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Source: Alexander Rabb/Flickr

The owner of the landmarked Shore Theater has been declining all proposals to rehabilitate and reactivate the building, including one by a Manhattan restaurateur to turn it into a sprawling restaurant and culinary school.

The 1301 Surf Avenue building was inherited by Jasmine Bullard following the 2013 death of her father, Horace, a Coney Island visionary who long fought to revitalize the neighborhood during its darkest days. Although the building was on the market at the time of his death, Bullard has declined to hear out would-be buyers, Brooklyn Eagle reports.

“I have clients who are ready, willing and able to write a check for the Shore today,” broker Joe Vitacco told Eye on Real Estate.

He has tried to submit purchase offers to her, but in vain: “She won’t even look at them.”

Vitacco said he has four “solid” suitors for the Shore Theater:

* A “very well known restaurateur” from Manhattan who wants to build a cooking school downstairs and a restaurant on the top two floors.

“The view from the seventh floor is magnificent,” he said, and there’s a Juliet balcony where diners would be able to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones playing baseball at MCU Park.

* A “nationally known athlete” who would turn the Shore back into a movie theater — and no, it’s not Magic Johnson (who isn’t actively involved in Magic Johnson Theatres’ operations these days, anyway).

* A billionaire with a home in Brooklyn who “thinks it’s a beautiful building and should be restored,” Vitacco said.

This interested party made an offer when Horace Bullard was alive, but it wasn’t high enough. Now, “he’s willing to come to the table with more money,” the broker said.

* A real estate developer who is involved in Coney Island.

Vitacco marketed Horace Bullard’s properties for about a decade. When the Shore was Vitacco’s listing, the asking price was $12 million.

It is estimated that it will take approximately $35 million to renovate the 115,000-square-foot, seven-story structure.

grimm2

Grimm

Legal and financial troubles appear to be fueling recruitment troubles at the offices of beleaguered Congressman Michael Grimm if a desperate-sounding e-mail to colleagues is any indication.

Politico reports:

Grimm’s deputy chief of staff sent an email Wednesday afternoon asking downtowners to help her find a health and education legislative assistant.

“As you can imagine it hasn’t been easy to find a qualified candidate who wants to live on the edge and take a chance working for Rep. Grimm,” wrote [Grimm's Deputy Chief of Staff] Blaire Bartlett. “Ideally this person would have legislative experience. Hill experience would be great and NYC experience would be amazing, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?”

I don’t know about legislative assistants, but if he needs some social media help I know a group of 16-year-old girls who’d love to pitch in.

Just a BJ’s stock photo… (Source: Nicholas Eckhart/Flickr)

The opening date for the BJ’s Wholesale Club at 1752 Shore Parkway has been pushed back due to construction delays, Bensonhurst Bean has learned.

The Bensonhurst location, near Ceasar’s Bay, was slated to open July 12. But a representative for the company informed Bensonhurst Bean yesterday that they’re still putting the finishing touches on the location, and will be opening doors on an unspecified date in September.

The big box store will occupy the ground floor of a 200,000-square-foot space at 1752 Shore Parkway that will be known as the Bay Center. The center will be two stories tall with commercial units above the BJs. The project is being developed by Thor Equities and is expected to be completed sometime in 2014.

Construction kicked off in December 2012.

Source: Lioni Italian Heroes

Source: Lioni Italian Heroes

Two Bensonhurst delis are slinging some of the best sandwiches in Brooklyn, according to CBS News’ latest “Best of” list.

John’s Deli (2033 Stillwell Avenue) and Lioni’s (7803 15th Avenue) both made the cut in the unranked list of eight best sandwiches in Brooklyn.

John’s is singled out for their Godfather, a meat and cheese heavy hero that pops with color. But the ambiance gets a nod, too:

Walking into John’s Deli is a bit of a throwback – a narrow area to stand on line, signs that say things like “If you’re in a rush, you’re in the wrong place” – and a menu that has plenty of personality to fit right in.

Lioni’s, meanwhile, scores high for their fresh mozzarella and old world charm:

The sandwiches at Lioni are named after various Italian and Italian-American heroes, with Frank Sinatra at the top of the list: salami, fresh mozzarella, and a bit of seasoning (olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano). Have fun eating your way through the extensive herolist, or try your hand at creating your own combination – there’s no wrong way to put together a sandwich.

While Bensonhurst accounts for two of the eight spots – meaning the neighborhood sells one quarter of the borough’s best sandwiches, right? – eateries south of Prospect Park are well represented, with nods for eateries in Sheepshead Bay, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.

Source: jasoneppinke via Flickr

Source: jasoneppinke/Flickr

Following another spate of suicides off of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and other metro-area spans, the New York Police Department is training a larger batch of officers to safely get jumpers down – by persuasion or by force.

