Subscribe for FREE with:

Source: intweetion via Flickr

Get ready to spin, twirl and fly again this Sunday as many famous Coney Island attractions are set to open for the first time since Superstorm Sandy caused millions of dollars of damage to the landmark, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

The world-famous amusement area of Coney Island will open with a victorious hot-dog eating contest at a satellite Nathan’s Famous located on the boardwalk. The Nathan’s HQ on the corner of Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue is still undergoing repairs but is expected to be in operation for the annual July 4 hot-dog eating championship. A banner hangs defiantly over the iconic frankfurter mecca carrying this message:

“After 100 years, no hurricane will keep us down.”

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park was soaked with $1 million in damages but that beautiful red and blue wheel will be spinning proud come Sunday.

“They’ve been cleaning, repairing and replacing,” said Ken Hochman, a spokesman for Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park told the Daily News.

Not everyone will be parading through Luna Park and the Wonder Wheel complex with glee come Sunday. Todd Dobrin, an activist and president of the “Friends of Coney Island Boardwalk,” plans to protest this Sunday as the area’s library, community centers and post office still remain closed post-Sandy.


The Salvation Army has bought the former Cotillion Terrace catering hall at 7309-7321 18th Avenue for $12.75 million, with plans to make it a large retail location.

The two-story building boasts 39,000 square feet, and was recently gutted. The Cotillion Terrace closed sometime in the last decade – we honestly can’t remember when – and reports in the Village Voice indicated that the owners planned to demolish the club to create condos and a smaller venue.

Those plans fell through, and the building has sat empty for several years, a haven for graffiti artists hitting up its boarded up doors.

The Cotillion itself opened up in 1958, but the real star tenant of this building was its predecessor, the Senate Theatre.

The Senate opened in 1926 at a ceremony attended by Mayor James Walker. The venue boasted 1,175 seats, including orchestra and balcony levels, and 1927 saw the installation of a Wurlizter 2 manual 10 rank theatre organ.

As the stage gave way to the screen, the Senate Theatre ran second-run movies until it closed.

Here’s how Forgotten NY‘s webmaster, who visited the theater as a child, remembered it:

It was a fairly spacious house with three blocks of seats seperated by four aisles. The interior was done in light green and white and featured columns and decorative plasterwork throughout the interior. … There was a seperate entrance from the lobby to the orchestra, and the screen was large. The theater also had a domed ceiling…This theater was 10 blocks away from the more opulent Walker and 9 blocks away from the dumpy Colony. it was also close to the little but neat Hollywood and the majestic Oriental. This theater had air conditioning and a sign over the entrance said “cooled by refrigeration”.

Rest in Peace, State and Cotillion. We may never see the likes of large catering halls or theaters in this neighborhood again, but at least we can soon buy some second-hand goods in your hallowed interior.

Source: Facebook

In an effort to display some bipartisanship, Congressman Michael Grimm has joined forces with Senator Charles Schumer to co-sponsor a bill that aims to shore up the physician shortage plaguing the country, according to a report by SI Live.

The bill, known as the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013, would boost teaching hospitals and expand the cap on Medicare-supported training slots. The bill would boost the number of Medicare backed residency positions by 15,000, with a goal of 3,000 set for the next five years.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2020, the country is expected to have a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists.

Teaching hospitals equal big business, bringing in $108 billion in revenue and sustaining 686,000 jobs annually in New York state alone.

Grimm stressed the importance of bringing this legislation to law:

“Our nation is facing a physician shortage, which will only be exacerbated as more baby boomers age into Medicare. While new medical schools are educating more physicians, we still do not have enough resident slots through the Graduate Medical Education program to train these additional doctors … America has the world’s best and brightest physicians, and we should expand that tradition for our seniors, children, and all Americans who deserve accessible, high-quality health care.”

Senator Schumer echoed Grimm for the necssity of this bipartisan legislation.

“In parts of New York, we’re already experiencing severe doctor shortages that are putting patient care at risk … We need to reverse this growing trend that’s poised to get worse in the next few years, and we need to do it quickly, and that’s why Congress should pass this important piece of legislation so that our teaching hospitals can accommodate more residency positions.”

Yesterday we reported on the intense Democratic effort to unseat Grimm, including their efforts to paint Grimm as a Tea Party maven out of touch with New York’s traditionally liberal voter base. The move by Grimm to cosponsor a major bill with a liberal New York politician as nationally prominent as Schumer, speaks as a direct challenge to his critics as the 2014 Congressional race heats up.

