I know it’s a sunrise, but all I’m thinking is sunset. Thank goodness this week is almost over.

Photo by Stan Kaplan.

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

We tend to view our accountants like we do doctors – we trust them without question. This is a good choice in some cases, but a bad one in others.

If you give them poor information or don’t make the necessary effort, you are going to get corresponding poor results. How many vacations are a disappointment because the trip planner didn’t check on attraction times or what the weather is usually? Just because there is a computer program or app that will help you complete your taxes, it doesn’t release you from making sure you understand the choices you make with that program. Most taxpayers, other than those filing Form 1040EZ, will probably benefit from the expertise and advice of a paid income tax preparer.

The first question is: Do you need an accountant?

The second question is: What can an accountant do for you?

The third question is: Is your accountant cutting the mustard?

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Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison took to the Daily News yesterday, with an editorial bashing the big P.R. push to bring Walmart to New York City.

What does Walmart have to do with improving the Bay, you ask? Well, Barrison is also the executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City, a federation of more than 75 small-business associations advocating for the rights of small enterprises across the five boroughs. And they have no love for the “Wal-monster.”

It’s also not Barrison’s first editorial against the nation’s largest retailer. He previously slammed environmentalists and the city’s transportation experts on Sheepshead Bites for not lending voice to the fight, saying that a Walmart would bring additional traffic, congestion and pollution to the area around the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York, where observers agree a Walmart is most likely to land.

In his latest editorial, Barrison touts a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, and also stands up for New York City’s small businesses – the best incubator for economic advancement of women and minorities.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chicago‘s struggling West Side learned the hard way that Walmart’s stores destroy more retail jobs than they create.

In 2006, the big-box retailer promised to bring jobs to the cash-strapped community. But according to a landmark study by Loyola University, the company’s rhetoric didn’t match reality: Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business.

Instead of growing Chicago’s retail economy, Walmart simply overtook it – absorbing sales from other city stores, and shuttering dozens of them in the process.

Researchers at Loyola dubbed Walmart’s store a wash – generating no new sales revenue for Chicago, and no new jobs for hard-off residents.

… With due respect to Walmart, this is not the kind of economic development neighborhood small businesses need.

Everywhere you look in New York, mom-and-pop shops help anchor our busiest and most vibrant business districts.

Fordham Road in the Bronx, Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, Jamaica Blvd. in Queens, 125th St. in Manhattan, and Forest Ave. on Staten Island are thriving proof that our city’s small businesses are the engine that powers New York City’s economy.

For minorities and women business owners in particular, New York City is an incubator for the American Dream. A third of all businesses here are owned by women, and nearly 18% are owned by African-Americans and Hispanics – both above the national averages.

But that could easily change.

… Home-grown entrepreneurs and small mom-and-pops have proven their commitment to our neighborhoods time and time again. Instead of falling for the big-box swindle and supporting their out of town competition, let’s stand by our neighborhood stores, and create more good jobs.

The only studies that support Big Wally are funded by or through Walmart; kind of like the tobacco companies’ support for cigarettes. New Yorkers deserves better. Our communities and neighborhoods deserve better.

You can read the full editorial here.



A photo posted by a WiredNewYork forum user in 2005.

The old garage at 2554 East 16th Street, a corner property also known as 1515 Avenue Z, has sat empty for years, a home for stray cats, weeds and construction materials. But its owners had big development plans once.

A pair of developers bought the property in late 2004, with plans to build a 14-story mixed-use tower with a whopping 86,000 square feet. The unidentified owner (records list only “16 Ave Z LLC”) paid $7.5 million, and envisioned building 30 residential units atop a glass pedestal of 5,000 square feet of retail space, a 23,300-square-foot office space, 10,000 square feet of healthcare facilities, and 186 parking spaces, according to The Real Deal. A rendering went up at the site (above), boasting to neighbors who would ultimately have the neighborhood’s tallest building plopped down next to them.

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It’s been a while since we’ve had an entry in our Postcard series, so we dug up this guy. This 1905 postcard was recently up for grabs on eBay, showing an old-world photo of Manhattan Beach. Anyone know what the pilings were for? (Hint: I don’t.)

Silver Star Meat Market's Israeli Couscous salad

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.

I’m going to let you know a little secret. I’m not too upset about Pathmark’s demise. Oh, I’m upset about the jobs lost and the increase in commercial vacancies on Nostrand Avenue, but as a loss to the neighborhood’s food community – meh. Better, cheaper and much more interesting food offerings were always found across the street.

Take a meander with me over to Silver Star Meat Market and check out what’s been keeping the locals flocking here for years; the meat market with butchers at your service, a fish monger and one of the best deli counters in the neighborhood; complete with store made salads, pickles and sandwiches.

Keep reading for our take on the Silver Star’s couscous.

Remember the days when we’d find 40′s in the gutter in front of our houses? Glad those days are over.

Photo by Laura Fernandez.

Alan Ditchek, president of the MBNA.

The rhetoric between the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association and Manhattan Beach Community Group continued to mount this week, as MBNA President Alan Ditchek released a 2007 petition to ban the practice – a petition signed by the current proposal’s most vocal critics.

The petition reflects efforts from four years ago to ban barbecuing in Manhattan Beach Park, and the signatures of Manhattan Beach Community Group leaders – who now call the current attempt “racist” – casts doubt on their sincerity.

The proposal to ban barbecuing on Manhattan Beach is being pushed by the MBNA because they say it is detrimental to residents’ health, but the president of the MBCG, Ira Zalcman, believes that the MBNA is proposing the ban for all the wrong reasons. Zalcman previously argued before his group that the MBNA’s position is mired in racism and discrimination, as they have a “history of wanting to privatize the beach.”

More: Ditchek defends his arguments, slams the MBCG and

New words grace the American flag painted on the handball courts of Bill Brown Park, a mural which pays tribute to victims of the September 11 attacks.

“Truly now, they can rest in peace. May 1st, 2011 – God prevails. Yes, God and goodness always win,” the flag now reads.

Just hours after President Barack Obama announced to the world that members of the nation’s armed forces exacted vengeance upon the world’s most wanted criminal, Osama Bin Laden, local artist and activist Ray Fiore bought paint and made his way to the park on Bedford Avenue and Avenue X. Just as he did in the days after September 11, 2001, Rockin’ Ray – as neighbors know him – waited there for inspiration, dipped paint into bucket, and began his work.

Keep reading about the gathering of Sheepshead Bay families after learning of Bin Laden’s death, and view photos.

If the mountain won’t come to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz’s office on Sheepshead Bay Road, then the assemblyman and his mobile community office will go to the mountain.

Well… substitute the mountain with the Kings Highway branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, 2115 Ocean Avenue, and a staff member for Assemblyman Cymbrowitz will be there to help area residents with problems, answer questions and discuss local issues, May 13 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

For more, call (718) 743-4078.