I love Thanksgiving. It is one of the few American holidays not tied to religion or politics or war, but only to unity among the members of the greatest nation on earth, and for one singular purpose: to express Gratitude.

It is a great shame that people rarely express their gratitude or appreciation for what they have, or whom they owe it to. The author William Arthur Ward once wrote, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Unfortunately, many of us have a vast warehouse of wrapped presents within our hearts.

This past year, my warehouse grew by leaps and bounds. I have been blessed by great friends, wonderful colleagues, a supportive family and a legion of readers who prod me forward – if, sometimes, roughly so – on my exhausting commitment to do good in this world and make a living out of it.

Among those involved in the site to whom I rarely express my gratitude, and are all the more worthy of it in its absence, is Robert Fernandez, who has helped this site and this community in ways that, if I were to quantify them here, would take up far too much space on the page. Alongside him are Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean lead bloggers Erica Sherman and Joe Teutonico, respectively. To them I owe tremendous thanks for their amazing efforts. If our business had the resources, these three would earn salaries that would put them among the one percent, and, still, it would not be as much as they deserved.

Thanks also goes to Alanna Fatone, our marketing assistant, and Randy Rojas, our intern, and the dozens of freelancers who tolerate my cuts, scratches, suggestions and reorganizations to pump out content that informs and strengthens this community.

The businesses that have supported us, whether through advertisements on this page, sponsored content or by joining us at events like A Taste of Sheepshead Bay – these are the businesses that we should all be thankful for. They are committed to the community, committed to the existence of an informational forum like Sheepshead Bites, and they have our gratitude. Support them, and show them yours, too.

And, of course, thank you to you, our readers, our neighbors, who on a daily basis frustrate us to wit’s end, but for whom we toil and sweat and bleed, and, despite the frustration, give us encouragement and support and glimmers of hope that our work is not for naught. It is an amazing social experiment to watch you, to listen to you, to write about you and to see the evolution of individual and community through the sole provisions of information and conversation. Every one of you is full of endless surprises, and that, for me at least, is what makes every day so different, every story so fresh, and every moment so enjoyable.

Thank you, for everything, and have a terrific Thanksgiving.

Photo by Yuriy Semenov

Capella Salon at 1660 Sheepshead Bay Road got a new sign today. The old sign, which was taken down last week, said Capella Salon & Day Spa. Does that mean no more spa?

Photo and tip by ShadowLock.

The site of the proposed mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.

Bay People, the opponents of the proposed Sheepshead Bay mosque on Voorhies Avenue, has lost a zoning challenge that was key to their strategy in delaying or halting construction on the grounds.

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Man, I love having a reason to use this Photoshopped bit of genius.

A new television show following several Russian-Americans as they attempt to achieve their own American Dream will soon hit the airwaves.

No, it ain’t Russian Dolls – a.k.a. a miserable failure to replicate Jersey Shore with Slavic schlock – but it is the latest exploration of our Russian-American neighbors.

National Geographic has ordered an eight-part series based on New York-based Russians from a top British production company. It will be filmed in the most densely populated Russian-American enclave in the U.S., Brighton Beach, and will be produced by Firecracker Films. Crews were in the neighborhood as recently as last week, interviewing Russian-American leaders about the community, and exploring the cultural quirks of Little Odessa.

Firecracker Films is a well established production company that has already received praise for their work on the BAFTA-nominated series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, which aired on TLC. This past October they won the “Breakout TV Producer Of The Year Award” at the 2nd Annual Beverly Hills Film, Television and New Media Award. They also have worked with BBC, and Discovery.

The series is set to air in the Fall of 2012.

Photo by Steve Mohundro via Flickr

Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite

Today The Bite takes a break from the restaurant scene and hits the kitchen. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m busy putting together our annual feast, so I thought I’d share a recipe with you. This is my version of cranberry sauce. It’s extremely simple to make and tastes nothing like the canned version. Once you try it, you’ll never go back!

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As part of New York City Parks Department’s milliontreesNYC initiative, 43 new trees now line East 15th Street between Avenue Y and Avenue Z, the same block where the city ripped out dozens of trees months ago.

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Source: SubwayBlogger.com

I stopped commuting three years ago. It has been great. I do not envy any of you who do the daily commute, and I have no problem rubbing it in your face that I no longer have to do it.

But… occasionally, I forget how truly awful it can be. Thank goodness for Auxil B., a reader who sent this rant in reminding us what we have to be thankful for:

If you do not commute to work by subway here in NYC, here is what you missed this morning….
at the newsstand where I buy my Daily News and coffee, the woman ahead of me was dithering at the serve-ur-self coffee station, even stopping to check her cell phone while I was trying to pour and get out…I missed both the Q and B subways because of that delay….the next Q I boarded, got a seat and read my newspaper. Up the line, we started moving very slowly, announcement “train traffic ahead”…that’s a bad sign….as the train crawled towards 7th Avenue, in Park Slope, a rider BARFED, not too close to me….we finally made it to Atlantic Avenue, the conductor announced we were being re routed thru the tunnel…I got off. Made the transfer to the Lex line and caught a 4 train. Aboard was another of the seemingly endless supply of mentally deranged homeless men (rarely women) who was ranting about a lot of topics and his complaints, surrounded by his two shopping carts full of his worldly goods. I made it to Bklyn Bridge station and got to work….and that’s what you miss by living in a normal part of the country and/or not having to commute by subway…. Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, indeed. How was your commute today?

Sent to us with the following message:

“I call it Sheepshead’s Canvas”

Alrighty then.

Photo by Jennifer Parkers

Grandma2011-030

A dozen contestants took to the dance floor of National Restaurant (273 Brighton Beach Avenue) to brandish their beauty and talent at the 10th annual Your Highness Grandmother Pageant on November 13.

Find out who the winners were, and see photos and video from the event.