Archive for the tag 'obituary'

Jeffrey Babbitt in a recent photo taken by neighbor Robert Pizzimenti, via Newsday.

Jeffrey Babbitt in a recent photo taken by neighbor Robert Pizzimenti, via Newsday.

Jeffrey Babbitt, the victim of a deranged assault by 31-year-old Lashawn Marten, died yesterday at the age of 62. A New York Times obituary noted the deep sense of loss felt by Babbitt’s friends and family, who remembered Babbitt as a gentle and sweet man.

Yesterday, we reported on the incident that put Babbitt in a coma that eventually led to his death. Babbitt, a retired train conductor, was walking through Union Square last Wednesday when Marten announced his intention to attack a white person. Babbitt was struck and fell to the pavement, cracking his skull. He was bleeding heavily and was subsequently declared brain dead at Bellevue Hospital. A recent report by CBS noted that Marten is homeless and started to complain that nobody wanted to play chess with him, leading to his outburst. The Times went into further detail on Marten’s life:

Mr. Marten, who is black, has also gone by the alias Martin Redrick and listed a different birth date, the police said. He was living in supported housing for formerly homeless people and those with psychiatric disabilities provided by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, said Shelley Ruchti, the group’s chief communications officer. She declined to describe the reason for his living there.

The Times obituary noted that Babbitt, a Sheepshead Bay resident, loved to visit Forbidden Planet near Union Square to buy comic books and chat up the employees, with whom he had a friendly relationship with. Jeff Ayers, the manager at Forbidden Planet said he knew Babbitt for years and expressed his sadness over the loss to the Times.

“He was just a really, really, really sweet guy,” Ayers, told the Times. “One of our staff just had a baby and he was dying to see pictures.”

He lived with his 94-year-old mother, Lucille, serving as her primary caregiver. The Times described Babbitt’s friendly relationship with his neighbors in his Ocean Avenue apartment building:

On Monday evening, many residents at Mr. Babbitt’s modest brick apartment building on Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay had something nice to say about him, and could only shake their heads at the senselessness of his death.

“He was as good as good can be,” said Audrey Feifer, 75. “This should never have happened, no matter what color this person is.”

Ms. Feifer said Mr. Babbitt, who she said moved to the neighborhood from Florida about 20 years ago, used to insist on giving her rides to bus stops or to buy doughnuts.

Inside the apartment that Mr. Babbitt shared with his mother, Ms. Feifer said, he kept model steam locomotives, stacks of magazines about trains, and many comic books. He often wore shirts showing pictures of fairies and once drove Ms. Feifer out of state to join him at a Fairy-Con gathering, a festival for people who celebrate fairies.

A sister, his only sibling, helped Mr. Babbitt care for their mother, but she died from cancer about two years ago, Ms. Feifer said, and Mr. Babbitt took over all the caretaking responsibilities.

He did not seem to mind, neighbors said.

“He’d say, ‘Hi, Mom!’ so loud everybody could hear it,” said Igor Sapozhnikov, 56. “He loved his mother, and his mother loved him very well.”

CThe employees at Forbidden Planet are planning to set up a fund to continue providing for Babbitt’s mother’s care.

“We’re a community here,” Ayers told the Times. “These are people whose lives we’re tied to.”

(UPDATE: 11:58 a.m.): Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz sent Sheepshead Bites a press release lamenting the passing of Babbitt and noting that he was a frequent visitor to his office.

“Jeffrey was a constituent of mine in Sheepshead Bay and a frequent visitor to my district office for the last 13 years with his elderly mother, Lucille, and his sister, Sue, who passed away a couple of years ago. He was friendly and good-natured, the kind of constituent you remember,” Cymbrowitz wrote.

Cymbrowitz added his hopes that Babbitt’s attacker will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Mickey Rose (far left) at his wedding to his wife Judith. Woody Allen and actress Louise Lasser pictured on the right. Source:

Mickey Rose and Woody Allen met in an art class at Midwood High School more than 60 years ago, starting a lifelong friendship and collaboration that included some of Woody’s most hilarious films. Rose died over the weekend at the age of 77 from colon cancer, according to a report by The New York Times.

Rose, along with Allen, was one of America’s preeminent comedy writers. For years he wrote jokes for Johnny Carson during his Tonight Show run. Michael Barrie, who worked on Carson’s venerable talk show, which ran for 30 years from 1962 to 1992, said that Rose was “a comedy writer’s comedy writer.”

With Allen, Rose helped write “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (1966), “Take the Money and Run” (1969) and “Bananas” (1971); all early classics from the era when Allen wasn’t yet known for more cerebral films.

“Mickey was one of the funniest humans I know, a true original and a total eccentric and a wonderful first baseman,” said Allen this week, in a statement released by his biographer.

