Archive for the tag 'east 14th st'

Scaffolding went up last week. (Source: Lisanne Anderson)

Scaffolding went up last week. (Source: Lisanne Anderson)

Neighbors are raising the alarm over potential plans to tear down a symbol of Midwood’s movie-making history, the 107-year-old Vitagraph smokestack near East 14th Street and Avenue M.

Scaffolding now surrounds the smokestack, which still has the historic silent film company’s name on it, though no plans have been filed to indicate its fate. The appearance of scaffolding has some worried that new owners plan to demolish the structure.

Brooklyn Eagle reports:

The smokestack, at East 15th Street and Locust Avenue, is an artifact from the historic Vitagraph Studios, a silent film company founded by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in 1897. It is now shrouded in scaffolding after permits were filed to erect a heavy duty sidewalk shed and pipe scaffold at the location.

“It is 110+ years old, and an important part of Brooklyn and film making history,” [neighbor Ellen] Levitt added. “I don’t think this is landmarked, which is a shame.”

Despite the age, passersby could clearly see the Vitagraph name embedded in the brickwork before scaffolding was erected. (Source: Lisanne Anderson)

Despite the age, passersby could clearly see the Vitagraph name embedded in the brickwork before scaffolding was erected. (Source: Lisanne Anderson)

The smokestack is part of the larger property at 1277 East 14th Street, which was most recently the site of Shulamith School for Girls. The complex became part of Warner Brothers after Vitagraph was sold in 1925.

The Encyclopedia of New York City has this on Vitagraph Studios (via Forgotten NY):

An open-air, rooftop motion picture studio, opened in 1898 by American Vitagraph in the Morse Building at 140 Nassau Street [Manhattan]. The film Burglar On The Roof was produced in the studio during its first year. In 1890 the company moved its offices to 110-16 Nassau Street and then opened a glass-enclosed studio in 1906 at 15th Street and Locust Avenue in Flatbush…

…Warner Brothers purchased American Vitagraph in 1925 and used the studio for many of its Vitaphone short subjects before closing it in 1939; it continued to produce film there even after the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) bought the studio in 1952 and began using it for color television broadcasts.

Though a portion of the sprawling complex continued to operate as a studio into the 21st Century, the more historic facility at 1277 East 14th Street was repurposed by Yeshiva University in 1967.

Attempts to landmark the smokestack itself have failed to win approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

A new petition by neighbor Melissa Friedling is making the rounds to save the smokestack.

“Prodigious and proud, the smokestack stands beautifully emblazoned with inlaid brickwork spelling out Vitagraph (visible from the Q train as you approach the Avenue M subway station),” the petition states. “We would like to make a plea for preserving it as a landmark for the the borough of Brooklyn and for cinema posterity.”

The property sold in July 2014 for $20 million. Despite using an anonymous LLC moniker, Sheepshead Bites has learned that the new owner is Hampshire Properties, a Midwood-based manager and developer of residential and commercial properties across the nation. They manage several properties in Midwood, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach, among others.

Though Hampshire Properties has confirmed ownership, they did not return requests for comment on the plans.

The Friends of the Sheepshead Bay Library have organized book sales.

The Friends of the Sheepshead Bay Library have organized book sales.

It looks like the Sheepshead Bay branch of the Brooklyn Public Library has its own “Friends of” group, a committee of neighbors who raise funds and contribute to programming for the local site.

We’ve just received word that today, August 8, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. there is a “carnival” at the library to bring in donations for improvements to the institution. There will be refreshments and live entertainment, and all donations go to supporting the Sheepshead Bay branch at 2636 East 14th Street.

We’re not sure how long the Friends of group has been around, but it’s happy news to us. Sheepshead Bites encourages you to get down there and spend a little money so the local library can get the improvements it so desperately needs.

UPDATE (12:24 p.m.): Sheepshead Bay Library supervisor Svetlana Negrimovskaya emailed us a little more information about the Friends group:

The most unique library “Friends” group was formed by the members of our monthly “Russian Literature Club” and very soon, teens ages 14-18 from our young adult “Books and Cooks” weekly program joined the adult Friends. (run by  Friends group President. Anna Nemirovsky – member of the Sheepshead Bay Russian Literature Club) Group was formed very recently!

