Archive for the tag ‘Site News’


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.

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?

Approximately 200 people braved the hot, humid weather on Friday, June 29, to party down on the pier for Sheepshead Bites fourth birthday party, proving yet again what an awesome, vibrant and supportive community the Sheepshead Bites readership is.

Those that came got to enjoy some awesome live music, free food and party favors, and cheap, cold beverages to fend off the summer heat.

My favorite part, easily, was getting the chance to gab with Sheepshead Bites commenters like LostInService, Andrew Kent, BayResident, Allen Shweky and more – many of whom I met for the first time.

Keep reading and view the photos.

A band performs at last year's Sheepshead Bites birthday party.

We’ve told you before about our event coming up next Friday, June 29, celebrating Sheepshead Bites’ fourth birthday, and, of course, we’ve got that pretty little banner at the top of the page.

But, here we are, reminding you again because we want to make sure you join us. It’s one of our greatest pleasures and privileges to meet our readers, so come on out for the fourth birthday party, have a bite on us and a discounted beer from our friends at the Knights of Columbus.

We’re still hammering out last minute details, but we’ll be announcing the live bands any day now, and, if all goes well, some additional entertainment, too.

Here are the event details:

When: Friday, June 29, at 8:00 p.m. (rain or shine!)
Where: Pier behind the Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus, 3000 Emmons Avenue (at Nostrand Avenue)
Price: Free! Though we’re asking for a suggested donation of $10 to help cover costs and replenish our freelancer’s fund, ensuring more great original reporting about the neighborhoods we cover!

We’re also proud to announce Big Apple Sewer & Drain as one of the event’s sponsors. Big Apple is a business born and bred in Sheepshead Bay, whose owners are born and bred in Sheepshead Bay, and which is constantly giving back to Sheepshead Bay through fundraisers and event sponsorships. And to show you I put my money where my mouth is, I’ve used Big Apple’s services in my own home. If you’ve got a plumbing issue, give them a call at (855) CLOG-911 or check out their website.

Photo by Erica Sherman.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Sheepshead Bites is taking the day off in honor of those brave men and women who have answered the call, the many over the years who’ve given their lives, and the tens of thousands that remain in harm’s way today.

The entire team of Sheepshead Bites expresses its deepest gratitude for their service.

See you tomorrow, folks.

First of all, for all those mommies out there who didn’t catch our Facebook post yesterday: Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you had a terrific one.

Mother’s Day, of course, was not the only event worth celebrating this weekend. On Saturday, May 12, Sheepshead Bites officially turned 4-years-old! Happy birthday to us!

To celebrate, we’re once again throwing ourselves a laid-back, dressed-down birthday party. Oh, and for those Facebook fans, this is the Mystery Event we created.

So what’s the deal? Well, our gracious hosts at the Knights of Columbus – Baron De Kalb have again agreed to let us use their scenic pier and waterfront tap room to have a grand ol’ get-together. And, yes, they’ve also agreed to serve up some brewskis at rock-bottom prices. And, yes, we’ll also serving up some free food (and distributing it much more wisely than last year!).

As for the rest of the details, we’ll be teasing you with bits of info as we get closer to that date.

Oh, the date! I didn’t even mention it, did I?

June 29 at 8:00 p.m., 3000 Emmons Avenue. Suggested donation only $10.

See you there.

It’s not all that often we at Sheepshead Bites stop our daily grind to toot our own horns. But sometimes the failings of other so-called “local” news outlets are so great, that we have to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Last week’s coverage of the Gravesend natural gas crisis, in which service was cut along Ocean Parkway leaving thousands of residents without hot water and other amenities, was one example of the service we at Sheepshead Bites provide that no other outlet does.

Let’s back up a second. Local news is currently all the rage in the journalism and advertising industries. With 72 percent of American adults professing to be “local news enthusiasts,” and the local advertising spending to exceed $136 billion this year, every player in town is hopping on the bandwagon. You hear it all the time; slogans like “As local as local gets” and “Your source for local news,” and hyperlocal this and geo-target that.

But what’s it all really mean? What is local?

Continue Reading »

Our planned site maintenance appears to have gone well. We’ve still got a lot of back-end tweaking to do today to ensure the best experience possible for you readers, so we’re going to focus on that.

If you see anything acting strangely – broken links, missing images or gremlins crawling out of your computer screen – please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com and let me know.

While I’m taking the time to make this post, I’d also like to give an ENORMOUS thank you to Ilan Patao of Ilan, a longtime reader of Sheepshead Bites, offered to help us out with the switch. He came into the office and guided us through the entire process. Without his help, I’d probably be curled up in a dark corner, crying and sucking my thumb while my server burst into flames.

Thanks again for your patience as we make this transition. Here’s your Monday heap o’ open thread.

UPDATE: Speaking of back-end tweaking, it looks like Disqus isn’t a fan of our new configuration. It appears I may not be able to get this resolved so quickly, and new posts may not immediately allow commenting. We’re working hard to figure it out.  Fixed!!

Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean will be undergoing technical upgrades over the holiday weekend. Most readers should not see any change in their browser, but in some cases, or in the occasion that we hit an unexpected bump, the site may go down at intervals throughout the holiday weekend.

The updates involve moving our files and databases to faster systers with upgraded technology and higher capacity. For readers this should mean a faster browsing experience and swifter navigation of the site’s pages, delivering a better user experience overall. However, we will not be updating over the three-day holiday weekend. In the event that we need to report breaking news, we will do so using the various other platforms that carry our content. Please be sure to subscribe to one or all of the following to keep informed as we make our transition:

Sheepshead Bites:

Bensonhurst Bean:

We appreciate your patience during this downtime. Thanks for reading, and supporting local independent online news. We’ll see you Tuesday!


Sometimes in news reporting you get some bad information, and despite your best efforts, it never becomes clear that it’s bad until it has been published.

Turns out that was the case with the 18th Avenue Feast in Bensonhurst – and I suppose we should’ve known better than to trust a city website for accurate information.

Our sister site, Bensonhurst Bean, noted that the city’s event calendar listed the event as a one day affair – a story Sheepshead Bites picked up on. Turns out, it was all a big typo.

Bensonhurst Bean reports:

Due to a typo on the city’s (still uncorrected) official event calender, we – and some city officials – were led to believe that the feast would be cancelled.

It looks like the 18th Avenue Feast will be held, as usual, for 10 days.

According to the mayor’s office, the 2011 Festa di Santa Rosalia  will take place from August 25 to September 4.

We’re glad to hear this great neighborhood tradition is sticking around, and we do regret any confusion or inconvenience the original posts may have caused.

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