Archive for the tag 'voorhies ave'

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Galina and Lev Berenshteyn in front of Lady Liberty

A retired limo driver from the former Soviet Union is building a 16-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty in his East 21st Street front yard as a tribute to his adopted homeland.

Lev Berenshteyn, 68, began working on Lady Liberty approximately two weeks ago. It’s built of a 7.5-foot-tall replica they picked up from a business in Southampton, Long Island. It sits atop a custom 8-foot-tall concrete base that Berenshteyn is sculpting himself.

If it seems unusual, the purpose appears to perplex even Berenshteyn’s wife, Galina, 65.

“Why [build it]? I don’t know. Just because my husband wants to do this,” she said.

Her husband gave a more definitive answer.

“Why? America. I like it,” he said.

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The 16′ tall statue towers over the fence, a beacon of freedom for anyone passing by on Shore Parkway or East 21st Street.

The two became part of the huddled masses to which Lady Liberty beckons when they fled the portion of the former Soviet Union that is now Uzbekistan. Stateside, she worked as a computer programmer, while he was a limousine driver that frequently shuttled passengers to the Circle Line ferry that serves the Statue of Liberty.

The Berenshteyns purchased the rustic corner house at East 21st Street and Shore Parkway in 1996, and are now working on that part of the American Dream in which you build 16-foot-tall statues of French women in your front yard.

And it isn’t cheap: Galina Berenshteyn said it has cost them about $3,500 so far. Soon the statue’s torch will shine, and they will install lights at the base to illuminate the statue, catching the freedom-loving eyes of passersby on Shore Parkway.

“Lights, everything, soon we will make like original. We’ll finish, a couple days it will be nice,” Lev Berenshteyn said. “It looks like the original because we made many, many pictures of the original and made it like that.”

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The couple say they still have a few more days of work before it’s completed.

The real Statue of Liberty, dedicated in October 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. A beacon of freedom and welcoming signal to immigrants, it has a long history of inspiring duplicates, including in Paris, the U.K., Germany, China and Israel, among others. The oldest replica in New York City, at approximately 114 years old, is a 55-foot-tall statue that originally stood at Liberty Warehouse, and has since been moved to the Brooklyn Museum.

Little do the Berenshteyns  realize, just around the corner on Voorhies Avenue is the former home of the Circle Line’s founder. Where Sheepshead Bay once brought visitors to the Statue of Liberty, now, thanks to the Berenshteyns, the Statue of Liberty comes to us.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Reader Mike N. wrote to point out what he believes is a waste of NYPD resources: catching fare-beaters on the Voorhies Avenue side of the Sheepshead Bay subway station.

Do you know that since the token booth, which became a non-selling booth, was removed from the Shore Parkway entrance, police stand at the other entrance watching the TV monitors, and when someone jumps a turnstile (no high gates here) they then walk up to the platform and surprise them with a ticket.

Often there are two to three officers watching at one time. Yes, it’s a violation to avoid a fare, but wouldn’t it be more prudent to put gate-style turnstiles that can’t be jumped at all unattended stations?

This would 100% solve the fare avoidance problem…however, it would stop the sweet flow of $105 tickets into the MTA coffers. And why are there no policemen ever stationed at the unattended turnstiles? Wouldn’t it make more sense for public safety to have officers where the ‘eyes and ears’ of the booth clerks are absent? (I know…the booth clerks aren’t much help).

Briefly, rather than the practical use of officers to guard an unwatched, potentially dangerous entry (I do understand that they technically are watching, but nobody sees them, so they do not deter crime), the officers are used to generate revenue.

It doesn’t sound like Mike believes the problem is going after fare beaters – who should be caught for stealing from all taxpayers. But he thinks the problem can be solved more easily and those NYPD resources redeployed for something more useful. What do you think?

Is there an issue you’d like to sound off about, or a problem you want to shed light on? E-mail editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com and we’ll consider publishing it!

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The following is a press release from Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

Council Member Chaim Deutsch is pleased to announce the success of his first community clean-up event that drew nearly 100 volunteers to Sheepshead Bay Road on Sunday. Armed with rakes, shovels and brooms, volunteers turned out to pick up trash from neighborhood streets.

“We’re taking pride in our neighborhoods – block by block across our district. Coming out and volunteering is sending a message to violators that we demand a clean neighborhood,” Deutsch stated. “Cleaner streets promote social and economic improvement, whilst giving our children and families a clean, safe place to reside.”

This event, the first in a series of clean-ups in Council Member Deutsch’s district, aims to promote unity and community activism, all the while drawing attention to the Council Member’s top priority: cleaner streets. Council Member Deutsch is proud to have funded various clean-up initiatives in this year’s budget and is actively reaching out to local small business owners to educate them on ways to keep storefronts clean.

“Many thanks to the Department of Sanitation for their commitment to working with me to promote cleanliness, as well as for the donation of gloves and garbage bags and the loan of brooms, shovels, dustpans and rakes,” said Deutsch. “Together we are making our neighborhoods an even better place to live, work, and do business.”

