Subscribe for FREE with:

Author Archive

Sleeping with the fishes at an 86th Street restaurant. This doesn't look quite... humane.

Sleeping with the fishes at an 86th Street restaurant. This doesn’t look quite… humane.

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) is our new Sunday feature, giving you a place to find some of the big stories you may have missed this past week.

Of course, you can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Flyer for Gravesend & Bensonhurst Public Engagement Meeting #1

In an expansion of the state New York Rising initiative to improve resiliency in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a new committee has been created to strengthen Bensonhurst and Gravesend, with the first meeting scheduled for this Sunday.

New York Rising aims to recruit locals for identifying key community assets and gather their thoughts on the best way to protect them from future disasters.

The workshop this weekend focuses on evaluating the damage from Sandy, gathering feedback and proposals, and creating a vision for the community moving forward. Backed with $3 million from the state and federal governments earmarked specifically for our neighborhood, contracted consultants then use the feedback to draw up several proposals. The ideas are presented to the community for feedback.

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m., at Bensonhurst Park on Bay Parkway.

To learn more about New York Rising, go here. For a comprehensive rundown of the effects of Sandy on the community and key assets the committee is already looking into, check out this presentation.

Source: MichaelTapp/Flickr

D LINE

There are no subway advisories scheduled at this time.

N LINE

All times until October 2014: No 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.

R LINE

All times until October 2014: No 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 11:15 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the M from Roosevelt Av to 47-50 Sts.

  • Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.
  • To 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St, and 57 St, take the Coney Island-bound F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.
  • From 21 St-Queensbridge and Roosevelt Island, take a Jamaica-bound F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.
  • From Lexington Av/63 St, use the nearby 59 St 4/5/6 station for downtown local service to 51 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F at the E/M platform.
  • From 57 St, use the nearby 57 St-7 Av N/Q/R station for downtown service to 34 St-Herald Sq and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from W 4 St to Jay St-MetroTech.

  • To B’way-Lafayette St, transfer to the D at W 4 St.
  • To 2 Av, Delancey St, and East Broadway, take the Coney Island-bound F to Jay St-MetroTech and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.
  • From these stations, take a Jamaica-bound F to W 4 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.
  • To/from York St, use the nearby High St A station.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip Sutphin Blvd, Van Wyck Blvd, and 75 Av.

Source: Alexander Rabb/Flickr

The owner of the landmarked Shore Theater has been declining all proposals to rehabilitate and reactivate the building, including one by a Manhattan restaurateur to turn it into a sprawling restaurant and culinary school.

The 1301 Surf Avenue building was inherited by Jasmine Bullard following the 2013 death of her father, Horace, a Coney Island visionary who long fought to revitalize the neighborhood during its darkest days. Although the building was on the market at the time of his death, Bullard has declined to hear out would-be buyers, Brooklyn Eagle reports.

“I have clients who are ready, willing and able to write a check for the Shore today,” broker Joe Vitacco told Eye on Real Estate.

He has tried to submit purchase offers to her, but in vain: “She won’t even look at them.”

Vitacco said he has four “solid” suitors for the Shore Theater:

* A “very well known restaurateur” from Manhattan who wants to build a cooking school downstairs and a restaurant on the top two floors.

“The view from the seventh floor is magnificent,” he said, and there’s a Juliet balcony where diners would be able to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones playing baseball at MCU Park.

* A “nationally known athlete” who would turn the Shore back into a movie theater — and no, it’s not Magic Johnson (who isn’t actively involved in Magic Johnson Theatres’ operations these days, anyway).

* A billionaire with a home in Brooklyn who “thinks it’s a beautiful building and should be restored,” Vitacco said.

This interested party made an offer when Horace Bullard was alive, but it wasn’t high enough. Now, “he’s willing to come to the table with more money,” the broker said.

* A real estate developer who is involved in Coney Island.

Vitacco marketed Horace Bullard’s properties for about a decade. When the Shore was Vitacco’s listing, the asking price was $12 million.

