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I was three-years-old in 1987, blissfully unaware of the decrepit yet sort of awesome state that the New York City subway was in at that time. Back then, the mass transit system was grimy, covered in graffiti and a little more dangerous.

The video above, filmed by Nelson Sullivan on June 20, 1987, captures a beautiful summer day on the subway as the train cruises all the way from Union Square to Coney Island. It is sure to bring back memories for some New Yorkers, who remember those times, and fascinate folks like me who were too young to see what the subways used to be like.

Through the windows of the subway car, you can see some old Bensonhurst commercial corridors and landmarks, including the Loew’s Oriental Theatre, where Marshalls is now. What else do you spot?

Also featured in the video is famed Village Voice writer Michael Musto, photographer Liz Lizard and her family, and cross-dresser Albert Crudo. Thanks to the folks on the forums of City Data for posting it and to 5ninthavenueproject for uploading the video.

Son of Bensonhurst, Cpl. Edward Chin (3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment), covering the face of a Saddam Hussein statue in downtown Bagdhad with the American flag. Source: thinksquad.net

A retired young Marine corporal from Bensonhurst, who was famously photographed for helping to topple a Saddam Hussein statue nearly 10 years ago, is now wondering if the war was worth it all, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

Cpl. Edward Chin signed up with the Marines in 1999, looking for a way to afford a college education so he could pursue his dream of becoming an architect. When the Iraq War broke out in 2003, Chin found himself in the spotlight of history as he draped an American flag over the face of a Saddam Hussein statue and helped bring it down with a satisfying thud for freedom. For his efforts, Chin was awarded the American Legion’s highest honor and even got to throw out the first pitch at a Mets game.

Ten years later, with unimaginable trillions spent, no weapons of mass destruction found, and an uncertain future for the still exploding Iraq, Chin is left wondering what the point of the war was.

“What did we go there for?” Chin asked. “As Marines, we just do our jobs. We go where we are told. We hope that our leaders make the right decisions.”

Chin also lamented Iraq’s perceived unstable political situation 10 years after the US invasion.

“What do these people want?” he wondered. “I feel they really don’t know what they want. They didn’t want Saddam in power. But they don’t seem to want democracy either.”

“We let it fall back into the hands of the radicals and insurgents,” he said.

Chin’s life since he left the army has been a series of highs and lows. He lost his job and got divorced but recently got engaged again and has a job with a new architectural firm on Staten Island.

The Daily News notes that Chin is designing a home for a fellow Iraq vet, Brendan Marrocco, a solider who lost all four limbs in an insurgent attack.

“He lost four limbs — for what?” Chin told the Daily News. “I’m one of the lucky ones to come back in one piece.”

Source: Luis Argerich (lrargerich) / Flickr

Another week, another round of subway service advisories on the D, F and N lines.

D TRAIN

Nights

From 11:45 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., today (Monday) to Thursday, March 25-March 28, there will be no Coney Island-bound D trains at 7th Avenue, 47-50th streets, 42nd Street-Bryant Park, and 34th Street-Herald Square. Downtown D trains are rerouted via the C from 59th Street to West 4th Street.

D service will be operating in two sections:

  • Between 205th Street and the 2nd Avenue F station — the last stop.
  • Between West 4th Street and Stillwell Avenue.

To continue your trip, transfer at Broadway-Lafayette Street.

F TRAIN

The F train will be skipping the Smith-Ninth Street station in both directions. Use bus service to and from the Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street or Carroll Street stations instead.

Nights

From 11:45 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., today (Monday) to Thursday, March 25-March 28, F train service operates in two sections:

  • Between the 179th Street and Hoyt-Schermerhorn streets A and G stations — the last stop
  • Between Stillwell Avenue and the Bedford-Nostrand avenuss G station — the last stop

To continue your trip, transfer at Hoyt-Schermerhorn streets.

N TRAIN

Nights

From 11:45 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., today (Monday) to Friday, March 25-March 29, Coney Island-bound N trains run express from 57th Street-7th Avenue to Canal Street.

These service changes affect one or more ADA-accessible stations. Please call 511 for help with planning your trip. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service provider or the free 711 relay. For more information, visit mta.info.

Joseph Brown, Source: NYPD via nytimes.com

Four people were shot at a Coney Island housing project this past Friday leaving one person dead, according to a report by the New York Times.

