Archive for the 'News & Features' Category

Source: Michael S.

Source: Michael S.

Swastika graffiti is hardly new in the Sheepshead Bay area, but seeing it on a building dedicated to war veterans is a bit too much to stand.

Reader Michael S. tipped us off to a new swastika sighted at the Marlboro Memorial Post 1437 American Legion building at 300 Avenue X, submitting the photos yesterday.

He writes:

I was walking on avenue X between west 1st and west 2nd, when I spotted a swastika In front of a building. I will ask and offer my help for the removal in a few days, in an effort to allow management to rid of it themselves. Let me know if you are interested in their reply immediately after I approach them in regards to this matter. Pictures included .

Keeping this symbol Infront of their establishment does NOT register as American nationalism to me.

As we told Michael, the city does operate a free graffiti removal service. You can submit a claim here, call your councilman’s office (in this case, Mark Treyger at [718] 307-7151) or call 311. We recommend doing all three.

Anybody can make a request, but for private property it can take longer as they need the landlord’s consent. We’re sure, once Michael notifies the American Legion post, they’ll be fine with doing away with the symbol of hate that many of them fought against.

Source: Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

An elderly woman was arrested after she allegedly tossed it down the trash chute of her Batchelder Street building, causing injuries that led to its death.

Cops were called to 2334 Batchelder Street in the Sheepshead – Nostrand Houses at around 5pm on Tuesday, after a neighbor heard the canine’s cries echoing up the shaft leading to the trash compactor.

The Daily News reports:

“She went to throw out the garbage and she heard the dog crying,” [a neighbor] said. “I ran to housing and got (them) to open up where the (compactors) are because the door was locked.”

She said she found the dog bleeding in the bottom of the trash compactor.

“It was bleeding. It was still crying,” she said.

The dog’s owner, who reportedly lives on the fourth floor, was not identified. Police took her into custody for questioning, but she was later released. It is unclear if she will face charges.

The dog was crippled by its injuries and unable to walk. It was rushed to a nearby vet and later transferred to the care of the ASPCA. It had to be euthanized due to its injuries.

The elderly woman was overheard telling police that the dog “made me miserable, I have pain,” as she was put into the back of a police vehicle.

nashaly

UPDATE (12:15pm): Nashaly Perez was found safe and sound at a friend’s house, and has been reunited with her family.

Original post:

Nashaly Perez, the 15-year-old Coney Island girl who went missing from her school on Monday, was a special needs student who was supposed to be under the constant supervision of a full-time paraprofessional.

Perez suffers from attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems, gets easily confused, and also takes anti-hallucinatory medication, according to reports. But despite being assigned a full-time paraprofessional, she managed to sneak out a back door of her school, P.S. 371 in Sunset Park, around lunchtime.

Now the family is saying the school failed to take the situation seriously until police were called.

DNAinfo reports:

[Perez's mother Sandra] Rodriguez found out her daughter was missing when she went to pick up her up early from school at about 1 p.m. on Monday because she had a doctor’s appointment.

The mother said Nashaly’s paraprofessional was standing outside when she arrived at the school and seemed unconcerned and told her “your daughter left school.”

Rodriguez then went to the principal, who she said “seemed surprised” that her daughter was missing.

They then called Nashaly’s homeroom teacher who said she also did not know where the teen was.

Rodriguez said the principal’s staff then “kept working, ignoring her” and told her “they were done with her” and she could go home.

It wasn’t until police arrived that the school even bothered to page Perez over the school’s loudspeakers.

The school’s principal, Joan Antonelli, has been reassigned, the Wall Street Journal adds.

The case is already inviting comparisons to that of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, an autistic boy who sparked a citywide search when he vanished from his Queens school last year. He, too, was to have full-time supervision while on school grounds and police were not informed for more than an hour after his disappearance. His body was later found in the East River.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who took the helm of the system this year, promised parents that the matter would be fully investigated.

“Under my watch — I’m going to repeat this again — safety is my first concern. Anyone who doesn’t follow procedures will be judged for that purpose,” Fariña told reporters Wednesday evening. She said there was “no excuse” for the lack of supervision.

Perez was wearing a white bandanna, red blouse, black jeans and red and black sneakers at the time of her disappearance. She is 5’3″ tall and weighs 120lbs.

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.

Family, friends and police brass pose with the new vessel named for Harry Ryman; inset: Ryman (Source: NYPD)

Family, friends and police brass pose with the new vessel named for Harry Ryman; inset: Ryman (Source: NYPD)

The fallen officer's grandson, Mathew Ryman, posing with the vessel (Source: NYPD)

The fallen officer’s grandson, Mathew Ryman, posing with the vessel (Source: NYPD)

NYPD top brass helped christen two new police response boats, one of which was named in memory of Police Officer Harry Ryman 24 years after he was shot and killed in front of his Marine Park home.

