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The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton and Councilman Mark Treyger:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member William Colton are pleased to announce that the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) has included a number of local streets in this year’s resurfacing plan at their request on behalf of the community. The DOT currently plans to resurface Bay Parkway from 81st Street to 86th Street and the majority of 86th Street from 14th Avenue to Stillwell Avenue this summer, with nighttime milling work set to begin July 28 and nighttime repaving starting August 11. Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton are still working with the DOT to have Stillwell Avenue from 86th Street to Harway Avenue added to the DOT’s repaving plan.

In addition, the following streets have been included in the DOT’s September repaving schedule: Kings Highway from 78th Street to McDonald Avenue; Bay 29th Street from 86th Street to Cropsey Avenue; 19th Avenue from 61st Street to 86th Street; 80th Street from Bay Parkway to Stillwell Avenue; and Cropsey Avenue from Bay Parkway to 26th Avenue. While this is the current plan for September, the DOT cautions that minor changes could occur at the last minute in terms of exact locations or timing.

“Having smooth, pothole-free streets are a basic but vital part of every neighborhood’s infrastructure, and the incredibly harsh winter has obviously left many local roads in very bad shape. In response, we have worked closely with the DOT over the past few months to identify the worst stretches and make sure that important neighborhood thoroughfares like Bay Parkway, 86th Street, Kings Highway and others were included in this year’s resurfacing schedule. Maintaining and improving the quality of life for residents across Bensonhurst and Gravesend is a top priority for both of our offices, so we will continue to work with city agencies to deliver the services and resources that our community deserves,” said Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton.

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), in partnership with the Southwest Brooklyn Parks Task Force, today has announced the complete lineup of summer concerts set to take stage in our local parks this Summer. The concert series kicks off on Tuesday, July 8th when Head Over Heels and special guests play Shore Road Park at 79th Street.

The series of fourteen concerts will feature an array of musical acts, Alive N Kickin’, Carl Thomas, Frankie Marra and His Band, and a special “Irish Night on Shore Road” featuring the Canny Brothers.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “After a long, cold winter, I am sure the residents of Southwest Brooklyn are anxiously awaiting the start of the 2014 summer concerts which I will again be hosting in our local parks. We have a great lineup of entertainment, so mark your calendar, bring a chair, or a blanket, and make your way to our scheduled fourteen shows in our beautiful parks. I guarantee you will enjoy the entertainment that will feature classic rock, the greatest hits of all time, disco, blues and dance.”

2014 SUMMER CONCERT SCHEDULE

  • July 8 Head Over Heels & Special Guests ……..….…..…………79th St & Shore Road
  • July 9 Out Of The Blue (Classic Rock & Dance) ……….…Marine Park (Fillmore Ave.)
  • July 15 Radio Daze (70’s & 80’s Party Music)…….…………………….79th St & Shore Road
  • July 16 Yesterday & Today (Beatle Tribute Band)….……..Marine Park (Fillmore Ave.)
  • July 22 Generation Gap (60’s through 90’s)……………Dyker Park (86th St. & 14th Ave.)
  • July 23 Carl Thomas (Sinatra, Darin, Dean)……………………Avenue U & Van Sicklen St
  • July 29 Blues Circus (Improvisational Blues Rock)….………………79th St & Shore Road
  • July 30 Alive N Kickin’ (Hit song “Tighter & Tighter”)….Marine Park (Fillmore Ave.)
  • Aug. 6 Brooklyn Keys (Oldies through 90’s)…………..….. Marine Park (Fillmore Ave.)
  • Aug. 12 Disco Unlimited (Best of the 70’s Disco)……..………………79th St & Shore Road
  • Aug. 13 Radio Daze (70’s & 80’s Party Music)…………..….. Marine Park (Fillmore Ave.)
  • Aug. 19 Frankie Marra & His Band (Classic Rock)…………………79th St & Shore Road
  • Aug. 20 On A Good Run (Classic Rock)…………………………Marine Park (Fillmore Ave.)
  • Aug. 26 The Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade presents “Irish Night on Shore Road,” Featuring The Canny Brothers…..….…..79th St & Shore Road

All concerts are free and open to the public and all shows begin at 7pm. All events are subject to change. In case of poor weather or for more information please call 718 238-6044, or check Martin J. Golden on Facebook or follow @senmartygolden on Twitter.

