Archive for the tag 'bensonhurst'

The suspects were captured by surveillance video at the Avenue U Telco.

The suspects were captured by surveillance video at the Avenue U Telco.

Officers from the 61st Precinct are turning to the public in their search for two women accused of stealing another woman’s wallet in Telco Discount Store.

The women were caught on surveillance cameras in the 2901 Avenue U store, where they’re believed to have attempted to steal another woman’s wallet. Police told News 12 that the women grabbed the wallet from the woman’s purse and then pushed her into a clothing rack.

The incident happened on March 22. The would-be thieves dropped the wallet in the store during their getaway, and it was later recovered.

The women bare a striking resemblance to two members of a crew of alleged wallet thieves who hit other local clothing stores last year. At that time, the police distributed photos from surveillance video, saying that the thieves had hit stores including the Sheepshead Bay Marshalls (1623 Avenue Y), the Kings Highway T.J. Maxx (1630 East 15th Street), and the Kohl’s at Ceasar’s Bay, swiping wallets and credit cards from unattended purses. They had been connected to at least four incidents between July and August 2013.

Police at the 61st Precinct did not return calls from Sheepshead Bites regarding a connection between the cases.

During the precinct Community Council meetings, Captain John Chell has repeatedly told residents over the past year that wallet theft from unattended purses and bags in department stores and at beaches continues to be a problem, and has reminded them to keep their property in sight at all times.

If you have information regarding these crimes or suspects, please call the  61st Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 627-6620 or the 61st Precinct at (718) 627-6611.

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Bensonhurst resident Charles Ritter, outside of his polling station on election day, said he’s satisfied with the neighborhood’s police presence but has issues with stop and frisk. (Photo by Ashley Rodriguez)

By Scott Klocksin

Jacob Hunt was stopped by police and asked for identification as he left a parking lot in Bay Ridge several years ago. He fit the description of a suspect in a crime. But Hunt wasn’t worried.

“Ninety percent of calls you hear on the police scanner are ‘Hispanic, Black, 5-foot-9, 200 pounds. That’s me,” Hunt said.

“But if I’m doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about,” said Hunt, a registered Republican who counts several cops as friends. “I don’t hold no animosity toward them. It’s a scary job.”

Hunt was one of dozens of people interviewed throughout Southern Brooklyn amid the November 5 mayoral election. The interviews revealed a wide breadth of views on policing.

Some expressed strong support for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. Others expressed personal bitterness over such tactics. But all agreed on the importance of safety.

Keep reading to learn about local stop-and-frisk data and what neighbors think of the policy.

A photo of the suspect, taken from a screenshot of the surveillance video.

A photo of the suspect, taken from a screenshot of the surveillance video.

Police are searching for a man accused of groping a 27-year-old female bus driver on the B6 line in Midwood, who was captured on surveillance footage.

The suspect boarded on Coney Island Avenue and Avenue J at approximately 8:05 p.m. He sat down near the front of the bus, eating with one hand and holding a cup of coffee in the other. As the bus headed down Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, he grabbed the driver’s groin area before taking off at the 77th Street stop, reports CBS News.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male standing about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds, with a light complexion.

In a surveillance video, he is seen wearing jeans and a black T-shirt with a Levis logo…

If you recognize the man above or have any more information regardng this incident, please contact (800) 577-TIPS (8477) or visit NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.

Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

The racial diversity of Brookyn (Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service)

It might be hard to believe but every single pixelated dot represented on the map above is a person living in Brooklyn in 2010 and the colors correspond to their race. Dustin Cable, a senior research associate at the University of Virgina’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, created the interactive map using data from the 2010 census.

The zoomable “Racial Dot Map,” astonishingly places a different colored dot for everyone of the 308,745,538 people tracked in the last census. Incredibly, according to a report by National Geographic, if you zoom to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the location of the White House, you see can see 5 green dots (representing black Americans) signifying the first family and Barack Obama’s mother-in-law.

More locally, we can see how race fans out over Brooklyn. The predominantly white population (represented by blue dots) of Sea Gate abruptly gives way to the black, Hispanic (orange) and Asian (red) enclaves of Coney Island. The western section Brighton Beach is almost entirely white. A mix of Asian and Hispanic people are tucked neatly away in the land side of Brighton Beach, away from the more desirable waterfront, while the majority of Manhattan Beach is clearly made up of white people.

Sheepshead Bay is actually surprisingly integrated. It’s predominantly white but blended – especially as you approach Avenue U – with smaller pockets of Asian and Hispanic people lining the edges. We’re not particularly integrated when it comes to black Americans, though, which are appear confined to the greenish, orangish square of the Sheepshead-Nostrand Housing projects.

