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Location of the crime scene (Source: Google Maps)

Police have established a crime scene after responding to a call for a body that was spotted in the waters near Caesar’s Bay, at 8973 Bay Parkway.

The call first came in around 3:00 p.m. Harbor Units and Emergency Service Units were dispatched to assist in recovery of the body.

A reader of our sister site, Sheepshead Bites, Tweeted about the scene:

And:

We have sent a request for information the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs and are awaiting a response.

Update (5:38 p.m.): Reader Boruch Z. just sent us over this photo he took while sitting in traffic. It looks like the scene is just outside Ceasar’s Bay, near Bay 14th Street.

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.

Source: jasoneppinke via Flickr

Last week we reported on Dominic Cenatiempo’s quest to fight the impending plan set by the MTA to hike the toll on the Verrazano Bridge to an even $15. Despite Dominic’s efforts, and others equally outraged by the increasing cost of commuting around the city, the MTA is moving ahead with all of their fare increases on March 3, according to a report by SI Live.

The $15 fare, which represents a $2 increase, is for cash paying motorists only. E-ZPass users in Staten Island will also see a hike from $5.76 to $6.36 for their first two round trips before it rounds off to $6 for all subsequent monthly crossings.

E-ZPass commuters not hailing from Staten Island will see their Verrazano fare rise from $9.60 to $10.66.

The sadness felt by Verrazano commuters will probably be shared by all New Yorkers come March 3 as practically every MTA related travel expense will rise. SI Live laid out all the details:

Bus and subway riders will also be paying more: The base fare for bus and subway rides will rise a quarter to $2.50. The cost for express bus rides will rise 50 cents to an even $6.

More details:

  • The seven day Express Bus Plus MetroCard will cost $55.
  • The seven-day regular unlimited MetroCard will rise to $30.
  • The 30-day regular unlimited MetroCard jumps to $112.
  • Single-ride tickets, only sold at vending machines, will cost $2.75.
  • A bonus of 5 percent is added to MetroCards with purchases of $5 or more.

There is a new fee of $1 for the purchase of MetroCards, but there are exceptions for cards purchased at out-of-system vendors and for seniors.

For the full list of hair pulling price hikes, you can visit the MTA’s breakdown of the new prices by clicking here.

Signs in the window announce the closure to customers.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: It’s official –  Brooklyn’s last Blockbuster, located at 6906 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, is closing its doors as the franchise continues its retreat from brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Lights out at Blockbuster on 18th Avenue.

The store will permanently shut its doors April 7, and this week kicked off a store-wide sale on movies, video games and miscellaneous items. Signs inside the location note that even the furniture and equipment are for sale in a business liquidation that seems to leave nothing off the table.

The storefront became the last location in the borough – and one of the last in the city – after the 3752 Nostrand Avenue location in Sheepshead Bay shuttered almost exactly a year ago.

At its peak, Blockbuster had more than 4,000 stores across the nation, with hundreds in New York City. But facing financial trouble, in part because of digital competitors and management issues, the company declared bankruptcy in 2010 and was acquired by Dish Network, which announced in 2011 that they would only keep 500 storefronts open throughout the country.

Keep reading to find out more about the closure, and how customers are reacting.

Photo By Erica Sherman

State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis joined forces and called for the preservation of spousal refusal, a provision in state law that provides help for care-giving individuals so they can afford long-term care for their spouses, according to a press release on Golden’s Senate website.

Spousal refusal allows seniors to separate their income from spouses who are in home care due to chronic health issues. The elimination of the provision would force the healthy spouse to surrender a greater portion of their income and resources to pay the health care costs of their partner.

Assemblywoman Malliotakis laid out her opposition to the elimination of spousal refusal during a press conference:

“The new language in the executive budget, changing a single word from ‘or’ to ‘and’ regarding spousal refusal, causes an unbearable financial burden on New York’s most vulnerable. This new language forces the sick and elderly, who for the last 40 years have relied on this system, to lose all their assets and possibly their homes. New Yorkers need to stand up for the seniors and the sick, and spousal refusal is a right which we must preserve.”

Source: Google Maps

A call over the police scanner indicates that a tractor-trailer smashed into the Bay 8th Street overpass of the eastbound Belt Parkway.

The call came over  at approximately 6:40 p.m., spurring a response from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit and Highway Patrol.

Two lanes of traffic have been closed to accommodate, causing heavy delays.

Commercial vehicles are not permitted on the Belt Parkway.

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.

