Archive for the tag 'bay improvement group'

concerts

Well, this is certainly something new. Councilman Chaim Deutsch and the Bay Improvement Group are teaming up to bring live music to Emmons Avenue’s Driscoll Tucker Park, beginning this Sunday.

As you can see from the flier above, there will be three dates, with three hours of live music each day, beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Tucker Park is on Emmons Avenue at East 27th Street, right next to Stella Maris Bait and Tackle shop. No word on what type of music will be playing, but the flier says bring dancing shoes. Though I do not own those particular kind of shoes, I’ll stop by anyway.

bayfest

Preparations are almost complete for Bay Improvement Group’s Bayfest 2014, the annual Emmons Avenue waterfront celebration now in its 23rd year.

The event this year will be anchored by two main stages, with Broadway Beatles tribute band Strawberry Fields headlining one, and indie vocalist Darnaa & Friends performing on the other. There will also be bands on the pier, and one on “The Dragon Boat” at Pier 10.

Aside from the music, there’ll be a kids’ zone with games, arts and crafts, inflatable amusements and more. Antique cars from the Antique Automobile Association of Brooklyn will keep the interest of grease monkeys and nostalgia fanatics, as well as a few other surprises for attendees.

Bayfest kicks off at noon, filling Emmons Avenue between East 27th Street and Ocean Avenue.

An hour before it begins, at 11 a.m., the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association will hold a service for Memorial Day at their veteran’s memorial site on the south side of Emmons Avenue at Brown Street.

Come tonight and you could learn how streets like this got their names. (Source: GerritsenBeach.Net/Flickr)

The Bay Improvement Group is holding its annual history night presentation tonight. The event, which serves as the lead-up to May 18′s BayFest. The group asked us to share the following message:

Tonight, Monday, May 12, is our Annual BIG History Night. We’ll gather at 8pm at Sunrise Senior Living, 2211 Emmons Avenue, Sheepshead Bay.

Ron Schweiger, the Official Brooklyn Historian, will present his exclusive presentation, “The Story Behind Brooklyn Street & Neighborhood Names.”

Every wonder why they call them “New Lotts”? “Bay Ridge”? “Gerritsen”? “Brownsville”? Why our streets have names like Batchelder, Ford, and Knapp Streets? Answers to these questions and more, as well as interesting tidbits of Brooklyn history, will be discussed.

Free parking. Refreshments and time to chat at conclusion.

loehmanns

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The owners of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) have submitted plans to the Department of Building to construct a new extension to the controversial building, leaving those who fought its initial construction nearly 20 years ago in a state of shock.

The proposed extension would add a new story of commercial offices, totaling 10,000 square feet. The plans are in violation of zoning and the property’s current variance, and will soon be considered by Community Board 15 and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

One of the property’s owners, Alex Levin, confirmed the expansion.

“We’re looking to expand office space,” he said. “We’re going to bring the elevator up to [a new third] floor. We have our reasons.”

The project’s architect, Robert Palermo, declined to discuss the plans.

“It’s privileged information. When it comes before the board, it’ll be public,” he said.

There is no date set yet for a public hearing at Community Board 15, the first step to obtaining any variance. Chairperson Theresa Scavo said she had not yet been notified by the Board of Standards Appeals.

As a resident, though, she was shocked to learn of the plan.

“Speaking personally, it was against the special Sheepshead zoning district to begin with, and to add a floor is a slap in the face to the people of Sheepshead Bay,” she said. “I cannot believe that adding another floor is going to give the Bay a better look with that monstrosity there.”

The building sits within the Sheepshead Bay special zoning district, which limits the size and use of structures along the Emmons Avenue waterfront. The area is limited to waterfront and tourist-related activities, and special density and height limits govern development.

Many longtime Sheepshead Bay activists credit the development of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the 1990s as the death of the special district, having won a variance that, according to those who fought it, resulted in it being 800 percent larger than legal limits. The exception was won due to the promise of the retail giant Loehmann’s as an anchor tenant, justifying jobs and commercial draw in exchange for its waiver.

Loehmann’s went bankrupt and vacated the property last month.

Bay Improvement Group Steve Barrison, one of the development’s most vocal opponents, said the new application is history repeating itself.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” he said. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Barrison added that there’s little legal justification to allow the variance simply for office space. According to the law, a developer must show that they suffer from certain hardships, as found in section 72-21 of New York’s Zoning Resolution.

