Archive for the tag 'lew fidler'

toys-14

As of last year, the local Toys for Tots drive has collected 55,430 toys for needy children.

The 41st Assembly District Democratic Club has organized the largest Toys for Tots drive in New York City for eight years straight, and they’re aiming to make it nine this year.

Help keep the title in Southern Brooklyn by bringing new, unwrapped toys to the club tomorrow night, from 7:30pm to 9pm at 2952 Avenue R.

Sandy the Seagull will be in attendance, and there will be food, music and lots and lots of happy kids. Also, plenty of elected officials, if that’s what does it for you.

If you can’t make it but want to make a donation to purchase toys for needy children, send a check to the address listed in the flier above.

ToysForTotsInvite

Fidler during the 2012 A Taste of Sheepshead Bay. (Photo by Erica Sherman)

Former Council member and Southern Brooklyn Democratic power broker Lew Fidler is in need of a kidney, and has turned to friends, family and supporters on Facebook in hopes of finding a match.

Fidler, who now works for the Brooklyn Borough President after representing Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park and other Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods in the City Council for 12 years, posted an urgent plea on his Facebook page Friday morning.

“While I am doing resonably well in the short term, dialysis will likely take its toll, perhaps sooner rather than later,” he wrote. “I need a kidney transplant as soon as possible.”

Fidler-fb

Fidler’s health problems first became public in 2012 when he sought the State Senate seat vacated by the disgraced Carl Kruger. He stepped back from campaigning against Republican David Storobin when he had a severe allergic reaction to his medication.

The reaction caused kidney failure, and Fidler has endured regular kidney dialysis treatment ever since.

Dialysis replicates many of the functions of a healthy kidney and is needed when the critical organ can no longer remove toxins from the bloodstream. Though kidneys can sometimes make a full recovery, the damage is more often irreversable. A typical dialysis treatment lasts four hours and is done three times a week, and can often be followed by discomfort and nausea.

Despite this, the bustling pol returned to the campaign trail in 2012, and has since kept his typical hustled schedule, seldom missing a community meeting as he finished up his final term in 2013, and is still frequently seen at local events.

Fidler, who has blood type A+, is asking potential donors to contact Renewal, a nonprofit that helps facilitate kidney donations. Renewal can be reached at (7198) 431-9831 or R814@renewal.org

Plumb Beach Bike Path Destroyed By Hurricane Ida

The bike path in 2009, just days after it was hit by a nor’easter. This unsalvageable section was ultimately ripped apart and covered in sand and gravel, and has stayed that way since.

It looks like we’ll be going our fourth consecutive summer without the Plumb Beach bike path, which was destroyed by a nor’easter in November 2009.

But, if all goes according to plan, cyclists will finally be able to enjoy uninterrupted rides from Emmons Avenue to the larger Jamaica Bay Greenway by fall, as the Parks Department has confirmed that they anticipate construction to begin this August.

“We are concurrently in the process of registering funds for the project, and awaiting approval from DEC. The scope of work includes the reconstruction of eroded portions of the asphalt bike path. The two segments we will address comprise a total of approximately 450 linear feet. We anticipate construction to begin at the end of August 2014,” wrote Parks spokesperson Meghan Lalor in an e-mail to Sheepshead Bites.

To strip the bureaucratic speak, what it basically means is that money is in the pot for the construction, and they’re working through the red tape to ensure all relevant agencies are on board.

Lalor noted that it’s too soon to say whether the project would be done in-house by the Parks Department, or bid out to a contractor (which could potentially delay the process).

Cyclists have made the dangerous decision to ride on the Belt Parkway rather than dismount or walk through sand.

It’s been a long road in getting a mere 450 feet of asphalt put down. It was destroyed when Hurricane Ida – by then a nor-easter – made landfall in 2009. The waves not only battered the bike path, but diminished several feet of sand from the beach and exposed the Belt Parkway to flooding (a problem that was addressed only mere days before Superstorm Sandy).

In 2010, the city pulled a fake-out, getting the strip ready for repaving… and then calling it quits and vanishing.

