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Archive for the tag 'bay ridge'

Source: Gentile's office

Source: Gentile’s office

Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get lai– okay, it’s probably not that kind of a party.

Councilman Vincent Gentile is inviting everybody to check out his new digs and enjoy some free treats from local restaurants this Saturday.

The local pol is celebrating the grand opening of his new district office at 8018 5th Avenue, and he wants neighbors from every part of the district to join him.

The party begins at 11am and lasts until 3pm. There will be free food and drinks from local businesses, according to the announcement.

Gentile’s office moved out of 8703 3rd Avenue in late June and into the new location, and they’ve spent the time in between putting on the finishing touches.

You can call the new office at (718) 748-5200 with any questions.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Councilman Vincent Gentile requested this week that the MTA drop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s $15 toll on the 50th anniversary of the span’s dedication.

The pol asked the agency to give drivers a free pass on November 21, or least give a significant reduction, to honor the occasion.

According to the New York Post:

“Or at the very least, roll the toll back to 50 cents,” which was the price when the 2½-mile bridge opened in 1964, Gentile told The Post.

“It would be the right thing for the MTA to do, considering all the money motorists have put into the bridge in tolls for decades,” Gentile said. “And it would really be the greatest way to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

The agency’s response? Thanks for the idea. Now bugger off.

The MTA’s spokesperson said the authority is “legally prevented from” reducing or suspending the toll from a day, saying that a state-bond requirement mandates that the toll is collected in full.

It’s the agency’s latest bridge-related snuff of Gentile, who earlier this month blasted the MTA for planning a spectacularly one-sided celebration of the 50th anniverary. While several events are scheduled to honor the semicentennial, all but one are on Staten Island. The exception is at a museum in downtown Brooklyn; no observances were planned at the bridge’s Brooklyn base in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights.

forcible-touching

Source: NYPD

Cops are turning to the public in their hunt for an alleged groper, who pinned a woman to a public bench and slid his hand up her skirt before running off into the night.

The attack occurred just before 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16. As the 35-year-old woman walked down 3rd Avenue near 95th Street in Bay Ridge, the attacker came up behind her. He grabbed her, threw her onto the bench, pushed his hand up her skirt and touched her over her underwear. He then fled on foot.

Cops say the suspect is a male Hispanic in his 30s, and he was caught on nearby surveillance cameras as seen above.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Photo by Teri Brennan

Lane Rosen, right, with Dewey’s student scientists. Photo by Teri Brennan

The waters around New York City were once home to a thriving population of oysters, which served an important ecological role. After virtually disappearing in the 20th century, several efforts are underway to bring the species back.

Students of John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X) Marine Science program are on the front-lines of the revitalization effort in Gravesend Bay, monitoring a collection of oyster beds off of the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge.

The school teamed up with the Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project, one of the organizations leading the oyster reef restorations around New York Harbor. Oysters, which work like living water filters, are a vital component to improving the water quality around New York City, and the reefs they form protect the shoreline by weakening waves and provide habitat to other marine life.

They were once abundant in our area, but vanished almost completely in the early 20th century as pollution, over-harvesting, disease and environmental hazards grew. New York City was developing, and as the population boomed so did the amount of sewage.

One of the oyster cages monitored by Dewey students. (Photo by Teri Brennan)

One of the oyster cages monitored by Dewey students. (Photo by Teri Brennan)

Thanks to new regulations implemented in the late 20th Century, water quality has seen a dramatic improvement and researchers are finding that the area can once again support the oysters, which were not just an environmental helper, but a staple of the New York City economy as it developed.

Restoration efforts began on a sizable scale back in 2009. As their initial pilot sites showed signs of success, organizations backing them began finding new sources of funding to grow the project – ultimately creating the goal of bringing one billion oysters back to the harbor over the next 20 years.

The team of Dewey students were on-site in Bay Ridge last Wednesday, pulling in cages and doing their regular checkups. Their teacher, Lane Rosen, said it’s a great way to teach them about marine biology and ecology in a living laboratory in a hands-on way.

The cages are moored to the eco-dock attached to the pier, and students collect data on growth and development of the oysters, analyze the water and make observations that are sent to the Harbor School for further analysis.

We look forward to the point when the reefs are not only self-sustaining, but able to be harvested (in a population-sensitive way) for fresh, tasty slurping.

missing

The NYPD is turning to the public in their search for Damei Liang, a 72-year-old woman who went missing from 54th Street and 8th Avenue in Sunset Park yesterday morning.

Liang suffers from dementia, diabetes and high blood pressure. She’s 5-foot-5-inches tall and 130 pounds, with short black hair. She was last seen wearing a white and green shirt, brown pants, a blue backpack and black Nike sneakers.

A resident of Bay Ridge, at 83rd Street and 5th Avenue, Liang went missing at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday.

If you see Liang or have information regarding her whereabouts, please call 911 immediately.

