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Pre-Sandy seawall. Source: Retrofresh! via Flickr

The Shore Parkway seawall was all but destroyed when Hurricane Sandy hit. Local pols and leaders have been rallying since to get the seawall repaired as soon as possible. Luckily, it has been announced that the seawall will undergo emergency repairs by the Parks Department.

At Community Board 11′s most recent meeting, district manager Marnee Elias-Pavia stated that the seawall will be repaired starting in February, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The hazardous conditions of the damaged seawall were a great concern for many in the neighborhood. Senator Marty Golden has been sending letters to FEMA officials and other leaders to urge not only a repair of the seawall, but an overview of the entire structure.

In a letter to Colonel Paul E. Owens of the Army Corps of Engineers, Golden wrote, “It is imperative that work on the damaged section being immediately to prevent further erosion as well as to protect the safety of the community and use of the Belt Parkway.”

Congressman Michael Grimm has also echoed the same sentiments. Both pols want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the entire section of the damaged wall and assess it for safety in the case that another major storm hit the area.

About 250-feet of the seawall saw the greatest damage near 17th Avenue. Many residents use the walkway path adjacent to the seawall for exercise and outdoor activities, and now parts of it are in dire need of repair.

“The district manager of Community Board 10 and I have requested a meeting with the Parks Department so that we can review the plans,” said Elias-Pavia at the CB11 meeting.

Source: rutlo via Flickr

Beginning Wednesday, January 16, there will be a strike by bus drivers who provide school bus transportation to the public and non-public school students. This means that there will be no transportation for most or all school-age students.

Early Intervention or pre-K bus services may not be affected, however, parents or guardians may face interruptions in services as well.

Our friends at Sheepshead Bites posted a list of transportation resources courtesy of the Department of Education:

  • All students who currently receive yellow bus service may receive a MetroCard. MetroCards should be requested through the school’s general office. The DOE has informed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that it may need to accommodate additional riders.
  • Parents of pre-school and school-age children with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and require transportation from their home directly to their school, as well as parents of general education children in grades K-2, may also request a MetroCard to escort their children to school.
  • Parents of children who receive busing from their home or are in K-6 and do not live in areas where public transportation between home and school is available, may request reimbursement for transportation costs. Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of 55 cents per mile. Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that includes a receipt for provided services. Requests for reimbursements should be made weekly on forms that will be available on the DOE web site,www.schools.nyc.gov, and in schools’ general offices. Families who plan to drive or use a car service to carpool are encouraged to carpool with their neighbors whenever possible.
  • In the unfortunate event that students cannot get to school, the Department will be posting materials online for every grade and core subject so that students can continue their learning at home during the strike.

For more information and updates, please check schools.nyc.gov or call 311.

Source: drumthwacket via Flickr

We’re sad to report that the Cristoforo Colombo Bakery & Pastry Shop at 6916 18th Avenue has closed. Last week, the staff held an auction of all of the store’s fixtures, according to an anonymous tipster.

The bakery was a neighborhood fixture and well-known for their seeded semolina bread.

Calls to the bakery were not returned.

Goodbye Cristoforo Colombo Bakery, you will be missed.

Source: Rosa Say via Flickr

The threat of a school bus strike looms over New York City. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 represents 9,000 people who provide transportation for students on a daily basis has not confirmed or denied the possibility of a school bus workers walkout. However, reports are stating that a strike could happen as of Wednesday.

In a press release, Councilman Vincent Gentile writes:

“The dispute is simple – it’s about saving money – but the message it sends is absolutely despicable. How we treat those who care for our children reflects directly upon how we value our children. Playing chicken with the men and women who provide safe and reliable transportation to hundreds of thousands of New York City school students on a daily basis in the name of protecting the city’s bottom line is reprehensible. It is not the union treating our students as pawns but the administration!”

Gentile has asked that Local 1181 to provide at least 48 hours notice before the strike so that families have time to consider an alternative mode of transportation. Thus far, no announcements have been made.

According to a New York Times Article, “A strike could affect as many as 152,000 public and private school students who rely on yellow bus service.”

City officials have said that they would provide MetroCards and reimburse fares paid to taxis and car services for those without access to public transportation.

The threat of a strike started because the Department of Education said that it “accept competitive bids for transporting 22,500 special-needs children, who require special services. The contracts would cover 1,100 bus routes, about a sixth of the city’s total.”

As for Gentile, he is most concerned about the issues a strike would bring to parents and caregivers who rely on school bus transportation.

“This is between the union and the administration, let’s leave the kids out of it,” he said.

Source: edenpictures via Flickr

Four people were injured after an accident involving five cars occurred on the Brooklyn-bound upper level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Two victims had to be freed from the wreck and taken to Staten Island University Hospital, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Three Brooklyn-bound upper levels and two upper Staten Island-bound levels were shut down for 70 minutes.

Luckily, it seems that none of those involved in the accident sustained life-threatening injuries.

