Archive for the tag 'coney island ave'

The site of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

Rendering of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

An enormous commercial development slated for Coney Island Avenue in Midwood is facing opposition for its proposal to cut out 74 required parking spaces, but its backers say it’s moving forward regardless.

The construction site at 1504 Coney Island Avenue, at Avenue L, is to be the largest retail development in the neighborhood, according to boasts from its leasing team. Councilman David Greenfield is calling it a “mega development,” saying it will feature more than 160,000 square feet of space. Zoning requirements call for a minimum of 346 parking spaces, but the owner has requested permission from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals to scale that back to 272 spaces.

The site of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

The site of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

That’s unacceptable, according to the pol. The intersection is already home to one of the neighborhood’s most popular markets, Pomegranate, and adding more development without sufficient parking would bring that stretch of Coney Island Avenue to a standstill.

“I frequently drive by Avenue L and Coney Island Avenue and am stuck among double and triple-parked cars. It’s really ridiculous that anyone would suggest that the lack of parking is not a problem in this neighborhood. That is why I am fighting to make sure the community gets the required amount of parking for this new mega development,” Greenfield said in a press release.

The project’s developer expects the site to be a shopping destination, with a 50,000-square-foot department store as its anchor, with 25,000 square feet of additional retail and 3,400 square feet of office space. A 56,000-square-foot section of the building will be set aside for ambulatory medical care, and another 28,000 square feet will serve as community space and home for a non-profit, the developer’s representative, attorney Howard Goldman, explained during a meeting last week of the BSA. (The BSA is empowered to grant waivers to zoning regulations if the situation meets certain conditions.)

The parking would be underground, served by an entrance on Coney Island Avenue, and the building will use a robotic system to store and retrieve vehicles. According to Goldman, the system won’t requiring any on-street queuing which would otherwise lead to congestion.

Greenfield, who is also chair of the City Council’s powerful Land Use Committee, and Community Board 12 District Manager Barry Spitzer, who is also Greenfield’s deputy chief of staff, testified against the developer’s application, saying that the parking just isn’t sufficient in the neighborhood. Greenfield spokesperson Jane Carey, who testified on behalf of the councilman, and Spitzer both focused on double parking and truck traffic caused by Pomegranate, which only has 40 parking spaces. Though that may be Pomegranate’s fault, the BSA should enforce the parking minimum at the new, unrelated development to prevent the problem from getting worse.

Their plea appears to be in vain. Goldman said they’re going forward with the stated amount of parking whether or not the Board approves it – they’ll just reduce the medical office’s square footage, which requires more parking than other uses.

“If the request is not granted by the Board, it doesn’t mean the project won’t be built. What it means is that instead of the medical office, we will have the non-profit office space,” he said before the BSA. “So, matter of fact, it’ll be the same amount of spaces but a different mix of uses.”

Goldman added that, for all the bellyaching about parking, the new project will help ease the burden created by Pomegranate.

“This is a congested intersection. And the reason it’s congested is because there’s a very popular supermarket across the street called Pomegranate,” Goldman said, noting that their analysis showed congestion was worst on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons. Pomegrenate’s parking “is really insufficient. Our garage’s excess capacity can handle some of that excess overflow from Pomegranate and the net result will be a benefit to the neighborhood, not a detriment to the neighborhood.”

The developer submitted a letter of support for the project from Pomegranate’s owners. The BSA has another hearing on the development scheduled for September 9.

Rabbi Yaakov Weingarten

Yaakov Weingarten (Source: vosizneias.com)

A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge ordered Midwood Rabbi Yaakov Weingarten and his wife, Rivka, to pay more than $520,000 for setting up phony not-for-profit organizations claiming to benefit Israel and then using the donations as their personal piggy bank.

The Weingartens were busted last summer, accused of operating a call center out of 1493 Coney Island Avenue in Midwood to raise millions of dollars through 19 separate charities. The scammers claimed the funds would go to programs in Israel or to religious activities. But prosecutors say the charities never existed, and the funds instead went to Weingarten and his family.

Weingarten, 53, withdrew more than $2 million from the charity bank accounts between 2007 and 2013, prosecutors said. They used the funds to pay for mortgages on their two homes, remodeiling expenses, personal vehicles, video rentals, dental visits and even a trip to Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. They attempted to hide their shenanigans by transferring funds between the non-profit accounts. It appears the setup was too difficult for even the Weingartens to keep track of; they bounced more than 2,100 checks, resulting in more than $65,000 in donations being wasted on bank overdraft fees.

