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City Councilman Vincent Gentile invites residents who have questions about their property taxes and how to appeal them to a presentation and Q&A on “How To Appeal Your Property Taxes,” this Tuesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. inside the auditorium of William McKinley Intermediate School, 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway (enter on the 74th Street side of the school).

Have your questions about your property taxes answered by the Hon. Kirk P. Tzanides, a commissioner of the New York City Tax Commission.

To learn more, call Gentile’s office (718) 748-5200.

Photo by Jim McDonnell

Photo by Jim McDonnell

The creative arts scene of Southern Brooklyn steps into the spotlight as the works of five photographers are showcased in Coney Island USA’s “A Stroll Through Coney Island Among Friends,” an exhibition that displays the artists’ mesmerizing love affair with every nook, cranny, wrinkle and mole of America’s Playground.

The five photographers — Norman Blake, Kenny Lombardi, Bruce Handy, Jim McDonnell, and Eric Kowalsky — will be on hand for an opening reception this Saturday, February 22 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Shooting Gallery Arts Annex, 1214 Surf Avenue between Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street.

Admission is free and… oooh, wine will be served too, so it promises to be a very civilized event. Culture. Yes!

“A Stroll Through Coney Island Among Friends” will be on view Saturdays and Sundays, from February 22 to April 6 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

To learn more, go to

Councilman David Greenfield (Source: Facebook)


The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman David Greenfield:

Councilman David G. Greenfield has once again partnered with City University of New York (CUNY) to bring free, high quality immigration law services directly to residents of Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst twice a month through CUNY’s Citizenship Now! program. A professional attorney is now available at Councilman Greenfield’s district office on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month during business hours, so anyone who needs legal assistance with any immigration-related issues should schedule an appointment. The attorney will be available to provide help with issues including naturalization, relative petitions, adjustment of status, consular processing, certificates of citizenship, replacement of lost or damaged documents, visa lottery entries, fee waiver applications and consultations on other immigration-related issues.

“I know that dealing with legal issues can be very stressful and expensive. That’s why I have once again brought the outstanding CUNY legal assistance program back to the district and directly to my constituents. I am very proud to already have helped connect dozens of residents with free legal help, and will continue to work with great organizations like CUNY to continue this effort. Anyone who needs help with any immigration-related issue should immediately contact my office to make an appointment,” said Councilman Greenfield.

The partnership with CUNY is part of Councilman Greenfield’s continuing efforts to provide residents of the 44th District with free legal assistance. He also brought the New York Legal Assistance Group to his district office for the second time, connecting nearly a dozen local residents directly with help regarding legal issues concerning government programs right here in the community. In addition, he previously provided immigration-related legal services in partnership with CUNY and decided to bring this service back to the district this year based on its popularity and the number of constituents who need help with legal issues. Providing residents with access to free or low-cost legal help is especially important to Councilman Greenfield because the area of Brooklyn that he represents is home to many individuals who were born abroad or have family in other countries.

Meetings with the CUNY immigration attorney are by appointment only and take place during business hours on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month through June. Anyone who needs legal assistance is urged to contact Councilman Greenfield’s office at (718) 853-2704 to schedule a confidential meeting with the attorney.


Bensonhurst Bean super user Carmen Tamacas spotted this snow gentleman at Garibaldi Playground (18th Avenue between 83rd Street and 82nd Street), snapped a photo, and tweeted it our way.

Now that the snow is melting, I really don’t mind looking at it. But when it came before me over the weekend, who the heck really wanted to look at more snow – man or not.

Did you see any cool snowmen out there? Feel free to share the photos with us.


Store manager Tom Valerakis with Assemblyman William Colton.

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton. We might have done an original article on it, but no one offered us any cake.

On Saturday Februrary 15, Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn, New York) attended the 110th anniversary celebration of Waldbaum’s Supermarket at one of the chain’s local stores, located at 83rd Street and 18th Avenue in Bensonurst.

While the Waldbaum’s company celebrated 110 years of serving quality products at inexpensive prices, the local supermarket on 18th Avenue, which is officially store #296, has been serving the neighborhood for over thirty years.  The store also employs dozens of local residents.

Assemblyman Colton celebrated the anniversary with store manager Tom Valerakis. Colton cut the anniversary cake at the celebration, and the cake was then given out to customers with cups of apple juice.

At the celebration, the Assemblyman stressed, “Neighborhood supermarkets are a vital part of our community in that they employ neighborhood people and provide affordable shopping for neighborhood families, especially seniors. Local supermarkets are at the heart of our communities, providing services and products familes need at prices which are inexpensive. It is important that we recognize our neighborhood businesses and their hardworking employees.”

