Archive for the tag ‘contests’

This is one of the entries that will be on display on Thursday.

Just over 30 submissions have been chosen as finalists for the “Brighton Beach Pictured” photo contest organized by the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, and all will be on exhibit when the winners are announced this Thursday, January 30.

The exhibit is designed to highlight the people, places and spirit of the area, and is being judged by a combination of locals and photography experts. It kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and lasts until 9:00 p.m. at The National restaurant, 273 Brighton Beach Avenue. It’s free and open to the public.

“Brighton is unique and we wanted to challenge photographers to describe that uniqueness,” said Yelena Makhnin, the executive director of the BID, in a press release. “The photos we received are amazing. The talented photographers that responded were up to the challenge and the result is stunning exhibition that provides a multidimensional portrait of a great New York neighborhood.”

The BID posted the best submissions to their website, and it’s being whittled down a little further for the Thursday exhibit by a panel of judges that included photographers Robert Lobe, and Gregory Leshé and Brooklyn Community Board 13 District Manager Charles Reichenthal. Pratt Institute Photography Professor Ellen Wallenstein will select the winning photographs from those on display.

Cash awards of $500, $300 and $150 will be given to the top three photographs, and we’re told there might be some smaller prizes in the works for honorable mentions.

A Sheepshead Bay resident is one of five finalists competing for a chance to join the cast of Broadway’s Rock of Ages and sing during the Super Bowl broadcast on February 2.

The cast of Rock of Ages will perform as part of Super Bowl XLVIII’s NFL Tailgate Party, part of which will be televised live on FOX Super Bowl Sunday.

To drum up excitement for the show, Rock of Ages put together an online contest, welcoming would-be musical stars to perform a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive.”

Arnel Arcedo, a Filipino immigrant who lives in Sheepshead Bay, is currently in the lead with 871 votes as of this writing, just a smidge over the the second place contestant, who shamelessly employed her baby to get votes. The contest goes on until 4 p.m. today, welcoming the public to vote. You can vote here.

It would be the second dream come true for Arcedo in the past few months. After relentlessly pursuing a career in illustration, he released a graphic novel late last year that he worked on for seven years while riding the subway system. He debuted the work at New York Comic Con in October, becoming the first Filipino author and illustrator to present at the event.

Give a neighbor a boost, and go vote now!

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

The Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) invites all area shutterbugs to participate in “Brighton Beach Pictured,” a photography competition and exhibition focused on Brighton Beach.

According to the Brighton Beach BID, photographers entering the competition should aim to submit photos that capture the people, spirit, culture, ambiance, excitement and uniqueness of the Brighton Beach area and community.

Photographers may submit up to five images. There is no entry fee.

To enter, go to the contest site, Brighton Beach Pictured, and follow the instructions for registering and uploading images. Images should be jpegs, 72 dpi no larger than 1000 pixels on the largest side.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2013.

The project will culminate in an exhibition in January 2014 that will be held at a venue in the community.

Judging will be in two stages.  The panel, made up of photographers Robert Lobe, and Gregory LeShay and Brooklyn Community Board 13 District Manager Charles Reichenthal, will choose the photographs for the exhibition. Pratt Institute Photography Professor Ellen Wallenstein will select the winning photographs that are exhibited.

Cash awards of $500, $300 and $150 will be given to the top three photographs.

There are no restrictions on subject matter, but since the exhibition will be held in a community venue, overtly sexual images cannot be accepted.

Sierp’s surf and turf dish. (Source:

Oh, man, look at that food. Surf, meet turf, with a glob of cauliflower heaven to boot.

That’s the dish John Sierp, a firefighter from Ladder 169 on the Brighton Beach – Sheepshead Bay border, cooked up to win the top prize in the Brooklyn semifinal of the Daily News’ 5 Alarm Cookoff at William E. Grady High School.