Commissioner Bill Bratton oversaw the event with members of the NYPD leadership team, Inspector David Driscoll, commanding officer of the harbor unit, and family and friends of Ryman to dedicate the vessels. Ryman was honored alongside fallen officer Joseph McCormack, who was shot and killed in 1983.

“Today we gather with the family, friends and colleagues of two NYPD heroes to remember the sacrifice they made,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “With the dedication of these two Harbor Unit launches we ensure their memories will forever sail on the beautiful waters that surround New York City.”

On August 14, 1980, Ryman was sleeping at his Marine Park home when we awoke to noise in the street. He grabbed his shield and his revolver and went to investigate. Outside he found three men attempting to steal a car. Though off-duty from his post at Coney Island’s 60th Precinct, Ryman jumped to action and identified himself as a police officer. The thugs opened fire, striking him. Even though he was critically wounded, he returned fire and hit one of the assailants, and due to his actions all three suspects were apprended.

Ryman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was 43 years old when he died, and a 17-year veteran of the force.

His grandson, P.O. Mathew Ryman, is assigned to the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, and he wears his murdered grandfather’s badge.

The vessels, two 62-foot ships to be used for patrol functions, counter-terrorism and rescue operations, are among the largest boats in the NYPD fleet. In addition to sonar equipment, the ships can detect radiation and also have underwater cameras.

d

Gnomiki Day Care at 2221 Ocean Avenue, which was closed due to its history of violations. Its sister site at 2623 Ocean Avenue has been recommended for closure as well. (Source: Google Maps)

The operators of nine child care facilities – seven in Brooklyn and two in Staten Island – were charged last Friday with submitting false documents to the city to cover up a slew of health and safety problems, according to Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation Mark Peters, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Jr.

At the centers, which served about 400 children, investigators said they found a long list of egregious conditions, including rat droppings, poison, a mountain of trash, and a fire alarm falling off the wall, the Daily News reported. Additionally, the DOI said they discovered owners had submitted fake educational degrees, forged medical records, and falsified letters stating employees had been trained in child abuse identification.

The city recently closed four of the centers:

  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., 2221 Ocean Avenue, closed due to the site’s violation history, city officials said.
  • Next to Home, 1123 Flatbush Avenue, was shuttered due to a city Department of Buildings vacate order issued in response to multiple DOB and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene violations.
  • Next to Home, 1159 Flatbush Avenue was closed because investigators said the program had been operating under an expired DOB certificate of occupancy.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, 6318 Amboy Road, Staten Island, ended operations after DOHMH petitioned to revoke the permit.

At the remaining five sites:

  • Next to Home, 5566 Kings Highway, was “never leased and never provided services to children,” the DOI said
  • ABC Little Star, 2345 85th Street, is still operating and city officials said DOHMH inspected it this week, finding no new violations.
  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., Group Family Day Care, 2623 Ocean Avenue, has been recommended for closure.
  • Next to Home, 353 Ocean Avenue, closed after the owner stopped operations, city officials said.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, a group family daycare operating at 6306 Amboy Road in Staten Island, is operating, but the owner that was arrested will be excluded from the program, officials said.

The site owners who were arrested were:

  • Viktoriya Federovich, 38, of Brooklyn, was the owner of Gnomiki Day Care, Inc. She was charged with presenting fraudulent documents to the city, including two Certificates of Completion for Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment for an assistant teacher and a volunteer, the DOI said.
  • Elena Kaplan, 53, of Brooklyn, was the owner ABC Little Star Day Care, and, according to the DOI’s investigation, she allegedly submitted a number of false documents to the city, including a a fake public school teacher certificate for herself and state Nurses Association Certificates of Completion for various members of the staff confirming they had received training in identifying child abuse, when, in fact, they allegedly had not, the city officials said.
  • Owen Larman, 41, of Brooklyn, a convicted felon who was found guilty of operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme in 2007 and who was also charged in this case with stealing close to $60,000 in public funds. He was the owner and operator of Next to Home Child Care, which provided services at three locations in the borough. Next to Home also obtained a registration to operate a fourth child care program at 5566 Kings Highway, but the DOI said this site did not actually provide any services.
  • Gina Schiavo, 44, of Staten Island, was the owner of One of a King Child Care. According to the DOI, she allegedly introduced an individual to a DOHMH inspector under another teacher’s name and fraudulently provided documents with the name and qualifications of the teacher. When the inspector questioned the individual about her identity, Schiavo allegedly admitted that the individual was using another person’s name.

“These defendants forged and falsified documents in order to cover up safety risks and steal money intended for actual child care, as charged,” Peters said in a prepared statement. “Our investigations underscore the importance of continuing to vigorously police the integrity of the city’s child care systems, an effort that is very much continuing.”

In his statement to the press, Thompson too issued harsh words for the defendants.