On Wednesday, the judge ordered the Weingartens to forfeit $522,315 as part of a civil judgement. Approximately $360,000 of those funds will go to two Israeli charitable organizations that carry out actual programs similar to the ones Weingarten claimed during his phony fundraising pitches to donors: the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, the preeminent pediatric hospital in Israel, and United Hatzalah of Israel, a leading Israeli volunteer emergency medical services organization.

Weingarten previously pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud, allowing him to escape time behind bars. However, he and his associates, Simon Weiss and David Yifat, are barred from any fundraising or charitable activites in the state of New York. He also faces five years probation, and has already paid $90,685 in restitution as part of the criminal charges.

The judge ordered the dissolution of 11 actual non-profits used by Weingarten, as well as eight that existed in name only. They are as follows:

  • Hatzalah Rescue of Israel, Inc.;
  • Shearim, Inc.;
  • Bnei Torah, Inc.;
  • Chesed L’Yisrael V’Chasdei Yosef, Inc.;
  • Yad L’Shabbat, Inc.;
  • Hatzalah Shomron, Inc.;
  • Pulse Foundation, Inc.;
  • Agudath Chesed Bikur Cholim Israel, Inc.;
  • Kupat Reb Meir Baal Haness Bnei Torah Eretz Yisrael, Inc.;
  • Congregation Yad L’Shabbat, Inc.;
  • Shearim Hayad L’Torah Center for Hatzalah L’Shabbat and Chesed L’Yisrael, Inc.;
  • Israel Emergency Center;
  • Magen Israel;
  • Hayad Victim Assistance Fund;
  • Lmaan Hatorah;
  • Our Children;
  • Zaka Israel;
  • Yaldel Simcha Yisrael;
  • Yad Yisrael.

“We are committed to fighting to protect everyday New Yorkers, particularly those who want to use some of their hard-earned money to support charitable causes, because there has to be one set of rules for everyone,” Attorney General Schneiderman said via press release. “My office will use all the tools at our disposal to protect New Yorkers from unscrupulous fundraisers for sham charities.”

tayba

Source: Google Maps

UPDATE (4:21 p.m.): The Times has more on both incidents. On the Midwood incident:

On Friday evening, outside a prayer gathering preceding the nightly meal, men in a white Lexus flung eggs at three elderly worshipers entering a mosque on Coney Island Avenue. “This is for your Allah!” the vandals shouted.

And on the Bay Ridge incident:

Two days later, just as dawn broke on Sunday, 25 blocks away, a group of teenagers rolled past the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge seven times in a car, blaring with makeshift sirens and lights. “Burn to the ground!” they chanted as they waved Israeli flags. When the car stopped, a young worshiper retaliated by hurling a bottle, nicking one of the hecklers on his nose and hands.

UPDATE (4:13 p.m.): We just heard back from sources at the 61st Precinct, who tell us that the two incidents appear to be separate. Those in the vehicle involved in the Midwood incident did not wave Israeli flags or display anything related to Israel or Judaism. From a white vehicle, they pelted the worshipers with eggs. Both incidents are being investigated by the Hate Crimes Task Force.

Original post:

A group of hooligans circled mosques in Midwood and Bay Ridge over the weekend, shouting anti-Muslim slurs and pelting worshipers with eggs, according to local religious leaders.

NY1 reports:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says a car circled a Bay Ridge mosque while its passengers waved Israeli flags and yelled anti-Islamic slurs Sunday morning.

A spokesman for a Sheepshead Bay mosque says a similar incident happened there Friday, but the group in the car also threw eggs at elderly worshipers.

JPUpdates identified the Sheepshead Bay mosque as Tayba Islamic Center, located at 2165 Coney Island Avenue, just south of Avenue R in Midwood. According to that outlet, the incidents were caught on surveillance cameras and the video has been turned over to police.

The incidents came to light during a press conference on Tuesday hosted by the Islamic Society Center of Bay Ridge, where the actions were condemned by local politicians and Jewish and Muslim religious leaders.

JPUpdates reported on their statements:

“We will not tolerate the desecration of any type against churches, mosques and synagogues in this city,” State Senator Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) declared.