It’s quite the eye opener to see just how Asian and Hispanic the historically Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst has become. Anecdotally, and through census numbers, we know the area has transitioned drastically over the years, but seeing it visualized like this brings it to life. Bath Beach and the Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst border are real bastions of integration, if only because it’s still in flux.

Surprisingly, based on the unscientific eyeball test, some of the most diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn are Red Hook, Park Slope and South Slope (which we’re not entirely committed to recognizing as a real neighborhood yet).

Another interesting note is that the further you zoom out, the more you see the colors blend in ways that indicate greater diversity. Purple and teal colors signify great diversity and when the map is pushed back to reveal the entire tri-state area, it is clear that Brooklyn and New York City is mostly a purplish blob. This is evident in most metropolitan areas across the United States. Still, the closer you zoom in, the more you can racial divides, even on a street by street basis. Interesting stuff, indeed.

You can play around with the map by clicking here.

UPDATE (August 30 @ 3:32 p.m.): In response to a request from bill, in the comments, I’ve attempted to overlay district lines on the map above. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close and the best I was able to do:

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It was actually a great suggestion that helps us visualize exactly how districts were shaped to either bolster representation of some ethnic groups (either to match requirements set by the Voting Rights Act or concentrate a voting base, depending on your perspective), and to diminish others.

Some examples? Looks like Bensonhurst’s Asian community was divided up among four different council districts. In Sheepshead Bay, the housing projects by Nostrand Avenue, once part of the 48th District, were drawn into the 46th, pretty much removing all of the black vote from the district and putting it safely in a minority-majority district.

This is probably one of the most politically enlightening maps I’ve seen yet, so thanks to bill for suggesting we put it together.

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The NYPD’s 61st Precinct is asking for the public’s help in hunting down a crew of alleged thieves accused of stealing wallets and purses from patrons at local department stores.

According to sources at the precinct, the thieves have hit local stores including the Sheepshead Bay Marshalls (1623 Avenue Y), the Kings Highway T.J. Maxx (1630 East 15th Street), and the  Kohl’s at Ceasar’s Bay, swiping wallets and credit cards from unattended purses. The suspects allegedly pretend to be shoppers. Victims leave their purses in their carts while browsing the aisles, and the suspects are believed to swipe the wallet out of the purses as the victim turns their back.

The police have connected at least four incidents to the suspects since the beginning of July, with the latest occurring on August 3. Surveillance video at the stores, stills of which accompany this post, have helped investigators zero in on their suspects.

The source noted that perpetrators have not racked up exorbitant charges on the victims’ credit cards, instead quickly using it for small purchases before discarding it. However, all credit card theft is considered a grand larceny.

At the time of this report, the precinct could not say exactly how many suspects they believed to be involved in the thefts, although they confirmed that there are multiple perpetrators.

The precinct is also reminding residents not to leave their purses or other property unattended in public spaces.

If you have information regarding these crimes or suspects, please call the  61st Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 627-6620 or the 61st Precinct at (718) 627-6611.

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Garbage

Garbage

You see it everywhere in Southern Brooklyn; bins overflowing with garbage, trash strewn across the streets and collecting over sewer gutters. It is getting so bad that it is hard to blame people for littering when the alternative consists of trying to balance your coffee cup on a trash pyramid. CBS is reporting that residents in Midwood and Borough Park are up to their ears in trash and are demanding the Department of Sanitation (DOS) to do something about it.

Marilyn Leiman, who has spent 50 years living in Midwood, told CBS that the garbage problem has never been worse:

“I never saw it such a mess. If you walk down Avenue J, it’s just awful. And the other thing that gets me is a lot of tourists come here. They come to eat in the kosher pizza store. They come from Israel; from Los Angeles. And I’m so ashamed that they come here and see what it looks like,” Leiman said.

At the junction of Avenue J and East 14th Street, the trash was spilling far out of its intended receptacle — and was piled up in bags and heaps next to it.

Councilman David Greenfield called out the DOS directly:

Greenfield fired a salvo at the Department of Sanitation, saying several commercial strips in Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst are under-served.

“They’re allowing mounds of trash to pile up in our prime commercial areas,” he said.

Greenfield, who praised Sanitation efforts along residential streets, said commercial strips such as Avenue J, Avenue M and Kings Highway, don’t get the service they need. He provided photos taken over a three-day period. The owner of a bagel shop said he sees the trash mounds.

