Archive for the tag 'bay improvement group'

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?
vendors

Photo by Steve Barrison

A frustrated Steve Barrison, president of the Bay Improvement Group, sent out this e-mail to local pols and Sheepshead Bites last night, demanding action against the illegal vendors hawking strawberries, blueberries and other items at the Sheepshead Bay Road entrance to the Sheepshead Bay subway station.

This was taken with my cell on a random week day evening after rush hour in front of the Sheepshead Bay subway station. This has been a complaint we have heard from local merchants afraid to complain publicly fearing they will be retaliated against.

It is many boxes of fruit. There was also much litter and many empty boxes are even piled up across the street left on the sidewalk near our BIG mural under the elevated subway.(East 15th Street)

Is this legal? What kind of permits are needed in front of the entrance/exit to the subway? Can the NYPD, DCA or whoever, do anything? Who enforces this? This has gone on for a very long time.

Clearly this hurts our neighborhood small businesses who pay significant rent for their fruit stands in a brick and mortar store.

Is this being investigated?

The filth alone deserves to be addressed and the legality and public safety too.

We can back up the fact that there’s a lot of grumbling about these vendors, and not just from business owners. We’ve received e-mails and photos from readers fed up with the garbage they leave around. And it’s not a new problem; way back in 2011 we published photos of the boxes of rotting fruits they left abandoned near the Neck Road station, and we’ve also seen their trash adjacent to the empty MTA-owned lot on East 15th Street, between Avenue Y and Avenue Z.

As for who is responsible for cracking down on these guys? If they’re unlicensed, it’s the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) – although there’s precedent for the local police precinct to do enforcement as well. In Sheepshead Bay, the 61st Precinct gives illegal flower vendors the boot on Valentine’s Day. In Brighton Beach, the 60th Precinct does it all year round. The Department of Sanitation is also responsible for busting them for the illegal commercial dumping they appear to be doing when they toss their trash in public places and empty lots.

Oh, and all those links in bold in the paragraph above? Those take you to the contact pages for each of the agencies so you can make your own complaint. You may also want to try Community Board 15, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitzs office and Councilman Michael Nelson‘s office.

UPDATE (2:59 p.m.): We heard from Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz’s office noting that he is working with the Health Department to shut down and remove the illegal vendors and that the department will be sending an inspector out.

The following is from our friends at the Bay Improvement Group (BIG):

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The Parks Department planted approximately two dozen new trees along Emmons Avenue west of Ocean Avenue this week, as the city moves to complete the final phase of a decade-long rehabilitation of the waterfront.

The $460,000 project, funded by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, will continue throughout the spring. On the checklist for beautification are:

  • repaired sidewalks
  • covered trash bins
  • new trees, with granite block pavement in enlarged tree pits
  • new curb cuts
  • fresh paint on the Bay’s railing
  • blue concrete and matching artistic design elements previously installed near the piers, from Ocean Avenue to East 27th Street
  • 1964 World’s Fair-style benches

When construction is finished, the Emmons Avenue street-scape will have seen a complete overhaul over the last decade. Repairs began in 2003, when the city installed new antique-style lights along Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard. In 2006, the city completed a similar renovation to the current one, from Ocean Avenue to East 27th Street, adding new benches, sidewalk designs, tree pits and more.

Cymbrowitz, in a press release, said that the improvements will help the community continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

“Beautifying Emmons Avenue is part of the larger mechanism of long-term recovery,” Cymbrowitz said. “Trees represent new life. They’re meant to last, and so is Sheepshead Bay.”

While organizers of the not-so-Great GoogaMooga reneged on their “rain or shine” billing in the face of Sunday’s drizzle, hundreds of Sheepshead Bay residents flocked to Emmons Avenue to prove what the phrase really means.

Bay Improvement Group’s 22nd Annual Bayfest went forward despite a day-long downfall that appeared to come in from all directions. Attendance was surely hampered by the weather, and even several of the sponsors bailed (Sheepshead Bites set up table, but, without a tent, was forced to say our goodbyes after our materials took on too much water).

