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Pips Comedy Club

Ray Garvey, a true Brooklyn renaissance man, will be inducted into the Brooklyn Softball Hall of Fame this Sunday in Kelly Park (East 15th Street and Avenue S) and be remembered for his larger than life personality. The New York Daily News is reporting that while Garvey died of cancer three years ago, he has not been forgotten.

The Daily News described how Garvey, a fine local athlete, rose from humble roots to become one of the more visible and beloved Brooklyn residents:

Ray Garvey started out as a Daily News paper handler in the early 1970s and then became a city sanitation worker and later a cop at the 71st Precinct, where he served under a commanding officer named Ray Kelly. He survived the Crown Heights riots, worked in the NYPD Harbor Unit and then ran the Police Athletic League in Brooklyn for a few years, where he coached kids like Stephon Marbury in the Coney Island Houses.

Garvey’s brushes with fame began when he got the nerve to start performing comedy at the legendary Pips Comedy Club (formerly of 2005 Emmons Avenue), an establishment he would later come to own with his brother John:

While still a cop, he moonlighted as the doorman at the storied Pips Comedy Club on Emmons Ave., where Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Quinn, Robert Klein and Andrew Dice Clay learned their trade.

Garvey once told me that if he could climb into a ring in a pair of baggy shorts in front of 20,000 people to get punched in the face, he could mount a comedy stage.

So he started doing short comedy routines, emceeing and soon developed his own act delivered with a Brooklyn accent thick enough to fill potholes. His brother John (Murph) Garvey later bought Pips and Ray managed it.

“I was the first guy to cast Ray in a movie,” Woody Allen told me. “He was a great guy and a natural mug actor. A Brooklyn street guy that played great on the screen. When I met him he looked to me like an over-the-hill John L. Sullivan and I used him a number of times and he always came through for me.”

His work with Woody Allen led to dozens of other roles in other big projects including, Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Law and Order and The Sopranos. The Daily News described the honor Garvey will be receiving Sunday as well as a description from fellow local athletic street legend Billy Pucci:

On Sunday, the guys in Kelly Park will enter Ray Garvey into the Brooklyn Softball Hall of Fame, presenting John Garvey with a certificate and a T-shirt.

“I can’t tell you how deeply it touches me,” says John Garvey.

Billy Pucci said it best.

“Ray was six years younger than me. He looked up to me. But I looked up to him too. He was pure Brooklyn — tough, talented, street smart, loyal, hardworking, stand-up, and all heart. Ray Garvey was Brooklyn. I miss him every single day.”

Photo by Jim Mancari via metsmerizedonline.com

Met legend Lee Mazzilli and his son L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari via metsmerizedonline.com)

New York National League fans were thrilled when Met baseball legend Lee Mazzilli’s son, L.J., was selected by the team in the fourth round as the 116th overall pick in the 2013 draft. In a recent interview with Brooklyn Based, L.J., who is currently playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones, noted the Mazzilli family’s strong ties to Sheepshead Bay.

L.J.’s father, Lee, was a huge homegrown star of the New York Mets in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. A Lincoln High School graduate, Mazzilli was part of a proud athletic tradition. His father was welterweight boxer and Sheepshead Bay native Libero Mazzilli. As the Met’s sole representative in the 1979 All-Star game, he hit a dramatic game-tying home run in the 8th inning and later scored the winning run for the National League  in the ninth. After being traded for future Met great Ron Darling before 1982, he returned to the Mets during the 1986 Championship season and contributed as a key role player.

Mazzilli’s son, L.J., continues the family’s proud Brooklyn athletic tradition as a second basemen for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He spoke of his memories with his grandparents in Sheepshead Bay:

Where’s your favorite place in Brooklyn?

Sheepshead Bay. My grandparents were there until they passed away, so you know, there’s lot of history there. You know, that park right underneath the overpass by Avenue Z. I grew up playing handball and basketball and stickball and would ride my bike around there and then hit my grandma’s salon shop down the road. My grandpa would take us there and meet her for lunch all the time. So I mean that’s my favorite spot when I was little.

I really hope L.J. Mazzilli makes it to the major leagues as a New York Met. There is just so much to root for here; his father’s glory days with the team, the Brooklyn roots and especially the Sheepshead Bay connection. Did anyone ever remember spotting the elder Mazzillis in the area? Let us know.

anthony-senisi-2013-19

Friends and family of a Sheepshead Bay man who was brutally stabbed to death in 2007 gathered for the sixth consecutive year, honoring him with a long softball Sunday.

The group gathered at Homecrest Playground (Homecrest Avenue and Williams Court) on August 4, bringing with them coolers, pizza and gear for the game. For more than six hours, the group of roughly 60 friends and family took turns at batting and fielding, and trading stories about their friend, Anthony Senisi Jr., who was a Yankees fanatic before his untimely death.

