MNI have nothing to say about this.

A shameless Bonnie and Clyde team clipped a bunch of teddy bear centerpieces Friday from a sacred circumcision ceremony hosted by a Brooklyn city councilman, police said.

The daring theft came following the religious ceremony, called a bris, on Avenue T in Brooklyn for the 8-day-old twin grandchildren of Councilman Michael Nelson and his wife, Maureen.

“It really hurt a beautiful affair,” said the Sheepshead Bay councilman. “Everything was going so nicely.”

The brazen theft came as close to 100 guests ate in the ground-floor catering hall of the synagogue that hosted the bris.

Working together, the woman entered the catering hall and began collecting donations for charity while the man gathered the balloons and teddy bears that made up the centerpieces and took them upstairs.

“My wife asked me who they were,” Nelson said. “But I tried to be a nice guy and let them stay.”

Nelson said guests figured the pair were with the caterers, while the caterers assumed they were family members.

… Not only was the sticky-fingered partycrasher seen on video as he fled with the bears, but he left behind other gifts that included envelopes stuffed with cash.

Cops were examining the video to take a look at the uninvited guest, who Nelson said was wearing a yarmulke. His female accomplice was in traditional black garb, he said.

Read the full story from the Daily News.

The first of 19 cases pending against a fraud ring that scammed millions of dollars from a Holocaust survivors fund has ended with the defendant receiving a year in prison and an order to pay back $105,000.

Polina Anoshina, a 63-year-old Brighton Beach resident, was accused of plundering the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for $9,000 for her own benefit. But authorities also say she played a key role in helping about 30 friends and neighbors scam the fund for an additional $100,000. In addition to paying back the fund and a year in prison, Anoshina received two years probation.

“My entire life I lived a very hard life and a very difficult life; I never broke the law,” Anoshina said. ”I swear that for the rest of my entire life I will never break the law again.”

The case first came to light in November, when federal authorities unveiled charges against the criminal ring of largely Brighton Beach residents, and included a number of caseworkers at the fund. The feds alleged the caseworkers colluded with the scammers over a 16-year period to find Russian-Jewish emigres to claim they were Holocaust survivors, often making up stories and forging documents, which the caseworkers then approved. In all, the fund claims it lost an estimated $40 million to the scam, though some have offered to repay what they took.

Nine defendants have already pleaded guilty to charges relating to the case.

THE COMMUTE: Select Bus Service (SBS) is due to arrive either later this year or mid-2012 on the B44 (Nostrand Avenue) bus. If you want an overview of how it will work you can get it here. According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, SBS on the B44 is the greatest invention since sliced bread. I have written on more than one occasion how the B44 SBS has been poorly thought out and how it can be improved.

Many riders along First and Second avenues in Manhattan like it because they believe it saves them time. My main gripe is that, for many, this may only be a perception, since bus travel times and numbers of passengers using SBS are the only indicators being tracked. No one is measuring door-to-door travel time for the passenger, which includes the additional walks to and from the stops that are spaced further apart than the Limited that the SBS replaces.

Also, transferring to the local bus is difficult since the local and SBS stops are separate and distinct and often are not adjacent to each other. It may also cost you an extra fare if you require a third bus or a train. So many who would like to use SBS might not be able to take advantage it.

Continue Reading »

A booth at the 18th Avenue Feast in 2009 (Source:Whiskeygonebad/Flickr)

(UPDATE [8/17/11]: Turns out the feast will be a full 10-day event. The original confusion was due to a typo on an event calendar that had us – and some city officials – confused. Check out this update for more information.)

Original post:

Our sister site Bensonhurst Bean has scooped the mainstream media again, discovering that the annual week-long tradition of the 18th Avenue Feast – aka Festa di Santa Rosalia – has been cut down to a one day event.

The Bensonhurst news blog reports the feast organizers have only requested permits for one day: Thursday, August 25, from 5 p.m. to 10 pm. It will be held on 18th Avenue between 67th Street and 75th Street.

Amidst swirling rumors, the district manager of Community Board 11 sought to clear things up for Bean readers:

“It is my understanding that the city is awaiting additional paperwork from the organizer, which I believe they are addressing,” District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia told the Bean. “Regarding the shortening of the feast, the (city’s) website shows it as one day. Community Board 11 has not received any notification that there have been any changes to the permit.”

That’s being greeted as good news by at least one 18th Avenue business owner, who said a “cancellation would be excellent news, because the Feast takes a lot of business away from 18th Avenue merchants, who pay rent to have stores on the Avenue.”