“Each day parents throughout the city count on child care providers to protect the safety of their children,” he said. “It is disgraceful that greedy operators would circumvent safety provisions for their own benefit. Our parents and children deserve better and that’s why we worked so closely with the Department of Investigation on these cases.”

liberty-1

Galina and Lev Berenshteyn in front of Lady Liberty

A retired limo driver from the former Soviet Union is building a 16-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty in his East 21st Street front yard as a tribute to his adopted homeland.

Lev Berenshteyn, 68, began working on Lady Liberty approximately two weeks ago. It’s built of a 7.5-foot-tall replica they picked up from a business in Southampton, Long Island. It sits atop a custom 8-foot-tall concrete base that Berenshteyn is sculpting himself.

If it seems unusual, the purpose appears to perplex even Berenshteyn’s wife, Galina, 65.

“Why [build it]? I don’t know. Just because my husband wants to do this,” she said.

Her husband gave a more definitive answer.

“Why? America. I like it,” he said.

liberty-2

The 16′ tall statue towers over the fence, a beacon of freedom for anyone passing by on Shore Parkway or East 21st Street.

The two became part of the huddled masses to which Lady Liberty beckons when they fled the portion of the former Soviet Union that is now Uzbekistan. Stateside, she worked as a computer programmer, while he was a limousine driver that frequently shuttled passengers to the Circle Line ferry that serves the Statue of Liberty.

The Berenshteyns purchased the rustic corner house at East 21st Street and Shore Parkway in 1996, and are now working on that part of the American Dream in which you build 16-foot-tall statues of French women in your front yard.

And it isn’t cheap: Galina Berenshteyn said it has cost them about $3,500 so far. Soon the statue’s torch will shine, and they will install lights at the base to illuminate the statue, catching the freedom-loving eyes of passersby on Shore Parkway.

“Lights, everything, soon we will make like original. We’ll finish, a couple days it will be nice,” Lev Berenshteyn said. “It looks like the original because we made many, many pictures of the original and made it like that.”

liberty-3

The couple say they still have a few more days of work before it’s completed.

The real Statue of Liberty, dedicated in October 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. A beacon of freedom and welcoming signal to immigrants, it has a long history of inspiring duplicates, including in Paris, the U.K., Germany, China and Israel, among others. The oldest replica in New York City, at approximately 114 years old, is a 55-foot-tall statue that originally stood at Liberty Warehouse, and has since been moved to the Brooklyn Museum.

Little do the Berenshteyns  realize, just around the corner on Voorhies Avenue is the former home of the Circle Line’s founder. Where Sheepshead Bay once brought visitors to the Statue of Liberty, now, thanks to the Berenshteyns, the Statue of Liberty comes to us.

Jamaica F Train

Local leaders are putting pressure on the MTA to restore express service on the F train in Brooklyn, last experienced by commuters in 1987, while the MTA remains a bit iffy on the issue.

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast today, a bipartisan group of 14 city, state, and federal leaders said that the “benefits of restoring the F train express service in Brooklyn would be felt throughout the borough with decreased travel time to Manhattan, decreased delays along the entire line, and a better quality of life for all subway riders in our communities.”

To that end, they’d like to see limited northbound F express service restored in the mornings and southbound F express service in the evenings, saying this could also help ease crowding caused by an increase in ridership over the past year at 19 of the 22 Brooklyn F stops.

The MTA has been studying the possibility, but says that track work on the Culver Viaduct would have to be completed before they could do it — and they don’t have an end date for that, reports AM New York. Additionally, there are other challenges to restoring express service — track space for when the rails merge between the Bergen St and Jay St stops, as well as figuring out how riders at different stations will be impacted by the change.

“The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told AM New York. “How much savings is there really? That’s why we’re doing the study, to find out.”

2009 review of the F line that State Senator Daniel Squadron created with the MTA cited those issues, and added that express service “would require additional trains and cars; such a service increase would increase operating costs.”

The elected officials who sent the letter are Borough President Eric Adams; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler, and Michael Grimm; State Senators Martin Golden, Diane Savino, and Squadron; Assembly Members James Brennan, Steven Cymbrowitz, William Colton, and Joan Millman; and Council Members Stephen Levin, David Greenfield, and Mark Treyger.

They all believe the benefits outweigh the costs — what do you think, do we need express service back on the F?

missingThe search for a missing 73-year-old woman may have come to a tragic end, with a body believed to be Crucita “Lucy” Alvarado found on the roof of a Coney Island building nearly a month after she went missing.

Police found a decomposing body on the roof of 2930 West 30th Street last Thursday. The corpse was so decomposed the first responders could not identify it, or even determine its gender.

The medical examiner is still working to identify the body and the cause of death as of this morning, but investigators believe it to be that of Alvarado, an Alzheimer’s sufferer who went missing August 12. Alvarado lived around the corner from the West 30th Street building between Surf Avenue and Mermaid Avenue, where the body was found.

