Members of a prominent Ocean Parkway synagogue skipped candle lighting ceremonies last night, instead sparking a flame of civil war.

A plan to expand the facilities of Congregation Shaare Zion at 2030 Ocean Parkway was voted down, as congregants who opposed the plan packed into Community Board 15′s December meeting last night, stoking controversy in what was expected to be a humdrum meeting.

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Photo by Arthur Borko

The TD Bank being built at 2940 Avenue U appears to be coming along quickly, having cleared the lot, constructed the frame and established walls in just over three months.

The site was occupied by Kentucky Fried Chicken until it closed in April, and was subsequently bought and demolished in August. This TD Bank will be a one-story building (with high ceilings in portions, obviously) taking up just under 3,000 square feet of the property, and will have a 13-car parking lot.

Source: mikealex/Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to sign a bill today that will allow livery cab drivers to pick up hailing pedestrians from Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan and other areas poorly served by yellow taxis.

“I think no one thought we would ever get this done,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg – one of the bill’s strongest advocates – told the New York Times. “It’s a huge victory for all New Yorkers who ever sought to hail a cab outside Manhattan and in northern Manhattan.”

The bill will create a new class of taxis that will include metered fares, roof lights, and credit card payments. They are set to make their debut next year.

“I can tell you, as a boy from Queens, the cab service in the outer boroughs is truly difficult,” said the governor.

Eighteen thousand permits for the new livery cabs will be issued by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, with 2,000 of those new vehicles to be handicapped accessible. The high number of permits issued caused some of the bill’s sponsors to eventually oppose its passage, most notably State Senator Marty Golden.

Also, $54 million in subsidies and loans will be provided by the city to encourage drivers to purchase vehicles that attend to disabled passengers. The public sale of the new medallions are expected to raise at least $1 billion for the city.

With lobbiests for the yellow cab industry opposed to the bill from the beginning, it might still face legal challenges from those who feel that by allowing livery cabs to accept hails from pedestrians, the value of their medallions would decrease and it will also create competition amongst the drivers.

“We hope this new bill has the teeth to protect our industry, and we will cooperate with the governor to achieve this goal,” said the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, a group who opposed the bill.

THE BITE: Frequent readers may have noticed that I have a thing for fried chicken and Buffalo wings in particular, so today The Bite brings you yet another fried chicken review. Frequent readers may have also noticed that The Bite tries hard to seek out the unexpected items from the restaurants it visits. So today it’s wings from Top Brgr (2267 Emmons Avenue), the Kobe beef-based burger joint down on the water.

Top Brgr is currently offering four “After School Specials.” For $7.95, you have your choice of a “standard” burger, Kobe hot dog, chicken/vegetable or turkey burger or six pieces of chicken wings. Each meal comes with a small fries and a medium soft drink. The after school special is a pretty good deal. The chicken wings by themselves are usaully sold for $7.95.

But how were they? Keep reading to find out.

More than 1,000 children, parents and neighbors joined the Kings Bay YM-YWHA (3495 Nostrand Avenue) on Sunday to help usher in the Festival of Lights.

The kiddies got to enjoy free performances from the Jewish Sunday Children’s Program, a surprise dance and the effervescent efforts of Bubblemania during the four-hour event, distracted only by delicious latkes and Chanukah-themed arts and crafts tables. Well, we shouldn’t say “only,” as there were also the inflatable slide ride and castle, and the “Pin the Flame on the Menorah” game!

And if the striking turnout from neighbors was not enough, it also saw a star-studded roster of local pols, who came out to wish everyone a happy holiday and show their support for the local institution. Among those who stopped by were Congressman Bob Turner, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Marty Golden, State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and City Councilman Lew Fidler.

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Looks like the Hell House has been granted salvation.

Since November of 2010, contractors have been renovating the spacious white-colored house where legendary animator Winsor McCay once resided, and now the property owner said the project is almost complete – and has a price tag nearly six times the amount he paid.

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From our esteemed public transportation columnist and self-appointed advocate for discarded Teddy Bears comes this desperate plea for help:

Perched on a chair near Homecrest and Avenue Z, this healthy looking critter needs a home before the bear hunters (Sanitation folks) get to him tomorrow morning [Ed. -- "tomorrow morning" being sometime last week].  Will someone save him in time? A horrible fate awaits. Horrors.

We can only wonder what fate befell poor Mr. Teddy. If anyone had the presence of mind to rescue him before he became a minced pile of stuffings, please, let us know in the comments.

Photo by Allan Rosen, who I owe an apology to for posting this a week too late.

The following is a holiday greeting paid for by Friends of Marty.

The above is a paid announcement. If you would like to make an announcement to tens of thousands of Sheepshead Bites readers, e-mail advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Photo by Erica Sherman

The entire team at Sheepshead Bites wishes our readers a happy, healthy and latkas-filled Hanukkah.

If you choose to send us gifts during the next eight days, we will not complain. Well, actually, I guess that all depends on the gifts…

Happy Hanukkah!

Carl Kruger's district office, taken 1.5 hours after the pol resigned

The shades are drawn and some of the gates are down at former State Senator Carl Kruger’s 2201 Avenue U district office, just an hour-and-a-half after the disgraced pol resigned and pleaded guilty to four corruption charges this afternoon.

It’s an unusual condition for an office with floor-to-ceiling windows, known for being brightly lit and with the innards on display – even at night. After all, it’s one of the most lavish district offices in the State Legislature, so much so that it has sparked headlines for the expenses that have gone into it.

Last year, Courier-Life reported that the pol had spent $90,000 in campaign funds renovating the location, with such questionable expenses as:

  • More than $23,000 on office furniture
  • Nearly $1,000 for plumbing in his office bathroom
  • $288 on bathroom supplies
  • $540.65 on door mats
  • $4,700 for paint and wallpaper (two of the walls have floor-to-ceiling windows)
  • $4,844 on tiles (his office is carpeted)
  • $545 for landscaping (the office has no lawns or gardens)
  • $10,500 to a “New Jersey air conditioning and heating system company with two different addresses — one of which doesn’t exist”

Meanwhile, across the street (and slightly down East 22nd Street), the Friends of Carl Kruger campaign office is looking, well, like it could use a friend:

UPDATE (4:23 p.m.): Looks like it’s not the only bit of Carl Kruger territory that’s looking barren. Colin Campbell of just tipped me off to the State Senate District 27 legislator page, which has been scrubbed clean of Kruger and now reads, “This Senate seat is currently vacant.” You’ve never seen the state legislature move so quickly!

Clarification: The office is still open. People were inside working. But they clearly ain’t looking for any attention right now.