Archive for the tag 'coney island ave'

EMT3.jpg

An FDNY EMT was arrested at his Brighton Beach apartment yesterday for owning a cache of high-powered weapons including pipe bombs, after police responded to a domestic dispute between him and his wife.

The New York Post reports:

Victor Cadicamo, 29, was arrested when police showed up to his home near Brighton 10th Terrace and Coney Island Avenue at around 9 a.m. Thursday after the FDNY worker’s wife said he threatened her with a gun, cops said.

When cops searched Cadicamo’s home, they found five firearms and a rifle before cuffing him and dragging him down the the 60th precinct. Police said the couple’s 2-year-old child was home at the time.

During interrogation, Cadicamo confessed to also having bombs hidden in the home, which sent the NYPD’s bomb squad back to the location. The bombs were brought to the NYPD’s Bronx firing range for detonation.

The Daily News adds that authorities found two pipe bombs made of PVC, with caps on the ends and a black cord attached.

Cadicamo, 29, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and harassment. Additionally, his union has kicked off a separate investigation to determine if the six-year EMT will lose his job.

Cops came to Cadicamo’s home after his wife, Christina Liskowitz, also an EMT, called police saying that he had threatened her with a gun.

Yasir Ullah, 34, who lives above the couple’s apartment, said Cadicamo and his wife are constantly fighting.

“We always heard loud voices. In the morning time, they would slam doors,” Ullah said.

He said the couple had what sounded to be a loud argument Wednesday night.

Levitis (Source: Facebook)

Stories about crime and corruption featuring Eastern European perps are juicy material for members of the “Russian Insider – News, Reviews and Gossip” group on Facebook, but the page has gone silent on one of the juiciest of stories: the guilty plea of former Rasputin owner Michael Levitis, who admitted this week to masterminding a debt-relief scheme that leeched $2.2 million from those who turned to him for help.

That’s because the page is run by Levitis himself, as well as his wife, Marina, and mother, Eva. Sources told Sheepshead Bites that the crew has been removing any mention of the scandal and booting members of the nearly 7,000-strong closed group.

“So yesterday the story was out but no one was posting it, all you saw is people posting ’7/11′” – a reference to the seven-to-11 year sentence Levitis faces – “So I private messaged one of the people who told me anyone who posted the story was banned and the story removed. I posted a few comments saying … ‘I wonder it anyone is going to address this’. This morning I was banned from the group as well,” a source told Sheepshead Bites.

According the About section of the page, it serves as “A Group for Russian-Americans to post local news, issues, business reviews, or anything else that concerns us… Let’s try to stick to interesting, useful and buzzworthy posts….”

But while the news of Levitis’ bust last year and guilty plea this week has exploded on social media, it’s not viewed by the page’s moderator as “local news” or “buzzworthy” enough to share with the community, members say.

Meanwhile, screenshots sent to Sheepshead Bites by another source show that members commonly share news items about those in the community who’ve been busted for similar crimes:

insider2A former member of the group mused to Sheepshead Bites that it was an example of “Putin-style censorship.”

A handful of members told Sheepshead Bites that the group is often used to promote businesses they believe are connected to Levitis, including an online “Groupon”-style coupon site.

Apparently, Levitis is also using the group to prepare his reading list for his upcoming stint in the big house:

levitis

A traditional Passover seder plate. Source: Wikipedia

A traditional Passover seder plate. Source: Wikipedia

For the fifth year in a row, the Be Proud Foundation will host its annual Passover Food Distribution Event, tomorrow, April 10, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Aqua Health Rehabilitation Center, 2753 Coney Island Avenue.

More than 600 people of limited means will join Be Proud and its friends at the annual event. Recipients will be able to take home kosher food packages for Passover, including matzah, the “bread of affliction” and symbol of salvation and deliverance.

This event is made possible because of the generosity of private donations.

“Passover is the best time for us to show that we care about our neighbors. By giving out food we are going to share our happiness with the people who count on us more than ever in this current economic climate,” said Raisa Chernina, executive director of the Be Proud Foundation.

The 2713 Coney Island Avenue office of Mission Settlement (Source: Google Maps)

First he denied the charges. Then he claimed he was a victim. Now former Rasputin owner Michael Levitis has come clean, admitting to scamming nearly $2.2 million from more than 1,200 cash-strapped victims who turned to him for help.

Levitis (Source: Facebook)

Levitis and the debt-relief company he ran, Mission Settlement Agency, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court yesterday to fraud charges, admitting to his role as the scheme’s mastermind.

“Michael Levitis and his company, Mission Settlement Agency, preyed on the desperation of financially struggling people across the country. Today’s guilty pleas ensure that the defendants who falsely offer debt relief, telling their victims a pack of lies in order to line their own pockets, will be held to account,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.

As part of the plea deal announced yesterday, Levitis agreed to forfeit $2.2 million to the government to pay back victims. He faces between seven and 11 years in prison when he’s sentenced this August.

