Archive for the tag 'bensonhurst'

Source: Wikimedia Common

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be avoiding Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods that supported his electoral rival, Joe Lhota, including Sheepshead Bay and Bensonhurst, according to a report in the New York Observer.

The outlet reports that de Blasio has held press conferences in neighborhoods where he performed well in November’s elections, but has failed to appear at all in the more conservative enclaves of Southern Brooklyn.

Mr. de Blasio, a Brooklynite, held press conferences in Democratic strongholds like Williamsburg, Bushwick, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York over the first seven and a half months of his administration. But along the southern swath of Brooklyn–in neighborhoods including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Boro Park, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach–Mr. de Blasio has not scheduled a public appearance since becoming mayor in January.

Mr. Lhota bested Mr. de Blasio in those southern Brooklyn neighborhoods, in some election districts winning as much as 80 percent of the vote. Citywide, Mr. Lhota was crushed, winning only 24 percent of the vote to Mr. de Blasio’s 73 percent.

Prior to the elections, de Blasio sightings were fairly common in areas like Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach. After votes were cast overwhelmingly in favor of Lhota in those neighborhoods, he hasn’t been heard from. The Observer reports that some in the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst neighborhoods are complaining of the same.

Public appearances are one measure of the mayor’s responsiveness to a community. Another could be the dispatching of high-ranking officials to those neighborhoods, and on that there appears to be mixed results. The Department of Transportation commissioner and Build it Back head have both engaged Southern Brooklyn communities and appeared responsive.

At the same time, the mayor’s office gave a last-minute denial to the Santa Rosalia Society’s request for a date change of the 18th Avenue Feast. The request was made to address community concerns about garbage pickup after the event, but the mayor’s office offered no explanation for the denial despite multiple requests.

Photo by John H.

Photo by John H.

Tipsters let us know that Pizza D’Amore is preparing to open up shop at 3003 Avenue U, the former storefront of Pizzeria Del Corso and Sammie’s Pizza.

It’s the latest outpost for the pizzeria, which also has locations in Mill Basin and Bensonhurst’s Ceasar’s Bay. The storefront is being fully renovated and the exterior got a major facelift.

The previous tenant, Sammie’s Pizza and Restaurant, opened in 2011 and closed up shop some time ago after failing to make much of a mark in the neighborhood. And, to be fair, they had big shoes to fill after taking the spot over from Pizzeria Del Corso, run by pizza prodigy Nino Coniglio.

We’ve heard good things about Pizza D’Amore, though, and readers of our sister site Bensonhurst Bean nominated it as one of that neighborhood’s best slices.

Best of luck to the new owners, and we look forward to grabbing a bite soon!

Photo by Allan Rosen

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assembly Member William Colton (47th Assembly District – Brooklyn) is announcing that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has agreed to add service to the B1 bus line in southern Brooklyn.

Beginning on August 31, 2014, the B1 bus line will run on a “School-Open Schedule” only. This translates into additional buses on the line, which will help improve service by decreasing the delays, irregular service, and overcrowding.

Previously, the B1 bus service operated on two different schedules: a “School-Open Schedule” when public school was in session, and a “School-Closed Schedule” when public school was not in session. This created a problem when public school was not in session, because there would be less buses running on the B1 line. Although public school was not in session, Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach was often still open. With the large number of students at Kingsborough, when there were less buses running on the B1 line, the buses often would get full with passengers at the Kingsborough bus stop in Manhattan Beach, creating overcrowding, irregular service, and delays on the entire bus line.

With the B1 bus now only operating on a “School-Open Schedule” only, there will be more buses on the line, which will lead to more and improved service for straphangers.

In June, Assemblyman Colton sent a letter to the MTA, asking them to take action to address the problems plaguing the B1 bus line, especially the chronic bus lateness, passenger overcrowding, and irregular service.

