Archive for the tag 'emmons ave'

holocaust Memorial park nyc

The eternal light at the center of Holocaust Memorial Park was extinguished during Superstorm Sandy. Now, 17 months later, the light is shining again.

News came from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who said the councilman worked with the Parks Department to repair the facilities there.

“Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said, ‘To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time,’ with these poignant words in mind, I am proud to announce that my efforts in conjunction with the Holocaust Memorial Park Committee to have the park’s eternal flame relit have been successful,” Deutsch said in a statement. “This flame, which was extinguished during Hurricane Sandy, will once again shine brightly, symbolizing our resiliency, and reminding future generations of one of the darkest periods in the history of man, and insure that we never forget, and never again allow such human injustice and genocide to occur in the future.”

It’s not so clear if the light was actually on before Superstorm Sandy. The 15-foot-tall fixture has been problematic for years, with park stewards complaining that it frequently goes out and can take the Parks Department long stretches to replace it.

During one incident in 2010, the bulb was out for several weeks. Parks Department replaced it, but it failed again several days later.

Delays in replacing it can happen because of the city’s procurement policies. The custom bulb needs to be ordered in bulk, and if none are on hand parkgoers will have to wait for the city’s next big order.

But Deutsch’s office said that the problems from Sandy went far beyond the bulb. The light’s electrical wires were damaged from the salt water and needed to be completely replaced. The department sought to do it in February, but the snowstorms pushed delays to the end of March.

loehmanns

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The owners of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) have submitted plans to the Department of Building to construct a new extension to the controversial building, leaving those who fought its initial construction nearly 20 years ago in a state of shock.

The proposed extension would add a new story of commercial offices, totaling 10,000 square feet. The plans are in violation of zoning and the property’s current variance, and will soon be considered by Community Board 15 and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

One of the property’s owners, Alex Levin, confirmed the expansion.

“We’re looking to expand office space,” he said. “We’re going to bring the elevator up to [a new third] floor. We have our reasons.”

The project’s architect, Robert Palermo, declined to discuss the plans.

“It’s privileged information. When it comes before the board, it’ll be public,” he said.

There is no date set yet for a public hearing at Community Board 15, the first step to obtaining any variance. Chairperson Theresa Scavo said she had not yet been notified by the Board of Standards Appeals.

As a resident, though, she was shocked to learn of the plan.

“Speaking personally, it was against the special Sheepshead zoning district to begin with, and to add a floor is a slap in the face to the people of Sheepshead Bay,” she said. “I cannot believe that adding another floor is going to give the Bay a better look with that monstrosity there.”

The building sits within the Sheepshead Bay special zoning district, which limits the size and use of structures along the Emmons Avenue waterfront. The area is limited to waterfront and tourist-related activities, and special density and height limits govern development.

Many longtime Sheepshead Bay activists credit the development of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the 1990s as the death of the special district, having won a variance that, according to those who fought it, resulted in it being 800 percent larger than legal limits. The exception was won due to the promise of the retail giant Loehmann’s as an anchor tenant, justifying jobs and commercial draw in exchange for its waiver.

Loehmann’s went bankrupt and vacated the property last month.

Bay Improvement Group Steve Barrison, one of the development’s most vocal opponents, said the new application is history repeating itself.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” he said. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Barrison added that there’s little legal justification to allow the variance simply for office space. According to the law, a developer must show that they suffer from certain hardships, as found in section 72-21 of New York’s Zoning Resolution.

“It’s insensitive to the whole community after Sandy,” said Barrison. “All of the people who haven’t moved in or are still rebuilding and trying to get their lives together. Now [this developer] wants to go and build and increase zoning some more when people can’t speak up.”

If Bay Improvement Group decides to fight the variance, they’ll be fighting a different developer than they did in the 1990s. The building was sold to Levin in 2008 for $24 million, a local real estate record at the time.

Click for full flier

Click for full flier

A group of city planners and neighborhood activists will be meeting tomorrow, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. to begin creating a new comprehensive vision of the Sheepshead Bay waterfront’s commercial and recreational corridors.

