Archive for the tag 'nostrand ave'

Select Bus Service  on the B44 route, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

Select Bus Service on the B44 route, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Select Bus Service (SBS) on the first route in Brooklyn, the B44, is now one week old. I have not yet had a chance to observe or ride the SBS or the B44 local, so at this time I can only offer second-hand information.

As to be expected, there was much confusion resulting from the elimination of the Limited service, which has been replaced with SBS; removal of some Limited stops, which became local stops only, and the rerouting of half of the buses from New York Avenue to Rogers Avenue. Bus riders were informed of the start date through automated announcements on the buses during the week prior to implementation. Not enough information was given to avoid confusion.

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THE COMMUTE: After two years of delay, and five years of planning, the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) finally made its debut yesterday along Nostrand Avenue. Limited stops at Avenues L, R, S, V, W, Y and Z are no longer in effect since the Limited has been discontinued, so do not wait for one. You now either have to take the local or walk to the closest SBS stop.

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Photo by Steve Meicke

Photo by Steve Meicke

Select Bus Service payment machines have started popping up on Nostrand Avenue, Emmons Avenue and Knapp Street ahead of the kickoff for new express service that will replace the B44 Limited.

The machines are a key feature to the new service, allowing for off-board fare collection that MTA officials say save time on the bus. Riders are expected to pay their fares at the machine before boarding, and are given a receipt. The system is largely an honor system, with occasional inspectors serving hefty fines to fare dodgers if caught.

The new service will replace the B44 Limited, offering service from Sheepshead Bay to Williamsburg via Nostrand Avenue and Rogers Avenue. The buses are extra long, and will have separate bus stops from the existing B44 stops, as well as dedicated bus lanes for a portion of the route (in Sheepshead Bay, there will be a dedicated bus lane south of Avenue X). The stops will have sidewalk bulbs to allow for safer boarding.

Much like the B44, the new B44 SBS will make a loop from Nostrand to Shore Parkway to Knapp to Emmons and back as its southern terminus.

According to the MTA, as reported by Streetsblog, the service is set to begin on November 17. The MTA is eyeing a second route in the area, running from Bay Ridge to East New York, via an avenue in Homecrest.


Tamara Kataeva

Shake it, grandma!

The Be Proud Foundation honored local grannies for their beauty and talent this past Sunday at the Kings Bay Y (3495 Nostrand Avenue), crowning Tamara Kataeva and Leya Popivker as Your Highness Grandmother and Your Highness Queen Grandmother, respectively.

A panel of grandfathers was tasked with making the difficult decision, evaluating the honorable ladies based on their costumes, singing and dancing. Now in its 13th year, the theme of the event was “Our thanks to America,” and many of the contestants integrated the red, white and blue into their costumes to express gratitude to their adopted country.

Tamara Kataeva, winner of the grandmother category, had an edge, having come from an entertainment background. Born in Uzbekistan and trained as a nurse, Kataeva later found her true calling in the arts. She became an actress, performing in New York’s ethnic theaters, and has toured throughout the United States, Israel and Europe.


Leya Popivker

Leya Popivker, winner of the Queen Grandmother category, from the Ukraine, is as book-smart as she is dazzling. A graduate of Kiev’s Trade Economics Institute, she spends her free time singing, dancing and traveling. Here in the U.S., she practices cosmetology.

Congratulations to Kataeva and Popivker, and to all the grandmothers who participated!


Blink Fitness, a no-frills gym, will open in December at 3827 Nostrand Avenue, the former site of Pathmark.

Readers began sending us tips about a possible gym at the location as early as a month ago, and more frequently as fencing went up at the property indicating interior work. The item came up at last week’s Community Board 15 meeting, when it was approved for a special application to allow a physical culture establishment.

They gym already lists the location on their website, noting that it will open in late December.

It replaces the second half of Pathmark, which shuttered in 2011 amid bankruptcy proceedings. Brooklyn’s first Aldi supermarket takes up the remainder of the Pathmark footprint.


Daddy Best Buys has opened, selling housewares, hardware and more out of their new 3678 Nostrand Avenue storefront.

The business is a welcome addition to a stretch of Nostrand Avenue, from Avenue U to Avenue Z, that has seen many vacancies over the past few years. It replaces Nostrand Deli and Grocery.

Daddy Best Buys has been open for about a month, a store manager told us.

Welcome to the neighborhood, and best of luck!


Shkolnikov, left, presents Kings Bay Y Executive Director Leonard Petlakh with a check as Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and City Council candidates David Storobin and Chaim Deutsch look on.

Neighbors gathered with Kings Bay YM-YWHA members, local leaders and Holocaust survivors on Sunday to celebrate the contributions of boardmember Eugene Shkolnikov, and to honor him as he handed over $10,000 for an at-risk youth leadership program he helped create.

Shkolnikov scored the funds from the program from his employer, Northwestern Mutual, who awarded the money at Shkolnikov’s direction after he won the company’s community service award.

The program, which is kicking off its second year, is called Aharai, Hebrew for “Follow me.” It recruits at-risk tweens and teens to develop leadership skills and promotes community involvement, as well as education through interaction with Holocaust survivors. Shkolnikov created the program and funded its first year out of his own pocket, saying he was inspired by a trip he took through a Kings Bay Y program that brought him to Auschwitz.

