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The Checkmate, Cancer! team.

Karafin at the 2005 PCF Walkathon

Childhood cancer is the number one cause of non-accidental deaths among children, with 12,000 diagnoses each year. Elona Karafin, a 19-year-old Bensonhurst native, has started ”Checkmate, Cancer!”, a team participating in the annual Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF) walkathon, in the hopes of ending this deadly disease.

When Karafin was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. For two years, she suffered through chemotherapy and countless surgeries, but she refused to let the disease win. Since then she has been involved with various charities to help the cause.

“As a cancer survivor, I want to dedicate a portion of my life giving back to the people and institutions that save children’s lives every day,” said Karafin.

Karafin has participated on a number of PCF teams over the years, but decided to start her own, “Checkmate, Cancer!”

The team is mostly made up of college students working hard to reach their goal of at least $2,000 to donate to the PCF by late April, as well as raising awareness of the cause. So if people aren’t able to donate money then Karafin urges them to like and share their page on Facebook. It’s a small step that can make a big difference, Karafin said.

The Baruch College student is encouraging people to join her team to walk in the 19th annual Pediatric Center Foundation Walkathon, April 28 in Riverside Park. The event is a fun and healthy way to spend the day, with entertainment, food and lots more. Plus, it’s for a great cause to help sick kids.

The PCF is a non-profit charity with the goal to cure childhood cancer and raise money for research, equipment and patient care.

”The PCF walk made me realize how many people are out there to do good for others, not just by collecting money, but by really creating a comfortable and happy environment for young patients and their families. I may have been young, but I remember like it was yesterday how hard it was to feel comfortable in public being bald and stick thin.” Karafin said.

Karafin is also hosting a fundraising luncheon this April.

To learn more about ”Checkmate, Cancer!” and how to be a part of it click here.


We’ve kept you updated on the looming MTA fare hikes, and now they are a reality. Buses, subways and bridge tolls all cost more money courtesy of the friendly and responsible money managers at the MTA.

In case you’re late to the party and have no idea what I’m talking about, here is the breakdown of the latest hikes, guaranteed to finally balance the MTA’s budget forever, we’re certain of it.

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 wallet-squeezing price hikes, you can visit the MTA’s breakdown of the new charges by clicking here.


Last month we reported on the City Council’s passage of a bill aimed to end hiring discrimination of the unemployed. The bill, sponsored by Councilman Vincent Gentile, was vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg. Gentile expects the City Council to override the veto, according to a report by CBS NY.

In the recent economic downturn, many unemployed people are finding difficulty getting hired or even getting an interview. The bill would ensure that unemployed job seekers get a fair shake in getting interviewed and landing jobs.

“Employers are basically saying or employment agencies are saying those who are unemployed need not apply,” Gentile told CBS. “And that, again, is a Catch-22 that you need to have a job to get a job.”

Opponents of the bill, led by Bloomberg, argue that attempting to legislate hiring decisions made by businesses are too complicated and it opens businesses to a bevy of potentially frivolous lawsuits.

“Hiring decisions frequently involve the exercise of independent, subjective judgment about a prospective employee’s likely future performance, and the creation of this ambiguous legal standard will make it harder for employers to make decisions that will benefit their businesses,” Bloomberg said in a letter explaining his veto decision.

Opponents also argue that companies will begin to exclusively hire from within their ranks rather than risk the exposure of complaints from outside applicants.

Still, advocates of the bill like mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn believe that something has to be done to keep unemployed people from being shut out of the work world.

Applicants “are out there, doing what we tell them to do, pounding the pavement, putting out their resume, only to hear that the fact that they’re unemployed makes them ineligible for a job,” Quinn said Friday. “It’s the exact wrong message to people.”

Source: cheetahlip via reddit

Lately we’ve been featuring some stunning photography of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but the one we stumbled across today might be my favorite thus far.

Cheetahlip posted this shot of the bridge on the social media sharing site Reddit and it has garnered a great deal of awe and appreciation.

Taken on December 4, 1963, the picture shows the bridge being built in the halcyon days when ambitious infrastructure projects dazzled New Yorkers on a yearly basis, and people didn’t mind having engineering feats described to them by dreamy eye-talian disco dancers.

Interestingly, the majority of the reader comments on the picture come from people lamenting the Verrazano toll hike that goes into effect on March 3. High tolls aside, it’s still nice to have a massive architectural wonder connecting New York’s greatest islands.

City Councilman David Greenfield is putting forward legislation designed to help alleviate the treacherous commute seniors face after snowstorms, according to a report by Metro.

Greenfield has received numerous complaints from seniors who lament the state of pedestrian walkways that go un-shoveled after snowstorms and blizzards, limiting their ability to get around town.

