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Guatemalan goods line the shelves at an 86th Street market. (Photo by Carmen Molina Tamacas)

New York City has hit a new high in foreign born population, with 3.06 million of its 8.3 million inhabitants having immigrated from other nations, the mayor announced on Wednesday.

Bensonhurst is the second largest home for the newcomers, coming in just behind Washington Heights, the Daily News reports. The neighborhood has 77,700 foreign-born immigrants, according to a new report by the city’s Department of City Planning and Immigrant Affairs.

The announcement came at a swearing in ceremony of 100 of the nation’s newest citizens on Wednesday, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg led them in the oath of allegiance.

The largest influx of immigrants citywide in the last decade was of those from Mexico, the Dominican Republican and China. In Bensonhurst, the Chinese population in particular as swelled, as well as Latinos from countries including Mexico and Guatemala.

Source: Queens Surface 295/Flickr


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday, D service operates in two sections:

  1. Between Stillwell Av and Bedford Park Blvd
  2. Between Bedford Park Blvd and 205 St
    • To continue your trip, transfer at Bedford Park Blvd.


All times until October 2014: No N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late night N and weekend R trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.


All times until October 2014: No N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late night N and weekend R trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.


There are no scheduled subway service disruptions this weekend.


Police and other emergency personnel responded to a call for an emotionally disturbed person threatening to jump from the roof of a building at 60th Street and 11th Avenue.

The call came over police scanners at approximately 10:15 a.m. today, spurring the NYPD and their Emergency Services Unit to respond. The call stated that the man wanted to jump from the roof of a one-and-a-half story building, and was holding on to utility cables.

NYScanner posted the above photo from the scene on their Twitter feed.

We have contacted the NYPD for an update on the situation, and will update this story when we hear back.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to nberke (at) bensonhurstbean (dot) com.

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

A rendering of the proposed amphitheater.

The New York City Council gave a parting gift to outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz, greenlighting his proposal to create a new open-air auditorium, green space and restaurant at the former site of Childs Restaurant on West 21st Street and the boardwalk in Coney Island.

The Council voted in favor of a resolution supporting a 10-year special permit allowing the 5,099-seat amphitheater at its final meeting of the year yesterday, where the majority of the legislative body’s representatives will give up their seats to term-limits on December 31.

Related resolutions that also passed yesterday in order to make way for the project include creating a special zoning district, as well as the acquisition of land between West 21st Street and West 22nd Street, and the elimination of the street between West 22nd Street and West 23rd Street.

Dubbed the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center, the theater and community complex will be used to continue the free Seaside Summer Concert series started by Markowitz, and will also feature paid shows as well. A restaurant concession is also part of the deal.

Markowitz is overjoyed by the project’s approval, which many have portrayed as the final achievement of his legacy as beep. He claims it will create jobs and stimulate commercial development in Coney Island.

Here’s part of the press release Markowitz issued yesterday evening:

This is a landmark achievement for the future of Coney Island and the entirety of Brooklyn. The Seaside Park and Community Arts Center will add even more energy and excitement to one of our nation’s top destinations for family amusement and entertainment, which will increase local tourism and stimulate our economy.

The City’s first covered seasonal   amphitheater will create hundreds of quality jobs; the developer has committed to prioritizing local residents both for construction jobs and when the amphitheater is up and running. This project will catalyze residential and commercial development and keep our City’s attention focused intently on the needed infrastructure improvements that residents of Coney Island’s West End have been seeking for years. By adaptively reusing the Childs building, which has been closed to the public since the 1940’s, we can breathe new life into this under-utilized section of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. By building a lush neighborhood park, we can jumpstart the Coney Island Plan and deliver on the city’s promise of building green spaces.

The proposal won the approval of the Council’s Land Use Committee on Wednesday, allowing it to move forward to the general body.

The local community board voted against the plan in September, and, although the site is landmarked, the Landmarks Preservation Committee gave the overhaul – which would see at least one exterior wall torn down - a thumbs up.

Click to enlarge

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.


Reader Howard Weiss sent us this photo of a new religious facility being built at 7927 New Utrecht Avenue, at the corner of 80th Street.

Department of Buildings records show that it will be a two story house of worship, sitting on a 1,658 square foot lot. Most of the first floor will be given over to prayer space for about 30 people, with an office and smaller prayer space on the second floor for eight people.

While many bemoan the changing demographics of the neighborhood, with some dubbing it “Beijinghurst,” we’re happy to see a cool, unique architectural design in the area. The pagoda-style roofing, typical of Buddhist temples in East Asia, is a particularly cool upgrade to the one-story, disheveled looking fish market and garage that stood at the site previously.

