When I was a kid sitting in the back seat of my old man’s car on a long road trip, every time we got stuck in traffic I thought of one thing. Wings.

Keep reading to find out where this is going, and what the heck happened to that car.

Councilman Michael Nelson is kicking off his annual donation drive for warm clothing to distribute to needy children this year, and is asking residents to contribute.

The councilman is seeking new hats, scarves and gloves to give to the children of P.S. 811K, a special school for children facing serious challenges.

Nelson has delivered approximately 500 items of clothing each year since he began it five years ago.

“In these cold winter months, it is critical for children of all ages to dress warmly,” said Nelson. “However, for many, that is simply not possible. Fortunately, due to the efforts of so many benevolent individuals in the community who so wholeheartedly will donate these clothing items and continue to do so every year, we will be able to provide the children with the necessities they need to stay warm and healthy this winter.”

Nelson’s office will be collecting the new hats, scarves and gloves until Thursday, December 16, and will deliver the items to the children at P.S. 811K on December 17. If you want to contribute, drop off the items at the councilman’s District Office at 1605 Voorhies Avenue, or call Mary Scarfogliero at (718) 368-9176.

CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Faculty and parents of Marine Park Junior High School will come before Community District Education Council 22 tonight to decry the city’s plan to insert a small high school within the same building that houses the junior high. The challenge echoes the enormous battle a little over a year ago to install a charter school in the same location, which parents successfully fought.

An executive boardmember of the Parents Association at Marine Park J.H.S. (I.S. 278) explained the city’s plan to the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association during its November 18 meeting, saying that the Department of Education will fill the 300 empty seats in the school with high school students.

The vagueness of the department’s plan appears to be the most contentious part.

“So where are these kids coming from?” asked Louise Quinlan, the parents association boardmember. “We don’t know. Are they kids that aged out? Are they kids that nobody else wants? We don’t know. But we have 300 seats and they want to fill them.”

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It appears Halikarnas, the Turkish seafood restaurant at 3075 Emmons Avenue, has gone out of business.

The property owner told reader Arthur Borko that it shut down about a month ago, saying not enough people were coming by. Which sounds about right, since it took us a month to find out.

About that property owner: it’s next door neighbor Jeff Brown, who also owns Maria’s Ristorante Italiano and the building that it sits in. Brown put the Halikarnas building up for sale back in September, and it’s currently listed at $995,000.

The Parks Department has yet to move all of the 31 massive concrete planters lining the Oriental Boulevard median, despite promises to have the effort completed by November 30.

Two days after the agency’s deadline, at least 16 planters still remain between West End Avenue and Girard Street. The remaining planters were moved onto the Kingsborough Community College campus after the school offered to provide the machinery and manpower needed to make the move, and the city greenlighted storing those on campus. Kingsborough completed the transfer on November 24.

But despite inaccurate media reports that all of the planters were moved, the fate of the remaining 16 is still up in the air.

“Does that surprise you? The city said they’d do something and then they didn’t,” said Judy Baron, the traffic committee chair of the Manhattan Beach Community Group. “I always said when I see it I’ll believe it.”

The problem appears to be that the city cannot decide where to redistribute the rest of the planters, said a source involved in the effort. Officials are considering places nearby, like Manhattan Beach Park or Shore Boulevard, but locations as far as Bill Brown Park on Bedford Avenue and Avenue X are also being considered. The college is awaiting directions from the city, and affirmed that they’ll keep to their word to do the legwork wherever the city decides to place them.

Parks Department has not yet returned calls for comment on the issue.

Since they were placed in 2005, the community has fought for removal of the planters, which has vegetation that grows as tall as 4 feet during spring and summer. Residents say that their height blocks the view of oncoming traffic for drivers attempting a turn, causing several accidents along the busy strip.

Though the city stubbornly denied their requests for years, they finally made the concession to traffic safety after a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed in a tragic accident this October. The city, though, said they did not have the equipment to move the planters, which weigh several hundreds of pounds, leading Kingsborough to make the offer.

Since the planters lack drainage holes, the added weight of water caused the concrete on some to crack when the school attempted to relocate them. Kingsborough will coordinate with the Sanitation Department to have broken planters removed.

Photo from last year's celebration (Source: Kings Bay Y)

From our friends at the Kings Bay Y:

The Kings Bay YM-YWHA is thrilled to announce its Annual Chanukah Celebration on Sunday, December 5, 2010 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm to be held in our facility located at 3495 Nostrand Avenue between Avenues U and V. The entire day will be filled with festivities for all ages, as the community will gather to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah.

The Chanukah Celebration will be the largest in Sheepshead Bay. We are mailing over 17,000 postcards throughout the community and distributing at local businesses. Community members, local businesses, Jewish organizations, and civic groups will participate in the day’s activities. The Menorah Candle Lighting ceremony is scheduled for 12:30 pm. Elected officials will address the crowd then.

The celebration will feature many exciting opportunities for the entire family. Children will bounce on carnival rides, play games and make arts & crafts, win prizes, receive free latkes, gifts and menorahs, enjoy delicious food, music and a holiday performance for the whole family. Kings Bay Y will also present its myriad of programs at its mini-open house and offer exclusive discounts.

For additional information, please contact Alina at 718-648-7703 x224 or via email at info@kingsbayy.org

Remember Vitaly Borker, Sheepshead Bay’s biggest cyberbully? This digital thug went around pissing off his clients to spur them into writing negative comments on websites across the net. The result? More Google love.

Until now.

Following the New York Times expose of Borker, Google announced that it has refined the algorithm – the mathematical calculations its software uses to order search results – to ensure that “being bad to your customers is bad for business.”

We were horrified to read about Ms. Rodriguez’s dreadful experience. Even though our initial analysis pointed to this being an edge case and not a widespread problem in our search results, we immediately convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live. I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google’s search results.

They added that the new algorithm “detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience.”

So the whole world owes Borker a great big thank you for helping to improve one of the most used informational tools in human history. Another Sheepshead Bay hero, I say…

Following the Halloween controversy, the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association decided to close its doors to the public for an undetermined amount of time.

Local officials who requested not to be named are reporting to Sheepshead Bites that they were “disinvited” from the group’s meeting last night, and GerritsenBeach.net reports that the meetings are now closed to all but “Class A” members.

We’ve heard that GBPOA President George Broadhead decided not to attend last night’s meeting, for reasons currently unknown to Sheepshead Bites.

Class A members are property owners who have paid a membership free. Class B members are renters with membership benefits.

GerritsenBeach.net reports:

Because the group, which dates back to 1922, has never received public funding and is not a non-profit, it can legally close their meetings. However, actions speak louder than words. The group acts and intends to be a local civic organization and this is a dangerous slippery slope they are headed down. They intend to have the community come to them with issues that can be voiced and hashed out in public.

… There is no reason for anyone to be less than candid just because the public is watching.

… I believe that the Property Owners is retaliating against the community and reporters because of a video that surfaced of last meeting. Despite promises of transparency and a member vote, they are closing the meeting. Groups like this should do their business in public unless there is a compelling reason not to.

The video referred to in the excerpt was shot by Sheepshead Bites, and showed the meeting as it was overtaken by upset parents berating GerritsenBeach.net’s blogger, Daniel Cavanagh, for exposing their children’s violent antics on Halloween.

Our reaction? So be it. Now how do we close off Brooklyn from Gerritsen Beach?

Ever since they renovated this place it has looked like a chunk of midtown Manhattan fell out of the sky and landed right in the middle of Sheepshead Bay Road, no?

Photo by bondidwhat via Flickr.