Archive for the tag 'flatbush ave'

Golden Hour at El Greco

As we mournfully bid “αντίο” — that’s Greek for “Auf Wiedersehen” — to our friends at El Greco Diner, and further lament the long bygone days of other legendary neighborhood dinerial establishments such as Ray & Shy’s Flame Restaurant (aka “The Flame,” where my parents went on their first date back in 1970), the Foursome, which made the finest U-bet’s egg creams on God’s green earth, and my personal favorite, New Clements, of blessed memory… let us remember the good times and turn toward the future.

With tomorrow’s pending closure of El Greco, our little corner of the world grows ever more bereft of places to get disco fries at 2 in the morning.

However, once the mourning period for El Greco concludes (and really, does it ever?), there is no reason, after a night out of marathon bar-crawling celebrating that much-deserved promotion, why you should deny your hypothalamus and grumbling belly the greasy, dopamine-skritching, artery-gorging deliciousness that is two eggs sunny side up, crispy home fries, sizzling bacon, and a piping hot black cuppa joe.

Well, I have great news for all you intrepid foodies: You can still have those things… just, after Friday, not at El Greco. If you’re a local diner fiend looking to get your greasy spoon on, do like Elizabeth Taylor once said and “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together… and check out Sheepshead Bites’ roundup of some neighborhood diners to help fill the gaping void that El Greco will leave in our broken hearts forever.”

Okay, she didn’t really say that last part, but still… check out our roundup of local diners and diner-style eateries below. I checked out the user comments for all these places on Yelp, some of which were profoundly bizarre. In lieu of my own opinions (because I haven’t actually been to a couple of these places), I chose the more illustrious comments on Yelp. They speak for themselves.

Read our full roundup of eight Sheepshead Bay-area diners to get your fill.

Gil Hodges Bridge (Photo by Stan Kaplan)

Gil Hodges Bridge in the distance (Photo by Stan Kaplan)

The Marine Parkway – Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge got stuck in the up position this morning, spurring advisories to motorists to use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternative for those going to or coming from the Rockaways.

The bridge was lifted to allow a ship to pass beneath it at approximately 11:30am. A problem with the electrical cables, owned by Consolidated Edison, stopped it from closing after the vessel passed.

Traffic remained blocked in both directions as of 1:00pm, and authorities did not provide an estimated service restoration time.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyers Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyer Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

By Lillian Kneopp

New Yorkers are famous for not knowing – much less understanding – their neighbors. But local advocate Mark Meyer Appel wants to change that.

“Our mission is to stop this hate and invest in new ways for our very diverse population to work together to better understand each other and protect our children and families,” Appel said as he welcomed community members and local politicians to the grand opening of The Bridge Community Center (1894 Flatbush Avenue) Sunday evening, October 19.

The center is being opened through the Bridge Multicultural Advocacy Project and the Voice of Justice, a nonprofit organization, as an interactive facility that will host local meetings and community events to bring together the diverse communities in the neighborhood.

Appel, the president of the Voice of Justice, raised $300,000 in private funds to repair the 6,000 square-foot brick building he has long owned at 1894 Flatbush Avenue. Its renovated first floor open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out free of charge to nonprofits and art groups to host events.

The space will also be an art gallery. Leaders hope that communities will visit in order to learn about other arts and cultures – and that these interactions will foster understanding.

“Art breaks down barriers and helps us to uncover and discover that we are all not that different,” explained Public Advocate Letitia James in her speech.

Artists from around the world, including Russian artist Mikhail Turovsky, artist Ebony Thompson, who is originally from Sierra Leone, and Brooklyn native Sophia Domeville, exhibited pieces at the event.

Artist Robert Bery’s work reflected the spirit of the event with a piece featuring flags from around the world sewn together into a single flag.

“We are all under the same flag,” said Bery.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyers Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the Bridge Community Center.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the center.

This mentality is what many organizers hope the community center will foster.

“This opens doors to people talking to each other, which is always positive,” Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, the spiritual leader of Linden Heights and the Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America explained.

