Sunny Skies

Source: Sunny Skies

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the preliminary recipients of $340 million in pre-kindergarten funding yesterday, including a couple in our area - Brighton Beach’s Sarah Winner Group Family Day Care and Sunny Skies Preschool.

Provided state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approves the awards, Sarah Winner Group Family Day Care (2997 Ocean Parkway) will land $120,000 from the state and Sunny Skies Coney Island (2585 Coney Island Avenue) will receive $300,000 as part of a program that is awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for 81 school districts and community-based organizations across the state.

The funding, which is included in the 2014-15 state budget, is the first installment in the governor’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to build a statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten program.

The city Department of Education is slated to land nearly $300 million to build its universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in the city – which stems from Cuomo’s promise to pay for such a program in lieu of Mayor Bill de Blasio raising taxes to pay for it, as the mayor had originally aimed to do upon taking office.

The funds slated for private daycare operators are to fill the gap in the number of seats required to meet the need, which the Department of Education alone does not have the space for.

“Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a state, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children’s education and future success,” Cuomo said in his press release. “The state budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York state on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the State’s work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy.”

As part of state and city officials push for a full-day pre-kindergarten program, numerous lawmakers and educators, including Cuomo and de Blasio, stressed that studies have shown that children who participate in early education programs are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school than those who do not.

“We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City,” de Blasio said in the same release. “This funding represents a powerful commitment by the State to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child.”

The full list of recipients of the $340 million is available here.

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

And indeed it is.

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send them to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

chaim-cleanup-7

Councilman Chaim Deutsch hosted his second community cleanup on Sunday, with volunteers turning out to sweep the sidewalks and gutters of Avenue U between Nostrand Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.

Dozens turned out, including volunteers from Homecrest Community Services and local schools like Sheepshead Bay High School and Midwood High School.

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The clean-up came on the heels of the announcement that Deutsch had secured $68,000 for additional litter basket pickups on Avenue U and Sheepshead Bay Road, increasing pickups to five times a week on each strip. It’s also two weeks after a Sheepshead Bay Road cleanup.

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The pol acknowledged that cleanups only go so far, and that often the streets are filthy again within days. But he said it’s about creating awareness, and showing would-be litter bugs that their neighbors are putting in the effort.

“It’s not just a clean-up,” he said. “We don’t want to waste anybody’s time. So it’s an ongoing effort.”

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Aside from the funding and the cleanups, Deutsch’s team and volunteers have been passing out fliers in various languages to neighbors, letting them know that public bins are not meant for residential garbage.

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He said that the Sanitation Department is also ramping up enforcement at his request, with overnight stakeouts of public bins happening on several nights on Avenue U and Sheepshead Bay Road. Those caught dumping at the public bins are issued hefty fines.

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The pol said the biggest struggle is with businesses, who due to language barriers don’t always understand that local laws require them to keep the sidewalks in front of their stores clean.

“We’re reaching out to all the stores to get them to comply with the local laws,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s just a language barrier, and once we get through that we see they make the effort.”

 

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Pizzeria number four is coming to the space at 2224 Avenue U, where signs for Michael & Sophia’s Pizzeria went up recently.

The new pizzeria will replace Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe, which closed in May after four months in business. Prior to that it was South Brooklyn Pizza, which had served up pies for less than a year. Before South Brooklyn Pizza, there was Calabrese Pizza & Restaurant, which was also short-lived. Before that, there was Tai Yuan, which was open for only a few weeks. Tai Shan preceded that – again, surviving only a few months.

That would make this business number seven in five years.

We wish Michael & Sophia’s the best of luck, and truly hope they succeed in breaking what appears to be a curse on this address – at least for any eatery. We hope to let you know when they’re open.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, a member of the Assembly’s Health Committee, greets participants during his annual Health Fair. Source: Cymbrowitz’ Office

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz is teaming up with Mount Sinai Beth Israel Brooklyn Medical Center to host a “Nutrition Talk,” Wednesday, August 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Cymbrowitz’ District Office, 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road.

Learn to eat a well-balanced diet, how to accurately read food labels and see what foods offer the best source of much-needed vitamins.

