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Rendering of the proposed Eighth Avenue Center by Raymond Chan. Source: World Journal via Voices of NY

Rendering of the proposed Eighth Avenue Center by Raymond Chan. Source: World Journal via Voices of NY

A group of Chinese developers are looking to erect a mall, office building, hotel and residential complex on the border of Sunset Park and Dyker Heights, where they recently plunked down $51.5 million for the land.

The project, tentatively named Eighth Avenue Center, is slated for 6208 8th Avenue. The 160,700-square-foot site is currently a parking lot abutting the N line. When construction wraps up, the owners expect to see five buildings packing in a total of 1.1 million square feet of space.

World Journal, translated by Voices of New York, reports:

Raymond Chan, a co-developer whose architecture firm will design the project, said that because of zoning restrictions, this piece of land is the only lot in the Eighth Avenue neighborhood in Brooklyn that can be used for large-scale development. The project will not only alter the skyline of the neighborhood but also bring great changes in the dynamic of the Chinese community in Brooklyn.

“Today’s Eighth Avenue is like Flushing 15 years ago,” said Chan. He said that as a rapidly establishing Chinese neighborhood, the Eighth Avenue area has huge potential for development. So he and several other Chinese developers pooled together $50 million to purchase the land from Jewish developer Andy Cohen. They plan to build one mixed-use building of three floors of underground parking space, three floors of shopping area, and an activity center for community organizations, one 17-floor office building, one seven-floor and 150-room hotel, and two 15-floor residential condos.

Chan said for the only lot that is zoned C4-3 for large-scale development in the neighborhood, the price of $50 million was reasonable. He said the deal closed May 21. The plan is subject to change pending community board approval.

The lot appears to straddle the jurisdictions of Community Board 7 and Community Board 10, so they may need joint approval.

The owners told the publication that they hope to begin construction in the spring.

An aerial view of 6208 8th Avenue. (Source: Google Maps)

An aerial view of 6208 8th Avenue. (Source: Google Maps)

Washington Cemetery, Bensonhurst

Washington Cemetery, Bensonhurst

There are few sights as comforting to the homesick Brooklyn native as the borough’s skyline whizzing by as you sit aboard an elevated subway, looking down on your domain. Yet, despite the sense of place it delivers, it’s not an often celebrated view, perhaps easily taken for granted.

Sheepshead Bay

Sheepshead Bay

Bensonhurst native Dave Mandl gets it. So he took to borough’s many elevated subway lines recently, and captured some of the stunning, purely Brooklyn views it affords – even through its mucked-up windows.

Coney Island

Coney Island

The photos were featured in Flavorwire, where he wrote:

One day this past February, with the city blanketed in snow and illuminated by amazing winter light, I decided to toss my perfectionism aside for a month and make a virtue of necessity, shooting a series of warts-and-all landscape photos from Brooklyn’s elevated subway lines — called, naturally, Elevated Landscapes. Since there’s no other way to capture these particular shots, aside from possibly renting a helicopter, it seemed a shame to let them get away.

Sheepshead Bay

Sheepshead Bay

Although there are many shots of Brownsville, Gowanus and Bushwick, Mandl paid a solid amount of attention to capturing Southern Brooklyn, including Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Coney Island and Borough Park.

Coney Island Creek and Belt Parkway

Coney Island Creek and Belt Parkway

It’s no surprise that Mandl would spend a great deal of time looking at the neighborhoods below hipster DMZ line. Aside from being a native, he’s also a bit of an emissary for the area, communicating our alien eccentricities to the cool classes up north. He’s done photo essays on “unknown Brooklyn” (yet very known to us), the Bath Beach roots of Iggy Pop, Bensonhurst’s tradition of colorful nicknames, and even finding a few treasures we didn’t know about, like one of Brooklyn’s last unpaved roads.

Coney Island

Coney Island

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Photos courtesy of Dave Mandl, used with permission.

park

We received the following submission from reader Andre Lee Muñiz about Scarangella Park:

It’s only a little water, one might say. But the non-stop trickle coming from the drinking fountain servicing Scarangella Park’s basketball court is a serious hazard to locals.

Located on Stillwell and Avenue V, the park is named after John G. Scarangella, a Brooklyn-born police officer of Italian descent killed by gunmen while on duty in 1981 Queens. Just across the street from the Marlboro Houses, it is a common place of recreation for countless Marlboro residents. The park also serves as a sort of fitness center for the growing local Chinese community, which can be seen throughout the day performing group exercises, especially in the mornings.

However, for a few summers now, locals complain the water fountain servicing the park’s basketball court has been a real eyesore and source of frustration. As seen in the picture provided, the fountain seems to remain on even while not in use, causing water to leak from the structure onto the adjacent court. For those who would like to play basketball, the situation creates the threat of injury due to a slippery playing surface.

