(UPDATED: Sheepshead Bay Prostitution Ring Busted; Family-Run Service Earned $7 Million)

A Sheepshead Bay-based prostitution and drug ring that brought in more than $2 million annually has been busted, sparking the indictment of 17 individuals and five corporations.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes unveiled the 144-count indictment of the high-priced “escort service” at a press conference this morning. The individuals involved are charged with operating several websites that provided sex services to clients, and also for selling cocaine and other controlled substances.

With the criminal complaint still under wraps, details about the ring and the individuals are still vague, but prosecutors allege that clients often spent more than $10,000 a night.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Robbery suspect Thomas Davtian is on the lam after escaping from the 61st Precinct stationhouse last night. Source: Myfoxny.com

Police are looking for 27-year-old Thomas Davtian of Shell Road, who disappeared between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m. last night (sources vary) from a 61st Precinct stationhouse interview room.

Davtian, who was arrested in connection with a robbery, is described as 6’2” tall, 180 pounds with green eyes and brown hair. According to police, he was last seen wearing a gray T-shirt, dark blue jeans and black sneakers with a red stripe.

This is not the first time Davtian has been in trouble with the law. In January, armed with an automatic weapon, Davtian “allegedly threatened to ‘put a hole in’ a gas station owner and a 17-year-old attendant outside the Sunoco station across the street from police headquarters” in Clifton, New Jersey.

Several passersby saw the confrontation, which occurred in front of the gas pumps just before 2:45 p.m. at the busy intersection of Van Houten and Clifton avenues. The New York man, Thomas Davtian, 27, was arguing with the owner, Gagik Grigorian, 44, about $60,000 owed to Davtian’s father, said Detective Capt. Robert Rowan.

Anyone with information about Davtian is encouraged to contact the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline via phone [Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477)], text [Text your tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577] or online (www.nypdcrimestoppers.com). All calls/messages are kept confidential.

 

As you may recall, initially there was only one. Photo by nolastname.

This garbage can-sized sinkhole on Hubbard Street was ignored for nearly six months, despite numerous complaints to 311, until Sheepshead Bites posted it last year.

Potholes. Freakin’ potholes.

Pedestrians don’t like them because they can cause trips. Drivers don’t like them because they can damage cars. The city doesn’t like them because they have to fix them.

Oh, wait, apparently, the city doesn’t have to worry about them. Because they never have to hear the complaints. Because they simply vanish from the 311 system.

One of the most common complaints to 311 is a pothole service request. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has issued the results of an investigation conducted by his office into the efficiency of 311, logging 280 specific pothole complaints around the borough. Nearly half of those – 134 – were made using 311′s online complaint form. Stringer’s office then followed up on the complaints by making calls and inquiring to the status, using the service request reference numbers given at the time of complaint.

Shockingly, every single one of the online complaints vanished from the system, along with nine percent of the phone complaints.

“It would appear that online 311 pothole complaints are, in fact, falling into a black hole,” Stringer said. “The fact that these complaints are being lost raises questions about what other types of calls may be falling through the cracks.”

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It may have been a long time ago, but this photo of Sheepshead Bay Road from 1925 shows that the strip did, indeed, at one point long ago, actually have some interesting buildings. Particularly those in the background of this shot.

Now, I’m not going to tell you which section of Sheepshead Bay Road this is, or which way we’re looking. But I will tell you this: one of the buildings in this photo still stands today, if I’m not mistaken. Can you figure out which one it is?

Down here in Sheepshead Bay, there’s not much reason for us to know Lincoln Restler’s name. He’s a progressive upstart who upset the entrenched Democratic clubs in Northern Brooklyn by running a grassroots campaign for District Leader, and has been consistently critical of the party in his attempts to reform it. You could think of him as He-Man to Vito Lopez’s Skeletor. Or maybe Tenderheart Bear to Lopez’s Professor Coldheart. Whatever.

Anyway, Restler is now joining a slew of others in condemning the special election process – and particularly the power of the party bosses to handpick the candidates – in the wake of Anthony Weiner’s resignation. In it, he explains how special elections work, and gives several examples in which the peoples’ preferred candidates were denied in order to reward loyal Democratic club members. Here’s an excerpt:

The sexting and lies aside, Weiner’s resignation paved the way for a special election on Sep. 13 which empowers the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, not Brooklyn voters, to designate the Democratic nominee for Congress. Since we live in an overwhelmingly Democratic borough, the party boss’ selection basically guarantees the election.

