Photo by Robin Michals

Photo by Robin Michals

How come the bay never looks this good for me?

Photo by Robin Michals

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

25 mph speed limit

Photo via Governor Cuomo’s office.

We know that the biggest fans of Vision Zero and the soon-to-be-reduced speed limit are right here in Southern Brooklyn. I mean, you’ve all been telling us how much you love the idea. But rather than filling up our comments section with those love notes you can finally have those notes read by the Department of Transportation.

In observance of today’s milestone of 25 days until the implementation of the new 25mph speed limit, the department has launched a social media campaign soliciting your hopes and dreams for a slower city.

Today begins our 25 day countdown to NYC’s new speed limit of 25 MPH (unless otherwise posted). Beginning today, 25 New Yorkers will tell us why they want drivers to slow down in NYC on NYC DOT’s Facebook page.

You can join the countdown by posting why you want NYC’s new speed limit to be 25 MPH – just add #25MPH to your posts and spread the word on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Yep, all you need to do to ensure an underpaid member of the Department of Transportation’s communication team sees your feedback on a new 25mph speed limit is add #25mph to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. And, if your posts and/or accounts are set to public, the whole world will see them, too. Just like this one:

We’re sure this will not backfire in any way, and will create a useful, constructive dialog about traffic safety. Because that’s what always happens on the internet.

The new speed limit will go into effect on November 7.

doe-logoI don’t know why anybody would want to send their kid to Stuyvesant when Sheepshead Bay High School is in their own backyard, but, hey, if you’re one of those parents then the deadline for that opportunity is coming up.

Students applying to high school for the 2015-2016 school year can register for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) through Wednesday, October 22, at noon. Eighth graders or first-time 9th graders who are residents of New York City can register for the SHSAT through their guidance counselor. Students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs) may be eligible to receive testing accommodations on the SHSAT.

There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York City:

  • The Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn Latin School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
  • High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

For eight of these schools, admission is based solely on the score attained on the SHSAT. For LaGuardia High School, admission is based upon auditions and a review of student academic performance.

You must register by October 22, and most of the testing will be done the weekend of October 25 and October 26.

You can find more information on Specialized High Schools here.

Source: mikey k/flickr

Source: mikey k/flickr

Cops believe the same man is behind a handful of incidents in Sheepshead Bay in which the suspect posed as a police officer, flashed a gun and demanded property before running off.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 35 years old, 5’7″ tall and approximately 160 lbs, and is believed to have struck at least three times in five days.

The first incident occurred on October 1 at Brown Street near Avenue Z. The suspect went up to a delivery man at approximately 7:10pm, pushed a silver gun to his chest and said, “I’m the police, give me your ID,” according to police. The suspect then took his wallet, which contained cash, and fled on foot.

Two days later, on October 3 at approximately 6:45pm, the victim was waiting for an elevator inside the lobby of a building at Avenue V and Batchelder Street. The suspect entered and flashed a gun, saying “Stop, police, you’re selling drugs. Let me see your driver’s license and ID.” The phony cop took the ID and fled on foot.

Then, on October 5, at approximately 12:30pm, the suspect walked into a Rite Aid at Kings Highway and East 18th Street where his ruse got more elaborate. He told an employee that two men would enter the store and remove merchandise, and then he, a cop, would arrest them outside. The worker wasn’t fooled and asked for identification. The suspect fled.

No one was hurt in any of the incidents.

Anyone with information in regards to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Photo by George Burshteyn

Photo by George Burshteyn

Am I the only one who thinks the swirly clouds over the bay resembles a hurricane or a spiral galaxy?

Photo by George Burshteyn

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

Local restaurants participated in the event's launch and tasting last week at Borough Hall (Source: Kathryn Kirk/Brooklyn BP's Office)

Local restaurants participated in the event’s launch and tasting last week at Borough Hall (Source: Kathryn Kirk/Brooklyn BP’s Office)

The 11th annual Dine in Brooklyn event is set to kick off next Monday, and with $25 prix fixe dinners offered at more than 150 restaurants across the borough, foodies can pack their pie-holes with cuisines from every part of one of the nation’s most culinary diverse counties.

Over eight days beginning next week, diners can get $15 lunch and $25 dinner deals at more than 150 restaurants. The exact dates blackout restaurants’ most busy days, but those willing to go for weekday food fun will find the deals at the restaurants from Monday, October 20, to Thursday, October 23, and again from Monday, October 27, to Thursday, October 30.

A mere $25 covers prix fixe dinner menus, and most of the restaurants will offer two-for-$15 lunch menus.

Organized by the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, the event is about exposing neighbors to their local restaurants and supporting one of the borough’s most prodigious industries.