It’s a pepper encrusted beef fillet, paired with king crab leg, king crab salad on prawn crisps, an heirloom cauliflower and parsley root puree, with a decorative hunk of maple-roasted carrots and parsnips.

“I’ve never made it,” Sierp told the Daily News. “It’s just all stuff I like and thought would be good together.”

Sierp’s dish may have been cooked on a lark, but that wasn’t the case for his chief rival, Jing Kong, an EMS responder stationed in Carroll Gardens. Kong had a well planned buttermilk fried chicken cooked in duck fat and served with mini cheddar waffles and jalapeno rosemary honey.

“I love anything with duck, and who doesn’t love fried chicken?” he asked. Good question, sir.

Both Sierp and Kong are previous winners of the event. Kong won the citywide competition once, two years ago. Sierp has emerged as the Brooklyn semifinal winner three times, including last year’s, which we wrote about at the time.

The food fight wasn’t all fun and games, though. The paper reports that the two trash talked from the beginning, kicking off with Kong faking Sierp out, showing that his beef was burning.

A more modest Sierp conceded that Kong was tough competition. “I’m a little concerned,” he told the paper.

But he needn’t be. He eventually won, with the judges giving the highest praise – keeping the plate for licking even as the staff tried to pull them away.

Now Sierp will go on to compete against the winners from each of the other boroughs on an upcoming episode of Rachael Ray. The winner goes home with a $5,000 prize, a makeover for their firehouse’s kitchen and a Key Food gift card worth $2,500.

Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Higgins

Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Higgins

The 23rd annual Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest kicks off this Saturday, pitting amateur artists in a contest to create the most imaginative sculptures possible. The New York Daily News is reporting that the contest is drawing contestants from all over the area, including a team led by Gravesend resident Anthony Avellino.

In late July, we reported on some intricate sand castles constructed on the shores of Kingsborough Community College beach. Reader Kathleen Higgins, who spotted the castles, didn’t know who was responsible for them but perhaps they were competitors practicing before the big event kicks off on this Saturday on the 17th.

The Daily News highlighted a team that will be led by 30-year-old Gravesend resident Anythony Avellino, a three-time medalist:

With just a knife and their hands for tools, Anthony Avellino and his uncle William Petrosino began their sand sculpting days crafting the New York City skyline. Their tool belts have grown since, but the five-time competitors — and three-time medalists — stay grounded.

“It’s cool to win, but I just like competing and having a good time seeing everyone’s work,” says Avellino, who sculpts with clay on the side.

This year, he and Petrosino, a radio personality at WKRB 90.3 FM, may step away from skyscrapers. Avellino says the duo plan to sculpt a half-buried treasure chest.

But Petrosino, 43, has another idea — “the tremendous castle” — which came to him in a vision. “I feel like it’s in me and I have to get it out, and I won’t rest until I do,” he says.

He’s aware that castles are the domain of competitor Frank Russo, w ho Petrosino tries to avoid competing against despite distinct differences in their castle craft.

“My castles come out like a fortress,” says Petrosino. “Russo comes out with this fairyland, ‘Wizard of Oz’-type of thing. I come out with ‘300’-type stuff.”

Sounds really cool. If you would like to take a crack at competing against Avellino and other amateur artists, you can sign up for the contest at by clicking here. The contest starts at noon and runs to 5 p.m. It is being held between West 12th Street and West 8th Street on Coney Island. Best of luck to all contestants!

It’s with a heavy heart and empty stomach that we’re forced to announce that Grillin’ On The Bay and the Brooklyn Chili Smackdown have been canceled for 2013.

The event, New York City’s only sanctioned barbecue contest, is another unfortunate victim of the ravages of Hurricane Sandy. While we worked hard – specifically, event organizer and Sheepshead Bites business manager Robert Fernandez worked hard – to get the event off the ground with a much shorter planning period than usual, a number of last minute challenges could not be overcome.

Initially, we were very optimistic, and Robert even began planning a number of extra features for the public to enjoy at the event. But the core – the grilling competition itself – confronted unexpected hurdles.