John Trumbull's famous painting showing the Declaration of Independence's drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. Source: Wikipedia

John Trumbull’s famous painting showing the Declaration of Independence’s drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. Source: Wikipedia

The staff of Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean wishes all its readers a happy and safe Independence Day, a.k.a., the holiday Ned likes to refer to as “the day the colonies outgrew their British britches and threw on some American denim.”

Whatever you may end up doing today — and from the look of the weather outside, going to the beach does not appear to be any of those things — please take a moment’s pause to consider the freedoms we Americans enjoy, particularly in contrast with other not-so-free nations, and let us be grateful to those who have sacrificed so much in order to ensure that we remain free.

Just a few reminders: On July 4, all subways, buses and the Staten Island railway operate on a Saturday schedule. There will be no alternate side of the street parking today, and no meters.

Stay safe and Happy Fourth everyone! We’ll be back on Monday.

treyger

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

In response to concerns over the safety of students, staff and parents walking to P.S. 95 in Gravesend, the NYC Department of Transportation has agreed to Council Member Mark Treyger’s request to install a speed hump by the start of the upcoming school year. The speed hump will be installed along Van Sicklen Street to prevent drivers from speeding past the school, which currently occurs on a regular basis.

Immediately after hearing from worried parents and school leaders after taking office earlier this year, Council Member Treyger led Brooklyn DOT Commissioner Joseph Palmieri on a tour of the area to show him firsthand the constant speeding traffic that passes the school each morning and afternoon. Also on hand for the site visit was Assemblyman Bill Colton, school volunteer Vincent Sampieri, who brought the issue to Council Member Treyger’s attention, Principal Janet Ndzibah, PTA President Christine Schneider Lulu Elaza and other residents. As a result, the DOT conducted the necessary traffic studies and has worked with a homeowner on Van Sicklen Street who agreed to allow the city to install the speed hump near their driveway. The DOT now expects the work to be completed by early September, hopefully in time for the new school year.

“This is a simple but vital step we can take to protect the students of P.S. 95 as they walk to and from school each day. After all, there is nothing as important as the safety of our children. As soon as I heard about this issue, I knew it was imperative to act before any more accidents or close calls occur due to reckless and dangerous drivers speeding through that area. My thanks to Mr. Sampieri and the school’s leadership for bringing this to my attention, to Assemblyman Colton for his partnership on this issue, and to the DOT for agreeing to install this speed hump on behalf of P.S. 95,” said Council Member Treyger.

CORRECTION (4:36 p.m.): We received a note from Councilman Treyger’s office amending the above press release. The PTA president who is pictured and referenced is Lulu Elaza and not Christine Schneider.

Colton at the latest STRONG rally in Bensonhurst (Source: STRONG Southern Brooklyn)

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

For nearly the past decade, I have been fighting against the City’s proposed marine waste transfer station. This garbage station, which the City plans to build along Gravesend Bay, will adversely affect the quality of life for not only the neighborhoods of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights, but all the surrounding neighborhoods across southern Brooklyn.

The Gravesend Bay garbage station is part of the City’s five borough Solid Waste Management Plan, or SWMP. This plan, including the proposal to build and operate a garbage station along Gravesend Bay, is not progressive or forward
thinking.

The City’s Solid Waste Management Plan is an antiquated plan of the same, old way the City has always handled its trash disposal: spending hundreds of millions of more dollars on more dumping and more transporting garbage to more environmentally impacted residential communities. The proposal to build a garbage station on Gravesend Bay is part of the City’s outdated management of trash. It is now time for the City to create a new, progressive plan with a bold vision for managing our trash. It is now time for the City to recycle and reuse our trash. Instead of creating new ways to dump and transport garbage in residential communities, the new City administration should be creating innovative, modern ways to increase recycling in order to reduce our waste.

