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Vincent J. Gentile

Gentile (Source:

Councilman Vincent Gentile proposed legislation to suspend parking meters requirements on holidays during which alternate side parking regulations are suspended, saying that keeping the meters on when the rest of government is off is confusing residents and causing an abusive spike in summonses.

Gentile said he was driving on Presidents Day and personally witnessed a “ticket massacre” – three tickets being written out in the span of just four blocks.

According to a press release, Gentile feels that the only reason the city keeps parking meter rules in effect is to bring more money to the city, which he described as “despicable.”

Parking meters are suspended on only the most major of legal holidays such as Thanksgiving and Labor Day, as opposed to alternate side parking suspensions, which occur for lesser holidays like Presidents Day or religious holidays. Councilman Gentile’s new legislation proposes that whenever alternate side parking is suspended, metered parking should be as well.

Source: Facebook via

A 15-year-old teenager was critically injured when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver this past Saturday at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 78th Street, according to a report by Home Reporter.

The teen, identified as Matthew Garry, is a football player for Xaverian High School. He broke both of his arms, his legs and his pelvis.

He was first sent to Lutheran Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition. Later, he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Long Island Hospital.

The driver who smashed Garry fled down Fourth Avenue. Police later found a damaged 2002 Audi abandoned on 93rd Street near Fourth Avenue. No arrests have been made, but if you have any information call 1-800-577-TIPS or visit nypdcrimestoppers by clicking here.

Recently, we reported on State Senator Marty Golden’s efforts to stiffen penalties for hit and run drivers. Golden’s bill passed in the Senate and is awaiting consideration by the Assembly.

Last week, we journeyed back in time to bring you a dusty old Casesar’s Bay Bazaar retro commercial. Well, that trip to the land of forgotten TV inspired reader Sean F. to tip us off to this old television advert for the Avenue I Flea Market.

In my opinion, this commercial has the catchiest jingle of all the retro commercials we’ve featured. It also features a delightfully creepy, juggling clown, people making some crazy 1980s fashion statements (tight-rolled Z-Cavs, anyone?) and, best of all, they give out a free VCR and 19″ color TV every Sunday! This is clearly my favorite ad yet.

Do you remember the Avenue I Flea Market? Were you in the commercial featured above? Why were you wearing… that? We want answers, people.

Community Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello. Source:

Has New York State forsaken Bensonhurst when it comes to providing adequate healthcare? Community Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello seems to think so and has leveled these charges at a recent community board meeting, according to a report by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Guarinello’s anger at the state stems from a series of events that has drastically limited healthcare options for those living in Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Dyker Heights:

Victory Memorial Hospital in Bay Ridge was closed by the New York State Department of Health in 2010. Coney Island Hospital sustained massive damage in Hurricane Sandy in October and was closed for more than two months. It is just now starting to get back on its feet. And now Long Island College Hospital is set to close.

The closure of Victory Memorial (the former hospital is currently the site of the SUNY Downstate Bay Ridge Urgent Care Center, at 699 92nd Street) and the problems at Coney Island Hospital have caused an overrun of patients in the medical facilities forced to fill the needs of a wider populace. Maimonides Medical Center and the Lutheran Medical Center have been swamped, causing some to wait 24 hours for a bed. The statistics reflect the reality of the overcrowding problem:

In November, Maimonides Medical Center served 9,100 patients in its emergency room, up from 7,800 it had served in November of 2011. Lutheran Medical Center had 5,840 ER visits, an increase from 4,325 in November of 2011. Another local hospital Beth Israel Kings Highway Hospital, a smaller facility, saw its emergency room visits double, from 1,800 in November of 2011 to 3,600 this past November.

Imploring community members to write to State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav R. Shah to help remedy the problem, Guarinello cast an urgent tone: “We can’t continue to be shortchanged. Are we going to wait until we have no hospitals?”

Residents can contact the Health Commissioner by calling his office at (518) 474-2011, or mailing New York State Department of Health, Corning Tower; Empire State Plaza; Albany, NY 12237.


After weeks of speculation, City Councilman Domenic Recchia has publicly confirmed that he’s taking aim at incumbent Congressman Michael Grimm for a district that spans Staten Island, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Gravesend in the 2014 Congressional elections.

Recchia confirmed his desire for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in an interview with the Staten Island Advance over the weekend.

“We’re running,” Recchia said. “We’re going for Congress.”

His team put out a press release on Sunday, stating that he will file papers to formally enter the race for New York’s 11th Congressional District this week.

