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Source: Fridays

Thank the lord for America’s independent, free press, delving into the weightiest and most controversial of issues, serving as a public watchdog, the fourth estate, protecting our freedoms… and eating mozzarella sticks for 14 hours so we don’t have to.

In case you haven’t heard, T.G.I. Friday’s launched a new promotion at select locations, giving patrons the chance to eat an unlimited amount of appetizers for just $10. Creatively, it’s called “Endless Appetizers.”

I know what you’re thinking. “Psha. Endless? Yeah, right. They’ll crack down on you by hour three and start demanding you order something or get out.” Especially in the no-nonsense, rough-and-tumble Sheepshead Bay location, right?

That’s what Gawker’s Caity Weaver thought too. So she did her journalistic duty, trekked down to Harkness Avenue, ordered some endless mozzarella sticks (you only get to choose one of seven appetizers – madness!), and sat their for four… teen… freakin’… hours.

Forget Israel. Forget the Ukraine. Somebody get this lady a Pulitzer and tell all those other reporters to go home.

What resulted from the effort was a whopping 6,000-word opus to utter self-contempt in a nearly minute-by-minute breakdown of her stay. All-in-all, Weaver didn’t eat all that much; just 7 orders, or 32 mozzarella sticks in total. That’s an amount most of fat, big-mouthed jerks behind keyboards think is just pitiful, but Weaver attributes it to the fact that Friday’s mozzarella sticks, which have been gussied in up in vain with a Parmesan and Romano dusting, were just god awful. And I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, because by the end of it she so clearly hated herself in a way that suggested she ate three times that amount.

The conclusion? Well, the Endless Appetizers deal is unlimited, although Weaver potentially sabotaged the report by disclosing to management before she began that she was there to test the policy. So further research must be done. (We’re on it.)

Other takeaways? Friday’s mozzarella sticks reportedly suck. Heinz makes you do too much to participate in their back-of-the-bottle promotions. The daytime service at Fridays is nice; in the evening, not so much. Weaver doesn’t care much for Plumb Beach channel, which she describes thusly, “as nice as any scenic bay or rainbow gasoline puddle.” There appear to be a few creeps who hang out there and say weird things to pretty girls covered in mozzarella-stick-grease.

Oh, and Caity Weaver is funny as hell. Read this thing. It was the best part of my day.

grimm2Congressman Michael Grimm, facing a 20-count indictment on tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices, may now head to trial in October, a month before elections.

SILive reports:

Speaking at a status conference in Brooklyn federal court on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Gatta said that motion procedures and hearings in the case could be held by the end of September, with a trial to begin the following month.

… Gatta said that the discovery in the case is “not particularly voluminous” and that the case itself “is fairly straightforward.”

Grimm’s new attorney, Daniel Rashbaum, said that that “schedule may be OK. I don’t know yet.”

He sought a three- or four-week delay so that he could look at the evidence. By then, Rashbaum said, he’d have a better idea “what the discovery looks like in my mind.”

But U.S. District Court Judge Pamela K. Chen said she would give Rashbaum, who notified the court last week that he was taking over the defense, two weeks to “dive into the material.”

Prior to the conference yesterday, observers believed Grimm would not go to trial until after the November 4 elections, when he faces off against Democrat Domenic Recchia. If the prosecution’s request for an October court date is granted, it would be a significant blow to the pol, who will have to fight simultaneously for his seat and his freedom.

Source: mikey k/flickr

Source: mikey k/flickr

Police found a 49-year-old woman dead at a Brightwater Avenue apartment building on Thursday, spurring an investigation.

Cops were called to 1511 Brightwater Avenue just before 11:00 a.m. on July 17 for an unconscious female. When they arrived, they found the woman dead on the living room floor.

The woman’s identity has not been released to the public. It’s not clear who made the 911 call, or if that person remained on the scene.

The remains were sent to the medical examiner to determine the cause of the death. The medical examiner told Sheepshead Bites on Sunday that the cause and manner are still pending study.

Neither police nor the medical examiner would say if any criminality was suspected.

Source: beigeinside/Flickr

B LINE

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound B trains run local from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.

Q LINE

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy.

F LINE

From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, there are no F trains between Roosevelt Av and 21 St-Queensbridge. F service operates in two sections as follows:

  1. Between 179 St and Roosevelt Av.
  2. Between Coney Island and 21 St-Queensbridge.

What a perfect photo for this article. (Source: Pedro Vezini/Flickr)

A recent report is raising questions about several local doctors who rank among the nation’s highest earners for Medicare claims, with many of them seeing the same patients thousands of times in just a few short months.

The doctors – occupational therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists – have been walking a quasi-legal line, sharing patients through a network in which they are seen, and billed, multiple times on the same day. One chiropractor and an occupational therapist had overlapping patients that were seen on the same day more than 11,000 times in 18 months, according to USA Today.

