Source: Cymbrowitz's office

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz pounded pavement with Sanitation Department officials recently, introducing the agency’s Adopt-a-Basket program to local businesses in an effort to reduce litter.

Cymbrowitz announced that he and the department signed up three new local businesses on Sheepshead Bay Road - Liquor World (1709 Voorhies Avenue), ALFA Vision Center (1402 Sheepshead Bay Road) and Bay Quick Mart, under the Sheepshead Bay Road station. The three new participants join Munchinette (1738 Sheepshead Bay Road) in the program.

Adopt-a-Basket is a volunteer program in which a business, organization or individual agrees to help prevent public garbage cans from overflowing. The department supplies plastic bag liners, a collection schedule and a contact person at the local district operations office, and participants change the bags when the basket is three quarters full.

“Much of our litter problem is caused by pedestrians who just don’t care and drop their litter wherever they happen to be and residents living above the stores illegally dumping their household garbage in litter baskets,” Cymbrowitz said. “However, those of us meaning to dispose of litter the proper way are often confronted by an overflowing can, caused by fewer Sanitation Department pickups. With the warm weather coming, the Sanitation Department will be putting additional cans on our corners. The Adopt-A-Basket Program reduces litter on our streets by keeping the corner baskets from overflowing.”

Let’s give thanks to these businesses that are helping keep our commercial corridors clean!


Friends, it’s getting harder and harder to do The Bite each week. In my search for great food, I think I’ve hit everywhere in Sheepshead Bay that I can afford and some that I can’t. The Bite’s goal has always been to highlight an outstanding dish at our local eateries and not to retrace our steps. I don’t want to do the same joint twice. It may come to that. Help me avoid that. Send me some recommendations for your favorite Bites of Sheepshead Bay. – Robert

This week, the Bite takes on the Chicken Burrito ($5.75) from Top Soft Taco. Or is it Top China? Who knows. The restaurant sure doesn’t. Located at 1654 Sheepshead Bay Road, Top Soft Taco is another of those Chinese/Mexican restaurants that try to do everything, but seem to do nothing particularly well.

Continue Reading »

It’s really hard to keep track of what’s going on 2255 Emmons Avenue. In two years it has been home to three Turkish restaurants – and soon it’ll have a fourth.

Pera Cafe Lounge will soon open at the location, following the short-lived Deniz Restaurant (so short-lived that we’re not sure if they were ever even open). Before Deniz it was Lara Turkish Cuisine, which opened in April 2010, just months after the longer-lived Bay Shish Kebab closed.

We have not confirmed it yet, but we’ve heard that Pera will be operated by the owners of Deniz, and will be a hookah lounge – so there’s no change in ownership, just direction.

UPDATE (3/29/2012): The owner just chimed in in the comments section, noting that it will not be a hookah lounge. He wrote:

Hi you all my I am the owner of Pera cafe longe we will be open late of April and it just will be cafe lounnge with full bar we don’t do hookah thanks you all I look forward see soon with a taste of Rurkish culture at Pera cafe lounge


A silver SUV took a turn for the worse yesterday evening, flipping over near the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Avenue T.

According to New York State Buff, emergency responders pulled a victim out of the vehicle and transported them to the hospital with injuries.

The incident occurred at approximately 8:30 p.m., quickly followed by a tip from Sheepshead Bites reader Taryn T., who described the scene.

“Not sure what, but I was driving by and the streets are blocked with huge crowds,” Taryn wrote. “What I can tell there is a fire truck and a few police cars.”

King's Chapel. Source: Google Maps

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association will hold its next general meeting at 7:30 p.m., March 15 at the King’s Chapel, 2702 Quentin Road, corner of Quentin and East 27th Street. From Ed Jaworski, president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic:

We’ve had many, long-time concerns about the condition of some of our neighborhood’s main avenues, including Ave. U, King’s Highway, Nostrand Ave., Ocean Ave.  So, we have invited Carlo Scissura, Special Advisor & former Chief of Staff to Brooklyn’s Boro. Pres. Marty Markowitz, as our main guest to discuss: “Envisioning More Attractive Avenues for Our Neighborhood.”