“I am running because I believe we need leadership in Washington that gets results, leadership that can be trusted, and leadership that is willing to stand up and fight for a better future for the people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn,” Recchia said in the statement.

While his statement made no mention of his opponent Michael Grimm, he didn’t shy away from attacking the incumbent in his interview with the Advance.

“We need Grimm to stand up to the leadership of his party and fight for us more,” said Recchia. “Enough is enough. We can do better. We deserve better. It’s time for me to step forward and make a difference.”

In 2012, Grimm won a 53-to-46 percent.victory over Democratic challenger Mark Murphy, a candidate who was a consistent no-show at debates and community meetings. Murphy’s campaign, though, notched up support by slamming Grimm’s headline-grabbing fundraising flubs, in which he’s being investigated for accepting illegal campaign contributions. Grimm was named “one of the most corrupt members of Congress” by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for the fundraising allegations, the second year in a row he has made the list.

Recchia, a Gravesend resident, has served on the City Council since 2002 and, since 2010, has served as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. He was previously believed to be eyeing the city Comptroller’s seat, and then Borough President, before squashing those rumors in January.

Pre-Sandy seawall. Source: Retrofresh! via Flickr

Almost four months after Superstorm Sandy, the city will soon kick off repairs to the 2.5-mile Shore Parkway promenade, where waves battered sections of the seawall into rubble.

The Department of Parks and Recreation awarded a nearly $2 million contract to a Queens firm for repairs to the Shore Parkway Greenway – the seawall, bike path and pedestrian path that line the Belt Parkway from Ceasar’s Bay to Bay Ridge – according to a report on NY1. The repairs will include fixing seawall caps, pavement, benches and debris removal.

“We’re putting up a construction fence to allow the public basically a six-foot area to walk through, which is going to be covered with temporary asphalt and make it a lot safer for them,” project manager Bill Simpson told NY1. “They won’t be exposed to falling into the ocean over here, or they won’t be subject to trip hazards.”

In October, Superstorm Standy ripped open the bulkhead walls at about 10 locations, crumbling pavement and flooding the Belt Parkway. But leaders say more long-term fixes are necessary, as Sandy was only the latest storm to cause a problem for parkway commuters and the path’s cyclists and joggers.

“What we’re seeing now after every storm, we’re getting significant damage here, and the Belt Parkway is flooding out,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11. “And basically, emergency services can’t use that area.”

It’s been nearly four months since the storm, but State Senator Marty Golden began calling for repairs almost immediately after Sandy’s waters receded. He sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers in November, and Congressman Michael Grim followed shortly after, with a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo. In January, it was finally announced that the project would be put out to bid, and repairs would begin in February.

The repairs are expected to be completed by Memorial Day weekend.

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!

Source: Google Maps

We’re still trying to figure out what’s going on, but a neighbor tells us there’s major police activity on Highlawn Avenue between West 8th Street and West 9th Street.

The neighbor first stumbled across the action around 3:45 p.m., with streets taped off and police vehicles blocking traffic. There were also police blocking off West 9th Street toward Avenue S, she said.

Emergency Service Unites – the NYPD’s version of SWAT – were seen entering a house on Highlawn Avenue, and a canine unit is also on the scene.

Neighbors believe it’s a drug and weapon bust, be have yet to confirm this.

Here’s another photo from our tipster:

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to nberke (at) bensonhurstbean (dot) com.

On Monday, February 18, we celebrate the birthdays of – depending on your interpretation - George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, all, would you know it, former presidents of these United States. I guess that’s why it’s called Presidents Day. And I guess these folks must have hated moving their cars early in the morning, riding express subways, and taking out the trash, because to commemorate them we’ve made sure none of these things happen on their observed birthdays.

On Monday, February 18, there are the following changes to city services:

  • Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended. All other Department of Transportation regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect (because presidents love meters).
  • There will be no garbage or recycling collection.
  • All buses and subways will operate on a Saturday schedule.

Source: Facebook

Gargiulo’s Restaurant (2911 w. 15 St.) suffered extensive damage to the tune of $4.3 million as a result of Superstorm Sandy. To help off set that enormous cost, National Grid donated $100,000 to the Coney Island institution, according to a report by News 12 New Jersey.

Gargiulo’s was one of the earliest businesses to reopen after Sandy shuttered its doors, coming back to life a month after the storm blew into town.

National Grid told News 12 that they wanted to help the restaurant because of Gargiulo’s place in the community, which has existed for over 100 years.

According to Wikipedia, Gargiulo’s opened in 1907, and has hosted many large and lavish parties throughout the years, including one attended by famed jazzed-aged singer Jimmy Durante.