Local politicians, Council members and community leaders filled the new center to support the project and enjoy the kosher wine, Haitian food and sushi.

A Haitian jazz band, Buyu Ambroise and the Blues In Red Band, entertained the crowd with traditional Haitian tunes with jazz infusion.

In the spirit of the evening, the band collaborated with a Jewish group for a portion of the evening improvising together. The crowd danced the Hora to their music after symbolically cutting the grand opening ribbon.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyers Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero's Award.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyer Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero’s Award.

Local community leaders were honored during the evening as Appel awarded Hero’s Awards to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Ezra Friedlander, founder and CEO of The Friedlander Group, a public relations company; and Ed Powell, a Democratic district leader and New York State Committeeman of the Kings County Democratic Party, for their service to the community.

Powell will be partnering with Appel on a task force through the Bridge Community Center that will be working to train local law enforcement.

“When local law enforcement understands civilians are real human beings, not jobs they are responding to – not just 9-11 calls- there will be an opportunity for real justice,” Powell said in his Hero’s Award acceptance speech.

Appel was also awarded for his commitment to the Brooklyn community for opening The Bridge.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running to represent the 42nd Assembly District, presented him with a citation from the Brooklyn Borough president, Eric Adams, congratulating him on the opening of the center. He also received a citation from the NY Assembly presented by retiring Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, also of Assembly district 42.

Amid the artwork and awards, community members celebrated coming together to learn to better understand each other.

Appel marked the whole evening as a turning point for the community saying, “Today in Flatbush, Brooklyn, we are extinguishing the flames of evil and lighting the flames of hope.”

Ryan Visitor Center

Jamaica Bay remains one of New York City’s most important natural jewels, a network of marsh islands and waterways spanning from Rockaway Inlet and Sheepshead Bay to JFK International Airport.

Tonight, you can get involved and learn more about preservation and restoration efforts at the park during the Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting at Floyd Bennet Field’s Ryan Visitor Center.

The group is a coalition of community groups, non-profits, city and state agencies and other local stakeholders. More often than not, the group meets in Queens, so a meeting at Floyd Bennett Field is an opportunity for Southern Brooklyn residents to more easily attend.

The group will discuss oyster bed restoration projects, an update on endangered features of its landscape like the marsh islands and the West Pond, marine debris removal and a progress report on the budding Science and Resilience Institute that will one day bolster research and preservation efforts in Jamaica Bay.

The meeting is today at 6:30pm, at the Ryan Visitor Center (50 Aviator Road, off Flatbush Avenue).

brawlA group of Kings Plaza Mall security guards are on suspension pending an investigation after video surfaced showing them punching and kicking a teen in what they say was an attempt to control a brewing brawl.

Cell phone footage recorded on Sunday at around 4:30pm appears to show a group of security guards pinning a teen to the ground and punching him repeatedly in the face.

ABC News reports:

In the video, at least four mall security guards are seen trying to subdue a 16-year old boy, and not just tackling him.

The boy is punched and kicked and grabbed by the throat, by grown men more than twice his age.

“They threw him on the floor, they choked him, about three of them that actually choked him, and they were kicking him in the head,” said eyewitness Shaunternette Melton.

But the video does not show the entire episode. Police say the teen, identified as Christopher Henry, had just assaulted one of the guards after he had been asked repeatedly to leave the mall.

WPIX11 reports that Henry and another teen were arguing with each other. The security team said that the 39-year-old guard approached Henry and repeatedly asked him to leave. Instead, Henry refused and allegedly jumped on the guard and punched and kicked him. Other guards responded and took Henry into custody.

Mall officials released the following statement:

We find the images captured in the video disturbing. We are cooperating with law enforcement and AlliedBarton Security Services, who employs the security officers involved, to fully investigate the entire incident so that appropriate action can be taken.