The New York Post reports:

So far this year, there have been 11 suicides at the George Washington Bridge, compared with 15 for all of last year. That’s in addition to 40 other attempted suicides stopped by cops on the span.

Given the alarming numbers, the department is training more officers to deal with jumpers — including sending more of them to practice climbing the structures, including the Verrazano Bridge.

So if you see some cops climbing around up there like Spiderman, know that it’s all to keep you safe from yourself.

If you’re wondering what else the training entails, or what life is like as one of the cops on the Jumper Squad, check out this awesome – and chilling - profile from 2012 in the New York Times.

grimm2

Grimm

Congressman Michael Grimm raised just $23,430 for his reelection campaign last month, less than a tenth of the $261,693 pulled in by his opponent, Democrat Domenic Recchia.

The Observer reports:

The campaign’s Schedule A form lists just 18 individual donors — some of them residing at the same address — though some made more than one transaction. Three of the donors are associated with the Savo Brothers construction firm, with each giving $1,300 in July. The firm has drawn the ire of many on Staten Island after it purchased a former Jesuit retreat space, Mount Manresa, where it plans to tear down old-growth trees and building hundreds of townhouses. The Savos have also donated to other local officials in the past.

… Mr. Grimm’s [approximately $13,000 in] expenditures for the month were limited to payroll costs for just a handful of campaign staffers, administrative expenses like cell phone bills and one $250 expense for an ad with a local Rolling Thunder motorcycle group.

With little cash to spend on mailings or television ads, the skilled retail politician has been hitting local events like parades and festivals in his district, where the he’s often overwhelmed by people who want to take pictures with him or shake his hand.

The congressman’s campaign warchest began showing signs of distress in the spring, after Grimm was slapped with a 20-count indictment for mail fraud, tax evasion and perjury. He’s receiving no support from national Republicans, and it appears all but a handful of local boosters have backed away.

Grimm also faces double-duty for fundraising. In addition to his campaign, he’s won approval to create a legal defense fund to fight the charges against him.

The filings show he slightly more than $1 million on hand, although the campaign carries $438,565 in debt stemming from his legal defense as part of a separate investigation into alleged improprieties in his campaign fundraising.

Recchia has just shy of $1.3 million cash on hand with no debt, giving him a significant spending advantage.

Source: NYCIBO

Source: NYCIBO

While the news that New York City will expand speed camera enforcement across the five boroughs was met with conspiratorial sneering from local drivers, revenue data suggests that the overall amount of funds collected for traffic fines has declined every year for the past four years despite the expansion of camera-enforcement programs.

That’s not to say there’s not money being made: the city pulled in more than $55 million in fiscal year 2014 (which ended on June 30), and 75 percent of that was from camera-based enforcement. The city budget for 2015 already presumes a jump to $62 million in revenue, with an even larger percentage coming from camera enforcement.

The New York City Independent Budget Office released a new infographic yesterday that charts the amount of revenue collected from traffic fines from 1999 to the present, and also shows the share of those collections that came via police-issued violations, red-light cameras, bus-lane cameras and the newest enforcement tool: speed cameras.

Some of the takeaways?

  • The proportion of revenue generated by cameras has grown from just 38 percent in 1999 to 75 percent in 2014.
  • The amount of revenue in 2014 is nearly double that collected in 1999. (Adjusted for inflation, the jump is less stark; the increase is just under $13 million.)
  • Since 2004, actual revenue from police-issued traffic violations has been on a steady decline, marginally offsetting some of the increases from camera enforcement.
  • Red-light camera revenues are the lowest they’ve been since 2007, the year before a massive expansion of the program, suggesting that camera enforcement won’t drive revenues forever.

There are two big spikes in the graph, one in 2008 and another in 2011.

The first coincided with an increase in the number of red light cameras installed around the city. After the increase, there’s a drop again. That’s probably because once drivers figure out where the cameras are, they make sure to abide by the law.

The 2011 spike came as a result of a ruling that unpaid red light summonses can count towards the threshold needed for the city to tow your car for unpaid tickets. Delinquent motorists who saw their cars impounded had to pay back those fines that year to reclaim their vehicles.

The two newest forms of camera revenue are also seeing pretty rapid growth as drivers have yet to adjust to them. Bus-lane cameras were introduced in 2011 as part of the Select Bus Service program. As that program has steadily expanded across the five boroughs, so has the number of cameras, and thus the number of violations.

Speed cameras were introduced in early 2014, with just 20 in school zones around the city. That led to $2.1 million in fines collected. But the program has been approved for massive expansion, with 120 new cameras on the way.

