Archive for the tag 'mill basin'

It’s not often you see a member of one of the nation’s most dysfunctional legislative bodies appropriately shaming members of another dysfunctional legislative body, but that’s what we wake up to this morning.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is calling on Albany lawmakers to send resources to those Brooklyn neighborhoods that are currently without representation in either the State Senate or Assembly. Locally, that includes Marine Park, Mill Basin and Gerritsen Beach, who are currently without an assemblyman.

In fact, there are currently five open seats in the two houses of state legislature that represent about 700,000 Brooklynites. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not called a special election to replace them, and those seats will be empty until January 2015.

That means that an entire budget season will come and go, and no one will be representing those districts in negotiations, depriving civic groups and community organizations of operating funds that are allocated annually.

“We cannot allow the failure to schedule a special election to prevent the allocation of resources to the people who lack representation. The legislators whose positions are now vacant supported many of the most important social service organizations and cultural institutions in Brooklyn. I believe we should continue that level of support,” Clarke said.

The Assembly seat representing Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park was vacated when Alan Maisel left the house to become city councilman. Some of the groups that depended on his voice for funding from Albany, according to Clarke, include the Marine Park Community Association and Amity Little League.

Clarke sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, urging them to keep these organizations in mind.

The letter, in full, is after the jump.

Neighbors packed the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park on Tuesday night to question representatives of the 63rd Precinct about the NYPD’s security plans a day after teenagers ran rampant through Kings Plaza mall.

Lieutenant Vito Ardito of the precinct’s special operation’s unit that oversees response to disturbances like that at Kings Plaza, sought to emphasize the NYPD’s proactive handling of the teenage “riot” during the Marine Park Civic Association meeting.

Ardito said the police were aware of the plans to overtake the mall well in advance, having monitored the situation on social media sites including Facebook. However, he noted that it’s not illegal to host a “get together,” but the number of people put the precinct on guard. The NYPD sent additional cars from Manhattan, giving the local force 13 cars in total to preserve order.

The teens were allowed to enter the mall, but police and mall security decided to send them on their way after concerns that the growing numbers would become unmanageable. Ardito emphasized that none of the kids, who appeared to be between the ages of 13 and 16, were violating the law, and all but two complied with officers’ requests to leave, leading to arrests.

Both arrests were of minors, and Ardito said the precinct is working with their parents. One received a summons.

The community, though, demanded a tougher response and more police officers to be stationed at the mall, saying they feared for their safety when shopping at the mall.

Although Ardito noted reiterated that the teens did not violate any laws and were compliant with police officers’ requests, he did note that they are working with mall security to improve the situation – especially as the mall moves forward with renovations, including a $3 million camera system.

He added that when looking at the precinct’s command as a whole, the mall only accounted for a marginal amount of crime, and that slashes to their personnel – from 180 to 120 officers in recent years – meant prioritizing areas with greater incidents of violent crime.

The NYPD is also investigating the organizer of both Kings Plaza “get togethers” for a possible “incitement to violence” charge.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Two people were arrested in connection with yesterday’s mayhem at Kings Plaza Mall, in which at least 100 teenagers created chaos as they ran through the complex in the second such incident in as many months, Councilman Alan Maisel informed Sheepshead Bites today.

The two busted were charged with disorderly conduct, according the councilman, who was briefed on the situation this morning by the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct Community Affairs division.

The NYPD’s 63rd Precinct has not returned calls from this outlet for confirmation. The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at 1 Police Plaza had no information regarding arrests in connection with the incident – but such a discrepancy could be caused if the arrests did not happen at the mall’s address.

According to the councilman, as well as accounts from leaders of local civic associations who were also briefed by the precinct, the 63rd Precinct knew about the planned disorder in advance. The mob was organized on Facebook under an event titled “Kings Plaza Maddness Part 1.”

“[The police] knew about it happening because apparently they were the same group [that organized the mob in December], or the same person that posted it last time. So the police department was prepared to be there. They made a couple of arrests,” Maisel told Sheepshead Bites.