The Proposed New Calko Medical Center

Last month we reported on the outrage brewing over the limited healthcare options in the Bensonhurst area. The shortage of healthcare options was mainly due to the double blow of Superstorm Sandy knocking out Coney Island Hospital and the closing of Victory Memorial Hospital in Bay Ridge. Well, it looks like some of these concerns have been lifted as Coney Island Hospital is again receiving ambulances and a brand spanking new $60 million medical center is opening in the Bensonhurst-Borough Park area, according to a press release.

Known as the Calko Medical Center (6010 Bay Parkway), the new facility pledges to promise top notch medical care.

[T]he center is designed with the patient’s comfort in mind, with complimentary parking and internet, as well as spacious and comfortable waiting rooms. Records will be stored in a central computer so information is instantaneously accessible to specialists, reducing time to make diagnoses. The pathology lab will turn around results in 24 hours, and with an on-site pharmacy, patients will be able to return home with their medication without stopping at a drug store.

When the center was being built, there was controversy that the facility would eliminate much needed public parking, but a compromise was reached and the community got the developers to add 177 new spaces.

The new medical center will be completed today and is set to open in a few weeks. The center will also serve as the home for the Brooklyn Nets’ orthopedic group and features ceilings over 9.5 feet high to accommodate the athletes. Interesting.

Photo By Erica Sherman

This week we reported on calls by local political leaders to have the city invest in speed enforcement cameras, devices designed to reduce speeding in areas with lower police presence. While many politicians are eager to get speed enforcement cameras installed throughout the city in the wake of a series of fatal hit and run accidents, not all political leaders are convinced that the cameras will be helpful in the long run.

According to a report on Streets Blog, Republican State Senator Marty Golden has come out against the potential employment of the cameras because he believes that a camera is no substitute for a police officer.

“What we need are the actual police officers on the street. Cops on the street are what slows people down,” Golden said, according to Streets Blog.

Golden, along with other opponents of speed enforcement cameras, believe that the cameras are incapable of detecting drunk drivers, escaping criminals or people carrying unlicensed weapons. In other words, they are incapable of performing police work.

On the other side of the spectrum, according to a report in the New York Daily News, Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile wants to put it all on the table. He favors the installation of the cameras, but he agrees with Golden in that cameras are no substitute for increased police presence. Gentile has proposed putting an extra 200 officers on the roads for the sole purpose of slowing down speeders.

“There are simply too many drivers speeding and not enough enforcement resources at this time,” who plans to introduce another resolution in the Council calling on the NYPD to hire and deploy the cops.

“Whether its speed cameras, education programs, more cops or more enforcement – there is no single panacea,” he said. “But something has to be done. Nothing can be left off the table when lives are at stake.”

Source: SuperFantastic via Flickr

Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forward a bill this week that would force tobacco vendors to hide the cigarette packages they sell from the sight of customers, a move that burnishes his reputation as an anti-smoking regulator.

According to a report by the New York Times, Bloomberg’s latest anti-smoking initiative, which comes fresh off the heels of his unsuccessful bid to limit the serving sizes of sugary drinks, would make New York the first city in the nation to force businesses to hide their tobacco products.

“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity, and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco,” The Times reported Bloomberg saying at a news conference.

Bloomberg also put forward a second bill that would stiffen penalties for businesses that avoid tobacco taxes by smuggling in out of state cigarettes, eliminate all tobacco-related coupons, force businesses to sell cheap cigars and cigarillos in packs of four (instead of individually) and make the minimum price for all cigarettes and little cigars $10.50.

The bills do not outright ban cigarette advertising and price displays, nor do the rules apply to tobacco specialty stores that already do not permit minors without the company of their parents. They also don’t raise the taxes on cigarettes.

The state and city taxes on packs of cigarettes, set at $5.85, are the highest in the country. As we all know, Bloomberg managed to ban smoking practically everywhere; in bars and restaurants, on beaches and in parks.

Unlike Bloomberg’s war on extra-large sugary drinks, he is sending his bills to the City Council for consideration, where he has already received early support from mayoral hopeful Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

As you might suspect, opposition from convenience store advocates have already flared up.

“We think it’s patently absurd,” Mr. [James] Calvin [president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores] said of the proposed restriction. “Can you think of any other retail business that is licensed to sell legal products that is required to hide them from the view of its customers? I can’t.”

