Can our beloved boardwalk be saved?

Councilman Mark Treyger asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to make Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk an official “scenic landmark” yesterday, an effort to block the city from replacing its planks with concrete and plastic, reports the New York Daily News.

“This is a globally recognized iconic structure that draws millions of visitors each year,”  Treyger told us. “Many New Yorkers recall stories from their childhood when their families took them to the boardwalk. We strongly believe that the boardwalk is worthy of being designated a city landmark, and is worthy of the same designated services every other piece of our local infrastructure has.”

As we previously reported, the city began construction to replace the boardwalk this month, despite fierce protests from residents, politicians, and activists, who say the concrete will ruin the walkway’s historic character and who question the environmental impact of the project. Shortly after Superstorm Sandy, activists filed a lawsuit demanding a full environmental review of the boardwalk project before construction commenced, pointing out that concrete has not necessarily proven to be more resilient against extreme weather, but a judge ruled against them.

Now the boardwalk’s fate is in the hands of the LPC. The landmark approval process is notoriously sluggish, and it will likely take at least a year for the boardwalk to reach the panel, but Treyger believes the move will put increased pressure on the Parks Department to halt the project.

“Money has been allocated [by local politicians] to make changes to the boardwalk instead of replacing it. This is very much counter to what the community desires,” Treyger said.

The boardwalk’s tropical wood planks have been around since the 1920s. If approved by the LPC, the boardwalk would become Brooklyn’s fourth scenic landmark. Currently, only Prospect Park, Eastern Parkway, and Ocean Parkway are protected scenic sites.

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Prosecutors filed a request for a “Curcio hearing” in Congressman Michael Grimm’s tax fraud case Friday, likely targeting his recently hired legal counsel, reports the Staten Island Advance.

It was not revealed who was named in the request, but the motion comes after attorneys Stuart N. Kaplan – who once worked with Grimm at the FBI – and his partner Joseph Sconzo joined Grimm’s legal defense team in November. Named for a landmark case in which a lawyer represented two brothers in separate criminal cases, a “Curcio Hearing” is typically requested when there is a conflict of interest for the defendant’s counsel.

The pair also represented Grimm’s ex-girlfriend, Diana Durand, when she was charged with illegally contributing $10,000 to the congressman’s congressional campaign. In that case, a similar “Curcio hearing” was requested, and prosecutors argued that Kaplan’s friendship with the congressman would compel him to advise Durand to withhold information from federal authorities that could incriminate Grimm in the tax fraud case but help Durand during sentencing. Durand eventually accepted a plea deal that did not require her to cooperate in the case against her former beau.

Kaplan and Sconzo deny that there was a conflict of interest in their representing Durand, according to the Staten Island Advance:

Shortly after joining Grimm’s defense team, Kaplan told the Advance, “My loyalties were strictly and solely in her best interest.”

He said that if Ms. Durand could have helped the government’s investigation, “I would have urged her and I would have supported her and I would have counseled her to come forward … This woman had zero, nothing to offer.”

The Law Offices of Kaplan & Sconzo did not get back to us in time to comment on this story.

Grimm was indicted for 20 counts of tax fraud in April for under-reporting payroll expenses and income from his Upper East Side restaurant, which he owned before running for congress.

Below you’ll find early week subway service changes for the B, Q, and F lines in Brooklyn. Check back later this week to see what’s happening this weekend. Changes via MTA.info.

Starting Wednesday:

Brighton Beach-bound B trains run local from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy
Days, 9:45am-3pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays, December 10-11 and December 17-18; 9:45am-2pm on Fridays, December 12 and 19

Please allow additional travel time.

Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park
Days, 9:45am-3pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays, December 10-11 and December 17-18; 9:45am-2pm on Fridays, December 12 and 19

Trains stop at Newkirk Plaza and Church Av.

For service to Avenue M, Avenue J, Avenue H, Cortelyou, Beverley Rds and Parkside Av, take the Q to Newkirk Plaza, Church Av or Prospect Park and transfer to a Brighton Beach-bound B or Coney Island-bound Q.

For service from these stations, take the B or Q to Church Av, Newkirk Plaza or Kings Hwy and transfer to a Manhattan-bound Q.

F trains run every 20 minutes between Avenue X and Stillwell Av; Jamaica-bound trains skip Avenue U 
Days, 10:30am-3pm, Wednesday, December 10 to Friday, December 12

Service operates in two sections:
1. Between 179 St and Avenue X
2. Between Avenue X and Stillwell Av

Transfer at Avenue X to continue your trip.

For service to Avenue U, take the F to Kings Hwy and transfer to an Avenue X-bound F. For service from this station, take the F to Avenue X where it will become a Jamaica-bound F. More info here.

Also, keep an eye out for changes in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. Schedules occasionally change, so check MTA.info for the latest updates.

The Fulton Transit Center. Source: Wikipedia

The Fulton Transit Center. Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: In answer to the question posed in the headline, it is because they don’t care enough, since they do not place themselves in the position of passengers who are making decisions. Customer service is just not a high priority. It is a theme we keep coming back to. The last time we discussed it was back in August. At the end of that article I linked to two posts from blogger David Gerber, in which he went into excruciating detail about how the MTA provides misinformation. He has since written three more posts detailing the MTA’s misinformation and / or lack of information. In part three of his series from this past August, he discusses passengers having to endure the cold because of inadequate public information regarding the MTA’s winter service plans. In September, he wrote about how track work on the M train resulted in conflicting announcements about the service change.

Continue Reading »

3027 Avenue V, the address of one of the shell companies affiliated with the alleged scam.

3027 Avenue V, the address of one of the shell companies affiliated with the alleged scam.

Ten people – including three Brooklynites – were arrested and charged for their roles in an alleged $70 million scheme to defraud Medicaid and Medicare by submitting phony claims to the programs through three sham medical clinics, including one based on Avenue V.

The bust was announced December 3, when the suspects were slapped with charges including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, healthcare fraud and money laundering. Three of the suspects – Vadim Zubkov, Nikoloz Chochiev and Jason Brissett – hailed from Brooklyn while the remaining seven were Queens residents.

Prosecutors say that the defendants recruited homeless people and the financially vulnerable who were insured by Medicare or Medicaid, hauling them to the three clinics to undergo unnecessary medical tests. The procedures were administered by unlicensed personnel, and the clinics ultimately billed more than $70 million in fraudulent claims, according to prosecutors, paying kickbacks to the phony patients.

Find out who was arrested, where the clinic was and how the alleged scam operated.


Brrr! It sure is getting cold out there!

While the rest of us bundle up, not all of the neediest in the city’s school system have the means to get a helpful hat or a solid pair of gloves. To help them out, Councilman Chaim Deutsch has launched a hat, scarf and glove drive to bring some warmth this winter.

Hoping it will become an annual effort, the local pol is collecting winter gear specifically for students with disabilities at a local District 75 school. District 75 students are those with severe disabilities, ranging from autism to significantly cognitive delays and physical impairments.

“As the weather gets colder, it is essential that every child has the appropriate protection against the wind and chill,” said Deutsch in a press release. “Please donate new hats, scarves, and gloves to benefit special needs children in our community.”

All donations can be dropped off at Deutsch’s district office at 2401 Avenue U, prior to December 17. For more information, please call 718-368-9176.

Photo by Suzanne Cormier

Photo by Suzanne Cormier

Photo by Suzanne Cormier

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

Gravesend historic sign

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): Here are some of the big stories you may have missed this week. You can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Get it? Fir-y?

Photo by Randy Contello | RandyCPhotography