Reservations are required. To reserve your place, call (718) 743-4078 or email cymbros@assembly.state.ny.us.

Source: Angelo Viscoso

Source: Angelo Viscoso

A would-be burglar had to be rescued by police and firefighters and then hospitalized after his failed heist at il Fornetto Restaurant left him trapped in an air duct overnight.

Williams (Source: Angelo Viscoso)

Williams (Source: Angelo Viscoso)

Lorenzo Williams, 30, of Coney Island, was cuffed and packed into an FDNY ambulance after authorities removed him from the air duct, booking him with burglary. Cops were called to the 2902 Emmons Avenue restaurant around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, after workers said they heard cries for help coming from the ceiling.

It began with banging, said owner Angelo Viscoso. The restaurant’s manager sent staffers up to the roof, where they found a large hole cut into the vent, and they at first though a possum had found its way in.

“After a few minutes the banging intensified and they started to hear a faint cry for help. At this point they called 911 immediately. When the police came they verified that someone was stuck in the vent and had to call the fire department to cut open the duct on the roof to extract the man out,” said Viscoso.

Apparently, the perp was stuck overnight. The restaurant’s porter said he had heard faint banging noises the night before but couldn’t pinpoint the source. Damages to the roof are expected to exceed $3,000.

Williams was taken to Lutheran Medical Center for minor injuries.

“There were no visual injuries but I guess he had a head rush being stuck upside down until they got him out,” said Viscoso.

The rescue took about an hour, according to the FDNY.

Il Fornetto was playing host to a bridal shower during the cacophonous rescue operation. Viscoso said the party-goers made the most of it.

“The women from the shower were taking pictures with the firemen and police. I heard they cuffed the bride to be,” he said.

The hole in the air duct Williams used to attempt the break-in. (Source: Angelo Viscoso)

The hole in the air duct Williams used to attempt the break-in. (Source: Angelo Viscoso)

Source: FreeVerse Photography/Flickr

Improv Everywhere, the group behind the no pants subway ride and Frozen Grand Central gags, returned to Coney Island for the 5th Annual Black Tie Beach event on Saturday.

Source: FreeVerse Photography/Flickr

Hundreds of the group’s acolytes gathered on the shoreline in their best formal wear – gowns, tuxedos, top hats, monocles – before plunging into the water fully clothed.

Source: FreeVerse Photography/Flickr

Meanwhile, those not in on the gag, which would be just about anyone else hanging around Coney Island or Brighton Beach, let loose a series of guffaws as they tried to figure out what was going on.

Source: FreeVerse Photography/Flickr

The group’s website has several photo collections from the event posted already, and they’re working on a video. In the meantime, here’s last year‘s video:

Did you catch the black tie crew? What was your reaction?

All of the photos for this post were taken by Dave Bledsoe/FreeVerse Photography, who generously posted them with a Creative Commons license on Flickr. Check out his photostream for more.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Shot in June, along Emmons Avenue.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send them to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

Photo by Elle Spektor

Photo by Elle Spektor

Beachgoers on Saturday were dazzled by dozens of sand sculptors who carved up the shore for the 24th Annual Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest.

The event, hosted by Astella Development Corporation and Brooklyn Community Services, saw the creation of everything from the amusing and bizarre to touching tributes, including one of Ground Zero and another to the U.S. Army.

A favorite of our two tipster-photographers, Avi Salzman and Elle Spektor, was a sand likeness of what may be your humble editor, an overweight man passed out on the sand, hat over his eyes and Nathan’s Famous cup in hand.

Arizona Iced Tea sponsored the event, giving away complimentary iced teas to and crafting their own logo in the sand.

Check out the photos.

Source: onesevenone/Flickr

B LINE

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound B trains run local from Sheepshead Bay to Prospect Park.

Q LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, Q service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 57 St-7 Av and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr.
  2. Between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and Coney Island.
    • To continue your trip, transfer via passageway at Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr.

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, Q trains run every 30 minutes between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and Coney Island.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound Q trains skip DeKalb Av.

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Sheepshead Bay.

F LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip 23 St and 14 St.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Wednesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains run local from Roosevelt Av to 21 St-Queensbridge.