Archive for the tag 'bensonhurst'

Parking lot identified in BP Adams' affordable housing report.

Parking lot identified in BP Adams’ affordable housing report.

Several “underdeveloped areas” of Brooklyn can be used to build affordable housing – including municipal parking lots in Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, and Midwood – according to a new report by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The parking lots, like one facing the Riegelmann Boardwalk between Brighton 2nd Street and Brighton 4th Street, can be sold to create approximately 2,000 affordable housing units, with space leftover for shared public parking, states the report.

While praising Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year plan to build 200,000 units of affordable housing citywide, Adams writes:

New York City, in general, and Brooklyn, in particular, can be models for government at its best: expanding opportunity and safeguarding community character, while being supportive, resilient and progressive. Brooklyn has the space to create entirely new neighborhoods by tapping underdeveloped land, exploring air rights and considering developing residential properties over existing rail yards and rail infrastructure. We have the capacity; all we need is tenacity!

Along with identifying sites to build the units, the report offers several ways to better connect New Yorkers with affordable housing, including partnering with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to create multiple tiers of income eligibility, so that a wider portion of the population can have access. Adams also proposes the HPD give preference to locals, so that residents are not forced from their neighborhoods.

The report is restating a conversation from eight years ago, and it still needs to evolve, a spokesperson for the borough president told us. When fully fleshed out, the plan will include components like doing construction in phases to ensure parking for merchants at all times, as well as building height and affordability considerations.

This is not the beep’s first bold affordable housing proposal. As we previously reported, one of the first things Adams did as borough president was explore the possibility of selling air rights in one part of the borough and using the money to to create land banks near Coney Island for affordable housing.

Read the full report here.

Photo by Soo Koon Lee

Photo by Soo Koon Lee

Do you miss the days of heading down Emmons Avenue to Brown Street for some Chinese food at Hong Kong City? Well, the former owners are back with a new place in Bensonhurst.

Hong Kong City, the one of the only places to get Chinese fare on the waterfront, shut down some five or six years ago. The 3081 Emmons Avenue storefront has since served up Turkish food, Mexican-American food and, most recently, Italian food in the shape of Vittoria Seafood & Grill.

Owner Peter Wong is now in a new space at 2332 86th Street with a soon-to-be-opened Cantonese eatery named Shun Deck Restaurant.

Our sister site Bensonhurst Bean reports:

Long-time restauranteur Peter Wong told us he teamed up with chef Karmon Chan to build a restaurant that served the food of his hometown in the Chinese province of Guangdong. Wong had previously owned and managed the popular Hong Kong City in Sheepshead Bay (3081 Emmons) as well as a Chinese restaurant in Bay Ridge. His latest venture, Shun Deck, will be open for business on Monday, December 8.

Chan says the restaurant will serve “home-style” Cantonese recipes from Guangdong, China. The menu will include items like fresh seafood and fish, casseroles and soups, as well as rice congee for lunch.

Shun Deck Restaurant

Photo by Rachel “GimmeCredit” Silberstein

Best of luck to our former neighbors!

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement. (Source: Adams’ office)

Several local schools are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each for repairs, upgrades and improvements as part of a $3.1 million allocation by Borough President Eric Adams to education institutions across the borough.

The beep today unveiled 16 school-related capital projects that will benefit from the allocation, which was packed into the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

“If you look around Downtown Brooklyn, something new is rising up every day and this is an exciting time for the borough and this area, as education and schools represent the vibrant energies of what’s coming up at this time,” said Borough President Adams. “This budget spans the far reaches of the borough; from Metrotech to Midwood and from Bed-Stuy to Bath Beach, we are leaving no school behind. Our goal is education, education, and education.”

The allocations are largely for technology upgrades, although some schools are receiving it for more general improvements.

Schools in our area are slated to receive the following:

  • $350,000 to James Madison High School for upgrades to the school’s library and media centers;
  • $225,000 for improvements to the library at Sheepshead Bay High School;
  • $200,000 for classroom technology purchases at Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281;
  • $100,000 for classroom technology purchases at P.S. 169;

Local elected officials joined Adams during the announcement this morning to celebrate the funding.

“School libraries and media centers are essential to the success of today’s high school students,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “I thank Brooklyn Borough President Adams for this funding, which will enhance these services at Sheepshead and James Madison High Schools, and allow students to reach even greater heights.”

“Investing in education is the best investment we can make for the future of our state and country,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “These capital improvements will help bring much-needed technological advancements to our local Brooklyn schools that will better our children. This $200,000 capital grant for I.S. 281 will allow for the school to make technology improvements, including by purchasing smartboards and computer laptops, that will benefit our students by enhancing their learning experience, and provide valuable resources for our educators.”

An example of a bait station (Source: DOH)

An example of a bait station (Source: DOH)

After a raccoon tested positive for rabies in Bensonhurst last month, the city announced today that vaccine-treated bait will be placed around Southern Brooklyn to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Raccoons will be vaccinated using bait containing oral rabies vaccine in parks, public green spaces, and on private property along the southern border of Brooklyn and Queens. The brown, fish-scented bait will conceal a small packet of pink colored liquid vaccine about one square inch in size. When raccoons chew the bait, they will become immunized.

It’s an expansion of a program initiated by the United Stated Department of Agriculture and Cornell University, and is already being conducted in Long Island and parts of upstate New York.

An example of the bait. Quarter for size comparison purposes. (Source: DOH)

An example of the bait. Quarter for size comparison purposes. (Source: DOH)

The bait itself is harmless to humans, but exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. If neighbors somehow stumble across one of the fixed bait stations, rummage through the bait, puncture the packet and get the liquid on their skin – an unlikely scenario – they’re advised to wash the affected area with warm, soapy water and notify the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. The bait is not harmful to pets, but can cause vomiting if too much is consumed.

More information about the bait program can be found here.

The Department of Health is also sharing the following tips to help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Get your cat or dog vaccinated for rabies. It’s the law.
    • Check with your vet to see if your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations. Pets need a rabies booster shot every one to four years.
    • Call 311 or visit nyc.gov and search for “rabies” for information on rabies.
    • Always keep cats, even vaccinated cats, indoors and supervise your dog when it is outdoors. Cats and dogs that roam could come into contact with a rabid animal, get infected, and then expose you.
  • Avoid wild, stray or unfamiliar animals. Keep children and pets away from them too.
    • Avoid any wild, stray, sick, or injured animal, no matter how helpless it looks. Even stray cats can be dangerous.
    • Raccoons, skunks, and bats are more likely than other animals to have rabies. Be careful around them—especially if they appear sick or behave strangely. For example:
      • Normally tame animals, like cats, acting too aggressive or wild animals acting too friendly.
      • Difficulty walking around.
      • Night animals like raccoons walking around during the day.
    • Call 311 and ask for Animal Care and Control to find out what to do
    • Keep garbage in tight containers to avoid attracting animals.
  • If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound, consult a doctor, and call 311 or Poison Control to report the bite.
    • First, wash the wound with soap and water IMMEDIATELY.
    • Talk to a doctor right away to see if you need a tetanus shot or a rabies evaluation. If you don’t have a regular doctor, go to a hospital emergency room.
    • Call 311 to report the bite. After business hours, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
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.

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