urge to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade in person, here are some transit tips.

On Thanksgiving Day, trains and buses will be running on a Sunday schedule. The parade runs from 9:00 a.m. until 12 p.m.

Parade Route: According to the MTA website, the parade starts on West 77 St and heads down Central Park West to 59 St/Columbus Circle. It travels along Central Park South and Sixth Av to 34 St. The parade then turns west to end at Seventh Avenue in front of the famous Macy’s Department store in Herald Square.

Q Line

Take the Q train, departing every 15 minutes, up to 34 St, Herald Square, or Times Square, 42 St.

F Line

Take the F train, departing every 19 minutes, up to W4 St, then transfer to the A Line to 59 St-Columbus Circle, or the D Line up to 34 St, Herald Square, or 59 St-Columbus Circle.

Bundle up. Sheepshead Bites wishes you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday!

Candidates vying for the 48th City Council District participated in an unorthodox, but incredibly informational, forum last Thursday, hosted by the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association.

The learning-style forum gave local citizens the opportunity to interact directly with three City Council candidates for the 48th District: Republican David Storobin, Working Families Igor Oberman, and Democrat Chaim Deutsch. The format of the panel departed from the usual, and featured three reporters asking questions, which a citizens panel then answered as if they were the council members. The candidates then weighed in, saying how they’d approach the issue and responding to the residents’ proposals.

Moderated by City Councilman Lew Fidler, the panel touched on important concerns, including local development, parking and traffic, garbage and the revitalization of our commercial districts – the concerns residents said would guide their vote in the November 5 election.

The media panel brought together reporters from local, citywide, and New York policy publications: Michael Powell, a veteran metro reporter from the New York Times; Cristian Salazar, editor of the Gotham Gazette, a policy analysis publication; and our own Ned Berke, editor and publisher of Sheepshead Bites.

Attendance for the event filled up the Carmine Carro Community Center in Brooklyn’s Marine Park, where the event took place. Ed Jaworski, the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association and organizer of the event said that the event was “an opportunity for the public, candidates for office, and current office holders to learn from citizens. It‘s a focus on citizen input, that is, bottom-up consideration.”

William Chin, one of the citizen panels, said, “It was an unbelievable turnout.” But he added that though the content was good, there weren’t many “campaignable promises.”

Storobin, Oberman, and Deutsch had dissenting opinions about what it would take to draw business to local shops, find a balance in the equitable distribution of wealth, and educate proprietors on the basics of business stability.

In fact, one of the few things the candidates did agree upon was the rejection of Bloomberg’s 16-ounce soda ban, with Storobin calling it “preposterous” and Oberman adding, “We don’t need another politician concerned about soda.”

The entire panel can be watched in the video above.


Five candidates vying for seats in two different Southern Brooklyn City Council districts participated in a heated debate on Sunday, focusing on reforming co-op laws to benefit as many as one million New York City residents of co-ops.

All candidates expressed support for a shareholder’s bill of rights, which would grant new protections from potentially abusive and exploitative boards of cooperative housing units. Despite the support, the frustrated shareholders – all with horror stories of their own – expressed a lack of confidence in much-needed reform and ultimately turned on the candidates.

Find out where the candidates stand, and how the audience reacted.


Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota and former State Senator David Storobin teamed together to represent the Republican Party as candidates for New York City Mayor and City Council Representative, respectively, during a Sunday rally drawing Republican voters from across Southern Brooklyn.

Lhota and Storobin met a team of approximately 30 supporters during the steamy Sunday afternoon rally on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk, off Brighton 5th Street, to rally support for their campaigns from the local community. It was the first campaign event for Storobin, who many have assumed would seek the Republican line for the 48th District of the City Council, currently represented by term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson.

Lhota, a former New York City Deputy Mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, and Storobin, a former New York State Senator who was in office for just 11 days of the legislation session after replacing Carl Kruger, both expressed concern about the Southern Brooklyn areas (including Brighton Beach, Seagate, Gravesend, Mill Basin and Sheepshead Bay) noting that they are too often forgotten by politicians.

“People will tell you, ‘Brooklyn is just Brooklyn Heights.’ We are the real Brooklyn and we also matter,” Storobin said. “[Lhota mayorality] is going to be the third term of Rudy Giuliani, maybe even better…this is the progress that we need.”

Together, Lhota and Storobin have a reform agenda focused on promoting local business growth, lowering crime rate, and bettering the school systems. Lhota has already come out in strong support of increasing charter schools, while Storobin based much of his Senate campaign on proposals to direct taxpayer funds to religious and private schools through vouchers and reimbursements.
“I grew up in the Bronx and was always amazed by Little Odessa. It’s such a vibrant, exciting community. But we can do better. I want more community involvement, a greater quality of life for our locals,” Lhota said.

Brighton neighbors, familiar with Storobin, began to cheer on Lhota, too.

“People here know his [Storobin’s] name. They love him. Character means everything. He does what he says he’s going to do. Storobin lives by his word,” Nanci Roden, a longtime Storobin supporter, said.

Leon Ofman, a registered Democrat, said that he could agree, on some points, with the politicians.