“All over the place, all over, and in the can for sure, but whatever doesn’t fit they have on the ground,” said the owner, Hershie Oberlander.

The merchants were unsure of the number of pick-ups, but the councilman said there’s only one pickup a week. He protested that Bay Ridge residents not far away get two pickups a week.

Greenfield’s reference to Bay Ridge might have something to do with the recent deal that Councilman Vincent Gentile worked out with the DOS for extra garbage pickups along the neighborhoods busiest streets. Gentile’s deal also covered parts of Bensonhurst.

CBS posted a response from DOS spokesperson Belinda Mager.

But a spokeswoman for the Sanitation Department said trash is actually picked up four times a week in the problem areas.

“Regular collection trucks service the area (Ave J + East 15th Street) on Tuesday and Fridays. In addition, there is a dedicated basket truck servicing the area on Sunday and Monday. Those baskets are serviced four days a week,” Mager said.

Something seems strange in Mager’s response as the deal Gentile struck increased pickups to four days a week. If Gentile’s deal was only for parts of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst and if the deal maxed out at four days a week, how could the DOS be collecting four days a week in an area where no deal has been struck?

Either way, as a response to mounting garbage problem, Greenfield has floated the ideas of placing security cameras near bins to track the amount of pickups and to catch people who illegally dump residential trash in the baskets.

The National Weather Service issued a sudden Flash Flood Warning shortly before 8:30 a.m. and lasting until 9:15 a.m., as a torrent of rainfall came down on Brooklyn, flooding homes, highways and and streets.

There was major flooding on the Belt Parkway near Cropsey Avenue, and the highway ultimately shut down for short period because of it. Eventually one lane in each direction reopened. Also near Cropsey Avenue, there were reports on the police scanner that cars were submerged on Shore Parkway, and even drifting in the current.

We heard about flooding from Plumb Beach all the way to Dyker Heights. Now that it’s over, we’re still waiting to hear about conditions in certain parts of the neighborhood, like the Plumb Beach bungalow courts and areas around Cropsey Avenue. If you know how it is, please fill us in in the comments!

Readers have kept us updated so far, sending in the following photos.

This one’s from the entrance to the Belt Parkway at Bay Parkway, going west:

Photo by Regina Sorkin.

Things aren’t much better on the Belt Parkway, even now that the rain has stopped. Reader Rachel Tarantul sent us a photo taken just a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. that shows water sitting in two lanes of the highway, and only one lane is open in each direction. She says traffic is terrible.

And this was by the Cropsey bus depot:

Photo by Regina Sorkin.

Along the border of Coney Island and Brighton Beach, this is from the parking lot of 601 Surf Avenue:

Photo by Regina Sorkin.

We’re also hearing about homes and building basements flooding. A reader tweeted to us that a Sheepshead Bay apartment building on Homecrest Avenue near Avenue Z had several inches of water. Our own Elle Spektor is dealing with a flooded basement in her Bensonhurst home. Here’s what it looked like in the streets near her:

And here’s one of a flooded Sheepshead Bay garage, on Avenue W and East 26th Street, from reader Danil Rudoy:

Nearby, on Avenue V between Brigham Street and Brown Street, reader nolastname snapped this. There’s about two inches of water filling up the alleyway.

In Manhattan Beach – an area that has certainly seen more than enough water lately – Albert Hasson sent us this photo of a car trying to get through what appears to be at least a foot of water on Ocean Avenue:

Hopefully now that the rain stopped – and almost exactly at 9:15 a.m., as the National Weather Service predicted – the water is receding and things getting back to normal. Make sure to let us know if there’s any lasting damage or floodwater in your area, and send photos and other information to nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Updated (10:49 a.m.) to add the photo from nolastname.

Source: Jhawk/Flickr

Social day care centers, community facilities that cater to the elderly, are being accused of abusing Medicaid, according to a report in the New York Times.

Under a new law enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo, managed care, the type of service offered at the centers, became mandatory for people receiving home services. The hope was that New York, which has the largest Medicaid budget in the country at $54 billion, could steer the costs away from expensive long-term home care like nursing homes to less expensive and safer community friendly centers.

The centers, which have ballooned from eight programs to 192 in just two years, are supposed to treat patients with severe disabilities and medical problems. The Times described the scenes at centers meant to cater to the frail:

Scores of elderly Russian immigrants played bingo under the chandeliers of a former funeral parlor in Brooklyn on a recent Monday, with a free dinner and door-to-door transportation from anywhere in the city.