Teen friends are not only helping with fundraising for their home library, but they also enjoy cooking and baking multicultural recipes in the library kitchen, as well as conducting interactive storytelling, puppets shows, arts / crafts workshops, stage readings, board games for children, teaching e-mail and computer skills to seniors.

The teaching center's Sheepshead Bay office (Source: Google Maps)

The teaching center’s Sheepshead Bay office (Source: Google Maps)

A former employee of a New York Methodist Hospital teaching facility in Sheepshead Bay has filed a lawsuit against the facility, claiming staff knowingly exposed the public to potential health risks, and terminated her employment when she tried to make it known.

According to the complaint filed earlier this week with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, plaintiff Shagufta Syed alleges that while working as the program director last year at Methodist’s Center for Allied Health Education, School of Radiation Therapy, located at 1401 Kings Highway, she learned that students who had not received a required health clearance — which would entail providing proof of receiving flu and hepatitis shots and being screened for contagious diseases — were “coming into contact with patients who had significantly compromised immune systems as a result of their cancer radiation treatment,” contrary to the Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.

Those students, she claims, worked with patients receiving radiation therapy at Methodist, SUNY Downstate Medial Center, the Brooklyn Hospital Center, LEROS, and the Lutheran Medical Center.

Upon telling one of her supervisors, Syed claims in the lawsuit that she received this response:

“Don’t worry about it. Nothing’s ever done right here.”

The complaint says Syed then reached out to the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology about the situation, and once her Methodist supervisors learned of this, she claims she was fired for doing so.

The complaint further alleges that upon submitting a claim for settlement, Methodist’s lawyers sent a letter claiming they had “documented facts” that could “prove costly” should Syed decide to pursue the litigation, but that those facts were not presented when requested pre-litigation.

Syed is claiming a loss of income from what she says is a wrongful termination, along with emotional distress, and is suing for the sum of $75,000.

“We cannot comment on the lawsuit brought by the individual whose employment was terminated,” Methodist said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “However, we can assure you that, as required by regulatory agencies and accrediting bodies, our radiation therapy students receive the same health clearances as our employees before they are allowed to enter into clinical rotations.”

– Mary Bakija

I guess it’s not exactly the highest honor when they flash the Sheepshead Bay branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (2636 East 14th Street) when talking about how budget cuts have caused the system to suffer, but, then, it is arguably one of the most depressing exteriors in the system.

But the video above, produced and released as part of a campaign by the city’s three library systems to have past funding cuts restored, compensates for the slight by also featuring the branch’s indefatigable manager, Svetlana Negrimovskaya, inspiring kids and their parents, and working with the community. (Check out the 2:30 mark for that bit).

The 10-minute video shows some of the incredible services offered at libraries across the city, all with programming tailored to their local communities. And they’ve done in this in the face of funding challenges.

As New York magazine notes:

Over the last decade, book circulation at New York City libraries has jumped by 46 percent, annual visits by 59 percent, and program attendance by 88 percent. These figures are even more startling considering that budget cuts have forced the libraries to reduce both staff and hours.

There are no cuts in store in the budget proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, but there’s also no new money for the system after suffering years of slashes and increased costs. The libraries are asking for a combined $65 million dollars and have launched a petition to urge neighbors to join the fight. In addition to that petition, the Brooklyn Public Library has also created its own page for how you can stand up for these indispensable community resources.

Get involved; libraries are a part of the social safety net that we can’t do without.

balkan

Source: BPL

The second annual Bike the Branches kicks off tomorrow, and our local Sheepshead Bay library is planning a special party to welcome the hundreds of cyclists from around the borough.

The event invites cyclists to tour Brooklyn with pitstops at the 60 neighborhood branches, many of which have scheduled their own programming between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to keep the energy going.

The Sheepshead Bay branch at 2636 East 14th Street will party Balkan-style with Matt Moran’s Slavic Soul Party, a well-known Balkan party band that puts a new twist on traditional Balkan music. The group mashes up gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz and Latin beats with Balkan brass music, including Romanian, Bulgarian and Macedonian favorites. Here’s a sample:

The band kicks off at 3 p.m.

