Archive for the tag 'stan kaplan'

by Vanessa Ogle

Members of the Manhattan Beach Community Group were briefed by representatives of the state-run New York Rising program at their meeting last night, contributing proposals and feedback and asking questions about the project’s next steps. The presentation also elicited a few uncertain murmurs and misguided questions that suggested the program, now four months into its public phase,  is anything but widely understood.

NY Rising is a state program to funnel millions of federal rebuilding dollars to local communities, with projects determined by neighbors at public meetings and through committees comprised of local leaders. Brooklyn has four reconstruction zones, including a newly added Canarsie zone, and Manhattan Beach belongs to a coalition that includes Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Seagate. Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach are part of a second committee. According to the New York Rising presenter, Manhattan Beach is expected to receive approximately $5.5 million dollars in a first round of funding for its project proposals.

“We have been trying to impress upon NY Rising that the most important thing that we have here is to get infrastructure fixed,” MBCG President Judy Baron, who also represents the group in the NY Rising local committee, told her members. “Because if we don’t have water coming into our basements, we can talk about anything else.”

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Okay, so this technically violates our policy regarding Morning Mugs, which is that they have to be shot in our coverage area. However, it’s not only a nice shot, it’s an opportunity to talk about the new bike share program that launched this week.

We’re not going to ask what you think. We’re sure you’ll tell us anyway.

Photo by Stan Kaplan.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Local mariners have something to be happy about this New Year: the Department of Environmental Protection reversed course on plans to destroy a 78-year-old navigational aid between Manhattan Beach and Breezy Point that mariners say makes them safer and shows them the way home when gizmos can’t.

According to documents released under a Freedom of Information Law request filed by Sheepshead Bites, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection decided to leave a wastewater diffuser pipe that locals affectionately refer to as the “roundhouse” after sailors and other mariners objected to its removal.

“Comments received questioned whether it would be more advantageous to leave the existing outlet chamber in place,” DEP reps wrote to partnering agencies in a September 2012 letter. “If kept, it could serve as an underwater fish habitat and provide opportunity for sea birds to perch.”

It wasn’t just the environmentalists that the DEP sought to please; the agency determined the now defunct roundhouse served a crucial purpose for navigation, and as a marker for underwater infrastructure that could damage vessels.

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Activists blast Community Board member selection process, demand more transparency: The president of a local civic association and another active member of the community slammed the Community Board appointment process for a lack of fairness and transparency at Community Board 15′s final meeting of the season on Tuesday.

Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association President Ed Jaworski led the assault. He insinuated that there is a conflict of interest for members or advisers who also have business connections to buildings-related cases that come before the Board.

Keep reading for more of the activists’ criticism, and other Board matters from Tuesday’s meeting.

Sheepshead Bites reader Stan Kaplan recently passed along a copy of the May 10, 1973, edition of Scepter, the student newspaper of Kingsborough Community College. Its yellowed pages commemorated the 10th anniversary of the school’s establishment, illustrating the complex story of Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and the higher education institution through original materials, reprinted news articles and historical advertisements. Headlines like “KCC Will Not Open on Manhattan Beach Site” remind us that the school has always played a tug-of-war with the community in which it exists, and the reporting reminds us that journalism, indeed, is only history’s first draft – and quite a rough one at  that.

With permission from Kingsborough Community College, Sheepshead Bites brings you a digital version of the newspaper in full, with an introduction from former Brooklyn Historian John Manbeck, who also served as faculty adviser to the paper at the time of publication.

Read Manbeck’s introduction, and view the newspaper in full.

On Wednesday, we told you all about the barbecue-hatin’ Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s Monday meeting, in which they presented a petition from the barbecue-lovin’ Manhattan Beach Community Group. That petition, drawn up in 2007, before the two groups split and when current MBNA leaders actually ran the MBCG (confused yet?), has included on it the signatures of the current leaders of the MBCG, who say they oppose the ban. According the MBNA, that shows that the MBCG are a bunch of hypocrites.

Our question? Why is one of New York City’s tiniest neighborhoods so freakin’ confusing?

Anyway, we couldn’t include the video with yesterday’s story because of technical problems. So here it is, in all its glory. Now you can see MBNA President Alan Ditchek look directly in the camera and talk to the “bloggers” (though a quick review of what we’ve written suggests he’s probably talking to the commenters). Oh, and there’s a doctor there, too. Around minute 6:30, when it turns political, he seems about as confused as we are.

Alan Ditchek, president of the MBNA.

The rhetoric between the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association and Manhattan Beach Community Group continued to mount this week, as MBNA President Alan Ditchek released a 2007 petition to ban the practice – a petition signed by the current proposal’s most vocal critics.

The petition reflects efforts from four years ago to ban barbecuing in Manhattan Beach Park, and the signatures of Manhattan Beach Community Group leaders – who now call the current attempt “racist” – casts doubt on their sincerity.

The proposal to ban barbecuing on Manhattan Beach is being pushed by the MBNA because they say it is detrimental to residents’ health, but the president of the MBCG, Ira Zalcman, believes that the MBNA is proposing the ban for all the wrong reasons. Zalcman previously argued before his group that the MBNA’s position is mired in racism and discrimination, as they have a “history of wanting to privatize the beach.”

More: Ditchek defends his arguments, slams the MBCG and

The heat around a proposed barbecue ban on Manhattan Beach continued to intensify this week, this time at the Community Board 15 meeting. But the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation said they have no plans to halt one of America’s favorite pastimes.

Parks Department Brooklyn Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey listened intently to arguments for and against the ban at the Wednesday night meeting, but appeared unmoved by the opponents’ concerns. And, according to a statement from his office, no ban is likely in the near future.

“Commissioner Jeffrey has been in touch with the Community Board regarding their concerns,” a Parks Department spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites. “At this time there are no plans to eliminate barbecuing at Manhattan Beach.”

Despite the apparent defeat, MBNA leaders say they’ll continue to push for a ban. Keep reading to find out how.

Yesterday we posted about how the 77-year-old roundhouse that sits just off the tip of the Manhattan Beach peninsula is going to be removed. The roundhouse has been a navigational aid that longtime sailors in our area have relied on. The mariners in our community are very against its removal.

Sailor and community activist Stan Kaplan e-mailed us yesterday to elaborate on why keeping the roundhouse is imperative.

I am advocating for keeping the Roundhouse. As my point of view has been published, I am attaching The US Coast Guard’s current “Notice to Mariners.”

On page 5 at the top, it suggests that using floating aids to navigation can have “varying degrees of reliability.” It also suggests to “utilize bearings from fixed objects and aids to navigation on shore” is much more reliable.

It is my understanding that the Roundhouse is in shallow water. To make safe passage, it will have to be dredged. As it has been suggested, a floating aid to navigation, a.k.a. a BUOY, will have varying degrees of reliability. It would be prudent for the Corp of Army Engineers to put a tower as a replacement. The Roundhouse is a large masonry structure that boats will avoid. This structure has been there for over 70 years, and it will probably last another 70.

View the Coast Guard’s Notice to Mariners [pdf].

Countdown to June begins now. Photo by Stan Kaplan.

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