The corpse was wearing black sweatpants and a dark-hooded sweatshirt, the same clothing Alvarado was last seen wearing, amNY reports.

The body was found by a maintenance worker just after 10am, police said.

Since Alvarado went missing last month, family members and friends have plastered the Southern Brooklyn area with fliers of the missing woman.

“It’s been hell, day in and day out, nights and weekends,” Pedro Delvalle, Alvarado’s son-in-law, told the Post.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who said his office has been assisting the family in their search, released the following statement after the discovery was made.

“I am very sad to hear this terrible news, especially knowing how many loved ones have been searching for Lucy and praying for her return over the past few weeks. I send my truly heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Alvarado and will continue pray for them and assist them in any way possible,” Treyger said. “Nobody should ever face the type of ordeal that Mrs. Alvarado’s family and friends endured over the past month. Thank you to everyone who cared enough to look out for Mrs. Alvarado and help spread word of her disappearance. We must come together now as a community to be there for this family as they grieve their loss, and work as a city to find ways to help prevent this from happening to any other families.”

Source: dtanist/Flickr

B LINE

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

Q LINE

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

F LINE

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

From 12:01am to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains run local from 71 Av to Roosevelt Av.

From 10:15am to 3pm, Tuesday to Thursday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip Avenue U.

All times until 5am, Monday, September 22: 179 St-bound F trains skip Van Wyck Blvd and Sutphin Blvd.

Gavrin

Source: Gavrin family via Daily News

Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered flags across New York State to be flown at half mast today in honor of U.S. Army PFC Bernard Gavrin, a Midwood resident who went missing in action during World War II whose remains were recently discovered.

Gavrin was reported missing in action on July 7, 1944, while serving in the Pacific theater at the age of 29. On June 15, as part of an Allied strategic goal to secure the Mariana Islands, U.S. forces were ordered to take Saipan. In one of the bloodiest sieges during the war, the Japanese forces threw wave after wave of soldiers at Allied forces on suicide missions known as banzai attacks. The 105th Infantry Regiment Gavrin served in sustained heavy losses of more than 900 killed or injured.

In the mayhem, many went missing and were presumed dead. Gavrin’s family never knew the comfort of certainty or the circumstances of his final hours – until now.

Gavrin’s remains were found as part of an initiative of the Japanese nonprofit the Keuntai Group, whose mission is to locate the remains of one million Japanese soldiers and return them to their families. During excavations in a cave in Saipan, the group found the Brooklynite’s tattered dog tags among the remains of several American soldiers in a mass grave.

On the dog tags was Gavrin’s home address – 1746 Ocean Avenue, near Avenue M.

Source: Gavrin family via Sun Sentinel

Source: Gavrin family via Sun Sentinel

A nephew of Gavrin’s, now 81, is the only surviving member of the family to remember the fallen soldier.

The Sun Sentinel reports:

“I am the only living relative to have known my Uncle Bernie,” [Gavrin's nephew David] Rogers said. “Words cannot do justice to the shock this news left me with.”

Rogers says he still remembers the screams of his grandmother Bessie when she opened a telegram delivered by the United States War Department.

It was the middle of summer 1944 and World War II was raging. Rogers, 12 at the time, greeted the uniformed man who stood at the door to his Brooklyn home — the bearer of bad news, every mother’s worst nightmare.

… Rogers was 8 when he last saw his uncle. He remembers having a “childish” accident that day, which left him bed-ridden with seven stitches above his eye. When his uncle stopped by for a visit, he woke up to say hello.

The next thing he heard about his uncle was when the soldier showed up at the door with the news he was missing in action.

“As a young person, to witness that, it obviously lasts the rest of your life,” he said.

Gavrin’s remains returned to the United States for the first time in at least 70 years, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. on Friday. On discovering the dog tags, the Army verified to Gavrin’s family that in addition to a Purple Heart, the soldier also won seven additional awards, including a Bronze Star Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and American Defense Service Medal.

Gavrin was buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery while his only surviving family member to remember him, David Rodgers, looked on.

“PFC Gavrin put his life on the line and paid the ultimate price to defend our nation and fight for the freedoms that it is built upon,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “After far too many years, he has returned home and has been granted a proper burial alongside the many other heroes who answered the call. I ask all New Yorkers to join me in honoring PFC Gavrin’s memory, his service and his sacrifice.”

Built around 1925, the Midwood home where Gavrin lived still stands, nestled behind large, leafy shrubs and a tree. Property records show the Gavrin family sold it in 1970.

The Gavrin family's home at the time of Bernard's death still stands today. (Source: Google Maps)

The Gavrin family’s home at the time of Bernard’s death still stands today. (Source: Google Maps)

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