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Dick Zigun (Source: Whiskeygonebad/Flickr)

What better way to recognize the opening of summer than to spend some time with the most well-known man of the world’s most well-known summer destination?

I’m guessing that’s what the New York Times was thinking when they sent a reporter down to spend the day with Coney Island’s unofficial mayor, Dick Zigun, for a piece in their Sunday edition.

Love him or hate him, and there’s plenty of people in both camps, Zigun remains one of the most recognizable faces in the new Coney Island. He’s the founder of Coney Island USA, which runs the Coney Island Museum, the sideshow and the freak bar, and is also responsible for the resurrection of the Mermaid Parade. He’s loved for being the neighborhood’s biggest booster, but also earned disdain for some of the projects he’s boosted – including Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s revitalization plan, or proposals to bring casinos to the neighborhood.

Regardless, the Times piece will make you wonder why the hell you’re still schlepping to an office in Midtown working a soulless job. Why not just ditch it all and become a Coney carny, hang out on the boardwalk ’til you need to show up at work at 1 p.m.? Where, you know, you just bend a bunch or hammer nails into your face or something. Heck, my job’s better than yours, but you can sign me up for some face hammering.

Anyway, the article walks you through the phases of Zigun’s day, from morning until he hits the hay. Here’s what he does once things at the sideshow are underway:

When the show is on and everything is going well, I start walking around the neighborhood, which I like to do on weekends. Everyone is happy. The local businesses are happy to see the activity. Even though I’m the phony mayor of Coney Island, I go and visit my constituents. At the end of West 12th Street, there is a machine with a dancing doll, called Miss Coney Island, inside a booth. I have a superstition that I can’t walk by her without putting a quarter in so she dances.

In addition to touting a few eating options, including a recommendation for the best chicken torta (Doña Zita), he’s got some warm words for the Russian karaoke joint across the street:

[A] Russian karaoke place called Club Shalyapin. My wife has been known to go up and sing, but I would never. I enjoy the off-key Russian singers singing their popular songs that I’ve never heard of. It’s a surreal place.

Check out the full piece here.

Source: andrew c mace/Flickr

D LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound D trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to 36 St.

N LINE

From 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound N trains skip 30 Av, Broadway, 36 Av, and 39 Av.

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound N trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to 59 St.

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

R LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, there are no R trains in Brooklyn between 59 St and 36 St—take the N. R trains run between Bay Ridge-95 St and 59 St.

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

F LINE

From 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, F trains run local in both directions between 71 Av and 21 St-Queensbridge.

cortese.jpg

Cortese (Source: Facebook)

Congressman Michael Grimm, once considered a popular rising star in the Republican party, is finding fewer friends at his side as the government continues to pursue a criminal case against him. Over the weekend, news broke that his campaign’s only full-time employee, campaign manager Bill Cortese, ditched his post for brighter horizons.

Daily News, which broke the story, reports:

A person familiar with the decision said Bill Cortese — the campaign’s only full-time employee — made his exit after donors snapped their wallets shut when Grimm was indicted last month.

“He is not getting off the ballot and he is going to run a campaign with the D.C. money shut off, the Wall Street money shut off,” the person said. “There is no PAC money. He is going to have to cut costs and retool the campaign.

“Everything changed with indictment.”

… The National Republican Congressional Committee cut off financial and strategic support for Grimm after his indictment, and other big donors backed away due to his legal woes.

Staten Island Advance takes note of the timing:

The news came the same day as an announcement that the House Ethics Committee had formed an investigative subcommittee to probe Grimm the wake of his 20-count indictment on federal tax evasion and other charges. The subcommittee will defer any investigation until the Justice Department finishes with Grimm.

Cortese was hardly a longtime member of the campaign. He joined the team shortly after Grimm made headlines in January for threatening to throw a reporter off the balcony of the Capitol building. Cortese previously did stings at Mercury Public Affairs, and also worked for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Since Cortese joined the team, Grimm was indicted for federal tax evasion and illegal employment practices, among other charges, stemming from his ownership of a Manhattan restaurant prior to joining Congress. It appears Grimm associates who had previously been arrested for illegal campaign fundraising in relation to his 2010 campaign provided key information to the government that led to the tax evasion charges.

