Archive for the tag ‘ned berke’


Founder Ned Berke

It is with great excitement that I announce Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean have been acquired by Corner Media, a fellow independent publisher of community news.

This is terrific news for our readers and business partners, as it gives us access to a greater network of resources. This deal enables us to provide deeper and broader coverage of our communities, experiment more with our reporting and technology, and offer our business partners greater reach. As associate publisher and senior editor, I will be working with Corner Media Publisher Liena Zagare and Managing Editor Mary Bakija to increase coverage of civic importance throughout the network and to develop new ways to pay for that coverage.

Corner Media’s team has been in this game just a tad longer than I have. With roots dating back to 2007, Liena & Co. operate the highly engaging Ditmas Park Corner, Park Slope Stoop, Fort Greene Focus, KensingtonBK and South Slope News.

Liena and I have been friends for years, and after putting our heads together over the past few months we came to believe it was a natural, necessary and exciting evolution of both of our networks. Having launched community news sites at similar times, and with like-minded focuses on our neighbors and businesses, we’ve long been an influence on one another. Liena and I share deep commitments to our communities and a passion for nurturing and supporting our mom-and-pop establishments, and it simply made sense to pursue these goals together.

I began this journey into community news publishing more than six years ago. It has, without a doubt, been the most rewarding experience of my life, in which I’ve been able to give back to the community where I was born and raised. I’ve made many friends from our ever-growing pool of readers, sources and business partners, and have been humbled to hear from so many of you about how our stories have helped you, sometimes in the most trying hours. I thank you for that. Many of you have made Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean a part of your daily lives, and I am eternally grateful for your support thus far.

It is with that in mind that I embark on this new leg of that journey. There have been other potential suitors over the years that I have turned down, and I did so because I felt they may not have the same sensitivity for our readers, our vision and our community. But I know that with Liena, Mary and the rest of the Corner Media team, I could not have found better partners with which to share the reins.

You will likely see a number of changes over the coming months. A long overdue (and mobile-friendly) design is in the works. We’re already kicking around ideas for new regular features. We’ll be introducing a number of new local writers on these pages. For our business partners, a host of innovative marketing opportunities across Brooklyn will become available. It’s going to be a great and exciting time in the history of Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean, and we’re energized over all the possibilities on the horizon.

I look forward to your continued support, and, as always, welcome hearing from you as we move forward.

Kind regards,

Ned Berke

Founder, Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean

P.S. – For those interested in keeping tabs on me personally, or about how the sausage is made, follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In the near future I’ll be posting there about the transition, my personal reflections/rants, and my thoughts on the online news publishing industry.


New Starbucks coming to 1417 Kings Highway. (Photo by Ned Berke)

All the jokes made about a new Starbucks opening have probably been told time and time again, but the best one belongs to The Simpsons (as a Simpson, I admit full Simpson bias in this regard). In my short quest to find the clip I was thinking of, I discovered that the only version of it on YouTube is one with poorly dubbed Russian plastered on top of it, which is, of course, perfect for Sheepshead Bites.

Anyway, we came across this new Starbucks being built at 1417 Kings Highway in the place of a GNC. Great, I guess.

I haven’t been to Starbucks in years. Do they still have those ice-blended green tea lattes? Mmm… ice-blended green tea lattes…


Sea lions and tigers and walruses, oh my! Castles, and ladies and coasters, and even the Predator, too!

The sands of Coney Island had it all – nay, became it all – this weekend at the 23rd annual Coney Island Sand Sculpting Competition on Saturday.

Over the weekend, Sheepshead Bites editor Ned Berke and I took a trip to Coney Island to check it out and found that the beauty of the weather was matched by the talents of the sand carvers.

The sculptures were so good that it drew a crowd of thousands, causing us to fight our way through for a view of all the magnificent designs. The first sculpture that struck me was a large brain sprouting from the sand, reminding me of the 60s pop art featured in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine movie. I was then wowed by a sculpture of the New York Aquarium which featured an incredibly realistic looking walrus and sea lion.

Continuing the Coney Island theme were two sculptures that both captured the Cyclone roller coaster, both rendered in glorious detail. And, yes, there was a man patiently smoothing a nude woman laying on her stomach with her perfectly rounded derriere on full display. Less attention was paid to her cartoonish face.

On the kid friendly side, we saw Sponge Bob Square Pants roasting in the sun, a dinosaur, some beautifully crafted lions and a Hershey’s Kiss tribute. You could tell the kids were loving the contest as many were running to patches of unused sand to create their own impromptu castles, and some proved very talented. I’m sure we’ll see them in a few years as the future contest winners.

All in all, it was a beautiful day with the contest inspiring tremendous happiness on part of the massive crowd.

Check out an awesome video of the day and our photo gallery after the jump.

Real Estate transactions are increasing in Sheepshead Bay although values are still slightly depressed nine months after Superstorm Sandy wrecked the neighborhood, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal report details the destruction visited upon Sheepshead Bay after Sandy and highlights the glimmers of hope finally emerging in the aftermath:

The area was walloped by Superstorm Sandy, with many businesses—particularly those along Emmons—badly flooded. Small, low-lying former bungalows close to the water were especially vulnerable to flooding.

