Subscribe for FREE with:


The New York Daily News this week featured the story of Carmela and Pasquale Sciannantena, a Bensonhurst couple working like dogs to find the money to send their 17-year-old quadruplets to college after they graduate from Bishop Kearney High School (2202 60th Street) this year, illustrating how even New York’s public higher education system can cost a pretty penny.

The girls - Mariagrazia, Michela, Elisa and Sabrina – were born in 1995 at Brooklyn Hospital, after mom Carmela turned to fertility shots when she had trouble conceiving.

Since then, Carmela and Pasquale have cared for their four girls – and, later, a fifth, Gabriella – with mom working at the school full time in the finance department and a second job as a cashier at night, while dad repairs commercial dishwashers.

The Daily News reports:

The Sciannantenas shell out $200 a week for food, $130 on cell phone service a month and thousands more a year on tuition at Bishop Kearney on 60th St. – a figure expected to rise considerably once the girls go to college.

To keep costs low, the Sciannantena girls will commute from home and apply to the same City University of New York school in the fall – where tuition would total about $21,720 for the four at a four-year college.

The family is also considering CUNY’s two-year colleges, which would cost $3,900 for each girl.

The parents are also busy filling out financial aid forms, loan applications and encouraging the girls to find scholarship money.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do,” said Carmela Sciannantena. “One way or another I’ll have to sacrifice. I might even have to get a third job, but I’ll find a way.”

Even at the two-year colleges, the total annual bill for tuition alone racks up $15,600 – highlighting just how expensive even public higher education can be.

But mom’s making sure the girls keep a good head on their shoulders, even if they’d rather go their separate ways.

“Sometimes when they do ask for things it’s hard,” she said. “But they have clothes on their backs, food on their table, a roof over their heads and two parents who are willing to do whatever they can for them. That counts more than anything else.”

Did you struggle to send you kids to college? What did you do to cope?

Source: William Alatriste

From the office of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

The New York City Council passed legislation yesterday providing a private cause of action for those unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of being unemployed – the first law of its kind in the nation.

Intro 814-A will prohibit employers from using a person’s employment status in a hiring decision and from posting job advertisements that require applicants to be currently employed. The bill has the strong support of City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer as well as the National Employment Law Project, which is a national advocacy organization for employment rights of lower-wage workers.

“Employers who weed out candidates simply because they are unemployed has become the new face of employment discrimination,” Councilman Vincent J. Gentile said. “If you are otherwise qualified, being unemployed should not prevent you from securing a job. This important piece of legislation will effectively end this perverse Catch-22 that has served only to deepen our unemployment crisis in New York City.”

Under the groundbreaking legislation, it will be illegal for an employer to base a hiring decision on an applicant’s unemployment without a substantially job-related reason for doing so. It will also be illegal for employers to post in job advertisements that current employment is a job requirement, or that unemployed applicants will not be considered for the position.

“If you are otherwise qualified, how does being unemployed make you ineligible for a job?,” Councilman Gentile asked. “Is a dentist somehow more qualified for a job as a bank teller than an out-of-work bank teller simply because the dentist is currently employed!? This bill will stop the phenomenon of discrimination against the unemployed before it becomes the next crisis.”

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn stated, “Imagine spending every day and night for months upon months upon months looking for a job – only to be told ‘don’t even bother… unemployed need not apply.’ We cannot – and will not – allow New Yorkers who are qualified and ready to work have the door of opportunity slammed in their faces. The long-term unemployed face some of the greatest challenges in their job searches. Tomorrow, we will vote to remove one obstacle they simply should not have to face.”

“Discrimination against the unemployed is unacceptable, especially at a time when the jobless rate in our City hovers around 9%,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “A review of job postings by my office uncovered dozens of examples of New York City job listings that required candidates to be currently employed–and it is clear that New York’s hopes for economic recovery are undermined when a person can’t find work for reasons outside their control. I am proud to stand with my colleagues today in support of legislation that protects unemployed people against such damaging discrimination.”

At 9.4%, New York City’s unemployment rate far exceeds both the national average and the New York State average. More than half of unemployed New Yorkers were actively seeking work for more than six months and nearly a third were still actively looking for work after searching for more than a year.

Intro 814-A will be voted on at tomorrow’s Stated Council meeting and is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

Source: Google Maps

The brown and white checkerboard pattern of this place is nothing short of awesome. Way to go Bay Parkway Real Estate Insurance (2169 Bath Avenue).

Source: NJLA: New Jersey Library Association via Flickr

The Community Education Council District 21 posted a resource for parents who are unable to get their children to school because of the bus strike..

On their Facebook page, they write:

In the event that your child is not able to travel to school because of the bus strike, the DOE encourages you to support your child’s learning at home using the suggested study schedules and instructional activities posted below. These materials do not replace what your child is learning at school, but it is important that students continue to read, write, do science activities, and work on math problems during time out of school.

Here is the link to the Department of Education’s “Learn at Home” initiative. If you happen to be curious about the kinds of topics that a may appear on a classroom curriculum, this is a great place to brush up on your high school English skills.