“Dine In Brooklyn celebrates the five-star flavors that make Brooklyn a ‘must-taste’ destination,” said Borough President Eric Adams in a press release. “Our restaurants fuel our borough’s economic engine, and this event is an opportunity to support their continued growth while encouraging diners to discover – or rediscover – their favorite Brooklyn dish. Most importantly, Dine In Brooklyn fosters the connections and memories that make ‘One Brooklyn’ like no place else on the globe.”

The number of Southern Brooklyn restaurants participating in 2014 has swelled a great deal from years past, with dozens now on the list. Just a few of our favorites:

  • il Fornetto (Sheepshead Bay)
  • Mill Basin Deli (Mill Basin)
  • New Ruan’s Restaurant (Bensonhurst)
  • Clemente’s Maryland Crab House (Sheepshead Bay)
  • L&B Spumoni Gardens (Gravesend)
  • Oleandr Restaurant (Brighton Beach)
  • Theresa’s Place (Dyker Heights)
  • Anatolian Gyro (Sheepshead Bay)
  • Peggy O’Neill’s (Coney Island)
  • Mama Rao Cucina Italiana (Dyker Heights)
  • Buckley’s (Marine Park)

Really, though, that’s just a sliver of the long list of truly local restaurants offering the deal, many of which we hope to try. Check out the full list here.

Which restaurants do you hope to get a taste of during Dine in Brooklyn?

B LINE

From 9:45am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Brighton Beach-bound B trains run local from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy.

Q LINE

From 9:45am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.

F LINE

From 12:30am to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, 179 St-bound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.

From 10:15am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound F trains skip Avenue U.

From 10:30am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, F service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 179 St and Avenue X.
  2. Between Avenue X and Coney Island, every 20 minutes.

shoe-thiefA creep has been sneaking up behind women at the West 8th Street subway station near Surf Avenue and snatching their shoes, according to police.

Cops released video of the grand larceny suspect in hopes the public will help identify the man, who they describe as a white male in his 30s.

The man made his first heel heist on September 11 at 3:14pm. As his female victim walked up the stairs to the Q tracks, the suspect approahced her from behind, snatched her right shoe – a black Adidas sneaker – and ran off.

He struck again three weeks later, on October 2, at 8:18am. Again, as the victim climbed the stairs to the platform, the suspect yanked at her right foot and made off with a Nike sneaker.

The suspect was caught on nearby surveillance cameras entering, and then exiting, the station during the second incident. The incidents happened less than one block away from the 60th Precinct.

Anyone with information in regards to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

e16thst

THE COMMUTESheepshead Bay has been the victim of over-development.

Development itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it is good for the economy. However, when development occurs, the infrastructure must also be improved.

Block after block, the neighborhood has seen one-family homes replaced by six-family condos. Several new mid-rise developments have also appeared on or near Sheepshead Bay Road and more are planned. This has placed a strain on traffic, especially along the narrow 18th Century Sheepshead Bay Road, formerly known as Shore Road.

In the 19th Century, our city forefathers planned a numbered street grid system that revolutionized our roads. Sheepshead Bay Road, however, predated that grid. The surface Manhattan Beach Railway, which operated passenger service until 1922, ran along East 17th Street south of Avenue X, (which is why that portion of the street is wider than the rest) and along the western fork near Jerome Avenue cutting through the super block soon to be developed with a luxury high-rise. The railway extended along the Brighton line and between what is now West End Avenue and Corbin Place to Manhattan Beach, serving the area’s two luxury (Manhattan Beach and Oriental) hotels.

That is the reason East 16th Street dead-ends at Sheepshead Bay Road and does not continue until the other side of Voorhies Avenue.

Normally, when superblocks are created, the adjacent streets are widened to accommodate the displaced traffic from eliminated streets. In this case, no street was eliminated, only some railroad tracks. In 1922, automobile traffic was still sparse and the word “superblock” did not even exist until large housing projects made them commonplace decades later. Sheepshead Bay Road, a street lined mostly with small hotels, was never widened, as traffic increased and those hotels were demolished or as residences were converted to storefronts.

Currently, there are a half dozen vacant storefronts on the northeast corner of Sheepshead Bay Road and Voorhies Avenue, suggesting more development in the near future, increasing traffic even more. Traffic on Voorhies Avenue is already a nightmare every Monday through Friday after 3pm, with a dozen cars lined up on East 18th Street waiting to make a right turn onto Voorhies Avenue. (A left turn is all but impossible.)

Changes are needed.

