Archive for the tag 'midwood'

Source: NYPD

Source: NYPD

Police are searching for a man and a woman suspected of slashing dozens tires in Midwood over the weekend.

The slashing spree took place on December 14, 2014 between midnight and 2am, on the blocks between Quentin Road and Avenue S, from East 17th Street to Bedford Avenue, cops said.

Approximately 40 cars were vandalized, and now Councilman David Greenfield is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

“We must have zero tolerance for this rampant crime spree in our neighborhood. A single tire costs hundreds of dollars, not to mention the time and energy that must be expended to replace it,” said Greenfield in a statement. “That’s why I am offering this reward – this kind of behavior is outrageous and quite frankly it doesn’t go unnoticed that this happened in a predominantly Jewish community.”

Police say they are not currently looking at it as a bias crime.

The suspects, described by police as a white male and a white female, were captured on two separate security cameras. Detectives believe that the man observed slashing the tires is the same person walking with the female in the first video.

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) and entering TIP577.

Update (1:35pm): Police verified that they have a suspect in custody. The name has not been released as an arrest is still pending.

Councilman Greenfield released this statement:

My deepest thanks to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Captain Mark Magrone of Hate Crimes Task Force and Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez of Brooklyn’s 61 precinct for their outstanding work along with their respective teams in quickly catching the alleged criminal who caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to Brooklyn residents’ vehicles. This quick arrest proves once again that we truly have NYPD’s finest serving our neighborhoods and that goes a long way in calming the nerves of  the community. The message is very clear: New York City has zero tolerance for these quality of life crimes.

Update (7:00pm): Police have arrested and charged Eduard Ivashcenko, 21, in relation to the crime.

Update (December 16, 12pm): Councilman Chaim Deutsch also praised the NYPD for the swift arrest:

I thank the 61st Precinct Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, for his leadership in apprehending a suspect in the mass tire-slashing incident that occurred yesterday. I am grateful to the 61 Precinct Detective Squad and the Hate Crimes Task Force for their swift work, and my colleagues in government, State Senator Simcha Felder and Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, for their support.  I want to commend residents for providing the NYPD access to security footage that assisted the NYPD in tracking the suspect. This incident highlights the importance of reporting every crime to the police, and the value of police and community working together.

This is a paid announcement from the Midwood Development Corp.:

shop-midwood

shop-midwood2Shop local this holiday season! The Midwood Development Corp. (MDC) and the Midwood Merchants Association (MMA) present Shop Midwood WeekDecember 14-28, 2014.

Participating merchants on Avenue J, Avenue M, and Coney Island Avenue are offering special deals and discounts for everyone on your list. For example:

…and much more! Click here for a list of participating businesses.

In addition, MDC and MMA will introduce the Shop Midwood customer loyalty card, which will entitle the bearer to special deals and discounts valid through June 30, 2015!

Please visit the MDC or MMA websites for more information, or call 718-376-0999.

Shop Midwood Week and the Shop Midwood customer loyalty card are sponsored by Astoria Bank.

#shoplocal  #staylocal  #smallbiz

The above is a paid announcement by the Midwood Development Corp. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Parking lot identified in BP Adams' affordable housing report.

Parking lot identified in BP Adams’ affordable housing report.

Several “underdeveloped areas” of Brooklyn can be used to build affordable housing – including municipal parking lots in Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, and Midwood – according to a new report by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The parking lots, like one facing the Riegelmann Boardwalk between Brighton 2nd Street and Brighton 4th Street, can be sold to create approximately 2,000 affordable housing units, with space leftover for shared public parking, states the report.

While praising Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year plan to build 200,000 units of affordable housing citywide, Adams writes:

New York City, in general, and Brooklyn, in particular, can be models for government at its best: expanding opportunity and safeguarding community character, while being supportive, resilient and progressive. Brooklyn has the space to create entirely new neighborhoods by tapping underdeveloped land, exploring air rights and considering developing residential properties over existing rail yards and rail infrastructure. We have the capacity; all we need is tenacity!

Along with identifying sites to build the units, the report offers several ways to better connect New Yorkers with affordable housing, including partnering with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to create multiple tiers of income eligibility, so that a wider portion of the population can have access. Adams also proposes the HPD give preference to locals, so that residents are not forced from their neighborhoods.

The report is restating a conversation from eight years ago, and it still needs to evolve, a spokesperson for the borough president told us. When fully fleshed out, the plan will include components like doing construction in phases to ensure parking for merchants at all times, as well as building height and affordability considerations.

This is not the beep’s first bold affordable housing proposal. As we previously reported, one of the first things Adams did as borough president was explore the possibility of selling air rights in one part of the borough and using the money to to create land banks near Coney Island for affordable housing.

