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chipotle-2

I spent way too much time making this happen.

First Starbucks. Then Red Mango. Now Chipotle Mexican Grill is headed to Kings Highway, replacing longtime clothing store Beverly Boutique at East 14th Street.

Wooden fencing recently went up around 1325 Kings Highway, and permits were issued in late September allowing the interior to be reworked for the establishment of a Chipotle Mexican Grill. Since then, additional permits have been issued for interior and exterior demolition and signage.

It’s the second Chipotle in Southern Brooklyn, with the first being at Kings Plaza. There is one in Bay Ridge as well.

Chipotle is known as a healthier fast-food alternative, selling burritos, tacos and salads that might make you need to buy special products from Billy Mays’ ghost.

Kings Highway itself seems to be on the way to a remarkable turnaround. When the economy tanked in 2008, vacancy rates along the strip skyrocketed. Now national chains are stepping in to fill the gap alongside mom-and-pop businesses, including T.J. Maxx, and several new commercial developments have popped up. Perhaps the largest one currently underway is the construction of a commercial and office space on the block-long stretch between East 16th Street and East 17th Street.

Are these chains good for Kings Highway, and the mom-and-pops that have historically fueled the strip’s growth? You tell us.

Leonid Fridman (Source: Handout via DailyNews.com)

Leonid Fridman (Source: Handout via DailyNews.com)

The boss of a Brighton Beach-based construction firm was convicted of ripping off his own workers, failing to pay them required wages on a job at JFK Airport, and will now have to dole out $200,000 in backpay as part of his sentence.

Leonid Fridman, 60, owns Millenium Commercial Corporation, located at 200 Brighton 15th Street. The company was hired as a subcontractor for tile restoration in the renovation of the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport in 2009 and 2010, where he was required to pay employees prevailing wages on the taxpayer funded project – $50 per hour for laborers and $70 for tile setters. Instead, he doled out as little as $10 per hour, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

To hide the deceit, Fridman made phony documents, including payroll reports and fake paychecks.

“Mr. Fridman is being held accountable for stealing wages from workers who renovated parts of JFK,” said Schneiderman in a statement. “My office will continue to take strong action, including filing criminal charges, against employers who violate New York’s labor laws, steal taxpayer dollars and violate the public trust.”

Fridman pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, and agreed to pay $200,000 in restitution. He’s also banned from working on public works projects for five years, and is sentenced to five years of probation.

 

Thanksgiving Turkeys via Brooklyn Public LIbrary

Thursday, November 27 is Thanksgiving, and if you’re headed out of town, here’s hoping your travels are safe and easy despite the crummy weather. If you’re sticking around the neighborhood, here’s some information you might need to know:

Government Offices, Parking, And Sanitation

Government offices, post offices, public libraries, courts, and the Department of Motor Vehicles are closed.

There is no mail delivery.

Public schools are closed Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28.

Alternate side parking and meters are suspended. No stopping, no standing, and no parking regulations are suspended except where those regulations are in effect seven days a week or at all times.

There is no garbage or recycling pick-up. If Thursday is your regular garbage collection day, put your items out after 4pm Thursday evening. If Thursday is your regular recycling day, wait until next week to put out your recyclables.

Subways And Buses

All trains and buses will be running on a Sunday schedule — remember that means no B train.

Libraries

All branches of the Brooklyn Public Library will be closed on Thursday.

Photo via Brooklyn Public Library

Photo by Savva Svet; Click to enlarge

Don’t be offended, other photographers – I frequently embrace hyperbole as a literary device.

From the photographer:

Phantom 2 drone and a GoPro Hero 4. Stitched two photos together. It was taken from Corbin place… To the right you can see the bay on Emmons ave, and to the left Brighton 15th boardwalk.

Sweet!

Photo by Savva Svet

The Parks Department says it can avoid routine maintenance by replacing wooden planks that warp over time, seen above, with concrete and plastic. (Photo by Ned Berke)

A site trailer and construction fence were installed at Brighton 15th Street this month – a first step in a controversial plan to replace the Riegelmann Boardwalk’s iconic wooden planks between Brighton 15th Street and Coney Island Avenue with cement and plastic. But several elected officials are expressing outrage about the work, and at least one is threatening to cut off funding to the project.

Construction on the Coney Island Boardwalk officially began on November 11, the Parks Department confirmed, despite fierce objection from community members, advocates, and local politicians who disagree with the plan to replace the boardwalk with artificial materials.

“I remain very disappointed that the Parks Department is moving forward with this major change to the boardwalk without completing any safety studies to determine the impact it will have on the community,” said City Councilman Mark Treyger. “The Parks Department is also ignoring the will of the local state lawmakers who allocated this funding for repairs, and not for a new concrete road down the middle of the iconic boardwalk.”

The state lawmakers in question are Assembly members Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz, who together allocated $10 million to the Parks Department in 2009 for general repairs and improvements to the 2.5-mile span. The funding can be cut off at the lawmakers’ discretion – but only before the contracts are signed. That time has passed, but Cymbrowitz said he’s still going to find a way to close the funding spigot.