More History

When I proposed the rerouting of the B49 in 1978 from Ocean Avenue to replace the B1 along Sheepshead Bay Road, I suggested it operate on the circuitous northbound route it currently uses, including Shore Parkway and East 14th Street, because it was three or four minutes quicker than Sheepshead Bay Road. It was tabled for 30 years, and by that point the time saved had been diminished. The roundabout route is just as dreadful as along Sheepshead Bay Road. Instead it was implemented recently due to cars constantly standing in the no standing zone on Sheepshead Bay Road, and, with the lack of traffic enforcement, it became more difficult for two buses to pass simultaneously.

My proposed routing no longer saves three or four minutes. The rerouting from Ocean Avenue, instead of merely adding five minutes to the B49 as it did in 1978, now can add as much as 15 minutes for through riders when compared to the pre-1978 route. Therefore, I now believe we need some special buses during school hours or an additional bus route bypassing the subway station as it did prior to 1978. However, that is a subject for another article.

The point is that with each new development, traffic gets worse. What if the city decides to sell both municipal parking lots and add still more commercial development as they have done on Kings Highway and are doing in Flushing? What if the El Greco site is developed with another high-rise as has been long rumored (with no substantiation)? We will find out about it when it is too late. What will happen to traffic after five new high-rises are constructed near Sheepshead Bay Road? We could have gridlock.

Let’s Not Lose an Opportunity

Right now, with the proposed luxury condos at 1501 Voorhies Avenue, near Sheepshead Bay Road, we have the opportunity to extend East 16th Street to Voorhies Avenue and the north Shore Parkway service road. (A traffic reversal on the service road between East 16th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road would also be required. A redesign of the highway exit would also help.)

We do not need a private pedestrian walkway as currently proposed. A new street could be accomplished even with a gated entrance (though it would be a little more difficult) and should be a requirement before any development takes place there. Our local elected officials must insist on it. (Are you listening, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and State Senator Marty Golden?)

A continuation of southbound East 16th Street would enable a conversion of Sheepshead Bay Road to northbound only between the Shore Parkway North service road and Jerome Avenue. It would also permit a simplified B49 bus routing with northbound service returning to Sheepshead Bay Road and southbound service able to use the new East 16th Street. The northbound B4 would be able to use Sheepshead Bay Road as well, with the southbound route also using East 16th Street.

The possibility also exists to widen Sheepshead Bay Road between the Shore Parkway north service road and Emmons Avenue since the Belt Parkway Bridge is slated for reconstruction. All that is required is a slight modification of existing design plans and a few more dollars. No demolition would be required. Note that Nostrand Avenue will be widened when that bridge is reconstructed. Why not widen Sheepshead Bay Road under the Belt Parkway? Extending East 16th Street would have occurred when the Manhattan Beach Railway tracks were ripped up if the city had any foresight. Let us not condemn future generations to saying we had no foresight back in 2014.

In Other News

Last month saw the passing of transit and community activist (and my friend) Dr. John Rozankowski at age 61. If that name is at all familiar, it is because John substituted for me on The Commute on three occasions when I was on vacation. He also wrote for the blog Welcome to the Bronx for the past eight months and for Suite 101 prior to that. He received his PHD in history and was also very active in the successful campaign of Letitia James for Public Advocate, who attended the wake, spoke and stayed until it was over. Obituaries for John appeared in Welcome to the Bronx and the NY Daily News.

His wake was a tribute to race and age relations, an old white Polish gentleman with so many young black and Latino friends. At least 25 people spoke about the man, many with tears in their eyes. At least 50 attended. It was a very moving experience. He was a selfless Republican Conservative who did not let politics get in the way of what he believed in. His only interest was in making the world a better place. That is something we could all learn from.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

A man was found fatally shot in the head Saturday morning in a Coney Island building with a history of recent tragedies.

Police responded to a 911 call at 8:45am of a person shot inside 2007 Surf Avenue, where they found a 43-year-old man collapsed in the 13th floor hallway. The man had a gunshot wound to his stomach and one to the head, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests were made, and the identity of the man is being withheld pending family notification.

It’s just the latest in a string of tragic incidents at that address. Most notably, on the very same floor as the shooting, a teenager allegedly set fire to a mattress in the hallway in April, sparking a blaze that ultimately took the life of the first police officer on scene, PO Dennis Guerra. His partner was critically injured and recovered, and 16-year-old Marcell Dockery has been charged with murder.

In August, 22-year-old Victor Rosado, an expectant father and community member, was shot to death in front of the building. He was believed to be an innocent bystander struck when an unknown gunman opened fire on a group of men playing chess.

In September, an officer suffered a possible heart attack at 2007 Surf Avenue, where he collapsed when responding to a call for shots fired.