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Source: @Bitchyy_McFlyy via Twitter

Photography is an art form that documents life. In this case, it’s also a medium to create abstract art. This week’s photo feature by @Bitchyy_McFlyy is a reminder that blurry photography can be cool too.

Source: vmabney via Flickr

For many in Southern Brooklyn 2012 was a challenging year. Now that it’s behind us, we can all hope for a happy and healthy 2013.

Here’s to a joyful and prosperous new beginning! Happy New Year to you and yours.

Source: Rasbak via Wikimedia Commons

Alternate Side Parking and parking meters are not in effect for Tuesday, January 1. Stopping, standing, and parking, is permitted, except in areas where these rules are in effect seven days a week (for example, “No Standing Anytime”).

The Department of Sanitation will be not be collecting garbage or recycling January 1.

Source: Mariordo via Wikimedia Commons

Planning on heading to see the ball drop at Times Square on New Year’s Eve? I’m totally kidding, I know that no one would willingly agree to that. So, ignore these MTA instructions unless you are being blackmailed.

Here’s how the MTA advises you to get to Times Square today:

New York City Subways and Buses

Customers heading to Times Square for the celebration should avoid using the 42 St-Times Square complex, since they may not be allowed to exit onto the street. In addition, the northbound platform at 50 St 1 and both north and southbound platforms at 49 St N Q R will be closed from 7 p.m. until after midnight. Riders are urged to exit at stations at 57 St or 59 St-Columbus Circle instead and walk to Times Square.

Buses are not recommended for traveling to Times Square because of the numerous street closures in the area. Regular overnight bus service will resume as streets reopen after midnight. Following the celebration, trains on lines in and around Times Square will run every 8 to 12 minutes until approximately 3 a.m. The 42nd Street shuttle S will operate all night.

On Tuesday, New Year’s Day, subways and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule with longer waits on some bus routes.

If you’re going, good luck and Godspeed. Also, send us photos.

Source: Google Maps

Poly Prep Country Day School and the 12 plaintiffs who accused a longtime football coach of sexual abuse have reached a settlement.

In 2009, a suit was brought against the elite private school at 9216 Seventh Avenue for covering up a 25-year scandal and putting the reputation of the school before the safety of the students.

The suit claimed officials at the school knew that coach Phil Foglietta was sexually abusing boys, but chose to ignore the complaints because they wanted to protect their prestigious reputation.

The suit, which sought $20 million for each of the twelve plaintiffs, also named faculty members as witnesses to the abuse. One plaintiff stated that former Poly Prep athletic director Harlow Parker saw Foglietta abuse him in the shower and did nothing to stop the coach.

Another plaintiff stated that the coach abused him everyday starting when he was just 10-years-old.

“This is the end of a long and difficult journey for these twelve plaintiffs who were victimized many years ago,” said Kevin Mulhearn, the lawyer who represented the plaintiffs. “Both the litigation and the settlement process were quite contentious but in the end both sides were able to achieve a measure of peace and healing through compromise.”

The case was a rather unusual one because attorneys for Poly Prep argued that the statute of limitations had expired on filing the claims. However, U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block ruled that parts of the suit could proceed because officials at the school could have lied about when they became aware of the claims.

The suit states that school administrators covered up the abuse since 1966, the year the coach was hired. The first boy to come forward told officials of the abuse just months after Foglietta took the position. Poly Prep officials said they didn’t find out about the abuse until 1991.

“We hope that the settlement brings a measure of closure to those members of the Poly community who were abused by Philip Foglietta,” headmaster David Harman said in the statement, according to a New York Daily News article. “Poly Prep has established itself as a model for the prevention of abuse to those within our care and we will do everything in our power to insure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

The settlement details have not been made public.

Source: Robert McConnell for The Bergen Network

According to a breaking story from our friends at Sheepshead Bites, the MTA is set to announce that several bus lines identified earlier this year as needing repairs, improvements and restoration will receive that attention as early as January 6.

Among the buses that will see improvements is the B64, a line that had portions of it axed amid budget deficits in 2010.

