THE COMMUTE: Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach are prominently featured in a new series of MTA public service announcements denouncing texting while walking, cycling, and riding the city’s buses. I doubt it if the MTA realizes how ironic some of the locations that were chosen are. The cyclist begins his ride just 100 feet from where my friend crashed into a cyclist about 20 years ago. He was uninjured, but just a few blocks away another cyclist was killed earlier this year. The location in the video where the girl is “hit by the bus” while texting is just 200 feet from a real bus fatality four few years ago. The messages are clear and all should take heed. Texting does not go well with walking, cycling, or even standing in a bus if you are not holding on.

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Loyal Friend Television
Beginning in 2015, New York will ban curbside disposal of certain electronic equipment, including computers, televisions, video game consoles, iPods, and more.

Part of the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act, which was enacted in 2010 with a goal of keeping potentially harmful electronics out of the waste stream and be recycled or reused instead. Rolled out in phases, manufacturers, retailers, and other large-scale operations were the first to comply, and now the ban will cover all individuals and households as well.

That means there’s no more leaving a TV (or many other items — see the full list here) out on the street with a clever note, because if none of your neighbors take it home, you could be subject to a fine of up to $100 for each item.

So here are your other options:

  • Your building can collect them: If you’ve got 10 or more apartments, there’s a free pick-up service.
  • Retail drop-off: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Best Buy, Staples, or the Gowanus E-Waste Warehouse. Check out the map for locations and more info:

Photo by Emilia Amos

Photo by Emilia Amos

It’s not so easy to see, but this photo was shot a few months ago during a time of very low tide.

Photo by Emilia Amos

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

Neptune Avenue and West 6th Street, the scene of the accident. (Source: Google Maps)

Neptune Avenue and West 6th Street, the scene of the accident. (Source: Google Maps)

A 55-year-old man is dead after being struck by an Access-A-Ride van on Neptune Avenue on Sunday.

The man, who has yet to be identified by police, was crossing Neptune Avenue at West 6th Street on Sunday at 5:44pm when the van heading eastbound on Neptune hit him.

EMS transported the pedestrian to Lutheran Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The driver, a 30-year-old man, stayed on the scene. The investigation is ongoing, but police told reporters that no charges are expected.

elgreco

UPDATE: See the exclusive renderings for the building the new owners have planned for this space.

El Greco Diner is bustling with nostalgic patrons since news of its impending closure after 40 years of business became public.

“It’s been crazy since you ran the story,” owner George Venetoklis told Sheepshead Bites. “Lines to get in. Too bad we are closing. Packed as we speak.”

Venetoklis said the deal for the 1821 Emmons Avenue location officially closed Friday morning. He declined to name the buyer or the sale price, but Sheepshead Bites learned that Rybak Development purchased the property for $13 million with plans to build a mixed-use property and public plaza. An auction to sell off the restaurant’s equipment is scheduled for late December.

Venetoklis said a sale has been in the works for some time, as he, his brother Peter and mother Anastasia put blood, sweat and tears into keeping it going in a changing community and economy.

“We had a really good run. A lot of businesses, at some point the model just changes. Our model was large portions at good prices. Our food prices were beginning to skyrocket and we couldn’t keep up,” he said. Other economic factors were also at play. “Real estate taxes, labor costs, everything took its toll. As a family, we realized we put in our time. Forty years, it was time to move on.”

A final breakfast of two eggs over easy with sausage and English muffin for this reporter.

A final breakfast of two eggs over easy with sausage and English muffin for this reporter.

El Greco’s owners did mount a search prior to the deal to sell the business and keep it in operation, but they said businesses like theirs have a shrinking place in communities.

“We were looking for a more modern version of the El Greco family to come in and take over,” he said. “I think that [Sheepshead Bay] has been doing well, but it’s just that the larger corporate-run businesses are the ones that have greater longevity and more backing and more ability to do things in a different way. That’s just what the nature of the beast is.”

It wasn’t an easy decision to close the diner. Founded by George’s father Minos in 1974, El Greco’s remained a true family business, where the two brothers were raised and eventually worked to keep the elder Venetoklis’ memory alive 20 years after his passing.

I was three-and-a-half when it opened, and my mother is fighting off tears.” he said. “I have four children … and they were heartbroken. I can understand it because I was basically their age when I was growing up in this restaurant. My 8-year-old turned to me and said, ‘Dad, what are you going to do?’ I said ‘I’ll spend more time with you.’”