While referring patients to other doctors is common, a high frequency could indicated what experts call “churning” – cross-referring within a known network for financial gain and not medical need, and possibly for a kickback. The local network is also unusual because chiropractors, physical therapists and occupational therapists usually compete with one another, and would be unlikely to send referrals.

After reviewing Medicare data nationwide, USA Today found Southern Brooklyn docs stood out for their high referral rates. Here’s how they detailed the network:

The USA TODAY analysis found that six practitioners in Brooklyn all regularly saw the same patients, often treating each person dozens of times. Medicare paid the six a total of nearly $15 million in 2012, the only calendar year that payment data is publicly available. Additional practitioners also fed into and benefited from the referral network, but at smaller rates than the top half-dozen.

For example, physical therapist Wael Bakry and occupational therapist Victor Genkin, both part of the network, are the first and second biggest recipients of Medicare money in 2012 in their respective fields.

Medicare paid Bakry about $4.1 million for performing more than 184,000 procedures on 1,959 patients. Genkin brought in more than $2.3 million from seeing fewer than 1,200 patients.

According to Medicare’s data, over 18 months the two shared more than 700 clients, who saw both regularly — as many as 25 times each.

The top earning chiropractor in the nation, Brooklyn’s Alexander Khavash, was also a top referrer to Bakry and Genkin. According to the Medicare data, Bakry and Khavash shared more than 1,200 patients between them.

Often, but not always, the physical therapist and chiropractor saw patients back-to-back. One group of patients made a total of more than 17,000 visits to both doctors on the same day — an average of 13 times per patient — over an 18 month span.

The patients also regularly cycled through internist Abraham Demoz, who has used the same address as Genkin and Bakry. For example, Khavash saw 2,060 patients in 2012, according to the Medicare payment records. Demoz shared almost 1,800 of them with him over 18 months, the data show. Demoz and Genkin had about the same amount of patient overlap.

Mayura Kanekar is another Brooklyn provider who is part of the same circle.

Kanekar brought in nearly $3 million as the top Medicare-earning occupational therapist in the country in 2012. Occupational therapists work on people’s fine motor skills so they can perform daily tasks. Over the 18 months covered by Medicare’s referral data, a group of about 800 patients routinely visited both her and Khavash on the same day — seeing the two specialists back-to-back a total of 11,621 times.

None of the federal law enforcement officials USA TODAY interviewed would comment about whether any of the individuals are under investigation.

Some of those docs have also come up in other recent reports for their unusually high billing.

The USA Today report is lengthy and detailed – and a worthwhile read. Their reporters go to find the doctors at their listed medical offices, only to find abandoned storefronts or residential buildings. The look into the causes for the high rate of Medicare claims, and also address investigators’ challenges in finding and prosecuting such cases. Check it out, then feel sad.

Remember parkour, the sport described by The Office‘s Jim Halpert as “the internet sensation of 2004 … and the goal is to get from point A to point B as creatively as possible”? Well, it just happened in Coney Island. And it’s much cooler than when Michael and Dwight did it.

Brooklyn-based parkour collaborative Bullettrun posted the above video over the weekend, showing their members jumping, flipping, rolling and generally being more awesome than the rest of us on the Coney Island boardwalk, Child’s Restaurant, on the beach and in front of housing developments.

The group has been around since 2007, performing their craft in streets, on the stage and on screen. Under the creative direction of Nadia Lesy, who shot the video above, Bulletrun describes itself as a “collaborative, performance, Multi-media Parkour group” that “produces live shows that are presented in theaters, galleries and in non traditional settings, such as a a high school gymnasium and city parks.”

Neat. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go parkour my way over to the deli for a bacon, egg and cheese. Strolling, slowly, while struggling to breathe under the weight of my own man-boobs counts as creative expression, doesn’t it?

Check out more awesome videos from Bullettrun.

marine-one

Marine One, a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King carrying President Obama, flew over West End Avenue apartment buildings on Friday. Also, a bird.

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): The neighborhood received a presidential flyover this week, with President Barack Obama soaring over Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach on his way to some fundraisers Thursday. He took off from John F. Kennedy airport with three choppers – Marine One and an escort of a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King and an Osprey. Cool fact: the Osprey attachment, pictured below and which carries Secret Service, White House staff and reporters, is ultra-lux, decked out with leather seats and other amenities. Fits right in with Brighton Beach, no? His trip home was delayed due to a suspicious package at the White House. No matter what your political persuasion, seeing these in the air is pretty badass.

Here are some of the big stories you may have missed this week. You can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

We have real osprey’s in Jamaica Bay, but here’s that big, ol’ metal one with leather seats flying over the Manhattan Beach building I’ve always referred to as Saddam’s other palace:

marine-osprey

Source: MichaelTapp/Flickr

Q LINE

From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Q service is extended to Ditmars Blvd.