“Those blocks were swamped, the smaller houses were up to the roofs,” says Howard Witz of Fillmore Real Estate. “It was horrible.”

Nine months later, some standby restaurants have reopened and the party and fishing boats are sailing again. But although many residents and business owners are optimistic about the hurricane recovery, hardships remain.

“People need hope, but for a lot of people that light at the end of the tunnel is still quite far off,” says Laura McKenna, acting executive director of the Bay Improvement Group, a neighborhood advocacy organization. “Behind the doors of homes, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the businesses, while they may be rebuilt, you may walk in and say it looks fine, in fact economically they’re still struggling and suffering.”

As the recovery continues, real-estate transactions have begun to pick up, Mr. Witz says, with 38 one- and two-family houses currently in contract, compared with the 37 houses that sold in the entire previous 12 months. “Buyers are very cautiously returning,” he says.

… Prices in Sheepshead Bay range from the $100,000s for one- or two-bedroom co-ops far from the subway to around $1 million for large detached two-family houses. The median listing price in the neighborhood in June was $459,000, says, a 6% drop from the same month in 2012.

Sheepshead Bites editor Ned Berke was featured in the piece and now you can read what he says about our neighborhood when he thinks we aren’t paying attention:

“You have the quiet of a suburban area, but it’s still got life, it’s still bustling, there’s a lot of mass transit here that connects people to the city,” says Ned Berke, a native of the area and editor and publisher of the local news site, “It’s as alive as the rest of the city and at the same time, very quiet and a good place to get a reprieve from the madness and the rat race.”

As a newly minted resident of the area, I would add that nothing beats strolling to the shores of Manhattan Beach or Coney Island on warm summer nights after work and on weekend mornings. That is a luxury that not many city residents, who often desperately cluster as close to Manhattan as possible, get to appreciate. What do you like best about living in Sheepshead Bay?

Source: City & State

Well, well, well… look who will be feted with an elegant dinner and accolades during City & State’s coveted elite exclusive Rising Stars “Forty Under Forty” award ceremony next week. The vehicle, showcasing New York State’s “most promising young talent,” has selected Sheepshead Bites’ very own venerable editor and publisher, Ned Berke, who is sitting mere feet from me at I write this, threatening to fire me if I don’t meet today’s deadline in — surprise! — “under 40” minutes from now.

Sponsored by the online government and politics website City & State, best known for “First Read,” the addictive early morning roundup of government news, gossip and goings on throughout New York’s political world, “Forty Under Forty” honorees are comprised of politicians, staffers, as well as “muckraking bloggers and intrepid reporters [Ed. – that’s where our guy comes in], and well-connected lobbyists and union reps.”

Ned, a lifelong Sheepshead Bay resident (he frequently loves to remind us of the time he has spent in Peru), had always dreamed of pursuing a career in journalism. The young journalist turned enterprising businessman revealed to City & State’s Aaron Short that he was finally inspired to dip his toe into the choppy waters of hyper-local blogging after being given a nudge by the late “Gowanus Lounge” blogger, Robert Guskind during 2008’s Brooklyn Blogfest.

With mostly Downtown Brooklyncentric blogs, such as “Gowanus Lounge,” “New York Shitty” and “Pardon Me For Asking,” dominating the Brooklyn blogging landscape during the mid-aughts, Ned felt it was high time Southern Brooklyn — particularly his home ’hood of Sheepshead Bay— got some respect.

Since that time, his massive undertaking and hyper-local news coverage has gotten him profiled, interviewed or otherwise recognized by such media giants as The New York Times, The Daily News, Washington Post and Boing-Boing, among others.

After three years of developing a steady following throughout the shorefront area, the 28-year-old entrepreneur’s empire branched out to other parts of Southern Brooklyn with the successful June 2011 launch of Bensonhurst Bean.

But blah, blah, blah… we know all of this, right? What we really want to know is, what makes Ned Berke tick? I mean, do any of us really care that, if he could have dinner with anyone, it would be Mark Twain or Ralph Waldo Emerson?

No, of course not.

So fess up, Ned, and tell us what we really want to know: boxers or briefs?

Usually, when a 1-year-old celebrates his or her first birthday, the parents mark the occasion by a big party with loved ones and a bunch of other kids running around. Everyone gathers around the cake and unfurls the noisemakers by blowing into the birthday kid’s face as she smiles at the burning candles, not knowing what it means to make a wish. There’s usually music, food, pin-the-tail-on-donkey, and tons of fun.

But, alas, this is is my birthday, and it’s not the first ever in my life. This birthday is to mark my first full year as a blogger. My parent, Ned (hey, I’m only one year old. I can barely write much less speak and Ned sounds like Dad), being the harried single father that he is — has forgotten it’s my birthday. Continue Reading »

If you’re reading this, then you can already see that Sheepshead Bites has a new look, and we hope you’re as pumped up about it as we are. Bold, elegant and classy – we call it bolelegassy – our new digs reflect where we plan to go in the coming months. The new site, based on different software, has a slew of new features. Check out that map to the right! And the twitter updates on the top! Oh, and what’s that? E-mail updates? Facebook profile? Less categories and the ability to browse by popular tabs?! Oh, my!