It appears Brooklyn has been home to a number of festival reductions or outright cancellations this year, including four in Flatbush alone, when the city said financial restraints are too much to justify street closures.

However, Bensonhurst Bean points out that a number of new festivals have popped up in Manhattan and Northern Brooklyn, raising the question – yet again – is Southern and Central Brooklyn getting the short end of the stick?

Read Bensonhurst Bean’s full report.

Firefighters and transit workers teamed up to battle a blaze that consumed a signal room and stretch of tracks at West 8th Street – New York Aquarium F and Q station on Friday evening, taking about three hours to squash the flames.

Tipster Elina N. sent in the above video taken just minutes after the fire erupted onto the second level. The fire originated on the roof of the signal station at approximately 6:30 p.m. and was “under control” by around 9:20 p.m. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Those hoping to visit Coney Island had their plans bungled, though, as transit workers spent all of Saturday repairing the extensive damage, including replacing track panels, wooden track ties and part of a walkway at the station. Q service was terminated between Brighton Beach and Stillwell Avenue for most of the weekend. The F train had no service between Avenue X and Stillwell Avenue.

All trains are now operating on their regular schedules, according to the MTA.

Were your weekend plans disrupted by the fire?

Bedford Avenue and Emmons Avenue was home to a three car accident at around 9:00 a.m. today. It’s unclear what caused the accident, but tipster Andrey G. said the corner is a constant problem in the neighborhood:

I would imagine that today’s accident follows the same scenario. Almost every week an accident happens on that corner because those who want to make a left turn onto Bedford Ave cannot see the oncoming traffic. The DOT either needs to install an additional left turn traffic light (like it did at Ocean and SB Rd) or put up a No Standing sign on W-bound Emmons Ave 25 ft before the corner.

Source: TheFadedPast/Flickr

The “My Turn” program at Kingsborough Community College is offering a special program for New York residents, 60 years or older, who are interested in returning to college. Courses at the school, 2001 Oriental Boulevard in the Manhattan Beach, include art, music, history, health education, literature and more.

In person “My Turn” registration for the Fall 2011 semester is Thursday, September 1, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room M108. On line registration begins at 3 p.m., Wednesday, August 31. Applications for the Fall 2011 semester must be completed and submitted to the My Turn office by Tuesday, August 16.

There is no tuition; however, a registration fee is required. For more, call 718-368-5079 or go to

Sent to us with the following note: “Sunday morning around 3:30 am, this poor guy got stranded on Avenue U under the subway platform, when the water f[l]ooded Avenue U from the rain and gutters from up above.”

Photo by Knightmare6.

We announced the Pitch-to-Pitch reader contest on August 1, and we’ve been sorting through the submissions since then. We’ve finally narrowed it down to the three best options, and now it’s time for all you readers to vote for your favorite.

VOTING DEADLINE: Wednesday, August 17, at 2:00 p.m.

Not sure what we’re talking about? The Pitch-to-Pitch contest is to determine which one of our awesome readers will throw the first pitch at Sheepshead Bites Night at MCU Park on August 19, when the Cyclones take on the Jamestown Jammers. We asked readers to give us a reason – any reason – why they deserved the honor. We were looking for memorable submissions that were funny or serious, heart-warming or absurd – and we certainly got a number of things that fit the bill. Here are the three best:

Joseph Brodoff (via Bruce Brodoff) – “My Dad’s A Local Hero”

I’d like to nominate my father Joseph, who is a 45-year resident of Sheepshead Bay.

After my mom (Marilyn Brodoff) passed away in 2002, my dad spent a considerable amount of his time and money to create several facilities and programs that assist cancer patients at two city hospitals. He is still very involved in this and continues to improve and expand the program offerings – and he’s earned some nice recognition and awards for his work, including being named a NY1 “New Yorker of the Week.”

In addition to his work with Marilyn’s Place and Learning Center, my dad serves the Sheepshead Bay/Southern Brooklyn community by writing and broadcasting an eight-minute news report on Kingsborough’s radio station, WKRB, every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. He also volunteers two days a week at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center on Emmons Avenue; for the past nine years he’s been conducting an afternoon current events/trivia discussion with the residents who care to participate. He spends many hours preparing for each session, and quite a few of the residents who attend his discussions are many years his junior. The residents really appreciate his commitment, and his efforts have been officially recognized by Sunrise managers and other corporate executives.

My dad turned 80 in February and is still going strong, doing good work and helping and inspiring others. Perhaps he’s the hero you’re looking for.

Click here to go to the poll and vote for Joseph Brodoff.

Boris Royzen – “I’ll Do It In A Speedo!”