A sample 11th grade student task in the English section is to create an advertisement campaign using rhetorical appeals as taught by Aristotle (logos, pathos, ethos and mythos). 

It’s my hope that if students in a classroom are asked to write these, the DOE doesn’t sell them to a marketing consultant.

Newly sworn-in Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, representing a broad swath of Brooklyn’s southern coastline walloped by Superstorm Sandy, is hosting a Post Sandy Town Hall Meeting, according to a last-minute press release his office sent out.

The release states:

Too many New Yorkers are still struggling to recover and get back to normal after Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) will be hosting his first town hall meeting and will be joined by local elected officials and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, the Rapid Repairs Program, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and other government agencies to address concerns and provide up-to-date information on Post-Sandy relief.

Jeffries will be joined by State Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Alex Brook-Krasny, Councilman Domenic Recchia and representatives from FEMA, the American Red Cross, Rapid Repairs Program, SBA, NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS) and other government agencies.

The event will be at 7 p.m. at Coney Island Gospel Assembly, 2828 Neptune Avenue (between West 28th Street and West 29th Street).

Watch the video above to see Jeffries urging his colleagues in the House to pass Sandy relief legislation.

Source: plushplex via Flickr

A man suspected of going on a three-month cell phone stealing spree has been caught.

Sammy Nour, 30, is suspected of pocketing phones from a cafe, office and store, according to Brooklyn News Corp.

All of the incidents occurred near Eighth Avenue and 56th Street, between September 9 and December 13.

The crook was on surveillance video in each of the three times. He ‘s been charged with three counts of petit larceny and  criminal possession of stolen property.

A 12-year-old girl was hit by a bus on 7th street and Avenue O within the last hour. She was taken to Maimonides Hospital and is in critical condition, according to ABC Local.

No further information is available yet.

From the office of Councilman Greenfield:

Councilman David G. Greenfield is praising officers from the NYPD’s 66th Precinct and volunteer members of Misaskim for their great work in tracking down a stolen vehicle that contained a Sefer Torah belonging to a member of Congregation Agudath Sholom of Flatbush. The Torah, valued at approximately $30,000, was inside a 2007 Toyota Corolla that was stolen Saturday evening while it was parked on 18th Avenue in Borough Park near the synagogue.

On Monday, Misaskim received an anonymous phone tip informing them that the stolen vehicle was abandoned near Avenue I and East 10th Street. The dispatch center relayed the information to Misaskim founder and director, Yanky Meyer, who went to the location to verify that the stolen vehicle was there. He then alerted Inspector Michael Deddo of the 66th Precinct, who sent officers to recover the vehicle and Torah, which was not damaged. In response, Councilman Greenfield is thanking the outstanding officers of the 66th Precinct and the dedicated volunteers for Misaskim for working together to locate the vehicle and return the Torah to its owner.

“Once again, we are reminded how much we benefit from the tremendous working relationship between the NYPD and the outstanding volunteer organizations like Misaskim serving our community. I have no doubts that the immediate response by both the NYPD and by volunteer residents was instrumental in ensuring the recovery of this invaluable Torah before it was destroyed or sold. My thanks to NYPD Inspector Deddo, Misaskim founder Yanky Meyer and the Boro Park Shomrim for their hard work, both in this case and throughout the year,” said Councilman Greenfield.

“Thank G-d for the great working relationship we have with the NYPD and with Councilman Greenfield’s office, so that when something like this happens we all can get the word out fast to the community. I am sure that the person who took the car only abandoned it because they were aware that the public was on the lookout for it. I am very pleased that this came to a happy conclusion and the Torah was returned to its proper owners,” said Misaskim founder and director Yanky Meyer.

Police are still looking for the individual who stole and abandoned the vehicle, so anyone with information is asked to contact the NYPD’s 66th Precinct at (718) 851-5611.

Source: RedMangoFrozenYogurt via Flickr

Our reader and tipster John sent in a little note to let us know that Red Mango, a frozen yogurt joint, is heading our way.

The location will be at 6604 18th Avenue, the former site of Trunzo’s Meat Market. John also let us know that the new Red Mango is going to be located across the street from a new Bank of America.

Many years ago, there came a Starbucks. Now, we’d like to know what you think of the new businesses on 18th Avenue?

click to enlarge

Staten Island’s South Beach Civic Association is planning to host a rally on January 26 to protest the MTA-approved Verrazano Bridge fair hikes.

We know you rarely agree with anything anyone from the other side of the pond has to say, however, in this case, they might be on to something.

The protest takes place at Lily Pond Avenue and Major Avenue, near the entrance to the bridge. Yes, that is the Staten Island side. This means that you would have had to pay the currently exorbitant toll amount in order to cross the bridge so that you may protest against an even higher toll amount. Silly, I know.

However, a Brooklyn-side protest to show our solidarity could work. Hey pols, who’s in?

If you happen to be in Staten Island, or wish to travel there to make your voice heard, the protest starts at 12 p.m. Good luck and keep fighting the good fight.