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Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

As the lone GOP representative of a city dominated by Democrats in the federal legislature, Congressman Grimm has a unique position and voice when it comes to relating to his GOP colleagues. The New York Daily News is reporting that Grimm used his special platform to denounce his own party leaders for inviting Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to a Manhattan GOP fundraiser in August.

As the race for the 2016 presidency inches closer, battles are breaking out in the Republican Party. On the one side, you have more traditional conservatives like Arizona Senator John McCain and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. These types of Republicans have moderate streaks and are unafraid to bargain with Democrats on key issues of national security and federal emergency responses to disasters like Superstorm Sandy. On the other side, you have a growing libertarian movement, led by Texas Congressman Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul. These Republicans preach isolationism, a reduction in military intervention and a dramatic reduction of federal spending that eclipses your standard conservative.

Senator Paul, who has ambitions to run for president in ’16, has gone on record opposing the $60 billion Congressional Sandy Aid package. In a recent interview, Paul bashed Republicans like Christie and Grimm, who requested federal funds following Sandy saying that they had a “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” attitude. As a result of Paul’s stance on Superstorm Sandy funding, Grimm urged the Manhattan GOP not to invite him to an August 13 fundraiser.

Despite Grimm’s plea for the Manhattan GOP to show Paul the door, the Daily News is reporting that they are inviting him anyway:

But Manhattan GOP chair Daniel Isaacs said he has no plans to back down. “My inclination” is to hold the event, he said, adding that he had been assured by Paul’s staff that the “gimme, gimme, gimme” quote was taken out of context.

Paul, however, said his statement “came off exactly” as he’d meant it and he reiterated it again Tuesday.

Paul’s brazen defense of beliefs that would have left the Tri-State area without funds to rebuild following the immense destruction of Sandy has irked other local GOP members, especially Christie. According to a New York Times report, Christie bashed Paul for his views on national security, invoking September 11.

“These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation,” Christie said. “And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have…The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering whether they put —” Mr. Christie said before cutting himself off.

Needless to say, if Paul ends up being the Republican nominee for president in 2016, there is little danger of New York turning red.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

The NYPD posted this dynamic image on their Facebook page, capturing a police chopper in the midst of a training session over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge:

NYPD Emergency Service Detective McNerney took this photo of an Aviation Unit while training atop of the Verazzano Bridge earlier this month. The Verrazano Bridge is one of many structures used by ESU for training.

Interesting stuff. Ever wondered what it is like to serve in either the Aviation Unit or the Emergency Service Unit? The NYPD also provided links for behind the scenes footage of what it is really like. Check them out below.

Source: Facebook

Site of the future BJs located at 1752 Shore Parkway. (Source: Howard Weiss via Facebook)

The ground for the new BJ’s Wholesale Club was broken this past December and it now appears that the actual construction is about to commence. Howard Weiss posted this image on Facebook showing the placement of the initial pillars.

As we’ve previously reported, the megastore will occupy the ground floor of a 200,000-square-foot space 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. The time table for construction was sped up to spur jobs in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Can’t wait to load up on massive boxes of Ring-Dings, Cheerios and motor-oil.

Photo By Erica Sherman

Photo By Erica Sherman

With more than 14 months of construction expected on the damaged R train link connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan, commuters were expecting a nightmare of overcrowded trains and train-to-train transfers. That expected congestion might lessen a bit now as the city prepares to reopen the blue highway between the boroughs. The Economic Development Corporation has agreed to bring back the 58th Street ferry service while the R train connection is being fixed.

Previously we had reported on Gentile’s desire to bring back ferry service to ease the commute for R train riders about to be seriously inconvenienced once work on the R line begins on August 4. According to a press release by Gentile, he and Council Speaker Christine Quinn helped broker a deal with City Hall and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Of course, not to be out done, State Senator Marty Golden issued a press release claiming he brokered the deal directly with the mayor himself.

