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Source: Robert N. Dennis collection via Flickr

Emily Ann Frances was searching for her roots and the search led her to the homes of her grandparents at 1353 69th Street in Dyker Heights.

The search was motivated by her mother’s battle with Parkinsonism. After spending a lot of time  looking up information on the illness, she began to feel curious about the people her in family tree and the stories of the family members who came before her.

“One out of every seven Americans can trace their family roots through the streets of Brooklyn,” writes WNET Thirteen.

This search took Frances to records within the Italian Genealogical Group, the New York City Grooms Index and Brides Index and eventually to the home addresses in Dyker Heights, where the homes still stand.

“I’ve googled the addresses where they live and both houses are still standing. My paternal Grandfather’s house is just 7 blocks away.  The apartment where my maternal Grandmother lived is also very close.  I’ve walked past them this week and it looks as if the appearance of my paternal Grandfather’s house has been completely done over,” writes Frances.

For those interested in genealogy, Frances outlines her process through a series of blogs.

“Little by little the time period in which my Great Grandparents and Grandparents lived will come to life right here.  I’m hoping to get some photos of 13th and 14th Avenues as well as some of the other memorable spots in Dyker Heights such as the side streets in the 80s where many mini-mansions were built, St. Phillip’s Epsicopal Church and Dyker Beach Golf Course,” she says of her next steps.

Tell us if you’ve done any local genealogy searches and what kinds of bits you’ve discovered about your family history.

Source; Newsflash via Wikimedia Commons

Mayor Michel Bloomberg’s soda ban is still on the table and local politican Councilman Vincent Gentile is not happy. He fired off a letter to Bloomberg in which he calls the program “authoritarian, interfering and overprotective.”

Gentile joins  Councilmembers Domenic Recchia and David Greenfield in their opposition to what many call Bloomberg’s “nanny” policies.

The letter outlines the need for education versus governmental intrusions and the administrative issue that would arise if Bloomberg bypassed the  legislative approval of the City Council in order to pass the policy.

Below are excerpts of Gentile’s letter:

I am writing with regard to your recent proposal to ban sugary beverages larger than 16-ounces in New York City.  I found this first-in-the-nation proposal not only to be misguided but completely unacceptable; it is authoritarian, interfering and overprotective – a complete intrusion of the government into the most fundamental rights of Americans: the right to choose.

While I wholeheartedly agree that obesity and obesity-related illnesses and conditions such as high blood pressure and other metabolic risks are – and rightfully should be – a growing concern to all New Yorkers and a nationwide problem, controlling what can and cannot be consumed by eliminating the ability to purchase large-sized beverages is not the solution to the problem. Your extraordinary and drastic proposal would not cure or curb obesity and it will not make our city healthier.  I believe it is time for health professionals to seek serious solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. Drastic and extreme proposals only serve to distract us from the hard work that really needs to be done.

Without education, New Yorkers will remain sedentary. Without education, New Yorkers will buy two sodas or mix large pitchers of sweet tea and artificial juice in the privacy of their own homes.

Lastly, on the issue of governmental process, it is my firm belief that such a ban needs legislative approval of the City Council and that, without it, the Health Department lacks the statutory authority to institute such a ban.

Notify NYC just sent out the following message:

Alert issued 9/8/12 at 10:40 AM. The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning until 11 AM for Brooklyn and Queens.  Immediately go indoors and/or to the lowest floor of your building for shelter.  Stay away from windows.


Though the school year has started, 24 New York City schools as still left reeling from the mandatory staffing changes as per the “turnaround program.”

Teachers in John Dewey High School won a victory when an arbitrator decided that the name would not be changed and most teacher’s would be given the opportunity to come back if they wanted to. This, of course, came with a price. Many teachers, fearing their jobs were in danger, had already agreed to take contracts with other schools.

Principals, who normally prep their schools well in advance even had concerns as to how to refer to their schools, whether to use the original names or the newer ones, according to Gotham Schools.

And now since the year has begun, it was hoped that the schools had worked out their staffing and other administrative issues.