The public forum, open to all and taking place at the Kings Bay Y Emmons Avenue Annex at 2801 Emmons Avenue, is organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and NYU’s Wagner Capstone Team. Support for the initiative is being provided by Empower Sheepshead.

The Capstone program is doing the groundwork of the initiative, researching, conducting site visits, attempting to organize a merchant association and conducting interviews with local stakeholders.

The point of the plan is to come up with a slate of new proposal to reinvigorate the business and recreational life of Sheepshead Bay. The planners are looking to hear from residents and business owners on ideas to unify, beautify, strengthen and enrich the waterfront for years to come.

And while there have been many meetings on the future of Sheepshead Bay since Superstorm Sandy, the Capstone program has a record to stand behind of getting things done in New York City neighborhoods.

The program partners student planners with nonprofit organizations to help solve real-world business and planning problems. They’ve previously drawn up a vision to increase business along Bay Ridge’s 4th Avenue, and elements of that are currently being put into effect with help from city agencies. They’re also behind the proposals to reactivate the Crown Heights Armory.

loehmanns

Loehmann’s discount clothing store at 2027 Emmons Avenue closed for good on Wednesday, wrapping up its seven-week-long closeout sale.

We first announced the impending closure of Loehmann’s in early January, after the retailer filed for bankruptcy and won a court decision permitting it to sell of inventory and holdings.

Thirty-nine stores in all are now closed, ending a nearly 100-year-long presence in the borough where it all began.

The Sheepshead Bay Loehmann’s opened its doors in the 1990s after a long and bitter battle between the property developer and locals who feared it was an inappropriate use of waterfront land. A special zoning district was enacted for the Sheepshead Bay waterfront in the 1970s, reserving the land for waterfront- and tourist-related activities.

siam

There’s only one way a reporter of my integrity and standards knows how to report on the closure of Siam Orchid Thai Cuisine at 2259 Emmons Avenue:

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Sure, it’s not like they were the best Thai food in the world. But they were pretty much the only Thai restaurant in the area for what seemed like forever. Now we have Thai Basil on Nostrand Avenue, which is a solid takeout option, but we’ll miss Orchid’s waterfront views and fish tank full of giant, ugly fish.

China Max next door closed down in November. Attempts to reach the property owner were unsuccessful, so we can’t say for sure that Siam is closed for good. But it did not appear to be renovating, and there was no sign for customers.

ลาก่อน, my Thai friends. And good luck.

vittoria-1

To say we’re late with this news would be an understatement. Vittoria Seafood and Grill opened a week before A Taste of Sheepshead Bay in January, so my mind was elsewhere and I forgot to report it. But, alas, Vittoria is here, it’s open, and so far I’m hearing good things.

Located at 3081 Emmons Avenue, Vittoria replaces Jumpin’ Bean, which closed in October. It’s owned by one of the former partners of the Avenue U staple La Trattoria, which he left to launch the new eatery, as well as one of the former partners of OPM further down Emmons.

Have you been to Vittoria? What did you think?

loehmanns

It looks like the controversial and eponymous tenant of the Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza building on Emmons Avenue will soon vacate, following approval from a bankruptcy judge to sell off inventory and holdings.

The discount designer apparel retailer is shutting its doors after filing for bankruptcy in December. A judge on Tuesday gave the green light to conduct at “Going out of Business” sale of merchandise at the retailer’s 40 locations across 11 states.

In Sheepshead Bay, it means a prime waterfront commercial space at 2027 Emmons Avenue will now go vacant, after being one of the strip’s prime attractions for local shoppers. It also means that nearly 100 employees at the local location will be looking for work, an employee told Sheepshead Bites over the phone today.

The storefront is set to close its doors for good some time in March, the employee said. Until then, shoppers can enjoy bargains between 10 and 40 percent off, with the sale kicking off today.

The Sheepshead Bay Loehmann’s opened its doors in the 1990s after a long and bitter battle between the property developer and locals who feared it was an inappropriate use of waterfront land. A special zoning district was enacted for the Sheepshead Bay waterfront in the 1970s, reserving the land for waterfront- and tourist-related activities.

The Loehmann’s space was renovated in 2010 after a fire in a neighboring restaurant caused damages. Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 shuttered the location once again, and it reopened doors to shoppers in February.