Please contact Council Member Deutsch’s office at 718-368-9176 to learn more about future community clean-up events or to share suggestions that will help Deutsch address problem areas.

The next Community Clean-Up Event will be held on August 17th on Avenue U.

View photos from the cleanup.

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By now, we all know the area has a garbage problem. But it’s time to stop griping and start pitching in to make the community better.

Here’s your chance: Councilman Chaim Deutsch is organizing the first street clean-up Sheepshead Bay has seen at least since Sheepshead Bites launched more than six years ago.

The local pol is providing everything you need to lend a hand: shovels, brooms, rakes and bags. All you need to do is show up in some grubby clothes and put in the work.

The clean up kicks off at 10:00 a.m. and lasts until 4:00 p.m. Volunteers will meet at Sheepshead Bay Road and Voorhies Avenue, and the group will go up and down Sheepshead Bay Road and to Emmons Avenue bagging trash and litter for the Department of Sanitation to pick up.

See the flier above for details.

Oh, what’s that? You’re dieting on a Sunday? Too bad, buddy. Taken at Donut Shoppe (a.k.a. Sheikh’s) (Source: roboppy/Flickr)

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): What’s this? A Sunday post on Sheepshead Bites? Yep, we’re doing that now. You’ve got a big week ahead of you because you’re an important person. So we’re going to make your life a little easier and refresh your addled-brain with a roundup of some of the big stories you may have missed this past week.

Of course, you can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Here are the big stories on Sheepshead Bites from July 7 – 12:

Have a great Sunday, and if you’re looking for something new to eat, try Anatolian Gyro’s octopus salad.

The approximately footprint of the combined properties now owned by Muss Development. (Source: Google Maps)

The approximately footprint of the combined properties now owned by Muss Development. (Source: Google Maps)

Muss Development, the developer that built and manages Brighton Beach’s Oceana Condominium complex, has snapped up a sprawling 87,500-square-foot development site on Sheepshead Bay Road that was previously slated to become a mall – and they’ve announced plans to make it fully residential.

The deal was done in two parts, with Muss teaming up with AvalonBay Communities to purchase 1501 Voorhies Avenue, currently the vacant lot adjacent to the subway station that was once occupied by Verizon, at $16.2 million. In a separate deal, Muss acquired for $4 million the attached property at 1600 Sheepshead Bay Road at East 16th Street, where Citibank and several vacant storefronts are currently located.

These are properties with a back story.

The sites were sold by Acadia Realty Trust, which purchased them for $20.3 million in 2008. Acadia, in partnership with PA Associates had planned a two-building complex dubbed Station Plaza that included a 22-story mixed-use tower. There was to be mall with four floors of shopping, a new public street that cut through the property at East 16th Street, and more than 650 parking spaces – anchored by 16 floors of residential condominiums.

A rendering of the four-story mall previously planned for this location. A 16-story tower would have been perched atop this.

A rendering of the four-story mall previously planned for this location. A 16-story tower would have been perched atop this.

That was the plan, until the economy tanked and PA Associates were tied up with former State Senator Carl Kruger in a corruption scandal. Even before all that, we noted that the ambitious plan was a long way from becoming a reality.

Muss Development is looking to ditch the mall idea altogether, and make the larger property, the Verizon lot, fully residential. It will be split between condominiums and rental units, according to Commercial Observer, and can be built up to 250,000 square feet. It’s not yet clear how tall that would be, but the previously planned 22-story tower was one of the few that could be built in the area without seeking approval from the community due to the immense size of the lot. So while the new owners will not be able to build quite as tall, they can still make a good reach for the sky.

It’s unclear what the plans are for the Sheepshead Bay Road site, which currently has 4,000 square feet of retail and 9,000 square feet of commercial space.

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Photo by Rob Erichsen

Shuttered for more than two years, the former Burger King location at 2481 Knapp Street has been converted into a temporary prayer space for local Muslims to observe Ramadan.

The Muslim American Society has taken over the space with a one-month lease, allowing them to celebrate one of the religion’s most important holidays near their homes. The group sought out a temporary place of worship while their permanent location, 2812 Voorhies Avenue, nears completion.

“The [Voorhies Avenue] building wasn’t going to be ready for Ramadan, and they need a facility, so they rented that place. They have a lease. They have all their paperwork. They’re only there for one month,” said Kenan Tashkent, the 61st Precinct’s liaison to the Muslim community. Tashkent met with the mosque’s congregants and leadership yesterday, and noted that the Voorhies Avenue location remains a few months away from completion.

Paper signs have been taped up in English and Arabic at the Knapp Street storefront. The interior has been carpeted, with a curtain separating prayer spaces for men and women, as is tradition.

“They were very nice, very cooperative. They told me everything. They’ve got all of their paperwork and they don’t need to disturb  the neighborhood or anything. It’s their holiday,” he added.

Ramadan began this past Saturday, June 28, and ends on July 27. It’s the most sacred month for Muslims, marking Muhammed’s first revelations. It is observed by fasting, donating to charity, prayer and recitation of the Quran.

