Archive for the tag 'brighton beach business improvement district'

This is one of the entries that will be on display on Thursday.

Just over 30 submissions have been chosen as finalists for the “Brighton Beach Pictured” photo contest organized by the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, and all will be on exhibit when the winners are announced this Thursday, January 30.

The exhibit is designed to highlight the people, places and spirit of the area, and is being judged by a combination of locals and photography experts. It kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and lasts until 9:00 p.m. at The National restaurant, 273 Brighton Beach Avenue. It’s free and open to the public.

“Brighton is unique and we wanted to challenge photographers to describe that uniqueness,” said Yelena Makhnin, the executive director of the BID, in a press release. “The photos we received are amazing. The talented photographers that responded were up to the challenge and the result is stunning exhibition that provides a multidimensional portrait of a great New York neighborhood.”

The BID posted the best submissions to their website, and it’s being whittled down a little further for the Thursday exhibit by a panel of judges that included photographers Robert Lobe, and Gregory Leshé and Brooklyn Community Board 13 District Manager Charles Reichenthal. Pratt Institute Photography Professor Ellen Wallenstein will select the winning photographs from those on display.

Cash awards of $500, $300 and $150 will be given to the top three photographs, and we’re told there might be some smaller prizes in the works for honorable mentions.

Source: niznoz/Flickr

Source: niznoz/Flickr

by Jennifer Szulman

It has been more than a year since Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast, yet Brighton Beach leaders say Con Edison and local landlords have not yet fully recovered – and it could cost residents a small fortune due to ongoing billing issues.

A series of billing and infrastructural snafus, some on behalf of the utility company, and others due to landlords’ sluggishness with repairs, will lead to large future bills for many customers. That has local business and tenant advocates concerned.

Makhnin

Yelena Makhnin, the executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, said that Brighton Beach residents are concerned about their Con Edison bills since the storm damaged their electricity meters. Some residents have received bills as low as $20 per month when they’re used to seeing $80; others have received estimated bills or no bills whatsoever.

That means the company has not been billing for actual usage, and plans to make up the shortfall on future bills.

According to Con Edison’s Public Affairs Manager Sidney Alvarez, a future bill will consist of the months that customers haven’t been charged. It will be estimated on a case by case basis and calculated from each resident’s typical use of electricity prior to Superstorm Sandy. Alvarez suggested that residents stay in close contact with Con Edison for questions about bill adjustments, accommodations or payment plans.

Most of the billing problems stem from damaged electrical meter systems in large buildings, which some landlords haven’t remedied. When Con Edison finds that a meter has not been properly repaired, they may suspend billing.

“Building owners are responsible for making repairs, upgrades and modifications,” Alvarez said. “Once work is completed Con Edison will make the necessary inspections to service the area and issue the required orders.”

In large buildings, though, building owners aren’t the ones that need to worry about electrical bills, since those are handled directly by the residents. So there’s little incentive to make repairs, and some landlords are dragging their feet due to the high costs, Makhnin said.

“The landlords have to pay for it. They are not talking about $2,000 or $3,000, but a much greater amount,” Makhnin said. “Take into consideration the amount of money already spent [to repair boilers, etc]; they might see changing meters as an expense they cannot afford.”

Residents, meanwhile, are left at the utility company’s mercy.

Singer (Photo by Erica Sherman)

Singer (Photo by Erica Sherman)

When Brighton Neighborhood Association founder and local resident Pat Singer started receiving estimated bills from Con Edison shortly after Superstorm Sandy, she thought it was going to be a temporary way to cope with the aftermath of the storm. In April, Singer paid an estimated bill of roughly $17, as opposed to her typical charge of $80 to $150, depending on the season. Singer later received a letter from Con Edison saying that while they would still provide electricity to the complex, they were not going to bill her anymore until the meters in her 96-unit building are replaced.

The meters in her building are due to come soon, according to Singer, but she fears the “estimated” expense of her future bills.

“They’re going to have to pull the figure out of a hat if you don’t have a meter,” Singer said. “Of course they’re going to pull the figure out on their side, not on our side. They should waive some of these fees; it shouldn’t be a blow like this with one big giant bill. They shouldn’t have stopped billing. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Both Singer and Makhnin agree that this is a serious issue that needs to go beyond a “he said, she said” debate. Both women feel the government needs to intervene and Sandy relief money should be used to help the residents pay for the mounting costs.