Maisel added that this week’s disruption included about 150 culprits, scaled back from the 400 or so estimated by mall security following the December riot. Police told him that there was no damage, larceny, injuries or any other criminal behavior evident during yesterday’s incident other than the disorder created by the sheer number of unruly teenagers.

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The councilman met just last week with mall security and the 63rd Precinct’s Deputy Inspector John Rowell about beefing up the shopping center’s security.

“This is the kind of thing that’s going to happen time and time again because apparently this is like the hoot for these kids. I don’t understand it, but this is what they like to do,” said Maisel.

Maisel said he’s trying to convince the mall to bring in a paid detail – NYPD officers commissioned specifically to keep order within the mall.

“Kings Plaza is spending a lot of money to upgrade the mall. They’re going to spend millions. We asked them to put in a paid detail. They claim the mall security is well trained, but they weren’t very forthcoming about their security arrangements,” he said. “A paid detail would seem like a very good thing for them. If you’re going to spend millions of dollars on upgrading the mall, you want people to come.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons

We’re hearing from tipsters at Kings Plaza (5100 Kings Plaza) that there’s heavy police presence at the mall in response to another flash mob, with some on social media saying that stores may again be shut down.

One Twitter user counted as many as 14 NYPD vehicles near the entrances:

A Facebook user writes that police helicopters are also hovering in the area, and people are scrambling:

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At least one person using Google+ claims the mob was organized on social media:

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One tipster is calling it a riot, and said the stores are closing up as was done during an incident a few weeks ago. She left to avoid being locked into a store.

Apparently it’s causing problems for commuters trying to get past the mall:

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The whole incident echoes the situation on December 26. The mall’s chief of security told Sheepshead Bites at the time that approximately 500 teenagers became rowdy, forcing security to call for backup from the NYPD and to shutter the mall for two hours until order was restored.

Then, as now, students had off from school.

No arrests were made in the December incident, and police from the 63rd Precinct sent an e-mail to community leaders calling the perpetrators “rambunctious teens acting like children,” but noted that there were “no reports of injuries, larcenies or property damage.”

That incident was also reported to have been “promoted” in advance on social media.

The mall was also the scene of a brazen mid-day smash-and-grab jewelry heist last week.

UPDATE (6:49 p.m.): Cops took heat from local elected officials after the previous incidents for not making any arrests. If our tipster is right, officers took the hint and are preparing to detain some of the offenders:

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(“Tons and tons” is in response to our question about how many teens appeared to be involved.)

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Michael Matthews Jewelers occupied an interior corner location on the second floor of Kings Plaza mall.

Michael Matthews Jewelers occupied an interior corner location on the second floor of Kings Plaza mall.

Ocean’s Eleven this ain’t.

Two brazen thieves pulled off late-morning jewelry heist in one of Brooklyn’s busiest malls today, making off with a sack full of jewelry and setting cops on the hunt.

A man approached Michael Matthew’s Jewelers (5100 Kings Plaza Mall) on the second floor of Kings Plaza at approximately 10:25 a.m. He pulled out a hammer and bashed open the display case in front of the store’s owner, grabbing the merchandise.

The thief then fled towards the East 55th Street entrance of mall, with the owner and a good Samaritan in hot pursuit. As they approached the doors, the perp swung around and flashed a gun, a police source told Sheepshead Bites.

He then made it through the doors, where he met a second accomplice. The two high-tailed it to the parking deck, where they fled in a white minivan.

Police have not yet made an arrest, and are still pursuing the suspects. No description was available from authorities.

Cops and the store’s owners are still calculating the value of the stolen merchandise.

The store owner suffered minor injuries to his hand from the broken glass. No one else was harmed.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

 

chipotle

The above poster was spotted in a storefront window in Kings Plaza Mall on Flatbush Avenue, indicating the imminent arrival of the first Southern Brooklyn Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The chain eatery has yet to announce the expansion on their website, but Chipotle fans from the area have been urging the company to set up shop on social media. Here’s a tweet from nearly a year ago asking the company to open up at Kings Plaza and Chipotle’s response:

There are other, more recent examples as well.

Until the location opens, the closest Chipotle location for Southern Brooklyn residents is in Cobble Hill, at 140 Court Street.