Relief seemed to be in sight in 2012, when $9 million in improvements to the area were unveiled, including long-term fixes at Plumb Beach and the development of Brigham Street Park. Then-Councilman Lew Fidler told Sheepshead Bites that some of those funds would cover the bike path repair, yet the Parks Department later said that, in fact, none of the allocated funds would be put to the reconstruction.

Finally, last summer, Fidler informed Sheepshead Bites that he had allocated $450,000 in the Fiscal Year 2014 city budget specifically for shore up the bike path and laying new asphalt. While most Parks projects take three to four years from funding to completion, Fidler predicted – correctly, it seems – that this project would move more quickly.

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

Sixteen months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and the damaged lights on the Belt Parkway from Knapp Street to Mill Basin remain in the dark. But not for much longer if the Department of Transportation keeps its word.

According to a Daily News item last week, the city will begin bringing lights back to the area in April. It’s a $400,000 project that should be covered with federal funds, and the project is slated to be completed in May.

“This is a huge problem, especially due to the potholes, which made it difficult for motorists,” City Councilman Alan Maisel told the paper. “It’s outrageous.”

Of course, the DOT’s word is hardly its bond. The DOT had previously promised then-Assemblyman Maisel and his Council predecessor Lew Fidler that the lighting situation would be permanently fixed by fall of 2013 – and that temporary lighting would be provided in the interim. Neither of those things happened.

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo has stated at meetings the she was told by the DOT that the plan for temporary lighting was ultimately nixed because they required gas generators. The city did not want to dispatch employees to keep them stocked with gasoline.

Ed Eisenberg at the 2010 Sheepshead Bay Memorial Day Parade

For more than 40 years he was entwined in the fabric of the Southern Brooklyn community. He was ever-present at community meetings, where he was frequently recognized for stellar attendance. He was a member of numerous civic groups; so many that no one can list them all. He rubbed elbows, and sometimes chewed out, politicians including every Brooklyn borough president from Howard Golden to Eric Adams, and too many councilmembers, state legislators and congressmen to count. He charmed with self-deprecating jokes, and had a habit of starting conversations smack-dab in the middle of it. And he loved his local parks, his waterfront and his community up until he drew his final breath.

Longtime community activist Edward “Eddie” Eisenberg passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 79 years old, after being admitted to Maimonides Medical Center with heart-related complications.

“It was just his biggest passion to have everything clean and safe around here. To the very end. Lord knows, even when he was losing it at the end, he wanted his attache case because he had the results of the previous Community Board elections in there,” said Leigh Eisenberg, 42, the younger of Eisenberg’s two sons.

Born in Flatbush in 1934, Eisenberg attended private high schools before obtaining an associate degree at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

Eisenberg in Fort Ord, Salinas, California

As armistice negotiations were being finalized on the Korean peninsula, Eisenberg enlisted in the United States Army and served at Fort Ord in Salinas, California, where he worked as an information specialist from 1954 to 1956.

He returned to his home borough and began his career as a salesman of packaging supplies. He met his wife, Eileen, now 74, at a singles event and the two married in 1965. They moved to Manhattan Beach shortly afterwards.

Eisenberg took to civic involvement in his adopted neighborhood with a fervor “as soon as they moved into the neighborhood,” said Leigh. “He loved Manhattan Beach and he really just always wanted to see it well maintained and safe from the moment he moved into the area.”

No one can recall exactly when he joined Community Board 15, but the lowest estimates of his tenure from friends and family put it at 38 years, easily making him the longest-serving member of the 50-person body – and perhaps the most passionate.

“I just remember as a little kid, he was so involved taking us kids fishing at Kingsborough Community College, sharing his passion for the water around the neighborhood. He just couldn’t help out in the community enough,” said Leigh.

His chief concern, Scavo said, was in lobbying the city to invest in parks.

“He always, always wanted parks – that was his shtick in life. Not transportation, parks. That was it. Every meeting, you had to support the parks, he was very, very, very involved with Parks Department issues,” said Scavo. “He was always crazed with parks.”

Former Councilman Lew Fidler, who recommended Eisenberg for reappointment to the Board in recent years, added that Eisenberg stood out for his eagerness to go above and beyond in considering Board matters.