That’s right. This new look is about you. On one level it’s about connecting with you in new ways. Twitter updates will allow you to get fresh information by text message, and Facebook lets us learn more about who you are; daily e-mail updates give you the opportunity to read us in your inbox at your own pace.

On another level, it’s also about new means of navigating the site. Just like the old site, you can still browse our posts in chronological order with the latest news first. But we’ve added the flashy map so you can see where the news is happening, and click the markers to see the stuff we’re reporting on near your house, your workplace – heck, anywhere in the bay. And don’t forget the categories and tags. By reducing the categories we’ve made the sidebar easier to view the news that interests you. Meanwhile, the list of popular tags is automatically generated by the number of posts using those terms and the number of people reading them. So you can see exactly what topics are hot on our site as voted by other readers’ clicks. How cool is that?

Also, don’t miss the new features at the end of every post. Using the “Share This” button you can e-mail articles to friends and family, or post it to your favorite social bookmarking sites like Digg and Technorati. And “Print This” has added a printer-friendly functionality, allowing you to bring our digital bytes into real-world bits for the decidedly analog people you know.

But what about the fish? We know; we miss him, too. Unfortunately our mascot and namesake, the sheepshead fish that always appeared on the top of the site, is on hiatus until we can find the right designer for the job. We wouldn’t want you seeing old Sheepy before he’s ready for his closeup, but we promise we’re working on bringing him back as soon as possible.

He’s not the only thing coming soon. Over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out even more features. We would hate to ruin the surprise, but we’ll just say this – they’ll all serve to help you interact in more meaningful and effective ways with us and each other. Afterall, getting to know our neighbors and cultivating a deeper, real-life community is what this site is all about.

One last word before we sign off: the site may still have a few kinks in it. Because of a sudden technical glitch in our old platform, we were forced to roll out our latest version sooner than intended. Therefore, as we go along we’ll be making little improvements here and there to both the design and functionality. (That includes a speed-boost, so we apologize if things are running a little slower than what you’re used to.) We could really use your help in this effort. If you encounter any problems or notice anything that doesn’t look quite right, be sure to use the contact button on the top – or my e-mail on the right – and let us know. We’ve been looking at this site for months, so your fresh eyes are our best weapon in the fight against boo-boos.

Sheepshead Bites: great new look, same great content!

(Artist: Lori Merhige, mixed media, 2009, Titled: Fall; Display made possible in part by The Wassaic Project)

This picture was snapped at the Brooklyn Blogfest 2009 afterparty held at the Galapagos Art Space. It was a chic, happening spot, but still not as happening as across the street where Blogfest had just wrapped up.

Some may say this sculpture has a sexual connotation, but I say it looks like a woman drowning. It’s art, so we can take it however we want. Still, drowning seems more like it, since the sculpture is placed in a moat of water.

I chose this picture of a drowning woman for my blogfest post, simply because I identify with the concept. Many of you were surprised to learn last night when you met me at the Place Blogs pew upstairs at the powerhouse Arena that — I am a woman. One other thing that didn’t come up in our conversations, is that I can’t swim to save my life.

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(Sheepshead fish photo before changes courtesy of Wade’s Page website and quiz)

You know how the famous riddle goes, don’t you? But, if you still need a little help, like million-dollar-winning contestant Connie McClellan did on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, you can feel free to recruit some knowledgeable press people. (Ahem, you can reach us at the address below.)

The famous riddle seems to come undone when you see it in, um, black and white — but, just go with it.

What’s Black and White and Re(a)d All Over?

A) A newspaper

B) Inauguration Luncheon Menu

C) Sheepshead Bites

D) The past week’s Obama interviews (minus the NY Times)

E) All of the above

While major newspapers are struggling for ways to keep the presses printing, internet news sources are growing in popularity. Sheepshead Bites is glad to be a part of this trend. Our readership has grown significantly from May 2008 to now. In less than a year, we have seen visitors from 98 countries.

But, our main goal is to serve and interact with our Sheepshead Bay neighbors. So, from now until May — when we celebrate our first anniversary — we are setting our goal for super phenomenal growth. You can get involved by telling your friends about our internet presence and sending us your comments.

Thank you for your continued support. Now, let’s get started on that super-phenomenalism.

[By the way, if you said ‘E’, then you’ve just won the virtual million dollar prize.]

I’m not really sure if there is a special reason (other than it was one really great segment), for the Brooklyn Independent Television (BIT) to do an encore presentation of Ned’s Walk Around the Blog one week after they just did.

I’m sure there are many of you who missed it last week and would still like the chance to see it. Here is the information:

Sheepshead Bites: Next on a walk around the blog, we meet the blogger known as Sheepshead Bites as he talks to fisherman in Sheepshead Bay about what they fear is a declining Brooklyn industry.

Monday, January 19 at 1 pm & 9 pm

Thursday, January 22 at 1 pm & 9 pm

Friday, January 23 at 3 pm & 11 pm

Brooklyn’s Time Warner Cable channel 56

Cablevision channel 69

RCN 84

Streaming live online at (channel 3)

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