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Archive for January, 2014

January 31, 2014, marks the first day of the 15-day-long Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, and we would like to wish our Asian neighbors a hearty gung hay fat choy!

It’s the year of the horse, a symbol of energy, warmth, intelligence and ability. People born during the year of the horse are believed to be born communicators; clever and talkative. They can also be superficial and hot-blooded. But we like them anyway.

Some celebrities born the year of the horse include Harrison Ford, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Kobe Bryant, and Emperors Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty. Duh.

A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you all!

I owe half of what I am today to print products. The other half, I owe to their demise. Mwahahah. (Source: Wikimedia)

Libraries across the United States and the United States’ hat (a.k.a. Canada) will celebrate “Take Your Child to the Library Day” on Saturday, February 1, with family-friendly events that encourage reading and education.

The Brooklyn Public Library actually upped the ante on the national initiative and declared it “Take Your Child to the Library Week,” with events throughout the system from this past Monday until tomorrow (most of the events were at branches outside of our coverage area, which is why we didn’t write about it until now).

If you for some reason have not introduced your kid to the library (and, if that’s the case, wtf?), the event is meant to be an introduction to the wild, wondrous world of knowledge.

“Now is the perfect time to introduce your child to the incredible range of programs, materials and services available—all for free—at the library,” said Linda Johnson, BPL’s president and CEO, in a press release. “From afterschool homework help and computer access, to crafts, storytimes and concerts, our branches have everything children need to succeed in school, have fun and explore their interests. And with 60 locations throughout the borough, no matter where you and your family live, there is a library close by.”

To celebrate the culmination of the event, the following Southern Brooklyn libraries will hold family “storytimes” and other events at the time indicated:

  • Bay Ridge (7223 Ridge Boulevard) – 11:00 a.m.
  • Highlawn (1664 West 13th Street)  - 1:00 p.m.
  • Kings Bay (3650 Nostrand Avenue) – 1:00 p.m.
  • Kings Highway (2115 Ocean Avenue) – 11:00 a.m.
  • Mill Basin (2385 Ralph Avenue) – 11:00 a.m.
  • Ulmer Park (2602 Bath Avenue) – 11:00 a.m.

Source: lornagrl/Flickr

D LINE

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday, there no downtown trains at 7 Av, 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, and 34 St-Herald Sq. Downtown trains are rerouted via the C from 59 St to W 4 St. D service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 205 St and the 2 Av F station.
  2. Between W 4 St and Stillwell Av.
    • To continue your trip, transfer at W 4 St or B’way-Lafayette St.
    • To 7 Av, take the downtown D to 42 St-Port Authority and transfer to an uptown E.
    • From 7 Av, take the downtown E to W 4 St and transfer to a Brooklyn-bound D.
    • To 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, and 34 St-Herald Sq, take the downtown D to W 4 St and transfer to an uptown D or F.
    • From these stations, take a downtown F to W 4 St and transfer to a Brooklyn-bound D.

N LINE

All times until October 2014: No N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late night N and weekend R trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

From 6:45 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Ditmars Blvd-bound N trains are rerouted via the D (express) from Stillwell Av to 36 St. Trains stop at Bay 50 St, Bay Pkwy, 62 St-New Utrecht Av, and 9 Av. To 86 St, Avenue U, Kings Hwy, Bay Pkwy, 20 Av, and 18 Av, take the Ditmars Blvd-bound N to 62 St-New Utrecht Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound N. To Fort Hamilton Pkwy and 8 Av, take the Ditmars Blvd-bound N to 36 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound N. From these stations, take a Coney Island-bound N to 62 St-New Utrecht Av or Coney Island and  transfer to a Ditmars Blvd-bound N. To/from 59 St, take the R instead. Transfer between N and R trains at 36 St.

R LINE

All times until October 2014: No N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late night N and weekend R trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

F LINE

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip 4 Av-9 St, 15 St-Prospect Park, and Fort Hamilton Pkwy.

grimm

More evidence that Congressman Michael Grimm’s thuggish behavior towards a NY1 reporter was no isolated incident continues to emerge, as another reporter has come forward to say that she has been a victim of his anger.

