burger-king-mosque

Photo by Rob Erichsen

Shuttered for more than two years, the former Burger King location at 2481 Knapp Street has been converted into a temporary prayer space for local Muslims to observe Ramadan.

The Muslim American Society has taken over the space with a one-month lease, allowing them to celebrate one of the religion’s most important holidays near their homes. The group sought out a temporary place of worship while their permanent location, 2812 Voorhies Avenue, nears completion.

“The [Voorhies Avenue] building wasn’t going to be ready for Ramadan, and they need a facility, so they rented that place. They have a lease. They have all their paperwork. They’re only there for one month,” said Kenan Tashkent, the 61st Precinct’s liaison to the Muslim community. Tashkent met with the mosque’s congregants and leadership yesterday, and noted that the Voorhies Avenue location remains a few months away from completion.

Paper signs have been taped up in English and Arabic at the Knapp Street storefront. The interior has been carpeted, with a curtain separating prayer spaces for men and women, as is tradition.

“They were very nice, very cooperative. They told me everything. They’ve got all of their paperwork and they don’t need to disturb  the neighborhood or anything. It’s their holiday,” he added.

Ramadan began this past Saturday, June 28, and ends on July 27. It’s the most sacred month for Muslims, marking Muhammed’s first revelations. It is observed by fasting, donating to charity, prayer and recitation of the Quran.

Local Muslims, of which there is a large community in the Kings Bay and Plumb Beach areas, as well as around Voorhies Avenue, have long sought to establish a local mosque. After raising funds, they submitted plans to construct an Islamic community center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue in 2009 – a proposal that saw vehement, and sometimes racially motivated, opposition from neighbors. After court battles, they won permission from the city to move forward and it has been under construction ever since.

Prior to establishing a local site, area Muslims had to travel to Brighton Beach, Bath Beach or head further north in Brooklyn to attend a mosque. More than just miles away, many of the institutions are far over capacity, causing overflows onto sidewalks and streets during high holidays like Ramadan – which the mosque organizers hope to reduce by establishing a local site.

Organizers from the mosque could not be reached for this article.

seal

The New York Aquarium is celebrating the birth of a still-to-be-named harbor seal, only the second of its species to be born at the facility in the past 15 years.

The cuddly-looking creature was born on May 27 with a weight of 22 pounds, and has already been out and about in the aquarium’s displays.

“He has already made an impression on visitors and staff,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, director of the New York Aquarium, in a press release. “He is a delightful addition to the aquarium and a treat to everyone who comes through the facility while we work to recover from Hurricane Sandy and toward the opening of Ocean Wonders: Sharks!”

The pup is one of three harbor seals at the aquarium in Coney Island, all of which live in the Sea Cliffs with their penguin buddies, some sea otters, sea lions and walruses.

The new seal is quite healthy, gaining weight at a rate of a half-pound to a pound a day, much like your editor, and could weigh up to 250 pounds when fully grown.

As our readers ought to know, harbor seals are native to the waters around New York City and their population has been on the rise lately – as evidenced through numerous sightings on area beaches and marinas.

Harbor seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The New York Aquarium works to protect harbor seals through the New York Seascape, a conservation program designed to restore healthy populations of local marine species in New York City waters.

In case the photo above does not convey the appropriate amount of cuteness, I’ve made this gif for you.

seal

macro

These things always remind me of Carl Sagan.

Photo by Randy Contello / RandyCPhotography

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send them to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

Source: iandavid/Flickr

Reminder: On Friday, July 4, Independence Day, all subways, buses and the Staten Island railway operate on a Saturday schedule. 

B LINE

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Manhattan-bound B trains run local from Sheepshead Bay to Prospect Park.

Friday: no B trains due to the July 4 holiday.

Q LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Thursday, Q service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 57 St-7 Av and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr.
  2. Between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and Coney Island, every 30 minutes.

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Thursday, Q trains run every 30 minutes between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and Coney Island.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday, Manhattan-bound trains skip DeKalb Av.

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Sheepshead Bay.

F LINE

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday, F service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 179 St and Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts A/G station – the last stop.
  2. Between Bedford-Nostrand Avs and Stillwell Av.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday, southbound F trains run local from Roosevelt Av to 21 St-Queensbridge.

From 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday, northbound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.

Loughran (Source: Facebook)

Loughran (Source: Facebook)

Bryan Loughran, 32, died early Saturday morning after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Gerritsen Avenue in Gerritsen Beach.

Police rushed to the scene at 2:45 a.m., outside of Gather Inn Again (2718 Gerritsen Avenue, near Everett Avenue), where they found Loughran with severe trauma to his body. EMS took him to Beth Israel Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Cops determined that Loughran had left the bar and was crossing the street when a white minivan traveling southbound struck him before speeding off. The Daily News notes that Loughran was thrown several yards, and the impact smashed the vehicles windshield and ripped out its headlight.

Authorities tracked down the driver, Michael Casale, 51, and cuffed him at approximately 5:00 a.m. He had ditched the car a few blocks away on Frank Court near Cyrus Avenue. Casale lives on 13th Avenue in Bensonhurst, where cops made the arrest.

Casale is facing charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. His prior rap sheet dates back to 1984, with arrests for drug possession, robbery, impersonating a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon.

MTA representative Andrew Inglesby responding to a request to add Avenue R as an SBS Bus Stop. Photo by Allan Rosen

MTA representative Andrew Inglesby responding to a request to add Avenue R as an SBS Bus Stop. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Since the elimination of B44 Limited service and initiation of the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) on November 17, 2013, bus riders using the Avenue R stop as well as some who previously walked along Nostrand Avenue from Quentin Road or Avenue S to take advantage of the faster Limited service, have been forced to rely on slower local bus service. It is not only the slower service that they find annoying, but the excessive waits for local buses they have been experiencing, up to 45 minutes.