AlliedBarton Security Services, the contractor that provides security to the mall, also issued a statement:

AlliedBarton Security Services shares the community’s concern about the video and the events shown,” the statement read. “We are investigating what is shown in the video, as well as the events that occurred before the video began. The security officers involved have been suspended pending investigation. AlliedBarton’s responsibilities at Kings Plaza Mall are to help create and maintain a safe and secure environment. It is imperative that these duties be conducted in a safe and respectful manner and we accept nothing less from our teams.

NBC New York reports that the teen was arrested and charged with assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

He has previous arrests for petit larceny, intent to defraud the transit system, and robbery. Other arrests are sealed due to his age.

Though security insists that the teen has a history of bad behavior in the mall, in addition to the arrests listed above, activists say that the response was excessive.

“Irrespective of what led into this, the actions of those security guards in this community is appalling, and that can’t be tolerated,” said activist Tony Herbert. “We can’t tell these kids to act civil and professional in society when those who have the authority and are trained professionally can’t do the same.”

The mall has been the scene of several violent brawls between large groups of teens, including a December incident that saw as many as 500 teens screaming and fighting in the shopping center. Another “teen riot” occurred in February with approximately 100 teens, which led to arrests. Neighbors say there have been at least two other incidents.

Members of local community groups have put pressure on the NYPD and the mall’s security to bring the situation under control.

Sources: NBC New York, News 12, ABC News, CBS News.

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Gnomiki Day Care at 2221 Ocean Avenue, which was closed due to its history of violations. Its sister site at 2623 Ocean Avenue has been recommended for closure as well. (Source: Google Maps)

The operators of nine child care facilities – seven in Brooklyn and two in Staten Island – were charged last Friday with submitting false documents to the city to cover up a slew of health and safety problems, according to Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation Mark Peters, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Jr.

At the centers, which served about 400 children, investigators said they found a long list of egregious conditions, including rat droppings, poison, a mountain of trash, and a fire alarm falling off the wall, the Daily News reported. Additionally, the DOI said they discovered owners had submitted fake educational degrees, forged medical records, and falsified letters stating employees had been trained in child abuse identification.

The city recently closed four of the centers:

  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., 2221 Ocean Avenue, closed due to the site’s violation history, city officials said.
  • Next to Home, 1123 Flatbush Avenue, was shuttered due to a city Department of Buildings vacate order issued in response to multiple DOB and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene violations.
  • Next to Home, 1159 Flatbush Avenue was closed because investigators said the program had been operating under an expired DOB certificate of occupancy.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, 6318 Amboy Road, Staten Island, ended operations after DOHMH petitioned to revoke the permit.

At the remaining five sites:

  • Next to Home, 5566 Kings Highway, was “never leased and never provided services to children,” the DOI said
  • ABC Little Star, 2345 85th Street, is still operating and city officials said DOHMH inspected it this week, finding no new violations.
  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., Group Family Day Care, 2623 Ocean Avenue, has been recommended for closure.
  • Next to Home, 353 Ocean Avenue, closed after the owner stopped operations, city officials said.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, a group family daycare operating at 6306 Amboy Road in Staten Island, is operating, but the owner that was arrested will be excluded from the program, officials said.

The site owners who were arrested were:

  • Viktoriya Federovich, 38, of Brooklyn, was the owner of Gnomiki Day Care, Inc. She was charged with presenting fraudulent documents to the city, including two Certificates of Completion for Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment for an assistant teacher and a volunteer, the DOI said.
  • Elena Kaplan, 53, of Brooklyn, was the owner ABC Little Star Day Care, and, according to the DOI’s investigation, she allegedly submitted a number of false documents to the city, including a a fake public school teacher certificate for herself and state Nurses Association Certificates of Completion for various members of the staff confirming they had received training in identifying child abuse, when, in fact, they allegedly had not, the city officials said.
  • Owen Larman, 41, of Brooklyn, a convicted felon who was found guilty of operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme in 2007 and who was also charged in this case with stealing close to $60,000 in public funds. He was the owner and operator of Next to Home Child Care, which provided services at three locations in the borough. Next to Home also obtained a registration to operate a fourth child care program at 5566 Kings Highway, but the DOI said this site did not actually provide any services.
  • Gina Schiavo, 44, of Staten Island, was the owner of One of a King Child Care. According to the DOI, she allegedly introduced an individual to a DOHMH inspector under another teacher’s name and fraudulently provided documents with the name and qualifications of the teacher. When the inspector questioned the individual about her identity, Schiavo allegedly admitted that the individual was using another person’s name.

