Archive for the tag 'ave u'

kingscountydivers

Kings County Divers Corp. at 2417 Avenue U is closed for good after 40 years of serving the Sheepshead Bay diving community.

According to the business’ website, the store closed for good on February 28 following a clearance sale.

“Your continued patronage to our company has been truly appreciated, and we are so grateful for having the privilege of satisfying your needs as our loyal customer. We do understand that the closing of Kings County Divers may be an inconvenience,” owner Mia Interrante wrote in the statement.

No reason for the closure was given. A Kings County Divers Alumni Association was launched on Facebook to keep the business’ diving community intact.

Good luck to the owners on their future endeavors.

matchaTHE BITE: Kung Fu Tea is a bubble tea chain that has been spreading, with several locations in Queens, a few around Manhattan and Brooklyn, and locations in four other states. Sheepshead Bay’s own Kung Fu Tea is at 1422 Avenue U, just off East 15th Street.

Bubble tea originated in Taichung, Taiwan, in the 1980s. The “bubble” part of the name is an Anglicized form of “boba” which refers to tapioca pearls in the tea, and is Chinese slang for “large breasts.” Finding this out creeped me out a little. Bubble tea comes with a handful of boba at the bottom of the cup, which are not very large, but slimy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside balls of starch. Also, bubble tea has primarily been fashionable with young people, including kids.

In any case, it’s up for debate which tea house in particular came up with it, but bubble tea was first made with hot tea and tapioca pearls, mixed with milk and sweet syrup. The trend spread through East and Southeast Asia during the 1990s, becoming popular in Western culture as well during the past decade. Menus now include options of fruit flavors added as syrups or blended fresh fruits, powdered or fresh milk, powdered or brewed green, black or white tea, or no tea at all, or coffee, a variety of additional toppings such as red or mung beans, jelly cubes in different flavors and shapes, pudding in the bottom of your cup, not to mention different sizes and flavors of tapioca pearls. Your options will depend on which tea shop you’re at, but basically, the choices have become endless. At Kung Fu Tea you can specify if you want less, little, or no ice, and less, little, or no sugar. Freedom like this can be exhilarating and exhausting.

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Police handout

Police handout

Police are searching for two suspects they believe robbed a 39-year-old woman at gunpoint.

The victim was walking near Avenue U and East 13th Street on February 7 at approximately 9 p.m., when the perps approached and one pulled a gun.

The thieves fled with an iPhone, MetroCard, earrings and $200, according to a Post report.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

61st-precinct

Sheepshead Bay Police Precinct – now the NYPD’s 61st Precinct – was once located on Avenue U and East 15th Street. I stumbled across the photo above and set about doing some research.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t learn when it was built or torn down and, quite frankly, stopped giving a damn once I found this amazing account of the extraordinary bravery and heroism of the local police force that occupied that stately building.

View the 1915 clipping (Click to enlarge)

View the 1915 clipping (Click to enlarge)

The date was July 13, 1915. The scene was West 5th Street and Avenue U – now on the border of the current day 61st Precinct, but then firmly within its command.

Our valiant hero is named Cowboy Doody. Cowboy James Doody.

Some time prior to the incident to be recounted below, one James Murdock who resided at the scene set forth, had “been for a long time addicted to the habit of rearing goats.”

Indeed. His neighbors, no more understanding in those sepia-tinged days than they are today, complained to authorities. A lot. Mainly about the “near -fragrance” – and no, we haven’t gotten to Doody yet – “and plaintive sounds emanating from a barn on Murdock’s place.”

The courts fined him and fined him again, ultimately offering a choice – pay yet another hefty fine or go to jail. The crazy cat lady of his time, Murdock chose jail. He was principled. Why should he not own as many damned goats as he likes? Is this not America?

The authorities disagreed and off to the clink Murdock went, leaving “sixty-five goats of indiscriminate ages … practically without any guardianship watsoever.”

What happened next is best described by those intrepid reporters of The Washington Herald (yes, this made national news, and on page two no less):

He had lived alone and none of his neighbors thought it necessary to investigate the pleadings of the goats which resounded throughout Gravesend the whole night long.

With the coming of daylight the goats, having devoured all the interior fittings of the barn, walked right out through the wall on one side and permeated the entire neighborhood.

With ba-a-a-a and bleats of joy the goats proceeded on their work of devastation. The reidents were powerless. Many who sought to prevent the invasion of their premises were butted all over the place.

Butted all over the place! The carnage! The mayhem! Kings Plaza had nothing on the Gravesend streets of 1915.