For those who’ve been living under a rock, Congressman Grimm was giving an interview to NY1 reporter Michael Scotto from a balcony of the Capitol building in response to Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Scotto wrapped up the interview, then sought to get a comment from Grimm about the federal probe into his campaign fundraising, a question the congressman has been dodging for months. Grimm walked off camera, then returned when he thought the cameras were off and, with profanity-laced language, threatened to throw Scotto off the balcony. The congressman, a former marine and FBI agent, then told Scotto he’d break him in half… “like a boy.”

The next morning, in a statement by NY1 News Director Bob Hardt, it was revealed that veteran political reporter Errol Louis had a similar confrontation with the congressman in December 2012.

And later that day, I shared my experience with the congressman in 2012, in which he and a goon got in my face, shouting, in a clear attempt to intimidate.

The common thread in all of those accounts is that we were all asking about the allegations of misconduct into his campaign’s fundraising.

Now Marin Cogin, a National Journal reporter, has come forward with a similar story from the congressman’s earliest days in office. It appears the congressman did not want to take responsibility for his own words, and, after getting in trouble with his colleagues, furiously demanded the reporter alter his quote.

Here’s the relevant section:

Even before that New Yorker story came out, I had a good sense of Grimm’s temper. In March 2011, he was part of the freshman class I covered as a reporter for Politico, and I wrote a story about him criticizing fellow conservatives for risking a government shutdown. “I don’t represent the tea party or anybody like that, I represent Staten Island and Brooklyn. If we’re going to make those cuts they’re going to be smart,” he told me at the time. The tea party did not appreciate that statement. So Grimm’s press secretary called me back to insist he’d said “I don’t represent only the tea party” and that I needed to issue a correction. I checked my notes, confirmed my quote, and told them I was sorry but I couldn’t issue a correction. At the time it seemed like a matter of principle: I wasn’t going to issue a correction just because someone was experiencing a bit of controversy over his words. And that’s when Grimm got on the phone and started shouting at me.

It’s been a few years since this happened, and I don’t remember all of the details. I do remember him repeatedly yelling that he “did not serve 10 years in the FBI!” to have to put up with something like this. To be clear, at no time did I feel threatened, nor did I feel particularly scared or upset–although that seemed pretty clearly to me to be what he was trying to accomplish. I was a little shocked, but I gave as good as I got, and he took it to my editor, and we eventually settled on this blog post where he got to clarify his claims. Compared to last night’s outburst, it was pretty tame. Still, I’ve never dealt with anyone so angry before, or since.

I recommend you read Cogin’s entire post. But for those who are still wondering what the big deal is over Grimm’s temper, she wraps it all up rather succinctly with her final sentence.

“Do we really want a political culture in which journalists can’t ask public officials legitimate questions without getting browbeaten?” she asks.

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Click to enlarge

CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We publish the week’s statistics for the 62nd Precinct reports every Friday. The 62nd Precinct is the police command responsible for Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.

missingsenior

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The New York Police Department has issued a Missing Senior Notification for the disappearance of Emma Grayzel, an 81-year-old woman.

Grayzel was last seen near 78th Street and Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at approximately 4:55 p.m.

She is approximately 5-foot-6-inches tall, 155 pounds, with green eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a black hat with fur trim, a black waist-length jacket, and black slacks.

Anyone with information in regards to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Michael Grillo (center) as President George Washington, escorted by two Revolutionary War re-enactors at the New Utrecht Parish House. Courtesy of Friends of Historic New Utrecht

Michael Grillo (center) as President George Washington, escorted by two Revolutionary War re-enactors at the New Utrecht Parish House. Courtesy of Friends of Historic New Utrecht

Our nation’s first Commander-In-Chief will be making a return appearance at the New Utrecht Reformed Church Parish House, Tuesday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m., and the good news is, there won’t be any presidential-related gridlock.

The public is invited to hear President George Washington, portrayed by Michael Grillo, discuss his key role in many of our nation’s pivotal early moments, including the Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776, his victorious return to New York in November 1783, his inauguration in 1789, as well as his visit to New Utrecht in April 1790, whereupon he lunched at Barre’s tavern on 84th Street and 16th Avenue, and greeted students from the village school nearby.