Organizers plowed ahead anyway, keeping good on their promise, with music blaring from two main stages and a handful of performance areas. Inflatable rides amused kids – and also provided brief refuge from the rain, and sponsors like Investors Bank kept in good spirits, cheering to the music with their teams and handing out goodies.

Aside from all fun – soggy or not – the group’s president, Steve Barrison, took a moment before the festivities to honor the  Department of Sanitation with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Barrison and the group thanked the department for lifting, carting and removing countless tons of debris in the months after Superstorm Sandy.

See the photo gallery.

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The Bay Improvement Group boogied down and gave props up last Thursday night at their annual Oscars gala, when it celebrated a pack of heroes who went above and beyond to help neighbors during Superstorm Sandy.

Learn about the honorees, and view photos from the event.

With spring break for many schools just weeks away, community organizers throughout Sandy-affected neighborhoods are preparing for a flood of student volunteers to bolster recovery efforts across the region – and they’re warning the Sanitation Department to be ready.

“It’s pretty much a consensus that the boom time for volunteers is spring break, because [students] organize through their churches, or their sororities or fraternities,” said Laura McKenna, acting executive director of Bay Improvement Group, who is involved in the Brooklyn Long-Term Recovery Group, a coalition of organizations working on Sandy recovery. “Students are brought in to do this work wherever a disaster may be, and right now that’s here. They’re going to come in from all over the place to Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey and they’re going to be helping, and we need to be ready.”

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Photo Provided By Bay Improvement Group

Coney Island Hospital’s Mobile Medical Unit is back on Emmons Avenue, this time near Nostrand Avenue in front of the Best Western Hotel, providing free flu shots, tetanus shots, respiratory checks and more.

The van will be there until 5 p.m. today, and returns tomorrow, Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Community Board 15 helped clear the way for a new storage facility on Knapp Street, voting in support of a waiver to existing zoning restrictions at their meeting last Tuesday despite objections from community groups.

The proposed location. Click to enlarge. (Source: Google Maps)

Metro Storage NY came before the Board in a process to repeal a “restrictive declaration” on the property at 2713-2735 Knapp Street, a wedge of land that juts into Plumb Beach Channel at Voorhies Avenue. The 28-year-old declaration prohibits any use other than a retail and marina development, a clause that has caused the land to stay desolate since the original plans fell through years ago.

“It’s derelict. What do I see here? I see some trucks, I see some cars,” said Metro Storage’s attorney, Howard Goldman, before the Board.

Goldman said the restrictive declaration and the lot’s proximity to the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant means that few plans can get through the process to make use of the property. In 1996, an application was submitted for a two-story retail development was squashed, and, in 2005, a plan for a residential development was opposed by the Department of Environmental Protection.

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Source: Kalexanderson / Flickr

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the lasting repercussions from Superstorm Sandy, the Bay Improvement Group (BIG) will be partnering with Project HOPE to offer a 90-minute support group session with professional counselors for Sheepshead Bay residents impacted by the storm.

The session will be held behind closed doors from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., on Thursday, January 24, in a conference room in BIG’s Mobile Command Center (Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol), just west of 3031 Emmons Avenue.

If you feel you would benefit from the opportunity to share your frustrations and, in the process, help others, please attend. There is no requirement to sign up or give your name — just show up. According to BIG Founder and President Steve Barrison, “If enough people show, we’ll set them up with Project HOPE,” which conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries.

If you feel you or someone you know needs to speak to someone immediately, contact (800) 543-3638.

Correction (January 29): The original version of this article stated that HOPE stood for Health Opportunities for People Everywhere. The was incorrect. Health Opportunities for People Everywhere is a different Project HOPE, and is an international program. The Project HOPE discussed in this article is not an acronym, and is a New York State-funded program. 

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