“At this center, we have been with good relationships with everybody around us—all the neighbors around us, irrespective of their religion, irrespective of their ethnic origin—we are good with everybody,” Dr. Husam Rimawi, President of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, said.

… Councilmember Vincent Gentile read a statement on behalf of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am appalled by the reports of intimidation and harassment against mosques in New York. We have seen this ugly side rear its head before. Our city has also spent many years trying to heal and bridge divides,” Mark-Viverito said. “All people have the right to worship freely, without threats. Religious freedom is a core principle of our nation and protected by the Constitution.”

.. “It really breaks my heart,” Jewish community leader Douglas Jablon said. “We are relatives — we have the same grandfather, and we should act like it,” he said.

“It makes me very deeply sad that anyone would behave in a harassing way to someone else’s worship,” Rabbi Valerie Lieber of the Kane Street Synagogue said. “I know many people are very upset about what is happening in Israel and Gaza. And yet there are appropriate ways to express yourself — not to harass other people.”

Photo courtesy of Pravda Media

Photo courtesy of Pravda Media

An ambulance struck a girl on Coney Island Avenue and Avenue X, leaving her seriously injured.

The accident happened just after noon. The girl was taken to Lutheran Medical Center where she’s in stable condition.

It’s unclear if the ambulance was operated by FDNY EMS or a private organization. The FDNY confirmed that the victim was female but would not give an age. Witnesses remarked on social media that it was a young girl.

Police closed the street off for more than an hour, and the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is investigating the circumstances of the accident.

This post will be updated as we receive more information.

UPDATE (2:26 p.m.): Video from the scene appears to show a private ambulance. The organization’s name cannot be seen in the video.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

swastika

Photo by Jane Roitman

A Queens assemblyman has asked the Department of Consumer Affairs to look into regulating swastikas and other offensive ads from taking to the skies after beachgoers were shocked this weekend by the appearance of a swastika-towing plane flying over the sands.

The banner, shown above, was flown on Saturday by the International Raelian Movement, a quasi-religious organization that says they’ve cloned humans and they believe extraterrestrial scientists made life on Earth. The group flies the banner over New York City beaches annually to “rehabilitate” the image as a sign of peace and unity. Although it wasn’t intended to be anti-Semitic, locals were outraged that the passion-stirring icon would fly over one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors.

In addition to Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Coney Island, the banner toured over the Rockaway and Long Island beaches.

CBS reports on the effort to make sure the Raelians won’t be back next year:

Assemblyman Phil Goldfelder, D-Queens, told [reporter Alex] Silverman he is asking the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs to look at regulating swastikas in the sky and other offensive ads, which he thinks can be done without opening a constitutional can of worms. He’s also considering introducing legislation.

“There’s been a lot of precedent about regulation on signage in public places, and I think that we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our families,” Goldfelder said.

wanted

The suspects, as captured by the store’s security cameras. (Source: DCPI)

Would-be burglars didn’t do much to hide their faces from cameras during an attempted burglary, and now cops are using the footage to track them down.

Two men, pictured above, attempted to break in to the Verizon Wireless store at 2680 Coney Island Avenue early Friday, July 11.

At approximately 2:00 a.m., the suspects spent 15- to 20-minutes trying to pry open the store’s front door with a pair of standard pliers. They were unsuccessful at gaining entry, but left some damage to the door.

“I came into the store, I noticed the damage on the door and found the broken piece of the plier, and I called the cops,” said one of the business’ owners. “I don’t know what they were thinking [by attempting to break in with a plier].”

The owner reviewed the overnight security footage and spotted the pair above, and handed the photos over to police. The suspect with the beaded necklace has a tattoo on his right arm, notes the business owner, who asked not to be named.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Update (12:12 p.m.): We’ve added details to this post after speaking to the owners. Also, the date of the incident was changed. The NYPD indicated that the attempted burglary was July 14; the owners noted that it was July 11. The article has been amended.

swastika

A fringe religious group that believes extraterrestrial scientists created life on Earth is today flying a large swastika banner over Brighton Beach and Coney Island, outraging residents in one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors.

The plane was spotted by beachgoers flying between Coney Island Avenue and Brighton 15th Street around noon. With a symbol of a Star of David interlaced with the swastika, and a message that reads “卐 + ☮ = ❤ Proswastika.org,” the banner is commissioned annually by the International Raelian Movement in an attempt to “rehabilitate” the symbol to it’s pre-Nazi-era meaning of peace. It flew over the beach in previous years, sparking headlines - and outbursts from upset residents.