Assemblyman Colton worked with Transport Workers Union (TWU) – Local 100 in order to increase and improve the service on the B1 bus line. The Transport Workers Union played a vital role in securing the service change which will ultimately lead to better commutes and easier, faster travels for southern Brooklyn straphangers.

While this is a major community victory for southwest Brooklyn, Colton is aiming to further improve the B1 bus line, an important public transit service in our neighborhoods.

In July, Colton sent a letter to the MTA asking them to purchase new buses for the Ulmer Park Bus Depot, which services most of southwest Brooklyn. Currently, the Ulmer Park Bus Depot has the oldest fleet of buses in the City. A newer fleet of buses for the Depot would mean less mechanical malfunctions and breakdowns, which causes delays, overcrowding, and disruptions in service for passengers. Constituents have complained that often the hydraulic lifts of these older buses malfunction or don’t operate properly. This mechanical malfunction causes a serious problem for riders, especially the elderly, young children, and those carrying heavy bags or packages, making it ever more difficult to board and exit these older buses.

Additionally, Colton also sent a letter to the NYC Department of Transportation asking for the installation of additional pedestrian islands along the B1 bus line, specifically at the bus-stops at 86th Street & 25th Avenue, 86th Street & 24th Avenue, 86th Street & 23rd Avenue, 86th Street & 21st Avenue. These pedestrian plazas will help riders of the B1 bus line board and exit the buses easier and quicker, since they lift passengers six inches off the ground and higher to the door of the bus. In addition, for riders who are senior citizens, children, disabled, or those with limited mobility, the pedestrian plazas will also make boarding and exiting the buses easier as well. In addition, the pedestrian plazas will create a safe space for riders to wait for the bus, so they don’t have to wait in the middle of the street near moving vehicles. Adding pedestrian plazas to these bus stops will create a protective barrier for riders to keep them safe from oncoming traffic.

“I will continue working to improve public transit for the neighborhoods of southwest Brooklyn. This increase in service to the B1 bus line will greatly enhance the quality of life for local residents by reducing wait and travel times, creating easier, faster commutes for straphangers,” asserted Assemblyman Bill Colton. He added, “The B1 services many important areas of our community, including the busy, comercial shopping area of 86th Street. The additional service on the B1 bus line is a win-win situation for the entire community.”

Councilman Mark Treyger, who has been working to improve public transit in southern Brooklyn, affirmed, “This is great news for the many southern Brooklyn residents who rely on the B1 bus and have been frustrated by overcrowding and constant delays. At a time when our neighborhoods are growing and the need for reliable public transportation is more apparent than ever, I will continue to work with Assemblyman Colton, our community and the MTA to increase service elsewhere as needed. Running the B1 bus permanently on a ‘School-Open Schedule’ is a great first step in our ongoing efforts to provide our neighborhoods with the public service options needed to adequately serve our residents. This is only the beginning as we push for further transit improvements across Southern Brooklyn.”

Loughran (Source: Facebook)

Loughran (Source: Facebook)

Bryan Loughran, 32, died early Saturday morning after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Gerritsen Avenue in Gerritsen Beach.

Police rushed to the scene at 2:45 a.m., outside of Gather Inn Again (2718 Gerritsen Avenue, near Everett Avenue), where they found Loughran with severe trauma to his body. EMS took him to Beth Israel Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Cops determined that Loughran had left the bar and was crossing the street when a white minivan traveling southbound struck him before speeding off. The Daily News notes that Loughran was thrown several yards, and the impact smashed the vehicles windshield and ripped out its headlight.

Authorities tracked down the driver, Michael Casale, 51, and cuffed him at approximately 5:00 a.m. He had ditched the car a few blocks away on Frank Court near Cyrus Avenue. Casale lives on 13th Avenue in Bensonhurst, where cops made the arrest.

Casale is facing charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. His prior rap sheet dates back to 1984, with arrests for drug possession, robbery, impersonating a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon.

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.

ritter

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:

district-census-overlay2

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.

wallet-theft2

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.

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