Gentile's new office was previously Ellen Fish Market. New signage is on the way. (Source: Google Maps)

Gentile’s new office was previously Ellen Fish Market. New signage is on the way. (Source: Google Maps)

Councilman Vincent Gentile has announced new digs for his district office, now open at 8018 5th Avenue, bringing it several blocks closer to Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights.

The office operated for years out of 8703 3rd Avenue, but the new space opened up this Monday as the old one shuttered its doors for good.

According to Gentile spokesperson Justin Brannan, the new location is still a work in progress, with signage and more on the way. Brannan notes it’ll be fully up to speed within a few days, and then a grand opening party will follow.

While the finishing touches might take some time, the office is fully operational when it comes to assisting constituents. Phone numbers and hours are staying the same, so you can call (718) 748-5200, e-mail vgentile@council.nyc.gov or stop by the new storefront for help.

bridge

The Belt Parkway is about to get a little more congested, as the highway is slated to lose one lane at Bay Ridge Avenue beginning tomorrow night.

The lane closures will begin at 11:00 p.m., on Friday, May 30. The eastbound and westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway at Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge (Exit 1) will be shifted. The eastbound roadway, currently three lanes, will be reduced to two travel lanes. Meanwhile, the two travel lanes of the westbound roadway will be narrowed and shifted to the left-center of the bridge.

These changes are being done to allow for the establishment of a work zone at the existing right and center of the Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge in order to begin the first stage of the bridge rehabilitation.

The bridge’s overhaul is part of the city’s Seven Bridges project, a large-scale renovation of seven spans on the Belt Parkway that began in 2009. Several of the bridges are already near completion, and the beginning of the Bay Ridge Avenue work marks the final phase of the project.

The existing bridge at Bay Ridge Avenue will be reconstructed using pre-cast concrete deck sections. The clearance will be increased to 14-feet 6-inches, which removes the need for clearance signs currently posted for a substandard condition. Also the new deck will eliminate the need for under deck wood shielding, according to a DOT fact sheet on the project.

According to the fact sheet, work on this bridge was slated to begin in June 2013 and wrap up in February of 2015, but a DOT representative told this outlet that it will now be closer to the beginning of 2016. All construction related to the seven bridges project is expected to be completed by mid-2017, with landscaping wrapping up in 2019.

An illustration of the extent of the lane shifts. (Source: DOT)

An illustration of the extent of the lane shifts. (Source: DOT)

Kemmerer via LinkedIn

Kemmerer via LinkedIn

Political activist and executive director of the Bay Ridge Democrats, Jamie Kemmerer, will formally announce his bid to represent the 22nd District in the State Senate on Monday, challenging 12-year Republican incumbent Marty Golden for his seat.

“The speculation is true. There’s a lot of work to be done, and we’re going to try and put [an announcement] out on Monday,” Kemmerer, 41, told us by phone today, confirming a report this morning by City & State that said the small business owner and Ridge resident was considering a challenge.

The Bay Ridge Democrats, a progressive Democratic club that has seen its influence rise after becoming an early backer of Bill de Blasio during the mayoral campaign, voted to endorse Kemmerer last night. Kemmerer has not yet filed a committee with the state, but said he will do so soon.

City & State reported:

Kemmerer has never run for public office before, but already local officials are expected to throw their weight behind his candidacy, including Councilman Vincent Gentile, who took over Golden’s Council seat after losing his Senate seat to him in 2002. Kemmerer made some waves in February after accusing Golden of “money laundering” by spending large amounts of campaign contributions at his brother’s catering hall in Bay Ridge.

Kemmerer told us that he not only has the backing of Gentile already, but that the Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge councilman, who has been engaged in a longtime rivalry with Golden, was key to influencing him to run.

“I had been approached by some district leaders [including Joanne Seminara, chairperson of Community Board 10 and the female Democratic District Leader of the 60th Assembly District] and thought about it a bit but wasn’t sure if now was the time,” explained Kemmerer. “I certainly believed someone should run against him. Then Gentile asked me to do it as well, and given all the recent issues with corruption and campaign finance questions, some of which you’ve reported on, and some of the other things going on, I began thinking about it more seriously. Putting all those factors together, it’s something that I think is important to do.”

Kemmerer is a Pennsylvania native who moved to Brooklyn with his wife approximately a decade ago. He runs a marketing and technology firm, and blogs on a personal website about politics affecting Bay Ridge residents.

Between servicing clients and the cries of his 21-month-old son, Kemmerer declined to discuss details of his platform or his thoughts on Golden until the Monday announcement.

However, he did note that a top priority for his campaign will be addressing ongoing concerns stemming from Superstorm Sandy, which hit a large portion of the district, including Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead and Manhattan Beach.

“I’ve been very active in Hurricane Sandy work. I’m a founding member of the Brooklyn Long-Term Recovery Group,” a community organization that helps steer victims to resources, he said. “Issues around Sandy, and not just the immediate issues of getting people back in their homes, but about resiliency and infrastructure, are important to me, and that will be at the top of the list.”