“When I was in Auschwitz, I saw and I felt things that I thought I knew about, but I had no idea that it was real. It was a very different feeling when I was in Auschwitz,” Shkolnikov told Sheepshead Bites. “I have a 9-year-old daughter, and I know about Holocaust, but how can I tell her? So that’s why I thought it would be very important for the kids, a young generation, to have people who actually went through the Holocaust to educate them what the Holocaust was all about.”

Shkolnikov was one of 20 people out of thousands who work for Northwestern Mutual to receive the annual award.

In addition to Aharai, Shkolnikov’ has made previous donations to the Kings Bay Y, resulting in a library and mirrored dance studio.

Kings Bay Y Executive Directory Leonard Petlakh gave a public thank you during the Sunday ceremony.

“The lessons [of the Holocaust] are still being taught to our children and our grandchildren. We’re blessed to have a program like Aharai. Eugene’s probably one of the best known philanthropists in this community, someone who opens up his heart and his wallet for the community,” said Petlakh. “It is a great example for the entire community to follow.”

The intergenerational ceremony featured a concert by Holocaust survivors and a presentation of survivors’ testimonies by Aharai teens.


Police scanner reports indicate that a drowning victim has been pulled from the waters of Sheepshead Bay on Emmons Avenue near Nostrand Avenue.

The reports indicate the incident happened shortly before 3:45 p.m.

The victim has been pulled from the water, and CPR is being performed by first responders. FDNY is on the scene.

We are heading out to the scene now.


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.


The NYPD has issued a missing senior notification for the disappearance of Norma James, a 69-year-old black woman. It is the second time James has gone missing this month.

James was last seen by her home near Nostrand Avenue and Avenue V at 11:30 a.m. yesterday. She was wearing a white shirt and blue pants.

James is 5’3″ tall, 190 lbs., with brown eyes and salt-and-pepper hair in braids.

If you see James or have any information regarding her whereabouts, please contact (800) 577-TIPS (8477) or visit NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.


The New York City Housing Authority announced this week that they’ve made tremendous strides in slashing the number of backlogged maintenance complaints in city-owned housing complexes, following a scathing “Hall of Shame”-style watchlist released by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio that named three Southern Brooklyn housing projects as among the worst in the city.

According to the agency, they have reduced the number of outstanding complaints by more than half since an initiative kicked off in January, and reduced the average wait time by nearly one month.

“As a result of NYCHA’s Action Plan to improve its accountability and efficiency in responding to maintenance and repair work orders, we are pleased to report that the number of open maintenance and repair work orders has been reduced from 422,639 on January 1, 2013, to 197,134 as of August 1, 2013,” NYCHA announced in a release issued this week. “This reduction of 225,505 work orders positions NYCHA to achieve its goal of eliminating the backlog by the end of 2013 and have only 90,000 open work orders at the end of the year.”

According to the agency, 90,000 work orders represents the number of work orders it would have if it handled maintenance requests in an average of seven days and more complex requests in an average of 15 days. According to de Blasio’s list,, the average work order request sits for 282 days without action, or more than nine months.

In the release, NYCHA pinned the blame for delayed repair requests on budget shortfalls and resource restraints, which, after coming under fire late last year, they’ve been working to address.

“Focusing on the work order backlog, and dedicating resources even during this tough economic period, has allowed NYCHA to address deficiencies that resulted from years of significant and sustained budget shortfalls,” the agency said, noting that the financial situation may worsen due to sequestration.

At the time of de Blasio’s report, which was based on data from February 15, just weeks after the NYCHA initiative was launched, the agency claimed to have slashed as many as 200,000 outstanding requests. But the public advocate had his doubts about whether or not the agency was truly making all the repairs, or simply canceling out old requests. The watchlist’s about page notes:

 According to the data, more than 50,000 repairs were made in just the first two weeks of February 2013—the equivalent of 3,394 repairs per day. De Blasio warned those numbers suggested the agency was canceling old repair tickets and making quick fixes for the purposes of touting big reductions in its backlog, and urged the agency to prioritize the most critical repairs instead.

According to the agency, they’re doing exactly that kind of prioritization, putting aside aesthetic requests such as those for paint jobs.

“Recognizing that there are limited resources, work that is primarily to improve the appearance of apartments will not be able to be addressed by staff unless the fiscal situation improves. Painting is an example of this new prioritization,” the release notes.

De Blasio’s watchlist placed the Sheepshead Bay Houses, the Nostrand Houses, and the Marlboro Houses near the top of the list, at numbers 19, 22 and 41 respectively. They’re also pinned as the worst of 13 NYCHA complexes in Southern Brooklyn, with thousands of outstanding complaints among them, and an average of 240 to 349 days of inaction.

The chart at the top of this article, provided by NYCHA, shows that maintenance crews, contractors and specialists have been able to tackle anywhere between 450 jobs to 2,013 jobs a day.

At the Sheepshead Bay Houses, one resident has taken notice of the work, sending us photos of asbestos abatement signs and construction work permits. However, as we previously reported, she was unsettled at the lack of communication between the agency and residents, citing their inability to answer basic questions about the work. She also sent in this photo, noting that the complex was surrounded in unsightly fencing.

“[It's] like we’re being trapped in,” she wrote.


Are you a NYCHA resident? Are repairs being made in a more timely manner? Tell us about your experience!


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