Bakery Sheepshead Bay

Photo by Laura Fernandez

Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll 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.

“If you had the luck of the Irish,
You’d be sorry and wish you were dead.
If you had the luck of the Irish,
You’d wish you were English instead.” – John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Not exactly what you were thinking of for a pre-Saint Patrick’s day post about Irish food, now is it? Well, let’s remember that England still occupies six of the 32 counties of Ireland and that the occupation of Ireland was particularly brutal throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Until the middle of the 20th century, the vast majority of Irish agriculture was exported to their English overlords, leaving relatively little for the Irish people.

So what did the Irish do? They made the best of it and adapted foods and cooking traditions to create new foodstuffs unique to the Emerald Isle. Irish Soda Bread is just one example and one of its most grand.

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Maksim Gelman, suspect in stabbing of Aleksandr Kuznetsov

Maksim Gelman pleaded not guilty to stabbing a man on the 3 train during his two borough rampage last month.

The alleged killer appeared in Manhattan court yesterday morning via video from his confinement in Bellevue Hospital, where he faced charges for the Manhattan portion of his attacks.

Gelman’s murderous spree began February 11, when he allegedly stabbed his stepfather to death. Over the next 28 hours, authorities say he murdered a female acquaintance and her mother, killed a fourth person in a hit and run, and stabbed a handful of others before his arrest on February 12.

Now the Daily News is reporting some of the 17 disturbing statements Gelman said following his arrest, made public in court papers on Tuesday. Among other things, the apparently delusional Gelman said the following:

  • Immediately after his arrest he told police, “I’ve had better days.”
  • About 40 minutes after that, he said “I’ve had a doozy of a day” inside the Midtown South precinct.
  • “I wish you had shot me,” he told cops. “I would’ve been better off if you shot me.”
  • About 25 minutes later, he said, “You should stay away from angel dust.”
  • “You know I’ve got cancer. I’ve got six months … I did this because I have cancer.” (Something we’ve heard before.)
  • Another thing we’ve heard before? The he was set-up: “I am the Mack, the guy you’re looking for,” he said at another point. “The FBI gave me a raw deal.”

Gelman remains held at Bellevue without bail. His Brooklyn incidents and Manhattan incidents will be tried separately.

A cardinal spotted in a tree on Ford Street near Voorhies Avenue. Photo by Erica Sherman.

Preparations for the next BayFest will be held in the Comfort Inn meeting room at 3218 Emmons Avenue this Wednesday March 16 at 8:20 p.m.

This meeting will provide the opportunity to help prepare for this year’s 20th Annual BayFest this May, and President Steve Barrison said he expects to make some big announcements this year.

Already announced is that Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge will not be playing this year, after performing at the event for, well, for a really long time. Barrison has also announced that Ticket to Ride, a well-known Beatles tribute band, will be playing, and they’re also looking to have music and entertainment along all 10 piers – a feat they haven’t done since their 10 year anniversary!

So they’ll need a lot of hands to make it a success. Come to the planning meeting tomorrow and make some new friends in building a community event.

Michael Levitis Marina Levitis Rasputin Brighton Beach Show

Michael and Marina Levitis at Rasputin's Women's Day Soirée (Source: James Edstrom)

Lifetime’s Brighton Beach reality show will star a confessed criminal and local nightclub owner facing disbarment and six months in jail after a political scandal, but the Russian community isn’t worried about negative stereotyping because they “trust” the A&E-owned network.

Michael Levitis, lawyer and owner of Rasputin Nightclub (2670 Coney Island Avenue) confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that the show is focused, in part, on his family, a casting decision that comes as Levitis is caught up in an alleged corruption scheme with State Senator Carl Kruger.

Levitis pleaded guilty of lying to federal investigators earlier this month in relation to an FBI probe dating back to 2007. The investigation explored an alleged influence peddling scheme in which Levitis was recorded telling another restaurateur that the state senator would help him with state matters if he held a fundraiser and turned over thousands of dollars for the politician’s campaign. Federal prosecutors charged Kruger last Thursday with accepting at least $1 million in bribes in a separate investigation.