First and foremost, I’ve been a pretty big Mets fan since way back in 1990, when I came to America.

Secondly, I am a huge Sheepshead Bites fan. I read the site at least four to five times a day and it is my default page.

Thirdly – and this is a negotiable one – because I was on my high-school swimming team. I am willing to wear a Sheepshead Bites speedo, swim cap and goggle’s while I throw out the first pitch. I have little shame when it comes to doing anything involving the Mets organization or with Sheepshead Bites.

Please, no Facebook pictures. While I have no shame, I have shamed my girlfriend many times and this may be the tipping point. Also, I will cancel my one and only weekend vacation this summer to do this.

Click here to go to the poll and vote for Boris Royzen.

Willie Simpson – “My Team Always Loses”

I have been a fan of the New York Mets since I was old enough to remember. I was born in 1984, two years before the Mets won their miraculous World Series against the Red Sox. While I don’t remember that event, I do remember the optimism from that occasion shining through everyone that raised me.  My earliest memories are of the colors blue and orange alternating in perfect stripes over white backdrops.

I remember the first baseball game I ever went to. My father took me to Shea Stadium, just me and him. It was “Disposable Kodak Camera Picture Day.” I remember distinctly the photos I took, but never got the photos developed. I don’t know what happened to the camera, which is a horrible shame because it is one of the greatest days of my life.

I remember being 9 years old in 1993, just finishing my first full year of real little league, fully understanding the rules and world of baseball, thus transforming my childlike fandom of the Mets into one where I could seriously follow the team.

It was kind of heartbreaking to realize that the Mets were terrible, and would be for a very long time. I remember that the Yankees suddenly got incredibly good when I was 12 years old.  All around me I noticed the Yankee fans in my middle school seemingly spring from nowhere all armed with opinions and insults directed towards me for being a Mets fan. Mets fans at my school were few and far between, and most of them became my friends; in most cases, my best friends.

I remember getting an official Mets team jacket for my 15th birthday and wearing it to marching band camp one day. Our marching band included close to 150 people, and the director of the band, stopped the entire practice, barked into the megaphone that “The Mets suck, Willie.”  Everybody laughed, even though that was the year the Mets would reach the World Series. Sure, it was against the Yankees, and they’d lose horribly, of course.  It’s moments like these that probably should have ended my Mets obsession, but I was married to the Mets, and boy, were the Mets one embarrassing bride.

Despite the misery that has pervaded my life as a Met fan, nothing has brought me more joy and more sense of yearly renewal every spring than the Mets.  I will be a Met fan forever, which goes hand in hand with me never sharing in any sort of victory in life.  Winning a chance to throw out the first pitch of the Cyclones game, an experience I would treasure forever, might go a long way to balance out the decades of losing sure to come my way as I go to my grave a bitter baseball fan.

Click here to go to the poll and vote for Willie Simpson.

(credit: DCPI via CBS Local)

(credit: DCPI via CBS Local)

Police are still searching for two teenagers believed to be responsible for stabbing a 9-year-old boy on Emmons Avenue this past week. Surveillance video of the two teens running away from the scene was released on Friday, as authorities turned to the public for help in finding the suspects.

CBS Local reports:

According to authorities, a 9-year-old boy was stabbed in the stomach with an unknown object as he was walking with his grandmother near 1401 Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The victim suffered a small puncture wound and was treated and released from the hospital.

Both suspects fled the scene on foot following the alleged incident, which took place around 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Police are seeking two persons of interest in the case — both are believed to be between 14 and 18 years old.

One person of interest is described as 5’11′ and 180 pounds and was last seen wearing a white hooded jacket, dark pants and dark shoes. The second person of interest is said to be approximately 5’2”and 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, black shorts, black shoes with white socks and carrying a backpack.

NY1 spoke to the family about the attack on Friday:

The attack happened just a few blocks from their home in Sheepshead Bay. Siu Fung was picked up at summer camp by his grandmother at about 6:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Yue Lan Zhou, the grandmother, spoke to NY1 through a translator about what happened on their walk home.

“Normally they would go a different way and the child would go faster than her, but this time she was holding his hand and the two guys were actually waiting for them,” said the translator.

Family members said the attack happened underneath scaffolding at a construction site. Two teenage boys charged at the boy.

“The two attackers were standing here, they were leaning against the poles,” said the translator. “Basically, they came out of nowhere and stabbed her grandson.”

The grandmother attempted to fight them off with her umbrella.

“She was screaming. She wanted to chase the two boys down, but they ran away so she stopped and went back to her grandson. She chased two steps then turned around because he was obviously injured,” said the translator.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit