Archive for the tag 'east 23rd st'


Zair Cafe, a new restaurant serving “Russian & Eastern food,” is set to open soon at 2223 Avenue X, the corner of East 23rd Street.

The new restaurant replaces an Eastern European luncheonette and food mart. We’re not sure when it closed down, or if it’s the same ownership.

A sign in the window says it will open soon and will also have catering options. We wish the new cafe good luck.


There are at least a dozen cameras between these houses.

John Hockenjos successfully won his freedom after fighting a false arrest in 2011, but he remains mired in a legal battle that threatens to see his property turned over to what he says is an unscrupulous developer. This month, a Queens-based state senator joined the battle, saying Hockenjos is another in a long line of victims of malfeasance and incompetence at the Department of Buildings.

Hockenjos and his wife, Irina, have been fighting with their East 23rd Street neighbors Elen and Argo Paumere since June 2009, when the Paumeres purchased the home next to them with plans for an ambitious overhaul. According to the Hockenjoses, red flags flew fast when they were approached to sign documents turning over a two-foot easement to their new neighbor.

They didn’t sign, and that triggered an all-out war between property owners, according to the Hockenjoses, which includes allegations of physical violence, corruption and even involvement in the false arrest. It has also cost them their jobs, their health, and more than $150,000 in legal fees, they say.

“We’re jobless. We’re money-less. Our health was destroyed tremendously. We lost our reputation,” Irina Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites. “[The neighbors say] we’re criminals in all kind of ways. We’ve sued them in civil court because they’ve said we’re insane, and that John is a Russian mobster and he walks naked in the street.”

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Following yesterday’s dramatic rescue of a construction worker who had been buried up to his chest in dirt and debris, the Department of Buildings has slapped the contractor with a slew of violations.

The FDNY rescued the 33-year-old construction worker, who has not been identified, after a trench he was excavating in the rear yard of 2407 East 23rd Street collapsed on him, burying him up to his chest and making it difficult for him to breathe. After a 30-minute multi-agency rescue operation, the man was freed from the dirt and taken to Kings County Hospital with minor injuries.

The Department of Buildings told Sheepshead Bites that they have issued a stop work order at the location, and have also ordered the contractor, Mike Mermelshtayn of Alex and Tom Construction (2537 East 65th Street) to fill and secure the two 8-foot-long, 10-foot-deep trenches they’ve dug.

The Department also issued violations for failure to provide protection at an excavation site, failure to safeguard persons or property, failure to file plans for excavation work, and failure to provide proper fencing at the job site. The department did not answer an inquiry about the penalties imposed as part of the violations.

Department of Buildings records indicate that the landlord was converting the ground level unit of the multi-family home into a commercial location, with plans to extend the first and second floors towards the rear. There were no complaints registered against the construction until the collapse.


The FDNY rescued a construction worker buried up to his chest in debris after a trench he was digging in the backyard of an East 23rd Street home collapsed on him.

For details, photos and video, keep reading.

John Hockenjos, an MTA worker, was charged with reckless endangerment for allegedly try to run over a police officer.

Hockenjos (Source:

Diego Palacios, the police officer kicked off the force after his bogus arrest of a Sheepshead Bay man, may have been sentenced to four days in prison – but he served only one night.

New York Post picked up on our exclusive story last week – without giving credit to Sheepshead Bites – noting that Palacios pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of four days in prison and his resignation from the NYPD. The paper learned that Palacios had to spend only a single night behind bars, though.

Palacios was imprisoned after the Thursday afternoon hearing, in which he admitted to filing a false police report that claimed Sheepshead Bay resident John Hockenjos attempted to run the officer over with his car. That four-day sentence meant that Palacios would have been a free man again on Sunday.

But the sweetheart deal for a man who nearly put an innocent man in jail for seven years got even sweeter for Palacios: state law requires that inmates scheduled for discharge on a weekend should be freed on Friday.

Palacios spent the night in jail, and was freed the next day.

Hockenjos is fuming over the short prison sentence, and afraid for his safety.

“He’s a free man to do whatever he wants,” Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites last week. “And I have to be in pure fear that there could be retribution. I should not be in this position.”

Video that saved Hockenjos from heading to prison after being falsely accused by Palacios of attempting to run him down in his car.

John Hockenjos, an MTA worker, was charged with reckless endangerment for allegedly try to run over a police officer.

Hockenjos in front of the courthouse. (Source:

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A cop who falsely claimed that a Sheepshead Bay man tried to run him down in a car was sentenced to four days in prison – only one day more than his victim was locked up based on the officer’s bogus charges.

Officer Diego Palacios pleaded guilty at a hearing on Thursday in Brooklyn Supreme Court in exchange for a sentence of four days and his resignation from the New York City Police Department, the District Attorney’s office told Sheepshead Bites.

The three-day sentence has Palacios’s victim, East 23rd Street resident John Hockenjos, furious – and afraid for his safety.

“This individual spends four days in prison, with no probation, and he gets out of jail today or tomorrow and he’s a free man to do whatever he wants,” Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites. “And I have to be in pure fear that there could be retribution. I should not be in this position; there should at least be probation.”

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A grand jury indicted Officer Diego Palacios – formerly of the 61st Precinct – on felony charges for locking up an apparently innocent Sheepshead Bay man who the officer claimed tried to run him over in his car.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes revealed the grand jury’s decision yesterday, indicting the officer on five types of lying: offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records, making an apparently sworn false statement, perjury and making a punishable false written statement. He was also charged with official misconduct, the New York Times reports.

Falsifying business records is a felony offense for which Palacios was charged with two counts.

Palacios arrested East 23rd Street resident John Hockenjos in February, saying on a police report that he drove his car at “a high rate of speed” towards the officer in an attempt to hit him, forcing him “to jump out of the way.” Hockenjos was charged with felony reckless endangerment and spent several days behind bars.

But surveillance video provided by Hockenjos showed that the officer was standing in his driveway when he pulled in, slowly, and that the officer never budged.

After the surveillance footage surfaced, Palacios, an 8-year veteran of the NYPD, was transferred to a different precinct and placed on desk duty. He has now been suspended.

All charges against Hockenjos have been dropped. His wife, Irena, who faced a summons for disorderly conduct, has also been cleared.

In March, Hockenjos confronted the 61st Precinct Deputy Inspector about the incident at a Community Council meeting, telling him that he now feared to call the police.

“I feel unprotected. I’m now afraid to call 911 … I’m afraid for my life,” Hockenjos said. “I can’t protect myself, commander. I can’t do it. All I can do is take pictures.”

Hockenjos’s wife Irena has called Sheepshead Bites on numerous occasions since the arrest, expressing her frustrations and fears that she cannot call police when she feels in danger around the home, and especially not for disputes emerging from their ongoing feud with a neighbor they claim is building on their property. The police have been called to the scene many times by both the Hockenjoses and the neighbor, and it was the neighbor who had summoned Palacios to the scene in February.

Reader Richie spotted this on a car on East 23rd Street. It’s hard to read, but it says “Please don’t be an asshole. Use 1 space for 1 car.”

I think we need a whole series dedicated to “Please don’t be an asshole” signs. Here’s one I made for the commenters:

See the sign we made.

Around 1:30 p.m. today, a little red Honda, traveling south on East 23rd Street, ran the stop sign at Avenue W, an action that eventually turned into an accident involving six vehicles, witnesses said.

After running the sign, the Honda proceeded into the intersection directly into the path of a white Access-a-Ride van that was traveling east.

The Access-a-Ride van hit the Honda, taking off its front bumper and then careened into a west bound blue van. Enjoying this merger, they then brought a silver Lexus into the party that was parked happily on the north side of Avenue W, knocking it up on to the sidewalk.

Of course the Lexus couldn’t leave its friend and companion, knocking the front end of a white van that was parked behind it.

Not to be out done, the little red Honda crashed into a blue parked car on the south side of Avenue W. Avenue W was not a good place to park today.

The driver of the little red Honda complained of chest and leg pains, but walked unaided to the ambulance. No one else reported any injuries.

As of 3:15 p.m., they are still towing away damaged vehicles and Avenue W remains closed between East 23rd Street and East 24th Street.

View more photos.

The driver lost control of the Honda Odyssey, striking a parked car, a tree and a house.


A 13-year-old girl was killed when the speeding car she was traveling in slammed into a Marine Park house on Sunday afternoon. A 16-year-old is now facing charges of criminally negligent homicide, reckless driving, speeding and operating a motor vehicle out of class for being behind the wheel illegally.

Around 1:45 p.m., 16-year-old Eric Hakimisefat was zooming down East 23rd Street at around 63 mph – double the speed limit – when he lost control of the minivan he was driving. The van slammed into a parked car, hit a tree and ricocheted into the porch of 1620 East 23rd Street, reports say.

“It was this huge, colossal crash,” one neighbor told the Daily News. “You couldn’t fathom exactly what happened.”

In addition to Hakimisefat, the car carried a 16-year-old friend and the friend’s 13-year-old sister, Sarah Erdan.

Hakimisefat and the other 16-year-old survived the crash, but Erdan died of major head injuries at Kings County Hospital.

Hakimisefat has only a junior driver’s permit, which requires a parent or guardian to be with him when he drives. He was taken into custody by officers of the 61st Precinct.

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