Archive for the tag 'Business'

(Source: 5301 Fishbowl via

East 16th Street and Avenue J. (Source: 5301 Fishbowl via

People looking for some cheap hot coffee while waiting in line for some Di Fara Pizza (1424 Avenue J) this winter have a new place to visit. A brand new 7-Eleven has opened at 1523 Avenue J at the corner of East 16th Street in Midwood.

Cafe 16 previously occupied the spot right next to the stairs that lead up to the Manhattan bound Q trains. Thanks to 5301 Fishbowl for posting the image on the subchat message boards.

Elvira Grau (néeKucherwhat was nine years old when she moved from the Ukraine to Sheepshead Bay. Aside from the language difficulties one faces when moving to another country, she also had to overcome learning with dyslexia.

Grau made it through school, assimilated as best as possible and went to a community college. Finally, after years of hardship, she started to see the light at end of the tunnel when she started a job selling TV and radio commercial spots for Blair Television.

“I had a learning disability, but I knew I was smart and I had a big personality,” she said to Crain’s New York.

Here’s how Crain’s described how Grau ended up rocketing to success by launching an enormous play space in New Jersey:

That “it” girl quality and her tenacious spirit caught the eye of Jim Grau, the man who hired her to sell advertising space for the Russian-American Broadcasting Co. in 1996. Two years later, they were married, and their daughter was born in 2001.

Not long afterward, Ms. Grau launched Space Odyssey USA, a 26,000-square-foot Englewood, N.J.-based party space filled with high-tech video games, laser tag, paintball, glow-in-the-dark bowling, a three-level indoor playground, a train ride and a nightclub. Space Odyssey USA books 30 parties per weekend, for an average of $600 for 15 children.

Ms. Grau likes to say necessity is the mother of invention—or in her case entrepreneurship. After Ms. Grau’s daughter was born, she often found herself caring for three children under 5 (in addition to her daughter, her husband shared custody of two children from his previous marriage) and her son, who was 9.

Thinking of ways to entertain the four children simultaneously was a bear.

“I’d take my daughter to Gymboree, but my son wanted to go to Dave & Busters,” said Ms. Grau, referring to the restaurant and arcade. “Why not put all these things and then some in one giant space, I started thinking?

And the rest, as they say, is history. But it’s a history that may be documented, as Grau has caught the eye of reality TV producers, who are considering Grau for a show. She’s also considering new business ventures. Check out Crain’s for the full story of this rags to riches story that kicked off in Sheepshead Bay.


Several local businesses routinely express frustration to Sheepshead Bites about the number of fines the city has doled out, whether it be for trash, health inspections or obscure signage regulations. And, according to the complaints we get, it seems inspectors of businesses are unfamiliar with many of the regulations and sometimes apply them inconsistently.

But though it may seem like the city is cracking down and issuing more fines as the city struggles with the economic recession, data on the number of fines given out has been hard to come by.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is trying to fix that. He has announced his plans to sue Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city agencies in order to force them to reveal information regarding the amount of fines given, and the income generated from those fines.

Currently, there are 20 agencies involved in small businesses-related regulations. According to an analysis performed by de Blasio’s office, cited by the New York Times, fines collected by these organizations have jumped from $485 million in the 2002 fiscal year, when Bloomberg was elected, to a whopping $820 million in this past fiscal year.

De Blasio told the paper that he has been pushing six of the offices involved in regulating small businesses to release information about these fines for several months now. He said that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Consumer Affairs told him they were in the process of compiling a response. The Transportation Department, Sanitation Department, Buildings Department and Finance Department failed to reply to his requests.

“We’re just not going to stand for it anymore,” de Blasio told the paper.

Marc LaVorgna, Bloomberg’s spokespman said the city will respond to de Blasio and provide this information soon. He argued that the main source of rise in fines over the past 10 years is driving tickets. The fines have increased for parking tickets and moving violations, while more tickets for running red lights have been distributed, as the city installed more cameras by traffic lights.

Long established Sheepshead Bay’s Circle Bistro located at 2801 Coney Island Avenue has closed its doors for good. Michael Amodo & Co. hosted an auction last Sunday for all of the building’s furnishings and furniture. Now all that remains is an empty shell.

This is sad. My then fiance and I took my mother to dinner at Circles over 25 years ago to introduce her to the neighborhood. Goodbye Circles Bistro, you’ll be missed.


Well, for one thing, MYoga — which says it is opening at 1002 Quentin Road, Suite 3020 — is donation-based. According to MyYoga’s Maksim Khasin, who emailed Sheepshead Bites:

The studio offers a tremendous service to the community by allowing people to enjoy yoga and get a great exercise. Classes are donation-based, so students can choose to donate as much as they can at the conclusion of class. The suggested donation is $10.

