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What’s our favorite neighborhood mom up to? Coupled with her usual tough love advice, JoAnn from Bensonhurst is talking about something a little sweeter: Her love for her dog, Gizmo.

Of course, she never lets you have too much of her softer side, because midway through her new episode, she’s back to the tough cookie we all know her as.

Check out JoAnn’s latest about pets and dog parks. Whatever you do, make sure you catch Gizmo’s “Godfather” trick starting at the 2:44 mark.

Source: Greg McMullin/Flickr

On My Block Films (OMBF) is inviting New Yorkers to use their filmmaking talents while getting to know their neighbors better.

New Yorkers from all boroughs are invited to participate in the inaugural Neighborhood Filmmaking Challenge, which aims to promote stronger communities through the process of filmmaking.

Participants must shoot a one- to five-minute narrative or documentary film that takes place on their street, either inside or outside. The entire cast and crew must be made up of real neighbors.

From August through October 31, films can be uploaded to the OMB website and the public will be able to vote on a film by liking it on Vimeo. The 30 films with the most Vimeo likes will proceed to be judged by an official panel during the first week of November. Awards will be presented to the Best Narrative Film, Best Documentary Film, and Best In Show.

OMBF was created earlier this year to bring New Yorkers closer together and showcase the diversity and unique identities of people in the city. The organization is hoping to put together a number of films about each borough and in the process bring together neighbors who might otherwise be strangers.

To sign up for the challenge or for additional information, please contact Mary Crosse at or visit

And remember, if you make a film, let us know so we can encourage fellow readers to vote for you!

The NYPD is not taking any chances when it comes to another murder in the local area. They posted a marked cruiser car outside of a nearby eatery whose address has a similar combination of numbers as the two stores the shopkeepers were murdered at.

Valentino Fashion, Mohammed Gebeli’s store, is located at 7718 Fifth Avenue and Isaac Kadare’s Amazing 99 Cent Deals store is at 1877 86th Street.

The police parked right outside of the East Ocean Buffet at 1778 86th Street. Though no one has confirmed that the numbers theory plays a relevant part in the shootings, they have not ruled it out yet either.

As for the cops outside of the buffet, they deny any assignment related to address numbers. Instead, they said that they were patrolling the entire area.

“This is the 62nd Precinct, but other officers have been brought into the area. We’re looking for the guy,” said Officer Cruz, of the 94th Precinct, who was outside the buffet with his partner.

The manager and staff at the restaurant were relieved at the beefed up police presence. The killings have neighborhood staff very anxious.

“We all do feel better that there are officers on the street,” she said. “It definitely makes me feel safer that I can see them.”

Source: Trusilver via Wikimedia Commons

Tonight you’re invited to head down to the 62nd precinct at 1925 Bath Avenue from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to celebrate the 29th annual “National Night Out Against Crime.”

Police precincts throughout the country will host block parties filled with food, music, games and entertainment.

The gathering, which is hosted by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to “strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community relationships, heighten crime and drug awareness and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods and organizations are fighting back.”

The event is a chance to meet neighbors and local community leaders over food and fun while building community spirit.

Look for food, face painting and general neighborhood merriment.

“National Night Out Against Crime” is free and open to all ages. For more info call (718) 236-2611.

Source: Simon Law via Wikimedia Commons

A Dyker Heights dry cleaning business is up for sale. The asking price is a negotiable $250,000.

According to the listing, the business has been there for 50 years.

It’s located in a busy strip mini mall on 86th Street. The name and exact address were not published, but there might be a Dyker Heights reader that knows exactly where this place is.

A baby boy in a carriage was hit by a school bus at the intersection of 62nd Street and 20th Avenue at about 4 p.m. today. Witnesses state that double parked cars in the area often block traffic and that the bus did not come to a full stop at the stop sign.

The baby suffered a minor head injury and was taken to Maimonides Medical Center for treatment. Luckily, he is expected to be just fine.

No word yet on whether or not the driver will face any punishment.