Venetoklis said it’s the relationships he makes with customers, employees and business suppliers that he’ll miss the most.

“The highlights have been the customers and the friendships we made. This place has never closed, the business has a life of its own. It doesn’t sleep. And I’ve worked every shift in this place; I’ve seen the neighborhood change. I’ve seen the menu change – we had items that we’ve had to remove because the customers weren’t around to eat them,” he said.

The restaurant, recently named one of the borough’s best diners, was teeming with longtime regulars on Saturday afternoon. Chatter about the pending closure could be overheard at almost every table.

Among the regulars were Marc and Zoya Baroda, a Mill Basin husband and wife who met at the restaurant nearly 20 years ago and who now visit regularly with their three children, ages 6 to 15.

“I worked here as a hostess, and he was the pickle man,” said Zoya. It was 1995, and she got the job because she was a frequent patron. “I grew up here. I came here before I met him, before I worked here, and this was the place to go after a club or a night out and this is where to meet up.”

Marc and Zoya Baroda with their three kids. They say they'll be back again before the restaurant closes for good.

Marc and Zoya Baroda with their three kids. They say they’ll be back again before the restaurant closes for good.

Her future husband made the regular deliveries for Mr. Pickle – which he’ll continue to do until the closing this week.

“He’d flirt, of course. He delivered, and would come to the cashier and I’d have to pay him and he’d flirt,” she said.

It took a vacation out of town to work up the nerve to ask her out, said Marc.

“I was talking, talking and one time when I went on vacation to Mexico, one of the guys who works for me, I told him to tell Zoya when I come back I’m going to be looking for her,” boasted Marc.

He did, and they married two years later. They took their wedding photos inside the restaurant.

“There’s an old joke I used to do with Peter and George after we got married. Every time she got pregnant, I’d tell them the price of the pickles went up,” he laughed.

When they found out it was closing, “I was shocked. I was completely distraught. And my phone has been going off non-stop. My friends who moved out of Brooklyn saying that they have to come to New York to have that last breakfast or lunch or whatever,” said Zoya. “I’m very sad to see the place go, but all good things must come to end.”

“I’m not just losing a diner, I’m also losing a client. But I’m not losing a friend,” he said of Peter and George.

Venetoklis said such sentiments have been endlessly echoed by regulars, and that’s what they’ll remember the most when they lock the diner’s doors for a final time.

“It’s bittersweet. It hurts, but at the same time it feels good,” he said.

dpc_subway_qtrain_readers1-702x526
Below you’ll find early week subway service changes for the B, Q, and F lines in Brooklyn. Check back later this week to see what’s happening this weekend. Changes via MTA.info.

Starting Wednesday:

Brighton Beach-bound B trains run local from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy
Days, 9:45am-3pm, Wednesday and Thursday, December 17-18; 9:45am-2pm on Friday, December 19

Please allow additional travel time.

Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park
Days, 9:45am-3pm, Wednesday and Thursday, December 17-18; 9:45am-2pm on Friday, December 19

Trains stop at Newkirk Plaza and Church Av.

For service to Avenue M, Avenue J, Avenue H, Cortelyou, Beverley Rds and Parkside Av, take the Q to Newkirk Plaza, Church Av or Prospect Park and transfer to a Brighton Beach-bound B or Coney Island-bound Q.

For service from these stations, take the B or Q to Church Av, Newkirk Plaza or Kings Hwy and transfer to a Manhattan-bound Q.

F trains run every 20 minutes between Avenue X and Stillwell Av; trains from Manhattan skip Avenue U
Days, 11am-3pm, Wednesday, December 17 to Friday, December 19

Service operates in two sections:
1. Between 179 St and Avenue X
2. Between Avenue X and Stillwell Av

Transfer at Avenue X to continue your trip.

For service to Avenue U, take the F to Avenue X where it will become a Jamaica-bound F. For service from this station, take the F to Kings Hwy and transfer to an Avenue X-bound F. More info here.

Also, keep an eye out for changes in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. Schedules occasionally change, so check MTA.info for the latest updates.

East 29th Street, the scene of the fire. (Source: Google Maps)

1836 East 29th Street, the scene of the fire. (Source: Google Maps)

A fire ripped through a two-story semi-detached house in Marine Park early this morning, killing the 66-year-old homeowner.

First responders rushed to the scene of the two-alarm blaze at 1836 East 29th Street at 3:51am today. Firefighters battled the flames for about an hour and a half, finally bringing it under control at 5:20am.