It is estimated that it will take approximately $35 million to renovate the 115,000-square-foot, seven-story structure.

grimm2

Grimm

Legal and financial troubles appear to be fueling recruitment troubles at the offices of beleaguered Congressman Michael Grimm if a desperate-sounding e-mail to colleagues is any indication.

Politico reports:

Grimm’s deputy chief of staff sent an email Wednesday afternoon asking downtowners to help her find a health and education legislative assistant.

“As you can imagine it hasn’t been easy to find a qualified candidate who wants to live on the edge and take a chance working for Rep. Grimm,” wrote [Grimm's Deputy Chief of Staff] Blaire Bartlett. “Ideally this person would have legislative experience. Hill experience would be great and NYC experience would be amazing, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?”

I don’t know about legislative assistants, but if he needs some social media help I know a group of 16-year-old girls who’d love to pitch in.

Just a BJ’s stock photo… (Source: Nicholas Eckhart/Flickr)

The opening date for the BJ’s Wholesale Club at 1752 Shore Parkway has been pushed back due to construction delays, Bensonhurst Bean has learned.

The Bensonhurst location, near Ceasar’s Bay, was slated to open July 12. But a representative for the company informed Bensonhurst Bean yesterday that they’re still putting the finishing touches on the location, and will be opening doors on an unspecified date in September.

The big box store will occupy the ground floor of a 200,000-square-foot space at 1752 Shore Parkway that will be known as the Bay Center. The center will be two stories tall with commercial units above the BJs. The project is being developed by Thor Equities and is expected to be completed sometime in 2014.

Construction kicked off in December 2012.

Source: Lioni Italian Heroes

Source: Lioni Italian Heroes

Two Bensonhurst delis are slinging some of the best sandwiches in Brooklyn, according to CBS News’ latest “Best of” list.

John’s Deli (2033 Stillwell Avenue) and Lioni’s (7803 15th Avenue) both made the cut in the unranked list of eight best sandwiches in Brooklyn.

John’s is singled out for their Godfather, a meat and cheese heavy hero that pops with color. But the ambiance gets a nod, too:

Walking into John’s Deli is a bit of a throwback – a narrow area to stand on line, signs that say things like “If you’re in a rush, you’re in the wrong place” – and a menu that has plenty of personality to fit right in.

Lioni’s, meanwhile, scores high for their fresh mozzarella and old world charm:

The sandwiches at Lioni are named after various Italian and Italian-American heroes, with Frank Sinatra at the top of the list: salami, fresh mozzarella, and a bit of seasoning (olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano). Have fun eating your way through the extensive herolist, or try your hand at creating your own combination – there’s no wrong way to put together a sandwich.

While Bensonhurst accounts for two of the eight spots – meaning the neighborhood sells one quarter of the borough’s best sandwiches, right? – eateries south of Prospect Park are well represented, with nods for eateries in Sheepshead Bay, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.

Source: jasoneppinke via Flickr

Source: jasoneppinke/Flickr

Following another spate of suicides off of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and other metro-area spans, the New York Police Department is training a larger batch of officers to safely get jumpers down – by persuasion or by force.

The New York Post reports:

So far this year, there have been 11 suicides at the George Washington Bridge, compared with 15 for all of last year. That’s in addition to 40 other attempted suicides stopped by cops on the span.

Given the alarming numbers, the department is training more officers to deal with jumpers — including sending more of them to practice climbing the structures, including the Verrazano Bridge.

So if you see some cops climbing around up there like Spiderman, know that it’s all to keep you safe from yourself.

If you’re wondering what else the training entails, or what life is like as one of the cops on the Jumper Squad, check out this awesome – and chilling - profile from 2012 in the New York Times.

grimm2

Grimm

Congressman Michael Grimm raised just $23,430 for his reelection campaign last month, less than a tenth of the $261,693 pulled in by his opponent, Democrat Domenic Recchia.

The Observer reports:

The campaign’s Schedule A form lists just 18 individual donors — some of them residing at the same address — though some made more than one transaction. Three of the donors are associated with the Savo Brothers construction firm, with each giving $1,300 in July. The firm has drawn the ire of many on Staten Island after it purchased a former Jesuit retreat space, Mount Manresa, where it plans to tear down old-growth trees and building hundreds of townhouses. The Savos have also donated to other local officials in the past.

