Photo by Steve Barrison

Sure, we used to write a lot about the neighborhood’s ongoing garbage problems. But, last summer, after our posts and other media reports shamed the local Department of Sanitation garage into adding more pickups, the problem eased a bit, and we got off their backs. But, with summer here, and budget cuts presumably forcing reduced pickup schedules at corner litter baskets, the problem is back in full force. So we’re bringing back the Garbage Gazette, our (unfortunately) frequent chronicling of overflowing litter baskets, dumping grounds and local sore spots.

To kick off the first Garbage Gazette of Summer 2011, we’ve got a photo taken last night and a letter from Steve Barrison, president of Bay Improvement Group.

Read Barrison’s letter, and find out how you can help.

John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776." Source: UShistory.org

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future… except for today. Today, Sheepshead Bites brings you the “Telling Tips Quiz – Independence Week Edition,” since, after all, the Declaration of Independence guarantees “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and a person whose finances are in order is a happy person. Answers will be posted in the comments by the end of the day. And no Googling!

Do the quiz!

The Coney Island Hospital Farmer's Market. Photo by Tina Gray

You know what? We may not have a Pathmark anymore, nor do we have a congressman (for now) who vowed to fight to bring us a replacement for Pathmark, but… what we do have, for the second year in a row, is a farmer’s market.

Harvest Home Farmers’ Market of New York, which brings fresh, nutritious and affordable foods and produce to you, directly from local tri-state farms, will be set up every Friday in front of Coney Island Hospital, Ocean Parkway between Avenue Z and Shore Road, now through November 18, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I hear the offerings are pretty terrific, too, if one is to go by the facebook status of Sheepshead Bay activist and occasional Sheepshead Bites contributor Tina Gray:

“Yesterday was the first day of the Farmer’s Market at Coney Island Hospital. Loved it! Bought all sorts of yummy stuff.”

She also wrote in an email to Sheepshead Bites:

“One lady is a baker that has quiches, brownies, cakes and cookies.  Then there’s the apple guy with fresh juices (the blueberry is awesome!!!!).  Then there are two farmers with your basic lettuces, tomatoes, cukes, etc.”

The four vendors at the Coney Island Hospital Market, which opened June 17, accept Food Stamp/EBT cards, Women Infant and Children Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupons (FMNP), Senior Coupons and Health Bucks.

Go check it out — their stuff is a million times better than Stouffer’s microwavable macaroni and cheese, and coming from me, that’s saying something.

insanity later. Photo by Bryan E.

Hipsters, like the ones pictured above, will likely travel en masse to Southern Brooklyn for the Jelly Rock Beach music festival. Source: Flickr/♔ philea ♔

So much for “talentless, ironic, trend sucking, wanna-be urban, pseudo pioneers” not crossing south of the red line on Die Hipster’s map of Brooklyn. Beginning July 9, after a prematurely false non-start, or whatever that was, show promoters Jelly and Topman are teaming up to launch “Rock Beach,” a series of free music festivals at the Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field through September.

There will be performances on July 9 by Penguin Prison, Wild Yaks, Janka Nabay and The Bubu Gang, and Monogold. Brooklyn Vegan has all the deets:

The series of six free weekend events will deliver the hottest acts and new talent from its brand new home and will also — for the first time ever — offer festival camping for the last three events in the series at the Floyd Bennett Field — the setting of New York’s first ever airport.

[Ed – They’re camping here too? Oy. Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife!]

“After 5 years of Pool Parties in Williamsburg, we are very excited to be moving out to the Aviator Sports Complex near one of our favorite summer destinations, Fort Tilden Beach. We are looking forward to leaving Bedford Ave behind offering an ultimate weekend destination and adventure for all ages.” – JELLY

The whole ROCKBEACH experience will deliver weekends of the coolest music and total fun to festival-goers with the likes of slip n slides, dodgeball, beach volleyball and most importantly — swimming pools filled with ice cold water and giant inflatables.

Entry to the festival is free — all festival-goers need to do is register online at WWW.ROCKBEACH.US In addition, there will be a ROCKBEACH festival shuttle bus with roundtrip rides costing $20 — but there are 100 lucky bus tickets up for grabs for each event which can be won by registering online at WWW.ROCKBEACH.US.

Hipsters camping in tents and sleeping bags, playing dodgeball, and flinging themselves across a Slip ’n Slide in Floyd Bennett Field. I wonder what my new hero, Rocco Perna (Note: NSFW due to salty language), thinks of all this.