A sketch of the suspect

Police have identified a man and woman they hope to question in relation to the murders of Mohammed Gebeli and Isaac Kadare.

The couple is not suspected of killing the men, however, they may have information that could lead police to the killer.

In the meanwhile, local business owners are doing their best to stay safe during this frightening time.

“When it starts getting around dusk time, lock them [the doors],” said Bonita Bravo to NBC News. He works  at a money transfer business near Kadare’s 99-cent store.

Bravo has decided not to let customers into the store without them ringing the bell and him screening them first.

Store owners and employees, please be alert and stay safe.

Bensonhurst native Marco Manfre makes his literary debut with “The Outcast Prophet of Bensonhurst,” a coming-of-age novel about a boy growing up in Bensonhurst in the 1950s through 1971.

The book follows Anacleto, a shy, reclusive personality with an eccentric family. His family ties and personality make Anacleto an outcast in his neighborhood. Throughout the story, Anacleto struggles with family problems, religious beliefs, free speech, and the war in Vietnam, all while painting a vivid picture of Bensonhurst in a past era.

“I think the book really captures the true essence of Bensonhurst at the time,” Manfre told Bensonhurst Bean. “One part describes how we used to play street games, especially stickball, in the street with what we called a ‘spaldeen.’ It was a pink rubber ball that was a imitation of a Spalding ball. We used to go to the movies every weekend for 26 cents. The theater showed a double feature, plus a newsreel and cartoons. These middle aged women called matrons would walk up and down the aisle looking for bad kids. Everyone’s family knew each other and watched out for each other. There were candy stores everywhere, and the pharmacies had malted machines. I would be 11 or 12 years old taking the train to the city with my friends. Growing up I never wished to live anywhere else. I don’t think the book would have been the same had I lived somewhere else.”

After graduating high school, Manfre’s mother gave him two choices: Join the Army or go to college. The ultimatum, he says, was given to his friends by their mothers as well.

Manfre chose to attend Brooklyn College, which, minus books and a registration fee, was free for students. In the story, Anacleto’s older brothers chose to join the Army and came back emotionally scarred after fighting in the Vietnam War.

The book gives readers a feeling for the anti-war sentiment that was spreading at the time, which Manfre said is very similar to the general public’s feelings towards the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book takes place in  past decades, but the issues the characters deal with are topics that are relevant today, especially religion, racism, drug abuse and growing up.

According to Manfre, the biggest change in the neighborhood since that time is the demographics. While the Bensonhurst of today is home to immigrants from various parts of the world including Asia, Central America and Eastern Europe, the area at the time was almost strictly Italian and Jewish.

Aside from the shifting demographics, the heart of Bensonhurst, and Brooklyn as a whole, remains the same.

It is “a city of walkers,” as Manfre puts it. To Manfre, it is a place where you can step outside of your house and immediately see interesting people and unique places. There is always someone to talk to in New York and always something to do.

Though the characters in the story face challenges that most people deal with, the setting of the book could only be Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Community Education Council 20 is hosting their monthly meeting this Wednesday, August 8 at 6:00 p.m. The location of the meeting is at 415 89th Street in room 508.

Photo by DJ Nick Russo (

The New York Daily News is running their “Best of NY” contest and the folks at John’s Deli at 2033 Stillwell Avenue are in the running to take home the prize for “Best Sandwich Shop.”

If the words “Subway,” “mutz” or “midnight gravy” mean anything to you, then it is your duty to vote.

Here’s what the John’s Deli staff write on their Facebook page:

To all our loyal customers can you help us out by voting for John’s Deli as the best sandwich shop? NY Daily News is having a contest and it takes two seconds just copy and past the info below about our store to either their Facebook page or Twitter. Please let us know if you voted. Thanks!

The contest closes on August 10 at 6 p.m and the winner will be announced August 19. Submissions must say John’s Deli, their address and a reason as to why they are worthy.

Email submissions are also acceptable at BestOfNewYork [at] NYDailyNews [dot] com.

Good luck John’s Deli, you are definitely one of the best!