I’ve always felt that these “open threads” were never really truly open. Oh I know that you’re all free to talk about any topics, but Ned always seems to write the threads to spark discussion on a thing that interests him. And then you loyal minions usually follow suit by commenting only on the suggested subject.

So today, I want to spin it a little differently. Today I want to open this thread up to your gripes. What’s pissing you off? It can be anything, just no personal attacks.

My gripe this week – I’m tired of people dumping on my property. From the one-shot liquor bottles tossed on my lawn, to a computer monitor that was dumped in my bush, to the television that was left in my driveway; I’ve seen it all. And to the ape that keeps tossing banana peels over the fence, one day, you’ll get yours!

So, what’s your gripe this week? Mouth off!

Natalia Pelevine tells voters to deface Russian ballots on the Boardwalk in Brighton Beach (Source: Alissa Ambrose/nycitynewsservice.com)

A small group of Russian activists were urging Russian emigres in New York to go against the opposition on the December 4 election by defacing their ballots, challenging Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s attempt to regain that nation’s presidency.

The United Russia party – led by Putin – suffered a huge lose in yesterday’s election amidst controversy of voter interference, though still took a majority of the votes. It’s that kind of outcome that local activists were fighting against by telling eligible Russian expat voters to deface their ballots.

“It is a way of saying, ‘Go to hell’ to those in power,” said Natalia Pelevine in a New York City News Service article.

Pelevine is a Russian activist who formed the Democratic Russia Committee. The group is made up of opposition activists in New York that are leading a protest movement against the Russian elections and Putin’s attempt to regain the presidency. The Democratic Russia Committee was doing this by a technique called “Nacht-Nacht.” The voter marks their ballot with a large X or an offensive phrase. The technique is a longstanding tradition that has been around since the Soviet era.

A week before the election, Pelevine and other activists handed out fliers detailing where to vote and instructions on how to deface the ballots, or even suggesting to vote against the opposition. There are two Russian polling stations in New York, one at the concert hall Millennium Theatre at 1029 Brighton Beach Avenue and the other at the Russian Consulate on East 91st street.


From our friends at the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association:

Click to enlarge

Police are on the hunt for a suspected anti-Semitic vandal after several Jewish artifacts were ripped off doorways in a Brighton Beach apartment building over the weekend, in the latest Southern Brooklyn bias crime.

Police are investigating this as a hate crime. Get the details.

Eric Kaplan, 47, shows off the street sign immortalizing his mom, Brighton Beach activist Frances Kaplan. Photo by Erica Sherman

Dozens of friends, loved ones, community leaders and elected officials came out Friday afternoon to witness the unveiling of a new street sign on the corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Brighton 1st Place, renamed “Fran Kaplan Way” after Frances Kaplan, a kind-hearted community stalwart who owned the dry cleaning establishment, York Cleaners, with her father Louis Levine for more than 60 years.

Read more about Kaplan, and view photos from the renaming.

Tzar Restaurant is celebrating its fifth birthday and, to help commemorate, in conjunction with the 41st Assembly District Democrats Club, they will be holding their “Toys for Tots” drive at 6:00 p.m., December 12 at Tzar, 2007 Emmons Avenue.

While the event is billed as being “in the Russian-speaking community,” monetary donations and new toys will be distributed as holiday gifts to all needy children. According to Tzar, “Bringing joy and happiness to the deprived kids is the best present.”

You can either donate a new, unwrapped toy, or you can make a check payable to the “Community First Toy Drive” in the amount of $25 minimum to send a message of hope to kids whose families may be struggling to make ends meet during this time of economic uncertainty. All donations for “Toys for Tots” are tax-deductible.

Food will be provided. You must RSVP prior to December 9 by calling Sam Khalitov at (862) 242-6678 or Raisa Chernina at (347) 613-5332.

Source: nych.com

A beloved 89-year-old Brooklyn mother passed away at a Midwood hospital, and administrators waited seven days before notifying her children, according to the New York Daily News.

“The thought that she laid there cold and dead — it’s a horror,” said Michael Hawa, 64, son of the deceased Catherine Hawa. “It’s just too sad to digest.”

Hawa passed away on November 16 at New York Community Hospital (2525 Kings Highway) and was left in the morgue. Hawa’s daughter Jeanette was about to head over to visit her mother on November 23, when she received a call from a worker at the hospital who told her the news and how her mother was left in the morgue for seven days. The worker apologized to Jeanette. Michael received the same call that day, with the same message and an apology.

Hawa lived on East 5th Street in Kensington until moving into a nursing home two years ago. She married a Penn Central railway clerks’ union member named Edward Hawa in 1946, who passed away in 2000.

A wake and religious service was held for Hawa at Herbst-Trzaska-Waldeck Chapels in Bay Ridge last Monday and she was properly laid to rest at The Evergreens Cemetery on Tuesday.

“Transportation 2030: Five Borough Blueprint” ticket stub. Courtesy of Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Having retired from the MTA in 2005 and not actively working in Planning for quite a number of years, I do not often attend Planning conferences. The last ones I attended were a series of workshops held over a four-year period from 2002 to 2006, sponsored by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, the agency responsible for doling out federal funds in this area. Those sessions part of the Southern Brooklyn Transportation Investment Study looked forward to 2020 and primarily focused on medium and long range planning. That study, costing approximately $6 million, resulted in not a single accomplishment, because of the MTA’s refusal to concur with any of the numerous suggested bus or rail improvements. They stated that they do their own planning and no one tells them how to plan.

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Source: Wikipedia

The following are planned weekday service changes from our friends sworn nemeses at the MTA. The changes go into effect as of 10 a.m. THIS MORNING, so if riding the Manhattan-bound B and Q trains, it is advised that you give yourself additional travel time to allow for the usual bullsh… er, I mean inconveniences.

The changes are as follows:

B Line — Weekday Planned Service Change:

  • 10 AM to 3 PM, Mon to Fri, Dec 5 – 9
  • Manhattan-bound B trains run local from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park
  • Allow additional travel time.

Q Line – Weekday Planned Service Change:

  • 10 AM to 3 PM, Mon to Fri, Dec 5 – 9
  • No Q trains running between Manhattan and Queens – Take the N
  • Q service operates between 57 St-7 Av and Stillwell Av.
  • 10 AM to 3 PM, Mon to Fri, Dec 5 – 9
  • Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy

Simply breathtaking (and shot with the 5D Mark II… probably the most awesome full-frame camera that Canon has ever produced).

Photo by Robin Michals