This is a paid announcement from il Fornetto, Sheepshead Bay’s premier waterfront dining establishment at 2902 Emmons Avenue.

The above is a paid announcement by il Fornetto. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Winter storm Nemo rolled through the region Friday night, covering Southern Brooklyn in about nine inches of snow.

How did Bensonhurst react? Like a bunch of school kids, having fun with some snowballs.

Reader Laura Whitman decided to mark the occasion, carving the storm’s name into a snow-covered car.

“2013 Nemo” – aye, we’ll never forget.

Meanwhile, Annabella Perrone snapped some shots with family and friends, such as this one where she’s about to get nailed by a snowball:

On the other hand, we hope  reader “nectanelson” raised her kids, Joseph and Dominick, well enough to know not to try chucking one of these at mama:

On a side note: what’s with Bensonhurst’s reluctance to take photos? Aside from the awesome contributors mentioned above, we were surprised to see so few submissions. At first we thought it was us, like we had bad breath and no one wanted to tell us or something. But then we turned to Flickr and other photosharing sites to see if we could find any other Nemo photos from around our coverage area. The result? Zilch. There were photos from just about every neighborhood in Brooklyn – except Bensonhurst.

We object! Prove the internetz wrong! Take those fancy-shmancy phones we know you have, or a standard point and shoot, or an iPad or DSLR or any kind of crazy image-capturing device seemingly built into everything these days, and get shooting!

Bensonhurst 4eva (in photos)!

Like much of Coney Island, the famous Coney Island pizzeria, Totonno’s (1524 Neptune Avenue), was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. As we reported on our sister site, Sheepshead Bites, Totonno’s owners Cookie Cimineri and Antoinette Balzano face a steep financial climb back to reopening its doors. Well, thanks to the generosity of famed chef and author Daniel Patterson, Totonno’s is $5,000 closer to its goal of firing up its magical brick oven, according to a report by Zagat.

Patterson, best known for his fancy San Francisco restaurant Coi, originally held a benefit for Governor, a Brooklyn based fine-dining establishment that was also destroyed by Sandy. When word got back to Patterson that Governor was closing its doors for good, he decided to funnel the proceeds he raised from the Governor benefit to Totonno’s, based on a plea from Totonno’s lover Allison Robicelli, who grabbed Patterson’s ear. Patterson expressed modesty in the face of his generous donation:

“My staff came and worked on their day off—I should not be getting credit! Seriously, no big deal. We’re all happy to help. That’s what people do for each other, right? Totonno’s is amazing. I just wish I could do more. Relying on fine dining restaurants to fill in the gaps left by the government in times of crisis is kind of a joke, but we did our best.”

Hopefully, Patterson’s contribution will go a long way in helping Totonno’s get back on its feet.

Friday night may have been the biggest blizzard to hit us this season, but that didn’t stop stop local residents from completing last minute shopping on 86th Street in preparation for the Chinese New Year, which kicked off this Sunday. Many of the stores that lined the commercial strip were displaying traditional items to properly bring in the Year of the Snake.

From lanterns to banners, it is impossible to walk by the area without noticing the assortment of red decorations. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good fortune and joy, and one of the shop owners shared that all of the decorations are meant to bring good luck for neighbors.

The shopkeeper mentioned that Chinese New Year in America is a much more subdued event than in China, where the event is celebrated for 15 days. In America, the celebration is cut short since many cannot take the time off from work.

One of the popular items that are found in many of the stores are red envelopes with golden writing on them, which are packed with money and doled out to children. This, too, is meant to bring good luck – and, of course, a little bit of prosperity.

Decorations are not the only way to bring in the New Year. As it does for most holidays in most cultures, food plays a starring role.

A sales representative at Sun Hing Seafood and Meat Market (2502 86th Street) spoke of the traditional candy table, which is a large variety of candies that are displayed on a table for friends and family to enjoy. A popular candy that is eaten is called ‘Lucky Candies,’ which, you guessed it, are supposed to bring luck to the new year.

From decorations to food to traditions, it is clear that an important way to bring in the Chinese New Year is to be surrounded with as much luck as possible. And, for many, being spared the worst of Winter Storm Nemo’s wrath was a good start to a fortunate New Year.

The Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare. Source: Google Maps

Community Board 11 will hold its next general meeting February 13 at 7:30 p.m. inside the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, 1740 84th Street.

The scheduled agenda features a public hearing on the responses to the FY 2014 Preliminary Capital and Expense Budget Submissions.

For further information, call (718) 266-8800, email info@brooklyncb11.org, or go to www.brooklyncb11.org.