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Source: Moberg via Wikimedia Commons

It’s clear that our readers and local residents are not happy with the announcement that Maple Lanes is set to close and in its place, condos and a synagogue will open.

An online petition has been started by Christina Squitieri, a young activist and lover of the written word, to save the iconic and last remaining bowling alley in our area.

Among other things, the petition states:

The bowling alley is key for local school teams and leagues in the area. It’s a fun, educational, empowering, and safe place for kids to be. In this economy especially, we need more places like Maple Lanes. Keeping Maple Lanes will keep kids off the street, allow families to still afford to spend a day together, build self-esteem, and channel anxiety or anger into something productive and fun. Please, please keep it around. It is so important in so many ways.

The 327 community members that have signed seem to agree. An especially impassioned plea comes from #279, Efrain Rodriguez, who says:

Maple Lanes means so much to so many people. For myself this place has special meaning to me. I proposed to my wife on lanes 35-36 in front of many friends and family. I have been bowling here for over 3 years with my wife and we just love this place. There aren’t places like this where the staff treats everyone like family and where people can come to bowl and not feel like they spent an arm and a leg. Maple Lanes is a Brooklyn staple and should not be torn down.

The fate of the bowling alley is unresolved. Developers, local politicians and the members of Community Board 12 have been considering this project for years now. Not to mention, the owners of the bowling alley are ready to sell.

As for the community, broken hearts can be heard all around, just read the comments on the petition site and below our previous article about the alley’s closing.

Source: Fir0002 via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Saperaud via Wikimedia Commons

Scrap metal thefts have been plaguing the neighborhood in recent months. The most recent is perhaps also the most brazen to date. On Sunday, September 9, a man was caught exiting a construction site in broad daylight with about $5,000 worth of copper pipes.

An employee of the construction company at 82nd Street near 19th Avenue was on his way to work in the morning when he spotted someone exiting the work site with pipes and construction materials.

The employee believes the thief entered through the basement, according to the Home Reporter News. The employee called the cops right away.

After fleeing the scene of the crime in his white Mercedez Benz, the crook hit a police car that was responding to the theft. Both officers sustained injuries from the crash.

(UPDATE 9/14/12 3:12 p.m.) Reader and tipster Kseniya Derevyankina has given us all some great news. Alex’s isn’t closing, but moving to a new location across the street. Let the boozing continue!

She writes, “Yes it is true, they are closing this location, but only because they are moving to a bigger place across the street(used to be Dolfin gym). So no reason to be sad! It’s only going to get bigger and have a better selection!!!”

Alex’s Discount Liquors and Wines is for rent. Alex’s Discount Liquor, I hardly… no, I won’t go there.

The spirits store at 1698 86th Street will be missed by its bevy of fans. According to Yelp reviews, most were excited that they delivered.

“This place delivers. Enough said,” writes Samantha S.

Sadly, looks like this place will close down. Enough said.

Click to enlarge

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.

Food Stuffs is a bi-weekly column examining the gastronomic landscape of Bensonhurst and the surrounding neighborhoods. Each entry will cover anything and everything even remotely related to food because here in Bensonhurst, food is always news.

My adventures in pickling continue through the bright buckets and barrels at the Cherry Hill Market on 86th Street. While circling the pickle bar, I stop and notice the vibrant red color of a baby tomato.

In the world of pickles – tomatoes are definitely the most delicate. They can be too firm or too soft. They can become mushy liked canned crushed tomatoes. They can absorb all the pickle brine and explode like a sour fruit.

Growing up in Southern Brooklyn, my mom used to grow tomatoes in our backyard and we always had too much of everything. She was not a pickler or a preserver and after years of gardening the abundance was too much for her. My dad installed a wooden deck over the garden patch. I only wonder if my mother had tried some of these more exotic pickles (and yes, pickled cherry tomatoes are exotic to my parents), would she still be gardening and growing wonderful things on East 31 Street.

Pickling tomatoes is a delicate process, and when you have a good one, you certainly feel appreciative.

To have a successful pickle we need to avoid the mush, avoid the toughness and avoid the vinegar bombs. It’s a delicate flower. One should also be prepared for the sweet side of this pickle. Like pickled beets or pickled carrots, the sugar in the tomato is going to change the flavor of your normally salty pickle expectations. Just roll with it, roll with that salty fruit sugar.

Cherry Hill Market’s pickled tomatoes are fine. They are not too mushy and not too firm. The bright red color makes you excited about the first bite, and they don’t explode with vinegar juice. The subtle sweetness is a great addition to pickle diversity. The baby tomato pickles are some of my favorites. They remind me of spring, of gardens, of new seasons. The other good thing about this tomato, totally off the record, is that it is small enough to sample. So while you are packing them up (and remember to re-use your containers or bring some Chinese soup containers from home) feel free to sample and see if this is your kind of snack.

Of course, 86th Street is also the place for food and pickle deals. At $2.25 and with tomato season nearly over, it’s an exciting time for pickles like these.

Biting into this pickle in the middle of Bensonhurst may wake up some of those thoughts for you as well. Even as the D train roars above the elevated tracks, the pickle gives you some kind of peace.

Until the next brine!

Cherry Hill Market, 2278 86th Street at 23rd Avenue, (718) 373-4900.