Senisi was on his way home from a grocery store on August 4, 2007, on Brighton 6th Street when he was stabbed in the back. He collapsed in front of his house in view of his son, and died in his father’s arms. Authorities believed Senisi was mistaken for someone else while buying milk for his Sunday morning ritual of coffee with his daughter.

In 2008, one year after his death, lifelong friends Howie Sosner, Billy Fallon, and Gary Friedman organized a softball game for Senisi’s friends and family to stay in touch and do something he would have enjoyed.

“This is what we all did as teenagers. We played every Sat and Sunday, we played from noon until it was pitch black outside,” Fallon said, rattling off the local parks and schoolyards where they played, including Homecrest Playground.

After establishing the event, it just kept growing as those touched by the 44-year-old plumber discovered it and came to honor his life.

“The first year was 40 [people]. Then my friend introduced me to Facebook and it grew and grew. The biggest year we had was over 100 people,” Fallon said.

Six years into the annual event, the organizers said they have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

“[We'll do it] ’til we can’t run no more,” Fallon said. (“Yeah, well, we might have the wheelchairs,” Sosner added.) “And then we’ll just find something else to do to remember him by.”

Check out photos from Anthony Senisi Jr.’s memorial softball game.

Source: Shorefront Y

Met’s legend John Franco signed autographs at the playground’s reopening. (Source: Shorefront Y)

The Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue) unveiled its remodeled playground area on Monday, after spending months rebuilding it in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

With funds provided by Citi, the New York Mets, and the Mets Alumni Association, the renovations included elevating the area’s sinking asphalt structure, installing fencing, repairing cracks near the tennis courts and replacing a storage area. The Y also introduced a new adjustable basketball hoop and a refinishing of the tennis courts that will make it more accessible to community members.

Source: Shorefront Y

Franco poses with the ribbon, alongside leadership from the Shorefront Y and Citi. (Source: Shorefront Y)

Approximately 250 children buzzed about during the ceremony donning Mets themed shirts that read “Teammates in the Community,” awaiting the star-studded ribbon cutting that included Mets legend John Franco.

Franco served as the Mets’ relief pitcher for 14 seasons, and later served as the team’s captain. He grew up near the Shorefront Y, and brought the same passion to rebuilding the community as he did to his beloved sport.

“Get out there, have fun, and play the games you love,” he said. “Exercise is the most important thing for kids right now.” That includes exercising the mind through education, he noted.

The New York Mets’ beloved mascot, Mr. Met, was also expected to be in attendance, but unfortunately, to the dismay of the children, was stuck in traffic and could not make it.

A long blue Citi and New York Mets ribbon was brought out, with one end held by Jill Kelly, the vice president of Citi Community Development, and the other by Franco, and was cut by Susan Fox, the executive director of the Y, which symbolized the official opening of the play area.

Alla Vaynshteyn, the director of marketing and communications at the Shorefront Y, described how the new play area offers something to do for everyone who attends the community center.

“It basically allows children and adults of all ages to use more areas of the backyard,” Vaynshteyn said. “For example, the basketball hoop is now adjustable, which we didn’t have before, so the littler kids can enjoy it too.”

The renovations to the play area took roughly three months, with the removal of displaced sand from the storm briefly delaying work.

Fox thanked Citi, the Mets, and the Mets Alumni Association for making the remodeling possible, and reminded the children of the Shorefront Y that they too have a lot to be thankful for.

“This neighborhood was really hurt by Hurricane Sandy, but the Shorefront Y was lucky,” Fox noted, as she referred to the fact that there was no flooding within the building of the community center, only the play area.

“The Shorefront Y is a part of United Neighborhood Houses, and we are a settlement house with the mission and purpose to make sure our neighborhood is taken of care,” Fox said. “That backyard is a special place for you.”

Students from the Millennium Development/Starrett City with former pro baseball player Terry McFarlin (top row left) and Mets Hall of Fame pitcher John Franco (top row in 42 cap)

Over 200 students from an assortment of Brooklyn youth groups celebrated Jackie Robinson day Monday by meeting some ex-baseball players and getting a private screening of the new movie about Jackie Robinson, 42, at the Regal Cinemas in Sheepshead Bay, according to a press release.

The kids, who spent the day hearing stories from former ballplayers John Franco and Terry McFarlin, were culled from the Marlboro Housing Development, Millennium Development/Starrett City, and the Coney Island Communities youth groups. They learned about the groundbreaking heroism exhibited by Jackie Robinson in the face of intense hatred and bigotry as he broke baseball’s color barrier back in 1947.