Whoever got it done, residents will be able to enjoy the $2 fare (Ed. – And why is that?and 15-minute commute from Sunset Park to Wall Street beginning on Monday. The ferry will depart from the Rockaways and stop at the 58th Street Pier / Brooklyn Army Terminal before heading to Pier 11 near Wall Street, and a second stop at East 34th Street in Midtown.

While the service has only been approved on a trial basis, Gentile is hopeful that it will go on longer.

“Having this temporary ferry will ease commutes for those who use the R train, so I encourage people to skip the train crowds and use the ferry which will get you to Wall Street in 15 minutes and then to midtown thereafter. We must show the City that we need this service and that we will use it in large numbers so that it can be continued beyond the trial run,” Gentile said.

This will be great news for R train riders, but will residents of Bensonhurst, who have other options including the D, N and F, use it? Let us know!

Photo by PayPaul

When it comes to sewage spilling into our waterways, people might not really want to know – but they should. The New York Daily News is reporting that while sewage plant operators are required to report spills to health authorities right away, many wait for long spells and often give incomplete reports.

When a sewage spill happens, by law, a sewage plant is required to notify the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) within two hours and the public at large within four hours. Despite this, the Daily News has learned that many spills haven’t been properly reported in a timely fashion:

The agency recently started posting untreated sewage spills on its website to warn the public. The latest report, posted Friday, lists spills — including a 1,000-gallon spill that flowed into Flushing Bay near College Point, Queens — from as far back as May 8.

But most of the entries failed to report the volume of the spills.

A new law passed May 1 requires municipal sewage plant operators to report spills to health officials within two hours and the public within four. But many plant reports are filed late and incomplete, showing “unknown” spill volumes, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

For instance, a spill into Paerdegat Basin in Flatlands, Brooklyn, on June 28, and another into the Harlem River in the Bronx on July 15, failed to report the volume of the spills.

The DEC estimates $36 billion is needed over the next 20 years to repair and upgrade sewer systems at 643 municipal treatment plants in the state.

For those interested, the only two spills reported in Kings County were both at the Red Hook facility in early June – and none at the local Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant on Knapp Street. The DEC (and the Daily News, for that matter) does not make it easy to find the reports on their website, but after some prodding they turned up here, as a downloadable spreadsheet.

Recently, New York State received $340 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade and fix the state’s sewage plants, like our own Knapp Street poop factory. The sum given by the EPA is a drop in the bucket compared to the $36 billion needed.

The failure of sewage plant operators to report on spills in a timely and full fashion also adds to the overall growing paranoia over the cleanliness of the beaches and waterways in the local area. Earlier in the month, we reported on a Natural Resources Defense Council study that measured cleanliness of the ocean water at Brighton Beach and Coney Island. The study pointed to the sewage overflow problem which amounts to 30 billion gallons annually in the city.

Cropsey Medical Care PLLC, 1706 Cropsey Ave (Source: Google Maps)

Cropsey Medical Care PLLC, 1706 Cropsey Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

A Philadelphia man pleaded guilty to his connection in running a $13 million Medicare/Medicaid scam out of the Cropsey Medical Care clinic (1706 Cropsey Avenue). According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Leonid Zalkind faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for his illegal activities.

We first reported on the bust in October of 2012 when Medicaid investigators were spotted outside the clinic. Zalkind, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The DOJ press release described the Zalkind’s operation and the extent of his crimes:

According to court documents, from 2010 to 2012, Zalkind operated numerous shell companies and bank accounts through which he laundered the proceeds of health care fraud from the Brooklyn clinic Cropsey Medical Care PLLC (“Cropsey Medical”). Zalkind conspired with others to accept checks from Cropsey Medical, which were made payable to various shell companies Zalkind controlled. These checks did not represent payment for any legitimate service at or for Cropsey Medical, but rather were written to launder Cropsey Medical’s fraudulently obtained health care proceeds. Zalkind admitted at the plea proceeding that he deposited such checks into bank accounts he controlled, intending these transactions to hide and disguise the fact that these funds were proceeds of a crime. He admitted that he knew these funds were proceeds of illegal activity.