“I like that [Storobin] is pushing to diversify recovery money from FEMA,” Ofman said. “There’s been a lot of fiscal corruption after Sandy. I want to see if the two of them can fight it.”
Storobin does not yet have any primary challengers, and has also been endorsed by he Conservative and Independence parties. Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan, Nelson-aide Chaim Deutsch and attorney Igor Oberan, in addition to others, are all seeking the Democratic line.

See photos and video from the event.

Participants in this year’s Autism Walk.

When the Southern Brooklyn community wants to raise awareness for a good cause, they know how to do it – even in stormy weather.

On Sunday, May 19, approximately 170 Southern Brooklyn locals gathered at the New York Aquarium to walk 1.2 miles of the boardwalk to Coney Island Avenue. Together, they marched until Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton Beach to raise awareness for autism.

Lilach Koch, the Special Needs Program director at the Shorefront Y, said that walks like this are vital to create greater knowledge and education about autism, as well as raise funds.

“This will create a community that recognizes and accepts individuals with autism and supports their families,” Koch said.

The three main goals of the walk? To educate, to recognize, and to gain support for the programs for disabilities.

“It’s important that the leaders of the community understand that it’s a great cause. We are here. We need your support. These programs are scarce,” Koch said.

Two other local Jewish Community Centers – the JCH of Bensonhurst and Kings Bay Y – collaborated on the effort.

Autism is a developmental disorder of brain function. Characteristics typically include impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests.

According to, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify 1 in 88 American children on the autism spectrum. Statistically, there are more children affected by autism than diabetes, cerebral palsy, or Down syndrome combined.

The event saw well known community figures like Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and a host of community volunteers.

“Our mission is to strengthen the skills of our clients and support them and their families from early childhood to adulthood. We believe in our developmentally disabled clients and direct them to become more independent, functional and happy individuals,” Koch added.

Koch explained that many of these programs are free to the community, and that Southern Brooklyn families cannot afford many of the more expensive options available.

“We do understand our families’ needs on both the practical and emotional levels, and we constantly seek for channels to provide families with as many free and low cost services and programs as possible,” said Koch.

Karreell Pereira, a Shorefront Y member, visits the community center weekly with her husband and young boys.  Her two sons, age seven and eight, were at the event as well, supporting after-school classmates.

“It means a lot to me, being around other parents. It opens my eyes. It shows me how other parents operate, and shows me how blessed I am,” Pereira said. “We are capable of making a drastic change. These programs need to be nourished and should be promoted.”

“They love it here,” she said. “It opens their eyes to what’s really going on in our community. It helps you see not only your situation, but other people’s situations.”

Currently, the Shorefront Y offers free after-school programs for children ages 5 to 13, a Sunday Funday social skills recreational program for children ages 5 to 12, and a series of other educational workshops for parents and families. They hope to support families in need.

Michelle Pisani-Hinojo said that rain or shine, she will support this walk for years to come. Her 11-year-old daughter, Amber, has autism.

“The weather put a damper on the event, but not on the spirit. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. The public is becoming aware. It feels good that people are willing to work together for awareness,” Pisani-Hinojo said.

“It’s symbolic, you know? Some days will be sunny days, and other day’s it’ll rain,” Pisani-Hinojo said. “Even on the bad days, you need to stay strong and still be supportive. We can’t give up.”

Sheepshead Bay honored the Auxiliary Police Officers of the 61st Precinct this past Wednesday evening for their hard work and dedication after Superstorm Sandy.

The auxiliary force of the 61st Precinct, the city’s largest, is an all-volunteer force who’ve come together to assist local NYPD operations by performing uniformed patrols. After Sandy, auxiliary units were deployed to hard-hit areas, including Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach.

The officers received plaques, certificates, and standing ovations from community leaders and locals at Wednesday night’s 61st Precinct Community Council meeting. Neighbors joined together to celebrate the communal effort to get Sheepshead Bay back on its feet after October’s disastrous hurricane.

“Because of them, we felt assured our lives were coming back to normal,” said one local.

Officers responded graciously.

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give,” said one of auxiliary’s recipients.

Congratulations to the following officers:

A/LT Joseph Bognar
A/LT Yassir Sadik
A/SGT Jonathan Legarreta
A/SGT John Ramnauth
A/SGT Ray Santiago
APO Victor Arazi
APO Thomas Brown
APO Steven Diaz
APO Richard Farnum
APO Grigory Grigoryants
APO Lior Levin
APO Samuel Modovan
APO Vitaliy Molnar
APO Hector Oquendo
APO Alfredo Perez
APO Aleksandr Toyb

If you’re interested in becoming an Auxiliary Police Officer, you can apply online.

As the closing nears, shelves are emptying.

After 30 years in business, Brighton Beach’s Met Foods supermarket is closing its doors in just two more weeks, leaving neighborhood seniors distressed about future food-shopping endeavors.

The supermarket, located at at 100-120 Brighton Beach Avenue, is being replaced by a modern two-story office and retail complex. Rather than housing a different convenience store, the new complex will be open to a variety of vendors that will be able to sublet office-sized space, with retail on the ground floor.

But Brighton Beach locals are unenthusiastic about the change. Many Met Foods customers are worried about the inconvenience that this close will cause on the elderly population residing in the community.

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