“These defendants forged and falsified documents in order to cover up safety risks and steal money intended for actual child care, as charged,” Peters said in a prepared statement. “Our investigations underscore the importance of continuing to vigorously police the integrity of the city’s child care systems, an effort that is very much continuing.”

In his statement to the press, Thompson too issued harsh words for the defendants.

“Each day parents throughout the city count on child care providers to protect the safety of their children,” he said. “It is disgraceful that greedy operators would circumvent safety provisions for their own benefit. Our parents and children deserve better and that’s why we worked so closely with the Department of Investigation on these cases.”

Avenue Z between E. 7 St and Coney Island Avenue (Source

Source: Allan Shweky

The New York City Department of Transportation on Friday announced 14 new “arterial slow zones,” major corridors that will see speed limits slashed by five miles per hour as part of the Vision Zero initiative. Coney Island Avenue and Flatbush Avenue are both on the list, with implementation to begin this fall.

The first slow zones were implemented yesterday on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, the first phase of the program. The speed limits will be lowered to 25 miles per hour from 30, with new “distinctive” signs with blue-and-white coloring and the name of the corridor to complement the DOT’s existing Neighborhood Slow Zone program. Alongside the signage, the streets will see increased police enforcement and temporary lighted speed boards.

The entirety of Coney Island Avenue will be converted to a slow zone in September, with Flatbush Avenue from Concord Street to Hendrickson Place (near the Belt Parkway) to follow in October.

The program is part of the Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities citywide. Ultimately the agency will create a total of 25 arterial slow zones, according to the Vision Zero website.

Arterial roadways make up only 15 percent of the total road system but account for 60 percent of the fatalities, according to the DOT. These 14 corridors make up only 65 miles of roadway, but account for 83 fatalities.

Coney Island Avenue is 5.5 miles long, and accounted for six fatalities between 2008 and 2012, while Flatbush Avenue is 7.1 miles long and accounts for 11 fatalities.

The speed reduction required approval from Albany, which it received in June. You can find the list of all 14 arterial slow zones here.

Local pols are praising the measure, saying it will help reduce deaths at some of their district’s busiest intersections.

“Coney Island Avenue has long been a dangerous thoroughfare for seniors and others attempting to cross with a constant flow of traffic whizzing by. I’m pleased that the city is implementing these forward-thinking measures that will succeed in calming traffic and, most important, saving lives,” said Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz, in a DOT press release.

“Improving safety on our streets benefits all New Yorkers, and anyone who has crossed Coney Island Avenue knows how hectic and dangerous it can be. I am very pleased that pedestrian safety continues to be a priority for our city and that one of southern Brooklyn’s busiest streets is included in this plan,” said Councilman Mark Treyger in the same press release.

“This second phase of Vision Zero being implemented along Coney Island Avenue is an indication that my voice, in advocating for traffic calming measures, was heard,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch, also in the press release. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for improving the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists throughout my district.”

SkyRocketsLogoA new professional sports team is headed to Brooklyn – and no, we’re not talking about the Islanders.

The semi-pro American Basketball Association has announced the formation of a new team, the Brooklyn SkyRockets, to be based out of the Aviator Sports Center at Floyd Bennett Field. The team will begin playing this November and is currently recruiting players.

Floyd Bennett Field has been without a sports franchise since the Brooklyn Aviators disbanded amid financial crisis in 2012, just three years after it debuted.

