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bensonvape

Bensonvape, a “premium vapor lounge,” will soon open at 2081 86th Street.

The business will specialize in selling “vaping” products, an expansion of e-cigarettes that turn flavored nicotine into vapor (nicotine-free versions are available). Proponents claim it’s a healthier alternative to cigarettes, and a large hobbyist community has formed around it with many stores recently opening around New York City.

The owners already maintains an active Facebook page, but has not yet announced an opening date.

It replaces Last Chance, a woman’s shoe store that closed several months ago.

Good luck to our new neighbors!

Chancellor Farina (Source: DOE)

The head of the New York City Department of Education, Chancellor Carmen Farina, will take questions from the public at a town hall hosted by Community Education Council District 21 tonight.

The local advisory council is urging neighbors and parents to attend the meeting, where parents can bring up issues and ask questions about the city’s educational policies directly with Farina. Speaking time is limited to two minutes per speaker, and must sign-up to speak before the meeting begins. Interpretation services will be available.

The council is also holding a high school admission workshop tonight, featuring an expert who will guide parents through the process, and give tips on things to look for when considering a school for your child.

Community Education Councils are advisory bodies that replaced school boards. They help guide policies at local schools, and serve as advocates for their district’s needs to the larger government. District 21 includes schools throughout Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Sheepshead Bay and Bensonhurst. You can see a full list here.

The high school workshop begins at 5pm. The town hall with Chancellor Farina begins at 6pm. The regularly scheduled meeting begins at 7pm.

The meeting will be held at I.S. 226 Alfred D. Be Mason, 6006 23rd Avenue.

blessing1

They said a little prayer for pooches at the New Utrecht Reformed Church this weekend, when guest pastor EJ Emerson delivered the annual Blessing of the Animals.

A handful of dog owners turned out for the event,with EJ Emerson continuing a long tradition in remembrance of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis shared a love of animals, even penning the Canticle of the Creatures in honor of all the lord’s living things.

“Our pets bless and care for us with unqualified love and faithfulness. They’re a source of great joy. This is our opportunity to thank God and to invite a special blessing for them,” said event organizers in a statement.

The blessing took place Saturday at the church at 18th Avenue between 83rd Street and 84th Street. There was also a baked goods and jewelry sale.

Check out the adorable photos below!

86superstar

“For rent” signs have been posted at 86 SuperStar at 2172 86th Street, less than a year after the restaurant rebranded and renovated.

It was back in December 2013 that we told you Hottest 86 had reopened as 86 SuperStar, selling all-you-can-eat sushi and shabu shabu (hot pot).

It’s a bit surprising to see it closed down, as we stopped by after the reopening to give the shabu shabu a shot. The place was packed and the staff friendly and helpful, especially in dealing with a table of hot pot novices. But competition on 86th Street is stiff, and it looks like SuperStar couldn’t cut it.

Sad to see you go, and best of luck to the owners on their future endeavors.

Primary Day is upon us, so we’ve compiled some information to make voting as easy as possible.

  • Polls are open from 6am to 9pm. You can find where you should vote, as well as see a sample ballot, here. For example, neighbors living on 86th Street near Stillwell Avenue are going to see a ballot that looks like this.
  • If you need further help locating your polling place, you can call the city’s voter phone bank at 866-VOTE-NYC.
  • The city Campaign Finance Board also has a good resource page, detailing how and where to vote, who your candidates are, district maps and more.
  • The city Board of Elections has said that polling places should be accessible to handicapped voters, but if you find barriers to voting, you can call the Brooklyn Board of Elections at (718) 797-8800.
  • Additionally, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office will operate a statewide election day hotline, at which you can speak with attorneys about problems at the polls, which will be open until the polls close at 9pm. Schneiderman is encouraging voters to report issues or problems at polls by calling (800) 771-7755 or emailing civil.rights@ag.ny.gov at any time until 9pm.