What were the residents to do? Worry not, for this is the cue for our hero, Mounted Policeman James Doody, who appeared on the horizon and bellowed a mighty “Ki-ya!”

“Ki-ya!” he said. “Ki-ya!” as he “rode his fiery steed up and down and across the placid confines of Gravesend today, twirling his lasso above his head and ever and anon lassoing a goat.”

Our brave hero was not alone. Cowboy Doody – he was indeed a former cowboy, having “acquired said efficiency on the plains in the southwestern part of our country,” was assisted by “his associate centaurs of the Sheepshead Bay police precinct.”

But, alas, our Herald reports, “none of them could zip out ‘ki-ya’ with the penetra[ting] efficiency of James Doody.”

By noon the strange-eyed nuisance had abated. Doody and his centaurs corralled 42 goats into a barn behind the station photographed above.

Doody, with his “Ki-ya” and his no less valorous but less vocal assistants, were scattering out toward Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge in search of the most nimble and adventurous of the flock.

The legend of Cowboy Doody is new to us. But, this reporter has learned, his name to this day strikes fear into the black, freakish hearts of goats everywhere, and his mighty “Ki-ya!” brings, without exception, the following reaction from goats citywide:

vittoria-1

To say we’re late with this news would be an understatement. Vittoria Seafood and Grill opened a week before A Taste of Sheepshead Bay in January, so my mind was elsewhere and I forgot to report it. But, alas, Vittoria is here, it’s open, and so far I’m hearing good things.

Located at 3081 Emmons Avenue, Vittoria replaces Jumpin’ Bean, which closed in October. It’s owned by one of the former partners of the Avenue U staple La Trattoria, which he left to launch the new eatery, as well as one of the former partners of OPM further down Emmons.

Have you been to Vittoria? What did you think?

garbage

The photo above was taken this morning on Avenue U and East 14th Street.

According to reader Tracy M., it’s indicative of “the appalling state of the neighborhood, post snow. This pic was taken this morning at Ave U and East 14. I could have gone for blocks taking similar pictures.”

We saw Sanitation workers catching up on residential streets this morning, and with the snow they surely have had a lot on their plates these last few weeks. But we’re inclined to agree: there’s no real excuse for what you see above.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Two people were arrested in connection with yesterday’s mayhem at Kings Plaza Mall, in which at least 100 teenagers created chaos as they ran through the complex in the second such incident in as many months, Councilman Alan Maisel informed Sheepshead Bites today.

The two busted were charged with disorderly conduct, according the councilman, who was briefed on the situation this morning by the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct Community Affairs division.

The NYPD’s 63rd Precinct has not returned calls from this outlet for confirmation. The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at 1 Police Plaza had no information regarding arrests in connection with the incident – but such a discrepancy could be caused if the arrests did not happen at the mall’s address.

According to the councilman, as well as accounts from leaders of local civic associations who were also briefed by the precinct, the 63rd Precinct knew about the planned disorder in advance. The mob was organized on Facebook under an event titled “Kings Plaza Maddness Part 1.”

“[The police] knew about it happening because apparently they were the same group [that organized the mob in December], or the same person that posted it last time. So the police department was prepared to be there. They made a couple of arrests,” Maisel told Sheepshead Bites.

Maisel added that this week’s disruption included about 150 culprits, scaled back from the 400 or so estimated by mall security following the December riot. Police told him that there was no damage, larceny, injuries or any other criminal behavior evident during yesterday’s incident other than the disorder created by the sheer number of unruly teenagers.

bergen-beach

The councilman met just last week with mall security and the 63rd Precinct’s Deputy Inspector John Rowell about beefing up the shopping center’s security.

“This is the kind of thing that’s going to happen time and time again because apparently this is like the hoot for these kids. I don’t understand it, but this is what they like to do,” said Maisel.

Maisel said he’s trying to convince the mall to bring in a paid detail – NYPD officers commissioned specifically to keep order within the mall.

“Kings Plaza is spending a lot of money to upgrade the mall. They’re going to spend millions. We asked them to put in a paid detail. They claim the mall security is well trained, but they weren’t very forthcoming about their security arrangements,” he said. “A paid detail would seem like a very good thing for them. If you’re going to spend millions of dollars on upgrading the mall, you want people to come.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons

We’re hearing from tipsters at Kings Plaza (5100 Kings Plaza) that there’s heavy police presence at the mall in response to another flash mob, with some on social media saying that stores may again be shut down.

