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Photographer: Urquhart. Source: Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection

This July 17, 1914 photo showcases workers lifting sandbags, operating a cement mixer and examining the newly laid tracks.  during the construction of the Sea Beach line. The title, “Looking West from 18th Ave. Showing Progress of Construction Work” even gives the viewer the location where the photographer stood.

Amazing how ingenuity and hard work got the job done back then, ahem ahem. Sea Beach line repairs anyone?

Source: Ronzoni via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, Councilman Domenic Recchia announced that he has decided not to run in the 2013 Comptroller race.

He says that his decision is based on the amount of relief work Superstorm Sandy inflicted upon his district. Instead, he wants to narrow his focus to rebuild the parts of Southern Brooklyn most affected by the storm. Along with parts of Bensonhurst, Recchia represents Coney Island, Gravesend, Brighton Beach and Sea Gate.

“After months of consideration and conversations with my family, friends, and colleagues, I have decided not to run for Comptroller in 2013. Although as Chair of the City Council’s Finance Committee I remain dedicated to maintaining our City’s fiscal health, in the wake of the storm, my energy, focus, and heart are in Brooklyn,” said Recchia to the New York Daily News.

Recchia has not put all of his ambitions on hold though, he may want to run for Brooklyn Borough President in the future.

Source: wonggawei via Wikimedia Commons

Dyker Heights was recently named number one in the top five place to see Christmas Lights. This may not come as a surprise to most locals. For years, residents of Dyker Heights have spent a pretty penny to make their homes the most festive in the city. This list, however, takes it a step further and names Dyker the first in all of the country.

Seattle-based internet real estate company Redfin announced its picks for best 2012 neighborhood holiday light displays, according to a release published by the Sacramento Bee. Dyker Heights joins ranks with Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, Peacock Lane in Portland, 37th Street in Austin and South 13th Street in Philadelphia.

The real estate agents have been surveying neighborhoods all over the country and these are the ones with the best lights, music, decorations and lawn characters.

As neighbors in the little Christmas enclave have already started decorating, this year’s displays will presumably be even brighter than the year before. The area to visit to see the best of the best is 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street.

Assemblyman William Colton and U.S. Marine Manuel Marin. Photo courtesy of Assemblyman William Colton’s office.

From the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Over 100 guests packed the United Progressive Democratic Club’s “Veterans Appreciation Night” meeting last Wednesday evening. Club President, Mark Treyger, organized the event with Assemblyman William Colton to show the club’s appreciation to local veterans who continue to serve their country in so many ways.

“Their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten,” insisted Assemblyman Colton, who has aggressively fought for and passed Veterans employment, education, and health care legislation in the NY legislature.

“Our country sends these brave men and women to the most dangerous parts of the world to protect our freedom. Therefore, we in government have a solemn obligation to fight and stand up for our veterans,” Colton added.

“Many veterans put aside festivities during Veterans Day to participate in relief efforts to assist Hurricane Sandy victims,” said president Treyger. “The spirit of service to our country never dies in these heroes,” Treyger continued.

Elite High School. Source: Google Maps

Former principal of Elite High School, a Jewish school serving Russian Jewish immigrants, Emanuel Yegutkin, 33, was convicted of child sexual abuse on Monday.

Yegutkin abused three boys from 1996 to 2005, two of which were brothers.

The boys did not attend Elite High School at 2115 Benson Avenue. Instead, Yegutkin became a friend of the victims’ father while himself attending school and visited the family’s home often.

He sexually abused two of the boys starting when one was seven and the other twelve. He forced them to have oral sex and perform other sexual acts. In 2008, he exposed a third boy to pornography.

He was arrested in January 2009.

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.

According to a release:

Yegutkin was convicted before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo on 75 counts of charges including three counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree, two counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, and multiple counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The top charge, Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. Yegutkin will be back in court on December 17 to announce a sentencing date.

At trial, all three three victims testified against Yegutkin.

In the release, District Attorney Charles Hynes stated, “This violent sexual predator faces the remainder of his life behind bars. This should serve as a clear message that those who would sexually abuse children in this county will be punished severely.”