And, of course, if you encounter problems at the polls, you can let us know in the comments below or by emailing nberke@bensonhurstbean.com.

Every Democrat in New York State has the opportunity to vote in today’s primary, in which Governor Andrew Cuomo is being challenged for the party’s nod on the left by both Zephyr Teachout and Randy Credico. Cuomo is expected to win by a wide margin, but the race is being seen as a measure of dissatisfaction against the incumbent. Teachout, a Fordham professor who lives in Fort Greene, has been embraced by the city’s progressives for criticizing Cuomo as a lackluster economic moderate who has failed to come through on a promise to clean up Albany. The third candidate, Credico, who is also running on the Green line, is prioritizing reforms in the criminal justice system primarily by legalizing marijuana and releasing non-violent offenders.

There is also a Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, where Cuomo’s handpicked choice Kathy Hochul is being challenged by Teachout’s running mate, Tim Wu. Hochul, an upstate moderate and former Congressional representative, has been on the ropes for most of the campaign, defending her liberal record to progressives. Both Wu and Teachout have used her as a prop to suggest Cuomo is more conservative than he lets on. Wu’s priorities are fighting corruption and dismantling corporate monopolies, while Hochul is focusing on the NY DREAM Act and the Women’s Equality Act.

For more on these candidates, check out the League of Women Voters’ Vote411.org project and WNYC’s Election Guide, both of which include questionnaires and profiles of each.

For an insider’s view of primary day, check out the guides from the New York Observer and Capital NY.

– Additional reporting by Ned Berke.

Source: 24gotham/Flickr

The New York Police Department is cracking down on motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses with flashing lights, police sources told this outlet.

The initiative is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities and was timed to begin on the first day of classes to protect returning students. The goal, say police, is to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement. The operation will last approximately six to eight weeks, beginning Thursday, September 4.

State law requires drivers to stop at least 20 feet away from a bus if it is has red lights flashing. Traffic must stop in both directions, even in front of a school and in school parking lots, and even if the motorist is on the opposite side of a divided highway.

Before a school bus stops to load or discharge students, bus drivers will usually flash yellow warning lights. Before the bus embarks again, the red lights will stop flashing or the bus driver or a traffic officer will tell you to proceed. Drivers should be cautious around buses; most bus-related deaths occur when children cross the street after being discharged, and motorists should look for children along the side of the road.

It’s a heavy penalty for those who violate the law, with fines as high as $1,000 and the possibility of imprisonment.

By Conviction Minimum
Fine
Maximum
Fine
Possible Imprisonment
First Conviction $250.00 $400.00 Up to 30 days
Second Conviction
(within 3 years)
$600.00 $750.00 Up to 180 days
Third or
Subsequent Convictions (within 3 years)
$750.00 $1,000.00 Up to 180 days

 

A similar crackdown, called Operation Safe Stop, occurred statewide in April 2014 at governor’s orders. An estimated 50,000 drivers illegally pass buses on New York state roads every day, according to a website created in conjunction with that initiative.

The NYPD has also put out the following flier to educate drivers on best practices for safely driving near school buses:

school-bus

Click to enlarge

Source: nextworld/Flickr

D LINE

From 10:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound D trains run express from Tremont Av to 145 St.

N LINE

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

R LINE

From 11:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, there are no R trains in Brooklyn between 59 St and 36 St—take the N. R trains run between Bay Ridge-95 St and 59 St, Brooklyn.

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

F LINE

From 11:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from W 4 St to Jay St-MetroTech.

From 11:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, 179 St-bound F trains skip Van Wyck Blvd and Sutphin Blvd.

From 12:01am to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains run local from 71 Av to Roosevelt Av.

Source: visualdensity/Flickr

School’s back in session, summer’s winding down and with that comes the mid-autumn festival, the second most important of Chinese holidays.

The mid-autumn festival falls on September 8 this year, when the moon is said to be at its fullest and brightest of the year. In Asian countries, festivities usually include moon-gazing and the creation of bright paper lanterns and decorations. It’s a period to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, and to celebrate family and unity.