Thanks to Tina H. and Randy Contello for the photo and tip.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: Chaos overtook Kings Plaza Mall (5100 Kings Plaza) yesterday afternoon when approximately 500 teenagers became rowdy, causing security officials to call the police and temporarily shutter the mall for at least two hours to restore order.

The teens, who were off from school for winter break, flooded the mall, and security officials there became concerned for patrons’ safety when the kids became boisterous around 5:30 p.m., according to Kings Plaza’s head of security.

“They were just rowdy, they weren’t doing much,” the mall’s security chief told Sheepshead Bites this morning. “We called the police department and the police department escorted them in and out.”

The NYPD has not returned calls for comment about the incident, but the 63rd Precinct’s community affairs unit sent out the following e-mail, obtained by Sheepshead Bites, to community leaders this morning:

I received several phone calls last night regarding Kings Plaza…so I want to dispel any rumors you may or may not have heard.  We had a group of rambunctious teens acting like children in the mall last night.  We already had officers in the Mall at the time.  We took steps to ensure the safety of everyone in the mall and expelled the kids from the mall.  There were no reports of any injuries, larcenies, or property damaged.  Therefore there were no arrests made.

While rumors abounded on social media that a riot and gang disputes had caused the mall to close, mall security confirmed that there was no damage or theft during the incident, and no one including personnel was injured. Video of altercations with police and mall security found their way to Facebook and Twitter late in the day, including the video below showing teens clashing with what appears to be police officers from the 63rd Precinct.

Security officials also said the mall was never officially closed, although they did temporarily restrict access until the kids were ejected, and order was restored at approximately 8:00 p.m. – about an hour and a half before its usual closing time. Mall security said some businesses chose to stay closed the remainder of the day.

“Some of them kept their gate down and had their registers closed. We didn’t close. The mall was in business,” the security boss said.

builditback

Click to enlarge

The New York City Housing Recovery recently released the above infographic, showing the number of registrations for Build it Back. These are the final numbers now that registration for the program is closed.

Along with the Build it Back, the agency also released the number of homes fixed up by Rapid Repairs, have had mold removed by city-run programs, or were demolished by the city. All of these are broken down by impact zones – the six waterfront areas most impacted by the storm, and accounting for a total of 61,793 buildings (many of which are multi-family residences, so the number of households is likely higher).

The numbers tell a story in themselves. While they don’t quite deliver insight into the extent of damage into each neighborhood – a fairly ephemeral impact that’s hard to quantify and even harder to wrap one’s head around – they do show us how active these programs are in particular neighborhoods, and we can draw some conclusions from that.

So let’s get started.

Read on as we break down the numbers, and tease out the story of Brooklyn’s Sandy recovery.

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Eleven people turned out at a rally in front of Kings Plaza on Saturday to protest what they’re calling “Justice Reversed,” following the news that hate charges were dropped in a recent case in which black teens allegedly assaulted a white couple while shouting racial epithets.

It was a subdued protest that drew far fewer participants than anticipated, with more than 100 people saying they would attend the event on Facebook, yet less than a dozen showed. The group stood by the Flatbush Avenue entrance, guarded by nearly as many police as there were protesters, and commiserated about the perceived injustice and the safety of the community.

“I missed the [assault] by five minutes. I was walking home with my daughter and it could have happened to anyone,” said Linda Baker, the Mill Basin native who organized the rally. ”It’s a hate crime. They screamed racial slurs and it goes both ways. In this neighborhood and in society it just seems to be only recognized when hate is against a minority and hate is not recognized against the white race. It’s ridiculous already.”

The protesters quietly and peacefully handed out fliers to passersby of all backgrounds about the attack, declaring in big, bold font “HATE CRIMES HAVE NO COLOR!!!!”

The group took issue with the news the week before that a grand jury decided to drop hate crime charges against Kashawn Kirton, 18, and Daehrell Finch, 17, two suspects that police arrested in connection with an assault of a couple near Kings Plaza on October 14 that authorites believed was racially motivated.

