Photo by Erica Sherman

NotifyNYC released the following announcement over the weekend, which modifies its previous announcement that daily bridge lifts of the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, which began January 26, will be extended through March (and before that, through February):

Due to a restoration project in Jamaica Bay, multiple, daily bridge lifts of the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge that began January 26th will be extended through April. The lifts will take place around-the-clock and require full closure of the bridge to traffic. It takes roughly 15 minutes to raise and lower the bridge. Motorists are advised to use Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate route.

At least they didn’t alert us at the end of March.

The short-lived Walgreens at 1721 Avenue U – which closed as a casualty of redundancy after the company bought up Duane Reade – is finally coming back to life, now as a Chinese market.

Signs went up in just the last few days showing that it will be a New York Mart, a business with another location just six blocks away at 2309 Avenue U (as well as several other locations in New York City).

That proximity, as well as the abundance of other Asian supermarkets, has got our tipster Richie a little confounded:

It’s interesting how Avenue U has turned into a breeding ground for banks, pharmacies, nail shops  and now supermarkets.

There’s already two other “supermarkets” within immediate walking distance of this new one. One on east 15 and and the other one on east 13 (I think, next to the Mexican restaurant La Villita)

This new supermarket might be part of the same franchise as the supermarket located on East 24 street.

Is Avenue U beginning to mimic Sheepshead Bay Road in its lack of business diversity? What would you rather see in that location?

Tipster Ilan S. sent in the above photo of a car accident on East 12th Street between Kings Highway and Avenue R.

According to Ilan, the driver was coming out of the driveway on East 12th Street when his pedal got stuck, causing him to go backwards down the block, eventually striking a parked car. Both vehicles ended up on the curb.

We’re glad to see no one was seriously injured, though EMS was on the scene. Thanks to Ilan for the heads up.

"Gridlock" Sam Schwartz's Congestion Pricing proposal.

THE COMMUTE: If the MTA has its way, fare and toll hikes in odd numbered years will be as certain as death and taxes. The next ones are scheduled for January 2013, with approval by the MTA Board in December after a series of citywide hearings to be held in the fall. Hearings should be for the purpose of obtaining public opinion, but in the MTA’s case, first the decision is made, then the hearings are held as a formality. Great way to improve the MTA’s credibility and image. That is why most people no longer attend these hearings, especially when they have to wait three or more hours to speak, after all the elected officials — the same elected officials guilty of cutting or not increasing MTA funding.

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Community Board 15 will meet tomorrow, March 27, at 7:00 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College’s faculty dining room (2001 Oriental Boulevard).

On the agenda is one zoning item:

  • 186 Girard Street – Application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling

Aside from that, the Community Board will hear residents’ concerns, and local elected officials will give updates on their efforts to represent their constituents.

If you have any questions or would like to be added to the speakers’ list, call (718) 332-3008.

A little Sheepshead Bay slice of life. From the photographer:

Returning home after a day on the water.

The Tampa VI, circa 1978

From 35mm Kodachrome slide.

Photo by Andy Baum

Photo by Robert Fernandez

Photo by Erica Sherman

Passover. The Festival of the Unleavened Bread. The celebration of the ancient Israelites’ escape from Egypt’s whips and chains. And the wandering…

When I think of Passover, I’m immediately drawn to that image of thousands of people wandering the desert, at first chaotically, without laws, facing threats both internal and external. And from that madness and uncertainty, a people united by little more than their shared persecution and ancestry came together and formed a nation, governed by laws, and without land to bind them.

Passover remains one of the most inspiring stories from the Old Testament. It’s about togetherness, and the miracles that unity is capable of bringing about.

That’s why, for the first time ever, Sheepshead Bites is proud to present our Guide to Communal Passover Seders. Because for a holiday celebrating the miracle of camaraderie against all odds, no one should be alone.