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

From the offices of the Metropolitan Transit Authority:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Sunday that Tutor Perini has been awarded a five-year, $235.7 million contract to replace the original 1960s upper level roadway of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which, once completed, will include the agency’s first reversible high occupancy vehicle lane.The new reversible lane will connect with State Department of Transportation’s HOV lanes on either side of the bridge, providing a continuous HOV lane from the Staten Island Expressway straight through to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel for the first time and save time for thousands of daily bus and HOV car commuters.”Completing this last piece of the Staten Island to Manhattan HOV lane across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will have an enormous beneficial impact on regional mobility,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota. New York City Transit Staten Island Express buses carry an average 30,000 riders to and from Manhattan each weekday.”This project is a critical part of our strategy to keep the bridge in a state of good repair for the estimated 190,000 motorists who use it daily, and has been carefully planned so it will impact daily traffic as little as possible,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara.

The bridge’s upper level will remain open to traffic while the new roadway is installed, and the three current lanes of traffic will be maintained during peak morning and afternoon drive times using a movable barrier.

“The upper level roadway is nearing 50 years old and has reached the end of its useful life and must be replaced,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief Engineer Joe Keane. The current concrete roadway deck will be replaced with a lighter, steel orthotropic deck that will have a significantly improved life span than the original deck system.

In order to verify the performance of the new deck’s design, a full scale prototype underwent several years of rigorous testing and successfully endured more than 5 million cycles of simulated truck traffic loading at Lehigh University’s Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) engineering research center.

“The advantages of an orthotropic deck versus a traditional concrete deck are that orthotropic decks are a more durable, lighter and stiffer deck system, improving seismic and wind performance of the bridge,” explained Verrazano-Narrows Facility Engineer David Riggs. “An added benefit is that the deck system is a continuous structure without expansion joints, which tend to leak and accelerate deterioration of the supporting steel below,” Riggs said.

Tutor Perini, which has local offices in New Rochelle, will help create the reversible HOV lane by reconfiguring the median, side barriers and curbs on both sides of the bridge. The contractor has successfully completed several other projects for MTA Bridges and Tunnels, including major roadway deck reconstruction at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

The project will also include a new drainage system, new steel sign structures, new LED lighting on both levels of the bridge, rehabilitation of the finger joints and painting of the support structures. Preparatory work will begin in 2013 and roadway construction in 2014. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

A separate contract will be awarded in 2013 to construct a new ramp on the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that will connect the bridge’s new HOV lane to the New York State Department of Transportation’s Gowanus Expressway HOV lane.

Pre-Sandy seawall. Source: Retrofresh! via Flickr

The seawall that lines the greenway path along the Belt Parkway was badly damaged during the storm. For weeks, residents and local leaders have asking the federal government to fix it.

Along 14th Avenue, 17th Avenue and 95th Street is where the wall was most noticeably damaged. If the wall is not repaired, there will be no buffer to protect the highway if another storm hits, even one that is considerably less devastating than Sandy. Hurricane Irene, for example, caused serious flooding along parts of the highway last year.

The Belt Parkway is the main thoroughfare for Southern Brooklyn and acts as a much needed road for emergency vehicles transporting goods and relief. Further, the broken parts of the greenway wall can be dangerous for kids and adults riding their bikes and for fisherman leaning on the rails.

Currently, police tape is the only thing marking the hazardous areas and thus far, dates for repairs have not been announced.

Congressman Michael Grimm wants FEMA to repair the wall immediately. He sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg “urging them to request a FEMA mission assignment to repair the damaged Brooklyn seawall,” according a release from Grimm’s office.

The money may be acquired through FEMA funding, however, the City and State must be the ones to make the request, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

“The flooding of the Belt Parkway is not a new issue, but one that has become increasingly worse with recent storms,” said Grimm. “Our crumbling seawall took another severe beating from Sandy, and without repairs, the flooding brought on by another storm could be detrimental to the Brooklyn community and the security of New York City. That is why I am urging the City and the State to request a FEMA mission assignment that would provide the Army Corps of Engineers with necessary resources to begin repairs without delay.”