Joseph Brown, 29, was arrested Saturday morning after allegedly shooting up a fifth-floor apartment in the Gravesend Houses, located at 2703 West 33rd Street.

According to the Times, Brown knocked on the door, was let in and proceeded to rampage through the apartment:

A woman, 62, answered the door and let the man in. Investigators said he asked to speak with a 24-year-old man who was in a bedroom. The suspect went to the bedroom, shut the door behind him, and shot the other man in the head, the police said. The wounded man was in critical condition at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, the police said.

The suspect left the bedroom, the police said, and shot three other people in the apartment: a 40-year-old man in the living room who suffered a graze wound to the head; the 62-year-old woman, who was shot in the stomach; and another man in the living room, who was shot in the head and died.

The woman shot in the stomach is in critical condition. Two boys, ages 10 and 12 and an 18-year-old female were also in the apartment at the time but were unharmed.

Source: Julia Fredenburg / Flickr

Nothing mucks up a weekend like trying to get home late at night with too many pints in you, discovering that the subway skips your stop because of a service change, and then you pass out and wake up in the train yard. To ensure you don’t have my kind of luck – at this point, I pay rent at the train yard – here are this weekend’s subway service advisories:

N & R TRAINS

Brooklyn-bound N & R trains run express from 34 St-Herald Sq to Canal St, from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

D TRAIN

Hey, no advisories! Smooth sailing!

F TRAIN

As has been the case for some time, and will continue to be through the first quarter of 2013, F trains skip the Smith-9 St station in both directions. Use bus service to/from 4 Av-9 St or Carroll Street instead.

Oh, but there’s another change, too. From 11:45 p.m. tonight to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains run express from 34 St-Herald Sq to West 4th Street.

Source: mikey_k via Flickr

Police have identified the Bensonhurst woman killed by a gunshot wound to the head on Wednesday as Maryanne Rinato, 48.

Police found Rinato dead in the bed of her apartment at 19th Avenue near 67th Street with a single gunshot wound to the head. She was fully clothed, and there was no sign of forced entry or struggle.

Investigators believe Rinato knew the person who shot her. According to the Daily News:

Investigators at the 62nd Precinct have already interviewed several of Rinato’s friends and associates and are looking at a number of potential motives — including the possibility that the killing was connected Rinato’s previous drug arrests, according to sources.

Prosecutors said Rinato had been repeatedly arrested for drug possession since 1998. Her last arrest was in 2008, when she attacked a Coney Island police officer.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers. All callers to Crime Stoppers remain anonymous. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-577-TIPS, via the website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.

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.

Source: fawlty128 via Flickr

Have you ever dreamed of running across the Verrazano Bridge only to be stifled once you realized that the bridge is only open to motor traffic? Well, a petition was started on Change.org calling for special construction that would allow foot and bike traffic on the gorgeous bridge that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn.

The petition wants the construction done in time for the bridge’s 50th anniversary coming in 2014. The addition of pedestrian and bicycle pathways would also be the final link in the Harbor Ring, a 50-mile cycling and pedestrian route that encircles the New York Harbor.

The petition cites a survey of over 700 people which noted that 84 percent of responders believed that a bicycle and pedestrian route over the Verrazano would ease traffic congestion.

Are pedestrian and bike lanes a no-brainer for the Verrazano? Is it a waste of time? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Rashal Mahamud, Con Edison engineer. Photo courtesy of Con Edison via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A Borough Park man, Rashal Mahamud, has won an impressive award for his work on a project that makes the delivery of electricity safer, according to a report by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Electric Power Research Institute (ERPI) bestowed upon Mahamud, an engineer for Con Edison, the Technology Transfer Award.

Mahamud, and his team of two other Con Edison researchers, figured out a way to detect dangerous “stray” voltage on the streets using smartphones. Their innovations allow crews to find stray voltages easier and thus commence repairing them quicker, leading to a greater degree of public safety.

Great job to Mahamud whose brilliance at wielding the powers of science has made us all a little safer.

Source: mikey_k via Flickr

A woman was found shot dead in a Bensonhurst building yesterday, according to a report by DNA Info.

The 48-year-old woman, identified as Maryanne Rinato, was found at 3 p.m. with a gunshot wound to her head. She was discovered in a building located on 19th Avenue between 67th and 68th streets.

Police are treating the case as a homicide.