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Archive for the 'Bits & Pieces' Category


Bensonhurst Bean super user Carmen Tamacas spotted this snow gentleman at Garibaldi Playground (18th Avenue between 83rd Street and 82nd Street), snapped a photo, and tweeted it our way.

Now that the snow is melting, I really don’t mind looking at it. But when it came before me over the weekend, who the heck really wanted to look at more snow – man or not.

Did you see any cool snowmen out there? Feel free to share the photos with us.

Belated New Years Greetings cards

Psha. That kid knows nothing. It can totally be too late to wish someone a happy New Year. (Source:

Okay, so it’s January 7, the last day of the first week of 2014.

And here we are, children of the digital age, for whom time moves at warp speed and memory clings to nothing and yet, seven days later, we somehow have managed to remember the relatively insignificant occasion of a single-digit change. Sure, we can’t remember what we ate for lunch yesterday, but we’re still going on with it, wishing people a happy New Year. We remember that happened.

I’m no curmudgeon. I enjoy wishing people a happy New Year. I like sending good vibes and all that warm, mushy stuff.

My friend Kitti, though… not so much.

It was just minutes into 2014 during my New Year’s revelry with a bunch of Bensonhurst (and Borough Park) friends, when Kitti turned and asked “So when is it time to stop wishing people a happy New Year?”

This question turned into a source of great debate among friends.

Is it two weeks in? Three weeks in? Can you still wish someone a happy New Year in March?

Are there different standards for good friends and family versus acquaintances?

I said six weeks. Why not? Seemed like a fair amount of time.

Another friend said he goes until the end of January. If he hasn’t seen you to wish you a happy New Year by that point? Well, you’re just not that good a friend anyway.

Someone else said they’d wish those they considered important a happy New Year well into March if they hadn’t spoken to them yet. Others? Well, only if they happen to run into each other within a few days after New Year’s.

It’s not just a source of debate among us, either. The question came up on Yahoo Answers back in 2008 (Happy 2008, by the way!), and one “expert” said January 5 was the customary cutoff, otherwise you’re just an “annoyance to society.” And the UK’s News Shopper dedicated a whole etiquette column to the burning question (and came up with no answers). On one forum, a poster groused about the courtesy going beyond January 2: “You know it is polite to say it that night, the next day but almost a week and people are still shouting it out! When can we stop?” In fact, a Google search for “when to stop wishing happy new year” turned up 4.5 million results.

One thing is clear: everyone’s got a different standard. And this is certainly a major source of panic for the polite among us. “Oh my, I wished him a happy New Year on January 10. Is that okay?” Clearly, friendships are ruined over these very things.

When do you stop wishing people a happy New Year, and why?

bensonhurst park 1905

Bensonhurst Park in 1905 (Photo courtesy of lplocharski via

We came across this incredible image of Bensonhurst Park taken 108 years ago in 1905. The image, plastered on a postcard, is up for auction on eBay.

This photo pre-dates our previous Bensonhurst Park find which was dated 1911. What’s amazing is that this photo, taken by photographer J.K. Gehler, is almost of the same spot taken by S. Strauss in 1911, even capturing the “NO DOGS ALLOWED” sign that stands freshly painted on the lawn.  It does seem like some of the benches had been moved around in the six years separating the photographs. Like in the Strauss photo, Gravesend Bay is visible in the distance.

I’m about to get a little fanciful here but sometimes I wish it were possible that time portals existed in the city’s public parks. I would love to stroll to Bensonhurst Park and leap back to 1905 and explore what it was like. The same goes for Coney Island. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see Southern Brooklyn when it existed primarily as a luxurious resort destination for the city’s wealthy and elite? I know, I know, I’ll go back to dreaming.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

The NYPD posted this dynamic image on their Facebook page, capturing a police chopper in the midst of a training session over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge:

NYPD Emergency Service Detective McNerney took this photo of an Aviation Unit while training atop of the Verazzano Bridge earlier this month. The Verrazano Bridge is one of many structures used by ESU for training.

Interesting stuff. Ever wondered what it is like to serve in either the Aviation Unit or the Emergency Service Unit? The NYPD also provided links for behind the scenes footage of what it is really like. Check them out below.