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

Source: Texnik via Wikimedia Commons

From the offices of Councilman Greenfield:

Councilman David G. Greenfield today introduced legislation in the City Council that would increase awareness of food allergies by requiring restaurants to post a sign alerting consumers of various common allergies caused by foods served there. Greenfield’s bill, known as the “Food Allergy Awareness Act,” would help ensure that customers and all restaurant staff members are aware of this growing health problem, which affects millions of Americans of all ages and is becoming more prevalent.

The bill would require all restaurants and catering halls to display a city Department of Health poster containing information on food allergies including warnings if any food served contains eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy or wheat ingredients. The notification must be posted in a conspicuous place that is accessible to all patrons, and posters would be available in Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, Spanish and any other language as determined by the Health Department. The goal is to promote awareness of food allergies to everyone involved in the food service industry, from the customer to the server or bartender to the kitchen staff. This will reduce the risk of cross contamination and of the customer unwittingly ingesting an ingredient they are allergic to.

“This is a simple, common-sense solution to a serious and growing public health issue. The more awareness we can create about food allergies, the more we can reduce the risk for those people who have to worry about this every time they go out to eat. Any low-cost measure that we can take to save lives is worth it, and this is no exception,” said Greenfield.

As many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, including 6 million children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been an 18 percent increase in food allergies between 1997 and 2007, with the prevalence of peanut allergies among children tripling from 1997 to 2008. With 4 percent of adults and 8 percent of children suffering from food allergies, finding suitable places to eat out has become a major concern for a large segment of the American public. Overall, the eight types of foods to be listed on the posters account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions.

“It is clear that more and more Americans are suffering from food allergies than ever before. It is time for our city government to recognize this critical issue and take simple steps like this to reduce the incidents of deadly allergic reactions in our city’s outstanding restaurants,” added Greenfield.

Amazing 99-Cent & Up Deals, the place where store-owner and father of four Isaac Kadare was murdered is on the market.

The body was found at 1877 86th Street by two customers at about on August 2. His wife and children, who often helped him out in the store, obviously do not want to keep hold of the business where Kadare was killed.

Kadare’s murder was later connected to the July murder of Bay Ridge shopkeeper Mohammed Gebeli. Both men were shot in their with a .22 caliber gun in their stores.

Police released a sketch of the suspect and some clues to his identity, but nothing has been heard of the case since. Whether the trail has gone cold or they are waiting for the right time to act remains to be seen.

Source: FArepublicans via Flickr

Congressman Michael Grimm’s financial standing continues to come under scrutiny. After the allegations of his dealings with controversial Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto came to light and his fundraiser Ofer Biton’s arrest for immigration fraud, Grimm has to deal with another financial scandal. This time, the accusations state that Grimm accepted money from several individuals involved in the porn industry.

Last week, the Associated Press reported and TPMMuckracker summarized the following:

One of the rabbi’s closest aides, Benzion Suky, owned a company that distributed porn videos and has settled lawsuits by adult film studios who accused him of selling bootlegged DVDs, according to court records. Suky and his wife gave a combined $9,600 to Grimm’s 2010 campaign and a real estate partnership that lists Suky as its managing member gave $4,800, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Another big donor was Rafi Maman, proprietor of companies in North Bergen, N.J., that distribute adult films and sex toys. He also has settled lawsuits accusing him of bootlegging, including two which also named Suky as a defendant. Maman, his wife and a real estate partnership that he listed as his employer gave $19,200 to Grimm’s campaign. That total includes $7,200 in individual contributions from Maman, or $2,400 more than is allowed by law.

A third Grimm contributor, Eli Halali, is listed in business records as the agent of another company that distributed pornographic movies. His name also appears on at least one such video, “Blonde & Beautiful Vol. 1,” as the keeper of records verifying that the film’s performers were over age 18. He gave $4,800. Two apparent relatives, Bluria Halali and Jaclyn Halali, each contributed $4,800.

The FBI has been looking at Grimm’s fundraising since at least January, when a New York Times story spotlighted the role that an Israeli named Ofer Biton, an aide to Pinto, played in Grimm’s campaign. Members of Pinto’s congregation told the Times that either Grimm or Biton said they could find ways to accept donations that surpassed legal limits or came from foreigners. Several people who worked on Grimm’s campaign have been questioned by the FBI, according to reports, and just a few weeks ago TPM reported that the bureau was looking into the Staten Island lawmaker’s failure to file paperwork related to an overseas trip to Cyprus. Biton, meanwhile, was arrested by the FBI last month, in a case apparently unrelated to his fundraising efforts for Grimm, for lying on immigration documents.

Grimm, a former FBI agent, has acknowledged receiving between $250,000 to $300,000 from Pinto’s supporters but has denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.

Since Biton’s legal troubles emerged, his lawyer has come forward to say that his arrest is the direct result of his link to Grimm and the investigation into campaign finances.

“This case is politically motivated,” said lawyer John Meringolo, to the New York Times.

Meringolo also stated that he believes Grimm has not done anything wrong either, “They say he [Biton] has ties to Michael Grimm. I haven’t seen any evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing of Michael Grimm.”

United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York Robert spokesperson Nardoza, stated that there is nothing political about it.

“The case,” he said, “is motivated by the evidence.”

Biton has not been charged with money laundering thus far, but immigration fraud. As for Grimm, his connection to Biton’s current case has not been confirmed and his links to the porno industry have not come out as a legal issue thus far.

The staff over at the Bensonhurst Greenmarket posted this photo of several locals participation in a corn shucking party. Before we go any further, what the heck is corn shucking?