One Twitter user counted as many as 14 NYPD vehicles near the entrances:

A Facebook user writes that police helicopters are also hovering in the area, and people are scrambling:

havie

At least one person using Google+ claims the mob was organized on social media:

queen

One tipster is calling it a riot, and said the stores are closing up as was done during an incident a few weeks ago. She left to avoid being locked into a store.

Apparently it’s causing problems for commuters trying to get past the mall:

sabrina

The whole incident echoes the situation on December 26. The mall’s chief of security told Sheepshead Bites at the time that approximately 500 teenagers became rowdy, forcing security to call for backup from the NYPD and to shutter the mall for two hours until order was restored.

Then, as now, students had off from school.

No arrests were made in the December incident, and police from the 63rd Precinct sent an e-mail to community leaders calling the perpetrators “rambunctious teens acting like children,” but noted that there were “no reports of injuries, larcenies or property damage.”

That incident was also reported to have been “promoted” in advance on social media.

The mall was also the scene of a brazen mid-day smash-and-grab jewelry heist last week.

UPDATE (6:49 p.m.): Cops took heat from local elected officials after the previous incidents for not making any arrests. If our tipster is right, officers took the hint and are preparing to detain some of the offenders:

jalen

(“Tons and tons” is in response to our question about how many teens appeared to be involved.)

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Grandpa's Pizza Storefront

South Brooklyn Pizza opened in March 2013 and it was so new to the area that most of you probably won’t mourn the passing of the “pizzaiolo.”

A new pizzeria called Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe will take over the 2224 Avenue U storefront, and a sign says it’s “coming soon.”

We’ve wondered before if that corner location is cursed. Before South Brooklyn Pizza, there was Calabrese Pizza & Restaurant, which was also short-lived. Before that, there was Tai Yuan, which was open for only a few weeks. Tai Shan preceded that – again, surviving only a few months. By our count, it’s been five different businesses in as many years.

Thanks to Randy C. for sending us the photo and tip.

tart

THE BITE: Way back in 2009 when Ka Ka Bakery opened at 1505 Avenue U, we all had a good laugh. Ned made some puns, got a pork bun, and invited us to share in the joy of this oddly named bakery. Maybe it means something in Cantonese or Mandarin? I don’t know. Anyway, good times.

Well, a few years later, it still stands, amid heavy competition. I think there are about four Chinese bakeries within two blocks of each other on that stretch of Avenue U by the Q train station, but the pink Ka Ka Bakery sign still got a smile out of me and I went in for a quick bite.

For 90 cents I decided to go with an egg custard tart, or dan tat, which I’ve seen (and eaten) at many Chinese bakeries.

There are two origin stories for this pastry:

  1. They were first baked by nuns in a monastery outside Lisbon over 200 years ago. These pasteis de nata became popular in Portuguese baking, and made it to the Portuguese colony of Macau, right next to Hong Kong, where they also took off and slowly seeped into the culinary awareness of Taiwan, mainland China, and eventually the rest of Asia.
  2. They were brought to Hong Kong and Canton (now Guangdong) by English colonists in the 1940′s and have evolved from English custard tarts with more egg and less milk. They were first popularized in China at cha chaan tengs, which were tea houses that served tea and Western-style foods and cakes to working-class Chinese at affordable prices. That was something unprecedented as Western food had previously been considered only for Chinese elite.

Whatever the true origin, I like that these are a little less heavy and less sweet than what you typically get from Western desserts. Each bakery seems to have their own specific take on these, and while you can find them in chocolate, green tea, or honey-ginger flavors at some places, plain sweet egg is the standard, and you will see some variation in texture from one baker to the next. The crust can be either buttery shortcrust or puff pastry, and the filling varies in ratios of egg yolk, egg white, milk, sugar, and gelatin.

Ka Ka Bakery’s egg custard tart has a shortcrust shell that is neither too thin nor too thick and in good proportion to the filling. The inside doesn’t come in any fancy flavors here, but it’s fluffy and not too yellow, which makes me suspect a higher ratio of egg whites. It’s got just a hint of jelly-like texture, holding everything together well enough and there’s a bit of sweet mystery liquid on top of the custard, which you can see glistening in the photo. Personally, I prefer these to be a bit less creamy and a bit more gelatinous (I’ve grown to like that wiggly texture) so I may be trying around the competitors just to see, but if you’re preference is for milky and not wobbly, these are for you.

Ka Ka Bakery, 1505 Avenue U, (718) 998-2229.

– Sonia Rapaport

The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we 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.

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