For a City that wants to implement new, modern ways of solving our problems and addressing our concerns, it simply does not make any sense why we are relying on old, antiquated ways to manage our waste. The Solid Waste Management Plan, including the Gravesend Bay garbage station, only repeats the outdated, old methods of handling our waste. The Solid Waste Management Plan creates more expensive ways for the City to continue its old, failed practice of dumping and transporting trash. The Solid Waste Management Plan only creates more of the same. It is now time for the City to begin creating modern, innovative ways of managing our trash and reducing our waste. Recycling and reusing our garbage is the answer. Marine waste transfer stations are not. It is time for our City to implement a new, progressive, forward thinking way to manage our waste.

I will continue leading the fight against the Gravesend Bay garbage station in the court of public opinion. Our communities in southern Brooklyn will continue to fight with petitions, rallies, and other grassroots approaches until our voice is heard in City Hall. Our coalition, titled S.T.R.O.N.G. – SOUTHERN BROOKLYN, of elected officials, residents, community leaders, and neighborhood organizations has only become stronger and larger. We have support from every community in southern Brooklyn in this fight.

And I will continue fighting against in the legal court as well; we have received word that the Court’s Appellate Division has decided to grant our motion for us to proceed on the original record in our case. In other words, we can continue with our lawsuit against the Gravesend Bay garbage station without having the burden of making copies of thousands of documents of the original record.

Our fight against the Gravesend Bay garbage station continues! If you would like to help or become involved, please contact my community office, located at 155 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223, or call us at 718-236-1598. You can also visit our coalition’s (S.T.R.O.N.G. – SOUTHERN BROOKLYN) official website at strongsouthernbrooklyn.net, where there is an online petition available to sign.

Source: DonorsChoose.org

Source: DonorsChoose.org

A middle school teacher at P.S. 163 in Bath Beach (109 Bay 14th Street) has started a fundraiser on the crowd-sourcing site DonorsChoose.org (think Kickstarter for educators) to raise money for a new sound system in his disadvantaged school.

The teacher, Michael Wengler, who has been at the school for six years, depicts a talented student body whose performances are hampered by weak audio equipment. He writes:

We have a great group of students that come from low income families. They love music! The school community turns out for fantastic shows put on by our music students. The children have been invited to perform at some of our city’s top music halls! The students are very talented!… This equipment will help our chorus, solo singers, band, orchestra, solo instrumentalists, glee and guitar club be heard.

While those kids are good, Mr. Wengler said the equipment isn’t – you can’t even hear the performers when they’re using a microphone, he writes. The project costs, including optional donations to support DonorsChoose.org, amount to $1,128.12 – of which $20 has been donated so far. The costs account for two audio racks, 400 feet of speaker cable, and two four space rack bags.

Mr. Wengler’s past fundraising initiatives raised money for student costumes as well as saxophone and clarinet reeds for the band and a professional piano tuner. This time he’s aiming high, asking for the biggest collective donation yet.

Back in my day (I say with my cane and 24 seasoned years of life experience) we choristers performed with crummy auditorium acoustics, and we liked it. But those were the days before newfangled crowdsourcing sites, and also our chorus was pretty bad.

This sounds like a genuinely good cause – to which I say, donate away! You’ll make a lot of future stars happy. From the looks of it, these kids have got talent to spare:

– Sam Shokin

The Mengels shooting gallery now in operation at Coney Island USA (Source: CIUSA/Facebook)

The Mangels shooting gallery now in operation at Coney Island USA (Source: CIUSA/Facebook)

Green-Wood Cemetery historian Jeff Richman is using Kickstarter to raise money for an exhibit on William F. Mangels, a German immigrant and inventor based in Coney Island who was a leading developer of America’s amusement parks at the turn of the last century. The project goal is to raise $17,500 by July 27, of which $3,291 has been donated so far.