According to a staffer at John Dewey High School, this is not the case and life there is hell.

MHaber8643 writes:

Ironically, life is hell at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, where the aftermath of “winning” the arbitration has resulted in our name remaining, but all else in the planned “takeover” – I mean “turnaround”- goes ahead full throttle: locks to the entrances have been changed, our teacher lounges are to be closed, we are told we will be observed 10 times this year , and we are to work, work, work…while 30 teachers were excessed, and newbies brought in, the slashin and burnin continues unabated…

Students, parents and staff let us know how things are panning out after the reversal of the proposed name change, the deferment of the turnaround program and whether or not life really is hell at John Dewey?

Police are on the hunt for the man photographed above, suspected of attempted robbery of the Citibank at 2173 86th Street, off Bay Parkway.

The man, described as between 30 and 35 years old, 5-foot-6-inches and 150 pounds, unsuccessfully tried to rob the bank on Tuesday, September 4, at approximately 12:43 p.m., according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.

The Feast is finished for 2012, but some of us are still living the dream. Take a look at ‘s indie hit, “Now That’s Italian!!” Made with just his iPhone and a soundtrack provided by Mimmo Carlomagno, this is a great effort from one of our locals.

Here’s what he writes:

A few blocks from us is one of the most famous Italian Feast’s in the country. The Santa Rosalia Feast, spreads the love across 10 blocks on 18th ave. in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Everyones Italian between 65th st & 75th st.!! lol… This was shot on a Thursday and there was a few venues closed, but I got what i could and had a blast doin it. Of corse we grabbed a few things from World famous “Lucy’s Sausage & Peppers” stand and made sure the party would continue after we got home. Heh… it did :) – Please enjoy the Video, as you tap your feet to the joyful sounds of “Mimmo Carlomagno” and his cheerful song “Cori i preta” (to wich I own no rights and claim no monetary compensation for work done on this video) The video footage however is mine, and I’m happy to say that this is my FIRST video completely shot with the iPhone.

Nice job capturing the spirit of the feast llpoppajoell. Can’t wait until we can do it all again next year.

Source: Adam Dubrowa via Wikimedia Commons

Now you have no excuse not to helicopter parent your way through the upcoming year.

Click to see the important school dates.

Source: MattTrain via

Bensonhurst residents who travel to and from Staten Island for shopping or work may now save an extra seven minutes on their commute from Marsh Avenue in New Springville to 86th Street in Bay Ridge, or the reverse.

In an attempt to cut route time and relax traffic congestion on the S79, the new Select Bus Service routes and buses were introduced on September 4. To ensure efficient service, 53 stops were axed throughout the trip and the MTA added two miles of red painted bus lanes.

There are some factors which have not been accounted for yet, such as the addition of school kids as the school year moves forward. Though, at this point, most riders agree that saving seven to ten minutes is worth it.

Locals Dennis and Maria Rivera said they enjoyed the faster commute time on their way to the Staten Island Mall. Their trip on the s79 was cut down to 45 minutes.

Now, they’ll visit the mall more often.

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.

Source: Clint McMahon via Flickr []

Senator Martin Golden has instated a graffiti clean-up day initiative on Friday, September 8. He’s asking local businesses to submit the necessary waivers for the Graffiti Free NYC program.

The program is a citywide effort managed by the Mayor’s office and a team of New York City agencies.

“The Graffiti Free NYC initiative allows New Yorkers to take graffiti removal into their own hands by either calling in sites for clean-up or driving their own clean-up efforts,” writes GFNYC on their website.

They provide supplies (if available) or send small crews to paint the walls or gates.

“I will welcome the Graffiti Free NYC program to 18th Avenue, this Friday at Noon. Through the efforts of my office, graffiti waivers have been submitted to the City of New York to authorize the cleaning of graffiti from 6621 and 6623 18th Avenue following recent reports. I encourage stores to submit the necessary waivers to my office so to have the Graffiti Free NYC program help to improve the quality of life of our commercial streets,” he writes on his Facebook page.

For questions, call Golden’s office at 718-238-6044.