Nearby, older people speaking Chinese filled a supermarket-size storefront with vigorous games of table tennis, billiards and mah-jongg, and ordered free lunch from a takeout menu featuring minced pork, beef and salty fish.In Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, at the new R & G Social Adult Day Care Center, known locally among elderly immigrants for luring clients with cash and grocery vouchers, most people there for lunch did not stay to eat. Instead, many walked briskly toward the subway carrying bags stuffed with takeout containers, and two elderly men rode away on bicycles with the free food.

If something seems out of whack in this picture it’s because the financial rewards for the centers are huge. These new social day care centers are taking in seemingly healthy, active elderly people because, in New York City, Medicaid reimburses these centers per member to the tune of $3,800 each, per session, compared to the statewide average reimbursement of $93 per member.

Right now, there is little oversight or regulation. As a result, there has been an aggressive push by the centers to recruit elderly members no matter how healthy they might be. The Times described how the centers tempt elderly with financial incentives:

At Mr. [Warren] Chan’s Asian Senior Day Care center on 18th Avenue, around the corner from R & G, Liang Mei King, 77, was one of several clients who said they were offered financial inducements to join R & G.

“I went once to see,” she said through an interpreter, interrupting her mah-jongg game. “If you get someone else, they give you $50. And each week, there’s a certain amount of money. One day there’s $5, a $10 grocery coupon, or an unlimited MetroCard. If you don’t want the MetroCard, they offer $125 in cash.”

Mr. Chan said other centers were resorting to the same tactics, and elderly immigrants who did not know better accused him of pocketing benefits himself.

While the redesign of the state’s Medicaid system was enacted to curb costs, the loopholes have costs spinning out of control. Part of the problem is that Medicaid is not overseeing the centers, and instead leaves oversight to the managed care plans that pay out to the centers. That, however, is a shoddy system, since there’s little incentive for managed care plans to crack down on centers, since the managed care plan gets a cut of the payment.

Valerie Bogart, a lawyer for the New York Legal Assistance Group explained the problem to the Times:

“The whole thing is going to end up costing the state much more money. It’s really up to the managed care plans to be the watchdogs now, and it’s like the fox watching the chicken coop, because they have an incentive to make money from these centers, too,” Bogart said.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you live on the far end of a New York City borough and have the distinct pleasure of sitting through a 45-50 minute commute into Manhattan every day, you gain a unique experience. The trip highlights the diversity of races, cultures and economic classes as the train rumbles from your more modest home towards Fancytown. While it’s easy to notice the types of people you see on the train – homeless, hipsters, lawyers, mothers and tourists – it’s harder to guess their socioeconomic status, even if you have a rough idea. Thanks to the New Yorker, you can now know exactly how much people are making through their handy interactive graph which charts the median household incomes via subway stops.

The results will probably depress you, especially if you are a normal schmo from Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach or practically anywhere outside of the confines of Manhattan. The luckiest New Yorkers live off the 2 and 3 lines by Park Place and Chambers Street. If those people are even using the subway, they are on average earning more than $200,000 a year.

Riders near the 18th Avenue D stop in Bensonhurst clock an average of $39,524. Borough Park riders near 55th street also earn about $39,000. Further south by the Sheepshead Bay Q station, riders earn an average of $33,616. Brighton Beach riders are even less affluent, with the median being set at $28,398. If Q train riders from Southern Brooklyn want to see some fancy people living off their line, all they have to do is drop $2.50 and ride up to 5th Avenue in Manhattan where the median  household income is set at a breezy $171,000.

It’s a fascinating graph filled with huge spikes that tower over the lowly millions in far more precarious economic situations. Sigh…

As we reported on Sheepshead Bites last month, the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s “Brighton Beach Series” — which will not be taking place in Brighton Beach — will feature the family workshop, “A Bad Workman Blames His Tools” at the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, 7802 Bay Parkway, March 3 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

A description of the event from organizers:

Russian folk music was born in a rich peasant culture, centuries ago and 5,000 miles away, by artists who created music using whatever resources were at their disposal, from wood blocks to washboards to tablespoons. Lack of proper tools held no sway over creativity of the human spirit! The remarkable and distinctive folk music they created had an enormous impact beginning with orchestral music of the 19th century and expanding on into the music of today. The public is invited to join charismatic teaching artists and Brooklyn Phil musicians in a hands-on discovery of these creative traditions.

The event is free of charge, and you can RSVP by going here. For further information, call (718) 488-5700, email info@bphil.org or go to www.bphil.org.

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