The following is a statement from Assemblyman William Colton, issued yesterday for Memorial Day:

Colton (Source: Facebook)

Colton (Source: Facebook)

As summer approaches, many of us in southwest Brooklyn will be celebrating Memorial Day by enjoying barbecues, parties and time off from work and school. But while we gather with our families and spend time resting and relaxing, it’s important that we also remember why the holiday was created – to honor the brave men and women who have lost their lives defending our nation’s freedom. The meaning of the day should move us to say a prayer or hold a moment of silence to remember the men and women who perished fighting for our freedoms and those that continue to fight on our behalf.

In 1866, Waterloo, NY, became the birthplace of modern Memorial Day. Families gathered to celebrate the sacrifice of fallen soldiers and honored their loved ones by placing flowers on their graves and lowering American flags to half-staff. Today, family and friends still come together every spring in the spirit of commemoration, holding remembrance ceremonies and pausing to show gratitude to those who have lost their lives in the many difficult wars our nation has been involved in since that first gathering. From the volunteer soldiers serving in the Continental Army to secure the birth of our nation, to those that stormed the shores of Normandy and Iwo Jima during World War II, to those that fought in the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, to those who answered the call after the attacks on 9/11, we must remember all who fought for our country and our freedoms.

As we remember the fallen, we should also recognize the sacrifices of surviving soldiers, veterans and their families. These brave men and women serving abroad or returning home from war are sons and daughters, and many of them are parents themselves. They all have sacrificed precious time with their families and their own children, and put their lives on the line in order to defend our country and the rights we often take for granted.

As your State Assembly Member, I look to support and help our veterans by working toward finding solutions to the problems they are facing. I feel that it is my duty to fight the battles for them in Albany, as they have fought for us around the world.

We continue to deliver and improve upon a myriad of veterans’ programs, from property tax relief to small business start-up assistance, incentives for employers to hire vets, accessible mental health services, and assistance for going back to school. However, there are always more battles for us to fight.

In 2013, I was proud to have voted for a program to create, and perpetually maintain, official veterans’ cemeteries in New York State. We also created the Veterans Remembrance and Cemetery Maintenance Fund, to which individuals filing their income tax returns can contribute. While it is a posthumous honor, their service and sacrifice deserve recognition by the state of New York.

We can continue to honor them by teaching our youth the importance of the American flag, and through primary accounts of military history, its role in protecting our democratic institutions. Capturing these accounts and sharing them with our children is crucial to honoring the memory of our heroes. For this reason, I introduced legislation to direct the Division of Veterans’ Affairs to create a veteran’s speakers program, to make it easier for schools to invite veterans to discuss their experiences with students. This legislation was signed into law last year.

This year, I helped pass the Service-Disabled Veterans-Owned Business Act, which would set the goal of six-percent for the state’s procurement contracts to be with businesses owned, at least by 51%, by service-disabled veterans. This legislation also calls for the director to compile a public directory which will be posted on the State’s Office of General Services website of certified service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and to collect and distribute information to assist service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

In addition, another piece of legislation that I introduced to help our armed forces was signed into law in late 2013. This law exempts members of the military upon returning to New York from having to pay New York sales tax on vehicles that they purchased while stationed in another state, provided that they paid sales tax in the other state. In other words, this law ends a duplicative sales tax for members of the military.

I ask that this Memorial Day, please take a few moments to realize how fortunate you are to enjoy the freedoms given to you by our body of laws and the men and women who protect them. More importantly, take the time to thank a soldier or a veteran, and keep them in your thoughts and prayers. The men and women in uniform, who have selflessly served our country and defended our freedom, are an inspiration to us all. I remain dedicated to honoring and preserving the memory of those who have been lost in action, and I will continue striving to find ways to support our veterans, troops and their families, while at home and abroad.

God bless you and your families, and God bless the United States of America.

Bensonhurst Bean wishes all of our readers a safe, fun and fulfilling Memorial Day today.

We all love a day off, especially when it’s as beautiful out as it is today. But in between the barbecues and beachgoing, remember to take a moment to reflect on those who served our nation, and, moreover those who gave their lives abroad and at home since our nation’s founding.