Also, with the March 20th special election taking place shortly after our meeting, we are inviting candidates to introduce themselves to attendees.   But, rather than looking for a debate or opponent discussion, we expect issues addressed.

The 61st Precinct’s Community Affairs Officer will also be on hand and, since the meeting takes place two days prior to St. Patrick’s Day, there will also be plenty of Irish soda bread and coffee.

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association usually meets on the third Thursday of the month, 7:30 p.m. at The King’s Chapel. There are no meetings in January, February, July, August and September.

To learn more, call (718) 375-9158, (347) 661-6960, or email

The forecast calls for a photo of a bicyclist on a bike lane on Sheepshead Bites followed by 100 MPH gusts of heated comment threads.

From the photographer:

A canopy of winter branches over the Ocean Parkway bike lane. Looking north from Avenue Y.

Photo by Allan Shweky

A rally to save Sheepshead Bay High School when it faced closure in 2010.

The Department of Education is proposing to reform Sheepshead Bay High School, William E. Grady High School, John Dewey High School and Franklin D. Roosevelt High School using the “turnaround” model, which includes renaming the school and replacing the principal and 50 percent of its teachers. But the city’s justification for the proposal remains in question, and community members continued to express doubt at a Brooklyn “turnaround” forum where DOE officials offered little to address their concerns.

Those from the Sheepshead Bay High School community addressed the panel, expressing agreement with the need to reform the school – but not using the turnaround model.

Gotham Schools reports on some of the statements made, as well as gives Sheepshead Bay High School’s recent backstory:

“We’ve got to have some discrimination here, because we’re closing down 33 schools because we don’t like something that happened between our union rep and the mayor,” said Bruce Sherman, a guidance counselor at Sheesphead Bay, referring to the deadlocked city-union negotiations over teacher evaluations that the city has blamed for the turnaround plan. “The staff is not the problem.”

Sheesphead Bay High School was named a federal “restart” school in 2011, meaning it would receive millions of school improvement dollars and be run by an Educational Partnership Organization. But a legal dispute with the city and the nonprofit EPOs stalled reforms at Sheesphead and other restart schools. In December, Principal Reesa Levy unexpectedly announced her retirement—a move that worried staff and students who knew the leadership change would hold up school improvements even more.  Sherman said the new interim principal, John O’Mahoney, “has his act together,” and has kept teacher morale from dropping further since he arrived at the school earlier this year.

“We believe that restart should still go into effect,” said Thaddeus Russell Jr. a father of three Sheepshead alumni and one current student. “The reason I disagree with turnaround is because the model says only 50 percent of the staff can be re-hired. I don’t believe that’s to the benefit of any students. How can the current freshmen, sophomores, juniors, how can we continue with the academies that have been instituted, if half the staff is not there next year?”

Parents, students and administrators from Brooklyn schools lined up to ask a series of questions to bring transparency and community participation into the process including, as Gotham Schools reports, the following:

Will parents be placed on any turnaround school personnel committees? What will happen to the “magnet” grants that some schools are already receiving? Can a new school choose not to keep on its EPO? How will students be able to ask former teachers for college and job references? Several teachers from different schools also noted that parents and teachers had been given conflicting information about their public hearing date—and asked how the problem could be fixed.

The answers from the DOE? We’ll have to get back to you on that.

There will be a public hearing on this proposal on March 28 at 6:00 p.m. at the school (3000 Avenue X). Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to, and oral comments can be left at 212-374-0208.

The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposal on April 26.

It was way back in 2009 that Sheepshead Bites and Brooklyn Independent Television (a.k.a. BCAT) teamed up on the video above to tell the story of Sheepshead Bay’s struggling recreational fishing industry. With the help of Brooklyn VI’s Captain Sapanara, we identified some of the key issues facing the fleet, which shrank from dozens to just a handful in the last two decades. The causes included rising gas prices, cultural changes and a slew of overwhelming regulations that are smothering locals’ ability to compete with out-of-state fleets.