Here’s the video for the project:

The proposed exhibit, titled “William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond” will be installed at Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel, and will feature “real pieces of Mangel’s rides and games – a carousel horse, a 22nd-foot-long shooting gallery, and actual Whip cars and original sketches, in Mangels’s hand, of The Tickler,” in addition to historic photography, video, and written correspondence.

If the Mangels name sounds familiar, it’s because we wrote about him last year when carnies unearthed a World War II-era shooting gallery behind one of their booths while cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy. The gallery has been restored and now sits next to Coney Island USA as part of their living museum. For $5, you get 100 shots at nailing metal tanks, airplanes and soldiers as they zip around the booth.

The Daily News reports that Richman spent the last 10 years collecting materials from all over the country for the exhibit—and although Green-Wood Cemetery has been curating exhibits since 1998, this would be the first ever dedicated entirely to one person.

The funds raised would offset the costs of graphics, lighting, monitors, framing, shipping, and video necessary to give Mangels his much-deserved tribute—and as is customary with Kickstarter fundraisers, backers will be rewarded with a variety of handsome prizes, including exclusive merchandise and even private tours for the most generous supporters.

- Sam Shokin

Source: fawlty128 via flickr.com

A plan is in the works for a new upper deck on the Verrazano Bridge, which aims to make the nation’s longest suspension bridge to be “pothole-proof.”

The deck, slated for construction this fall, will be made of a “lighter steel orthotropic material “topped with a two-inched layer of modified asphalt knows as Rosphalt to replace the original concrete.

Staten Island Advance reports that the new material will be relatively waterproof and less prone to corrosion than its concrete predecessor.

“Classic, bone-jarring deep potholes – requiring extensive repair which may develop over time on concrete roadways or asphalt on grade pavements – cannot develop on an orthotropic deck,” Senior Project Engineer Carl Redmond explained to the Advance.
Rospholt, made by Chase Corporation, was used on bridge decks in Milwaukee in the past and reportedly saved the state thousands of hours and dollars in repair time and costs.

From Chase Corporation’s website: “Rospholt is a unique, concentrated thermoplastic additive which creates a waterproofing and wearing surface which is resistant to both rutting and shoving. It uses standard paving equipment with a single step operation making the installation quick and easy.”

Despite all this, Staten Island’s MTA representative Alan Cappelli is unconvinced: “We are living in the worst pothole place in the U.S.,” said Cappelli. “If it works, I will be overjoyed. I do hope the new surface lives up to its advertisement, but I remain heartily skeptical. I have lived through a lifetime of having my automobile smacked around. To break down on the bridge is a scary place to be.”

A pothole-free Verazzano is a safer Verazzano. Here’s to hoping for the best.

– Sam Shokin

The following is a paid announcement from il Fornetto Italian Restaurant & Caterer (2902 Emmons Avenue), Sheepshead Bay’s premier waterfront dining experience.

ilfornetto

The above is a paid announcement by il Fornetto Italian Restaurant & Caterer. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

ronald

by Kaara Baptiste

Shootings in the NYPD’s 60th Precinct, covering Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Gravesend, jumped nearly 85 percent last year, spiking to 24 incidents from 13 in 2012. The incidents included two fatal shootings in Coney Island within 48 hours of Christmas Day. Community leaders soon met to discuss collaborative anti-violence efforts, including a “violence interrupter” program, modeled after ones in Chicago and other parts of Brooklyn, to keep feuds from erupting into bloodshed.

The so-called “interrupters” stay close to the streets to diffuse conflicts and steer youth toward a productive path. The Coney Island Step Up program, as it is tentatively called, just received a $15,000 grant from the city.

Ronald Stewart, a Coney Island resident since 1955, is one of these interrupters. Stewart, 63, is a New York State parole officer, serving in Brownsville since 1992. He founded Men United for Change, a mentoring program for adolescent and teen boys. Here, he shares his thoughts on Coney Island’s violence and why intervention is crucial.