“I’m not saying that the city, federal government or FEMA has to pay for changing meters, but there should be a way to give landlords some kind of incentive to help them a little bit,” Makhnin said. “I believe the city has to step in – not by issuing fines but trying to find a solution to help both sides. People should not have to choose, especially elderly on a fixed income, between paying Con Edison bills and buying food.”

The new and improved BID website.

A look at the new and improved BID website.

The Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) launched a redesigned website with the goal of providing visitors with a better experience for exploring all the businesses and restaurants Brighton Beach has to offer. According to a press release, the BID will also be providing business owners with training to help manage their online profiles to better connect with the community.

The new website, which can be accessed by clicking here, will also track attractions and events unique to Brighton Beach. Yelena Mahknin, Executive Director of the Brighton Beach BID, was excited at the prospect of the launch.

“The borsht, blintzes, and beach are always great but we want the public to know that Brighton Beach has a lot more to offer. The new site will get the word out that Brighton is an exciting, active and thriving up-to-date community with something for everyone,” Mahnkin said in the release.

The administrators of the BID also wanted users to be aware of and participate in one of their first new projects, “Brighton Beach Pictured,” a photo contest, which we’ve previously posted about:

The Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce “Brighton Beach Pictured,” a photography competition and exhibition focused on Brighton Beach. Photographers entering the competition should aim to submit photos that capture the spirit, culture, ambiance, excitement and uniqueness of the Brighton Beach area and community.

Photographers may submit up to 5 images. Digitally altered images are welcome. The deadline for submissions is December 30, 2013. The project will culminate in an exhibition in January 2014 that will be held at a venue in the community.

Cash awards of $500, $300 and $150 will be given to the top three photographs.

Guidelines are as follows:

There are no restrictions on subject matter, but since the exhibition will be held in a community venue, overtly sexual images cannot be accepted.

Hear that would be photogs? No porno. Other than that, may the best Brighton Beacher win and good luck to the BID on their latest endeavor!

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

The Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) invites all area shutterbugs to participate in “Brighton Beach Pictured,” a photography competition and exhibition focused on Brighton Beach.

According to the Brighton Beach BID, photographers entering the competition should aim to submit photos that capture the people, spirit, culture, ambiance, excitement and uniqueness of the Brighton Beach area and community.

Photographers may submit up to five images. There is no entry fee.

To enter, go to the contest site, Brighton Beach Pictured, and follow the instructions for registering and uploading images. Images should be jpegs, 72 dpi no larger than 1000 pixels on the largest side.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2013.

The project will culminate in an exhibition in January 2014 that will be held at a venue in the community.

Judging will be in two stages.  The panel, made up of photographers Robert Lobe, and Gregory LeShay and Brooklyn Community Board 13 District Manager Charles Reichenthal, will choose the photographs for the exhibition. Pratt Institute Photography Professor Ellen Wallenstein will select the winning photographs that are exhibited.

Cash awards of $500, $300 and $150 will be given to the top three photographs.

There are no restrictions on subject matter, but since the exhibition will be held in a community venue, overtly sexual images cannot be accepted.

From our friends at the Be Proud Foundation and the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District:

bid

Brighton Beach didn’t just flood with water, like Sheepshead Bay. The beach turned to mud, and came chest high on Brighton Beach Avenue.

In our mission to get out as much useful, actionable information out there about Hurricane Sandy and the recovery efforts, we haven’t had much time to check out how our neighbors in Brighton Beach are doing. So we checked in with Brighton Beach Business Improvement District Executive Directory Yelena Makhnin for an update on Tuesday.

DOT and Department of Sanitation had to plow the roads several times after Sandy, as the beach poured onto the main avenues.

Like the rest of us, Brighton Beach is plodding forward with recovery efforts, and, though Brighton Beach Avenue’s businesses were under as much as five feet of mud and water, some are getting back up to speed.

“Each and every store got some portion of damage. A lot of water. I don’t even know of one business without losses,” Makhnin said.

Still, about 40 percent of the businesses have opened up, and others are offering limited service.

Power remains an issue. Huge swaths of Brighton Beach – including chunks of Brighton Beach Avenue – remain without electricity. And though some sections were hardly touched – such as the stretch between Brighton 5th Street and Brighton 6th Street, where storefronts have no basements to worry about – the lack of power has crippled businesses that could otherwise be up and running.