“I hear from seniors that they can’t walk by or if they walk, they fall,” Greenfield told Metro. “These pedestrian paths at train stations have become a blind spot for the Department of Sanitation.”

Greenfield’s plan calls for the DOS to include pedestrian bridges and walkways in their annual plan for clearing the city. Currently, there is bureaucratic confusion as to who is responsible for clearing pedestrian pathways since most of them are near subway stations.

“You get the blame game,” Greenfield said. “Every agency blames a different agency.”

The councilman hopes that by forcing the DOS to assign definitive responsibility to an agency for clearing the pathways will lead to a speedier cleanup and less danger for seniors.

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.

Check out this great Chinese New Year celebration dance video filmed on February 12 in Bensonhurst. We hope the “year of the snake” is bringing you all “the steady progress and attention to detail,” that the Chinese zodiac is promising this year.

Thanks to Troberg Stefan for uploading it.


Recently on our sister-site, Sheepshead Bites, we covered Congress’s passage of a bill that would provide financial aid to religious institutions wrecked by Superstorm Sandy and the ensuing flack from Jewish groups that Congressman Jerrold Nadler took for voting against it. In response to the heat, Nadler took it upon himself to write an editorial for the Jewish Press to defend his vote and make his view more clearly known.

In his editorial, Nadler argues that by voting against the bill, his fundamental intent was to protect the religious rights of the Jewish community and other religious minorities.

Nadler believes that voting for the bill brings up serious constitutional issues that might challenge the First Amendment, the very amendment that protects the right to worship freely.

While I was, of course, tempted to support grants that might provide some relief to a number of shuls, I decided that I simply was not willing to trade that potential short-term benefit for the likelihood of real long-term harm to the religious freedom protections upon which the Jewish community depends. And I certainly wasn’t willing to risk such harm without a single hearing to examine the serious constitutional questions the bill raised.

Nadler also argues that the Supreme Court has sharply drawn the line when it comes to using taxpayer money to fund religious institutions.

The record is clear: the Supreme Court has rejected every single case brought before it that attempted to provide the type of funding made available in this bill. So, while the bill may be a nice political gesture, it is highly unlikely that any shuls will ever see any actual funds from it.

And the Supreme Court has ruled this way for good reason. Experience shows that once government starts funding religion, it starts demanding a say in how its money is spent. That has been true of every governmental expenditure.

Nadler closes his editorial by defending his record supporting the Jewish community and boosting religious liberty. He also reiterates his belief that by voting against the bill, he was actually increasing religious liberty.

I will continue to fight to ensure that our community – including our vital religious institutions – receives all the assistance government can provide. But I will do so in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and the preservation of our most precious liberties. I understand that some will not always agree – nor will everyone like some of my decisions – but our religious liberty is too important to sacrifice for apparent short-term advantage or political popularity.

The deadline to submit your child’s kindergarten application for the 2013-2014 school year is tomorrow. You must apply by this Friday, March 1, 2013. As you finalize your application, please remember the following:
  • Eligibility: All children who turn five years old in 2013 and who live in New York City are eligible to attend kindergarten in September 2013.
  • Applications: You must submit an application in order for your child to attend kindergarten. If you would like to apply to multiple schools, you must submit an application to each school. You must bring two proof of residence documents.
  • Choice Districts: District 1 (Lower East Side), District 7 (South Bronx), and District 23 (Brownsville) are “choice districts.” This means there are no zoned schools in these districts. You can apply to schools in District 1, District 7, and District 23 online, by phone (at 718-935-2009), or in person at an Enrollment Office. For more information about these districts, visit the Kindergarten Admissions website.

Elementary School Directories
Don’t forget to take a look at the 2013-2014 Elementary School Directories to get a better understanding of your options. Available online, each borough’s directory contains information about the kindergarten admissions process, schools located in that borough, district maps, a list of charter schools, and a summary of all public kindergarten programs in New York City. 

Photo Courtesy of

Look out webheads, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 is filming in Bensonhurst, according to a report by Before the Trailer.

The filming of the most famous Marvel super-hero kicked off at 10 a.m. and goes on ’til 2 a.m.

We’d love for any of our readers to head on down to the set somewhere around these areas.

  • at 82nd Street between 14th and 16th Avenue
  • at 83rd street between 14th and 16th Avenue
  • at 15th avenue between 81st and 84th street
  • at 16th avenue between 81st and 84th street

The film is being shot under the alias of “London Calling,” so don’t be fooled and keep your eyes peeled for Andrew Garfield springing around in some red and blue spandex and send us any pics you can sneak!

Best of luck!