Senator Marty Golden has also been in support of emergency repairs along the wall. He penned a letter to the U.S. Corps of Engineers early in November asking that they assess and fix the wall quickly.

Prior to the storm your office had been working with the city to replace a 2.5 mile section of the seawall running from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Bay Parkway. The newly damaged section is entirely contained within the scope of the original project. Of course now the need to expedite the repair of the heavily damaged section is a high priority.

…It is my hope that in addition to an emergency fix for part of the seawall, the Army Corps will move forward with the replacement of the entire 2.5 mile section with a new seawall. In the long term this would be a better fix in protecting the adjourning highway and community as well as being a more efficient way of utilizing limited funds.

A 37-year-old man died after colliding with an SUV in Dyker Heights on Friday evening.

Hector Rivera was driving west on 65th Street when his motorcycle hit a Honda SUV that was making a left on 13th Avenue.

The motorcyclist was pinned under the Honda, according to NY1. He was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where he passed away.

The driver of the Honda SUV is fine and will not face any police charges.

The much hyped Malignaggi and Cano fight at Barclays ended in a victory and Welterweight title retention for our local sports star.

For Malignaggi, there was never a question of his strengths in the match-up. He also assumed that next in line to fight him would be  Ricky Hatton, after beating out Vyacheslav Senchenko.

This proved not to be the case. Now, Malignaggi and his management team are plotting to see who the next opponent in line will be.

ESPN writer Michael Woods caught up with Richard Schaefer, Malignaggi’s promoter to see who they had in mind.

“We’re looking at maybe an April return for Malignaggi,” Schaefer said.

They’re hoping to have a fight plan in mind right after Christmas. There was talk of an Amir Khan, Malignaggi rematch. Khan beat the Brooklyn boxer in May. There’s also consideration of a bout between Malignaggi and another Brooklyn boy, Dmitriy Salita.

According to Schaefer, Salita would need to have a “credible win” before he squares off against the Welterweight title holder.

Only time will tell who will fight the Magic Man.

Source: wallyg via Flickr

Councilman Vincent Gentile attended a November 28 toll hearing in Staten Island regarding the proposed MTA Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll hike.

Gentile put forth a fiery statement opposing the hike. His major point of contention is that the city would not budge in waiving the tolls when Hurricane Sandy relief workers needed to get to and from Staten Island with aid and supplies.

He writes:

Never before has a $13 round-trip toll on a bridge not connected to Manhattan seemed more insanely prohibitive than in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as first responders and volunteers racing to help realize they can’t afford to make the necessary trips back and forth to transport supplies.

Earlier this month, in a letter to MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara, I demanded that MTA Bridges and Tunnels immediately suspend tolls on the Verrazano Bridge for relief workers.

He goes on to criticize the MTA for spending their revenue on the LIRR and Metro-North lines.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the MTA must change its funding formula so that more fare and toll revenue goes to city buses and subways, instead of the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, which serve the suburbs.

Back in June, just days after Governor Cuomo struck a deal with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to give Staten Island residential E-ZPass holders a big toll break, I turned to the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and demanded: ‘What about Brooklyn?!’

Gentile also hones in on the inequality between Staten Island residents receiving a discount and Brooklyn residents not receiving one to travel the same distances.

Seven days a week my constituents travel across that bridge to and from the College of Staten Island, Wagner College, to see their parents or spouses in nursing homes, or to work or shop. The residents in these zip-codes surrounding the bridge have to pay between $3.84 to $5.28 more than their Staten Island neighbors each time they cross the Verrazano Bridge. At $13 a pop, this is completely unjustifiable not to mention a serious burden on the wallet.

For local people who need to cross the Verrazano Bridge on a daily or frequent basis, the same discount on the bridge should apply as the discount given to Staten Islanders.

He concludes by urging the MTA to stop the proposed toll hike and to finally allow relief workers the benefit of free travel across the bridge.

Gentile is not the only one furious about the MTA’s unwillingness to give Staten Islanders in need and relief volunteers a hand. Brooklyn resident Jason Hernandez, an independent protester, has put out a petition demanding the MTA donate one day of fare collections to Sandy relief. Currently the petition has 50 signatures.