This year is no different.

“A plane was flying with this sign over the beach today, not once but twice it went past  the beach. Beaches filled with families and children. This is an inhumane action and must be stopped,” wrote tipster Jane Roitman, who sent in the photo above.

Another tipster called in to say that the group is being beyond insensitive, given the area’s dense population of Holocaust survivors and the current inflamed tensions between Israel and Palestine.

“I was dumbfounded by it. My grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and everyone [in Brighton Beach] knows someone whose family was affected by the Holocaust,” said Loren Azimov. “The timing could not be worse with everything going on in Israel and Palestine; it’s as bad as it has ever been.”

Azimov said there are other ways to try to rehabilitate the symbol without being so offensive, and that he’d like to see either the banner grounded.

“The First Amendment is not an acceptable reason [to let it fly.] What if it was rehabilitation of slavery? People would be up in arms,” Azimov said, adding that he’d like to see pressure on the company the organization chartered to refuse them access to the skies in the future.

It wouldn’t be the first company to decline the Raelian’s business. The group sought an expanded international campaign for what they’re calling Swastika Rehabilitation Week this year. When they approached a major Canadian billboard company, they were turned away.

“The company representative said many people would see our ad as offensive and inflammatory, so they wouldn’t post it,” said Thomas Kaenzig in a press release. Kaenzig is a planetary guide, the title for a top-ranking clergymember. “So this poses a real catch 22. How can the world be reeducated about the truth of this symbol if we can’t get the word out to show people?”

Azimov has been calling elected officials and government agencies, but to no avail. One prominent leader in Brighton Beach’s Russian-Jewish community told him that he should “consider writing a letter to the leadership of this org and kindly express compelling reasons not to fly this in our area.”

The Raelians may not be so receptive to Azimov’s rationale. Aside from brushing off similar complaints in previous years, the group appears to have a tenuous grasp on reality.

Raelism dates back to the 1970s and is the world’s largest UFO religion, believing that space scientists created life and have been popping in for visits throughout human history (with increased frequency in recent years, as evidenced through all the UFO sightings in the past century). Buddha, Jesus and other religious figures are all believed by the group to be messengers of the extraterrestrials. The group is attempting to build an interplanetary embassy to welcome extraterrestrials, and have been denied land in Israel because of their prominent use of the swastika.

The group also operates Clonaid, a company developing human cloning. The company claimed to have cloned the first human in 2002. There was no evidence that the claim was anything more than a publicity stunt, and the group has since been derided as cult led by a sex-crazed leader.

UPDATE (3:28 p.m.): Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island and part of Brighton Beach, and is also the grandson of Holocaust survivors, called Sheepshead Bites to express his outrage.

“It isabsolutely disgusting and an egregious act of hate and intolerance. Whatever this hate group is, it’s an unacceptable act. I’ve asked the police department to investigate how this happened and how it came to be,” he said.

Treyger said he’s received numerous calls from constituents offended by the banner. He has also reached out to the mayor’s office and the City Council speaker’s office, which he said were receptive to the concerns. He said authorities are trying to determine if the plane and advertising campaign are in violation of any laws, and are also attempting to identify the company chartered to fly the banner.

The local pol said the group’s attempt to restore the symbol as one of peace and unity has little chance of success, and the group should stop its “outrageous” approach.

“Try asking someone who witnessed their loved ones murdered under that symbol if they’ll view that symbol as anything but murder and pain,” he said. “There’s no place for this here in this country.”

crash-tax

Screenshot from the surveillance video just a split second before the Mercedes crashed through the storefront. (via ABC)

Police have arrested Yvonne Batiz, charging her with a DWI after she drove her 2013 Mercedes through the Coney Island Avenue storefront of Federal Tax Masters between Avenue X and Avenue Y yesterday.

ABC reports:

Police responded to the Federal Tax Masters office in the 2700 block of Coney Island Avenue in Sheepshead Bay around 6 p.m. to find the car completely inside the business.

The entire crash was caught on surveillance video, which shows the 2013 Mercedes barreling down the street, hitting a parked car, crushing a parking meter and slamming into the storefront.