The three-story, 280,000 square foot retail center came under new ownership in 2008, setting a local real estate record with a sale price of $24 million.

Founded in Crown Heights in 1921, Loehmann’s has struggled to compete in recent years, filing for bankruptcy two previous times. It follows the trend of other discount apparel retailers, including Filene’s Basement and Daffy’s, both of which filed for bankruptcy in the past two years.

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The bungalow communities near Emmons Avenue provides a glimpse into how people in Sheepshead Bay – along with much of coastal Southern Brooklyn – used to live when development first began coming to the resort destination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The small waterfront homes were built for summer stays, and later became year-round homes as Sheepshead Bay became more residential.

Greenlawn Bungalow Colony on Emmons Avenue near Batchelder Street remains one of the largest intact examples in Brooklyn of how the area looked, still sporting landscaped walkways in front of the homes. We’re told it’s also one of the oldest in the area, and may have led the way in cooperative ownership, where homeowners owned a stake in the land like today’s co-op apartments.

Greenlawn, though, was one of the worst hit colonies by Superstorm Sandy, as we reported back in November 2012. Several houses were destroyed or severely damaged. Now, 22 of the bungalows are being sold for prices ranging from $250,000 to $600,000, according to the Edward Re, who is representing the property.

Re is selling the bungalows on behalf of Realty Finance Trust. Before Sandy, most of the bungalows were being rented out with the option of buying it. But after the storm, owners and tenants were left with a repair bill they didn’t want to pay for.

Waterfront activists concerned that the property might be sold to developers, who could tear down the homes and block out views of the waterfront, might take relief that the broker is hoping to preserve the properties.

“You would be buying the shell of a bungalow,” Re said. “We’re interested in finding people that want to restore the bungalow community.”

Re noted that the bungalows get interest from local business owners who want a summer home but can’t run off to another state because of the constant demands of running a small business.

But for the asking price you actually get more than a shell. Each cottage has water rights, known as riparian water rights for all you real estate geeks, to the Bay. The owner of a bungalow also has access to a communal bungalow with a cabaret license, he said.

“It’s like the old world,” Re said.

The brand new B44 Select Bus Service, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

The brand new B44 Select Bus Service, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTEOn Friday, Mayor Bloomberg and the press took a ride on the 7 extension to 34th Street, although the line is still six months away from completion. He was hoping to have it finished before he left office. He failed, but received the press coverage he desired.

The M42 bus branch to 34th Street was discontinued in 2010 due to a lack of ridership. So what do we do when there is inadequate demand for bus service? We build a new subway instead, of course. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

The subway was not extended to meet existing demand but to stimulate real estate development for the Hudson Yards project. The mayor pointed out that was how it was done in the old days. First you built the rapid transit line, and that encouraged development. Not the other way around, building subways as a response to development. The subway was not extended for the benefit of subway riders, like the Second Avenue Line, which will relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line. It was extended to help Bloomberg’s millionaire developer friends get even richer.

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One of Fidler’s elves at last year’s toy drive.

Councilman Lewis Fidler’s Democratic Club, the 41st Assembly District Democrats, is putting out the final call for toys as the grand finale party nears on Thursday.

Now in its 13th year, the annual toy drive has grown to become the largest Toys for Tots drive in New York City for seven years running. Last year, they collected more than 9,000 toys, a record they hope to beat again this year.

Their efforts have been helped by several smaller “feeder” drives, including one done by the Kings Bay Y and another by the Be Proud Foundation (Be Proud’s collection event is today, at 6:00 p.m. at Signature Restaurant [2007 Emmons Avenue]. Those interested in donating can stop by with an unwrapped, unopened toy or a check made out to Be Proud Foundation).

The event culminates with a massive party at the clubhouse at 2952 Avenue R on Thursday, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. It’s a great time for kids, who get to mingle with Mr. Met and Sandy the Seagull, and is capped off with an “elf show” and the loading of toys into the U.S. Marines’ 18-wheeled military cargo truck. Last year’s loading took more than an hour.

If you’d like to make a donation or have questions about the drive, call Bryan at (917) 846-1944.

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