“It’s insensitive to the whole community after Sandy,” said Barrison. “All of the people who haven’t moved in or are still rebuilding and trying to get their lives together. Now [this developer] wants to go and build and increase zoning some more when people can’t speak up.”

If Bay Improvement Group decides to fight the variance, they’ll be fighting a different developer than they did in the 1990s. The building was sold to Levin in 2008 for $24 million, a local real estate record at the time.

Students from St. Mark School served as Santa's little helpers at the event, piling the donated toys and greeting guests.

Students from St. Mark School served as Santa’s little helpers at the event, piling the donated toys and greeting guests.

The Bay Improvement Group’s  23rd annual concert and toy drive on Sunday saw hundreds of toys piled on stage as Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge jammed for the crowd.

The 225 toys collected will go to a shelter for battered women and their children located in the heart of Sheepshead Bay. It’s a toy drive in our community that ensures toys stay with the needy of our community, said BIG Executive Director Steve Barrison.

“We have a battered women’s shelter down the block and they were not getting anything [from other drives]. And that’s really the heart of it,” Barrison told Sheepshead Bites at the event, which took place in the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue). “We’ve got to fill the need right here in our own community, and we know where the toys go.”

The event started 23 years ago, when Barrison and Martell, who previously met at a diner, decided to spend the holiday season driving around in a limo, popping out at random places and singing to pedestrians for donations for children’s toys. Since then, the event has moved around the neighborhood, including the old Lundy’s restaurant, various local businesses, several years at St. Mark School and now, for the first time, at the Knights.

Vanilla Fudge's Vince Martell. Source: Wikipedia

Vanilla Fudge’s Vince Martell. Source: Wikipedia

The 23rd Annual Bay Improvement Group (BIG) Celebrity Caroling Toy Drive, featuring Vanilla Fudge lead guitarist Vince Martell, Colorado recording artist Peg Pearl, Steam’s Greg Bravo (famed for “Na Na Na Na, Goodbye”) and more will be held this Sunday, December 15 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus, 3000 Emmons Avenue.

Admission is free with your donation of a new unwrapped toy, which will go toward brightening up the Christmas of a less fortunate child.

For more information, call BIG President Steve Barrison at (212) 750-5560 or (718) 646-9206, email bayimprovementgrp@gmail.com or visit BIG on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and on www.bigbayfest.org and www.bayimprovementgroup.org.

Steve Lin

Steve Lin demonstrates his Tai Chi mastery.

Looking to decrease stress and get into shape without burning out your body or wallet? A local Tai Chi master is offering free classes to neighbors on the sidewalk in front of his home.

Steve Lin, a championship-level master of the ancient Chinese tradition, gives free Tai Chi lessons every Monday at 10 a.m. in front of his home at 2672 East 21st Street. He’s been offering the classes to friends and neighbors for the past decade.

Lin welcomes students of all ages and experience, including beginners, and no special equipment is necessary.

Bay Improvement Group Acting Executive Director Laura McKenna brought the story to our attention and asked that we share it. She met Lin in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, when he came with his son and grandchildren to volunteer in the bungalow courts.

Lin and his son Moses are both Sandy survivors as well, living in a flooded home. But despite that, they pitched in to help their neighbors.

Lin continues to give back with the free lessons. Tai Chi is a low-impact form of exercise that won’t leave you sore, but is acknowledged to decrease stress and anxiety, increase flexibility and stamina, and tone up the body over time.

Source: Bay Improvement Group

The one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy is nearly upon us and various Brooklyn-based groups and organizations are looking to remember the event with a candlelight vigil across the borough. Laura McKenna, the vice chair of the Brooklyn Long-Term Recovery Group and the acting executive director of the Bay Improvement Group, sent us the following message with the specifics and details of the event slated for Tuesday, October 29:

The Brooklyn Long-Term Recovery Group, with the support of the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations, invite all disaster survivors, first responders, recovery workers, and anyone else affected by Superstorm Sandy to participate on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 for “Light up the Shore,” a candle-lighting event along the Brooklyn shoreline to mark the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and its impact on our borough.

Along with communities in Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx, we will assemble to remember our losses and honor how our communities came together to recover and rebuild. We can each stay with our community and still be united.