Many teams who have participated in the past were badly affected by the storm and unable to compete this year. In previous years we’ve seen approximately 20 teams coming from as far as Maine and Ohio – but many of these teams lived in areas swallowed up by the waters, winds and ferocity of Hurricane Sandy. We were able to secure less than half of the usual suspects – not enough to justify moving forward.

Furthermore, businesses in the area that supported us in past years are financially unable to do so as they struggle to rebuild. My thoughts and prayers are with them, the teams and our neighbors as we all try to get back to the new normal.

Without the teams, the event was a nonstarter, and the problem was compounded when our host informed us earlier this week of a paperwork problem that stood in the way of obtaining a necessary permit.

We do plan on bringing Grillin’ On The Bay and the Brooklyn Chili Smackdown back next year. We also plan on launching some exciting new features to the event that we had hoped to see this year – including a VIP tasting event and bourbon pairing, cooking demonstrations and more.

Our thanks go to all those in the neighborhood who showed support this year and in previous years, those of you who gave us tremendous feedback and spread the word to friends.

Our thanks also go to Bill Fletcher and Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue for offering to sponsor the event, and for going above and beyond to make the contest happen. Fletcher and his head chef Matt Fisher are producing the best barbecue in New York right now. Please be sure to visit the new restaurant at 433 Third Avenue in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. It’s worth a trip from anywhere.

Thanks also to the Brooklyn Brewery for their sponsorship of beer, both for the team and the public; and to Breuckelen Distilling for the sponsorship of whiskeys for the event.

Thanks to Michelle, Sandy, Terry, Andy and all the folks at the New England Barbecue Society for all their work supporting Grillin’ On The Bay.

We’ll see you there in 2014, and if there’s anything you’d like to see happen at next year’s contest, please let us know!

Some romances sprout from tragedy, an enduring ray of hope piercing through a flailing moment of misery. That was the case for Sheepshead Bites Valentine’s Day contest winners Barbara and Jim Pearson.

Barbara, 55, and Jim, 59, have been together since March 1981. They met at the workplace, but didn’t hit it off until the tragic death of John Lennon brought them together.

Here’s Barbara’s winning submission to last week’s contest, which asked readers to submit their stories of how they met their beau:

Like so many people do, my husband and I met through our jobs. I was working in the data processing department of a law firm and he worked for the company that serviced the systems. We were both interested but for one reason or another we just weren’t making it happen.

Then, one of the most tragic events of both our lives at that time happened. John Lennon was shot on December 8, 1980. Most of the people I worked with couldn’t understand why I was so upset the next day at work. To some extent, neither could I – I’m not the groupie type. But Jim could, and he asked me if I’d go to the memorial in Central Park with him.

We spent the whole day together, could barely manage to leave each other to go home. But we did. Three months later, he moved in with me and we’ve been together ever since.

To this day, I can’t hear John Lennon’s “Imagine” without tearing up because I can’t imagine life without Jim or how Yoko Ono bore the pain of losing John, Our first date was bittersweet. Life has had its ups and downs like it necessarily will but since that day it has had none of the bitter and all of the sweet.

Barbara was born in Sheepshead Bay and attended St. Mark Elementary School “back when they still used the apostrophe s”, while Jim was raised “out on the island” – something we shouldn’t hold against him, since, Barbara said, “he’ll be the first to tell you Brooklyn wins hands down,” Barbara told Sheepshead Bites.

Since meeting 33 years ago, they’ve found they have plenty more in common than just their love for The Beatles. Barbara describes herself and her husband as “computer and plant geeks,” spending their time tinkering with tech and in the garden.

Now they’ll get to take a break, and enjoy their contest prize of a $25 gift certificate at Tete-a-Tete Cafe (2601 East 14th Street, at Avenue Z). Congratulations, and Sheepshead Bites wishes you a lifetime of love and happiness together.