“He was always vocal about getting to the bottom of every land use issue that came before the Board. He was so committed that when an application came before the Board he would visit the site and talk to neighbors about what they thought about the project,” said Fidler. “It really didn’t matter to him if it was across the street in Manhattan Beach or all the way in Homecrest. It makes you wonder how good a Community Board could be if every member took it as seriously as Ed.”

Local elected officials have issued statements on Eisenberg’s passing.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz posted on Facebook:

He knew the details of every community meeting and neighborhood event, almost before they were scheduled. He was generous of spirit, always eager to help and ferociously proud of the community he called home. My condolences to his wife, Eileen, and everyone who knew and loved him. Ed, you will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch said the following in a press release:

“I’ve known Ed for a long time, and have always admired the passion he held for his favorite part of Brooklyn,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, his two sons, and all the friends he’s left behind. Manhattan Beach will never be the same.”

Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement as well:

My sincerest condolences go to out to Ed’s wife, children and relatives, as well as the larger South Brooklyn family that knew and loved his commitment to the community. From his service to our country to his deep civic engagement, Ed left a legacy for all of us to admire. He was the epitome of the volunteer spirit, an example for Brooklynites today and tomorrow to follow.

Eisenberg’s idiosyncrasies and sense of humor will be as well remembered as his advocacy.

“Ed was, if nothing else, a unique character,” Fidler remembered. “And for whatever else people want to say about Ed, he really cared about his community and his family. He used to speak about his son in Australia all the time. Quirky, of course, but you couldn’t really question where his heart was. Community was his whole life outside his family.”

Scavo remembers the costumes, stuff of legend among those involved in local civic life. Eisenberg kept a closet full of costumes, which he donned at annual gatherings over the years.

“Night Out Against Crime was always the Keystone Cop. When it came to Memorial Day, he always used to pull out Army uniforms. He always had Halloween masks and costumes, and no matter what he had a costume to go with that occasion,” she said.

His quirks did not escape his family’s notice, and they remain fond memories in the wake of his passing.

“Everyone knew him. Lord knows the man was eccentric but he had a heart as big as the moon and everyone knew it,” said Leigh Eisenberg.

Eisenberg is survived by his wife, Eileen; his eldest son, Glenn, 46, who with his wife Simone gave Eisenberg a grandson, Aaron, 2; and his youngest son, Leigh, who with his wife Jill gave Eisenberg two granddaughters, Raya, 11, and Anissa, 9. Eisenberg is also survived by his sisters Marianne and Lisa, and his brother Steve.

A service will be held for Ed Eisenberg on Tuesday, March 4, at 1:00 p.m. at Parkside Memorial Chapels (2576 Flatbush Avenue, at the corner of Avenue V). The family has chosen not to direct donations, saying that Ed had cared for too many things to pick just one, and requested that anyone wishing to make a donation send them to any community-oriented charities or groups.

Update (March 3 at 2:30 p.m.): A statement from Borough President Eric Adams was added to this post.

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

When Superstorm Sandy struck the neighborhood in October 2012, it was lights out on the Belt Parkway near Plumb Beach’s exit 9. Literally.

And then those lights stayed out for 15 months, despite promises given by the Department of Transportation to local elected officials to install emergency lighting until permanent repairs could be made.

Now Councilman Alan Maisel, who replaces Lew Fidler, has picked up the torch, firing off a letter to the DOT demanding repairs be made and pointing out that the situation is made even more dangerous thanks to the “pitted … moonscape of potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces.”

I probably would’ve gone with the “Edward James Olmos of highways,” but maybe that’s why I’m not an elected official.

Here’s the letter in full:

February 18, 2014

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg
NYC Department of Transportation
55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041

Dear Commissioner Trottenberg:

Since Hurricane Sandy, a significant section of the Belt Parkway, in the area around Exit 9 and Plumb Beach, has been without regular road lighting of any kind. This is a dangerous situation that has only become more dangerous in the past month and is in need of both a temporary and permanent solution.