The author has personally attempted to fix the issue through the City’s 311 service twice. The first service request of Saturday May 3 was closed two days later without the issue being resolved. Immediately following up with a second request, after more than two weeks, on Friday May 23 this one was updated to a work request that would “be submitted to plumbers to repair.” On Wednesday May 28, an email stated, “The Department of Parks and Recreation has completed the requested work order and corrected the problem.”

To the author’s disappointment upon visiting the park, it was clear that whatever work had been done, if any was conducted at all, such was not adequate to resolve the issue. The drinking fountain remains as is, wasting water, creating a pool that can serve as a site of bacteria, and creating a real threat of injury for basketball players, especially young people.

Upon writing this, the author opened another, his third, service request through 311.

Is there an issue in our neighborhood you don’t think is getting enough attention? Send photos, video and/or your thoughts over to nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.

grimm2Amid legal troubles connected to a 20-count indictment for mail fraud, tax evasion and perjury, Congressman Michael Grimm’s campaign cash is drying up – and donors are turning their backs. On the bright side for the lawmaker, he received permission last week to raise money specifically to cover the costs of his legal bills.

The Hill reports:

[Grimm] raised just $47,000 from April 1 through June 4, according to his preprimary filings with the Federal Election Commission. Some of that he had to refund, meaning he brought in just over $44,000. The filings reveal that most of that money was raised prior to his indictment, and his fundraising slowed significantly afterwards.

He spent more than $214,000 during that time, including a $40,000 payment to his attorneys at Patton Boggs.

The article goes on to note that the campaign is $420,000 in debt, largely due to legal fees, and that his Democratic opponent, former City Councilmember Domenic Recchia, raised $144,000 during the same period, for a total of $1.07 million. Grimm has $1 million on hand.

Meanwhile, the House Ethics Committee has greenlighted Grimm’s request to set up a legal defense fund, allowing him to turn to his remaining supporters to help raise cash to fight legal charges. According to paperwork, the money will be spent on “matters bearing on his reputation or fitness for office.”

The new fund was necessary due to the nature of the charges. Although House representatives can use campaign funds to cover legal bills associated to the campaign – such as the ongoing federal probe into Grimm’s 2010 campaign fundraising – they cannot be used for criminal or civil charges on matters connected to anything other than his activities seeking or staying in office. The current charges stem from alleged tax evasion and illegal employment practices while operating a restaurant he co-owned prior to seeking office.

gentile

Gentile (Source: Gentile’s office)

Councilman Vincent Gentile of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst confirmed to the New York Observer that he is considering a challenge to State Senator Marty Golden, and told the paper that he sees the Republican’s support drying up.

If he runs and wins it will be a sort of homecoming for the pol, who represented the district in the State Senate between 1996 and 2002, before being unseated by Golden. After losing office that year, Gentile ran in and won the special election for the City Council seat vacated by Golden – meaning the two effectively swapped seats.

Gentile told the paper that the recent show of support for restoring Democratic control of the State Senate is galvanizing his interest. The Observer reports:

“It would take a lot to pull me away but certainly I understand the bigger issues in our state and the goal of getting a Democratic State Senate so based on that I am getting the input I should be getting and we’ll see in a week or two,” Mr. Gentile said at City Hall yesterday. “I am enjoying my job but I’m saying there are bigger issues here.”

The Observer’s story came on the heels of another report that a coalition was emerging to flip Republican seats in the Senate, and was eyeing Golden in particular. The coalition was birthed during the Working Families Party convention, during which Cuomo pledged to support Democrats running for the legislative body and to break the power-sharing alliance between the Republicans and the Independent Democratic Caucus in exchange for their nomination.

NY State of Politics was the first to report that the coalition was floating Gentile as a challenger, but it had not been confirmed until the Observer report. A source told the outlet that approximately $1 million has already been earmarked to unseat Golden.

Gentile is optimistic that the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst portions of the Senate district are increasingly Democratic, boosting his chances – although he also slipped in a slap at the incumbent Senator for gerrymandering the district to rope in as many Republican enclaves as possible.

“I think my area has become more Democratic and eventually there will be smaller and smaller pockets that Marty Golden can rely upon so if it’s not this cycle, there will be a cycle very soon where he will not have the same deep support that he used to have in the same district that he drew, that he drew the lines for,” Gentile told the Observer.

While that may be true in Bay Ridge, Golden remains popular in Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach – conservative-leaning areas where Gentile is relatively unknown.

What this means for another Democratic challenger to Golden, Jamie Kemmerer, is not yet known. Kemmerer told this outlet last month that he decided to run only once Gentile personally urged him to do so. Kemmerer could drop out and throw his support behind Gentile if he chooses to run – or he could squabble with his former backer in a primary.

