Personally, I prefer my ice cream smutty.
Personally, I prefer my ice cream smutty.
Brighton Beach native and international superstar Neil Diamond is returning to home turf this weekend, where he’ll be filming scenes for an upcoming documentary about his life.
Diamond, 73, has filed permits with the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to film scenes on the beach on Saturday between 3:30pm and 5:00pm.
The crew of the documentary “Neil Diamond – One Night Only” is putting a small wooden bench on the sand, and the singer will sit with Welsh actor and TV presentor Rob Brydon. It’ll all be very romantic, we’re sure.
Diamond is one of Brighton Beach’s most famous residents, having attended Abraham Lincoln High School and lived over a Brighton Beach Avenue butcher shop. His years in the neighborhood gave him an appreciation for owning nice homes, apparently.
As well as his studio, he owns a place in LA, a cabin in Colorado and an apartment in New York.
‘Even though I can’t afford any of them, what money I have goes into those things. I grew up over a butcher’s store, so having them is very important to me. I need that security, but I also like having a nice home that I can bring people to. Growing up, I could never bring my school friends home because I was too embarrassed.’
… ‘Our place was beneath modest,’ says Diamond. ‘I took my son back there recently to show him where I spent my formative years and he couldn’t believe the bedroom. I shared it with my brother (Harvey) and it was about the size of a closet – there was only room for the bed, so you had to crawl in and out from the front of it.
‘Because we lived above a butcher’s store, there were a lot of mice and the traps were going off all the time. But it was fine. In Brooklyn, you didn’t live in your home – you lived on the streets, playing stick ball with your friends. Although now I find I love having my homes and my studio. I feel comfortable there.’
Back in those days, the Oceana condos just didn’t exist.
If anyone spots Neil on the beach this weekend, make sure to snag us a photo. Extra points if you catch him and Brydon canoodling on the sands.
Mandee’s to the rescue? More like turn tail and run.
The long-lived Brighton Beach Avenue location of Mandee is having a storewide sale as it gets set to close its doors for good. Its parent company, Big M, is retreating from the neighborhood following bankruptcy proceedings last year that it said were spurred on by Superstorm Sandy.
Signs at the location are calling it an end of lease sale. An employee of the store told Sheepshead Bites that the 713 Brighton Beach Avenue storefront would shutter in late October, a decision that will leave 20 to 25 people without jobs, she said. Employees have been directed to steer customers to their Sheepshead Bay location on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U.
Big M, which also owns Annie Sez, filed for bankruptcy in January 2013, saying that Superstorm Sandy forced company stores in New York and New Jersey to close and that business had not been able to recover from the impact. The company was in the midst of a turnaround and restructuring when the storm hit, according to Bloomberg News.
At the time of the filing, the New Jersey-based company operated 129 stores in eight states, including 84 Mandee locations. It was founded by brothers Leon, Max and Bernard Mandelbaum in 1948 and remains a family-owned business.
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.
Thousands are expected to cram the streets along Brighton Beach Avenue from Corbin Place all the way down to Coney Island Avenue for the Brighton Jubilee street festival, Sunday, August 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine.
The annual event, sponsored by the Brighton Neighborhood Association, features entertainment, food and vendors selling a variety of merchandise, including crafts, used stuff and other rare finds.
Cyclists finished off the Investors Bank Bike 4 Friendship Tour on Sunday, a 3,000 mile trek that ended in Brighton Beach.
The event kicked off 38 days ago in Los Angeles, led by Brooklynite Yitzy Smith and his six teammates. They crossed the finish line at Ocean Parkway in the early afternoon, completing the fourth annual event that this year raised more than $150,000 for Friendship Circle International, which joins teenage volunteers with children who have special needs.
The team averaged more than 80 miles a day as they crossed desserts, mountains, woods and plains. When they arrived in Livingston, New Jersey, they were joined by nine cross-country cyclists known as the Legends Team, who completed the full trip in previous years.
Update (5:30 p.m.): It looks like Brooklyn Brief was on this story, too, and had a bit more info on the cyclists:
An incredible journey on its own, some of the team members are also BK natives with their own unique personal stories. Yitzy Smith has now completed the trip twice, which is almost unheard of, even in the world of competitive cycling. Aaron Black is one of the youngest riders ever, at age 17. And Mendy Rapoport came all the way from Israel to participate.
Hundreds of the group’s acolytes gathered on the shoreline in their best formal wear – gowns, tuxedos, top hats, monocles – before plunging into the water fully clothed.
Meanwhile, those not in on the gag, which would be just about anyone else hanging around Coney Island or Brighton Beach, let loose a series of guffaws as they tried to figure out what was going on.
Did you catch the black tie crew? What was your reaction?
All of the photos for this post were taken by Dave Bledsoe/FreeVerse Photography, who generously posted them with a Creative Commons license on Flickr. Check out his photostream for more.
A Department of Education employee allegedly punched an 11-year-old autistic boy at Brighton Beach’s P.S. 225 (1075 Oceanview Avenue), leading to felony assault and other charges, reports the Daily News.
