Archive for the tag 'nostrand ave'

Photo by Robert Fernandez

The former ball pit at Nostrand Avenue’s McDonald’s (Photo by Robert Fernandez)

Breaking news! The McDonald’s at 3540 Nostrand Avenue no longer has balls.

The fast food restaurant cleared out the ball pit recently, according to super-tipster Robert Fernandez, who sent in the photo above.

It should come as no real surprise. McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants across the nation have been getting rid of ball pits for years, largely for sanitary reasons. A former McDonald’s employee responded to a Yahoo Answers request, explaining:

The ball pits in many fast food restaurants have been removed mainly because they are extremely unsanitary … things such as food, band aids and even soiled diapers to be disposed within the ball pit. It isn’t practical for the cleaning staff at fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s to clean the ball pit various times throughout the day so those items sit in the ball pit causing bacteria to spread throughout all of the balls.

The ball pit castrations came around the same time as a headline-grabbing study in 2011 that looked at just how filthy America’s 15,000 playroom facilities were.

Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan’s analysis revealed:

Not only did we find pathogens that could make children ill, we found bacteria that were potentially deadly.

… Among my bacterial findings: Staph aureus, Pseudomonas, E. coli, Bacillus cereus and Coliforms. These can cause everything from nausea and vomiting, to skin infections, meningitis and death.

There was also quite a bit of poop on those balls.

Sure makes you look differently at that floor in the photo above, doesn’t it?

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.

Signage for bus lane enforcement (Source: DOT)

Signage for bus lane enforcement (Source: DOT)

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is set to introduce legislation that will create a five-minute grace period in the hours of enforcement of the city’s dedicated bus lanes, which he said has created an onslaught of unfair violations for drivers caught in the lane just seconds after the cameras turn on.

Camera enforced bus lanes are the norm for the city’s Select Bus Service routes, including the B44 SBS traveling on Nostrand Avenue. Though some bus lanes are in effect all day, many are only in operation during peak commuting hours. The councilman said his office has received several complaints from constituents that they’re being ticketed just seconds after the enforcement rules begin, a “gotcha” practice that levies fines on drivers whose dashboard clocks are slightly out of sync.

“I always say ‘no two watches have the same time,’” said Deutsch. “That’s why I’m proposing a five-minute grace period, so that people wont get ticketed.”

Deutsch said one of his constituents showed him a $125 ticket for being in the Nostrand Avenue bus lane – just 10 seconds after cameras were set to turn off.

“It’s ludicrous because if someone’s watch is a minute or two off, or five minutes off … people should have a fair shot,” he said. “Same goes for if a cop pulls you over in a bus lane. On his watch, it should be at least 7:05 [if cameras turn on at 7:00].”

The bill is currently being drafted and should be introduced to the City Council in approximately 30 days. It will be sent to the Transportation Committe, which will hold a hearing on it before putting it to a vote.

Deutsch previously battled issues stemming from SBS bus lane enforcement, which first came into effect late last year. Over the summer, dozens of constituents complained that they were unaware of the new regulations and were busted driving in the lanes. But bureaucratic bungling at the Department of Transportation and Department of Finance caused a delay in mailing out the violations, so many received multiple fines before they were aware of the law. The city later agreed to waive all but the first fine during the backlogged period.

With additional reporting by Rachel Silberstein.

Shaniesha Forbes. (Source: Facebook)

Shaniesha Forbes. (Source: Facebook)

Christian Ferdinand (Source: Aroostook Sheriff Department via Daily Mail)

Christian Ferdinand (Source: Aroostook Sheriff Department via Daily Mail)

A jury today convicted Christian Ferdinand, 22, of brutally suffocating 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes to death, stuffing her in a suitcase, and attempting to set her corpse on fire on Gerritsen Beach in 2013.

He was found guilty of second degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He faces 25 years to life in prison when sentenced on January 7 – exactly two years and one day after Forbes’ body was found charred on Gerritsen Beach.

Ferdinand and Forbes met on Facebook and began to pursue a relationship. On the morning of January 4, 2013, the two got into a fight; Forbes confessed she believed she was pregnant, and Ferdinand wanted her to terminate the pregnancy, demanding she “kill it,” according to testimony.

Prosecutors say Ferdinand became enraged, and smothered the petite girl with a pillow at his cousin’s Nostrand Avenue apartment near Avenue M. He reportedly stuffed her in a suitcase and stashed it on his cousin’s rooftop before driving to the end of Gerritsen Avenue, where he set the body on fire.

Forbes was not pregnant, according to a medical examiner’s report.

After killing Forbes, Ferdinand fled to Limestone, Maine, and got a job through Job Corp. When he was arrested in May 2013, he confessed to the crime – and asked for community service, according to the New York Post.

“Do you think I can get some kind of community service?” he asked, according to the Post.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has other ideas.

“The defendant brutally took the life of a 14 year-old girl all because he believed that she was pregnant. We will now seek the maximum at sentencing to ensure that we get justice for the victim,” said Thompson in a statement.

Forbes was a resident of Flatflands, and was a freshman at the Academy for Young Writers in East New York at the time of her death.

beer-beverage

Sheepshead Bay has a new, fully stocked beer and beverage center, offering wholesale prices on beer to the public.

The Beer & Beverage Discount Center at 3769 Nostrand Avenue has been open since September, but the business finally received its beer license on Friday. As of this Monday, shelves are now filled with foreign and domestic suds, including a number of hard-to-find craft brews and imports.

The shop is the brain child of two Sheepshad Bay business veterans: Konstantin Urman, co-owner of Eye Appeal (1508 Sheepshead Bay Road), and Tommy Grupman, who ran Pravda Media on Coney Island Avenue before turning it into an online-only business.