The Hendrick I. Lott House in Marine Park. Source: New Utrecht Reformed Church

The Hendrick I. Lott House in Marine Park. Source: New Utrecht Reformed Church

The following press release was sent to us by the Friends of Historic New Utrecht:

Brooklyn’s old Dutch farmhouses and their importance to our history will be the subject of an illustrated lecture by an urban archaeologist, Dr. Christopher Ricciardi, in the Parish House of the New Utrecht Reformed Church on Tuesday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. The program, “Disappearing Dutch Brooklyn – Where Have All the Houses Gone?”, is being offered free of charge by the Friends of Historic New Utrecht.

Urban Archaeologist Dr. Christopher Ricciardi

Urban Archaeologist Dr. Christopher Ricciardi

At the end of World War II, there were still 70 Dutch farmhouses and barns in Brooklyn. Only 13 of these important reminders of Brooklyn’s Dutch settlers and its agricultural past now remain. In the program, Dr. Ricciardi will explain how such sites can add to our understanding of our community’s history.

Appropriately, he will be speaking on the landmarked campus of the New Utrecht Reformed Church, a congregation organized by the Dutch settlers of the area in 1677. The Parish House is at 18th Avenue and 84th Street In Bensonhurst with bus and subway lines nearby. The B8 stops in front of the church; the B1 two blocks away on 86th Street, The church is one block away from the D line’s 18th Avenue station.

Dr. Ricciardi, a principal of the Midwood-based firm, Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, served from 1990 to 2001 as Assistant to the Director of the Brooklyn College Archaeological Research Center and from 2001 to 2009 as Chief Archaeologist for the Army Corps of Engineers, New York District.

The program is one in a series of free concerts and history-related events offered each year by the New Utrecht historic organization.

Persons interested in learning more about Dr. Ricciardi’s talk, New Utrecht landmarks and its history are invited to contact (718) 256-7173 or mail@historicnewutrecht.org, visit www.historicnewutrecht.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FriendsofHistoricNewUtrecht.

Source: [mementosis]/Flickr

D LINE

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

  1. Between 205 St and Bedford Park Blvd.
  2. Between Bedford Park Blvd and Coney Island.

• To continue your trip, transfer at Bedford Park Blvd.

N LINE

From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday to Friday, there are no N trains between 36 St and 8 Av. N service operates between Ditmars Blvd and 36 St, and via the D to/from Coney Island. N shuttle service operates in Brooklyn only between 8 Av and Coney Island.

  • Transfer between buses and N trains at 36 St.
  • For stations between 8 Av and Coney Island, take an N shuttle train.
  • Transfer between N trains and N shuttle trains at 62 St/New Utrecht Av or Coney Island.

From 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, Ditmars Blvd-bound N trains skip 39 Av, 36 Av, Broadway, and 30 Av.

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 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, there are no R trains between 36 St and 95 St. Free shuttle buses make all R stops between 36 St and 95 St. R service in Brooklyn operates as follows:

  • From 10 p.m. to 12 midnight: Between Court St and 36 St, and via the D to/from 9 Av.
  • From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m.: Service does not operate.
  • For R service between 36 St and 95 St, take a shuttle bus.
  • Transfer between buses and R trains at 36 St.

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

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, northbound-bound F trains run express from W 4 St to 34 St-Herald Sq.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, Coney Island-bound F trains run local from Roosevelt Av to 21 St-Queensbridge.

I was really hoping to be among the first riders of the new Thunderbolt roller coaster, which finally opened to the public after a short delay on Saturday. Unfortunately, Father’s Day plans got in the way, dashing my dream of telling my grandchildren about being there on opening day.

While I may not be able to share that experience with them, or you, we’ve got the next best thing: a first-person video of the ride, taken from the front seat of the 9-person car, courtesy of Luna Park.

After an almost fully vertical ascent 115 feet into the air, the all steel coaster drops at speeds up to 55 miles per hour, then twists and turns its way until the end. From all the reports I’ve read, it’s an incredibly smooth ride, in contrast to the rickety, bruise-inducing terror trip of the Cyclone (that’s no knock; the fear of imminent death unrealized is what we love about the 87-year-old ride).

The scribes over at Animal said the initial drop is the clear highlight – “you really feel as if you might slide out from under the red shiny safety harness as you’re catapulted downward” – and makes all that follows a little, well, less-than. “I’d compare it to a hard orgasm with a soft wistful ending.”

Indeed.

Did you ride the Thunderbolt this weekend? What did you think?

thunderbolt

Source: Allan Shweky/Brooklyn Views

cb11

June’s Community Board 11 meeting focused on three main points: the curb-cutting ‘crisis’, the new Bensonhurst BJ’s location, and the Shore Parkway promenade changes soon happening in the neighborhood.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate and Councilman Vincent Gentile joined Community Board 11 at Thursday’s meeting at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare to give share their thoughts.