If the American Basketball Association sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same name as a a previous league founded in 1967. That league rivaled the NBA and included the New York Nets among its roster, until the NBA and the ABA merged in 1976. The new, semi-pro ABA was founded in 1999 and leases its name from the NBA. Other than that, it has no affiliation with the original ABA.

Here’s the ABA’s press release regarding the SkyRockets’ launch:

The American Basketball Association (ABA) www.abalive.com today announced the Brooklyn SkyRockets will begin play in November. “We are absolutely thrilled to be coming back to Brooklyn,” stated ABA CEO Joe Newman. “We really thought we would have a team there this season, but it just didn’t work out. In Dylan Gioia, we have a great young owner with a terrific background in sports management, economics and marketing. He should have no problem being very successful there.”

An avid basketball fan, Dylan was born and raised in Brooklyn and has degrees in Sports Management and Business Economics from SUNY Cortland. He has worked with the Walt Disney World Resort, cityHUNT Team Building and manages the family business, Key Advertising.

“I will be personally running the Brooklyn Skyrockets,” added Gioia. “The name was chosen to celebrate the rich aviation history of Floyd Bennett Field, where home games will be played. Two ABA programs that are of great interest to us are Fast Break for Reading that helps with children’s literacy – and Proud to Serve America, that honors our veterans, police, firefighters and teachers. We are very excited.”

The ABA also signed a broadcast deal this year, with 40 games airing on ESPN3 beginning in September.

The team is currently recruiting with events around Brooklyn through June and July. For details on how to tryout, check out the Brooklyn Game’s write-up.

The team has already signed free agent players Keenan Belle, Deylon Bovell, and Cyrano Providence. All three are accomplished players scouted from community college teams, including Providence, who played for Kingsborough Community College.

The moment of impact was captured by surveillance video. (via Daily News)

The moment of impact was captured by surveillance video. (via Daily News)

Two people were killed in a devastating car accident outside of Kings Plaza Shopping Center on Monday, in which the deceased’s car was ripped nearly in half. The accident has spurred police to launch a 48-hour crackdown on speeding throughout the city.

Police issued the following information yesterday:

On May 19, 2014 at approximately 1840 hours [6:40 p.m.] police responded to a 911 call of a motor vehicle collision at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U in the confines of the 63 Pct. Upon arrival police determined that vehicle #1 a Nissan Maxima traveling southbound on Flatbush Avenue struck vehicle #2 a BMW which was turning onto Avenue U from northbound Flatbush Avenue. The driver of vehicle #1 a male 20 was taken to Coney Island Hospital where he was pronounced DOA. The passenger of vehicle #1 an unidentified female was pronounced DOA at the scene. The driver and passenger of vehicle #2 were taken to Kings County Hospital with minor injuries. Investigation is ongoing.

DNAinfo reports that the two killed were Philbert Martin Williams, 20, and his passenger, 18-year-old Christina Wipper.

Police believe Williams had been speeding when he hit the BMW, although no criminality is suspected and no summonses have been issued.

Security video from the 7-Eleven at that intersection captured the accident, which shows the Nissan darting down the street as the BMW made a turn. Police told the Daily News the BMW’s driver had a left-turn arrow.

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The suspects. (Source: NYPD via NBC)

The suspects. (Source: NYPD via NBC)

More details have emerged in the bank robbery spree we told you about earlier this week, in which four banks were hit in a span of just two hours.

Originally, it was reported that police were looking for one suspect in a case that saw robberies or attempted robberies from Gravesend to Bergen Beach.

Now police say they’re seeking two men for the Monday afternoon heists.

The men hit the four banks between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., getting away with a $6,300 haul.

NBC reports that the suspects entered each bank and gave the teller a note demanding money.

The suspects made off with $1,800 from Capital One at 2102 Ralph Avenue, and $4,500 from Santander Bank at 301 Avenue U in Gravesend.

They also hit Chase Bank at 1987 Flatbush Avenue and Northfield Bank at 1123 Kings Highway, but tellers refused to cooperate at those locations.

Surveillance video captured the above images of the suspects.

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.

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