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How did we miss this? According to the ship’s log, the Half Moon arrived in Gravesend Bay in early September. This journey is a recreation of Henry Hudson’s famous journey of discovery in 1609.

Hudson and the men aboard the d’Halve Maen were seeking a northwest passage across the New World and their interactions with the First Nations there ended up helping shape the future of New York. A replica ship, the Half Moon, aimed to recreate the earlier voyage.

This time around, the crew was made up of students from around New York and students from the Netherlands. The students logged historic information, environmental observations and much more in their journals.

Here’s a quick glimpse into their activities, the final leg of the trip ending in Gravesend Bay:

4th Entry, 1923 Hours: The natural harbor of Gravesend Bay is our destination for the night. From here, we can see the shorelines of Staten Island and Brooklyn, the towering lights of the Freedom Tower, and Coney Island’s rides.

 With the upcoming Columbus Day parade, it only seems fitting that Hudson’s discovery mission receives some notice as well.

Source: Elvis Kovalchuk/ @LDogg89

How’s this photo to help you beat the midweek blues? This lovely rainbow was photographed near Walbaum’s at 18th Avenue and 82nd Street.

While it’s no double rainbow, it’s still pretty magical.

Source: Team at Carnaval.com Studios via Wikimedia Commons

The 31st Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade along 18th Avenue will have one special addition: Staten Islanders.

Because of a conflict of schedule, the parade in Staten Island had to be cancelled. Residents and participants were disappointed, according to Home Reporter News.

Ronald Castorina, Jr., a member of the board of trustees of the Italian Historical Society of America, wanted to remedy the situation so he asked the Brooklyn Columbus Parade Committee if Staten Islanders can march in the Bensonhurst parade.

The Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO), who run the event, agreed to share the festivities.

“We should all join together and support each other to celebrate the pride we feel,” said FIAO Chairperson Jack Spatola.

The parade begins  at 1 p.m. on October 6 at 18th Avenue and 61st Street, and continue on down the avenue to 84th Street.

Source: Sidious1701 via Wikimedia Commons

A gun bust in Gravesend netted officers loaded firearms, drugs and a 3-foot-long alligator.

The raid occurred in Michael, 32, and Alisa Volpe’s, 25, apartment at about 5:30 a.m. Police found the alligator in a cage, according to the New York Daily News.

Police discovered the caged reptile as they executed a search warrant at the Gravesend apartment of Michael and Alisa Volpe about 5:30 a.m.

Cops also found brass knuckles, marijuana and pills.

“You never know who you’re living with,” said a man who resides above the Volpes’ basement apartment. “This alligator thing is bugging me out… I never heard an alligator down there!”

Cops charged the couple with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and harboring a prohibited animal. Michael Volpe has four previous arrests.

Police sources said the alligator “didn’t look very good.” The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine on the Upper West Side, was called to take the animal away, according to DNA Info.

When a distraught man was threatening to jump from the ledge of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on July 23, it took the quick thinking and compassion of two police officers, who spoke the man’s native Cantonese, to talk him out of ending his life.

Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Officer Eddie Fung and NYPD Officer Yi Huang were the two men responsible for preventing the suicide. The officers, along with the distraught man, were all born in Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, after the harrowing incident, the officers’ identities were mixed-up and officials were unable to determine which officer was to receive accolades for the heroic deed. Turns out, it was the help of both that saved a life.

During the four-hour ordeal, Fung started the conversation with the jumper, and after a few hours Huang took over.

“At the beginning he ignored me, he was not responding,” said Fung to the New York Daily News. “After an hour, he said he had family and financial problems. He loved his daughter very much, so I focused on her.”

After about 2 p.m., Huang got there.

You don’t realize how tiring it is,” Huang said of conversing at the top of his lungs. “I relieved Eddie.”

Earlier this month, Officer Huang was honored by the City Council with a ceremony.

“Today we honor Officer Yi Huang for going above and beyond the call of duty,” Councilman Vincent Gentile said to the Brooklyn Eagle. “Officer Huang reminds us all why the New York City Police Department truly is New York’s Finest.”

Perhaps Fung is next in line for a ceremony for his contributions as well.

Source: Dybdal via Wikimedia Commons

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission releases lists of places around the city that will remain protected under a landmark status stamp. From the recognizable Empire State Building to the smaller, lesser known establishments, the selected buildings can vary.

The commission receives hundreds of requests a year. This year, one came through for a “seemingly unremarkable house in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which happened to be the childhood home of the television host Larry King,” wrote the New York Times.

Borough President Marty Markowitz is the one who initially made the request, according to Curbed.

Unfortunately, the proposal was not accepted and King’s home will have to remain unremarkable.

The burden of nighttime parking in Bensonhurst may soon be eased, as community leaders pursue a plan to give commercial vehicles the boot from residential on-street parking spaces.

Community Board 11 Chairperson Bill Guarinello is spearheading an effort to get rid of the commercial vehicles, which take up residential spaces despite city laws meant to prevent them from doing so.

“There seems to be explosion of commercial vehicles,” Guarinello said. “It starts to make the neighborhood look like a parking lot.”

