Photo by Steve Borell
Photo by Steve Borell
Whether you and your loved ones are biting into barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers in your backyards, or rushing around looking for sales, give a thought this Memorial Day weekend to the American servicemen and women who sacrificed all for our country so that we may continue to be the freest nation on Earth.
Photo by Erica Sherman
“I must have flowers, always, and always.” ― Claude Monet
Photo by James Cope
Photo by Karen Hill
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 AutismSpeaks.org, 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.”
From the photographer:
Who says old grocery stores don’t come back?
Now that they are finally renovating the corner of Neck Road and East 14th Street, the old Sam’s grocery store sign peeks out, albeit one last time.
Does anyone remember this store?
Photo by Israel Silverman
The Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach Civic Association held its annual Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day Parade on Saturday, drawing scores of neighbors to watch antique automobiles, local veterans and school kids honor the men and women of the nation’s armed forces.
Like other Memorial Day observances, the event remembers the local heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting our nation. But SBPB Civic’s event falls on Armed Forces Day, a lesser known holiday to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches, making the parade an opportunity to honor those past and present.
A battalion of vehicles from the Baron DeKalb Knights on Bikes and the Antique Automobile Association of Brooklyn led the procession down Emmons Avenue, from Ocean Avenue to the veteran’s memorial at Brown Street. They were followed by the Fort Hamilton High School Junior ROTC and the Bishop Kearney High School band, along with the NYPD Auxiliary Ceremonial Marching Unit and the Marine Corps League Color Guard, among others.
The procession stopped just before Driscoll Tucker Park at East 27th Street, where taps was performed and ceremonial flags flown, while SBPB Civic President Kathy Flynn tossed flowers in the water to honor the fallen.
The event honored several living local veterans who served in conflicts as far back as World War II. Six local students were also recognized for writing award-winning essays and art pieces about Memorial Day.
While organizers of the not-so-Great GoogaMooga reneged on their “rain or shine” billing in the face of Sunday’s drizzle, hundreds of Sheepshead Bay residents flocked to Emmons Avenue to prove what the phrase really means.
Bay Improvement Group’s 22nd Annual Bayfest went forward despite a day-long downfall that appeared to come in from all directions. Attendance was surely hampered by the weather, and even several of the sponsors bailed (Sheepshead Bites set up table, but, without a tent, was forced to say our goodbyes after our materials took on too much water).
Organizers plowed ahead anyway, keeping good on their promise, with music blaring from two main stages and a handful of performance areas. Inflatable rides amused kids – and also provided brief refuge from the rain, and sponsors like Investors Bank kept in good spirits, cheering to the music with their teams and handing out goodies.
Aside from all fun – soggy or not – the group’s president, Steve Barrison, took a moment before the festivities to honor the Department of Sanitation with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Barrison and the group thanked the department for lifting, carting and removing countless tons of debris in the months after Superstorm Sandy.
…or for the secular among you, light reflecting through drops of water high above (actually in) the Earth’s atmosphere.
From the photographer:
Thursday Afternoon [Ed. -- A week and a half ago, May 9]. Rainbow after the rain. (picture taken from the Ocean Ave bridge)
Photo by Anastasiya