Photo by Erica Sherman

I get to meet a lot of great people while running Sheepshead Bites, and I’ve been blessed to hear thousands of stories from residents over the site’s five years. There are the ones about playing stick-ball in the streets, or walking barefoot from Plumb Beach homes down to the water and diving in. There are the ones about school friends who went on to be powerful people and the ones about causing trouble in the weed-filled fields around the neighborhood before the development of Sheepshead Bay’s co-ops. Great restaurants, crazy characters, and on and on.

My favorites, though, are always from the long-married couples I meet at various events, who share with me their stories of meeting, dating, falling in love. Many, I think, are great for posts, but I rarely have the opportunity to get them down on paper and out into the world.

So help us gather the neighborhood’s great love stories, and tell us yours in the comments below. Use a real e-mail address because the best story will win a $20 gift certificate to Tete-a-Tete Cafe (2601 East 14th Street, at Avenue Z).

How will we decide the best? Below every comment there are up and down arrows. The story with the most “up” votes by Monday will win the gift certificate, so make sure to tell your friends to vote for you!

Oh, and let’s keep the stories clean, please!

John Sierp (Source:

There is no doubt that the final for this year’s fourth annual 5 Alarm Cookoff, a firefighter cook contest sponsored by the New York Daily News, will not disappoint foodies, especially if local Sheepshead Bay firefighter and competitor John Sierp has anything to say about it.

Sierp, of our own Ladder 169 (2732 East 11th Street), is one of the finalists in this year’s tournament, where his special Warm Orzo Salad with Greek Lamb Meatballs will square off against last year’s overall winner and Carroll Gardens native Jing Kong of EMS Station 32. Kong’s specialties include his carefully prepared Vietnamese Sugarcane Shrimp.

Sierp and Kong are seasoned veterans of this contest, having both made it to the final rounds in last year’s competition, but they will also have to contend with one newcomer, Brooklyn Headquarters EMT Jeanette Lampoon. She made it to the final round with her Arroz Borracho, or drunken rice, a mix of rice, veggies, meat, and beer.

In making it to the final round, Sierp earned high praise from the judges.

“The meatballs just came together extremely well. Everything he did with the pesto and orzo underneath just worked together and came out really great,” judge Joseph Morrone told the Daily News.

The cookoff itself is being held at William E. Grady High School in Brighton Beach and whoever ends up winning will take home $5,000 cash, new kitchen appliances, and a $2,500 gift card from Key Foods.

Seniors. Idols. Senior idols.

Brooklyn’s 6th Annual Senior Idol, a contest that draws upon the talents of local senior citizens, is in the works. Seniors perform before a crowd and a panel of judges to win the title of “Brooklyn’s Senior Idol” and $500 on October 13.

Senator Martin Golden will host the event with the support of Xaverian High School and Chapter #5055 of the AARP.

Judges will select 10 contestants from those who audition to compete in the show.

In 2010, 56-year-old Nunzio Franzese, a Gravesend resident, stole the show with his rendition of “Mack the Knife.” This year, the competition will be even tougher with more seniors expected to audition.

Brooklyn residents age 50 or older are asked to audition on Saturday, September 8 at 10:00 a.m. at Xaverian High School at 7100 Shore Road. There is handicapped accessibility available at 71st Street entrance.

Those trying out for the competition are encouraged to bring a CD or cassette tape accompaniment. A piano is available and participants are also welcome to bring a guitar.

“Every year, Brooklyn’s Senior Idol attracts great talent from our Borough and more and more fans show up to cheer on our contestants at the show. This year, as we begin to plan the 6th Annual, I look forward to another successful event which has come a very popular tradition. So if you can sing, be sure to try out. And if you want to see a great show, be there on October 13,” said Golden.

Tickets for the event are $10.00 and can only be purchased at the door. Proceeds benefit the Xaverian High School Music Scholarship Fund and the purchase of new instruments to support the Xaverian High School music program.

For more information, contact Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044.

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