Source: council.nyc.gov

From the offices of Councilman David Greenfield:

Councilman David G. Greenfield and City University of New York are partnering to provide constituents with free immigration legal services by appointment at his Borough Park district office each month beginning next Wednesday, January 16th. All district residents with questions or issues concerning immigration law are urged to take advantage of this great opportunity to receive pro-bono legal advice directly and confidentially from an experienced immigration attorney. Services available include assisting lawful permanent residents file applications for citizenship following a consultation to determine their eligibility, among other topics and issues.

“I am proud to partner with CUNY to bring free professional legal services directly to my constituents. I know how important it is for people to get quality legal advice regarding immigration. I urge anyone with immigration-related questions or issues to schedule a confidential appointment immediately,” said Councilman Greenfield.

Meetings are by appointment only and take place during business hours on the second Wednesday of each month through June, so residents are urged to contact Councilman Greenfield’s district office to schedule a time to meet with the immigration attorney. Councilman Greenfield decided to bring these services directly to his constituents in his convenient Borough Park office due to the high number of immigration and citizenship cases his office has received. Since many residents were born abroad or have family in other countries, issues related to citizenship and immigration are very important locally. As a result, Councilman Greenfield and his staff have assisted with dozens of cases involving issues related to citizenship, green cards, visas, and renewing passports or expediting applications.

“Given the large number of foreign-born residents throughout the community, I am pleased to provide this legal service at no cost to my constituents. I hope that this initiative will save residents the trouble and expense of hiring an attorney, and I look forward to assisting many residents with their immigration or citizenship issues,” added Councilman Greenfield.

For more information or to schedule a free, confidential appointment with an immigration attorney, please call Councilman Greenfield’s office at (718) 853-2704.

Reader Carmen T. sent us this flyer of a new business that opened at 1883 86th Street and 19th Avenue: Monopoly Cafe. This isn’t the first cafe with a gambling theme to open in the area. One opened earlier last year near Bay Parkway and Bay Ridge Avenue.

It’s unclear exactly what kind of business this is.Is it an internet center? A cafe? Or, is it some sort of awesome Vegas-style slots machine joint?

Alas, when Carmen went to check it out, the windows were still blacked out. We’ll have to wait to find out.

Source: Bryan Haggerty via Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the office of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

In the wake of three recent incidents where people were pushed into the path of an oncoming train, many have suggested installing barriers in front of subway tracks.

Councilman Vincent J. Gentile is suggesting another solution that is much more cost effective and can be implemented system wide much more quickly.

Councilman Vincent J. Gentile is suggesting trains simply “slow down” when entering the stations.

“If new rules were implemented requiring trains to enter stations at a slower speed, then it would give the train a better chance to stop in time if someone is on the tracks or give that person a better chance to get off the tracks, into an alcove, or run to the opposite end of the track into the mouth of tunnel away from the train,” said Councilman Gentile in a letter to NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast.

“This change can be instituted quickly and at minimum cost to the transit system,” added Gentile.

While Gentile acknowledged that it might lengthen commuter times slightly, the trade-off is worth it if the entire system could be made safer for everyone.

“Let’s make no mistake about it,” Gentile continued, “we still must work in the long term to address the mental health issues of the individuals involved in these shoving incidents. Yet, in the short term, this can be an immediate response to a growing safety issue.”

In 2011, 147 people were hit by a New York City subway – 15% more than 2010 – and 50 of those incidents were fatal.

I’m not exactly sure what the All of Us Solo Quartet is. I’m not sure if they are just filmmakers, musicians, comedians or pranksters, but what I do know is that they released a bizarre new and funny ‘singing’ tour of Bensonhurst.

Member Phil Bianchi (aka Kelly Roberge) puts on his best young Marlon Brando Godfather impression, which I would guess make him more Robert De Nero, and vamps around Bensonhurst, visiting Milestone Park, Casa Calamari, C&C Catering and Riminis Pastry Shop among others.

His goal seems to be getting a bunch of food for his old Italian mother until a crucial lapse in memory provides for a twist ending… sort of.

Despite the zany premise, the film is very well shot, was pretty funny and provides a loving portrait of Bensonhurst.

Councilman David G. Greenfield

Councilman David G. Greenfield took to the steps of City Hall yesterday to announce his opposition of the phrase “mentally retarded” in city documents, a designation which he and other mental health officials consider outdated and offensive according to a press release.

After his press conference on the steps of City Hall, Greenfield is set to officially introduce legislation to the City Council which would end the use of the phrase, following in the steps of the state and federal government, which has already adopted the change.

Greenfield was joined by mental health and special education advocacy group leaders including National Down Syndrome Society Goodwill Ambassador Chris Burke. You might remember Chris Burke from his role Corky Thatcher from the ABC show Life Goes On.

Greenfield was also joined by Otsar, Quality Services for the Autism Community, Self-Advocacy Association of NYS, United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Council, OHEL, Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York City and AHRC New York City.

Additionally, Greenfield is a cosponsor of a resolution looking to change the currently named “City Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services” to the “Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services.”