Local Muslims, of which there is a large community in the Kings Bay and Plumb Beach areas, as well as around Voorhies Avenue, have long sought to establish a local mosque. After raising funds, they submitted plans to construct an Islamic community center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue in 2009 – a proposal that saw vehement, and sometimes racially motivated, opposition from neighbors. After court battles, they won permission from the city to move forward and it has been under construction ever since.

Prior to establishing a local site, area Muslims had to travel to Brighton Beach, Bath Beach or head further north in Brooklyn to attend a mosque. More than just miles away, many of the institutions are far over capacity, causing overflows onto sidewalks and streets during high holidays like Ramadan – which the mosque organizers hope to reduce by establishing a local site.

Organizers from the mosque could not be reached for this article.

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Sheepshead Bay Road-staple Anatolian Gyro has moved off the main thoroughfare to a brand new storefront around the corner, and is now serving its yummy Turkish treats at the new location.

We announced the move was forthcoming back in October, with a planned opening date in January. As usual, permit holdups and inspector delays pushed that date back. But the new location opened its doors in the last weekend of April.

Now at 2623 East 16th Street, the new storefront is slightly larger. A peek inside revealed an industrial looking design with a Mediterranean touch. It looks comfortable and modern, and a definite upgrade from their old digs.

As we reported in October, the move comes as the landlord, Waldorf Realty, prepares to renovate the strip of storefronts that included Enterprize Gifts, Zeetron and Eye Appeal. Enterprize moved across the street in March, while Eye Appeal moved near the subway station in August 2013. Zeetron never reopened after Superstorm Sandy.

Waldorf recently started prepping another Sheepshead Bay Road property at Voorhies Avenue, containing six ground-floor businesses, for a face-lift. They’re also nearing completion on a renovation of another batch of storefronts on the corner of Avenue Z and East 16th Street.

Three bedroom condo on East 18th Street (Source: Wilk Real Estate)

Three bedroom condo on East 18th Street (Source: Wilk Real Estate)

Looking for a new place to call home? Sheepshead Bites has got you covered. Our rental roundup is a new feature showcasing some of the deals on the market now. If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com. And if you live in or near one the places below, let neighbors know what you think in the comments.

Renovated Pet-Friendly Studio
Price: $1,150
Location: Avenue X and Ocean Avenue
Description: This looks like a good deal if you’re searching for a studio. The apartment has been fully renovated and it’s on the second floor. Since this apartment is probably too small for cohabitation purposes, feel free to fill that empty void of loneliness with a few cats and dogs, which are allowed in the building. It’s technically a sponsored condo, meaning the owners of the condo are leasing it out, and the lease is one year with a renewal option. The deal is sweetened by the fact that there’s no broker’s fee, only a $1,200 deposit.
Contact: Alice Shevchuck of Awaye Realty, (646)-206-4568

One Bedroom Under A Grand? (UPDATE: It appears this listing is most likely a scam.)
Price: $900
Location: 2231 East 24th Street
Description: So for such a cheap price, there has to be something wrong with this place. But a not-so-thorough investigation by our crack team can’t find anything wrong. The neighborhood is residential and the apartment is on the second floor in a house. Maybe there is, like, a Native American burial ground in the basement. Barring the supernatural, this might be a good place for you.
Contact: Nathan (928) 238-8828

Three Bedrooms Near Train
Price: $2,800
Location: East 18th Street and Voorhies Avenue
Description: This three bedroom boasts a large living room, separate kitchen, a dishwasher, parking, a laundry room and a realtor that texts. The realtor requires that proof of income is provided and a run through a credit check. There is also a high upfront charge of first month rent, a security deposit and one month broker fee, which would cost $5,600.
Contact: Ekaterina Ermikova of Wilk Real Estate, (347) 652-7778

- Eric Jankiewicz

If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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Anatolian Gyro will move off of Sheepshead Bay Road, around the corner to 2623 East 16th Street, as their landlord ramps up for their third major storefront renovation project in the Sheepshead Bay Road area.

The restaurant has occupied 1605 Sheepshead Bay Road since 1994, becoming one of the earliest restaurants serving Turkish cuisine in Sheepshead Bay. It underwent an expansion at least 10 years ago, taking over a neighboring storefront.

Now the restaurant is moving around the corner, to make way for another renovation project by the landlord, Waldorf Realty.

Metin Turan, Anatolian’s owner, said that his lease is nearly up on the property, and that Waldorf did not offer a long-term lease renewal.

“[Waldorf] would only give me two more years on the lease. I didn’t want to take a two-year lease. It’s nothing. So I decided to move around the corner,” he said.

The new location will open in December or January.

The other stores in the building owned by Waldorf include Eye Appeal, which already moved to 1508 Sheepshead Bay Road, and Zeetron, an electronics repair shop that never reopened after Superstorm Sandy. The only remaining tenant is The Enterprise Gifts & Jewelry.

As we reported last week, Waldorf recently started prepping another Sheepshead Bay Road property at Voorhies Avenue, containing six ground-floor businesses, for a face-lift. They’re also nearing completion on a renovation of another batch of storefronts on the corner of Avenue Z and East 16th Street.

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