Here are some local Jewish centers offering Communal Seders, featuring food and friendship:

Beth El Jewish Center of Flatbush
Seder will be offered at 8:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7.
1981 Homecrest Avenue – (718) 375-0120
Price: $40 per person. (Reservations a must)

Manhattan Beach Jewish Center
Seder offered Friday, April 6, at 8:00 p.m. (English), and Saturday April 7, at 8:15 p.m. (Russian)
60 West End Avenue – (718) 891-8700
Price: $36 per person. (Reservations a must)

Young Israel of Kings Bay
Seder will be offered at 7:45 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7.
3007 Ocean Parkway – (718) 332-6231
Price: $18 per person. (Reservations by March 26th)

Chabad of Sheepshead Bay
Seder will be offered at 8:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7.
Orion Palace, 2555 McDonald Avenue – (718) 934-9331
Price: Adults $40, Children $15. (Reservations a must)

Chabad of Manhattan Beach
Seder will be offered at 8:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7.
Ohel David & Shlomo Catering Hall, 710 Shore Boulevard - (646) 296-9020
Price: Adults $36, Children $18. (Reservations a must)

Chabad Neshama Center
Seder will be offered at 8:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7.
311 Seabreeze Avenue – (718) 687-7844
Price: Adults $36, Children $18. (Reservations a must)

Temple Beth El of Manhattan Beach
Seder will be offered at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6.
111 West End Avenue –  (718) 891-3500
Price: Adults: $45, Children $25. (Reservations a must)

If you are a representative of a local Jewish institution and would like your community Seder added to this list, e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Researched by Katherine Gonzalez. 

A joke: A Jewish man lies on his deathbed, surrounded by his children. “Ah,” he says, “I can smell your mother’s brisket — how I would love to taste it one last time before I die.” So one of his sons hurries down to the kitchen, but he returns empty-handed. “Sorry, papa. She says it’s for after the funeral.”

That is only an example of a tiny nugget in the vast and diverse canon of Jewish humor, a subject that will be showcased by Joe Dorinson in his upcoming lecture, “Jews In Comedy,” scheduled for March 26, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Kings Bay YM-YWHA, 3495 Nostrand Avenue between Avenue U and Avenue V.

Dorinson, a Long Island University professor of history and noted authority in the field of popular culture, will showcase not only Jewish humor, but also the history of Jews in comedy. While any such lecture will certainly include mention of a few personal favorites, such as Woody Allen, Alan King, and the Marx Brothers, hopefully Professor Dorinson will also highlight the contributions of comedic geniuses such as Zero Mostel and the great Myron Cohen. Behold:

To learn more, call (718) 648-7703, email or visit

The New York Daily News has weighed in on the ongoing saga of the 27th State Senate District special election, in which the two candidates wound up just a handful of votes apart (latest count has Republican David Storobin up by 118), and the Board of Elections’ anachronistic procedures turning it into a long, tedious slog.

For starters, the Board of Elections is tossing out votes on cruddy technicalities – a fine procedure when the margins are more vast, but in a neck-and-neck race, every vote counts. They’re also refusing to count paper ballots until they receive a court order.

Contrary to all fairness and equality — not to mention common sense — the board’s standard operating procedure uses differing approaches for determining whether a vote is validly cast.

When a voter fills in an oval beside a candidate’s name, the vote will be counted either by a scanner, assuming the machine works correctly, or by the board as workers inspect absentee ballots.

When a voter leaves an oval blank, but, say, circles a candidate’s name, the vote won’t be counted by a scanner — but will be counted if the board finds such a marking on an absentee ballot.

This probably happened in the Storobin-Fidler battle. The scanner tally lists 42 ballots on which voters filled in no choice — unlikely, as those people were dedicated enough to go to the polls to make a choice in the only race on the ballot.

Odds are they made a selection without filling in an oval. Their votes are, for now, lost, while similarly cast absentee ballots will be included. In such a supertight race, 42 ballots could be decisive.

The board will inspect all the paper ballots only if the margin ends up below .5%. With a total tally of about 21,000, that comes out to roughly anything more than 105 votes. Now, the preliminary margin is 118 votes. At that level, there would be no visual ballot inspection without a court order.

This is insanity.

Finally, whatever comes out of this mess, the Daily News doesn’t think anyone should trust the Board’s numbers, given that they already bungled the count on election night. They suggest the candidates file a request under the Freedom of Information Law for photos of each of the scanned ballots to ensure the numbers match.

We agree. New York City’s Board of Elections, proven to be inept time and time again, are not to be trusted. Lax enforcement of electioneering laws at poll sites, fouled preliminary counts and operating procedures more befitting the 17th Century than the 21st Century speak for themselves.

The NYC Board of Elections needs real reform – not fancy new gadgets they don’t know how to use – and, in this race, every ballot ought to be counted, recounted and counted again based on the voter’s intention, not a computer’s ability to read it.