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Gary Fama, who held up the Capital One Bank last year has been found guilty of the crime.

Fama and his accomplice Jack Mannino, who has been dubbed the “7-second bandit” for his speedy heist jobs, met in prison and decided to rob the bank together on December 29th, according to the New York Daily News. Both men also have ties to the Gambino crime family.

The robbery went wrong after a dye pack exploded and their transmission blew out. They jumped out of the damaged getaway car and left behind Mannino’s wallet and cellphone.

After the FBI tracked him down, Mannino made a deal with the police to testify against Fama. He’s waiting on his sentence, according to a New York Post article.

Fama, an ex-con with previous firearm and drug convictions, now faces up to 17 years in prison on bank robbery and firearms charges.

Source: wallyg via Flickr

Tomorrow, the board of the MTA will cast their votes on raising tolls on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to a whopping $15 – and local pols are fuming.

State Senator Marty Golden, Congressman Michael Grimm and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis issued a joint statement to the board and its chairman, Joe Lhota, urging them to kill the proposal and grant Brooklynites and Staten Islanders a measure of economic relief.

The statement follows a letter sent by the trio on December 13. In it, they wrote:

This proposal will hit the pockets of all New Yorkers who traverse the Verrazano Bridge for the purposes of work, shopping, medical care, family visits, and more. It is just unacceptable that the most expensive bridge in the world, already at $13, has the potential to become more expensive.

… In these difficult economic times, the last thing New Yorkers need is the burden of additional travel expenses. The proposal now before the MTA will further strain the budgets of millions of New York’s families and cause a loss of revenue for countless businesses. This proposal is not only misguided, it is something New Yorkers are not willing to accept.

The current proposal calls for raising the toll $2, from $13 to $15. The increase would be $1.06 for those with E-Z Pass.

The three Republican legislators are not alone. Last month, Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile stood before the board at its November 28 hearing and blasted the plan. He also demanded that the MTA extend the discount they give to Staten Island residents to Brooklyn residents as well.


Source: Markowitz’s office

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member Domenic Recchia and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura all gathered for the groundbreaking a of a new BJs Wholesale Club in Gravesend.

Since Superstorm Sandy struck late last October, the time-table for the construction was moved up in an effort to spur job growth in the area.

“By moving up the construction time table and creating 300 well-paying jobs, they are helping to drive the economic recovery in South Brooklyn—especially in nearby Coney Island—one of the areas hardest hit by the storm,” said Markowitz in a press release.

As we previously reported, the megastore, where you can buy everything from computers to over-sized boxes of cereal, will occupy a 200,000 square foot space at 1752 Shore Parkway. It gained the City Council’s approval in September 2011, and is being developed by Thor Equities. It’s not without controversy: some locals are concerned that it will siphon customers away from mom-and-pop business owners.

Source: Elle Spektor

Last week we reported on the New Utrecht Reformed Church’s efforts to ring in the holiday season with their yearly “living nativity” scene, a tradition that has drawn community members since 1956.

The church, located at 1828 83rd Street, held the scene this past Saturday and our Elle Spektor snapped this photo of the neighborhood tradition.

Source: Google Maps

Last week, seven people were injured in a horrific car crash on the corner of West 5th Street and Quentin Road. The impact took the life of a 60-year-old grandmother who was walking with her husband, daughter and 1-year-old granddaughter.

Residents of the area said that accidents on this intersection are commonplace. Councilman David Greenfield wants to do something to prevent any future incidents at the dangerous crosswalk.

“There’s no question traffic calming measures have to be put in there,” Greenfield said to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

A Jeep Cherokee traveling eastbound Quentin Road and an Acura MDX heading northbound on West 5th Street crashed into one another and the force of the crash caused one of the cars to jump the sidewalk and mow down the pedestrians.

According to Greenfield, there are no traffic lights at the intersection and only one stop sign. He requested that the DOT conduct an inspection of the intersection.

“It is common for people to run the stop sign,” he said.

Greenfield also met with District Attorney Charles Hynes to discuss whether or not criminal charges should be filed.

At this point, it is not known what, if any, safety measures will be taken in the future to prevent crashes.


Michael Sciaraffo’s Secret Sandy Clause toy collection. Image courtesy of
Sciaraffo’s Facebook page

When it comes to making sure that the youngest victim’s of Hurricane Sandy have a great Christmas, there is no shortage of bighearted locals.

