Archive for the 'News & Features' Category

A still from the video. The cop in center, in a grey hoodie, is the officer who is now on desk duty.

A still from the video. The cop in center, in a grey hoodie, is the officer who is now on desk duty.

An undercover cop had his badge and gun confiscated and has been put on desk duty after a video surfaced showing him kicking another cop in the head and punching a suspect in the face at Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue subway station.

DNAinfo reports:

The incident in Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue station, which officials say occurred sometime in January, began when two NYPD Transit officers stopped a suspected farebeater.

Officers exchanged words with the suspect and then struggled with him as they began to place him under arrest. Then several other officers from the nearby 60th Precinct rushed into the station via an emergency door — including a burly plainclothes officer dressed in a sweatshirt, jeans and heavy construction boots, according to the video.

The plainclothes officer walked up to the scrum, paused and then reared back with one leg, letting his boot fly into the back of the head of a hat-wearing police officer wrestling with the suspect. The kick had enough force that the sound can be heard on the recording above the din.

After accidentally hitting his colleague, he then piled on the alleged farebeater, reeled back and slugged him in the face.

The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson are investigating the incident.

via Citizens Committee for New York City
Does your area have a project that needs some love — maybe a vacant lot that needs cleaning up, a street that needs more trees planted, walls that need graffiti removed? Show your love for your block by applying for a $1,000 grant to transform and beautify it.

The Love Your Block Grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City and NYC Service provides offers resident-led volunteer groups the chance to receive a grant of up to $1,000, as well as access to city services from the Departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The applicant has to be a volunteer-led group (can be long-established, or even in the process of forming), no individuals, for-profit projects, businesses, etc.
  • The project should strengthen your community — they’re looking for things that address important community concerns, contribute to building stronger communities through neighbors working together, and result in concrete and sustainable improvements.
  • The project should be able to be carried out between April and June 2015.
  • In your application, you have to provide a budget totaling up to $1,000, and indicate which city services your group is requesting.
  • Applications are due Friday, November 7 at 11:59pm.

Any questions? Contact Imani Brown at 212-822-9567 or ibrown@citizensnyc.org.

Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

An example of Diwali decorations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday, October 23, for Diwali. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. The five-day event culminates with the new moon. In the days leading up to it, the approximately 80,000 Hindus in the New York metropolitan area will clean and decorate their homes, light lamps and candles, before gorging on a family feast and exchanging gifts.

It sounds like fun, and this editor is accepting invitations.

Photo by Erica Sherman

After successfully fulfilling his pledge to begin construction on 500 homes hit by Superstorm Sandy through Build it Back by the summer’s end, Mayor Bill de Blasio set a new target on Monday to double that number by the end of the year.

De Blasio announced the new goal of 1,000 homes by December 31 at a press conference in Broad Channel Monday, where he touted the program’s progress since its overhaul under his administration. He also said the program will send 1,500 reimbursement checks by year’s end.

The New York Daily News reports:

To date, 727 homes have started construction, and 878 homeowners have received reimbursement for work they did themselves.

That’s out of 14,000 active applicants in the Build It Back program — which hadn’t started work on a single home when he took office in January.

“Every check means a family is getting back on their feet. Every construction start means a family will get back in their homes,” de Blasio said.

The new goals come two years after the storm impacted thousands of New Yorkers, leaving many without heat or hot water. While emergency measures helped many return to their homes, it left others in debt and more still with work to be done before being “made whole.”

The Build it Back program kicked off under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but stalled under its own bureaucratic red tape. No homeowners had received reimbursement checks or construction agreements by the time de Blasio took office, when the new mayor overhauled the program with new leadership and the elimination of many restrictions.

Still, with 14,000 applicants on the docket, it remains a long road ahead. There are other measures of the program’s march forward, and, the New York Times reports, de Blasio said that nearly half of the applicants – 6,400 – have been offered help, with 4,000 accepting it. As many as 1,500 have started the design process, the step before construction can begin.

A report earlier this month from the Department of Investigation noted that it “could potentially take several years to complete the work.” A survey of applicants for the report revealed that 90 percent of the 14,000 hadn’t received any help.

The mayor is hoping to ramp up the program even further, expanding the program’s design and construction capacity. The city will release a request for proposals on how best to do that soon, CBS reports.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyers Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyer Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

By Lillian Kneopp

New Yorkers are famous for not knowing – much less understanding – their neighbors. But local advocate Mark Meyer Appel wants to change that.