“I am outraged that Mayor [Bill] De Blasio and Commissioner [Mitchell] Silver have fast-tracked the destruction of an iconic landmark in southern Brooklyn. As I wrote to Mayor de Blasio, concrete and composite plastics are a poor approximation for a boardwalk. It’s a boardwalk, not a sidewalk. There are also significant safety concerns with this project since no impact study has been done,” said Cymbrowitz in a statement. “This is an underhanded misuse of the money and the mayor knows it. I will work to make sure that the millions of dollars I allocated are cut off. I fought hard for the boardwalk to be repaired, not to fund the elimination of the boardwalk as this community and all New Yorkers know it.”

He’s backed up by both Treyger and Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who say that the funders’ intentions should be considered in how their money is spent.

“The money came from Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, and whoever gave the money for the boardwalk should have a voice in it,” Deutsch told this outlet.

Even though Coney Island’s boardwalk survived Superstorm Sandy relatively unscathed compared to the Rockaways’ concrete walk, Mayor Michael Bloomberg deemed all wooden boardwalks insufficient to withstand the ocean’s surges, and commissioned them to be replaced with concrete. That was the plan anyway, following a 2008 directive from Bloomberg’s office that city agencies would stop using tropical hardwoods – the type used to construct the boardwalk – for environmental reasons. The de Blasio administration has continued to press forward with those policies.

“Using tropical hardwoods could contribute to the climate change that helped destroy the boardwalk in the first place and it would be more expensive,” said a spokesperson for the Parks Department. Critics point out that there are other options, including sustainable domestic hardwoods such as Black Locust or White Oak, that can be used.

But the lower cost of maintaining concrete, long a part of the Parks Department’s justification for switching to cement, does not necessarily mean it will hold up better during storms, said Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents the Brighton Beach portion of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. He, Treyger and Cymbrowitz want an impact study that considers the performance of concrete in storm surges. Other areas, including Manhattan Beach and the Rockaways, saw huge concrete chunks barrel through the streets as they broke up during the October 2012 storm.

“[This is] about what is safer with the community in case another storm comes in,” he said. “It has to be safe, not just more resilient in terms of repairs, but what’s safe in regards to any kind of surge.”

Even before the storm, advocacy groups filed a lawsuit hoping to stop the plan, demanding a full environmental review. But just weeks after Superstorm Sandy, a judge ruled that the project did not need to undergo such a study since it would not constitute a signficant change the existing structure.

The boardwalk construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 beach season, according to the Parks Department. Elected officials are asking the city to terminate all construction until the concerns of residents are addressed.

Here is a map of the proposed plan via the Coney Island Boardwalk Alliance:

boardwalk-map

Click to enlarge

– With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

Community Board 15 is meeting tomorrow, November 25, at 7:00 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College  (2001 Oriental Boulevard) in the faculty dining room.

On the agenda are public hearings for three zoning items. Here are the applications being considered:

  • 1963 McDonald Avenue - Application to legalize a variance for floor area, lot coverage, rear yard and open space regulations.
  • 1620 Shore Boulevard  – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 1601 Oriental Boulevard - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.

In addition to the zoning items, the board’s chairperson and district manager will deliver their monthly reports. There will also be time to hear residents’ concerns and discuss various committee reports, and elected officials may be in attendance.

Refreshments will be served.

Gil Hodges Bridge (Photo by Stan Kaplan)

Gil Hodges Bridge in the distance (Photo by Stan Kaplan)

The Marine Parkway – Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge got stuck in the up position this morning, spurring advisories to motorists to use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternative for those going to or coming from the Rockaways.

The bridge was lifted to allow a ship to pass beneath it at approximately 11:30am. A problem with the electrical cables, owned by Consolidated Edison, stopped it from closing after the vessel passed.

Traffic remained blocked in both directions as of 1:00pm, and authorities did not provide an estimated service restoration time.

Source: dtanist/Flickr

Due to ongoing construction, there are major service changes on the B, Q and F lines until next Monday, December 1. Making things a little crazier this week is Thanksgiving on Thursday, when most buses and subways operate on a Sunday schedule – meaning no B service whatsoever on that day.

B LINE

Until December 1: there are no B trains between Brighton Beach and Kings Hwy – take the Q instead. Additionally, there will be no service on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

Q LINE

All times until 5am Monday, December 1: there are no Q trains between Brighton Beach and Stillwell Av. Q service operates between 57 St-7 Av/Ditmars Blvd and Brighton Beach. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service, stopping at Brighton Beach, Stillwell Av, Ocean Pkwy and West 8 St.

F LINE

All times until 5am Monday, December 1: there are no F trains between Avenue X and Stillwell Av. F service operates between 179 St and Avenue X. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service, stopping at Avenue X, Stillwell Av, Neptune Av and West 8 St.

kinnison

Source: DCPI

Police are looking for Gerald Kinnison, a 66-year-old suffering from dementia, who went missing Friday morning from his Coney Island home.

Kinnison was last seen leaving his assisted living center (2316 Surf Avenue) at 8am on November 21 wearing a black jacket, black shirt, black sneakers, and blue pants.

He is described as a black male, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, with a thin build, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, and black and grey beard.

He has gone missing at least three times before, but was eventually found, police said.

Here’s another photo of Kinnison:

missing

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Photo by Giorgi Mchedlishvili

Photo by Giorgi Mchedlishvili

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): 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.

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