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Source: Slarre via Wikimedia Commons

Congressman Michael Grimm invites all retired members of the NYPD or FDNY to have a square at L & B Spumoni Gardens (2725 86th Street) with Geraldo Rivera for an NYPD and FDNY Appreciation Event from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday, October 15.

Here’s what Grimm wrote on his Facebook page

If you are a current or retired member of the NYPD or FDNY, please join me and special guest Geraldo Rivera for pizza and refreshments at an NYPD and FDNY Appreciation Event. Please RSVP on Facebook or via email to Liam.A.McCabe@gmail.com if you plan to attend. Family is welcome to join in the fun as we honor those brave individuals who put on a uniform each and every day to keep us safe from harm. I hope you’ll share this invite and help spread the word.

No word on who is footing the bill, maybe it’s Rivera

Entering this maze of produce on a weekend feels like a whole different kind of Great Adventure. Viccuria Market (2275 86th Street) is an amusement park in its own right. The excitement begins with the smell of fresh vegetables, sawdust, meat and bleach as you enter the store. This produce park is like a roller coaster filled with fancy dates, Irish Soda Bread (with an English and Russian label) and a top-shelf pickle bar.

When rolling up to Viccuria’s pickle bar, one pickle that shouts out to you is the hot peppers stuffed with bread crumbs. Resting on the top row of the olive and pickle bar, the stuffed hot peppers gives the impression that it is meant for a higher class of customer. At $7.49 a pound, this isn’t your grandma’s shtetle pickle, this is a 21st Century pickle. This marinated pepper would be the choice of royalty, diplomats and anyone with a Lexus SUV.

The great ball of greasiness clearly comes from another planet. It stares at all customers with an alien, foreign-like shape that reminds this reviewer of baby gremlins. The pepper could have made an appearance with the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew, manifesting itself on the top of Captain Jean Luc Picard’s clean and shiny head. It would be eaten during times of great duress, like when the Klingons try to take over L&B’s.

My pickle partner and I were not in search of the final frontier, but more so a final snack of summer. A tribute to all the great tastes of July and August. Since this reviewer does his best to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuff, we brought our own plastic containers for the pickles and the staff at Viccuria was very receptive and helpful. The pickles needed to be weighed by the fancy deli staff. Our helper, decked out in black chef’s jacket and black chef’s hat that would allow him to fit in with Parisian literati, the prospect park drum circle crowd or an old school Black Panther Party party, was super friendly. He measured the pickles and even subtracted an estimated weight of the containers from the price.

The stuffed hot peppers were the first pickles we sampled. We let our hands explore the oily goodness of the pepper. My taste buds opened to spicy blend of salt and sour that brought up images of an old world grandma with a new pickle stand at the Barclay’s Center. Whoever she is, she sure knows her bread crumbs. The filling was sweet, salty and bready – like a pierogi from heaven.

We licked our fingers clean of the greasy, oily and beautiful taste. We silently thanked grandmas everywhere for their breadcrumbin’ and picklin’ skills. We hopped into the Lexus SUV and drove off into the end of our salty summer frontier.

The hot pepper made me feel safe and loved. It helped heal my lost kid trauma suffered in the husky section of the Alexander’s Department store in Kings Plaza, 1986. If only I had been lost with these Grandma Stuffed Peppers, with their top shelf of the old world quality, I may have turned out okay.

Viccuria, 2275 86th Street, (718) 331-0100.

Is there a restaurant or specific dish you think we should check out? Let us know!

This past Saturday, thousands of people came to Bensonhurst to celebrate the community’s 31st Annual Columbus Day Parade. With their American flags in tow, locals rejoiced in Brooklyn’s personal tribute to cultural diversity and U.S. discovery.

The parade started on 60th Street and 18th Avenue (appropriately at Cristoforo Colombo Blvd.) and continued to 84th Street and 18th Avenue.  The Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO) put together the necessary preparations.

Rita Schettini, a representative from FIAO, said that every year, the parade is “better and better, bigger and bigger.”

Keep reading, and see photos from the parade.

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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.

The Brooklyn School of Inquiry Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is hosting a Fall Harvest Festival this Saturday October 13, from noon until 4 p.m. The event will take place in the schoolyard  at 50 Avenue P, across the street from Seth Low Park.

All are welcome to attend and there is no entrance fee. There will also be pony rides from noon until 2 p.m., a bouncy castle, a slide, an obstacle course, face painting, carnival games, arts and crafts, food and more.

All proceeds from food and ride tickets benefit the school. Come out and enjoy the festivities.

From the offices of Congressman Michael Grimm:

BROOKLYN, NY – Today, Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R,C-Brooklyn/S.I.) and State Senator Marty Golden (R,C,I – Brooklyn) sent a letter to Community Board 10 Chairwoman Joanne Seminara in support of naming the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and 85th Street “Firefighter Michael G. Behette 9/11 Memorial Way.”  Michael Behette was a Dyker Heights resident and firefighter who died last month from a 9/11-related cancer. His family has requested the street naming in his honor, and Rep. Grimm and Senator Golden are lending their full support.