Kirton and Finch, along with two minors, were arrested shortly after the attack, in which Ronald Russo and his wife, Alanna, were attacked by a large group of black teenagers. The couple, both white, were reportedly subjected to racial epithets, with the suspects allegedly yelling “Get those crackers!” and “Get that white whore!”

The incident happened as the victims, stopped at the intersection of Avenue U and East 58th Street in their car. The group of African-American teenagers was crossing the street against the light, and Russo honked his horn. After one of the teens kicked the car Russo got out to assess the damage, and that was when he and his wife were attacked.

Although frustrated by the dropped charges, Baker and others at the event agreed that the details of the case were unclear, and that the grand jury may have had good reason to drop the charges. But they said they were bothered more by the lack of media coverage and outrage from elected officials about similar cases, and said it was indicative of what they believe is an unfair application of bias charges.

“We don’t know the whole story. Maybe they dropped the case because the guy got out of the car and started screaming racial epithets. And if he did then all bets are off as far as I’m concerned,” said John Lore, a Marine Park resident. “I’m very disappointed towards the lack of coverage. This Barney’s thing,” he said, referring to the tabloid frenzy over alleged discrimination at Barney’s and Macy’s retail outlets, “as far as I’m concerned, nothing’s been proved, everything’s an investigation. But what happened with these two people was real, that was very real, and it was deeply personal.”

“If the roles were reversed I’m quite sure this would’ve made headlines and it would have been on the cover of the Daily News. That Barney’s situation is minuscule compared to this,” Lore said.

Many at the rally said they had hoped elected officials would attend. Assemblyman Alan Maisel walked past the protest and talked to police officers, but did not stop to speak with protestors. Sheepshead Bites caught up with him, and he said he was unaware of the group, noting that he was there to attend a rally for Bill de Blasio that occurred earlier in the day. He was not recognized by the protesters.

Asked about the case, Maisel expressed confusion at its cause, or why protesters wanted to hear from elected officials.

“I didn’t bring the case to the grand jury. I didn’t see the evidence. I recommended they try to reach out to the district attorney,” Maisel said. “But what the police say is that the individuals that were attacked did not report any bias when they were questioned initially.”

He added: “I’m not sure what they’re protesting against. Certainly, I don’t know why they’re protesting here. They should protest on Joreleman Street or Adams Street,” where the courthouse and district attorney’s offices are located.

The victims in the case, Ronald and Alanna Russo, were invited to the protest. Baker said she was told through others that they did not want any publicity in connection to the case.

Calls to the district attorney’s office had not been returned as of this writing.

The ex-wife of a Russian minerals baron is putting her Mill Basin mansion (2458 National Drive) on the market for the reasonable asking price of $30 million. The New York Daily News is reporting that the asking price would make the mansion the most expensive home ever in Brooklyn.

The owner of this gaudy palace is Galina Anisimova, a woman once married to Russia’s 38th richest man. Anisimova’s property covers an expansive 23,000 feet, with 257 feet overlooking Jamaica Bay. It features 10 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, four kitchens and a dock that can hold 12 boats.

The broker of the home, James Cornell, noted that Anisimova spent $30 million transforming the mansion into what it is today after buying it for $3 million in 1996. The Daily News described other amenities featured in the home as well as its shady past:

Perfection includes garage space for seven cars, a circular meditation room inscribed with signs of the Zodiac and a 1,000-square-foot outdoor pool — larger than many Brooklyn apartments — beside which sits a gigantic gazebo with room for 50 guests.

The main house was built in the early 1990s by John Rosatti, a Brooklyn car dealership king and serial entrepreneur with reputed ties to the mob.

The house was his dream home until he sold it to Anissimova for $3 million in 1996 (a large sum at the time) following a six-figure lawsuit brought by state environmental regulators. The dock was built over protected wetlands, according to reports.

Famed appraiser Jonathan Miller summed up his reaction to the ridiculous asking price and his overall thoughts on the property to the Daily News:

“There’s actually an industry term for this, a ‘why me property,’ because when you show up, you ask yourself, ‘Why me?’” he said.

Miller said the property would be more at home in Fort Lauderdale than New York. “It almost looks like they floated it up here on a barge,” he said.

Exactly.

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