We’ll be back on Tuesday. Until then, have a great day, and a big thank you to all of our service members, past and present.

Source: IntExp7/Flickr

It’s not a subway alert, but… alternate side parking regulations and parking meter regulations are suspended on Monday, May 26, for Memorial Day. Now, here are the subway alerts:

On Memorial Day, Monday, all subway lines will be operating on a Sunday schedule.

D LINE

From 9:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Sunday, Coney Island-bound D trains skip 182-183 Sts.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday, Manhattan-bound D trains run local from 59 St to 145 St.

N LINE

All times until October 2014: No trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late night N and weekend R trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

R LINE

All times until October 2014: No trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late night N and weekend R trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

F LINE

From 9:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Jamaica-bound F trains are rerouted via the E after 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza. To 57 St, take the Jamaica-bound F to the nearby 5 Av/53 St station. To Lexington Av/63 St, take the Jamaica-bound F to Lexington Av/53 St and transfer to an uptown 4 or 6 to the nearby 59 St station. To Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge, take the F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F. After 12:30 AM, transfer is available at Steinway St. From these stations, take a Coney Island-bound F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.

From 12:30 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Tuesday, F trains run local in Queens.

Click to enlarge

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.

Grimm

Congressman Michael Grimm kept a cell phone registered to his undercover, mob-connected FBI alter-ego years after leaving the job, and continued to use the phone while in Congress, according to a Daily News report.

The paper cites documents released by the U.S. Attorney earlier this week that outlines their evidence in their case against Grimm, who is accused of a $1 million tax fraud scheme, as well as illegal hiring and employment practices.

The paper reports:

Rep. Michael Grimm, who posed as a mobbed-up stockbroker named Michael (Mikey Suits) Garabaldi while working undercover for the FBI, kept his wise-guy alter ego even after entering Congress, newly unsealed federal documents show.

Grimm’s cell phone was listed under a “Michael Garibaldi of Centurian Consulting” as recently as 2012, when prosecutors sought a court order for permission to track all his calls, the documents show.

The embattled Staten Island Republican, who is now under federal indictment, used the phone as his primary number as recently as last year, and even received mail addressed to a Michael Garibaldi, a source told The Daily News.

Grimm, his spokesman and his lawyer did not respond to questions Wednesday about why he used the alias more than six years after leaving the FBI — and for at least two years after entering the U.S. House in January 2011.

The story also reveals the extent of the investigation into Grimm’s 2010 campaign fundraising. That investigation came to light shortly after it began in 2012, first noted by the New York Times, yet it was unclear how far-reaching it was. The new documents show that not only were Grimm’s phone lines were being monitored by authorities, but also that of gal pal Diana Durand, who has been indicted for her alleged role in funneling illegal funds to the Republican pol, and Grimm associates Ofer Biton and Ronn Torossian, who they believed, along with Grimm, has attempted to extort money from prominent Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Pinto.

Biton has also been arrested, and is cooperating in the government’s case against Grimm.

Grimm did not respond to the paper’s requests for comment, or those of the Staten Island Advance.

In fact, he appears to be dodging questions about the investigation, having made headlines yet again this week for jumping into a car and making a getaway from this FOX Detroit reporter:

florist

Walking past 86th Street and Bay 34th Street last week, I realized that the relative long-lived Jenny’s Flowers had closed down, and construction was underway at the 2332 86th Street storefront.

From the looks of it, they’re totally renovating the space, inside and out. Sure enough, a little search on the Department of Buildings website revealed that, indeed, they are. And the changes in the new layout are intended to make it more amendable to an “eating and drinking establishment.”

We’re looking forward to seeing what new restaurant is on its way. What kind of food would you guys like to see here?

15th Avenue and 81st Street (Source: Google Maps)

15th Avenue and 81st Street (Source: Google Maps)

A car and motorcycle crashed into each other at around 3:20 p.m. yesterday, leaving three people injured.

News 12 reports that the accident, which happened at 15th Avenue and 81st Street, hospitalized two people, one in critical condition and the other in serious.

The third injured person was treated at the scene.

The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information did not respond to Bensonhurst Bean’s requests for information about the accident.