“Our mission is to stop this hate and invest in new ways for our very diverse population to work together to better understand each other and protect our children and families,” Appel said as he welcomed community members and local politicians to the grand opening of The Bridge Community Center (1894 Flatbush Avenue) Sunday evening, October 19.

The center is being opened through the Bridge Multicultural Advocacy Project and the Voice of Justice, a nonprofit organization, as an interactive facility that will host local meetings and community events to bring together the diverse communities in the neighborhood.

Appel, the president of the Voice of Justice, raised $300,000 in private funds to repair the 6,000 square-foot brick building he has long owned at 1894 Flatbush Avenue. Its renovated first floor open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out free of charge to nonprofits and art groups to host events.

The space will also be an art gallery. Leaders hope that communities will visit in order to learn about other arts and cultures – and that these interactions will foster understanding.

“Art breaks down barriers and helps us to uncover and discover that we are all not that different,” explained Public Advocate Letitia James in her speech.

Artists from around the world, including Russian artist Mikhail Turovsky, artist Ebony Thompson, who is originally from Sierra Leone, and Brooklyn native Sophia Domeville, exhibited pieces at the event.

Artist Robert Bery’s work reflected the spirit of the event with a piece featuring flags from around the world sewn together into a single flag.

“We are all under the same flag,” said Bery.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyers Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the Bridge Community Center.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the center.

This mentality is what many organizers hope the community center will foster.

“This opens doors to people talking to each other, which is always positive,” Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, the spiritual leader of Linden Heights and the Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America explained.

Local politicians, Council members and community leaders filled the new center to support the project and enjoy the kosher wine, Haitian food and sushi.

A Haitian jazz band, Buyu Ambroise and the Blues In Red Band, entertained the crowd with traditional Haitian tunes with jazz infusion.

In the spirit of the evening, the band collaborated with a Jewish group for a portion of the evening improvising together. The crowd danced the Hora to their music after symbolically cutting the grand opening ribbon.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyers Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero's Award.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyer Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero’s Award.

Local community leaders were honored during the evening as Appel awarded Hero’s Awards to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Ezra Friedlander, founder and CEO of The Friedlander Group, a public relations company; and Ed Powell, a Democratic district leader and New York State Committeeman of the Kings County Democratic Party, for their service to the community.

Powell will be partnering with Appel on a task force through the Bridge Community Center that will be working to train local law enforcement.

“When local law enforcement understands civilians are real human beings, not jobs they are responding to – not just 9-11 calls- there will be an opportunity for real justice,” Powell said in his Hero’s Award acceptance speech.

Appel was also awarded for his commitment to the Brooklyn community for opening The Bridge.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running to represent the 42nd Assembly District, presented him with a citation from the Brooklyn Borough president, Eric Adams, congratulating him on the opening of the center. He also received a citation from the NY Assembly presented by retiring Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, also of Assembly district 42.

Amid the artwork and awards, community members celebrated coming together to learn to better understand each other.

Appel marked the whole evening as a turning point for the community saying, “Today in Flatbush, Brooklyn, we are extinguishing the flames of evil and lighting the flames of hope.”

Source: Senator Golden's offices

Source: Senator Golden’s offices

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, today is announcing that he has introduced legislation that will allow the email of a person who has passed away to be accessed by the executor of their estate.

The bill, S. 6176, has been introduced in the wake of growing concerns as more and more New Yorkers decide to handle their bills and finances electronically. As a result, individuals designated to settle an estate upon a person’s passing, require the information contained in new e-mail messages, and documents stored in email folders.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “As we continue to encourage people to go green and pay their bills on line, we must be cognizant of the fact that when a person passes away, many of their records are stored and managed through their email account. I look forward to working with my colleagues to create this important law in New York State. I believe this will assist in the difficult work of getting an estate’s affairs in order for we all realize that the despite one’s passing, e-mails of bills and statements do continue.”

Ten states already have similar laws including Delaware, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Connecticut. Nine states are working towards creating such a law in their states including New York and New Jersey.

Source: MTAPhotos/Flickr

B LINE

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

Q LINE

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

F LINE

From 10:30am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Avenue X-bound F trains skip Avenue U.

From 10:30am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, F service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 179 St and Avenue X.
  2. Between Avenue X and Coney Island.

From 10:30am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, F trains run every 20 minutes between Avenue X and Coney Island.

From 11:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, Manhattan-bound F trains skip Smith-9 Sts, Carroll St, and Bergen St.

From 9:45pm to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip Sutphin Blvd, Van Wyck Blvd, and 75 Av.

From 12:30am to 5am, Wednesday to Friday, 179 St-bound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.

