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Source: Instagram/repdesign1946

Source: Instagram/repdesign1946

A shoemaker’s workspace in sepia. Located at 2810 Harway Avenue.

Take any photos in Bensonhurst recently? Send them to editor@bensonhurstbean.com, or tag them #Bensonhurst on Instagram, and we’ll post them here.

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Source: Krokodyl via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Krokodyl via Wikimedia Commons

A team of scam artists is targeting elderly Asian women in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, police warned at the 62nd Precinct’s Community Council meeting yesterday.

On November 5, three woman approached a 74-year-old woman at a restaurant on 86th street and 24th Avenue and offered to bless her money and valuables to rid them of evil spirits, making off with $35,000 in cash as well as her jewelry, cops said. This incident matched a pattern of burglaries that occurred in 2013.

The Cantonese-speaking thieves would approach their victims, strike up a friendly conversation, and then warn them of bad fortune coming their way, cops said. The scam artists would tell their victims that the only way to rid themselves of the curse was to have their jewelry and money “blessed.” Victims would be told to go home and deposit all their valuable in a special bag, which would be handed over to the crooks and later returned filled with water bottles, newspapers, or food. Victims were warned not to open the bag for two weeks and by that time, the con artists were long gone.

Earlier this year, we reported that the Asian community in Bensonhurst was being disproportionately targeted by crime, with Asians accounting for 19 out of 20 burglary victims in the area.

If you or someone you know is approached by a person offering to bless your valuables, call the 62nd Precinct immediately (718) 236-2611.

Photo by Ellie Spector

Photo by Ellie Spector

Community Board 11 will hold its next meeting tomorrow, November 20 at 7:30pm at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, 1740 84th Street.

The Board serves as a local conduit to the government of New York City, representing neighbors’ needs and concerns. If you have a problem with a city agency or quality of life issue, the Board exists to relay your concerns and spur action.

There will be time to hear residents’ concerns and discuss various committee reports, and elected officials may be in attendance.

For additional information, call (718) 266-8800.

Source: Flickr/shawnhoke

Source: Flickr/shawnhoke

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is turning 50 on Friday, and there are anniversary parties happening all over the Brooklyn and Staten Island all week.

For many of us in southwest Brooklyn, the bridge is a fixture our lives. It is a landmark, a major commuting artery, a photographer’s dream, and it can often be seen from the roofs of our homes.

Here’s a fun fact: the bridge was named for the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who was the first European to enter the New York Harbor, but the extra Z got dropped off somewhere along the way. The Narrows is the name of the body of water between Brooklyn and Staten Island – hence the name Verrazano-Narrows. The bridge was built over five years and opened for traffic on November 21, 1964.

Turning 50 is kind of a big deal, so we’ve rounded up three of the best events happening this week to help you celebrate the Verrazano’s big day:

1. TODAY: Visit a statue of the original Verrazzano at John J. Carty Park

Here’s a chance to talk about the bridge’s namesake, learn a little New York history, and enjoy a brisk walk around the park. Best of all, it’s FREE.

The Parks Department unveiled a replica of a missing relief statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano and spruced up its old display at John J. Carty Park today.  The original statue of the explorer, sculpted by italian immigrant Albino Manca, was installed in 1964, but was stolen from the display in the 1980s. The relief was recast by Bedi-Makky Art Foundry, a historic, Brooklyn-based firm.

DATE: Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TIME: 10am – 1pm

LOCATION: Fort Hamilton Parkway and 95th Street

2. TOMORROW: Eat cake at Yellow Hook Grill in Bay Ridge

Join the Harbor Ring and the Merchants of Third Avenue at Bay Ridge’s Yellow Hook Grille tomorrow as they celebrate the Verrazano Bridge‘s 50th birthday.

Raise a glass to the history of the campaign for a Verrazano Bridge bicycle/pedestrian path and learn about the Harbor Ring’s new efforts to make it a reality.

Tickets will run you $25 a piece, but they get you unlimited beer, wine, soda, and hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of birthday cake.

DATE: Thursday, November 20

TIME: 7:30pm – 9:30pm

LOCATION: Yellow Hook Grille, 7003 3rd Ave

3. FRIDAY: Watch the MTA’s ceremonial canons and fire boat display from shore

We saved the best for last.

On Friday, as part of the MTA’s official Verrazano Bridge 50th anniversary ceremony, there will be a 50-shot cannon salute over The Narrows (25 shots from either sides of the bridge), plenty of politicians, and a spectacular fireboat display. Because there is limited room, the actual event is invitation-only, but the public is invited to view the cannon/fireboat show from Von Briesen Park near Fort Wadsworth or Shore Road Park in Brooklyn.

DATE: Friday, November 21

TIME: Cannon and fireboat display expected to begin at 11:45am

LOCATION: Von Briesen Park near Fort Wadsworth and Shore Road Park in Brooklyn.

Source: Flickr/haagenjerrys

Source: Flickr/haagenjerrys

Once again, the MTA has announced plans to raise fares and tolls – this time by 2 percent a year for the next two years. The 30-day MetroCard will definitely jump from $112 to $116.50, but the MTA is deliberating on whether to raise the price of the single ride MetroCard to $2.75, or keep it the same, effectively eliminating the bonus on the 30-day card.

Here’s a chart via Gothamist:

111714chart1

As you can see, both options kind of suck.

Fares on the LIRR and Metro-North will also see varying increases, as will bridge tolls – including the dreaded Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll, which may jump a whole dollar. You can read more about that on the MTA website. The MTA plans to make a decision in March after hearing from commuters next month.

