Source: Flickr/steverose57

It’s a rough economy, and beleaguered homeowners — some newly unemployed because of the recession — are struggling for ways to make their next mortgage payment. That’s why State Senator Carl Kruger and Brooklyn Housing & Family Services are teaming up to sponsor “Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program Day,” July 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

During the four-hour event, which will be held at Kruger’s district office, 2201 Avenue U at East 22nd Street, homeowners will be able to pre-apply for federal assistance to pay off a portion of their mortgage.

From the press release:

The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program is a new initiative offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is aimed at homeowners who are at least 90 days late on their mortgage, and unemployed or working fewer hours because of the economy or a medical condition. The program provides eligible homeowners with assistance that pays part of their mortgage for up to two years or up to $50,000.

On July 19, homeowners who come in for the pre-application process will be asked 13 questions to determine their eligibility. Counselors from Brooklyn Housing & Family Services will conduct the pre-application interviews. Those who qualify for the emergency loan program will be notified in August.

“Many homeowners have been hard hit by the economic downturn. This federal program will assist those who need it most with the help they need to weather the storm,” Sen. Kruger said. “I encourage all homeowners who are at three months behind on their mortgage to apply.”

An appointment is required; call Kruger’s district office at (718) 743-8610.

Sales soared during the blackout inside Mother Bucka’s Ice Cream Parlor, West 8th Street, Coney Island. Source: Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

The Brooklyn Historical Society reminds us that today is the 34th anniversary of the New York City Blackout of 1977. Google “1977 blackout” and “Sheepshead Bay” and you’ll find little more than a passing reference in a NYT article commemorating the 30th anniversary of the event, which plunged all of New York City into darkness.

Ask anyone who remembers the infamous citywide power outage and they will tell you stories ranging from disgust at the subsequent looting and arson, as well as the terror stemming from the pervasive Son of Sam murders.

Ask my dad, however, and he’ll gladly regale you with his own “famous” Sheepshead Bay ’77 Blackout story.

Oh boy, it’s a good one. Keep reading!

A unique angle of the designated New York City landmark. Photo by Laura Fernandez.

Source: Castles Made of Sand

These days, blogs are a dime a dozen and usually focus on animals being jerks to people or people being jerks to animals. But every now and then one pops up with a sense of purpose and beauty, and may prove itself historically relevant.

That’s the case with Castles Made of Sand, a photoblog created by Robin Michals to document New York City’s waterfront before inevitable rising tides and storm surges come to wipe it away.

From the website’s project overview:

Castles Made of Sand: New York Harbor Before the Flood is an elegy for the other areas of New York harbor that are vulnerable to sea level rise. While projections of the future are almost always likely to be wrong, imagining the impact of climate change is one step in the process of motivating the necessary public policy changes and modifications to personal behavior in order to avert the most cataclysmic effects of higher levels of atmospheric CO2. With almost 600 miles of waterfront, New York’s geography created its destiny. A fantastic, natural deep-water harbor, New York was in much of the 20th century until 1970, the biggest port in the world. Now at number 20 worldwide and sinking, the city’s waterfront appears more like castles made of sand as we struggle to deal with the forces of globalization and climate change.

To that end, Michals has been going around the city’s coastline, especially Southern Brooklyn, snapping beautiful photographs capturing areas that may be washed away as climate change threatens our communities. The photographer – an associate professor of photography at New York City College of Technology – even found this intriguiging historical nugget explaining Plumb Beach’s transformation into Plumb Island, before reinventing itself again as Plumb Beach:

Plumb Beach must have become Plumb Island by 1891 as the United States government bought a portion of it in order to build a fort. The fort was never built but the island was a federal property and businesses located on Plumb Island could sell alcohol and tobacco without charging local taxes. Needless to say, it became a popular place for bars and other entertainments. After New York City bought the island from the federal government in 1924, it was primarily a summer retreat for Brooklynites. In 1937, Robert Moses began work on the Belt Parkway and the island was connected to the rest of Brooklyn with landfill in 1940.

Check out Michals’ beautiful – and haunting – posts about Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Canarsie and elsewhere. Then, someone, please explain to me why the city, state and federal governments don’t seems to think this area is worthy of additional protections from rising sea levels and storm surges…

A drunk driver caused minor damage to several other cars when he flipped his own vehicle on the Belt Parkway last week, then cursed out this reporter as police took him away in handcuffs.

