Jamie Guigno took this photo of the inside of M&M Catering on East 27th Street and Avenue Z the day it closed down. Before M&M Catering it was M&M Meat Market – both businesses were owned by her father, Mike Fischetti. The employees – many worked there for years – wrote the above on the door as a final goodbye. For those that remember, M&M was a neighborhood staple. But Fischetti, who passed recently, lives on through the non-profit organization he founded, Guardians of Hydrocephalus Research Foundation. You may recognize the name from the fading ad on the side of the same building that hosted M&M, which for many of us is as much a curious legend of the Bay as anything else. We’ll have more on the Guardians of Hydrocephalus and the Fischetti family in the weeks to come – but we thought this was a touching photo.
One of the great shames of this city’s election system is that most of the decisions are made by one party, during primary day. With the exception of our billionaire mayor, Republicans rarely (if ever) stand a chance, and so the real voting happens by a much smaller group of people.
Well, that day is here. Remember to go vote. For most in the area, St. Mark’s School (2602 East 19th Street) is your assigned voting center, but if you’re not sure you can check the Board of Elections’ Poll Site Locator. And if you need a crash course in who’s running and what they believe, Gotham Gazette has put together an excellent Guide for the Last Minute (Primary) Voter.
Some have asked what we at Sheepshead Bites think of the election. Well, for us down in Sheepshead Bay, there isn’t much of a race. After Councilmen Fidler and Nelson successfully booted all Democratic challengers from the ballot through petition challenges, their seats are assured. City Council desperately needs new blood, especially to send a message of disapproval towards the overturning of term limits. Fidler and Nelson both voted for to extend their own reigns against the desires of those they represent. For that they should have paid. But Nelson is guaranteed another term, while Fidler reacts to his Republican challenger as more of an annoyance than an opponent.
The situation is similar in the higher eschelons of government. Marty Markowitz faces no Democratic challengers, despite increasing opposition. Perhaps the only meaningful races this year are for Public Advocate, Comptroller, and Mayor. For the last, Tony Avella’s message of smarter, slower development and his harsh criticism of his colleagues in City Council over the term limit vote have made him a warm candidate to us. For Public Advocate and Comptroller, the races feature far less starkly opposed characters, and we recommend checking out the voter guide and deciding for yourself.
When students returned last Thursday for the first day of classes at P.S. 254, they had no schoolyard.
Just a week before classes started at the school, also known as the Dag Hammarskjold school, construction crews came in and demolished the entire play area located behind the school between East 18th and East 19th Streets on Avenue Y. The sandbox became completely unusable and the concrete was ripped up leaving the ground ready to be repaved. Since the time that the demolition occurred, there has been little to no activity and construction appears to be at rest — at least for a while.
Signs on the fence state that the park is closed, with none of them listing a date of completion. Our sources tell us that although the construction crew has up to one year to complete the job, work is not expected to extend beyond the end of October. We were also informed that there will be a water fountain and a new sitting area. The original sitting area covered by trees was in disrepair with splintered benches, which are slated to be completely replaced.
When the annex to the original building was built years ago, the elementary students lost some play space to get some more classroom space. This latest construction starting a week before school, means that students will have recess indoors for the entire Fall 2009 season, as well as possibly into the Spring. Once the construction is done, though, there will be a major change: the schoolyard will be locked after school hours. Our source said that the schoolyard is not NYC Parks property and it is supposed to be closed after school hours.
Readers, do you have children who attend P.S. 254? If so, write in and let us know what they have to say about recess indoors. For those of you who like to play handball and basketball in the playground when school is closed and during the summers, let us know what you think about the planned policy of locking out locals at dusk.
Sure, we’ve been harping about the devastating changes to the B train express for a while now. But those who don’t read our site were surprised to find this morning that the B is running local. Complaints from surprised residents started pouring in via Twitter this morning.
After a five-hour standoff, the police situation near the Brighton Beach Starbucks came to an abrupt and tragic end on Saturday, as police shot and killed Samuel White.
Police allege White kidnapped and raped an ex-girlfriend, who sparked the standoff by escaping out a window to the building’s roof after contacting relatives and informing them of her situation. When police arrived, White was holed up in the apartment with a kitchen knife. After five hours of negotiation, police entered the building to throw a remote viewing device, but White lunged at them and stabbed an officer. After a taser failed to stop him, police shot White five times. He was pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital.
White reportedly had a long rap sheet, with 12 convictions. Five of those were related to his ex-girlfriend, including a previous abduction in which he took her to a Sheepshead Bay hotel.
This story has been updated.