Gravesend resident Michael Sciaraffo has been a one man Sandy relief machine. He started by collecting essential supplies for relief efforts with Facebook appeals and eventually moved on bringing holiday gifts to kids whose families are struggling.

“This was my home, and I felt compelled to do something about it,” Sciaraffo said to NY 1.”I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. So I said ‘You know what? I am going to mobilize.”

Michael Sciaraffo’s Secret Sandy Clause event. Image courtesy of
Sciaraffo’s Facebook page

He collected over 200 toys from a Secret Sandy Claus event he hosted. Then, instead of just dropping the toys off at centers, he decided to don a Santa suit and deliver them himself to bring that extra bit of cheer to kids.

His first stop was the McGowan family on Bevy Court in Gerritsen Beach. The family has been living out of a trailer on their lawn because their home was completely destroyed by Sandy.

“A lot of times, they ask, they want to go home and they want their toys,” said Mom Elizabeth McGowan. “I’m telling them that Santa Claus is coming and they are going to get toys. And he showed up and that will mean the world to them.”

Sciaraffo is nowhere near done. His list includes hundreds of kids from all over the five boroughs. He said that personally recalls the importance toys play in a child’s life and wants to make sure that these kids have a joy-filled Christmas in spite of their difficulties.

To donate toys, call 646-623-7542 or email

Superstorm Sandy may have spared most Bensonhurst residents and businesses, but recovery was still center stage at Community Board 11′s December 13 meeting.

In the wake of the storm, rebuilding the sea wall and protecting homeowners from toxic mold growth are top priorities for local leaders.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate called for a quick rehabilitation of the Caesar’s Bay bulkhead and the Shore Parkway Greenway sea wall. The greenway is of particular importance, as it serves as a line of defense for the Belt Parkway, Southern Brooklyn’s principal artery. According to District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia and Chairman William Guarinello, the effects of another storm could wipe out the roadway.

“The Belt Parkway is a vital link in our community,” Abbate added, noting that rebuilding the lost seawall at Caesar’s Bay is an important precaution.

There have been a few cases of mold in Bensonhurst homes after the hurricane, the Board noted. Community members are encouraged to check their homes for mold and hire licensed contractors for removal. Homeowners should not attempt to remove the mold itself, as it requires specialized equipment to protect from inhaling the toxic spores.

Also, on Monday, the City Council voted to postpone property taxes for local home owners, according to Councilman Vincent Gentile’s representatives. There will be a three-month grace period for owners, which should help the community in the Bensonhurst post-Sandy rebuilding effort.

Aiello and  Msgr. Cassato. Source:

Much has been said about the light displays in Dyker Heights. Now, Bensonhurst residents have decided to get in on the action.

The St. Athanasius Church at 2154 61st Street set up decorations and lit up a Christmas tree in front of the rectory after Mass last week. Along with Santa, Hollywood actors Quintin Aaron and Danny Aiello participated in the festivities, according to the The Tablet.

Aiello even sang Christmas carol duets with Monsignor David Cassato to the musical accompaniment of the Dixieland Band.

Three homes on 82nd Street have also went all out decorating their homes in festive lights.

The homeowners have been banding together for years to create a large display. According to News 12, they want to make their display bigger every year.

Image courtesy of Senator Martin Golden

Looks like the cheerleaders, spectators and Senator Marty Golden had a blast at the local tree lighting at Van Sicklen Street and Avenue U.

Make sure you go there to check out the tree in all of its glory!


Source: Cec via Wikimedia Commons

There are several subway service changes this weekend. Here’s what you can expect from some of the local lines:

  • Coney Island-bound D trains run express from 9th Avenue to Stillwell Avenue. Trains stop at 62 St.-New Utrecht Avenue and Bay Parkway. For service to Fort Hamilton Parkway, 50, 55, 71 and 79th Streets, 18th, 20th 25th Avenues and Bay 50th Street, take the D to 62nd Street-New Utrecht Avenue, Bay Parkway or Stillwell Avenue and transfer to a Norwood-bound D train.
  • N trains run over the Manhattan Bridge in both directions between Canal St and DeKalb Avenue. In Brooklyn, transfer between N and 4 trains at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.
  • There are no R trains between 34th Street-Herald Square and Jay Street-MetroTech. Instead, R train runs in two sections: Between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and 34th Street-Herald Square and between Jay Street-MetroTech and Bay Ridge-95th Street. For service between Manhattan and Brooklyn, take the N or Q train. Transfer between R and N/Q trains at 34th Street-Herald Square or Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.