We couldn’t make it to this week’s 61st Precinct Community Council meeting, but luckily Sheepshead Bites has a number of spies among its readership. Nolastname attended and captured this video for us of Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas giving his report to the council.

Among the topics the precinct’s commanding officer addressed is that the crime rates appear to have leveled off overall. But in what seemed to be a response to Sheepshead Bites’ report that violent crime is on the rise, Mastrokostas acknowledged that there has been an increase in felonious assaults. But the deputy inspector noted, as did our report, the stats don’t necessarily tell the whole story.

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CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Source: WNYC.org

WNYC ran a piece the other day about a revival in the lost art of pigeon culture, and since it would seem contrived to drop an easy “I coulda been a contendah” reference, I will say this: For all the fuss we make over pigeons, that they’re dirty, that they poop everywhere, and that they’re rats with wings, pigeon fanciers conversely dote upon these docile, pleasant creatures, provide them with a shelter — so this and this (oy, and this) don’t end up happening — and supply them with food and medicine… at no extra cost to taxpayers.

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Get your free rain barrels, courtesy of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is giving them away as part of its citywide stormwater management effort tomorrow, April 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Marine Park parking lot, Avenue U near East 31st Street.

The initiative was started in 2008 with the goal being to reduce stormwater runoff and create a more livable, sustainable city. According to the DEP’s website, “Rain barrels capture stormwater from your roof and store it for future use such as watering your lawn or garden.”

The barrels will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with only one given out per household. You must live in a single-family or attached two-family home to participate.

To learn more, go to the DEP’s website.


maxs burger and steaks ave x sheepshead bay gravesend

Photo by Paul Kundel

Witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational burger station!”

That’s right, beef lovers — Max’s Burgers & Steaks is officially ready to serve you from the Avenue X and East 1st Street storefront. And it’s about time, too. This place, with its creepy sign featuring a plump toddler that we really don’t want to mentally associate with beef, first popped up in February and has been making our mouths water (for baby meat) since then.

Our tipster Paul Kundel notes that, while they didn’t have a menu in print, he “saw they were serving hot dogs, euro dogs (whatever that means), salads (Caesar), gyros, burgers, steaks etc.”

To show how giddy we are about the opening of an eatery dedicated to the comprehensive needs of the carnivore, here are some quotes about beef.

Weiner spoke against the RPA plan (Source: A Walk In The Park)

Members of the Jamaica Bay Task Force Group (JBTF) hosted a meeting last week to decry plans calling for the destruction of 400 acres of Jamaica Bay wetlands to clear the path for a runway expansion project at John F. Kennedy Airport.

More than 150 people, including the JBTF — a cadre of citizenry, scientists, and federal, state, regional, and local agency representatives, staunchly guarding the wildlife refuge for more than 20 years — crowded into the American Legion Hall at 209 Crossbay Boulevard in the Broad Channel section of Queens during what was, at times, a heated dialogue over the Regional Plan Association’s (RPA) report, “Upgrading to World Class – The future of the New York Regions Airports” (pages 150 to 154), which proposes eliminating a sizeable acreage of “what is not simply New York City’s ecological crown jewel but a wetlands and estuarine area of national importance,” according to a press release from NYC Park Advocates.

“One of the major shortcomings of the report was that actual users, including environmentalists and civic organizations were not consulted,” said Geoffrey Croft, the president of NYC Park Advocate, of the report, developed by a conglomerate of multi-tiered stakeholders from all levels of government and funded by the Port Authority.

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Guess. I dare you. Here’s a hint: it’s in Sheepshead Bay. Photo by Erica Sherman.

Moments ago, at around 6:25 p.m., a police car collided with another vehicle on Avenue Y and East 13th Street, leaving the car “wrecked” according to a witness.

“It sounded like a gunshot, I think the whole neighborhood heard it,” said a Sheepshead Bites reader who witnessed the accident.

According to witnesses, the police car was traveling east on Avenue Y, speeding with its lights on. The officer did not sound his siren, and a car that a witness said was speeding came into the intersection, going north on East 13th Street. The two collided, wrecking the front of the police car and causing damage to the front driver side of the civilian vehicle.

No one was seriously injured, though the civilian driver – a senior citizen with handicap plates – was complaining about minor pains.

Police, FDNY and other emergency services are arriving on the scene as we write, and Avenue Y was closed off from East 12th Street to East 14th Street.

This is breaking news and will be updated as we receive more information.

View more photos of the accident.

The MTA has spent the last four to five months clearing scores of trees and hundreds of pounds of garbage out of a once wild lot next to their substation on East 15th Street and Avenue Y.

The clearing, which stretches the entire block between Avenue Y and Avenue Z, will most likely be done in about a month, a worker on the scene told Sheepshead Bites. It began in late December, and the worker said they pulled out “some nasty stuff” from the lot, which residents have been complaining for years has doubled as an illegal dumping ground. The contractor said they found all kinds of garbage and waste, as well as dead cats and raccoons.

When we stopped by earlier today, an MTA Community Affairs liaison was on the scene, and said that the agency was clearing it in response to the complaints. The trees, he said, needed to be taken down because they’re sick. Some healthy trees are being left along the fence line close to the tracks in response to criticism from neighbors that they wanted some to remain.

The Community Affairs liaison also told Sheepshead Bites there are no plans for usage of the lot, contradicting rumors that it might be built upon or be used as a staging area for construction on the train line.

Now that the lot’s almost completely cleared, what do you think the the city could do to make this area more useful to residents? Hint: we’re thinking “dog run.”

Leaders of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) launched a three-pronged political offensive last night, two against familiar enemies – the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) – and a third against the neighborhood’s only representative to the City Council – Councilman Michael C. Nelson.

While topics during the group’s monthly meetings bounced back and forth between security, traffic safety and beachside barbecuing, the tone remained consistently hostile. They lashed out against the MBNA for their attempt to ban charcoal grilling in Manhattan Beach and they threatened a civil uprising against the DOT. But some of the choicest words were reserved for Councilman Nelson, who MBCG President Ira Zalcman said has broken promises, ignored the community and plays the politics of division in the neighborhood’s leadership struggles.

The publicity the neighborhood has received lately – whether it be from the feud between groups, the shenanigans of politicians, or some residents’ “exclusionary” proposals – has Zalcman feeling “humiliated” as a resident.

“I’m embarrassed when I go places and tell people I’m from Manhattan Beach,” he said. “I sometimes say I’m from Sheepshead Bay because I don’t want to get into it.”

Keep reading for the MBCG’s criticism of Nelson and the MBNA, and their threat to DOT – as well as more video.