Coney Island has long had a reputation for crime. What’s different about the latest spate of shootings?

Coney Island is a unique place. Crime happens everyday here, like other places. But because Coney Island is so small, the deaths are really magnified. The violence happens in intervals, not consistently. It’s mostly young people. They might have a beef; it may be drug related. But ours is much different than other parts of Brooklyn, like Flatbush, Brownsville, because those are bigger places and crime is more consistent. So we’re trying to take some of what [organizations such as Man Up!, in East New York, and Chicago Interrupters] are doing and develop it to something that fits Coney Island.

Violence interrupter programs rely on relationship-building to reach at-risk youth. Why would the young people in Coney Island listen to you?

[These young people] will talk to me before they talk to their mother. As we developed Men United for Change, I realized that we don’t talk to our youth. Other cultures have communication between young and old. But we’ll walk by our young people and not say anything to them. We feel intimidated. We see their pants sagging down; they look tough, they look mean.

I have developed a certain amount of respect among them because I never talk down to them. James Baldwin, the great writer, once said young people don’t listen to what you say, they watch what you do. This generation is quick to tell you, “Don’t preach to me!” They want you to communicate with them.

What kind of intervention does the team of interrupters have in mind?

We’re going to concentrate on doing street walks. We will target the different places where young people congregate – street corners, lobbies in project buildings, McDonald’s, the Chinese restaurants. We’ll pass out fliers with imagery and a few bullet points about what violence does to the community. The message is: “This is your community.” But we also plan to talk to them, just “What’s up? What’s going on, man?” Black males feel so vulnerable because no one talks to them. Then we want to go into the junior high schools.

Why target junior high schools?

These are the age groups where beefs are starting to happen. They’re at the crossroads of their life. They’re very impressionable and easily distracted. We’d like to do assemblies, even bring in former gang members, to let them know violence is not the way to go.

How did community work become such a consistent theme in your life?

In my adolescent years, Coney Island was in transition due to urban renewal. My mother was involved in community work and would take me to the meetings. There’d be a lot of shouting, people organizing protests, making sure people were involved. I was involved with Coney Island Youth Development program, and I became a member of the Nation of Islam in 1965. At the time, the Black Panthers and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were active. Then Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and that caused a movement! And I was part of all that. It gave me a sense of consciousness and activism. And it was a lot of fulfillment for me.

Why did you become a parole officer?

I saw the ad in the Amsterdam News [in 1990] and read the description and qualifications. It talked about dealing with ex-offenders and bringing them back to the community, helping them be better citizens and making the community safe. That’s part of what I did anyway [as director of the Carey Gardens Community Center, at one of Coney Island’s housing projects], so I said “Ohhh…”

How did Men United for Change start?

I thought that young black males are at risk. They are, all over the country, whether it’s violence against each other or from others. So I felt we needed to have a program that addressed the needs of young black males; that’s how Men United for Change started.

In your opinion, why are black males at particular risk?

[Many are] raised in families where they see a lot of fighting but no crisis intervention. Sometimes they take that anger out on their peers or people around them. They must see themselves as being valuable in society. But they don’t see that, so they feel outside. In school, the curriculum is not about them and most of their teachers [white females] have no idea how to relate to them. So they carry a lot of pain and disillusionment. That translates into lashing out in anger and they’ll fight quicker. Even the ones [who are] going to school, trying to navigate society without conflict, feel afraid because they don’t fit in anywhere.

You plan on retiring as a parole officer this spring. What are your plans for retirement?

I want to devote more time to Men United for Change. Plus, I want to travel. I never had the chance to travel, believe it or not [outside of parole duties]. I want to visit Mexico, Brazil, Arizona, to see the Hubble telescope. I love science. I’m writing a memoir about growing up in Coney Island. It’s called The Other Side of Dreamland: Growing Up Black in Coney Island. I want to put more time into that.

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