It is my understanding, based on correspondence with the office of your predecessor, that flood waters had damaged underground electrical cabling, the repair or replacement of which was being undertaken but that more time was needed. At the time, I had been told that these repairs would be completed before the fall of 2013. Therefore, I had requested, as did my predecessor in the Council, emergency lighting for the interim and we were told that such lighting would be provided. Yet, the highway remains dark – the repairs have not been completed and the interim lighting has not been introduced. That is an intolerably dangerous situation for motorists.

Yet, now the situation has actually become even more dangerous. After the recent cycle of snowstorms and plowing efforts, the surface of the Belt Parkway has become pitted in a moonscape of potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces. This alone is dangerous and, as I am sure you are already aware, in need of attention. However, when combined with the absence of lighting, so that a motorist might be unable to see or avoid upcoming road hazards, the danger to all concerned is multiplied.

I believe it is imperative that emergency lighting, run off generators, be introduced to this section of the highway until permanent repairs to the lighting system can be made. This is now more urgent than ever and I ask that it be addressed as expeditiously as possible. Thank you.

Sincerely,
ALAN MAISEL
Councilman-46th District

Mark-Viverito, left, with Fidler, right.

Mark-Viverito, left, with Fidler, right.

Former City Councilman Lew Fidler spent many of his last months in office promising constituents that, after 12 years as a Council member, he was not “riding off into the sunset.”

Sure enough, the man is out of office for just nine days before reports surfaced that he may be under consideration for a post serving the new City Council speaker.

Politicker reported last week that a Fidler hire to Melissa Mark-Viverito’s staff is “likely,” citing an anonymous source.

Fidler, an attorney who was also assistant majority leader in the legislative body when he left office, could serve as counsel or an adviser.

Fidler didn’t deny the rumor, but did say that nothing is set in stone.

“I do hope to play a role at least on a part-time basis in ensuring that the new council succeeds,” Fidler told Politicker. “But nothing is done nor firm, and no titles or roles have been promised or given.”

Fidler is a mover-and-shaker in the Brooklyn Democratic Party and close friend and ally to its boss, Frank Seddio. The county party played an outsized role in getting Mark-Viverito elected, whipping even its most conservative Council members in line behind the new, quite liberal, speaker and helping her secure the necessary votes.

According to Politicker’s source, Fidler’s appointment is part of the deal.

“As part of the deal with Brooklyn, Lew Fidler is slated to have an advisory level position with Speaker Mark-Viverito,” said the source. “It’s what Brooklyn wanted.”

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The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots local drive organized by Councilman Lew Fidler’s 41st Assembly District Democratic Club is again the largest such drive in New York City for the eighth consecutive year, scoring 7,750 holiday gifts for needy and disadvantaged children.

While the number is impressive, an even more impressive number came out of it: 55,430. That’s the number of toys collected in the 13 years since the drive’s establishment in 2001, when they first bundled together just 79 toys for kids.

The event will continue in the future, but it’s the final year that Fidler will preside over it as a member of the City Council. He’s term limited out come January 1, to be succeeded by Assemblyman Alan Maisel. As the event wrapped up, Fidler gazed over the mountain of toys that covered nearly half the floor space of his club from floor to ceiling.

“This is what the holidays are supposed to be about. Not throwing yourself a party, not drinking a lot of egg nog. Helping children, that’s what we do. It’s great to look at this mountain of toys,” he told Sheepshead Bites. “Today was my last Council meeting. Yeah, it’s bittersweet, but at the end you look back and you know you had a good run, you didn’t waste anyone’s time, and I didn’t waste my time, and it’s very gratifying.”

Read more about the event, and see photos and video.

brigham

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: After many years, proposals, battles and studies, the plans to begin work on Sheepshead Bay’s newest green space, Brigham Street Park, are finally unveiled.

The park will be sited at Brigham Street, sandwiched between Emmons Avenue and the waterfront. The current site is now a rubble-filled lot abutting the entrance to the bike path and greenway leading out to Plumb Beach. That entrance is about to get a whole lot more appealing with what looks like might be the new gem of Emmons Avenue’s eastern terminus.

The park will feature a playground, walking path, picnic tables and lots and lots of greenery.

Let’s take a closer look at the plans currently being circulated to local leaders by the Parks Department, and which will go for approval by the Public Design Commission later this month.

Check out the plans!

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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