According to Sheepshead Bites:

This week, an MTA spokesperson confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that the vast majority of service restorations and enhancements will begin Sunday, January 6. Those lines are:

  • Bx13, Bx34, B4, B24, B39, B48, B57, B64, B69, M1, M9, M21, Q24, Q27, Q30*, Q36, and Q42*

On Sunday, January 20, the following lines will also have new routes:

  • S76, S93*, X1 and X17

The Q30 and Q42 are weekdays only, so they are being introduced on Monday, January 7.  The S93 is also weekday only, so that will be introduced on Tuesday, January 22.

After the service cuts were announced, local leaders rallied together to bring the much-needed line back. As we previosuly reported:

Assemblyman William Colton teamed up with the Bensonhurst – West End Community Council, collecting thousands of petitions and organizing a rally at the Ulmer Park Bus Depot last month.

Senator Golden engaged the agency in negotiations, and Councilman Recchia raised the issue when the MTA testified before the City Council Finance Committee, which Recchia chairs, earlier last month.

The  full service restoration start date is great news for seniors and all those who take public transportation to get from Bay Ridge to other parts of Southern Brooklyn.

The MTA expects to issue a press release detailing the upcoming route restorations and any other changes next week.

(ltr) Mark Treyger, Coney Island resident and Sandy victim John Quintana and Assemblyman Colton. Source: Assemblyman Colton’s office.

From the office of Assemblyman William Colton:

Brooklyn Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) and community leader Mark Treyger are asking Governor Cuomo to issue an executive order requiring the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to waive and refund costly registration and plate transfer fees that have socked thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims. Assemblyman Colton penned a letter to the governor asking him to proceed with this proposal as part of the state’s overall response plan to assist victims who have been severely affected by the wrath of Sandy.

In addition to the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy evidenced across the tri-state region, it is estimated that over 200,000 cars were lost in the NY area alone due to the salt-water packed storm surge that pummeled the Northeast during Sandy’s landfall.

As countless victims are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives following Sandy, many are being forced to confront unfair and costly fees to replace their lost vehicles. New York State residents who purchased or leased another car to replace a car they lost because of the storm are being charged hefty registration and plate transfer fees. One Coney Island resident, John Quintana, who along with suffering extensive damage to his home, was hit with an exorbitant fee totaling over $800 to replace three vehicles lost to Sandy’s wrath. Mr. Quintana is one of the thousands of Sandy victims that is grappling with financial burdens as he tries to recover and move on with his life after Sandy.

That is why Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) and community leader Mark Treyger are urging the DMV to act swiftly and waive all registration and plate transfer fees for Sandy victims. “Victims of Hurricane Sandy are going through too much in their lives to be told to pay up a lot more. The DMV needs to do the right thing and exempt Sandy victims from these exorbitant fees,” asserted Assemblyman Colton, who is a member of the New York Assembly’s Ways and Means committee. “This is the least that the government can do to help struggling Sandy victims recover and move on with their lives,” added community leader Mark Treyger, who has been working closely with Assemblyman Colton on advancing this relief plan.

Their proposal would also retroactively apply to those victims who have already replaced their vehicles and paid either new registration or plate transfer fees since the storm. Once verified by insurance claim paperwork, the state would reimburse or waive the hefty fees levied against New York victims.

The DMV is currently waiving the fee to replace lost registration documents and license plates due to Sandy, which can add up to $28. However, the agency is not waiving the more hefty cost of registering a newly acquired vehicle or transferring plates from the replaced vehicle, which can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars. “Since it is estimated that over 200,000 cars were lost in NY due to Sandy, New Yorkers are not asking the state to mail them a replacement registration for their lost vehicle. Instead, New York victims are being told by the DMV to pay up the cost of registering a new vehicle or transferring plates to a new vehicle,” insisted Colton.

As Assemblyman Colton and community leader Treyger await word from Governor Cuomo on their relief proposal, they are urging Sandy victims, who have had to pay these costly DMV fees to replace their lost vehicles, to contact the assemblyman’s office at 718-236-1598 and ask for Mark Treyger. They will make note of all cases and present them to state leaders while urging them to expeditiously implement the proposed relief plan.