Keep reading for details of the accident, and more video.

State Senator Marty Golden’s annual summer concert series kicks off tonight, with New York Exceptions rocking out to hits from the 1950s to 1970s in Bay Ridge.

Golden produces the series of 15 summer concerts and events throughout July and August in local parks throughout his district, and in conjunction with the Community Emergency Response Team and the South West Brooklyn Parks Task Force.

All concerts are free and begin at 7 p.m, except Family Day, which is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The August 7 concert begins at 4:00 p.m. In case of poor weather, cancellations will be posted on the concert hotline by 5:00 p.m., on the day of the concert, at (718) 236-7547 or Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044. All events are subject to change.

View Marty Golden’s 2011 Summer Series Concert Schedule.

The B64 bus. Source: Robert McConnell for The Bergen Network

THE COMMUTE: Here are my predictions about the MTA’s plan to systematically eliminate B64 service. Divide and conquer!

  1. Chop off its head and its tail;
  2. End service overnight;
  3. Severely cut its service frequency;
  4. Eliminate weekend service eroding its ridership base further, then finally…
  5. Eliminate the route entirely by directing riders to more inconvenient alternative routes.

The MTA already accomplished Steps 1 and 2 in June of 2010. Step 3 will be implemented this September. I am surmising that Steps 4 and 5 are planned along with a similar plan to eliminate the B2. More on that later.

Read more on how the MTA plans to further accomplish these steps.

Gerritsen Inlet. Source: Google Maps

Workers from Sea Tow New York, a Southold, New York-based marine assistance organization, were dispatched to the waters of the Gerritsen Inlet yesterday afternoon to assist with a 70-foot crane that collapsed on top of a barge belonging to the Lomma Construction Corporation.

A Lomma crane at the site of the Freedom Tower. Source: Cummings & Hauling & Rigging

News 12 Brooklyn reported that Lomma’s workers “were apparently lifting a short section of pipe when the crane suddenly fell sideways,” and that “FDNY Marine Units and the Coast Guard were also called to respond.”

This is not the first time Lomma has made headlines. In 1999, a Lomma-owned 383-foot red steel crane collapsed, killing 43-year-old construction worker Kenneth Preiman in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Lomma also garnered itself unwanted publicity after a May 2008 accident, in which a 200-foot Lomma crane toppled at the site of the Azure on East 91st Street in Manhattan, resulting in the deaths of two construction workers.

According to The Real Deal, crane owner James Lomma is awaiting trial on manslaughter charges, stemming from the 2008 incident. A judge turned down his bid to have the case dismissed.

(UPDATE [1:50 p.m.]: A knowledgeable reader informs us that we’ve made a mistake in the ownership of Lomma Construction Corporation. Lomma is owned by Patrick Lomma, not James, and the company was not involved in the 1999 or 2008 incidents referenced above. Our apologies for any confusion.)

GerritsenBeach.net has photos of the accident, and notes that the accident caused diesel and hydro fuels to spill into the waters. Lomma is expected to handle the clean up.

It looks almost like orange sherbet, doesn’t it? Photo by Lisanne Anderson.

Source: ConeyIslandFunGuide.com

If your idea of a great way to spend an evening is sitting on the beach while watching “Saturday Night Fever,” you’re in luck!

Starting tonight, and running until August 29, Rooftop Films — which “couple[s] films with venues, and connect[s] artists with audiences so that each event is unique and memorable” — will be holding a beachside film series in Coney Island, called “Coney Island Flicks On The Beach.”

According to ConeyIslandFunGuide.com:

Selected films will be shown on a jumbo 40-foot screen on the beach at West 10th Street every Monday night from July 11-August 29; screenings are free to the public and begin at dusk.

Here’s the full schedule; more info can be found here.

  • July 11 – Saturday Night Fever
  • July 18 – Rango
  • July 25 – Top Gun
  • August 1 – Iron Man 2
  • August 8 – Annie Hall
  • August 15 – Moonstruck
  • August 22 – Justin Beiber: Never Say Never
  • August 29 – How She Move