A few riders had the opportunity to express their thoughts on the matter directly to the MTA this past Tuesday, as they met with Andrew Inglesby, assistant director of Government Affairs for MTA New York City Transit. Operations Planning and Road Operations also represented the MTA. Organized by Councilman Chaim Deutsch, the event was held from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at the northbound Avenue R B44 local bus stop. In addition to Deutsch, Colin Mixson of his staff, and a half dozen invited bus riders, Councilman Alan Maisel and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein were also in attendance and quizzed those representing the MTA.

The attendees wanted to know why there is no SBS bus stop at that location when the closest SBS stops are a half-mile away at Avenue U and at Kings Highway, distances that are too great for many to walk. They claimed more people would use an Avenue R SBS bus stop than use the recently created SBS stop at Avenue L, which was requested by Deutsch and Councilman Jumaane Williams as well as Assemblymember Rhoda Jacobs.

Inglesby, who claimed the number of transfers at Avenue L greatly exceeded those transferring from the two bus routes on Avenue R, disputed that. This reporter stated that not only riders near Avenue R would use an SBS bus stop, but passengers currently boarding at Avenue S and Quentin Road would also walk over to an SBS stop at Avenue R if one were created there. Also, that transferring passengers from the B100 should be counted along with B2 and B31 passengers.

Inglesby responded that even if transferring passengers from all three bus routes were counted, it still would not exceed the numbers of passengers transferring from the B9 at Avenue L. He also stated that of all the bus stops checked that were not SBS bus stops, passengers transferring at Gates Avenue and at Avenue L were the highest, and those stops already have been added. Other reasons precluding turning the current northbound local stop into an SBS stop is a residential driveway situated directly in front of the bus stop, which would have to be lengthened if converted to an SBS bus stop.

Responding to a question of why the nearside of the intersection could not be used instead, Inglesby cited trees as an obstacle to buses opening their doors. Weinstein stated that she is aware of other bus stops where there are trees. When asked about SBS buses arriving three at a time, Inglesby stated that the MTA was quite aware of service irregularities on the route and that they are working to address them. He also stated that additional local buses have been added to the route twice, once several weeks after inception, and again last April. When asked why the MTA website still shows a local bus schedule dated November 17th, 2013, he responded that he would look into that.

Not ready to give up, Deutsch requested a six-month trial for a new SBS stop to see how it works out and how many use it as well as another public hearing, whereupon bus riders could sound off about how they feel about the SBS and local bus service. Inglesby responded that the MTA does not do trials and is concerned about how to best serve the majority of its riders, which is the entire purpose behind the SBS service, which 97 percent of its riders approve. Inglesby was referring to initial passenger surveys of the M15 SBS in Manhattan. Official statistics regarding the B44 SBS have yet to be published.

Another public hearing was not ruled out and Inglesby stated it was not within his jurisdiction to recommend any additional bus stops. If Deutsch would like to take the matter further, he should write to the president.

I arrived at the bus stop one hour early and recorded arriving locals and SBS buses passing by. I will share my observations a week from today in the next Commute.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

The suspected gunman in Coney Island. (Source: NYPD)

The suspected gunman in Coney Island. (Source: NYPD)

A 10-year-old boy and 25-year-old man were injured by stray bullets after an unidentified man opened fire on Mermaid Avenue near West 23rd Street on Saturday.

The two were among at least 21 people shot across all five boroughs in a shockingly violent weekend that left four people dead and 17 injured. Nine were victims of shootings that took place in Brooklyn.

Police responded to the Coney Island incident at 7:30 p.m., finding the boy shot in the knee and the man in the arm. They were both treated at Lutheran Hospital and expect a full recovery. The two did not know each other.

Police are now searching for a man they believe to be the shooter, who was captured on nearby surveillance cameras wearing a yellow t-shirt, yellow shorts, white sneakers and a multi-colored hat.

The 10-year-old is identified by the Daily News as Eddie Abdelrahaman. The paper caught up with the boy and his father:

When Kamal Ismail, 51, heard a string of gunshots outside his Coney Island home, he immediately did a head count for his children. All but one of his six kids, 10-year-old Eddie Abdelrahaman, was in the house.

“My heart went down, like I was having a heart attack,” Ismail said Sunday.

His son was grazed in the thigh when the barrage of gunfire erupted at 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

“It just stinged a little bit. It didn’t hurt,” said Eddie, who’s out of school for summer vacation and was going into a store on 24th St. and Mermaid Ave. to get juice with two friends when bullets went flying.

“Whenever we heard the first shot, everyone got on the floor and ducked,” he said, “When we heard it, we thought it was fireworks.”

Ismail said he is constantly concerned about violence in Coney Island.

ABC News helps put the shootings in context:

It marks the third time in June that at least a dozen people were shot over a weekend. But police commissioner William Bratton says the number of shootings is actually lower than this time last year, and that 1,200 additional officers will be hitting the streets this week.

They include 600 new officers who are graduating Monday from the Police Academy. They will be partnered with veteran officers and sent out to target the most violent, crime-ridden neighborhoods in the city.

Two other shootings took place nearby over the bloody weekend, including one in Flatlands on Avenue J and another in Flatbush on Church Avenue.

Actually, the wicked thing came and went, a few weeks ago. Still, this is definitely one of the coolest Morning Mugs I have ever received.

Photo by Allan Shweky

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send them to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

 
Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Source: Rémy Chanteloup/Flickr

Q LINE

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Sunday, Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Sheepshead Bay.

From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 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 E from Roosevelt Av to 5 Av-53 St.

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.