The proceeds of checks Zalkind negotiated and cashed were given to the owners and operators of Cropsey Medical, at which point they were used to pay illegal cash kickbacks to Cropsey Medical’s purported patients. According to court documents, from approximately November 2009 to October 2012, Cropsey Medical submitted more than $13 million in claims to Medicare and Medicaid, seeking reimbursement for a wide variety of fraudulent medical services and procedures, including physician office visits, physical therapy and diagnostic tests.

Eight other individuals, including the owners and operators of Cropsey Medical clinics, a doctor and other people who paid and received kickbacks to provide transportation and referrals for patients to the clinic are also awaiting trial.

86th Street and Bay 36th Street (Source: Google Maps)

86th Street and Bay 36th Street (Source: Google Maps)

Citing a recent hit-and-run accident, City Council candidate John Lisyanskiy is calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install more traffic signals at busy thoroughfares in the community.

Last week, we received a message from a local resident hoping to get any information on a hit-and-run accident that took place at 86th Street and Bay 36th Street. The accident left the victim, a 62-year-old Chinese man, in a coma. Lisyanskiy is hoping that the placement of more traffic signals will cut down on needless accidents and deaths.

“There have been far too many fatal accidents within the last two months alone and it is absolutely necessary that new traffic signals be installed in our area,” Lisyanskiy said in a press release.

Lisyankskiy went on to accuse the head of the Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan, of failing to be active enough in preventing accidents.

“The community should not be subjected to such an easily avoidable problem. Despite letters and appeals for action from myself and several members of our community, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has still not fixed this issue. Her complete disregard for the welfare of our area is irresponsible. The fact that there are two public schools within a three-block radius only serves to highlight the importance of responsible traffic systems. It is incredibly unfair to allow such a blatant safety hazard to be ignored,” Lisyankiy said.

truck1

Whoops! A truck driver failed to make the 12-foot clearance on 86th Street at 20th Avenue and got wedged underneath the D train el, snarling traffic.

Bensonhurst Bean writer Elle Spektor stumbled across the accident, which occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m. last night, and took the accompanying photos with her cell phone.

With the help of the NYPD, the truck driver eventually got the vehicle out from underneath the train line, opening the intersection back up to traffic.

We see this a lot on the Belt Parkway, as well as the BMT line (B/Q) underpasses, which are much lower. Is this a frequent problem on 86th Street as well?

See more photos and share your thoughts in the comments.


The Astrotower may be nothing more than a 5-foot stump, but Coney Island lovers will forever remember it as the swaying, 270-foot tower to the stars that it once was.

NY Curbed pointed us to this video, assembled by Charles Denson, leader of the Coney Island History Project, which captures, in photographs, the glory that once was the recently departed Astrotower.

The video starts with footage of the tower swaying and singing in the wind during Hurricane Irene and then chronicles the construction and better days for the tower in a series of classic photographs.

In an essay on the Astrotower, Denson signified that the structure stood for something more than a simple amusement:

Coney Island’s Astrotower was much more than an amusement ride. It served as a symbol of hope. To those of us living in Coney Island in the early 1960s, the tower represented the future of Coney Island, a sign that the neighborhood would survive the city’s urban renewal schemes.

Great job, Charles, and keep up the good work.

Source: ELEOTH/Flickr

Watch out late night commuters, especially those returning home on the D line from Manhattan. You’re going to have a heck of a week. Check it out below.

D LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, there are no Coney Island-bound D trains at 7 Av, 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, and 34 St-Herald Sq. D trains are rerouted via the C between 59 St and W 4 St in both directions. D service operates in two sections:
1. Between 205 St and the 2 Av F station – the last stop.
2. Between W 4 St and Stillwell Av.
• To continue your trip, transfer at Bway-Lafayette St.

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound D trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to 36 St.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, 205 St-bound D trains run local from 59 St-Columbus Circle to 145 St.

N LINE

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound N trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to 36 St.

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday,  N trains are rerouted via the Manhattan Bridge in both directions between Dekalb Av and Canal St.

R LINE

No subway service advisories at this time.

F LINE

No subway service advisories at this time.