F LINE

From 11:15 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the M from Roosevelt Av to 47-50 Sts.

  • Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.
  • To 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St, and 57 St, take the Coney Island-bound F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.
  • From 21 St-Queensbridge and Roosevelt Island, take a Jamaica-bound F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.
  • From Lexington Av/63 St, use the nearby 59 St 4/5/6 station for downtown local service to 51 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F at the E/M platform.
  • From 57 St, use the nearby 57 St-7 Av N/Q/R station for downtown service to 34 St-Herald Sq and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.

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

  • To B’way-Lafayette St, transfer to the D at W 4 St.
  • To 2 Av, Delancey St, and East Broadway, take the Coney Island-bound F to Jay St-MetroTech and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.
  • From these stations, take a Jamaica-bound F to W 4 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.
  • To/from York St, use the nearby High St A station.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip Sutphin Blvd, Van Wyck Blvd, and 75 Av.

erica-bike

The horror! The unacceptable, outrageous horror!

The bicycle of Sheepshead Bites’ own Erica Sherman was pilfered yesterday in broad daylight at one of the neighborhood’s busiest intersections. And nobody saw nothin’.

Sherman locked her bike to the Bay’s railing at 10:30 a.m., at the intersection of Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue. When she came back to the spot at approximately 2:30 p.m., she was shocked to find that her only means of transportation was little more than a cruddy public art display.

The thief made off with two tires with matching 8-ball gauge caps, front and back strobe lights, and an American flag bell, the last of which was surely a win for terrorism.

The location is popular with strolling neighbors, shoppers, restaurant patrons, fisherman and beachgoers. Hundreds of people, if not thousands, passed by it in the time it was locked up. And, somehow, somebody managed to go up to, inspect it, dismantle it, and walk away with their bounty without anybody saying a damn thing.

Is that the kind of neighborhood we want to be? One where neighbors aren’t looking out for each other?

Apparently, it’s not the first bike-related theft to happen at that intersection. Just a few weeks ago, also in broad daylight, a patron left his bicycle outside of Zephyr’s Deli (1729 Emmons Avenue). In the brief moment he went inside to talk to the clerk, someone hopped on his bicycle and took off.

While the thieves are the ones to blame, we can help thwart them in the future. A few things:

  • Don’t leave your bike unlocked and unattended. Not even for a moment.
  • U-locks only do so much. A chain lock that can be weaved through the frame and both tires is more secure.
  • Although it didn’t help in Erica’s situation, locking your bike in a high-trafficked, well-lighted place is better than a dark, empty street.
  • Get your bike registered with the NYPD. It won’t help if your tires are stolen, but if the entire bike is swiped and later recovered by the police, they can track it back to the original owner. Just by luck, there’s an event to do this on Monday, at 5 p.m., at Asser Levy Park.
  • Remove any dangly bits you don’t want stolen and that can’t be locked up, including American flag bells.

And for the rest of us? If you see something, say something.

Source: Alexander Rabb/Flickr

The owner of the landmarked Shore Theater has been declining all proposals to rehabilitate and reactivate the building, including one by a Manhattan restaurateur to turn it into a sprawling restaurant and culinary school.

The 1301 Surf Avenue building was inherited by Jasmine Bullard following the 2013 death of her father, Horace, a Coney Island visionary who long fought to revitalize the neighborhood during its darkest days. Although the building was on the market at the time of his death, Bullard has declined to hear out would-be buyers, Brooklyn Eagle reports.

“I have clients who are ready, willing and able to write a check for the Shore today,” broker Joe Vitacco told Eye on Real Estate.

He has tried to submit purchase offers to her, but in vain: “She won’t even look at them.”

Vitacco said he has four “solid” suitors for the Shore Theater:

* A “very well known restaurateur” from Manhattan who wants to build a cooking school downstairs and a restaurant on the top two floors.

“The view from the seventh floor is magnificent,” he said, and there’s a Juliet balcony where diners would be able to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones playing baseball at MCU Park.

* A “nationally known athlete” who would turn the Shore back into a movie theater — and no, it’s not Magic Johnson (who isn’t actively involved in Magic Johnson Theatres’ operations these days, anyway).

* A billionaire with a home in Brooklyn who “thinks it’s a beautiful building and should be restored,” Vitacco said.

This interested party made an offer when Horace Bullard was alive, but it wasn’t high enough. Now, “he’s willing to come to the table with more money,” the broker said.

* A real estate developer who is involved in Coney Island.

Vitacco marketed Horace Bullard’s properties for about a decade. When the Shore was Vitacco’s listing, the asking price was $12 million.

It is estimated that it will take approximately $35 million to renovate the 115,000-square-foot, seven-story structure.

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