“Michael Behette was a true American hero who bravely rushed into a dust cloud of danger when others ran away,” said Rep. Grimm. “His selfless love for our city, for others, and for his profession as NYC fire fighter ultimately cost him his life, and that should never be forgotten. It is with great privilege that I join Senator Golden in support of naming this memorial after our hometown hero, Michael Behette, so that we will never forget his inspiring story or the sacrifices he made on our behalf,” said Rep. Grimm.

“Firefighter Michael Behette was an example to us all.  His dedication to the recovery efforts is a reminder of the service and sacrifice of our bravest to help move our city forward after we were attacked.  Michael gave everything for his city, state, and nation, and today I join with Congressman Grimm in calling for our city to remember and honor his ultimate sacrifice by this memorial on 85th Street.  My thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family, and I call on all to remember that while all gave some in those days and months, some, like Michael, gave all,” said Senator Golden.

Michael Behette was assigned to Ladder 172 in Bensonhurst. When the towers were hit, Behette was on vacation in Florida. Unable to get a flight home, he drove straight to Ground Zero where he worked for the next 31 days in rescue and recovery operations.  He stayed on site for six more months. He was diagnosed in 2011 and passed on September 17th, 2012 from lung cancer, which is believed to have been caused from exposure to the toxins at the WTC site.

Rep. Grimm and his staff have met with members of the Behette family who brought the matter to their attention, as well as helped the family obtain the application for the street naming.  Rep. Grimm and Senator Golden have written the attached letter of support to be submitted today with the family’s application.

State Senator Marty Golden and his upstart opponent, Democrat Andrew Gounardes, faced off at a debate last night hosted by the Dyker Heights Civic Association.

The 30-minute debate got heated at points, with Golden and Gounardes occasionally raising their voices and breaking with debate protocol to ask each other questions or attack one another.

Among the issues discussed were gun control, women’s rights including emergency contraceptives for rape victims and fair pay, and education.

Education is how Andrew Gounardes opened the debate, attacking the 10-year incumbent for failing to bring home the bacon for local schools. He claimed Golden has voted 99 percent of the time with the Senate Republican leadership, which he said had been neglecting New York City’s schools, siphoning off funding and ignoring issues of overcapacity in New York City. The Senator responded by calling the claims “pure fantasy” and noted that he had brought funding to local schools, including adding 4,000 seats to the district.

On a separate question about education, Golden received boos for expressing his support for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of the city school system, while Gounardes said the state needed to do a better job ensuring the mayor is fulfilling his obligation to students, which, he said, appears not to be the case given college-readiness rates and school standards.

The crowd appeared to overwhelmingly support Senator Golden, many sporting Golden and GOP stickers – but Gounardes also brought a contingent of supporters who cheered him on. Both appeared to have “plants” in the crowd – or people who posed questions that exposed the weakness of their opponent.

One of those questions came from a female Gounardes supporter, who asked Golden if he supported Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s statements that rape victims should not have access to emergency contraceptives. It seemed Golden was pretending not to hear the question, and then rephrased it as “Should [rape victims] get emergency services immediately upon rape? Yes, they should.”

Gounardes won a round of applause for immediately shooting back that Golden had voted three times against a bill that would provide contraceptives to rape victims.

The insurgent opponent also won accolades when Golden made a few verbal stumbles, such as suggesting that New Yorkers can’t afford to provide equal pay to women and that importing oil and gas from Canada qualified as energy independence.

Golden, for his part, effectively presented his opponent as rabidly anti-gun and portrayed his own record on gun safety as a more effective and moderate approach. He also scored points by aligning Gounardes’ view on renewable energy investments with that of the Obama Administration, which has recently taken flak for providing $90 billion in breaks for green energy industries with little return shown on the investment.

Watch the debate above – it will likely be the most expansive, interesting and exciting to happen this year in Southern Brooklyn.

CommunityBoard 11 is hosting their monthly meeting on October 11 at 7:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. It’s held at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare at 1740 84th Street.

Source: NYPD

Police are hunting for a man they suspect of breaking into two homes in the area and assaulting the homeowners. They’ve released the above photo in the hopes that someone can help them nab him.

The first of the robberies occurred on September 27 at Bay Parkway and 86th Street. The robber forced his way in, stole cash and electronics and assaulted a 47-year-old victim.

The second robbery took place on October 1, at 7267 7th Avenue, where again he forced his way in and assaulted the woman living there.

The suspect’s name is Faisal Shafi, he’s 21 and he’s believed to be living somewhere on Stillwell Avenue.

He is about 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 150 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes, according to NBC New York.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers. All callers to Crime Stoppers remain anonymous. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-577-TIPS, via the website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.

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The fourth annual Walk, Run Against Hunger Event is happening this week on Saturday, October 13 at the Knights of Columbus Parking lot at 1305 86th Street. Registration for the fundraising event starts at 9:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m., and the 3.2K walk or run around Dyker Park begins at 11:00 a.m.

Come down to participate or to cheer on your friends and neighbors. All proceeds go to emergency food supplies and other services for low-income families throughout the city.