The surveillance video shows the driver heading south on Coney Island Avenue, then swerving across the yellow lines and northbound lanes for no apparent reason.

Batiz and her 54-year-old passenger were taken to Coney Island Hospital for minor injuries. Fortunately, no one was inside the accountant’s office, although the “reception area was reduced to rubble,” according to the outlet.

The following is a paid announcement from the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue):

daycamp-shorefront

Summer Day Camp at the Shorefront Y! A licensed community camp located right by the beach, with sessions from June 30 to August 22.

Here’s some of what Shorefront Y’s Summer Day Camp program has to offer:

  • Swimming Lessons with the Shorefront Y Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy
  • Air Conditioned Buses for All Trips
  • Hot Kosher Lunches and Snacks Included
  • Exciting Age Appropriate Trips and Camp Activities
  • Door-to-Door Transportation Available
  • Extensively Trained Staff & 1:5 Staff to Child Ratio at all Times

At the Shorefront Y, campers forge new friendships, engage in daily activities such as swimming lessons and science, and go on tons of exciting and educational trips. Our eight-week program also includes play time on the beach and swims in the ocean (supervised by licensed swim instructors), as we are right on the boardwalk. All campers receive a hot Kosher lunch and snacks daily. Early drop-off, late pick-up, and door-to-door transportation options are available. Call us to sign up and get your questions answered! We look forward to welcoming you to the Shorefront Y Day Camp family!

Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, 3300 Coney Island Avenue, (718) 646-1444 ext. 335info@shorefronty.org.

The above is a paid announcement by the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue). Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

polly

Deutsch with Trottenberg, Palmieri and other DOT representatives on Coney Island Avenue.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stood at the base of the Coney Island Avenue overpass at Guider Avenue last Tuesday, as cars whizzed around her, made illegal turns, crossed into oncoming traffic and failed to get out of the way of emergency response vehicles. She stood there for approximately 20 minutes, visibly perplexed at the apparent lawlessness of one of Southern Brooklyn’s most convoluted intersections.

Trottenberg was there at the request of Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, alongside Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri and a handful of aides for each. She had already toured other problem spots in Manhattan Beach and said the agency would consider changes requested by the community, but the scene at this intersection – where Coney Island Avenue meets Guider Avenue, Banner Avenue, a service road and a Belt Parkway entrance ramp – prompted a more firm commitment.

“This one certainly,” said Trottenberg. “We have to do some major work here. It’s terrible.”

Within days, the commissioner had ordered a traffic study of the intersection, and Deutsch’s office confirmed that traffic engineers will visit the site to assess new traffic safety measures, including turn signals and medians.

Until more permanent changes are implemented, Deutsch worked with the agency and the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau and he 60th Precinct to bring traffic agents to the intersection. The agents deployed for the first time today, and will be there during peak hours, Deutsch told Sheepshead Bites this morning.

Traffic agents were at the intersection today. (Source: Deutsch's office)

Traffic agents were at the intersection today. (Source: Deutsch’s office)

The councilman and the DOT hope the measures will go a long way to reducing traffic accidents at the location. Since 2014 began, there have been 11 collisions so far, including two pedestrians struck by vehicles and three occupant injuries, according to data obtained from the DOT by Deutsch’s office.

It’s not the first time local officials have raised issue with the intersection, or the DOT’s first stab at fixing it.

Community Board 15 has been a long-time advocate for improvements to the area, and was baffled in 2009 when the agency proposed a plan to reconfigure it that illustrated an utter lack of familiarity with the area.

A year later, then-Congressman Anthony Weiner also took the agency to task for the same plan. Both requested left-turn signals to restore order, but received a cold response from the former commissioner.

In the end of May 2012, the agency surprised locals by installing “No left turn” signs on southbound Coney Island Avenue. We stood there days later, and filmed car after car dangerously ignoring it in the span of just one minute.

As for the other sites that Trottenberg toured during her visit last week, the agency is studying some of the proposals, including turning Oriental Boulevard’s flashing yellow light at Ocean Avenue into a full-fledged traffic signal. Deutsch said he will work with the Parks Department to determine the feasibility of moving the Oriental Boulevard bike lane to the sidewalk on Shore Boulevard. A traffic study is also being ordered for Coney Island Avenue and Avenue O.

“I think it’s great that they came down here,” said Deutsch. “We had all three commissioners here to collaborate, and this is just the beginning.”

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