The father of our country will be accompanied by two Revolutionary War re-enactors, donning the traditional garb of a New York State militia unit, one of whom will deliver a talk on the life and equipment of a Revolutionary War soldier.

There will be a question and answer session with the audience as well as a reception with light refreshments to follow. Parking is available in the church lot.

Earlier in the day, Grillo — the education director at the Van Cortlandt House Museum in the Bronx, who has been appearing as Washington at various historic sites and events for more than 14 years — will portray the former General of the Armies before an audience of more than 700 students in an appearance also sponsored by the Friends of Historic New Utrecht.

The New Utrecht Reformed Church Parish House is located at 18th Avenue and 84th Street. Admission is free.

For more information about the free Washington program, contact the Friends of Historic New Utrecht at (718) 256-7173 or email mail@historicnewutrecht.org.

When a congressman acts like a loon – whether it’s threatening to throw a reporter off the balcony of the Capitol building, or a tweeting out wang photos – it’s nice to be able to numb the shame of having that person represent you with a little laugh or two.

Thanks to Daily Show host Jon Stewart, we can. According to the comedian, Congressman Michael Grimm’s outburst was no outburst at all – just a typical Staten Islanders greeting.

“To be fair, ‘I will throw you off this fucking balcony’ is a relatively standard and traditional Staten Island goodbye,’” Stewart said. “Hey, how are your parents doin’? I can’t wait to throw them off a fucking balcony!”

Watch the entire segment above. The commentary on Grimm begins just after the 5:00 mark. (via Politicker)

In related news, the Staten Island Advance has penned an editorial suggesting Grimm is in violation of the House of Representatives Code of Conduct, and says it raises questions about his judgement.

Source: Thomas Good via Wikimedia Commons

State Senator Diane Savino (Source: Thomas Good via Wikimedia Commons)

Senator Diane Savino supports more than just looser marijuana laws. She has also come out in support of free tuition of undergraduates in CUNY and SUNY schools.

The idea was first proposed by Assemblyman James Skoufis, and Savino said that if it reached the Senate floor she would sponsor it. Free tuition for CUNY and SUNY students has always been a politically controversial topic, ranging from CUNY students protesting tuition hikes to demanding free education. At one point in the city’s history, CUNY was actually free for a brief period in the 70s and since then there have been frequent calls for a return to free tuition.

If Savino and Skoufis are successful, the free tuition will come with some strings attached, according to a Hudson Valley article:

Under Tuition-Free NY (A8585), students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math programs would have to perform 125 hours of community service for each year they receive free tuition. All other students benefiting from the program would have to perform 250 hours of community service per year.

In the 70s, free tuition only lasted for six years due to a financial crisis and the threat of the city going into bankruptcy, according to CUNY’s news wire.

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A screenshot of the google maps view for Harway Terrace in Bath Beach.

Alan Gorelick has been charged with stealing $610,914.94 from the Harway Terrace apartment complex in Bath Beach on 2475 West 16th Street. Authorities say that he was able to do this by using his position as manager of the complex to divert money from tenants into a business account.

Gorelick is the vice president of the real estate company, Saparn Realty and his wife, Anita, is the founder and president. On January 16, Gorelick was arrested and charged; he is awaiting his trial behind bars since he did not make the $750,000 bail. The police charged him with one count of grand larceny and nine counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.

According to a Commercial Observer article:

Mr. Gorelick diverted $610,914.94 from Harway Terrace and deposited it into Saparn’s business account, “either by depositing checks from third parties written to the order of Harway Terrace or by depositing checks written against two of Harway Terrace’s accounts into Saparn’s business accounts,” the complaint indicates.

As executive vice president of Saparn, located at 505 Eighth Avenue, between 35th and 36th Streets in the Garment District, Mr. Gorelick is the liaison with the banking community and he heads up the firm’s sales and mortgage brokerage departments. He runs the firm with his wife Anita Sapirman, the complaint indicates. She is the founder and president of Saparn. A message left for Ms. Sapirman at her office was not returned.

Gorelick is also a member of the Real Estate Board of New York. If convicted of grand larceny, Gorelick could serve up to 15 years in prison.

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