New regulations unveiled by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently have now dealt another blow, shortening the blackfish season by nearly four months, and upping the minimum size limit of each fish caught.

According to Courier-Life:

The state Department of Environmental Conservation shortened the 2012 Blackfish fishing season — which usually runs from October until April — for recreational casters by 70 days, forcing it to end in January. The agency also increased the minimum size limit of the catch by 2 inches, so that many of the Blackfish that were hooked had to be returned to the sea.

Charter boat captains say blackfish — which are also known as tautog and oyster fish and taste like cod or flounder — are a winter staple for fishermen trolling borough waters. Now that the blackfish season has been cut short in New York, their business has been cut by nearly 60 percent as recreational anglers go to New Jersey, they say.

“In a time of economic hardship why we’d want to send business out of state is beyond me,” said Greg Nardiello, captain of the recreational vessel Ocean Eagle, which used to troll for the ugly, but tasty, water breathers nicknamed “the poor man’s lobster.” “Blackfish is really the big ticket fish in the winter season. Now people are heading to New Jersey for it.”

Much like other regulations that determine the size and number of the catch, the latest rule-tightening is based on the population of the target species. The problem is that the data being used is either wrong or outdated.

Even the Fisheries Commission admitted that their numbers were off base: in a statement released on March 7, the agency admitted that their determination to reduce blackfish fishing by 53 percent was an overestimation and only a 37 percent reduction was necessary — meaning that the blackfish season could have could have extended.

Adding insult to injury, New York opts to follow more restrictive federal guidelines, while neighboring states like New Jersey determine their own rules – even if they’re fishing in the same waters. As many local fishermen point out, that often means a Sheepshead Bay boat might be anchored next to a New Jersey boat and casting into the same spot, but local passengers may only be allowed to bring home two fish, while New Jersey anglers can take home more.

According to Courier-Life, Department of Environmental Conservation officials will meet later this month to discuss the changes.

The Bainbridge Center. Source: Google Maps

The 61st Precinct Community Council will meet at 7:30 p.m., March 14 at The Bainbridge Center, 3093 Ocean Avenue between Voorhies Avenue and Shore Parkway.

The Community Council is comprised of concerned residents and top brass from the 61st Precinct, and offers neighbors an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns about crime and safety issues in the area. The monthly meetings are attended by Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas, the commanding officer of the precinct, who will present a report on incidents and trends in the neighborhood, and speak face-to-face with neighbors about specific concerns.

Also: In an effort to reduce auto break-in crimes, the community council reminds residents to remove all valuables (pocketbooks, wallets and electronic devices) from your car and lock the doors when leaving your vehicle. They also recommend parking your vehicle in a well lit area.

For further information, or if you have questions or comments concerning Community Affairs, call (718) 627-6847.

News broke this morning that a seat in the United States Congress is no longer enough for newly-minted politician Bob Turner – he’s now got his eyes set on the United States Senate.

Daily News’ Daily Politics blog broke the story this morning that Turner is planning a challenge against New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand.

The blog posted the following e-mail from Turner’s team:

I will travel to the Republican State Convention in Rochester later this week and humbly ask for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. I will respectfully ask for the Conservative nomination a few days later at that Party’s convention. I have made my intentions known to the other Republican candidates in this race.

I ran for the House six months ago as a private citizen fed up with what is happening in Washington.  I could not sit and watch career politicians sink my nation deeper into economic crisis.  Brooklyn and Queens voters, of all political parties, graciously responded by sending me to Congress. It now appears that their district has been eliminated.

There is serious work to be done to get this economy back on track, and I will not walk away from that work now. I will run for the Senate, and I will run to win.

Turner, of course, is likely spurred on by the redistricting process, which would see his current seat eliminated. As Daily Politics points out, as recently as last week Turner was saying he’d run in whatever district he happened to live in when the final lines are adopted. But with the lines in the hands of a federal magistrate, Turner’s home would be in the heavily Democratic and African-American district of Congressman Gregory Meeks – making Republican victory unlikely.