The Great Fredini (Photo Via

The Great Fredini (Photo Via

I have to admit, the world of 3-D printing fascinates me. Although I can’t afford one now, I hope in 10 years that they become so cheap that anyone with a little extra scratch gets to play around with one. Until that day, I might have to content myself to visiting the Great Fredini at Coney Island.

According to a report by 3D Printer World, the Great Fredini (Fred Khal), will scan you and your family with his makeshift 3D printer and retrofitted X-Box Kinect device, dubbed the “Scan-A-Tron 3000.” His studio, The Great Fredini’s Scan-A-Rama, is located on Surf Avenue by the Freak Bar.

Julie Atlas Muz, a local Coney burlesque performer, described entering Fredini’s machine.

“You have to stand as still as you can, like a statue. It feels simultaneously old fashioned and futuristic, like the Jetsons,” Muz told 3D Printer World.

Beyond scanning local residents, Fredini has a grander project envisioned. He wants to create a 3D model of Luna Park that represents what the park was like in 1914. He started a Kickstarter campaign and needs $15,000 by August 7 to make it happen. He also plans to use a duplicate of everyone he has scanned to place in the finished project.

'merica (courtesy of

‘merica (courtesy of

The staff of Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean wishes all our readers a very happy and safe Fourth of July! Enjoy your hot dogs, fireworks and freedom!

We’ll see you tomorrow, because we’re taking the day off. Because… ‘merica!

We found this incredible video of the Norton’s Point Shuttle trolley crisscrossing its way through Bay 19th Street to Coney Island. The old streetcar line, abandoned in 1935 and briefly resurrected in June of 1943, offers a glimpse of the old trolley-dodging days that represented the fabric of people’s day-to-day lives in Brooklyn for generations. Pretty amazing to see.

Anyone remember these?

Thanks to Erica, for passing this along.

Source: Debbie Egan-Chin via the New York Daily News

I always try to make it to Coney Island’s annual Mermaid Parade in June. It’s usually a gorgeous day filled with happy people dressed in crazy costumes all getting into the summer spirit. Perhaps as a way to combat the winter blues and get our minds focused on warmer days, the New York Daily News presented a 34-photo slideshow of their favorite Mermaid Parade images from their archives.

I had fun strolling through the parade’s colorful history, starting in the more demure days of the early 40s, and ending in the modern sex fest that the parade has happily transformed into today. Check out all the pictures yourself and point us to your favorite one!


Last year we sent you back in time to 1988 with a classic retro commercial we found advertising “shopping the easy way” at the Caesar’s Bay Bazaar. Well, an evenolder Caesar’s Bay Bazaar commercial from 1980 has emerged on Retro Junk.

The 33-year-old commercial reminds us that “Christmas Time is Bargain Time when you shop Caesar’s Bay,” while showing busy shoppers devouring the unbeatable savings at the now closed outlet megaplex. Can anyone else remember this old ad?

Source: rose24 via flickr

There is a select group that is meeting in Brooklyn today that boasts one incredible criteria needed to gain entry: you have to be married to the same person for at least 50 years. Attending the meeting of long-committed lovers today are Fortuno and Maddalena Corso, a Bensonhurst couple that has been married for an astounding 72 years, according to a report by the AP via NBC4.

The inspiring love story of Fortuno, 89, and Maddalena, 88, traces back to Calabria, Italy, when they married on February 4, 1941, as teenagers.

“I liked her and so I got married,” Fortuno told the AP, proving how life’s journey can hinge on the simplest feelings.

Based on their daughter Madeline’s description of their marriage, it seems like Fortuno made out like a sly devil in their incredible love story:

Their daughter Madeline, one of the couple’s seven children, lives with her parents in their Bensonhurst home. She said for years her mother has done everything for her father – cooking dinner, maintaining the home and even washing his shoulders in the bath.

“My family, we tease them, we say, ‘Ma, you’re married 70 years, if you get divorced you get more than half,” said the daughter. “She tells everybody, ‘Listen, you make sure you love them and you respect them, that’s your best friend.'”

So it seems like the secret to long lasting romance is respect, friendship and love, not bad wisdom coming from some true Valentine experts.

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