“Half of the block does not have power,” Makhnin said. “The side of the block close to Brighton Beach is functioning very well. The restaurant is open, the cell phone store is open. The other side is dark.”

Continue Reading »

Vendors in Brighton Beach have brought complaints from area merchants.

A press release issued this morning by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz claims Brighton Beach business owners are demanding an investigation of the executive director of the neighborhood’s business improvement district (BID), but the director said the attacks are because she remains friends with the assemblyman’s opponent in tomorrow’s primary.

According to the release, three area business owners and a real estate broker met with the commissioner of New York City’s Small Business Services, which oversees BIDs across the city, and told him that Brighton BID Executive Director Yelena Makhnin has allowed the organization to become stagnant, and demanded an investigation of her activities. The meeting was organized by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

Cymbrowitz’s office said that the businesses say Makhnin repeatedly rejected proposals to improve the district, including rejoining the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, increasing garbage pickups and the number of receptacles, removing illegal vendors from storefronts and producing brochures and other materials about Brighton Beach.

“Store owners on Brighton Beach Avenue look at similar shopping areas in other neighborhoods, see joint efforts being undertaken to attract shoppers and diners, and ask, ‘Why not us? Why can’t we do these things?’” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said in the release. “The merchants complain the avenue has stagnated with no new district-wide marketing initiatives in more than five years.”

Business leaders at the meeting included Natalia Orlova, owner of St. Petersburg Book Store, Tatiana Varzar, owner of Tatiana Restaurant, real estate broker Felix Filler, and Alex Fraiman, owner of Glavs Travel Agency.

The release also noted, “Merchants believe Makhnin may be working on political campaigns on city time and want [Small Business Services Commissioner  Robert] Walsh and the inspector general to investigate.”

However, Makhnin said she’s been doing her job well, and that attacks are politically motivated due to her longtime friendship with Cymbrowitz’s opponent in tomorrow’s Democratic primary, Ben Akselrod.

“It’s only political,” Makhnin told Sheepshead Bites. “He’s using the commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services as the ax against Yelena Makhnin.”

Continue Reading »

Small businesses owners, despair!

Last week, we posted about Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s plans to sue Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to force him to release information regarding fines distributed to small businesses. De Blasio claims that the city is doling out fines irresponsibly to fill city coffers, and the results are hurting neighborhood commerce.

Now, another local politician, Congressman Bob Turner, is calling out President Barack Obama, saying federal taxes and regulations are fueling local unemployment rates.

Turner held a “Stop the Tax Hike” event on Friday, teaming up with the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District and small business owners to speak about the economy and how tax increases affect their businesses and unemployment.

After speaking with several small business owners in the area, Turner claimed that, for the first time in almost three years, business owners say that taxes – as opposed to poor sales – is the most serious issue they are struggling with today.

But while de Blasio blames the city, and Turner blames the fed, Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is blaming the state. In April, Malliotakis held an event with Bay Ridge business owners, telling them that, though there were some pro-business accomplishments in Albany this year, the state is still hurting local businesses with excessive regulations and paperwork, taxes hidden in utility bills, and fees devised to pay off the state’s debt.

So which is hurting small business owner the most? Federal government, state government, or city government? Or are small business woes simply the result of the sluggish economy?

Above is the fourth of four videos, in which NYPD Community Affairs officers give tips to the community. In this video, officers give several crime prevention tips, including a rundown of several programs offered at all local precincts to help you protect your property.

The videos come from a recent event in which NYPD officers from the 60th Precinct, 61st Precinct, 62nd Precinct, 70th Precinct and Brooklyn South’s Community Affairs Unit converged on Tzar Restaurant (2007 Emmons Avenue), for the first ever Community Awareness Meeting organized by the Be Proud Foundation and the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District.

Click here to see their video on bullying.
Click here to see their video on preventing cell phone theft.
Click here to see their video on identifying drug use among kids.

Last week we brought you the first two NYPD Community Affairs Unit’s safety tips videos. This is the third of four, in which the officers talk about drug use among children and teens, and how parents and educators can spot bad habits.

The videos come from a recent event in which NYPD officers from the 60th Precinct, 61st Precinct, 62nd Precinct, 70th Precinct and Brooklyn South’s Community Affairs Unit converged on Tzar Restaurant (2007 Emmons Avenue), for the first ever Community Awareness Meeting organized by the Be Proud Foundation and the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District.

Click here to see their video on bullying.
Click here to see their video on preventing cell phone theft. 

Next »