Read the full report here.

The official Ocean Avenue address of Merkaz, which is also Fetman's home address and an organization under his control, through which he allegedly embezzled the funds. (Source: Google Maps)

The official Ocean Avenue address of Merkaz, which is also Fetman’s home address and an organization under his control, through which he allegedly embezzled the funds. (Source: Google Maps)

The chief financial officer of Manhattan-based nonprofit Aish HaTorah, Jacob Fetman, of Midwood, was charged yesterday with embezzling more than $237,000 from the international Jewish outreach organization through another non-profit under his control.

According to District Attorney Ken Thompson’s office, Fetman routed the organization’s donations through three separate Aish bank accounts that he controlled. From November 2010 to August 2013, he allegedly transferred $922,931.74 of that money to a bank account for Merkaz, a religious organization whose official address is shared with Fetman’s Ocean Avenue home, and which he runs, according to prosecutors. Merkaz is not a part of Aish in any way.

He then bounced some of the money back to Aish – $685,454.43 – a net loss to the organization of $237,477.31, said Thompson’s office.

Aish is one of the largest international outreach organizations in the world, with 30 branches on five continents. Established in 1974, it encourages Jewish people to reconnect with their faith and culture. The organization operates seminars, produces events for Jewish singles, provides education and training to local faith groups and publishes Aish.com, a leading website for Jewish-related lifestyle and religious content.

Fetman, 45, served as the organization’s CFO for 17 years. Fetman was terminated when Aish officials discovered the banking irregularities.

“This defendant abandoned his duty to safeguard Aish HaTorah’s finances and allegedly stole $237,477 in charitable donations from this venerable non-profit organization. He will now be held accountable,” said Thompson in a press release.

Hrm. I wonder why Avenue Y's overpass gets so messy. (Photo by John)

Hrm. I wonder why Avenue Y’s overpass gets so messy. (Photo by John)

The trash problem beneath the Brighton line subway overpasses in Midwood and Sheepshead Bay is finally going to get a little better after years of complaints from residents.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is sending $15,000 in additional funding to the Midwood Development Corporation to expand its Project Sweep Program, which is now responsible for cleaning garbage, debris and graffiti from beneath all subway overpasses spanning from Avenue M to Avenue Z. The project will also send cleaners to Sheepshead Bay Road, the Holocaust Memorial Park and a handful of other areas known to be eyesores.

The group goes out twice a week to hit several of the spots, according to information from Deutsch’s office. Cleanups began in October and will continue until the end of June.

Project Sweep employs adults with developmental disabilities who work alongside job coaches to clean commercial strips. Since 1990, they’ve been tidying up other business corridors including Newkirk Avenue, Courtelyou Road and Avenue M.

“Graffiti and litter adversely affect our quality of life, and can even cause an innocent homeowner to incur summonses due to littered trash blowing onto their property. My goal is to enhance the beautification of our neighborhoods,” said Deutsch in a press release. “I am eager to work with the leaders and members of Project Sweep on this endeavor.”

If you’d like to report an area you want to see cleaned, contact Deutsch’s office at (718) 368-9176.

Similar cleanups are being announced in other neighborhoods, including funding from Councilman Mark Treyger to local groups for cleanup initiatives on Mermaid Avenue and Stillwell Avenue.

Midwood Food Tour: Clara & Di Fara Pizza

One of the best ways to get to know a neighborhood is through its food. The Midwood Development Corporation understands this all too well, so now, twice a year, they host a tour of local cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and specialty stores, giving people new to the area — and those who may not have explored their own backyard — a chance to take a bite (many, many bites) out of the best it has to offer.

Midwood Food Tour: International Food, Ave J

The fall tour took place this past Sunday, and about a dozen hungry visitors sampled food from spots along Avenue J and Coney Island Avenue. Leading the group was Rich Sanders, aka Ethnojunkie, a Brooklyn-based food writer who specializes in ethnic eats.

Even so, Sanders says that when the MDC first contacted him five years ago about doing the tour, he asked locals for recommendations, and the suggestions he got were all great, but all the exact same kind of thing.

“I said wait, there must be something other than kosher bakeries in Midwood, what else is there? So I looked around and found quite a bit.”

To eat your way through them all could take a lifetime (or, at least longer than a Sunday afternoon), so he shared just a few favorites. If you want to explore a bit before the next tour in the spring, this is a pretty excellent guide to some of the foods you’ll find.

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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.”

peter-v

A 34-year-old man is reported missing by his family after he left his East 12th Street home yesterday afternoon.