Levitis and three others were cuffed in May 2013 for operating a debt settlement company that prosecutors said took millions of dollars in fees for services never rendered.

Mission Settlement claimed to help customers struggling with credit card and bank debt by helping them reach settlements that could cut the amount owed. But while Mission collected payments from their indebted clients, they never paid down their debts. From mid-2009 to March 2013, more than 2,200 customers paid nearly $14 million, of which only $4.4 million went to creditors, according to the criminal complaint.

Rasputin was padlocked in May 2013.

The company kept $6.6 million for itself as fees. As many as 1,200 of the clients paid $2.2 million in fees without “a single penny” reaching their creditors.

Prosecutors said Levitis took the money and used it to live a luxurious lifestyle, paying down his own debts on Raputin Restaurant (2670 Coney Island Avenue), lease two luxury cars, and paid off his mother’s credit card bills.

He also misled clients, with the company claiming in sales pitches that he was affiliated with the federal government and a leading credit bureau, none of which was true, according to prosecutors.

The others involved in the scheme all turned tail and pleaded guilty in August 2013, with at least one of them ratting out his former boss as the mastermind.

“I followed instructions from Michael,” Mission’s former vice president of sales, Denis Kurlyand, told the Daily News after the plea deal.

Levitis’ home at 1001 Oriental Boulevard. Prosecutors seized it to repay his victims. (Source: Google Maps)

Levitis stood fast, though, insisting on his innocence and said he was a victim of government neglect. He pleaded not guilty and claimed that he had attempted to tip off authorities to malfeasance by “rogue employees,” but that his warnings fell on deaf ears.

After his arrest, prosecutors filed papers to seize approximately 40 bank accounts connected to Levitis, as well as Rasputin Restaurant and two properties he owns in Manhattan Beach.

It’s the second time in four years that he’s been in hot water.

Back in 2010, Levitis was charged with lying to federal agents after he got caught up in a bribery case involving former State Senator Carl Kruger.

Levitis told a fellow nightclub owner, who was secretly recording the conversation for the FBI, that he had an inside line to the state pol, and could assist him with a liquor license issue if he steered thousands of dollars to Kruger – with a kickback for Levitis’ role in setting it up.

As the case moved forward, Levitis’ claim that he had influence in Kruger’s office began to unravel, and Levitis, who is also an attorney, later pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents, sentenced to three years probation and fined $15,000.

In April 2013, Levitis was also hit with a six month suspension of his license to practice law – retroactive to January 2012 – for his role in the case.

Levitis, who along with his wife Marina and mother Eva – who owned Mission Settlement on paper – were  co-stars of Russian Dolls, a failed Lifetime reality series canceled less than two months after its premiere.

The case against Levitis and Mission is being hailed as historic, as it’s the first criminal referral from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency established after passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. The CFPB is also bringing civil charges against Mission, Levitis and others.

Levitis may still face criminal tax violations, according to the plea deal.

Avenue X and Coney Island Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Avenue X and Coney Island Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

A man is in critical condition after being hit by a car on Coney Island Avenue and Avenue X early Saturday morning.

The incident happened around 5:15 a.m. According to a passenger of the Toyota Tundra truck that hit the man, the victim ran into the street.

“We were going home. He was running across the street. It happened in a split second … he came out of nowhere running fast,” the passenger told the Daily News. “We were all in shock.”

Intersections along Coney Island Avenue are among the highest incident rates for pedestrian strikes within the 61st Precinct, with the worst intersection being two blocks away at Avenue Z. The NYPD announced earlier this month that they would increase enforcement as part of the citywide Vision Zero initiative.

Chase Bank at 1500 Coney Island Ave (Source: Google Maps)

Chase Bank at 2500 Coney Island Ave (Source: Google Maps)

A 7,200-square-foot retail property, currently home to a Chase Bank and cellphone repair store, has sold to new owners for $5.425 million.

The property sits at 2500 Coney Island Avenue, on the corner of Avenue V. It’s a two-story building with a 12,000 square foot parking lot.

The owners could choose to redevelop the site, building taller while staying within zoning laws, but the Observer, which reported on the deal, notes that it is “unlikely.”

The new owner is Francman Realty LLC, a New Jersey-based company.

Look at all those gangbangers (Source: NYC Parks)

Design of the new elevated comfort stations. The ramps and stairs are designed to detach in the case of an extreme weather event. (Source: NYC Parks)

The New York City Parks Department will present revised plans this Thursday for the controversial bathroom and comfort station slated for the Brighton Beach boardwalk in response to outcry from Oceana condominium residents and local leaders.

The public hearing on the new draft environmental impact statement will take place at the Shorefront Y (3300 Coney Island Avenue), from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

It’s the second public hearing on the site’s bathrooms, which are identical to 35 others along the Riegelmann Boardwalk and elsewhere in the city – all replacements to facilities damaged in Superstorm Sandy. At the November meeting, residents of Oceana and other nearby buildings lambasted the proposal for the 20-foot-tall structures, with complaints ranging from blocked views and claims that it would attract the homeless, to concerns about the stability of the structure.