The paper reports:
Milton Parker, 58, a paraprofessional at Public School 225 in Brighton Beach, attacked the youngster last Thursday after he had spilled water on the floor, according to the boy’s father, Anatoly Veltman.
Parker ordered Anatoly, Jr., to clean up the spill, but the boy apparently did not understand what he meant — further enraging the supervisor. He grabbed the boy and punched him in the face, according to court papers.
“The police officer told me Mr. Parker said my son said ‘something racial’ to him,” Veltman told The News. “I spoke to my son and all he could say was he told (Parker) to ‘keep your hands to yourself.’”
The boy, who has the cognitive and social skills of a 6-year-old, was treated at Coney Island Hospital for a possible concussion and severe bruising of his face.
While paraprofessionals are assigned to supervise some special needs students, Parker was not assigned to Veltman.
School security cameras caught the incident on tape, which police reviewed. Parker was charged with felony assault, manacing, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. He was been suspended without pay.
Gourmanoff, a new gourmet supermarket from the folks behind NetCost Market, is now open at 1029 Brighton Beach Avenue, taking up the ground floor of the former Millenium Theater.
The owners celebrated the grand opening Monday evening with an invite-only party, with Vegas-style cocktail waitresses handing out champagne and a full display of the market’s culinary talents. Here’s our photo tour.
“We want Gourmanoff to be Lexus to NetCost’s Toyota,” said executive chef Zack Hess, pictured above. “It’s a different caliber than NetCost. Our products are super high-end.”
Hess, 32, said the market only sells organic meats, and all seafood is shipped fresh from Alaska, Maine and Long Island.
The third-generation chef comes to Gourmanoff after stints at Manhattan restaurants and ritzy country clubs. Now he oversees Gourmanoff’s prolific kitchen, which produces dozens of hot items served along the market’s perimeter. From sushi to shashlik, lobster rolls to olivier salads and a huge display of smoked fish, Hess, a Sheepshead Bay native, has a hand in all of it.
His favorite items on the menu are the scallop ceviche and short ribs, which we can attest were among the best of the dozens of samples offered Monday night.
A Medicaid fraud bust at a Park Slope adult day care center resulted in the arrest today of residents of Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Sea Gate, one of whom is a member of Sheepshead Bay’s Community Board 15.
The three local defendants worked at Northern Manor Adult Day Health Care Program at One Prospect Park West. They are accused of falsifying medical records to bilk the Medicaid program out of more than $1 million. The center’s operators are also accused of hiring unqualified individuals to provide services.
The bust followed a long-term investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has been probing adult day health care centers for potential abuses.
The attorney general’s office set up covert stings, sending healthy, vibrant seniors to the facility as undercover informants for the attorney general. They say their secret cameras recorded Larisa Rumynik, 48, of Brighton Beach, and Valentina Shapran, 51, of Sea Gate, falsifying medical admission forms to ensure the healthy patients would qualify for the programs.
The third local defendant, Liliya Kostyuk, 58, of Sheepshead Bay, is accused of providing social work services and psychological assessments that she was not qualified to perform, the attorney general’s office said.
Kostyuk is also a member of Community Board 15, a government body comprised of 50 unpaid community members appointed at the request of City Council members. The Boards are responsible for advising city and state agencies on planning decisions. According to Chairperson Theresa Scavo, Kostyuk has been on the Board for at least six years and is an appointee of former Councilman Michael Nelson. She did not hold any leadership posts on the Board.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Scavo on hearing the news of Kostyuk’s arrest. “Liliya? I’m speechless. she’s always seemed so quiet. I guess you can never judge.”
Each of the three defendants face up to four years in state prison if found guilty. The program’s director, Gelena Deverman, 35, of New Jersey, was charged with grand larceny for causing Medicaid to pay more than $1 million in phony claims. She faces 25 years in prison.
Northern Manor’s parent company, Northern Manor Multicare Center based in Nanuet, New York, in a separate civil settlement, admitted that it operated without a qualified social worker from mid-2010 to 2011. They also confessed to routinely admitting more registrants than it was certified to take.
The parent company agreed to pay a $6.5 million civil settlement in the case and to shut down the Brooklyn center.
“Today’s charges detail yet another example of egregious, despicable abuse of public resources for personal gain, sending the message that criminal behavior will be met with the full force of the law,” said Schneiderman in a press release. “Employees of this program will never again be able to steal from taxpayers and deprive vulnerable New Yorkers of the care they deserve.”
Adult day cares are surging in popularity across New York, seen as a less costly alternative to nursing homes. Such facilities are licensed by the state to provide medical and psychosocial care to seniors who are unable to care for themselves, and are paid approximately 65 percent of the rate paid to a nursing home that provides room and board.
However, the lack of oversight has seen a spike in fraud, with some centers offering gifts, kickbacks and incentives for recruiting potential Medicaid recipients.
Both the state legislature and City Council have sought reforms to limit abuse.