Bloomberg also got some blowback from tobacco companies, which might challenge the city with expensive lawsuits should the proposed bills go through.

David Sutton, a spokesman for Altria, parent company of Philip Morris USA, said the company supported federal legislation banning sales to minors and through self-service. But he added, “To the extent that this proposed law would ban the display of products to adult tobacco consumers, we believe it goes too far.”

We were wondering what our readers think of Bloomberg’s latest effort to curtail the visibility of smoking in the city. Do you think he is doing a good job at protecting the health of all city residents and young people? Or do you think this is just another example of our descent into a full blown nanny-state? Let us know.

Domenic Recchia Source: Facebook

Councilman Domenic Recchia met with Democratic Party leaders last week to further coordinate and strategize his efforts to unseat Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

Earlier in the month, we reported on the targeted ad blitz campaign that painted Grimm as a Tea Party acolyte who was partly responsible for the sequester gridlock mess in Congress. Democrats believe that Grimm is vulnerable as the only Republican legislator coming out of New York City.

Recchia met with Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee Chairman (D.C.C.C) Steve Israel, local Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Congressman Donna Edwards, a Democrat from Massachusetts. While Recchia’s people declined to discuss the specifics of the meeting, the Daily News speculated that fundraising strategies were the likely purpose.

After Sandy, Toys’R’Us installed a temporary warehouse in time for the holiday season. Kohl’s wasn’t able to, and missed out on the holidays. They’ll return April 7. (Photo: Elle Spektor)

After the damage Superstorm Sandy caused to the Ceasar’s Bay Kohl’s, locals, like me, have felt a void in their hearts without the store. Their Kohl’s charge cards have collected dust. The ads on TV were a cruel reminder of what was no more.

Luckily, Kohl’s lovers everywhere can rejoice! The store, located at 8973 Bay Parkway, is reopening on April 7 for all to enjoy.

Kohl’s was one of the worst hit by Sandy in late October, shortly after completing a renovation to much of the store. The storm caused damage to several other stores, including Toys’R’Us, which has moved into a different building in Ceasar’s Bay.

After months of waiting the beloved store will open its doors to a community that welcomes it back with open arms.

The Universal Theater. Source: Bing Maps

Last month we reported on the history of the old Loews Theater at 46th street and New Utrecht Avenue. Originally dubbed the Universal Theater when it opened in 1927, the once glorious theater space now serves as furniture store. Still, most of the Borough Park theater is in place and is now going to be featured on a bike tour sponsored by Transportation Alternatives (Bike NYC), according to a report by DNAinfo.

The 15-mile bike tour not only swings by the old Universal Theater, which hosted acts including the Grateful Dead, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Byrds, but stops by the Brooklyn Paramount on Flatbush Avenue, the RKO Dyker on 86th Street and the Loew’s Kings in Flatbush, which is currently undergoing a $94 million restoration.

If you sign up for the tour, you’ll cruise through Brooklyn, stopping at each site to discuss the theater’s history and architecture. I suppose you can also reflect upon the miserable lack of foresight that led each of these magnificent theaters to share their current states of neglect and disrepair.

The tour is being held Sunday, March 24 and starts at 11:00 a.m. The meeting place for the event is at Washington Park and DeKalb Avenue, on the Southeast corner of Fort Greene Park. To reserve a space on this free bike tour, click here for more details.

David A. Boody Intermediate School 228. Source: Google Maps

The next Community Education Council District 21 (CEC 21) meeting will be held March 20 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Intermediate School 228 (IS 228) – David A. Boody, 228 Avenue S between West 4th Street and West 5th Street. Public comment is encouraged at this meeting.

District 21 Superintendent Isabel DiMola will discuss “Common Core Implementation in NYC” and the “Contract for Excellence (C4E)” in her Superintendent’s Report.

The guest speaker will be NYC consultant and public school advocate Karen Sprowal, who will discuss “Class Size Matters.” Sprowal made headlines in 2011 when her son, Matthew, struggling in an elite charter school, was transferred to a public school, where he then began to thrive.

Entertainment will be provided by the students of the IS 228 Jazz Band. There will also be door prizes and light refreshments. Parking is available in the school yard.

To learn more about CEC 21, call (718) 333-3885, email, or visit CEC 21 on the web or on Facebook.