Though local Russian-American leaders previously squabbled over potentially harmful depictions of their community in the Brighton Beach show, it seems all is quiet in Little Odessa despite the casting revelation.

Find out more about Brighton Beach reality show, the Levitis family and what the Russian-American leaders are saying.

From the Manhattan Beach Community Group:

Please come to our March meeting this Wednesday, the 16th, at 8 PM. As usual we will be meeting at PS 195 located at 131 Irwin Street in Manhattan Beach.

The NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio will be our featured guest speaker and is very eager to meet us.

We will also be discussing how to be a NY State Senator and not go to jail.

We wonder if State Senator Carl Kruger will be attending…

In all seriousness, de Blasio’s presence will likely be interesting. The public advocate previously spoke at Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA)’s meeting, and then took fire from the MBCG for coordinating a meeting between the MBNA and the Department of Transportation without inviting the MBCG. It seems they’ve smoothed things out, and this will be de Blasio’s first appearance at an MBCG event.

Sorodsky (Source: Brooklyn Eagle)

After nabbing what’s believed to be New York States highest bail ever, a phony doctor was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday for lying to, drugging and raping patients in his Sheepshead Bay office.

“Doctor” Michail Sorodsky owned and operated the Holistic Skin and Spa Clinic at 2701 Ocean Avenue, where he posed as a medical doctor and boasted of his ability to cure cancer. But he was little more than a liar and a rapist, said prosecutors - and a jury seems to agree.

Sorodsky pled guilty to dozens of charges, including rape, sexual abuse and forcible touching. He was busted in 2007 following an investigation by then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and in 2009 made headlines after courts slapped with him a record-setting bail amount of $11 million cash/$33 million bond.

Several patients faced sexual abuse at the hands of Sorodsky, who investigators say preyed on the Russian-American community, and he was charged for specifically raping one in 2006. According to the charge, Sorodsky gave the patient a liquid that rendered her unconscious. When she awoke, Sorodsky was naked and lying on top of her.

The phony doctor lured patients in with a guarantee for his treatments, then performed physical exams, drew blood and administered so-called medications. He charged thousands of dollars for the bogus treatments.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Sorodsky may walk free in three years, since he served three years of his six year sentence while awaiting trial. But Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will likely seek an order of civil confinement, a controversial procedure that allows the state to lockup sex offenders in mental institutions indefinitely.

Awesome. Photo by Sasha L.

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From State Senator Marty Golden’s office:

Brooklyn – State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) today is urging residents of the 22nd Senate District to support the American Red Cross in their efforts to assist those affected by the March 11th Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.

Senator Golden is asking neighbors and community organizations to consider making a financial contribution to support the American Red Cross by either phone, internet, mail or via text. Those interested in donating should call 1-800 RED CROSS, or visit, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.00, or to mail a contribution, please send it to:

American Red Cross
P.O. Box 4002018
Des Moines, IA 50340-2018
*Please indicate Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami on the check’s memo line.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “As the images of destruction and devastation in Japan are featured on our news programs, in our newspapers and our computers, many of us are wondering what he can do to help our fellow citizens of the world who have lost so much. Our monetary support will help the citizens of Japan rebuild and at the same time bring hope to the people.”

For additional information, please contact Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044.

THE COMMUTE: Often we forget that we have one of the most extensive and best transit systems in the world. There are not too many other places where you can take a train 24 hours a day without having to rely on a schedule.

Of course. the system is far from perfect. Subways and elevated lines were designed primarily to take people to Manhattan, incorporating parts of an old railroad system built to serve long demolished hotels in Coney Island. It was never extended to the southeast part of the borough or eastern Queens, so direct train service does not exist from there.

The Brooklyn bus system, based on an old trolley network, was set up also primarily for travel to Downtown Brooklyn and lower Manhattan via the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges. Additional bus routes were added in the 1930s to facility travel across Brooklyn. Relatively few changes have occurred since.

Most jobs traditionally were located within or near Manhattan, so inadequate mass transit elsewhere has not been a major problem and elected officials have not given it a high priority. However, this may be changing.

Read on to find out why, and tell us what your ideal mass transit system would be.