Witnesses are reporting heavy police activity around the Starbucks on Brighton Beach Avenue, with some saying it is a hostage situation. Posters to a local forum say the Starbucks is being held up by a man with a machine gun. The commenter later said he heard from someone on the scene that it had to do with a domestic dispute in the residence above the Starbucks. He said:
A guy got into a fight with his gf 10 days ago and she called the cops, he got arrested. He later got out on a $20,000 bail.Today she was at his house which is located on top of starbucks, and she called the cops again….
It seems like a lot of police for just a domestic dispute. We’ll update this story when we find out more.
Neighbors, local politicians, and Hollywood celebrities packed into the landmarked Lundy’s building as its latest tenant, Cherry Hill Gourmet Market, celebrated its grand opening on Thursday. Cherry Hill management catered to a crowd of nearly a thousand with mountains of food prepared in its own kitchen.
In attendance was Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, a martial arts star who has appeared in movies including Mortal Kombat and Memoirs of a Geisha, and is currently working on Tekken. Two other martial arts stars accompanied him, circulating amongst Sheepshead Bay residents while nibbling food and posing for photos.
“What I like most about [Cherry Hill Gourmet Market] is how much attention they made to making it a classy environment,” said Tagawa. “It makes you feel at home and makes you feel you want to come here and hangout.”
Tagawa said he’s visited Sheepshead Bay’s waterfront before and likes the neighborhood. “Especially in the summer, with all the girls,” he noted. “It’s hard for American women to compete with Russian women. Russians are beautiful with ease, and American women have to work at it.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz stopped by before the crowds to strike a pose with management and employees. He quickly expired his Russian vocabulary, repeating “da-da” and “spociba” between photos. Other politicians showed up, including Republican contender for the 46th City Council district, Gene Berardelli, and would-be City Council candidate Simon Belsky, among others.
The event pulled in hundreds of people, ciphoning street traffic with an outdoor buffet and an additional one indoors. Residents overall seeemed eager at the prospect of free food, devouring tray after tray of assorted rices, meats, finger foods (including cocktail shrimp and even lobster), and salads. David Isaev, owner, and his right-hand man, Moisha, seemed satisfied with the turnout, but asked that we don’t quote them and instead “Talk to the people.”
Russian and non-Russian residents alike seemed to enjoy the all-out event.
“Everything’s perfect,” swooned Eugena Dokhno. She and her husband Alex came to Cherry Hill to shop, but saw the event and put their baskets down.
“It’s beautiful,” said Alex. “It’s a very good kitchen” with excellent food, he added.
The controversy over Cherry Hill‘s alleged zoning violations didn’t temper praise for their food. Judd Fischler, president of the 60th Precinct Community Council, reminisced about the grandeur of the old Lundy’s restaurant, which he patronized in earlier years. He noted that though zoning ordinances ought to be followed, the owners of Cherry Hill had put together an impressive market and cafe.
“As far as this is concerned, it’s definitely a magificent place. It’s out of the ordinary,” said Fischler. “You couldn’t get back the spirit of the old place, but it’s still Lundy’s. I’m not going to tell you it’s not good because there’s a violation.”
We noticed some new signs posted at the B/Q train platform yesterday, indicating some early trackwork heading up to the much maligned B train express cancellation. The changes are as follows:
B Line: For three consecutive Fridays – September 11, 18, and 25 – service will terminate at 8:45 p.m.
Q Line: For the weekends of September 11 – 14, and September 18 – 21, there will be no trains between Prospect Park and Kings Highway. Service will be replaced by a free shuttle bus between stations. The weekend service changes begin Friday at 9:30 p.m. and continue until 5 a.m. on Monday.
Essentially, it means areas of Southern Brooklyn along the B/Q line are screwed for going into or coming from the city beginning Friday evenings. Thanks MTA!
A reader wrote in earlier today requesting that we do a post for September 11. To be honest, I have no idea what to write. September 11 is a pivotal marker of history for America, and more so for the residents of New York City. I remember the day vividly. I remember the fears. I remember the faces of others. And I’m sure, if you lived here on that doomed morning, that you do, too. You don’t need a blogger to tell you we must remember. You don’t need a blogger to remember the dead. For me, September 11 is a day I keep to myself. I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t like to rehash the events. For me, few days are kept so privately.
I recognize that others differ. If you find solace in telling your stories of friends and family who perished that day, or in recounting the history for others, we offer you the forum of our comments section. I hope it brings comfort to those who need it, and I hope it fills your need for remembrance.
(Photos courtesy of Arthur B.)
Construction at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Kings Plaza location is underway. Apparently, contractors felt the first thing the building needed was walls. Perhaps this is a new, graffiti-friendly approach to construction that we didn’t know about before, but it sure seems strange to us.