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Image courtesy of Miss New York, Mallory Hagan/ @MissNewYorkMAO

The 31st Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade, sponsored by the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn is scheduled for Saturday, October 6.

Grand Marshals for the parade attended a special dinner in their honor at the Dyker Beach Golf Course to kick-off the upcoming festivities. The honorees for this year include: Isabel DiMola, Community Superintendent District 21, President and Chief Executive Officer of Heartshare Human Services, William Guarinello and Funeral Director, Nicholas Miraglia.

Miss New York, Mallory Hagan, was also in attendance and took some snapshots with local stakeholders, Nicholas Miraglia and Steve Spinneli, who is the new President of the 86th Street Bath Beach Kiwanis Club.

The Parade begins at 60th Street and 18th Avenue, otherwise known as Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard, at 1 p.m. It will continue along 18th Avenue to 84th Street.

There is also a pre-parade mass at St. Athanasius Church at Bay Parkway and 61st Street. Mass starts at 10:15 a.m.

The Daily News ran their  “Best of NY” food mentions. This time around, it was the best arancini in New York.

Famous Sicilian eaters, Joe’s of Avenue U at 287 Avenue U got an honorable mention, as did their off-shoot in Great Kills, Staten Island.

Here’s what the Daily News wrote:

You can’t talk about arancini in New York City without mentioning Joe’s of Avenue U, a venerable institution of Sicilian specialties in Gravesend for more than 50 years. While the Brooklyn location of this Focacceria Palermitana is steeped in history, it is also changing with the times. Two years ago, Joe’s opened up a second location in Staten Island that not only offers the traditional cheese-smothered arancini ($4.29-$6.99), but also makes gluten-free rice balls ($7.99-$10.99, Tuesday through Saturday) that taste just as good. Topped with tomato sauce, ricotta and parmesan, these fist-sized rice balls filled with meat and peas are as gratifying and authentic as the real deal. The crust holds the rice ball together without being too heavy or oily. Even the name “arancina,” which means “little orange” in Italian, still accurately describes this flour-free rice ball. It’s a great combination of rich, Old World flavors and healthier, new world sensibilities.

 Joe’s of Avenue U has been a family business for over 50 years. They describe their food as not only a culinary treat, but “an institution where people come not only to eat, but to smell the air of Sicily they had left behind, to taste the food like their grandma made and to link the taste of a specialty to a distant past.”

That sounds deliciously poetic. Nice job Joe’s of Avenue U.

After 50 years in Brooklyn on Avenue U we have recently opened a Joe’s on Staten Island & urge you to stop in!

Council Members Jumaane Williams, Vincent Gentile Jumaane Williams and Letitia James. Source: The offices of Vincent Gentile

The latest initiative from Council Members Jumaane Williams, Letitia James and Vincent Gentile is a victory for those with bad eyesight.

Councilman Gentile called on the Board of Elections to correct a problem he perceived with the font size on ballots.

“The font is too damn small,” he wrote in a press release.

In previous years, the names of candidates had been printed in a 7-point font.

“Voting is a right that should not require a magnifying glass, ” Council Member Gentile said last week. “Perhaps I’m living in the Twilight Zone, but I think rule #1 should be to print ballots that people can actually read. ”

Gentile advocated for a 12-point font, but was still pleased with the Board of Elections increasing the size to a 9-point for the general election in November.

“I applaud the Board of Elections for listening to the people and doing the right thing,” Gentile said. “While I still think the font needs to be larger – I would like to see a normal 12-point font on the ballots – this is a step in the right direction and a major victory to know the Board of Elections is listening and responding.”

In addition to font size, the trio of Council Members proposed several other reforms as well. This includes:

•             Utilizing standout print and/or ink color in all BOE informational communications.
•             Sending an additional mailing to voters making clear their poll site may have changed.
•             Increasing the font size on all ballots.
•             Training poll workers on all resources, including new online tools.
•             Having the BOE be more proactive in checking poll sites during Election Day.
•             Quickly and publicly releasing detailed compilations of voter complaints.
•             Expanding a voter education campaign to subways and bus shelters.
•             Increasing BOE collaboration with elected officials, senior centers, civic associations and related stakeholders.

The request for clarity on ballots comes from the low turnout and confusion on the September 13 primary.

“The primary election on September 13 was beset by numerous problems, despite the low turnout,” said Council Member Gale Brewer, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. “In preparation for a hearing on October 15, I conducted an informal survey of voters’ experiences at the polls. The most common problems reported to my office were confusion about poll site and election district (ED) changes due to redistricting, misinformation from poll workers including directing voters to the wrong poll site or ED table, issues with the size of the font on the ballot, and problems with the ballot scanner including a lack of privacy when poll workers had to assist voters. However, it should be noted that the Board made several positive steps to increase voter awareness, including the launch of a newly designed website and a smartphone app, both complete with a poll site locator and sample ballot tool. I urge the Board to focus on correcting these problems before November, and I ask all stakeholders to take advantage of the voter outreach tools that the Board has made available.”

A hearing with the Committee on Governmental Operations will be held on Monday, October 15 to discuss the above cited ways for improving the electoral process.