But Weiner is just the tip of the iceberg. There are currently six vacancies in the New York State Legislature. According to a study by Citizens Union, by the end of 2011, one-third of our state representatives will be selected via special election. This farce of a process ensures that legislators are more loyal to the party bosses than their own constituents.

In recent weeks, editorial boards and good governance groups alike have come out against the corrupt special election process, which gives party bosses singular influence in selecting the candidates for a special election. Currently, the law allows the local political machine to select their nominee. When there is a vacancy in a district which includes multiple counties, such as Weiner’s Congressional District, the Democratic Party bosses from the affected counties — in this case Brooklyn’s disgraced party boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez and Queens Congressman Joe Crowley — select the candidate. Since Queens is home to the majority of the district, Congressman Crowley had full authority to make his own choice. This is how Democrats ended up with Assemblyman David Weprin, widely praised for his “loyalty” to the Queens machine, rather than any variety of qualities we might hope for in our newest Member of Congress.

Read the full piece in the Brooklyn Paper.

Stephanie Monseu, Keith Nelson, Rob Hickman, and Caleb Hickman (not in order). Source: Unicycle NYC Bridge Tour.

Sheepshead Bay — not exactly known for its wealth of bridges — but a cluster of happy unicyclists (yes, you read that correctly) are happily cycling their tuccheses around the borough on a single wheel, and recently made their way over what passes for “bridges” in our neck of the woods.

Stephanie Monseu, Keith Nelson, Rob Hickman, and Caleb Hickman, who operate the blog, “UNICYCLE NYC BRIDGE TOUR,” write that, “There are 2,078 bridges in New York City. We have been making weekly treks to cross every one of them… on unicycles.” The unicycling quartet has thus far traveled over the Knapp Street overpass over Shore Parkway, the pedestrian overpass at East 14th Street over Shore Parkway, and the Ocean Avenue Footbridge at Emmons Avenue, just three of the 223 bridges that they’ve already crossed.

They do need to be commended for their creativity. One can decide to take up unicycling, and one can set out to ride their bike over the city’s bridges, but it takes a truly special mind to combine the two and say, “Let’s unicycle over every bridge in New York City.”

As the saying goes, everyone needs a hobby.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this photo, which I quickly fell in love with, are the lyrics (which I cannot find online) to a haunting bluegrass / country duet by Dr. Ralph Stanley and Emmylou Harris. Photo by the incredible combined efforts of Robert Fernandez and Ned Berke.

Source: Addletters.com

The NYC Department of Education is hosting a three-part workshop series designed to assist middle school students and their families learn about high school options and the admissions process. Students entering the eighth grade in September 2011 are encouraged to attend with their families.

All sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Sunset Park High School, 153 35th Street. The sessions are as follows:

  • Session 1, July 21: High School Admissions: Where Do I Start? An introduction to the process and the many types of schools available
  • Session 2, July 26: Specialized High Schools: Learn about the nine Specialized High Schools and the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test.
  • Session 3, August 4: Make Informed Decisions: An overview of admissions methods with an emphasis on screened and audition programs

Additionally, save the date: A Citywide High School Fair will be held at Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Place in Fort Greene, September 24 & 25, 2011. We will post more information on this, as it becomes available.

For information on any of these events, call (718) 935‐2399 or visit the DOE website.

Those who live near the Avenue Y subway overpass – between East 15th Street and East 16th Street – have long known it to be the local pig-sty. But in recent months, the situation appears to have become unbearable.

Garbage has continued to pile up on both sidewalks for months, with Department of Sanitation trucks rarely making stops to clear it out despite passing by at least twice a week to make residential pickups along Avenue Y.

The above photo was taken on July 3, and only shows a small portion of the garbage. The below photo was taken on July 12. As you can see, a week and a half later (and at least three Sanitation drive-bys), the same garbage remains and the piles grow. Across the street, on the northern sidewalk, the piles have grown by several multitudes. One person even left bags and boxes in the middle of the sidewalk, not even shuffling it to the side as other illegal dumpers tend to do.

And look very closely at the second photograph. In the background you’ll note a Sanitation Department collection truck. We watched as they attended to the residents’ garbage. Then they bypassed this mess altogether, before stopping on the corner to pick up a small bag illegally left there. Apparently, this blight is just too much work for them.

This whole mess was finally cleared over the weekend, but the location remains a chronic problem. We’ll be watching to see how fast it piles up again, and how long it takes to be cleared out.