Photo by Allan B.

We’ve been receiving a lot of complaints this year about the filth left behind by crowds on our public beaches. Cigarette butts and broken glass mingle in the sand, beer cans and fast food wrappers float along the waters, and the boardwalks – oh, the boardwalks! – have almost as much garbage as people.

That is a problem, and if the city can’t afford to clean it up, they should at least be pushing a proper public awareness campaign to leave with what you came with, as some of us classier folk were taught as children. But that’s not the problem we’re talking about today when we talk about dirty beaches. We’re talking about the water, and pollution from sewage and runoff.

A new report issued last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests our beachwaters are contaminated with bacteria that can cause dysentery, hepatitis and pink eye, among other gross-out conditions. The report sparks off some alarmist coverage by our colleagues over at the Brooklyn Paper and Metro, who portrayed Brooklyn’s beaches as cesspools. But things may not be as bad as they appear.

Continue Reading »

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.

Pastrami. Just the word evokes a certain time, a certain place. I think of the Lower East Side with Katz’s or the Second Ave Deli; not Sheepshead Bay Road. So imagine my surprise when I saw a hand-written sign in front of Taste of Romania Europa Bistro (1652 Sheepshead Bay Road) touting their “in-house smoked pastrami.”

With a sense of excitement I entered the restaurant. But, wait a minute. Looking around I wondered if I made a mistake. The restaurant, housed in the old La Sorrentina space, still looked like the same old pizza joint. The glass cases on the counter still displayed a variety of pizzas. The pizza ovens still loomed as large sentinels behind. In fact, a pizza was being removed from the oven as I approached.

So what gives? Where’s the steam table? Where’s the smoker? Where is the pastrami?

Turns out the pastrami was there, just not front and center. Like many a treasure, you’ll need to seek this pastrami out. This pastrami is not on display; it’s kept hidden away in a special back room, until it’s needed. It is then cut to order and heated in the pizza ovens until warm.

Continue Reading »

Just before noon today, an accident involving three cars left at least one person injured on Avenue X and Ocean Parkway.

According to our tipster, ShadowLock, three cars were affected, with the airbags deployed on two vehicles. One person was seen being taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.

The photos show one car pushed into oncoming traffic, with its driver’s side bashed in. The other shows an SUV that had it’s front bumper and driver side wheel ripped off.

As of 12:15 p.m., fire trucks and emergency responders are still on the scene, blocking off a significant amount of traffic, and causing delays for several blocks in every direction.

Source: uaff.info

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and The Bronx until 11:00 p.m. tonight. That means all the pollutants that we New Yorkers persist in calling “air” are getting stirred up with the heat and humidity, elevating the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the five boroughs to 101, more than double what would be considered “normal.”

What’s the AQI, anyway? Well, the DEC’s website puts it thusly:

The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. It was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale; the higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. When levels of ozone and/or fine particles are expected to exceed an AQI value of 100, an Air Quality Health Advisory is issued alerting sensitive groups to take the necessary precautions.

This means that all the fine particles that shoot out the end of your cars, float up from your barbecue grills, creep away from your cigarettes, or otherwise take to the air are reacting with the sunlight, heat and moisture to weigh on your lungs. So if you’re sensitive to that kind of stuff – and that means anyone with lung disease, such as asthma – you should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

Really, the takeaway here is that you’ve got a damn good excuse to chill out in some air conditioning. Feel free to print out today’s AQI forecast and tell your boss that going to the Post Office for him can actually kill you. Then spend that time surfin’ around Sheepshead Bites.

If you’re even marginally observant, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue (and, now, Kings Highway) are lined with large, black antique-style street lamps. Note the “-style,” since they’re not actually antiques, but replicas installed about a decade ago to beautify the roadway. The originals can be seen in the photo above, taken in 1959 (and up for grabs on eBay).

Of course, unlike the street lamps, there are a lot of things in this photo that are still around. Or at least their shells are. The building that once housed the theater (anyone know the name of it?) is now Bally’s, and almost all the buildings in the foreground are still the buildings that line the road today. They just happen to be filled with sushi and cell phone shops, which, I’m sure, really would’ve bugged people out in 1959.

In fact, let’s do a side-by-side comparison, courtesy of Google Maps, of Sheepshead Bay Road (before the new monstrosity at 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road) and see just how little it has changed.

Keep reading, and see the side-by-side photo.