If you’d like to tell the MTA to take their fare hikes and shove it, be at the Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College, 2900 Campus Road (near the Flatbush junction), on Thursday, December 11. Registration is open from 5pm to 9pm. The hearing begins at 6pm.

Comments can also be submitted online through the MTA website, or by letter to MTA Government Affairs, 347 Madison Ave., New York, 10017.

Source: Instagram/candi_cee_girl

Source: Instagram/candi_cee_girl

Some very arrogant street art. Spotted on 86th Street and 25th Avenue.

Take any photos in Bensonhurst recently? Send them to editor@bensonhurstbean.com, or tag them #Bensonhurst on Instagram, and we’ll post them here.

Also, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram, and subscribe to our daily newsletter!

Source: Flickr/44551921@N04

Source: Flickr/44551921@N04

Middle school applications for the 2015-2016 school year are now available at elementary schools across the city.

How to apply

Students in 5th grade and 6th grade (for K-6 elementary schools) can apply to middle schools in their district, as well as certain boroughwide and citywide schools. Each student will receive a customized application that includes all of the middle schools he or she is eligible for. To complete the application, students should rank schools in order of preference and return the application to their guidance counselor. Private school students in 5th grade can fill out an application at a local enrollment office.

Before deciding on a school, it’s always a good idea for families to check out these middle school directories, contact schools of interest, and attend any open houses and information sessions that are offered. This middle school admissions checklist might be helpful.

Also check out the 2015-2016 Charter School Directory for information on the city’s 197 public charter schools.

Deadline

  • Applications must be submitted no later than Tuesday, December 2.

For more information see the Department of Education website.

Coat Drive, via New York Cares

The 26th annual New York Cares Coat Drive kicks off today and runs through December 31. There are more than 280 locations around New York City where you can drop off a clean, gently used coat to help neighbors in need — let’s warm our city up! Here’s where you can donate locally:

NYPD 66th Precinct (5822 16th Avenue)

  • All hours, every day

NYPD 62nd Princinct  (1925 Bath Avenue)

  • All hours, every day

Life Quality BMW (9326 4th Avenue)

  •  Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm; Sunday 11am-4pm

61st Precinct (2575 Coney Island Avenue)

  • All hours, every day

Organizations interested in hosting a public collection site or setting up a drive of your own for the New York Cares Coat Drive should register online; coats will need to be delivered to their warehouse by December 31, 2014.

There are also ways beyond coat donations to help the drive. Volunteers are needed at several upcoming coat distribution events, and there are some benefit events, as well. Also, New York Cares estimates that for every $50 given, 16 coats can be dispersed. Financial donations can be made here.

Image via New York Cares

dave-frieder-verrazano

This week, a tourist was arrested for climbing the Brooklyn Bridge illegally. But not everyone who’s scaled a bridge in New York City has been busted for it — just ask Dave Frieder, the man who climbed and photographed every one of the city’s bridges from the top.

With the 50th anniversary of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge coming up on November 21, I asked Dave to send us a few of his favorite photos of the longest suspension bridge in the United States and share his story.

Verrazano-b-and-w

Frieder, who was born in Queens and raised New Jersey, became interested in photography at seven years old, when his parents bought him his first Kodak Brownie camera. As an adult, Frieder moved to New York where he serviced and installed x-ray equipment for a living, but he kept taking photos as a hobby.

Then, one day, a photographer who was mentoring Frieder suggested he find a subject that he was passionate about. Inspired by a breathtaking photo from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Frieder set about climbing and photographing every bridge in New York. To gain access to the bridges, Frieder reached out to city officials — and his persistence paid off.

“After all the begging, the pleading, the phone calls, the letters, I had eight years of unprecedented access to all the bridges in the city,” Frieder says.

Unfortunately, all that came to an end on September 11, 2001, when New York stepped up its security measures.

verrazano arch

Here’s how Frieder describes climbing the Verrazano:

Wearing a hard hat, gloves, and harness, Frieder would take one of the Verrazano’s four elevators to the top of the arch.

Usually the sound of the elevator upset the peregrine falcons that nest in the cables, and they immediately started squawking and pecking with razor sharp beaks at the elevator walls.

“They just sit there and squawk at you, but theres nothing they can do,” Frieder says. “Of course the bridge wasn’t designed for them, but they think it is.”

Verrazano Narrows

Once he managed to fend off the falcons, Frieder would scale two long rung ladders to get onto the bridge’s cables.

Walking along the cables — which measure three feet in diameter — Frieder would then take photos of the bridge from every angle.

VERRAZZANO-water

The view from the top is “magnificent,” says Frieder.

“One thing I will never do is go digital,” he adds. “It doesn’t convey what I see and feel when I take a photograph.”

Verrazanno-top

Frieder plans to self-publish a coffee table book with his photographs of New York’s bridges by next year.

All photos courtesy of Dave Frieder, used with permission.

Bensonhurst-dental-thanksgiving

On Sunday, November 23, from 10am-6pm, the folks at Bensonhurst Dental Care (1872 80th St) will be providing dental services free of charge to New York City’s police, firefighters, EMTs, military personnel, and their families.

“We have a unique opportunity to show our men and women in uniform that we are incredibly thankful for their hard work and dedication to the people of this great city,” said Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein.

At the full-day event, Bensonhurst Dental will provide oral cancer screenings, checkups, emergency treatments, as well as kid checkups, fluoride, and cleanings. There will also be a raffle in which one lucky winner will receive a full smile makeover by cosmetic dentist Dr. Marina Rubinshtein.

Food and giveaway bags will be provided.