Source: CeCILL via Wikimedia Commons

Source: CeCILL via Wikimedia Commons

Assemblyman Dov Hikind took to the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue J this morning to announce that installation of the first wave of 320 security cameras is set to begin soon.

In a press release, the local pol boasts of the “expensive, state-of-the-art system of surveillance cameras,” for which the $1 million price tag is taxpayer subsidized. The first set of 80 units, containing four cameras each, will be placed this week near commercial districts, schools, institutions and residential areas in Borough Park and Midwood.

The program is dubbed the Leiby Kletzky Security Initiative in honore of the 8-year-old Borough Park boy who was abducted and brutally murdered on his way home from day camp in 2011.

“As I pointed out when we first secured the funding for this initiative, our community is often a potential target for attacks,” said Hikind in the release. “The new security-surveillance system that we are now putting in place will not only decrease the chances of outside attacks, but it will also enormously enhance law enforcement’s ability to solve and prevent local crimes. If any person were to go missing, G-d forbid, we will have exponentially increased the ability to locate and recover that person. If there’s an assault on someone in our community, we will have increased our chances of catching the criminal.”

Funding for the cameras was first announced last year, sparking controversy among some opposed to diverting taxpayer money to an area with low crime rates. Some were rankled by the swiftness of the installation, including those who’ve noted that since 2004, $42 million had been set aside for cameras to be installed in New York City Housing Authority buildings and yet no cameras had been installed for nine years.

The Haredi organization Agudath Israel will administer the project and serve as fiscal agent, but in a report by they’ve sought to clear up some of the confusion about what that means:

When asked to explain exactly how this project will work, Mr. Tanenbaum responded by clearing up some misinformation that has appeared in the press. “First of all, no one will monitor these cameras on a live feed. If and when a crime is reported, or a person is reported missing, then the police, and only the police, will have immediate access to the recorded data. Secondly, at no time will anyone from Agudath Israel or Mr. Hikind’s staff be directly involved in viewing the images recorded by the cameras. This is the job of the police, not amateurs.”

Source: Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

Neighbors of the 36-year-old pregnant woman struck and killed by a snow plow-equipped Bobcat vehicle last week are outraged at what they say is a meaningless penalty for the vehicle’s operator, and are calling for criminal charges.

Min Lin was visiting Fei Long Market at 6301 Eighth Avenue to stock up on groceries on Thursday morning. While in the parking lot, a Bobcat vehicle being used to remove snow struck her. She was rushed to Maimonides Medical Center where she died.

Doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section, successfully saving the child – but they fear the baby might suffer brain or organ damage after going 17-minutes without oxygen. The child remains in critical condition.

The Daily News reports:

“He should have been fingerprinted, then jailed with a high bail,” Faizi Javaid, 20, said of Wu Wu, the owner of Fei Long Market in Dyker Heights [sic] who backed his plow-equipped Bobcat into tragic mom Min Lin.

… Wu was hit with three summonses because his Bobcat lacked an inspection sticker, a headlamp and a license plate light, police said.

“It’s not enough,” said Magda Sadowski, Lin’s neighbor in Sunset Park.

“He should be punished for this. Three tickets? Come on! It’s a joke!”

Meanwhile, Lin’s husband is seeking to raise money to bring relatives from Canada and China to her funeral. DNAinfo reports:

The husband, Jin Feng Lin, a restaurant worker, hopes that he can raise enough money through acrowdfunding website to bring relatives around the world for the memorial service.

Supporters are hosting a fundraiser for the funeral and travel expenses on Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pacificana restaurant at 813 55th St. in Borough Park.

The website notes that the boy’s condition has not improved, and that the family has not received an apology from the store’s owner.

Source: formulanone/Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday unveiled the 63-points of his Vision Zero proposal aimed at eliminating pedestrian deaths, and some of the steps make Michael Bloomberg look like a Detroit industry lobbyist.

De Blasio’s plan pushes a citywide reduction of the speed limit to 25 miles per hour from the current 30, as well as the installation of more speed and red light cameras, more cops focused on moving violations, and – everyone’s favorites – more speed bumps, bike lanes and possibly pedestrian plazas across the five boroughs.

It’s not all bad news for me-first drivers; the plan also calls for widening parking lanes to keep delivery vehicles out of travel lanes, and investigating an automated system that would penalize taxicabs by pausing their meters if the driver exceeds the speed limit. They’re also looking at improving street lighting at more than 1,000 intersections.