Here is a link to an interactive map of locations with a description of the event on top as well as other event details.  Locations are being added as the anniversary date approaches (in Gowanus, Coney Island, Seagate, and others, so far–we’re just waiting for the details).  Click the candles for info on the lead organization and contact person is at each location. http://www.zeemaps.com/view?group=701389&x=-73.956202&y=40.650363&z=6

At all sites, survivors and organizers will begin to gather between 6:30 and 7pm.  Candles or other lights will be distributed and after a brief welcome, all lights will be lit at exactly 7:45pm, when Sandy made landfall.

The Sheepshead Bay site has already been chosen:  2801 Emmons Avenue, office of the Empower Sheepshead coalition of the Brooklyn Recovery Fund. 

In addition to marking the anniversary of the disaster, we hope to encourage people to sign up for a caseworker for help with unmet needs and also to sign up for Build It Back, the deadline for which is 10/31.  Mental health professionals from Project Hope and other social services organizations with expertise in disaster counseling will be at each site to offer support.

In addition to the Sheepshead Bay location, there will also be a Brighton Beach vigil at the Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Avenue at the same time.

Thanks for the info, Laura. We hope that the event draws a lot of participants to continue the effort to help people rebuild and recover from the destructive events of Sandy.

For more information about the Empower Sheepshead coalition, call  (718) 648-7703 ext. 260.

If you ask me, Sheepshead Bay could definitely use some more crocuses. Source: Wikipedia

If you ask me, Sheepshead Bay could definitely use some more crocuses. Source: Wikipedia

New York Cares, which runs volunteer programs for 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies, and public schools, will join forces with the Bay Improvement Group (BIG) to restore and revitalize three garden sites hard hit by Superstorm Sandy, this Sunday, October 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Volunteers will weed, plant bulbs for the springtime, and place fall surface plants in areas to beautify the neighborhood.

The group will begin at the site at Sheepshead Bay Road and Shore Parkway and 9:00 a.m. sharp, and will offer free bagels and coffee for all volunteers.

For more information, call (718) 646-9206.

Real Estate transactions are increasing in Sheepshead Bay although values are still slightly depressed nine months after Superstorm Sandy wrecked the neighborhood, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal report details the destruction visited upon Sheepshead Bay after Sandy and highlights the glimmers of hope finally emerging in the aftermath:

The area was walloped by Superstorm Sandy, with many businesses—particularly those along Emmons—badly flooded. Small, low-lying former bungalows close to the water were especially vulnerable to flooding.

“Those blocks were swamped, the smaller houses were up to the roofs,” says Howard Witz of Fillmore Real Estate. “It was horrible.”

Nine months later, some standby restaurants have reopened and the party and fishing boats are sailing again. But although many residents and business owners are optimistic about the hurricane recovery, hardships remain.

“People need hope, but for a lot of people that light at the end of the tunnel is still quite far off,” says Laura McKenna, acting executive director of the Bay Improvement Group, a neighborhood advocacy organization. “Behind the doors of homes, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the businesses, while they may be rebuilt, you may walk in and say it looks fine, in fact economically they’re still struggling and suffering.”

As the recovery continues, real-estate transactions have begun to pick up, Mr. Witz says, with 38 one- and two-family houses currently in contract, compared with the 37 houses that sold in the entire previous 12 months. “Buyers are very cautiously returning,” he says.

… Prices in Sheepshead Bay range from the $100,000s for one- or two-bedroom co-ops far from the subway to around $1 million for large detached two-family houses. The median listing price in the neighborhood in June was $459,000, says Zillow.com, a 6% drop from the same month in 2012.

Sheepshead Bites editor Ned Berke was featured in the piece and now you can read what he says about our neighborhood when he thinks we aren’t paying attention:

“You have the quiet of a suburban area, but it’s still got life, it’s still bustling, there’s a lot of mass transit here that connects people to the city,” says Ned Berke, a native of the area and editor and publisher of the local news site, SheepsheadBites.com. “It’s as alive as the rest of the city and at the same time, very quiet and a good place to get a reprieve from the madness and the rat race.”

As a newly minted resident of the area, I would add that nothing beats strolling to the shores of Manhattan Beach or Coney Island on warm summer nights after work and on weekend mornings. That is a luxury that not many city residents, who often desperately cluster as close to Manhattan as possible, get to appreciate. What do you like best about living in Sheepshead Bay?

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