This guy knows how I feel. Photo by Vlad S.

Got a photo you’d like to have considered for Morning Mug? Send it to nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

The infamous “Ice Cream Girl” of Gravesend is holding a fundraiser today in efforts to help the people of Japan.

The “We ♥ Japan” relief fundraiser will be held outdoors on the corner of Avenue U and West 10th street at 7:30 p.m.

Keep reading to find out more about the Ice Cream Girl and her fundraiser.

There’s an amount of pleasure to be taken from a conversation between a real Brooklynite and a yuppie, especially when the yuppie is grasping for – and not finding – a degree of authority on the subject of Brooklyn. You know what I’m talking about. Think about the last time you read the New York Times, with its Metro desk completely staffed by Northern Brooklyn hipsters, and they were forced to write that bi-monthly article about Southern Brooklyn. They always end up jumbling neighborhoods, screwing up demographics and local legends. You roll your eyes, but really, you wish they had said that in front of a local just so you can see them blush when corrected.

That’s why when a Park Slope writer interviews Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks, for the Financial Times, there was a lot to be amused about. First, writer John Gapper provides us with this sweeping assessment of Canarsie as “a rugged district between Coney Island and John F Kennedy airport” (cue eye roll), then when he tries to find some common ground with Canarsie-born Schultz, he gets hilariously shut down. And, irony of ironies, it comes from a Brooklyn boy who moved to a hipster nest (Portland) to show them how to properly launch and manage a business.

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

Well, amidst all that hot air that has come out of Washington, here’s another little piece of tax news that you may not have heard.

The mileage rates for 2011:

  • 51 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Let’s focus on the first rate of 51 cents per mile for business miles – it’s a slight increase from the 2010 rate, which is 50 cents per mile. This is good news for small business owners and self-employed folks who are looking for an easy way to increase your business deductions.

You need look no further than your driveway – assuming you drive the same number of miles for business in 2011 as you did in 2010, your vehicle deduction will increase by 2 percent (Okay, so it’s not as much as you were hoping for, but, hey, every little bit helps).

So this is a good time to review the rules for deducting car expenses in your business or self-employment activity.  Here we go…

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It’s not easy to get a job as a DJ nowadays, but that’s not stopping the Kingsborough Community College Radio crew from chasing their dreams.

The group was recently profiled by the campus paper, and they say they’re just doing what they love best. Take Elissa Nieves, 25, who is currently an assistant to the general manager at Kingsborough’s radio station, WKRB. Since she was 13 years old, Nieves knew she wanted to be a part of the radio industry.

“One day I was listening to the radio, and I realized that would be such a great job. That would be so much fun. I can talk on air, I get to listen to music, I get to meet people. Ever since then I fell in love with it. I decided that was what I wanted to do,” she told the paper. Nieves recently graduated Kingsborough with a broadcasting degree.

The broadcast program at Kingsborough started in 1979 under the charge of radio producer Dr. Cliff Hesse, who still runs the program today. Dr. Hesse set up the program in a way where it betters chances of landing a job in a hard field. The program gives a wide-range of courses in broadcasting to build up more experience for the students.

“It’s pretty all-involved,” Dr. Hesse told the paper. Students “take courses that are required in every area… not just radio broadcasting but other uses of sound, which is where it’s really exploding: live sound, theatrical sound, Internet, all of these are radio elements that have now moved into other venues. Sound for video and television and film is extraordinarily complex, and we do that at the end of our sound course.”

Source: fox_kiyo/Flickr

Councilman Lew Fidler is teaming up with the Department of Environmental Protection to save residents some money. They’re holding an event Wednesday, March 23, from 6 p.m.  to 8 p.m. at the Hebrew Educational Society at 9502 Seaview Avenue (the entrance is on East 95th Street).

This event offers the following:

  • Discuss your water bill one-on-one with a DEP Customer Service Representative.
  • Learn about other payment options.
  • Learn about the Water Debt Assistance Program: Customers who meet the eligibility criteria can defer their unpaid water and sewer bill until the property is sold.
  • Sign up for the direct debit program: Customers who enroll in the direct debit program will receive a 2% discount on their bill.
  • Learn about Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and what it means for you.
  • Learn about new and existing capital projects in your community.

To travel to the event by train, take a Manhattan bound Q train to Union Square in Manhattan. Then transfer to a Brooklyn bound L train and get off at the Canarsie/Rockaway Parkaway station, which is the last stop on the L train.

Photo by Laura Fernandez.

Got a photo you’d like to have considered for Morning Mug? Send it to nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

tzar restaurant brooklyn sheepshead bay

Photo by Andrey G.

We got a whole bunch of calls and e-mails last week about the new signage at the restaurant formerly known as New York Steak House. The establishment is now known as Tzar Restaurant (2007 Emmons Avenue).

We think it’s the same owners, but we hope to find out more this week and fill you in on what’s going on. If you know anything, feel free to fill us in!

Hundreds of giddy, costumed children packed the Kings Bay YM-YWHA’s gymnasium for its Annual Purim Carnival, an exciting indoor festival commemorating the Jewish people of ancient Persia’s rescue from annihilation at the hands of the evil Haman, as told in the Hebrew “Book of Esther.”

Read our coverage, and view the photo gallery.


THE COMMUTE: Renovation of the Ocean Parkway Station is nearing completion.  The MTA contracted Railworks Transit (subcontractor- Oliviera Contracting) to perform the work including structural concrete repairs, repairs to the subway platforms, platform edge removal and reinstallation including rubbing board and ADA Warning Tiles at a cost of $7.17 million (Project T50703/12).

The renovation includes 128 large reliefs in concrete depicting Coney Island’s unusual characters. The artwork created in 1996 and originally scheduled to be installed in 2010, was delayed ten years when structural defects were found in the viaduct that demanded attention.

From the MTA website:

Sculptor Deborah Masters created the Coney Island Reliefs in cast concrete. The 1260 sq. ft. of relief panels fit within existing recesses in the viaduct. Tinted a terracotta color to harmonize with the sandstone color of the Ocean Parkway viaduct, a massive structure that carries the subway across six lanes of traffic and an Olmstead parkway, the reliefs portray scenes from the history and legends of Coney Island, including Neptune, a mermaid, beach, boardwalk, and amusement park scenes.

… The work is a visual gateway into Coney Island, and a major accomplishment that met many technical challenges. The figures and images are modeled with expression, reflective of the large-scale sculpture for which the artist is known and has exhibited widely. The work seems an integral part of the historic structure and indeed, the recessed areas may have been intended for artwork that was never provided to the community, until now.

With work wrapping up at Ocean Parkway, we got to wondering why New York started using artwork in the subways. Turns out the answer was much the same then as it is now: tourism.

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