Source: Shemp65 via Wikimedia Commons

Turns out, legendary punk rocker Iggy Pop once called Bensonhurst or Bath Beach home. The exact location of his dwelling is unclear, however, there are several accounts of this oddball occurrence in various magazines.

Dave Mandl wrote a piece for Flavorwire where he recalls neighborhood friends selling nickel bags to Pop in a schoolyard. He backs up his childhood memories with interviews that Pop gave where he said he came to Bensonhurst to get away from hard drugs and to record new music.

In a 2007 MTV interview, in response to the interviewer asking if he lives in Bay Ridge, Pop says:

 No. [laughs] Bensonhurst. Not many people know I lived out there. But I’m glad I lived out there and saw how it was. The intersection by my house had a Catholic Church, the police station, the pizzeria, and the corner where the dealers sold Quaaludes. This was ’82. I was recording an album [Zombie Birdhouse] for Chris Stein’s [of Blondie] label, riding the subway out to sessions. Nobody in the neighborhood knew who I was. Then I played the Brooklyn Zoo that summer and all the hoodlums came up. This one guy, John, he was this handsome burglar. He was so impressed he said he’d steal me anything I’d like. I was like “No, thanks, that’s okay.”

Both Mandl and Pop recount colorful memories of the neighborhood in the early 80′s. In the article, Mandl even mentions the Bath Beach Boys and the Louisiana Boys, two notorious neighborhood gangs.

Jerry was from the Bath Beach section of Bensonhurst, an almost completely Italian area in what was a predominantly Italian part of Brooklyn to begin with. It was probably the toughest part of the neighborhood, with an unusually high concentration of gangs and wiseguys. There were the notoriously violent Bath Beach Boys, led by the widely feared Charlie, who was shot and killed in a local bar sometime in the early ‘80s. And then there were the Louisiana Boys, the gang Jerry belonged to, who to their credit occasionally did things other than beat people up. Their name came not from the state (duh), but from Louisiana Lanes, a scrungy local bowling alley on 86th St. where they used to hang out.

For fans of his music, Zombie Birdhouse was considered a return to form and an Iggy Pop classic. I’m almost sure Bensonhurst’s influence has a great deal to do with that.

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: brunosan via Flickr

If you’re the type to want to get rid of your tree before the pine needles turn rusty-orange brown and decorate your floor, the city offers some options for you. Otherwise, you can always practice the age-old New York tradition of turning it into an Easter tree.

Here’s how the city recommends you discard your tree:

Make Your Own Mulch for Your Garden or Street Trees

Mulch made from the smaller branches on your Christmas tree or from evergreen boughs protects and enriches the soil in your garden or in your street tree beds. When laid over the soil, branches can help prevent erosion, compaction, and the repeated freezing and thawing that can damage plants or trees. And soil structure will be improved when the needles and twigs eventually break down.

Making mulch is simple: Just cut off the smaller branches of your Christmas tree, or remove the twigs from your evergreen boughs. Lay three to four inches of these trimmings over the bare soil around street trees or perennial plantings. Remember not to place the mulch directly against the tree or on exposed woody roots, as this could cause rot and invite pests and disease.

After removing the branches of your tree for mulch, you can take the tree to a MulchFest location or leave it out for DSNY curbside collection. Make sure you remove all of the decorations before taking the tree anywhere.

MulchFest happens on Saturday or Sunday, January 12 and 13th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The two nearest locations are:

  • Owl’s Head Park at Colonial Road and 68th Street
  • Marine Park at Avenue U and East 33rd Street

As for DSNY curb compost collection, the DSNY will collect Christmas trees left at the curb from Wednesday, January 2 through Saturday, January 19. Again, make sure to remove all decorations before leaving it on the curb. The DSNY recommends that you do not put the tree in a plastic bag either.

And there you have it, how your tree turns into mulch that’s lines thet planting fields of parks, sports fields and community gardens all over the city.