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Source: Google Maps

A call over the police scanner indicates that a tractor-trailer smashed into the Bay 8th Street overpass of the eastbound Belt Parkway.

The call came over  at approximately 6:40 p.m., spurring a response from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit and Highway Patrol.

Two lanes of traffic have been closed to accommodate, causing heavy delays.

Commercial vehicles are not permitted on the Belt Parkway.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to nberke (at) bensonhurstbean (dot) com.

This is a paid announcement from il Fornetto, Sheepshead Bay’s premier waterfront dining establishment at 2902 Emmons Avenue.

The above is a paid announcement by il Fornetto. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Winter storm Nemo rolled through the region Friday night, covering Southern Brooklyn in about nine inches of snow.

How did Bensonhurst react? Like a bunch of school kids, having fun with some snowballs.

Reader Laura Whitman decided to mark the occasion, carving the storm’s name into a snow-covered car.

“2013 Nemo” – aye, we’ll never forget.

Meanwhile, Annabella Perrone snapped some shots with family and friends, such as this one where she’s about to get nailed by a snowball:

On the other hand, we hope  reader “nectanelson” raised her kids, Joseph and Dominick, well enough to know not to try chucking one of these at mama:

On a side note: what’s with Bensonhurst’s reluctance to take photos? Aside from the awesome contributors mentioned above, we were surprised to see so few submissions. At first we thought it was us, like we had bad breath and no one wanted to tell us or something. But then we turned to Flickr and other photosharing sites to see if we could find any other Nemo photos from around our coverage area. The result? Zilch. There were photos from just about every neighborhood in Brooklyn – except Bensonhurst.

We object! Prove the internetz wrong! Take those fancy-shmancy phones we know you have, or a standard point and shoot, or an iPad or DSLR or any kind of crazy image-capturing device seemingly built into everything these days, and get shooting!

Bensonhurst 4eva (in photos)!

Like much of Coney Island, the famous Coney Island pizzeria, Totonno’s (1524 Neptune Avenue), was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. As we reported on our sister site, Sheepshead Bites, Totonno’s owners Cookie Cimineri and Antoinette Balzano face a steep financial climb back to reopening its doors. Well, thanks to the generosity of famed chef and author Daniel Patterson, Totonno’s is $5,000 closer to its goal of firing up its magical brick oven, according to a report by Zagat.

Patterson, best known for his fancy San Francisco restaurant Coi, originally held a benefit for Governor, a Brooklyn based fine-dining establishment that was also destroyed by Sandy. When word got back to Patterson that Governor was closing its doors for good, he decided to funnel the proceeds he raised from the Governor benefit to Totonno’s, based on a plea from Totonno’s lover Allison Robicelli, who grabbed Patterson’s ear. Patterson expressed modesty in the face of his generous donation:

“My staff came and worked on their day off—I should not be getting credit! Seriously, no big deal. We’re all happy to help. That’s what people do for each other, right? Totonno’s is amazing. I just wish I could do more. Relying on fine dining restaurants to fill in the gaps left by the government in times of crisis is kind of a joke, but we did our best.”

Hopefully, Patterson’s contribution will go a long way in helping Totonno’s get back on its feet.

Friday night may have been the biggest blizzard to hit us this season, but that didn’t stop stop local residents from completing last minute shopping on 86th Street in preparation for the Chinese New Year, which kicked off this Sunday. Many of the stores that lined the commercial strip were displaying traditional items to properly bring in the Year of the Snake.

From lanterns to banners, it is impossible to walk by the area without noticing the assortment of red decorations. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good fortune and joy, and one of the shop owners shared that all of the decorations are meant to bring good luck for neighbors.

The shopkeeper mentioned that Chinese New Year in America is a much more subdued event than in China, where the event is celebrated for 15 days. In America, the celebration is cut short since many cannot take the time off from work.

One of the popular items that are found in many of the stores are red envelopes with golden writing on them, which are packed with money and doled out to children. This, too, is meant to bring good luck – and, of course, a little bit of prosperity.

Decorations are not the only way to bring in the New Year. As it does for most holidays in most cultures, food plays a starring role.

A sales representative at Sun Hing Seafood and Meat Market (2502 86th Street) spoke of the traditional candy table, which is a large variety of candies that are displayed on a table for friends and family to enjoy. A popular candy that is eaten is called ‘Lucky Candies,’ which, you guessed it, are supposed to bring luck to the new year.

From decorations to food to traditions, it is clear that an important way to bring in the Chinese New Year is to be surrounded with as much luck as possible. And, for many, being spared the worst of Winter Storm Nemo’s wrath was a good start to a fortunate New Year.

The Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare. Source: Google Maps

Community Board 11 will hold its next general meeting February 13 at 7:30 p.m. inside the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, 1740 84th Street.

The scheduled agenda features a public hearing on the responses to the FY 2014 Preliminary Capital and Expense Budget Submissions.

For further information, call (718) 266-8800, email, or go to


Bensonhurst Bean wishes all of our readers a happy, healthy New Year.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2013, year of the snake, will be a year for “steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create.”

How are you celebrating the Chinese New Year? Support your local businesses, and pick up some dim sum on 86th Street!

Emanuel Yegutkin (Source:

Emanuel Yegutkin, the former principal of Elite High School at 2115 Benson Avenue, received a 55-year sentence yesterday for sexually abusing three boys over the course of 10 years.

Yegutkin, 33, was convicted in December of 75 counts, including charges of sexual conduct against a child and criminal sex acts. According to Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office, from 1996 to 2005, Yegutkin sexually abused two of the boys when they were ages seven to 15-years-old, and in 2008, exposed the third boy to pornography. He forced them to perform sex acts including fondling and oral sex.

“This strong sentence once again proves that the people of Brooklyn will not tolerate crimes against children. Hopefully this brings some closure to these child victims so they can go on to lead happy and productive lives,” said Hynes.

Yegutkin was arrested in January 2009, while serving as the principal of Elite High School, a Jewish school serving Russian-Jewish immigrants. The victims did not attend the school, but met them through a close friend, and became a friend of the family and visited their home frequently.

Yegutkin was an Oorah BoysZone camp counselor at a camp upstate and a member of Flatbush Hatzolah. He was also allegedly a patient of Ohel’s treatment program for pedophiles, according to the Failed Messiah blog.

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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.

Winter storm Nemo is taking on the northeast today and tomorrow, throwing government officials and media outlets into a tizzy.

While we know New York City has certainly seen worse than the foot or so of snow expected, the precipitation combined with high winds and storm surges in coastal areas merits some caution.

The current predictions from the National Weather Service are as follows:

  • Rain and snow will turn into all snow by 3 p.m., totaling 2-to-4 inches before evening, with wind gusts hitting as high as 39 mph.
  • Snow will pick up in the evening, with as much as 5-to-9 inches piling up, and winds pick up speed to 46 mph.
  • Snow will continue into Saturday morning, adding about one inch into the mix, while wind gusts slow down a bit to 41 mph. Saturday will be mostly sunny, with highs around 31 degrees.

The high winds are expected to fuel a storm surge of three to five feet, an amount that Southern Brooklyn would normally handle without incident. However, concerns are that some coastal defenses remain down after Sandy, and some flooding may occur locally.

So what’s the worst that can happen? While the Weather Channel may be calling Nemo “historic,” and the city is rushing about to look as prepared as possible following Bloomberg’s 2010 mishap, we think we’ll be all right. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. Here are some precautions you should take:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel – Wet or icy roads are dangerous enough. But also avoid going out on foot or any other means. Strong winds could dislodge tree limbs or other debris, which can turn deadly.
  • Prepare for power outages – Charge all of your mobile devices and any other electronics you may need, and make sure you have fresh batteries in your radios and alarm clocks. Con Edison infrastructure is still vulnerable following Superstorm Sandy, and power lines can be knocked out.
  • We hate telling people to stock up on water, gasoline and other such supplies, but if you can, you should.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially if you live next to senior citizens or disabled people. Hey, even if they’re better prepared than you, you’ll score points for being a nice neighbor and maybe they’ll invite you over for some pie another day.
  • When shoveling, don’t overexert yourself, and be aware of utilities. Don’t cover up fire hydrants in mounds of snow.

Currently, alternate side parking is suspended, but meters are in effect and school is in session. If you get antsy waiting for the city snow plows, you can monitor their progress at PlowNYC, set up after complaints from the 2010 blizzard.

As for Bensonhurst Bean, we won’t be freaking out, but we will be covering the most important information about the storm as it happens. Turn here for the latest information from government authorities and utility companies, school, transit and road closures, as well as on-the-ground reports from readers around the neighborhood.

And remember to save our e-mail address (nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com), phone number (347-985-0633) and Twitter account (@bensonhurstbean) into your phone. If you see downed trees or power lines, flooding, or anything else, snap a photo with your cell phone and e-mail, text or Tweet it over.

Oh, and send all your pretty snow photos over to nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.

Good luck, and be safe!