Here’s some background from the New York Times:

Some of the mayor’s proposals — like lowering the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour from 30 and expanding the installation of red-light and speed-tracking cameras that issue tickets — require approval in the state capital, where the administration is asking lawmakers to approve a tax increase on the city’s top earners to finance prekindergarten programs.

Though the Bloomberg administration pressed the Legislature for years, with mixed success, to approve the expansion of automated enforcement cameras, Mr. de Blasio predicted “a receptive audience in Albany” this time around.

Pursuing jaywalkers will not remain a part of the plan, de Blasio noted, although the city has issued 215 summonses for jaywalking in a little over a month, compared to 27 over the same period last year.

More cops are also proposed, particularly to crack down on bad turning. amNY reports:

Citing police statistics that speeding and “inappropriate turning” were to blame in 70% of pedestrian fatalities, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the department would increase the number of officers devoted to deterring bad driving and investigating crashes.

There are about 250 pedestrians deaths and 4,000 serious injuries a year, the report says.

Some more stats from the Wall Street Journal:

Since Mr. de Blasio took office Jan. 1, more than 20 people have been killed in traffic crashes, he said. In 2013, according to a preliminary tally, there were 286 traffic deaths, a 3% increase from 2012 and a 15% increase from 2011.

On a related note, the city doled out nearly 4,000 speeding tickets since the installation of speed cameras last month, the mayor said.


A woman attempts to pass beneath the B/Q line at Avenue Y, a daunting task.

New York City residents and business owners are required to clear their sidewalks after snow storms or face heavy fines from city authorities. But city agencies have failed to clear many public sidewalks and those abutting government property, suggesting a double standard that puts pedestrians at risk.

With 48 inches of snow falling over the course of 22 days since January 1, deadbeat landlords who’ve failed to shovel paths have become a reviled caricature in New York City. Currently, they could face fines of $150, and a local City Council member has introduced new legislation that would direct city workers to clear private sidewalks and forward the bill to the property owner.

But while city workers may one day be deployed to clear private sidewalks, Sheepshead Bites has found a number of government-owned sidewalks that those same city workers have failed to clear.

Among the worst spots this publication surveyed yesterday are the underpasses of the B/Q Brighton line, all located between East 15th Street and East 16th Street. From Sheepshead Bay Road to Kings Highway, not one of the half dozen underpasses without a subway station had clear paths shoveled on both sides of the street, and even some of those with a subway station were left uncleared. In most locations, the northern side of the street was partially shoveled, while the southern side remained untouched.

Keep reading to learn whose responsibility it is, and view the pictures of their neglect.

Notice the fire-escape in the background. So you know this place is safe.

Looking for a new place to call home? Bensonhurst Bean has got you covered. Our rental roundup is a new feature showcasing some of the deals on the market now. If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com. And if you live in or near one the places below, let neighbors know what you think in the comments.

One Bedroom in Gravesend
Price: $1,850
Location: 81st Street between Bay Parkway and 23rd Avenue
Description: Apart from the apartment being bathed in white, what sticks out the most is just how tiny the kitchen is. It looks as though if your waist is bigger than a size 32, you’ll have a hard time making those scrambled eggs. The building is a walk-up, but the realtor doesn’t indicate what floor the apartment is on so if you get this place maybe you won’t have that 32 waist for long.
Contact: Jamie Grissom, Oxford Property Group, (917) 386-8349

Two Bedroom in Dyker Heights
Price: $1,850
Location: 1215 72nd Street
Description: This looks to be a rental brick row house. The wood floors are all new and cooking gas, heat and electricity are included.
Contact: Lisa Lonuzzi. RE Broker, (718) 290-2485

Three Bedrooms and a Hallway in Bensonhurst
Price: $1,550
Location: 1843 67th Street
Description: This apartment is for those who are tired of small or almost non-existent kitchens. Here is a full kitchen with enough room for a table and leg room. There’s even a hallway.
Contact: Coldwell Banker Reliable Rental Division, (718) 921-3100

Two Bedrooms and a Cutout Kitchen in Bath Beach
Price: $1,450
Location: Bay 17th Street
Description: This apartment has a warm quality about it. The kitchen cutout window and the dark wood used on the floors and the door frames all create a cozy feeling in this apartment. Heat and hot water are included.
Contact:  Pat Caltabiano, Exit Realty Top Properties, (917) 945-9155

If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.