Archive for the tag 'brighton neighborhood association'

The following was sent to us by the Brighton Neighborhood Association:

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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.

Today's snow, as seen from West 4th Street near Avenue T (Photo by Michael Louis)

Today’s snow, as seen from West 4th Street near Avenue T (Photo by Michael Louis)

A staffer in one of our elected officials’ offices pitched me an idea earlier today: start a registry on our website of volunteers willing to help elderly and disabled residents dig out from the snow storm.

The staffer told me that they’ve been receiving calls all morning, but that their office couldn’t do anything – including recommend a pay service, since such a recommendation from a public office would be inappropriate.

But why should I create a registry? The City of New York already has one.

It’s right here on the New York City Service website. I knew that but the staffer didn’t. Because the city has done a shoddy job publicizing it.

And, as a result, it’s totally useless at the moment. I called the most local partner listed on the website, the Brighton Neighborhood Association, and the one person in the office – who was closing up shop – said they never once had a volunteer come through it. And so I called the number at City Hall to register as a volunteer just to see how the process went – and they, too were closed.

With the number of snow storms we’ve already had in 2014, it might be time for the city to reactivate that program and make a big push. The point is to help elderly and disabled residents – both by ensuring they have a clean path to walk on, and also to prevent them from receiving fines from the city. That’s a great goal, and with virtually no cost to taxpayers.

My hope is that this post spurs a few kind, generous individuals to register for service in future snow storms, and also to get local elected officials’ offices to sign up as partners to help direct and mobilize the volunteers. It’s not unheard of – Bronx Councilman James Vacca and Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis both use their offices in this way.

I look forward to seeing our local elected officials join that list very soon, and also help in the recruitment of local volunteers. If they do, this site commits to publicizing the registry in future storms. How’s that for a deal?

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.


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.”

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Another year, another Brighton Jubilee. The half-mile-long street festival on Brighton Beach Avenue, featuring entertainment, food and special deals is back for one and all.

The jubilee kicks off on Sunday, August 25, and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. If previous year’s events are any indication, thousands of people are expected to cram the streets along Brighton Beach Avenue from Corbin Place all the way down to Coney Island Avenue, scoping out the crafts vendors, used stuff and other rare finds. Like always, sounds like a lot of fun for the whole family.

The event is sponsored by the Brighton Neighborhood Association.

If you can’t wait to go to the jubilee or forget what the experience is like, you can listen to the sounds of the festival by clicking here.

BNA’s office inside the Chase Bank at 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue. Source: Google Maps

In an event that had to be rescheduled to a later date, the Brighton Neighborhood Association (BNA) will be hosting a “Senior Benefits” workshop at 11:00 a.m., February 22 inside BNA’s Chase Office, 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue on the corner of Coney Island Avenue (inside Chase Bank’s Community Center — just come inside, turn left, walk past the tellers, and look for the red sign).

Representatives from the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) will be conducting the meeting and BNA staff will also be on hand to answer and help address any of your housing-related issues.

The meeting will be conducted in English, with Russian and Spanish translators on hand. Light refreshments will be served. Bring your friends and neighbors!

To learn more, call (718) 891-0800, go to and follow BNA on Facebook.

BNA’s office is located inside the Chase Bank at 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue. Source: Google Maps

In the first of a series of three February meetings, the Brighton Neighborhood Association (BNA) will be holding a housing meeting on “Senior Benefits and Housing,” February 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at BNA’s office, 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue on the corner of Coney Island Avenue (inside Chase Bank’s Community Center — just come inside, turn left, walk past the tellers, and look for the red sign).

Roy Carmona, representing the NYC Department of Aging, will be discussing Section 8, SCRIE, DRIE, HEAP, SNAP (food stamps), as well as any housing issues and concerns you may have.

The meeting will be conducted in English and Russian. Light refreshments will be served. Bring your friends and neighbors!

To learn more, call (718) 891-0800, go to and follow BNA on Facebook.

Brighton Neighborhood Association Executive Director Pat Singer, left, and her staff (not pictured) have returned to their office at the Chase Bank in Brighton Beach following Superstorm Sandy. Photo by Erica Sherman

After being displaced and working from remote locations to serve their community in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, our friends at the Brighton Neighborhood Association (BNA) are back!

The social services and tenant advocacy organization officially re-opened for business today in its location at the Chase Bank, 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue on the corner of Coney Island Avenue.

Displaced from her own Brighton Beach apartment in the weeks following Sandy, BNA’s Executive Director, Pat Singer, as well as staff members Janet Veksler and Claudia Escoto, continued to reach out to the community in its time of need.

To learn more about the BNA and the work they do for the community, contact Singer at (718) 891-0800, visit, and “Like” BNA on Facebook.

Correction (12/18/2012): The original version of this article indicated that the BNA coordinated with Shorefront Y on Sandy relief. Shorefront Y has notified us that this was erroneous, and we have updated the article. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Some of the younger attendees from last year’s BNA Holiday Party. The party is intergenerational and the entire community is invited to attend. Photo by Erica Sherman

Billed as their gift to the community, the Brighton Neighborhood Association (BNA) will be holding its free annual holiday party tomorrow, December 13 at 6:00 p.m. inside the Oceana Catering Hall, 1029 Brighton Beach Avenue between Brighton 11th Street and Brighton 12th Street.

Organized by BNA Executive Director Pat Singer and her dedicated staff — all of whom were displaced from their office inside the Chase Bank at 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue and worked from remote locations during the aftermath of Sandy to continue serving their community — the annual festivities will feature a DJ for dancing, light refreshments, fun giveaways, and toys for the children.

Bring your friends, family and neighbors, and celebrate the holidays with BNA.

If you’d like additional information, or if you need assistance with any community issue, contact Pat Singer at (718) 891-0800.

Source: Google Maps

As if the financial burden of Sandy recovery to Zone A residents wasn’t enough, the Department of Transportation sought to pile on the bills for hard-hit Brighton Beach residents by increasing quarterly rates in municipal parking lots by a whopping $220.

Permit-holding residents, business owners and commuters were alarmed to receive a letter earlier this month from the Department of Transportation, notifying them that quarterly rates would jump from $330 to $550 for the Brighton Beach Municipal Parking Lot at Brightwater Court and Brighton 3rd Street beginning January 1. Payments were requested by December 14 – even though many of the permit holders are Hurricane Sandy victims still grappling with thousands of dollars in damages to their homes, possessions and businesses.

But the letter also claimed the rates were approved by the City Council, which never happened, according to Councilman Michael Nelson.

Nelson – who represents Brighton Beach – received a copy of the letter from outraged constituents. His staff got in touch with DOT, who responded that “no such action has been taken by the Council. In fact, the DOT does not need Council approval to enact rate increases, but needs only to send out 30-day notices to permit holders,” according to a release sent by Nelson.

Still, DOT has nixed the increase mentioned in the letter sent earlier this month, and are notifying permit-holders that the letter was sent by mistake, and rates will remain the same for the time being.

The rates were slated to increase the same amount in 2011, but community outrage similarly spurred the DOT to rescind the plan.

Nelson is also requesting that the DOT confer with the City Council before instituting and rate increases and municipal lots.

“Many people who use these municipal parking lots and garages are on a fixed income, and already pay a fair share to park their cars,” said Councilman Nelson. “It is never an appropriate time to discuss rate increases, especially when many who were hit hard by the hurricane expect the City to work for, not against, them in the recovery.”

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