When they entered the home, they found Shewming Seto collaped on the floor. He was pulled out of the building and pronounced dead at the scene by EMS responders.

The fire began on the first floor, and quickly spread to the rest of the home. Neighboring homes were evacuated until the flames were tamed.

Seven firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Source: NYPD

Source: NYPD

Police are searching for a man and a woman suspected of slashing dozens tires in Midwood over the weekend.

The slashing spree took place on December 14, 2014 between midnight and 2am, on the blocks between Quentin Road and Avenue S, from East 17th Street to Bedford Avenue, cops said.

Approximately 40 cars were vandalized, and now Councilman David Greenfield is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

“We must have zero tolerance for this rampant crime spree in our neighborhood. A single tire costs hundreds of dollars, not to mention the time and energy that must be expended to replace it,” said Greenfield in a statement. “That’s why I am offering this reward – this kind of behavior is outrageous and quite frankly it doesn’t go unnoticed that this happened in a predominantly Jewish community.”

Police say they are not currently looking at it as a bias crime.

The suspects, described by police as a white male and a white female, were captured on two separate security cameras. Detectives believe that the man observed slashing the tires is the same person walking with the female in the first video.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (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 entering TIP577.

Update (1:35pm): Police verified that they have a suspect in custody. The name has not been released as an arrest is still pending.

Councilman Greenfield released this statement:

My deepest thanks to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Captain Mark Magrone of Hate Crimes Task Force and Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez of Brooklyn’s 61 precinct for their outstanding work along with their respective teams in quickly catching the alleged criminal who caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to Brooklyn residents’ vehicles. This quick arrest proves once again that we truly have NYPD’s finest serving our neighborhoods and that goes a long way in calming the nerves of  the community. The message is very clear: New York City has zero tolerance for these quality of life crimes.

Update (7:00pm): Police have arrested and charged Eduard Ivashcenko, 21, in relation to the crime.

Update (December 16, 12pm): Councilman Chaim Deutsch also praised the NYPD for the swift arrest:

I thank the 61st Precinct Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, for his leadership in apprehending a suspect in the mass tire-slashing incident that occurred yesterday. I am grateful to the 61 Precinct Detective Squad and the Hate Crimes Task Force for their swift work, and my colleagues in government, State Senator Simcha Felder and Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, for their support.  I want to commend residents for providing the NYPD access to security footage that assisted the NYPD in tracking the suspect. This incident highlights the importance of reporting every crime to the police, and the value of police and community working together.

Source: mikey k/flickr

Source: mikey k/flickr

Chaos ensued when a 9-year-old girl was struck by a car Thursday on Avenue U near McDonald Avenue.

The girl – identified the New York Daily News as Katrina Wang - was walking with her grandmother at around 5:34pm, when she ran into the street, getting stuck by an eastbound 2010 Chevy Malibu, cops said. Wang crossed against the traffic light and was not in the crosswalk, according to police.

Witnesses told us they heard a loud noise, and turned to see the girl fly 20 feet into the air.

“It was hectic with the grandmother yelling and not speaking English. We had to get workers from nearby Chinese restaurant to come and translate,” said tipster Yury.

The traumatized driver remained on the scene and was not charged. The Daily News reports:

The girl’s tiny blue glove remained on the windshield of the car as police investigated the crash. Witnesses said the driver initially ran down the street, but returned in tears minutes later.

“He left the scene, he came back later and he was crying. I asked him if he wanted me to pray for him, he said ‘yes’. He was pale as a ghost,” said witness Stephanie Rios.

Wang was rushed to Lutheran Hospital, accompanied by her mother, where she is listed in critical but stable condition.

The roads were closed off from McDonald Ave to West Street on Avenue U Thursday evening and the B3 bus was re-routed.

Photo by George Burshteyn

Photo by George Burshteyn

And if any of you out there are interested in why the sky turns these beautiful shades while the sun rises and sets (which, as you know, it doesn’t really do), read on:

At sunrise or sunset, sunlight takes a much longer path through the atmosphere than during the middle part of the day. Because this lengthened path results in an increased amount of violet and blue light being scattered out of the beam by the nearly infinite number of scattering “events” that occur along the way (a process collectively known as multiple scattering), the light that reaches an observer early or late in the day is noticeably reddened. Thus, it could be said that sunsets are red because the daytime sky is blue.

Photo by George Burshteyn

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