Nicole Hidalgo lost out on chance to sing the national anthem at Jets' Oct. 23 home game.

Hidalgo (Source:

It was just last week that we were telling you to vote for Nicole Hidalgo, the Gerritsen Beach resident competing in a people’s vote contest to sing the National Anthem at an upcoming Jets game. Well, apparently Hidalgo has been cheated!

The Daily News reports:

Nicole Hidalgo, 24, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, said she lost out on her chance to sing the national anthem at the team’s Oct. 23 home game because contest winner Gil Ramos was paying phantom voters.

“I had steam coming out of my ears,” said Hidalgo who was told Thursday Ramos would be singing at fan appreciation day.

“They don’t run their contest the right way. I really thought they were going to do the right thing,” she said.

The Jets asked fans to “like” online videos of Hidalgo and three other finalists singing the patriotic song in an empty Meadowlands Stadium in June and posted results on Facebook.

Hidalgo said she noticed that Ramos got “likes” from fake profiles during the week-long fan voting period, which ended Friday, and messaged them asking how much they charged for votes.

When the phony voters replied with a different price range – including 500 votes for $30 – Hidalgo gave team officials the heads up. The Jets declined to make a ruling and insisted Ramos won fair and square, she said.

Time to change up that J-E-T-S chant to F-U-C…. you know what? Nevermind.

The newest outpost of the locally-owned beer hall Draft Barn is celebrating their grand opening today in the heart of Sheepshead Bay!

We told you  in June that Draft Barn was coming to 30 Dooley Street, just off Emmons Avenue, after we stopped by and snapped photos as the place was still getting setup. They’ve been open for a few weeks now, but tonight they will have free giveaways as well as the tapping of a ceremonial barrel of freshly-imported Hofbräu München.

Have you already stopped by the new Draft Barn? Let us know what you think!

Jack Spadaro (Source:

Sheepshead Bay native Jack Spadaro will make his third swim across the East River tomorrow as part of a campaign to raise funds and awareness for autistic children.

Spadaro will be one of scores of swimmers from across the tri-state area participating in the Brooklyn Bridge Swim, an annual event organized by the non-profit Bridge to Youth. The organization serves the special needs children and their parents with programs and activities to raise awareness, offer support and build self-esteem.

“I did the Brooklyn Bridge swim twice” – in 2009 and 2010 – said Spadaro. “I got involved to raise money and awareness for children with special needs. [Autism] affects more kids than all childhood diseases combined.”

This swim is not for the faint-of-heart. Tomorrow at 9:15 a.m., Spadaro will join other swimmers at Pebble Beach in Brooklyn Bridge Park. From there, they’ll dip into the water and swim southeast past Empire-Fulton State Park, toward the Brooklyn Bridge. Then they’ll turn right, crossing the East River on the north side of the bridge. After passing the Manhattan-side stanchion, swimmers will cross under the Brooklyn Bridge and around the bridge’s stanchion to finish at a small clay and sand beach at Dover Street in East River Park. The entire swim is just under 1,100 yards.

A lifelong resident of Sheepshead Bay, the St. Mark School alum also volunteers with Bay Improvement Group, Foundation for Children with Special Needs, the American Cancer Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. With such noble efforts under his belt, he’s hoping to inspire neighbors to join him on his campaign to help special needs children.

With the swim tomorrow, it’s a little late to join it yourself. But you can help make a difference by donating to Spadaro’s swim.

Click to enlarge

CRIME IS OFFICIALLY UP FOR THE YEAR. This week marks the first time we have seen an increase in total crime stats in the year to date, crossing from being down 0.18 percent to an increase of 1.04 percent. The biggest increases continue to be seen in the murder, rape and felony assault categories, but it appears this week’s 233.3 percent jump in robbery may have put us over the top.

We first noted that violent crime was on the rise in April, with 2011 being our deadliest year in a decade. And while robbery and burglary stats are still down for the year, they inch closer to matching or exceeding last year’s numbers. Incidents of grand larceny have jumped 12.6 percent over last year. Meanwhile, the only crime category that has seen a significant drop is Grand Larceny Auto, which is the exact opposite of 2010′s crime pattern. Last year, Grand Larceny Auto was the only crime category (other than murder) to see an increase, and is currently being tackled through the precinct’s Midnight Conditions Unit.

Why do you think crime is on the rise?

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: Cymbrowitz's office.

The following is a press release from Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz’s office:

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has voiced concern over a report that while hate crimes in New York State dropped by 14 percent, New York City residents saw a 27 percent increase.  These findings were revealed in the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) annual report on hate crimes.

Jews were the most frequent targets of hate crime.  The DCJS reported that in 2010, nearly 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, 50 swastikas were placed on property in New York State.

“These are disturbing statistics,” Cymbrowitz said referring to the DCJS report.  “It becomes of even greater concern when you consider that 2010 saw more hate crimes targeted against individuals.  While these crimes hurt the individual, they also impact the entire community.”

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Don’t miss the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s (MBNA) next meeting at 8:00 p.m., Monday, August 1 at Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street between Hampton Avenue and Shore Boulevard. Agenda items will include:

  • The NYC Department of Buildings’ recent changes regarding homes
  • Security concerns/recent criminal activity
  • Trash concerns from the parks and beach

Come on down and voice your concerns. To learn more, call (917) 747-5863.

Apparently, there is such a thing as staircase photography, although the majority of photos showcased in the aforereferenced (yes, I made up a word) link are influenced heavily by the Fibonacci spiral, something the above image clearly deviates from. Any guesses on where I shot this? Photo by Erica Sherman.

Officials at Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) are turning to the public to help identify the man photographed above. The Arabic-speaking male patient was admitted to the hospital approximately a week ago, but, beyond that, hospital administrators declined to elaborate on his condition or how he was admitted for legal reasons.

If you know this man, please call Coney Island Hospital at (718) 616-4422.

Three trees were cut down to nothing but gnarled limbs earlier this week on East 16th Street, north of Avenue Z.

We can’t tell why the trees – previously as lush and healthy-looking as the others on the block – were trimmed down in this manner, but it seems likely that they’ll be further cut down to nothing.

We’re wondering if they’ll be replaced and if the half dozen or so other trees on this side of the block are slated for “trimming.” Anyone know anything?

Source: Leslie Anderson Arts

From our friends at the CBTB Dance Academy comes a July 30 book reading at the school, 2085 Coney Island Avenue between Kings Highway and Avenue R:

Join students of CBTB Dance Academy and author David Ira Rottenberg for a special reading of his book Gwendoyln, the Graceful Pig. CBTB Academy dancers will portray main characters from this delightful children’s book about a graceful pig who dreams of dancing. In addition to the reading, Rottenberg will sign copies of the book. There will be a brief ballet demonstration afterwards, and the children will then get to dance as well!

Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig tells the tale of Gwendolyn and Omar-two best friends who have big dreams. Gwendolyn longs to dance ballet, and Omar wants to join the football team. There’s just one problem-they’re both pigs! How will Natasha Levertov, “the greatest teacher of dance in ze vorld,” help them make their dreams come true?

The performance will take place at 3:00 p.m. Seating is limited — call (718) 891-6199 to reserve your spot.