… Mr. Grimm’s [approximately $13,000 in] expenditures for the month were limited to payroll costs for just a handful of campaign staffers, administrative expenses like cell phone bills and one $250 expense for an ad with a local Rolling Thunder motorcycle group.

With little cash to spend on mailings or television ads, the skilled retail politician has been hitting local events like parades and festivals in his district, where the he’s often overwhelmed by people who want to take pictures with him or shake his hand.

The congressman’s campaign warchest began showing signs of distress in the spring, after Grimm was slapped with a 20-count indictment for mail fraud, tax evasion and perjury. He’s receiving no support from national Republicans, and it appears all but a handful of local boosters have backed away.

Grimm also faces double-duty for fundraising. In addition to his campaign, he’s won approval to create a legal defense fund to fight the charges against him.

The filings show he slightly more than $1 million on hand, although the campaign carries $438,565 in debt stemming from his legal defense as part of a separate investigation into alleged improprieties in his campaign fundraising.

Recchia has just shy of $1.3 million cash on hand with no debt, giving him a significant spending advantage.

Source: NYCIBO

Source: NYCIBO

While the news that New York City will expand speed camera enforcement across the five boroughs was met with conspiratorial sneering from local drivers, revenue data suggests that the overall amount of funds collected for traffic fines has declined every year for the past four years despite the expansion of camera-enforcement programs.

That’s not to say there’s not money being made: the city pulled in more than $55 million in fiscal year 2014 (which ended on June 30), and 75 percent of that was from camera-based enforcement. The city budget for 2015 already presumes a jump to $62 million in revenue, with an even larger percentage coming from camera enforcement.

The New York City Independent Budget Office released a new infographic yesterday that charts the amount of revenue collected from traffic fines from 1999 to the present, and also shows the share of those collections that came via police-issued violations, red-light cameras, bus-lane cameras and the newest enforcement tool: speed cameras.

Some of the takeaways?

  • The proportion of revenue generated by cameras has grown from just 38 percent in 1999 to 75 percent in 2014.
  • The amount of revenue in 2014 is nearly double that collected in 1999. (Adjusted for inflation, the jump is less stark; the increase is just under $13 million.)
  • Since 2004, actual revenue from police-issued traffic violations has been on a steady decline, marginally offsetting some of the increases from camera enforcement.
  • Red-light camera revenues are the lowest they’ve been since 2007, the year before a massive expansion of the program, suggesting that camera enforcement won’t drive revenues forever.

There are two big spikes in the graph, one in 2008 and another in 2011.

The first coincided with an increase in the number of red light cameras installed around the city. After the increase, there’s a drop again. That’s probably because once drivers figure out where the cameras are, they make sure to abide by the law.

The 2011 spike came as a result of a ruling that unpaid red light summonses can count towards the threshold needed for the city to tow your car for unpaid tickets. Delinquent motorists who saw their cars impounded had to pay back those fines that year to reclaim their vehicles.

The two newest forms of camera revenue are also seeing pretty rapid growth as drivers have yet to adjust to them. Bus-lane cameras were introduced in 2011 as part of the Select Bus Service program. As that program has steadily expanded across the five boroughs, so has the number of cameras, and thus the number of violations.

Speed cameras were introduced in early 2014, with just 20 in school zones around the city. That led to $2.1 million in fines collected. But the program has been approved for massive expansion, with 120 new cameras on the way.

The city is projecting it will put $7.6 million in city coffers, but if the historical spikes from the expansion of red light cameras are any indication, it’ll probably rake in more than that before falling off over a few years.

So is it about money? It’s anybody’s guess. There’s definitely a historical increase in revenues collected but it’s not as staggering as one would think, given the massive expansion of these programs. And the data here suggests the gains appear short-lived as drivers learn to follow the rules of the road.

Here’s the above chart in an interactive format. Hover over each of the bars to see how much actual revenue was received for each method:

Next »