Schraeder (l) and Petlakh (r) Source: Social media accounts, via Forward

Schraeder (l) and Petlakh (r) Source: Social media, via Forward

Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a violent attack against the Kings Bay YM-YWHA’s executive director outside an Israel Defense Force fundraiser at the Barclays Center earlier this month, but chose not to charge the man with a hate crime.

Shawn Schraeder, 25, was arrested on Thursday by local police in St. Louis, Missouri, in cooperation with the NYPD. He’s been extradited back to New York and was awaiting arraignment as of yesterday, the Forward reports.

Schraeder is accused of slugging the Kings Bay Y’s executive director, Leonard Petlakh, on October 6, leaving him with a broken nose and in need of stitches.

The incident followed a basketball game that raised funds for the IDF, which drew pro-Palestinian protesters. The activists were booted from the arena after becoming unruly and attempting to unfurl at Palestinian flag. They remained outside where they allegedly accosted Petlakh and other attendees, shouting “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers.” A squabble ensued, which left Petlakh injured.

The local leader called his foes “vile anti-Semitic hooligans masquerading as anti-Zionists” and elected officials condemned the attack as a hate crime.

Schraeder, though, is not being charged with a hate crime; police no longer believe bias was involved, ABC News reports.

Local pols have commended the police for the quick arrest, but are urging them to reconsider a hate crime charge.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz issued the following statement:

“I’m pleased that police arrested a suspect in the brutal attack on Leonard Petlakh but I find it disturbing that they do not plan to charge him with a bias crime.

“Given the anti-Semitic nature of this attack, I urge authorities to reconsider this decision. I will be calling on the district attorney to treat this as a bias case and seek the harshest penalties that are allowed under the law.

“According to multiple accounts of the incident, the suspect did not work alone. He was part of a group of anti-Israel protestors whose intentions turned hateful and violent. I encourage law enforcement to pursue the accomplices who fled after the attack and bring them to justice as well.

“As Leonard recovers from this attack, it is incumbent upon all of us to keep the outrage alive and to not ever allow bias-motivated violence to become old news. As this incident and many others like it have demonstrated, anti-Israel rhetoric has a way of crossing the line quickly to anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“We must continue to speak out against this unacceptable behavior and to seek justice for all those who are victimized by the actions of individuals whose violence is motivated by hate.

Councilman Mark Treyger issued a similar statement:

“I applaud the NYPD for recognizing the seriousness of this attack and for making a quick arrest, despite the fact that the suspect was halfway across the country. This sends a clear message that our city will not tolerate violence against anyone and will devote the necessary time and resources to investigating all incidents of hatred. I would also like to thank Mr. Petlakh for his unwavering leadership and devotion to our community and for his hard work over the years to bring people of all faiths together. My thoughts are with him and his family as they continue to recover from this shocking and brutal attack. Once again, we showed that we will rise above these kinds of incidents that serve to divide our borough and city and will always come together to denounce all forms of violence and hatred.”

… While Council Member Treyger is pleased that an arrest has been made in this incident, he believes that hate crimes charges are warranted based on remarks allegedly directed at the victim during the attack.

Source: drpavloff/Flickr

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.

After a busy week, here’s a chance to catch up on some of the news happening outside of our neighborhood! We’ve pulled together some of our favorite recent stories from our site and our sister sites, as well as some other fascinating pieces that are worth a read this weekend:

Longtime Ditmas Park resident Leonard Phillips was shot and killed in a home invasion. He is remembered as a gentle man and accomplished auto mechanic. [Ditmas Park Corner]

Two people died after being ejected from a motorcycle off a Gowanus Expressway overpass. [South Slope News]

New garden a symbol of resiliency in Sandy-hit community. [Bensonhurst Bean]

Cajun pizza joint Two Boots to return with new space on 5th Ave. [Park Slope Stoop]

This artists’ residency is free, focused on increased exposure through media, and a subway ride away. [Fort Greene Focus]

Apples, apples, and more apples in Windsor Terrace. [Kensington BK]

Popular gay bar Excelsior to find new life in South Slope. [SSN]

Where you’ll find the best sushi in Park Slope (and possibly all of Brooklyn). [PSS]

Brooklyn’s latest Five Guys will be in Bensonhurst. [BB]

Grab your shades, ’cause these modern buildings are about to bling Fort Greene out. [FGF]

Domestic violence on the rise at NYCHA developments. [NY Daily News]

You can help bring hundreds of turkeys to families in need this Thanksgiving. [DPC]

How’s the city doing on rat control? Pretty terribly. [Crain's]

A bunch more underground subway stations get wi-fi – but not in Brooklyn. [Brokelyn]

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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