Curb-Cutting Crisis

Councilmen Gentile spoke passionately about his proposed bill to end what he called “the epidemic of illegal curb cuts,” a situation where non-approved parking spots are created by residential owners.

According to Gentile, the bill would require that the Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner have an illegal curb cut restored at that property owner’s expense.

“It takes away legal spots,” Gentile said. “It is a huge quality of life issue.”

The bill received overwhelming support from attendees at the meeting, with many nodding in agreement and expressing their own frustration.

“We need to get this bill passed to [get] the blight away from our community,” said District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

The Board previously expressed frustration with the curb cuts in 2013, when Chairman Bill Guarinello asked the Department of Transportation to look into the problem, and then appealed to mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to make it a priority.

New BJ’s Location

Bensonhurst’s BJ’s is opening on July 12 at 1752 Shore Parkway and the company is hiring — fast.

Elias-Pavia and Gentile are teaming up to co-host a Job Information Night at 6 p.m. on June 17 at the Sephardic Home Auditorium at 2266 Cropsey Avenue.

According to Gentile, there are 250 jobs available at this store and “we should give these jobs to the community.” Currently, 100 positions have been filled, leaving 150 opportunities still open, including those for clerks, cashiers, stock assistants, merchants, sales representatives, and more.

Shore Parkway Promenade

The stretch from Shore Parkway and 19th Avenue to Bay Parkway has been renovated. The redeveloped path is now open, paved, and accessible to the public. There are 15 new benches, freshly planted foliage, and new drainage systems that prevent massive puddles and flooding.

“You don’t see those moon craters when you walk any more,” Gentile said. “In two weeks, it will be fully ready to enjoy.”

According to Gentile, the project cost half a million dollars to complete.

Happenings This Summer, Save The Date:  

  • Bensonhurst Green Market: Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 81st Street and 18th Avenue
  • BJ’s Job Information Night: 6/17 at 6 p.m. at the Sephardic Home Auditorium at 2266 Cropsey Avenue
  • Free Family Movie Night, Frozen: 6/22 at 8:30 p.m. at Seth Low Park
  • Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting of the Second 47th Council District Office: 6/22 at 11:00 a.m. at 2015 Stillwell Avenue
  • Casino BBQ Night: 6/26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation
  • Free Family Movie Night, Wizard of Oz: 6/29 at 8:30 p.m. at Colonel Marcus Park  

Other Announcements:

  • There has been a small spike in neighborhood robberies. 62nd Precinct Captain, William Taylor, advises residents to not walk alone when it’s late, to be more aware of surroundings, and to keep cell phones and other electronic devices safely tucked away when walking in the dark.
  • Residents at Independence Avenue and 15th Avenue submitted over 100 signatures supporting the conversion of the two-way street at that corner into a one-way street due to poor visibility and dangerous driving conditions.
  • There are emergency sewer repairs at 67th Street and 18th Avenue, due to a pipe break. Currently, 300-feet of sewer pipe is being repaired, set to be completed by June 30th.
  • Elias-Pavia reported that she will be sitting on the planning committee to determine how to allocate $3 million of block grant funding as part of a Post-Sandy Gravesend/Bensonhurst community reconstruction project.
treyger-office

Council Member Mark Treyger (center) and his office staff including (left to right) Deputy Chief of Staff Igor Vaysberg, Community Liaison Angel Fung; Community Liaison Jeannine Cherichetti and Constituent Services Supervisor Dilyora Rahimova.

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

As part of his efforts to serve and represent residents of the 47th Council District, Council Member Mark Treyger has announced the opening of a second district office to better connect all constituents of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island and Sea Gate with local government and services.

The new office, located at 2015 Stillwell Avenue, is in addition to the office at the Warbasse Houses on Neptune Avenue serving the southern portion of the district including Coney Island that Council Member Treyger opened immediately upon taking office in January. The new Stillwell Avenue office is intended to provide much greater convenience to any residents who need help with issues related to city government and agencies. Council Member Treyger made constituent services and addressing neighborhood issues a top priority during his campaign and since taking office, and this new location is a major step towards fulfilling that pledge.

“My top priority is to assist every resident of my district with issues regarding city government and to deliver the services our community deserves. This new office will help ensure that my staff is convenient and accessible for all residents of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island and Sea Gate, not matter which area of the district they live in. My great staff is ready to assist the public, so I urge everyone to call or stop in for help with local issues,” said Council Member Treyger.

The new office has been open for several weeks assisting district residents with government issues. It is open from noon to 8 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays. Residents can reach Council Member Treyger’s Stillwell Avenue staff, which includes multilingual speakers, by phone at (718) 307-7151 or by stopping by the office, which is accessible via the B1 and B4 buses and the D train.

Council Member Treyger will host a community open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at the Stillwell Avenue office on Sunday, June 22nd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All residents are invited to stop by and meet the Council Member and his staff and visit the new office space.