He also said he will campaign for fair elections and ethics reform in Albany.

Golden, the only Republican state senator in Brooklyn, has coasted to victory with only marginal opposition in most elections during his tenure. That changed in 2012 when Andrew Gounardes, also out of the Bay Ridge Democrats, mounted a heated campaign featuring feisty debates and well-coordinated attacks told through press releases and campaign literature. Golden won out, but with a relatively narrow margin. He racked up 58.1 percent of the vote to Gounardes’ 41.9 percent.

grimm

Michael Grimm’s former girlfriend is in trouble, too.

Michael Grimm’s ex-girlfriend Diana Durand, 48, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that she violated federal campaign laws.

Her lawyer said she didn’t know she was doing anything wrong, according to the Daily News. The lawyer, Stuart Kaplan, added, “My client is not a sophisticated woman.”

Durand is facing a three-count indictment for felony violations of federal campaign finance law for allegedly reimbursing three straw donors a total of $10,600 in contributions to Grimm’s campaign. These alleged activity was uncovered during a two-year federal investigation into Grimm’s fundraising, which is still ongoing.

The Daily News writes:

Durand was arraigned one week to the day after Grimm was charged in the same courthouse with fraud, tax evasion, perjury and hiring undocumented workers at a health food restaurant he co-owned.

And:

Durand, a Houston-based single mom employed by a company that sells oil products, was romantically involved with Grimm while he pursued business ventures in Texas before his election to Congress. She faces a maximum of eight years in prison if convicted of all the charges, her lawyer said.

He lawyer also said that Durand probably wouldn’t even be in court if she didn’t have a relationship to Grimm and that it was all political, echoing what Grimm has said about his own troubles.

Meanwhile, Grimm spent his first weekend in the wake of the 20-count indictment strolling Staten Island’s Midland Beach, an area that bore the full brunt of Superstorm Sandy. In a New York 1 video of Grimm in Staten Island, he’s seen talking to members of the disaster relief organization, Yellow Boots. According to NY1 he was there to tour Sandy hit homes but one can’t help and wonder how heavy the indictment charges sit on him.

He told the new channel:

“I think I said it very clearly, I’m back to work. This is my primary focuses doing my job everyday. The people of Staten Island and Brooklyn pay my salary,to work for them so that’s what I do and this is part of that,” Grimm said.

Domenic Recchia, his Democratic challenger for this year’s midterm election, was on the same island also touring Sandy hit homes and campaigning.

“Michael Grimm has to decide what’s best for him. He has a lot of issues and he has to deal with them himself. But this is not about Michael Grimm. I didn’t get into this race, you know, I got into this race because I’m going to win. We deserve better,” Recchia said.

Source: Facebook

Congressman Michael Grimm continues to face fallout from the criminal charges levied against him on Monday, with New York Republican leadership seeking ways to kick him off the ballot, and the national party booting him from programs to aid his reelection bid.

Grimm turned himself in to authorities Monday morning to respond to a 20-count federal indictment alleging tax fraud, systematically hiring undocumented immigrants and hiding more than $1 million in revenue from the government during his time as a restaurant owner before he became congressman. Grimm pleaded not guilty, and is portraying the investigation as a “political witch hunt” to unseat New York City’s only Republican in Congress.

While the congressman vowed to continue his reelection campaign, where he faces an aggressive bid from former Councilman Domenic Recchia, it seems Republican leadership in both his home borough and in Washington are reconsidering their support.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Staten Island GOP leadership are looking for ways to boot Grimm from the ballot altogether:

The road to replacing the Staten Island congressman on the ballot is narrow and complicated because the deadline for a challenger to get on the ballot passed earlier in April. Election-law experts and Republican Party officials said the sole viable option under New York law appears to be to nominate the Staten Island congressman for another office, such as running for an open judge position.

… Potential GOP candidates to run in Mr. Grimm’s place include state Sen. Andrew Lanza and state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a person familiar with the matter said.

The paper reports that a judgeship might be the only route available, but there are no open positions at the moment. Leadership told the paper that could change by September. A defense attorney who has worked on other federal tax evasion charges noted that it’s a tough rap to beat since the prosecution builds its case on documentation as opposed to witness testimony.

Meanwhile, in D.C., Grimm’s Republican colleagues are cooling on his prospects, according to the Daily News. He’s been removed from the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program,” which helps candidates in swing district raise money and receive other support from the national party. He’s also been dis-invited from a fundraiser, and House Speaker John Boehner declined to defend the Congressman when questioned about the case.

The change in fortune for one of the GOP’s more charismatic candidates has him speaking in the third person:

“There are people that don’t like Michael Grimm because Michael Grimm is outspoken,” Grimm said. “I’m a Marine. I don’t relent.”

The congressman also took his message straight to supporters, posting a somewhat lengthy update on Facebook yesterday thanking them for their continued support and claiming that the “trumped-up charges against me are false.”

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