An elaborate lantern display in Hong Kong during a recent mid-autumn festival (Source: doctorho/Flickr

Observed in Chinese and other Asian communities the whole world over, the 3,000-year-old holiday would be incomplete without the yolk-filled mooncakes.

The pastries can be found in elaborately decorated tins at Asian grocery stores. Many of these tins reflect famous characters of stories passed down from generation to generation, including the Moon Goddess. Folklore had it that she was a queen who escaped from a despotic emperor who was bent on taking an immortality pill and inflicting pain and suffering to those around him. She stole the pill and flew off to the moon to save the people from an unkind end and, the story goes, that the shadows on the moon belong to the Moon goddess.

Here are some of the interesting box cover designs:

mooncake

There are two different type of mooncakes: the traditional sweet pastry with a lard crust, lotus-seed paste and duck egg-yolk filling that’s favored by older customers. Then there’s ‘snowy mooncakes,’ gorgeous pastel-colored cakes that come in a variety of flavors and is supposed to be less fattening than its conventional counterpart. More chewy in texture, they have a green bean paste base and flavors include green tea, sesame, mango, pink guava and even blueberry jam.

Here’s a photo of the snowy-styled mooncakes:

mooncake2

Regardless of which style of mooncakes you prefer, these can be purchased locally in Asian bakeries or supermarkets. From informal surveying, I’ve noticed customers prefer to purchase their mooncakes at bakeries for freshness. For this reason, if you’re a last moment buyer, this might mean missing out on the popular flavored mooncakes as it runs out.

Being that the mid-autumn festival is family-oriented, tins of mooncakes are exchanged between family, friends and neighbors. For clients that you’re trying to impress, premium mooncakes can convey the full importance of relationships and connections that you’re trying to convey – so much so that mooncakes are included in China’s crackdown strategy against graft and corruption. Average prices of a box of mooncakes ranges from $25 to $35.

Typically four regular-sized mooncakes are contained in a decorative tin box. Mooncake flavors vary depending on the regions and style of preparation. There’s the ham and nuts version, which contains a mixture of sesame seed, walnuts, almonds, olive seeds and melon seeds. Background scenic photos of one’s hometown are sometimes reflected on the tin box itself, bringing a little flavor of home.

Buyers may also purchase single mooncakes and also miniature-sized mooncakes individually wrapped. Fruits such as the pomelo are an essential accompaniment to the mid-autumn festival as a way of balancing the sweet taste of mooncakes with the tart flavor of the fruit.

Where to get them? You can check any local Asian market or bakery. For fresh ones, we recommend Lily Bloom Bakery at 2220 86th Street (between Bay 31st Street and Bay Parkway). A box costs approximately $20; single mooncakes costs about $4.

Here’s to a happy moon-gazing and festive mid-autumn celebrations!

– Alina Tsui

Source: wheany/Flickr

Source: wheany/Flickr

The NYPD Harbor Unit saved a stranded 19-year-old who was injured and suffering from hypothermia in Coney Island’s waters Saturday.

The marine unit responded after a 7pm 911 call for a drowning man. They found the man stuck on a cluster of rocks approximately 600 feet away from the sands. With four foot waves violently crashing into the rocks, the man was unable to get off the jetty by himself.

Fortunately, three officers with a combined 34 years of experience were there to help. Officer Peter Jessnick pulled the boat in close despite the rough waters. Officers Dianna Belioni and Thomas Carrol called out to the man and threw him a life ring.

Once the distressed swimmer got the ring, officers were able to pull him aboard and treated him for hypothermia.

They brought him to Kingsborough Community College, where the FDNY has a dock and marine base. EMS took him to Coney Island Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia and bruising to his body, and is expected to make a full recovery.

Source: dtanist/Flickr

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): Here are some of the big stories you may have missed this week. You can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.