MYoga explains on its website that they will never prevent a student from participating in a class if they cannot give $10. Particularly fascinating, while proprietors stress that they offer “students of all levels the opportunity to connect with their body and practice yoga at their own pace,” they also “do not emphasize ‘snobby’ yoga, but rather welcome students of all levels to ease their minds and relax their souls.”

I’ve never heard of “snobby yoga” but I am sure that, should I ever be able to contort my remarkably un-malleable body into a pretzel again in this lifetime, I do not wish for it to be under the duress of a “snobby yoga” instructor.

Go check out MYoga — donation-based, and non-snobby. A perfectly winning combination.

Bakery Sheepshead Bay

Photo by Laura Fernandez

Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

“If you had the luck of the Irish,
You’d be sorry and wish you were dead.
If you had the luck of the Irish,
You’d wish you were English instead.” – John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Not exactly what you were thinking of for a pre-Saint Patrick’s day post about Irish food, now is it? Well, let’s remember that England still occupies six of the 32 counties of Ireland and that the occupation of Ireland was particularly brutal throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Until the middle of the 20th century, the vast majority of Irish agriculture was exported to their English overlords, leaving relatively little for the Irish people.

So what did the Irish do? They made the best of it and adapted foods and cooking traditions to create new foodstuffs unique to the Emerald Isle. Irish Soda Bread is just one example and one of its most grand.

Continue Reading »

Congressman Weiner and Councilman Fidler in a pointlessly photoshopped image.

Councilman Lew Fidler isn’t finding an ally in Congressman Anthony Weiner for his crusade to protect consumers from feuding cable companies and content providers. But the councilman says it’s just a matter of time before he successfully woos the federal representative to his aid.

Fidler is pushing a City Council resolution to urge the federal government to support new rules governing deal-making between over-the-air broadcasters and their cable foes.

In a comment left on Sheepshead Bites, the councilman asked constituents to contact their federal representatives and “DEMAND that broadcast stations—the ones who seek and accept a license from the FCC to use YOUR public airwaves—NOT be permitted to charge retransmission fees. I will stay on this soapbox and continue to raise this issue tho the City Council has limited power over this largely Federal issue.”

Fidler will need the aid of federal representatives, since the companies are governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Legislators will need to direct the agency to take up the issue and enact new policies.

But Congressman Weiner is reluctant to get involved, and said the contracts are a private business issue and should be left between the participants.

Keep reading to see what Weiner had to say and how Fidler reacts, as well as why the councilman thinks this is an important issue for all consumers.

From City Hall News:

At a contentious July Council hearing on consumer rights, Council Member Lew Fidler argued that consumers of cable television are the victims of stalled negotiations between broadcasters and cable service providers and they don’t even know it.

“Consumers will be seated at the table when the big boys fight,” Fidler said to broadcast industry lobbyists at the hearing. “You will not decide how much you can suck out of our pocket without our participation. You operate under a public license on public airwaves and the public will not be damned.”

Fidler and fellow committee members warned broadcasters they would fight to change lax, decades-old federal rules governing cable service agreements that allow networks to cut service and allow screens to go dark when their demands are not met.

Continue Reading »

The economy may have tanked, but residents of Sheepshead Bay still enjoy the night out – and we’re spending hundreds of dollars per month doing it.

Grub Street put together a revealing compilation by neighborhood of restaurant spending, and pegged the Coney Island to Sheepshead Bay area at $116 to $234 a month. This might seem like a whopper of a bill compared to the community with the tightest belt: Brownsville’s residents spend just $25 a month. And we seem like downright spendthrift’s next to residents of the Rockefeller Center zip code, who shell out $2,398 on overpriced grub. In Brooklyn, the biggest spenders (Downtown–Brooklyn Heights–Slope) pay between $290 and $711.

In reality, though, we’re somewhere near the middle. Most outerborough and northward Manhattan neighborhoods hover between $100 and $300 a month – the same as us. So don’t feel guilty for those evening runs for clams and beer at Randazzo’s – our spending is perfectly normal.

What is up with Chase Bank? Is it just me or is it spreading like a virus through the city?

Everywhere I turn in Sheepshead Bay and the surrounding area is another Chase Bank. Normally this might be considered a good thing, but I don’t think so. It was bad enough that Chase took over every Washington Mutual location when the FDIC handed the company to them. The logical assumption was that Chase would consolidate all their accounts, merge the staff together, and close locations that overlapped with another store. Boy was I wrong! Not only did they assimilate every location, they’re opening new ones!

Continue Reading »

Next »