Franco and McFarlin, both products of Southern Brooklyn, also shared powerful words of wisdom with the children on hand.

“Stay focused on the goals you set for yourself and never stop working to improve yourself in a effort to achieve those goals,”  said ex-Met Franco.

“The more you put into something, the more you will get out of it. Always give 100 percent in whatever you do and more often than not, you will be successful,” added McFarlin.

In honor of Jackie Robinson day Monday, every player in the major leagues wore the number 42. Jackie’s number is also ceremoniously retired by every team in baseball.

The event was sponsored by the Municipal Credit Union (MCU) and the Brooklyn Cyclones, the New York Met Class-A affiliate.

Murrow High School (Photo: Erica Sherman)

Edward R. Murrow High School is continuing to mold an army of Garry Kasparovs with its latest victory, their eighth win at the National High School Chess Championship on Sunday, according to a report in the Daily News.

The tournament was held in Nashville, Tennessee, and had over 5,000 competitors from high schools across the nation going against one another from Friday to Sunday.

The team qualified for the tournament when they won the state championships for the 16th time in February. They also won the state championships last year, and took home the national title in 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The school’s team counts Olympic chess players and world title holders among its alumni, and an award-winning book has been written about the team’s formation.

Azeez Alade, a member of the current team who hails from Nigeria, told the Daily News that now that they have secured their victory – yet again – it’s time to declare check-and-mate on some burgers and video games.

“We’re all going to go to Dave and Busters! No more chess! We’re done with that — we’re celebrating,” said Alade.

Congrats to the Murrow team! We look forward to more victories in the future.

 

 

Source: Wally Gobetz via Wikimedia Commons

The Brooklyn Cyclones have announced that they will raising moneyfor various Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts, through a new program dubbed “Meaningful Mondays.”

The way it works is that $3 out of every ticket sold at MCU Park (1904 Surf Avenue) on Mondays will go to several charities involved in the recovery process. This will start in July.

According to the press release, each week the “Meaningful Monday” will focus on a different neighborhood affected by the storm. Here is a schedule the press release provided of which neighborhoods will go with which week:

•           Monday, July 1 –Coney Island Night to benefit ConeyRecovers.org.

•           Monday, July 8 – Gerritsen Beach Night to benefit Gerritsen Cares.

•           Monday, July 22 –Nassau County Night to benefit the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund.

•           Monday, July 29 – Red Hook Night to benefit the Red Hook Initiative.

•           Monday, August 19 –Staten Island Night to benefit The Stephen Siller Foundation.

•           Monday, August 26 – Breezy Point / Rockway Night to benefit The Graybeards.

Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen states in the press release, “We hope that through our Meaningful Monday efforts, we can help the countless people still struggling to recover from the storm, recognize the heroes who were leaders in their communities during their time of need, and provide a night of fun and laughter at the ballpark as we all recover from Hurricane Sandy.”

Source: Brownstoner. Click to enlarge

Tennis anyone?

The popular racquet sport, along with yoga, swimming and dancing, are returning to the intersection of Shell Road and Avenue Z in Gravesend in what is set to be Brooklyn’s largest sports complex.

Sheepshead Bites first learned about the deal from the broker, Brian Hanson of Massey Knakel Realty Services, and now a report by Brownstoner provides a few new details.

Costing $20 million, the 140,000 square-foot complex, dubbed MatchPoint NYC, will feature a whopping nine indoor tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a restaurant. It replaces the Brooklyn Racquet Club, which closed in 2011 and was later demolished.

Set to open in six months, the facility – developed by Dmitry Druzhinsky and tennis coach Noumroud Moukhatasov, and spearheaded by entrepreneur Sergey Rybak – will provide an outlet to accommodate for the huge Russian love of tennis.

Source: 247sports

Sheepshead Bay’s Rashaad Coward is a 6’6″, 280-pound defensive tackling force and he is taking his football dreams to Old Dominion, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

As we’ve previously reported, Rashaad was weighing his options between the likes of Albany and Wagner College, before settling on Old Dominion.

Old Dominion, located in Norfolk, VA, has high academic standards for their student-athletes, making Coward mother’s pleased with her son’s decision.

“A lot of the players are good in the classroom and on the dean’s list, so she was happy about that, too,” Coward told the Daily News.

Fred Snyder, Coward’s coach, bestowed high praise on the future Old Dominion tackle, calling him the best lineman he ever coached.

“He had the size and ability and he worked hard to make sure what happened his freshman year when he got pushed around a little never happened again,” Synder said.

Coward is the first athlete out of Sheepshead Bay set to play Division I Football since Rutgers recruited Andre Civil in 2008.

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The above is a paid announcement by Bassett Caterers. 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.

 

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