The fish market the previously occupied the site. (Source: Google Maps)

The fish market the previously occupied the site. (Source: Google Maps)

The entrance to the building will be on New Utrecht Avenue. Typical of similar houses of worship, it appears the parking requirement for similar buildings of this size have been waived; no parking spaces are part of the plan. You can see the building’s layout below:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

We tried to get in touch with the owner and contractor to see when it would be completed and to learn more about what sect will practice here, but our calls went unanswered. In some of the DOB documents submitted by the construction company, it’s repeatedly referred to as a temple, which leads us to believe it will be Buddhist. Do any of our readers know for sure? And is there an existing group associated with this temple?

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

Rendering of the proposed venue (Source: NYC Preservation Commission)

The New York City Council is set to vote on the on the $58 million proposal to convert the former site of Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into an amphitheater and public park today, the final scheduled meeting of the Council for the year.

The plan got the green light from the Council’s Committee on Land Use yesterday, according to Crain’s New York, and today goes before the full body.

Here are details from the Crain’s article:

The proposal for the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center project is being advanced by both the city’s Economic Development Corp. and an iStar Financial subsidiary called Coney Island Holdings LLC. Under the plan, zoning laws would be altered and permits granted to allow for the construction of an outdoor amphitheater along the boardwalk near West 21st Street, that could accommodate 5,099 people. In addition, a public park would be built and the landmarked Childs Restaurant would be restored and reopened as an eatery and catering facility.

The proposal has the support of the local City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., D-Brooklyn, which means the proposal is likely to sail through the full council tomorrow, since the legislative body typically votes in concert with the local lawmaker.

“The improvements proposed in this project will undoubtedly restore this iconic structure’s use to the community, provide multiple cultural and educational benefits, and greatly contribute to the area’s ongoing cultural and economic revitalization,” Mr. Recchia said in a statement.

The proposal is the brainchild of Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has long sought a permanent venue for his free Seaside Summer Concert Series. Original plans were for an amphitheater in Asser-Levy Seaside Park, where the concerts were held for years. But neighborhood advocates leery of losing one of the community’s few green spaces, and concerns over traffic, parking and noise, led to that proposal’s death after a protracted legal battle.

In addition to the beep’s free concerts, advocates for the plan hope to bring paid concerts as well, and see the proposal as a way to spark residential development in the Sandy-stricken neighborhood.

Some neighbors of Childs Restaurant, as well as members of a community garden on the site that would need to be relocated, have expressed opposition based on traffic, parking and noise.

The local community board voted against the plan in September, and, although the site is landmarked, the Landmarks Preservation Committee gave the overhaul – which would see at least one exterior wall torn down - a thumbs up.

68 Mei Mei Bakery on New Utrecht Ave (Source: Google Maps)

68 Mei Mei Bakery on New Utrecht Ave (Source: Google Maps)

68 Mei Mei Bakery at 7814 New Utrecht Ave sold a second-place winning ticket worth $1 million that has not yet been claimed.

According to News 12, the ticket purchased matched all five lottery numbers but was shy on the Mega Ball. The top prizes were won by two out-of-state residents who will split the $636 million jackpot.

So… what would you do with a million?

Source: Vincent La Marca

Back by popular demand, the “Living Nativity” will return to the New Utrecht Reformed Church’s front lawn, 1828 83rd Street, this Saturday, December 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Each year, hundreds come to the Bensonhurst house of worship to witness the manger scene featuring live animals, such as sheep, goats and a young cow, along with actors in biblical costumes.

According to Susan Hanyen, vice president of New Utrecht’s Consistory, “We start getting phone calls asking about the date as early as April. We began the popular tradition in 1956. It’s actually kind of a ‘Christmas card’ we offer to our neighborhood and beyond.”

The church lawn’s manger site dates back many years. Currently undergoing repairs and restoration, the nearby church sanctuary building, which now a part of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) denomination, was built in 1928. New Utrecht Reformed Church was founded by Dutch settlers in 1677.

File:Jacob Ostreicher in Santa Cruz.jpg

Ostreicher (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A Borough Park man who has been at the center of tensions between the United States and Bolivia for more than two years is finally back on American soil after a mysterious spiriting out of the South American nation.

Jacob Ostreicher, 55, is a flooring contractor who went to Bolivia in 2011 to oversee a rice farming operation. Authorities, though, accused him of laundering drug money. Without pressing any formal charges, Bolivian authorities jailed him in June 2011 in a notoriously violent prison, where he said he was assaulted and humiliated.

After 18 months in prison, he was confined to house arrest following advocacy on his behalf from actor Sean Penn.

It’s not yet clear how Ostreicher managed to escape from Bolivia, but he’s back in the area according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Hikind announced the news on Monday, according to the New York Times.

The paper reports:

Mr. Hikind did not have any details, but a person familiar with some aspects of the escape who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the matter said, “There was an operation to get him out by professionals, people who know how to carry out these operations.” The person said Mr. Ostreicher was taken to a neighboring country, made his way to Los Angeles and then to the New York area.