In the spirit of cycling, the library is also planning a fitness workshop with a personal fitness coach at 1 p.m., and there will be an amusing Bike the Branches book display based around a painting of branch manager Svetlana Negrimovskaya with a bike, inviting everyone to explore the library system.

svetlana

If you’re interested in the Bike the Branches event, check out the link above. Aside from the standard route, they’ve also curated a selection of customized routes for history buffs, booze hounds and more.

tete

The folks over at Tete-a-Tete Cafe (2601 East 14th Street) are teaming up with the Shorefront Y, the Kings Bay Y, the JCC of Bensonhurst and several other organizations to help raise money for area children with special needs.

From now until June 8 – exactly one month from today – the cafe will be donating 50 cents from the sale of every medium-sized latte or cappuccino.

The funds will go towards the Brooklyn Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative (BASDI) Fourth Annual Walk for Autism, which takes place on June 8 at 11 a.m. along the Riegelmann Boardwalk. The walk helps raise money for free programs for kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, helping Southern Brooklyn families who struggle with the financial burden required to meet their kids’ special needs.

Aside from buying some java, you can register to participate in the walk itself ($10), or donate money through the Shorefront Y’s website.

garbage

The photo above was taken this morning on Avenue U and East 14th Street.

According to reader Tracy M., it’s indicative of “the appalling state of the neighborhood, post snow. This pic was taken this morning at Ave U and East 14. I could have gone for blocks taking similar pictures.”

We saw Sanitation workers catching up on residential streets this morning, and with the snow they surely have had a lot on their plates these last few weeks. But we’re inclined to agree: there’s no real excuse for what you see above.

rickles

A video has been going around the internets of a Kraft Music Hall program from August 9, 1968, hosted by legendary comic Don Rickles, and filmed entirely along Avenue M in Midwood around the subway station.

And that’s no surprise, it was an NBC program, and NBC Brooklyn Studios was once located at 1268 East 14th Street.

The video’s classic Rickles walking through classic Brooklyn: kids playing stickball, classic hot dogs, classic pickpockets – and classic businesses in the background (anyone remember Yen Fung Restaurant?).

Check it out!

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Click to enlarge

There will be at least two — count ’em, two — Sukkot events for the community this Sunday, both of which promise tons of food, entertainment, music, dancing, and much more.

  • Congregation Israel of Kings Bay: Congregation Israel of Kings Bay invites the Jewish community to their annual Simchas Bais Hashoava, a celebration — and in this case, a pizza party — held during the intermediate days of Sukkos. The party will be held September 22 at 7:30 inside Congregation Israel of Kings Bay, 3903 Nostrand Avenue, corner of Voorhies Avenue. For information, call (718) 615-1549 or (718) 934-5176. The event is free, although a donation is suggested.
  • Chabad of Sheepshead Bay: Chabad of Sheepshead Bay invites the invites the community to join them at their Annual Sukkos Street Festival, featuring a 4D theater, arcade games, laser tag and U:launcher (Ed. — Whatever that is), pony rides, face-painting, popcorn, hotdogs, and more. All the fun takes place September 22 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on East 14th Street between Avenue X and Avenue Y. Be sure to stick around for the magic show at 4:30 p.m. To learn more, including prices, click to enlarge the flier above, or go to www.chabadsheepsheadbay.com.
hate graffiti in midwood israel news

Photo via Israelnationalnews.com

A swastika was found in Midwood, scrawled on top of a Courier Life news box. Israel Nation News is reporting that they discovered the hate graffiti posted on Facebook by a concerned citizen but little action has been taken as of yet.

The swastika was discovered on the corner of Avenue J and East 14th Street. Israel National News was pretty annoyed at the lack of responses and outrage the image generated on Facebook:

A local Jewish resident, noticing the mark, snapped the photo and posted it on Facebook. But few people even bothered to comment.

One Facebook member wrote, “Those rascally Buddhists / Hindus. I hope.”  But a second writer responded, “Not in a Jewish neighborhood. More like Pakistani Muslims…” A commentator from Israel added, “What’s weird is the laid-back attitude that everyone is taking towards this.”

I personally am torn on this issue. I obviously believe that drawing swastikas anywhere, let alone a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, is wrong. Sometimes I feel that glorifying the hate crimes of bigoted punks does nothing but bring pleasure to the idiot who did it in the first place. On the other hand, bringing attention to the evil of the swastika is probably useful in educating young people who might not know better. Either way, it is bad and needs to stop – and someone ought to scrub that box clean.

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