Grupman said the idea came after searching high and low through Southern Brooklyn for something to meet his discerning tastes.

“Personally, I could not find a beer store with wide variety and reasonable prices. I asked around and searched on Google and could not find any [in the area],” said Grupman.

The business also sells non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and candies, as well as kegs and party supplies.

And as for that news blogger in your community? Well, they have gift buckets, too. Hanukkah is just around the corner is all I’m sayin’.

The Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses. Photo by Robert Fernandez

The Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses. Photo by Robert Fernandez

Tenants of the Sheepshead Bay’s Nostrand Houses (2955 Avenue W) say their landlord, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), has failed to deliver heat as the temperatures plummeted in recent weeks.

The “heat season” began October 1. That’s the time when landlords in New York City are required to keep apartments at a minimum of 68 degrees during the day when temperatures drop below 55. At night, when temperatures dip below 40 degrees, it must be at least 55 indoors. The season lasts until the end of May.

But the area’s tenants say that when temperatures dipped into the 40s last week and over the weekend, many had to turn on stoves and use space heaters, reports News 12.

One resident says she ended up with the fire department at her home on Saturday because of a carbon monoxide leak caused by leaving her stove on. She says on Sunday, her space heater that was plugged into an extension cord almost caught on fire.

NYCHA told the news outlet that it is following heat guidelines at all of its residences, but promised to look into the situation.

Whether you’re a NYCHA resident or a tenant in a private building, if you think your landlord is keeping the temperature below what’s legally required you can call 311 and file a complaint. If inspected and issued a violation, fines can be as much as $1,000 per day.

Do you live in the Sheepshead – Nostrand Houses? Has the heat situation improved? Let us know.

Source: Assemblyman Weinstein's office

Source: Assemblyman Weinstein’s office

Following a hit and run in which a toddler and elderly woman were hospitalized on September 17, a crossing guard is now helping pedestrians get across the road safely at Nostrand Avenue and Kings Highway,

For neighbors, the intersection has long been a nuisance. Heavy traffic, competing police jurisdictions, and a confusing road pattern – the two main avenues, two service roads, and a side street jutting off to the southeast – have frustrated drivers and pedestrians alike. Administrators at a nearby yeshiva pleaded with local leaders for help.

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein announced that, beginning today, a crossing guard will be on duty Monday through Thursday during school arrival and dismissal times.

Here’s the press release from Weinstein’s office:

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein is proud to announce that, working closely with the New York Police Department, she successfully secured a new school crossing guard for student and pedestrian assistance at the intersection of Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue.

Recently, local parents of children not eligible for bus service from their schools who walk to school reached out, citing the intersection as one of the most dangerous in Brooklyn.

Previously, the Assemblywoman’s petition for coverage at this junction was denied because the intersection is under the jurisdiction of no less than three NYPD Precincts. The Assemblywoman reached out to Assistant Chief Owen Monaghan of the NYPD’s Brooklyn Borough South who worked diligently to make this a reality.

“Persistence and hard work pays off,” said Joel Weisblum, Executive Director of Yeshiva Derech Hatorah, located at the intersection. “On behalf of the Yeshiva, and more importantly, the beautiful children of our Yeshiva, I would like to thank the Assemblywoman for assistance in getting us this much needed crossing guard.”

“I am extremely happy,” said local parent, Yael S. “We thank Assemblywoman Weinstein and the NYPD for all their efforts on behalf of our children. We now have peace of mind.”

The new guard is on Monday through Thursday from 7:15 to 9:15am, and in the afternoon, during school dismissals, from 2:30 to 5:00pm and Friday, when she is on duty from 10:30 to 1:30pm.

hit-run

Police have released more details of the September 17 hit-and-run we reported on Tuesday, revealing that the victims were a 2-year-old boy and a 70-year-old woman.

According to cops, the two pedestrians were hit while at a bus stop. The car, a blue Infiniti SUV with unknown plates, blasted through a red light at Nostrand Avenue and Kings Highway at approximately 4:15pm. The driver struck them and fled the scene.

The victims were taken to Kings County Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition.

Cops have also pulled surveillance video of the intersection, which appears to show the vehicle making a turn onto Kings Highway at a high speed and leaving the scene.

Anyone with information 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 or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue, the scene of the hit-and-run. (Source: Google Maps)

Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue, the scene of the hit-and-run. (Source: Google Maps)

Police are looking for any information regarding a hit-and-run incident last week at Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue.

Two pedestrians were crossing the street at that intersection on September 17 at approximately 4:15pm when a blue SUV barreled through a red light. After hitting them both, the driver fled the scene.

The victims were taken to Kings County Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition.

Cops have little other information to go on, although they said one witness believed the vehicle was an Infiniti.

Anyone with information 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 or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

mandees-1

Mandee’s to the rescue? More like turn tail and run.

The long-lived Brighton Beach Avenue location of Mandee is having a storewide sale as it gets set to close its doors for good. Its parent company, Big M, is retreating from the neighborhood following bankruptcy proceedings last year that it said were spurred on by Superstorm Sandy.

Signs at the location are calling it an end of lease sale. An employee of the store told Sheepshead Bites that the 713 Brighton Beach Avenue storefront would shutter in late October, a decision that will leave 20 to 25 people without jobs, she said. Employees have been directed to steer customers to their Sheepshead Bay location on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U.

Big M, which also owns Annie Sez, filed for bankruptcy in January 2013, saying that Superstorm Sandy forced company stores in New York and New Jersey to close and that business had not been able to recover from the impact. The company was in the midst of a turnaround and restructuring when the storm hit, according to Bloomberg News.

At the time of the filing, the New Jersey-based company operated 129 stores in eight states, including 84 Mandee locations. It was founded by brothers Leon, Max and Bernard Mandelbaum in 1948 and remains a family-owned business.

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