Source: Hanukkah-gifts.com

Source: Hanukkah-gifts.com

This evening at sundown (4:13pm) will begin the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah — aka Chanukah, or חֲנֻכָּה — the joyous eight-day “Festival of Lights,” which recalls the miracle of the oil and ancient rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the revolt of the Maccabees. You can learn more about Hanukkah by going here or here.

A reminder to readers who mistakenly think that Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas because there are presents involved: It’s not. But yay, presents! What does that mean for you? Well, all parking regulations, including metered parking and alternate side of the street parking, remain in effect; garbage collection continues as usual; the post office and other government offices will be open, and (drum roll): you still have work on Wednesday.

To all of our readers: Sheepshead Bites wishes you a warm and festive Hanukkah. And Erica, the author of this post who for some reason decided to break into third person, wants you to send her more Morning Mug photos to photos [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com!

Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Preliminary rendering of the new building to replace El Greco at 1801 Emmons Avenue. The view is from Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Source: Sergey Rybak)

Preliminary rendering of the new building to replace El Greco at 1809 Emmons Avenue. The view is from Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Source: Sergey Rybak)

EXCLUSIVE: A seven-story condominium building with ground-level retail, abundant parking and a 9,000-square-foot landscaped public plaza will soon be constructed at Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, replacing El Greco Diner, the new owners told Sheepshead Bites in an exclusive interview.

Buyer Sergey Rybak detailed his preliminary plans following the $13 million sale of the 1809 Emmons Avenue property on Friday, which he purchased with partner Jason Reznik under the name 1809 Emmons Avenue LLC. Rybak’s company, Rybak Development, is overseeing construction.

Rybak Development already has a track record in the area. The company is part owner of the MatchPoint NYC sports complex on Shell Road, and is developing several luxury condominium projects in the area, including 3041 Ocean Avenue and 104 West End Avenue, as well as commercial projects like 1810 Voorhies Avenue. Their roster of developments is almost exclusively in Southern Brooklyn.

At the moment, all plans shared with Sheepshead Bites, including the plaza and the layout of the building, are subject to change. The final project, he hopes, will be as-of-right, meaning no approval from the Community Board or Board of Standards and Appeals will be required – but that can change, too.

See more renderings, and learn details of the plan for 1801 Emmons Avenue.

Pink-house-gravesend

This funhouse is proof that money can’t buy taste.

The Gravesend three-bedroom has been on the market for over three months. The Barbie pink exterior might have almost worked if the owners had considered sticking to one theme, but unfortunately, the inside is nothing short of an aesthetic nightmare. From the velour-covered kitchen stools to the checkered floors to the dizzying array of mirrors, the end result is Pee-wee’s Playhouse gone terribly wrong.

It’s a shame, because it’s clear that the owners invested a lot of money into the property. Here’s how the listing on Fillmore Realty describes it:

Very unique property, Mother-Daughter 2 -1 Family homes on one lot. Main house has finished basement with media room, wet bar, heated stone glass floor. A must see bathroom with shower, washer, dryer room & home office with a walk-in closet. 1st fl boasts14 ft ceilings, exposed wood beams, white wood floors in living-dining room, flowing into a brand new kitchen to die for. All high end appliances. Radiant heated floors in kitchen. Blue Bahia granite counter tops, Murano glass back splash, glass block walls, fireplace & Tuscany tumble tiles in bathroom. 2nd Fl has 2 bedrooms,14 ft ceilings exposed wood beams, tiger stripe wood floors & jacuzzi tub.

In addition, the home is rigged with a security system that can be monitored from your iPhone. Thank goodness for that, because if someone stole one of my several animal hide throws, I know I’d be devastated.

The asking price for the property is $899,000.

Here’s more photos of kitsch-tastic decor:

Checkered-rec-room

 

 

Living dining room

Bedrooms

 

bathrooms

What do you think, dear readers? Can this home be saved?

h/t Curbed

All photos are from Fillmore Real Estate.

Update (December 17): The address has been removed from this article at the request of the homeowner.

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.

Continue Reading »

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.