According to the Times, Rose and Allen remained lifelong friends:

Mr. Allen and Mr. Rose had talked on the phone as often as once a week, and when Mr. Allen visited Beverly Hills he often wandered over to Mr. Rose’s house and knocked on the door.

They conversed several times in the days before Mr. Rose’s death, Quincy Rose said. They talked about sports, old friends and, as the son recalled, an existential question, posed by Mr. Allen: “Are you scared?”

Rose is survived by his daughter Jennifer, son Quincy (named for the Bed-Stuy street he grew up on) and two grandchildren.

Former NYC Mayor, Edward I. Koch, 1924-2013. Source: adam.luis.amengual / Flickr

Of all the elected officials I have known personally — with the exception of former Congressman Stephen Solarz for whom I once performed an internship during his first term as assemblyman for the 45th Assembly District — I’ve had the most personal contact with our former mayor, Ed Koch.

My First Encounter

It was 1969. One year before my college internship with Solarz. Unsurprisingly, I chose transportation as my topic for a political science school paper at Hunter College, where I did my undergraduate work. I wanted to write about what the federal government was doing to improve mass transit and someone suggested I see the local congressman whose office was located on Second Avenue, in the upper seventies. I was skeptical of obtaining any information because I did not reside in the “silk stocking” district, as the Upper East Side was then called. I was told that the congressman’s name was Ed Koch, a name I had never heard before. I was told he was active in introducing legislation to help mass transit and that’s why I should see him.

Continue Reading »

Barry Deustch in His Dr. Sherlock Litter Alter-Ego, Photo Via Facebook

Barry Deutsch, a local Sheepshead Bay man and former Presidential Candidate, passed away last month at the age of 66, according to a report by Brooklyn Daily.

Deutsch, a former lawyer with a Brooklyn-based practice, ran for President of the United States in 1992, receiving 26 votes in the New Hampshire primary. He ran on a platform that railed against the outsourcing of US jobs, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

After his failed bid for Commander-in-Chief, Deutsch carried on his crusade to protect American jobs, creating alter-ego Dr. Sherlock Litter, a bizarre sloganeering pitch-man who managed to star in one video before his untimely death.

According to Brooklyn Daily, Deustch’s living situation was also out of the ordinary. Apparently, Deutsch spent most of his time lounging on a cleaned up spot on the otherwise garbage-strewn Plumb Beach. Deutsch insisted he was not homeless.

“It’s my tax-free summer beach jungle hide-a-way paradise,” Deutsch told Brooklyn Daily. In passing, Deutsch leaves behind his carved out Plumb Beach spot, a cat and three older siblings.


Famed Brooklyn author Sol Yurick passed away at the age of 87 this past Saturday according to the New York Daily News. Yurick is most famous for writing The Warriors, a 1965 novel – and, later, cult move – about a Brooklyn gang viciously battling their way through the borough on their way home to Coney Island.

The movie grew into a huge cult success in years subsequent to its release. earning a 94 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yurick, born to working class Jewish immigrants in the Bronx in 1925, made Brooklyn his home when he moved to Park Slope in 1958. He worked as a social investigator for the Department of Welfare, observing the rhythms of the streets and underclasses that informed the vibrancy of his writing.

Yurick moved to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens in 1985 where he lived for the rest of his life. He is survived by his wife Adrienne and his daughter Susanna.

Stella Angel with her daughter (center) and neighborhood girls in front of their Sheepshead Bay Road storefront.

Click to enlarge.

When Arielle Angel’s grandmother, Stella, passed away, she wrote the obituary. Angel, a Brooklyn-based writer, didn’t plan for a home for the obituary. It was written for family and close friends. When the obituary landed in our inbox, it found a home.

Stella Angel lived in Sheepshead Bay. She owned and operated a local grocery with her husband, David Angel here. She raised a family at East 6th Street and Avenue Z because her own extended family, the Rosas, all lived within walking distance.

Their store, Bay Food Market, was bought from a guy named Mario. No one seems to recall his last name now.

It stood across the street from Dan’s Supreme, a larger supermarket that could have put the mom-and-pop bodega out of business. Instead, the two groceries competed for customers. For years, the Angels engaged in price wars and forewent but little profit. They almost always set their closing time an hour later than Dan’s.

My grandmother, Stella Angel, who lived and worked in Sheepshead Bay from the time of her immigration to the United States in 1952 until her retirement in the early 1980s, died in her sleep last Saturday morning. She was 93-years-old.

She was born Stella Rosa in Salonika, Greece, in 1920, the middle child of five in a middle-class family. Like all of the Rosa men, her father was a butcher. Salonika was a unique Jewish community; its members were descendants of those who had fled the Spanish Inquisition, and they still kept a medieval dialect of Spanish called Ladino as their language.

Keep reading Arielle’s touching obituary