The city is projecting it will put $7.6 million in city coffers, but if the historical spikes from the expansion of red light cameras are any indication, it’ll probably rake in more than that before falling off over a few years.

So is it about money? It’s anybody’s guess. There’s definitely a historical increase in revenues collected but it’s not as staggering as one would think, given the massive expansion of these programs. And the data here suggests the gains appear short-lived as drivers learn to follow the rules of the road.

Here’s the above chart in an interactive format. Hover over each of the bars to see how much actual revenue was received for each method:

Source: Corcoran Group

Looking for a new place to call home? Bensonhurst Bean has got you covered. Our rental roundup is a new feature showcasing some of the deals on the market now. If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com. And if you live in or near one the places below, let neighbors know what you think in the comments.

One Bedroom Duplex in Gravesend
Price: $1,700
Location: 26 Highlawn Avenue
Description: Besides having two floors, this apartment also comes with two “oversized” balconies. Parking space comes with the rent.
Contact: Patrice Mack, Corcoran Group, (718) 923-8012

Two Bedrooms in Bensonhurst
Price: $1,750
Location: 81st Street between 21st Avenue and Bay Parkway
Description: With brand new appliances, sunny rooms and a big bathroom this apartment seems like a good choice. But heat and hot water are not included. And I recall once saying, in a moment of inspiration, that if a realtor ever tried to not include heat and hot water then the masses should rise up in revolt.
Contact:Svetlana Aksman, DSA Realty, (718) 629-8722

One Bedroom in Bensonhurst and Some Tile-Floor in Bensonhurst
Price: $1,100
Location: Bay 40th Street
Description: This apartment is a walk-in apartment and the floors aren’t wooden so go ahead and boogy away without worrying about scratching the floors. The kitchen is “modern.” So there’s no need to churn your own milk and you get one of those awesome devices with waves that are micro.
Contact: Johanna Gyuro, Johanna Gyuro Real Estate, (917) 838-1937

One Bedroom in Bath Beach
Price: $1,700
Location: 8610 18th Avenue
Description: While this apartment doesn’t have a dining room, it does have a “breakfast nook,” which is a cute way of saying there’s a corner in the kitchen that you could use if you don’t have a toaster. The realtor writes that the owner requires “great income.” Well, I think my income is pretty great and while we’re on the topic, it would be swell to get an even greater income. [Ed. -- Too bad.]
Contact: David Depass, Rapid Realty, (347) 410-4330

If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.

17th Avenue and 58th Street, Brooklyn (Source; Google Maps)

17th Avenue and 58th Street, Brooklyn (Source; Google Maps)

A swastika and other hate-filled messages were found scrawled along several properties near 58th Street and 17th Avenue in Borough Park yesterday, leading to the quick arrest of three suspects.

The anti-Semitic graffiti included messages that read “you don’t belong,” and “get out.” The perps broke into a residential construction site and a yeshiva to leave their unwelcome marks, as well as spraying it on the side of a yeshiva school bus.

The graffiti was first found and reported by contractors at the construction site, where it was found on different walls within a second floor room.

An administrator of the yeshiva helped make the bust. School authorities found the graffiti inside of their building. Unknown to the perps was that their hate-fueled graffiti spree inside the school was caught on surveillance cameras, and the footage was shared with police.

Councilman David Greenfield, whose office provided the information for this post, notes that the investigators identified the three suspects from the footage, and arrested them yesterday evening.

“I am very pleased that the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force has made quick arrests of young punks trying to intimidate our community by scrawling messages of hate. It’s appalling that these guys would come into our neighborhood simply to spread their anti-Semitic views. I trust that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their despicable crimes,” said Greenfield.

michael grimm blurred sweet 16

Source: Twitter via Business Insider

Embattled Congressman Michael Grimm reportedly flirted with swooning teenage girls at a Sweet 16 and promised to take one to her high school prom.

Business Insider reports:

Based on a series of since-deleted tweets, Grimm, who was once labeled one of the “sexiest bachelors in Congress” and one of the “most beautiful people” in Washington, made quite the impression among the teenage crowd.

“F***ing Michael Grimm is going,” one teen wrote on Twitter in a series of posts. “I’m gonna dance with him all night and make him fall in love with me.”

Grimm reportedly promised her that wouldn’t be their last encounter.

“He told me he’s taking me to prom I was like you fricking better,” the teen wrote.

Another teen quoted a conversation between some of the giggly gals:

“‘Michael Grimm is coming.’ ‘Oh sh** now I have to wear nice underwear,’” she wrote.

The congressman’s spokesperson told the outlet that the girl’s family are personal friends and he was invited to attend. The identity of all the girls have been redacted to protect their privacy as minors.

It is unknown if he threatened to throw any of the teenage males at the party off of a balcony or break them like boys.