Peter Voytseichovsky left his home near Kings Highway at approximately 4:50pm. He was wearing black jeans, a blue sports jacket and bronze dress shoes.

He didn’t return home that evening, and police are now turning to the public for help in the search.

Voytseichovsky weights approximately 150lbs and is 5’11″.

Anyone with information in regards to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

70 Pct Suspect Knife 1Rafael Laureano, 51, who owned Spartan Health Club (1166 Coney Island Avenue), died when he was hit by a bullet from police officers who were firing at a knife-wielding man who had attacked Laureano and his girlfriend at an Ocean Parkway apartment Monday night, the city medical examiner said.

The city medical examiner’s office told us that Laureano died from a “perforating gunshot wound of the back.”

Katarzyna Russo had been with her two young children at her apartment at 820 Ocean Parkway when Francisco Carvajal, 47, reportedly showed up to the home around 7:20pm and began threatening her, pushing his way into her apartment with a knife, according to the NYPD and other published reports.

The New York Times reported that Russo called Laureano for help, and Laureano fought with Carvajal, who was armed with two knives, while Russo locked herself and her two children in the bathroom for safety.

When police arrived, after responding to a 911 call about a woman being attacked by a knife, they encountered both Carvajal and Laureano, the NYPD said. Three officers opened fire on Carvajal after he wouldn’t drop his weapon and began rushing at them, the Daily News reported.

“After ordering the suspect to drop the knife multiple times, police discharged their firearms, striking the armed individual,” the NYPD said in a statement to the media. “The 47-year-old male was pronounced DOA at the scene.”

Police fired a total of 18 bullets, hitting Carvajal nine times, the Daily News said. During the hail of gunfire, Laureano was also hit.

“It appears (Laureano) was inadvertently shot by a police bullet,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis told the Daily News. “It was very close quarters. (Carvajal) was coming at the officers with a knife and they had to fire.”

Our thoughts go out to Laureano’s family and friends.

Litvin gives “pro” legal tips, discussing how the banks are out to rip you off.

Gennady Litvin / Source: About.me

Gennady Litvin / Source: About.me

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing a local law firm and its namesake attorney, accusing them of running a fraudulent mortgage rescue scheme that ripped off financially vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure.

The attorney general filed suit in New York County Supreme Court yesterday against Midwood-based Litvin Law Firm and Miami-based Litvin, Torrens & Associates, as well as their principal attorney, Gennady Litvin.

Litvin Law Firm is located at 1716 Coney Island Avenue, and Litvin lives in Brooklyn. The firm’s website claims it can provide “foreclosure defense in 31 states across the US,” as does Litvin’s About.me page. Their YouTube page has a handful of testimonial videos from satisfied clients, as well as legal tips from Litvin himself. And radio and TV ads touted connections to “state attorney generals and the federal government.”

But it was all a sham, according to the attorney general.

One of the testimonial videos, claiming that Litvin’s firm successfully eliminated her mortgage in Alabama – even though Litvin was not permitted to practice in Alabama.

The suit claims that the law firms targeted struggling homeowners, then billed them monthly fees ranging from $595 to $750 each for services they would not – and often could not – offer.

Using third-party marketers, the firms picked up clients from across the nation, claiming that they would have a “custom made attorney defense team” that provided “a level of service that usually is only enjoyed by large corporate clients.” They said they’d do “forensic loan audits” to find errors in their mortgage documents and defend against foreclosure, winning concessions from lenders.

In reality, they only had offices in two states and were not permitted to provide foreclosure defense in many of the places where they enrolled clients. Homeowners in most cases never spoke to an attorney, never received representation, and never saw the benefit of the hundreds or thousands of dollars paid to the firms. Most wound up negotiating with lenders on their own, according to the attorney general.

The third-party marketers have already been taken to task by the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing to a permanent ban on mortgage and debt relief services and paying $3.6 million to pay back duped clients.

The Litvin Law Firm was given the boot from practicing in Rhode Island in January after that state’s attorney general found he was offering mortgage foreclosure assistance despite not being licensed in that state.

The attorney general is on the lookout for possible victims of Litvin’s scheme. If you believe you were a victim of the Litvin Law Firm; Litvin, Torrens & Associates; or any of its affiliated marketers, or if you believe you were a victim of another mortgage fraud, please file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. Complaint forms are available here. You may also call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-771-7755.

Schneiderman’s office is also reminding beleaguered homeowners of the free services available through the Home Owner Protection Program (HOPP), which uses funds from the National Mortgage Settlement to fund legal services and housing counseling across New York to provide foreclosure prevention services. Consumers can call 855-HOME-456 for help.

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