The Parks Department previewed seven different alternatives for the placement of the New Brighton location – the formal name of the site in front of Oceana near Coney Island Avenue – at City Hall in February. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz gave favorable, though tepid, reviews of the new plans.

“Some alternatives are clearly better than others, but what came across is that this is a new administration that has expressed a real willingness to listen to what the community has to say,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said in a press release. “It is a very hopeful sign that the [draft environmental impact statement] includes the options that were raised by residents at the Parks Department’s public scoping meeting last November. I believe this is an important step in an ongoing dialogue and it shows that the city is trying to be responsive to the community’s needs.”

prom

Prom Outfitters, a new formal wear shop, has opened at 2417 Coney Island Ave, just south of Avenue U.

According to an employee at the store, they’ve been up and running for about two weeks. It’s the second location for the business. The original store still serves customers at 1001 Flatbush Avenue.

The new Coney Island location replaces one of the many storefronts once occupied by Lester’s clothing store, a Sheepshead Bay staple that has been shrinking its retail footprint over the past year.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Prom Outfitters!

Source: FSSP via Twitter

Source: FSSP via Twitter

A new group has launched with the goal of expanding the services of shomrim, or Jewish civilian patrol, into a broad swath of Gravesend.

Community Safety & Security (CSS) is an affiliate of the Sephardic Community Federation, and is working on a recruitment drive to bring volunteers to the well-established Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, which could begin patroling the area.

The borders of the area under consideration are Avenue I to the north, Avenue Y to the south, Coney Island Avenue to the east and McDonald Avenue to the west.

“CSS is a new organization that will work to keep our communities safe by establishing initiatives to help reduce crime and increase public safety. We hope to work with the public, law enforcement and community watch groups to achieve these goals,” said Avi Spitzer, executive director of the Sephardic Community Federation.

Spitzer said they already have a core group of volunteers, and hope to build up operations and activities over time. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has offered to help the group identify potential sources of funds for their project. CSS is headed by Jack Cayre, the scion of developer and real estate magnate Joseph Cayre.

CSS is not formally affiliated with Flatbush Shomrim.

Flatbush Shomrim Executive Coordinator Bob Moskowitz said that they have not started patrolling the new area, nor have they made a decision on whether or not they will.

“It’s under consideration right now. It’s not a done deal. There’s a lot of logistics involved,” Moskowitz said. “I’d like to help them out, but we have to look at it and see if we can do it. But we can’t help every community that asks us to. Right now it’s still up in the air. If it’s something that’s doable, we’d love to.”

Spitzer said the goal of CSS’s effort right now is to bolster shomrim’s manpower with volunteers from the proposed coverage area, which would provide the resources needed for patrols.

Flatbush Shomrim was founded in 1991 by now-Councilman Chaim Deutsch. Shomrim volunteers patrol the neighborhoods in marked and unmarked vehicles, calling 911 when they see an emergency, monitoring the activities of people they believe to be suspicious, and calling for other volunteers if they feel the need. They can often be the first to respond to a scene of a low-level incident, where they can make a citizen’s arrest if necessary.

Community shomrim patrols have also been the source of controversy. Critics say they can sometimes be overzealous in their duties, inflame ethnic tensions and, at times, an obstacle to police investigations within the Jewish community. Some patrols receive taxpayer funds and resources through the offices of elected officials.

If you’d like to volunteer for shomrim patrols, contact CSS at (347) 781-4679 or by email at CSS@SephardicFederation.org

The Americans shooting inside Nargis (Source: Nargis' Facebook)

The Americans shooting inside Nargis (Source: Nargis’ Facebook)

Back in October 2013, we told you about The Americans, an FX television series starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich, which was shooting around and inside Nargis Cafe at 2818 Coney Island Avenue.

“You know you have an authentic central Asian restaurant when a great show about cold-war spies wants to film in your restaurant,” said Nargis’ owner and chef, Big B. “We were so happy to have the cast and crew enjoy our cuisine while they worked, and we welcome them back any time.”

Season 2 premiered last night, February 26, and it included the scene shot inside Nargis. It’s a pretty bad-ass three-minute ride, involving some Afghanis, some daggers, some head-shots and, of course, some really delicious-looking food. Nargis posted the clip on its Facebook page:

The show, which debuted last January, is set during the Cold War and is the story of two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American couple in the suburbs of Washington D.C., where they struggle to keep their cover under the gaze of their neighbor, an FBI Counter-Intelligence Agency.

I haven’t seen it yet, but now I’m looking forward to checking it out.

It’s also not the first time Nargis has graced television screens. The Cooking Channel featured their lagman soup on The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia episode, “Scent of a Baron.”

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