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Archive for the tag 'businesses'


Bánh mì and beef noodles are on their way to 86th Street, where Pho & Co Vietnamese Street Food is slated to open.

Signs went up recently at the 1927 86th Street storefront, and interior renovations were underway when we stopped by last week.

The spot takes over the location of Boat House Seafood Restaurant, which closed late last year or early this year. It looks like Boat House is still alive and kicking in Sunset Park, though, serving up Vietnamese-Cajun fusion seafood dishes.

Pho & Co will be a welcome addition to 86th Street’s bustling Asian culinary scene, and one of the few – if not the only – dedicated to Vietnamese sandwiches, salads, noodle dishes and soups.

We’ll keep our eyes on this one as the opening date nears. In the meantime, welcome to the neighborhood, Pho & Co.


The Vitamin Shoppe opened its doors at 2005 86th Street about three weeks ago, looking to capitalize off the new rush of fitness fans patronizing Planet Fitness next door.

The business replaces London Fashion Shoes, which closed for good earlier this year.

It’s hard not to note the unique facade of the building. It has served as a retail location for many years, but some research reveals what many neighborhood oldtimers probably know: it’s the former site of the Benson Twins Theater. Here’s how it looked in the 1980s, as captured by the Department of Finance tax photos:


Although the theater once took up the entire site of what today is The Vitamin Shoppe and Planet Fitness, by the 1980s, as you can see, it was already split up for a retail location.

But just how old is it? Fortunately, CinemaTreasures has that info on hand:

Opened as the Benson Theatre on September 15, 1921, it was a 1,400 seat theatre, located in the shadows of the elevated subway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Designed by architects George Keister & Libman. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual, 6 ranks organ. It was run as a dollar theatre by the Golden Theatre chain before it was twinned by splitting it down the middle and renamed Benson Twins with seating for 588 and 400.

Subsequently, it became a first run house. In the final days, it was closed more than it was open, and was closed in 1988 for its current retail use.

According to city records, it came under the ownership of a new company called Benson Theatre Corp in 1972, which is about when it was renamed.

Unfortunately, with the overhaul of the facade by Planet Fitness, little remains of the original theater’s architecture. But eagle-eyed passersby will catch a glimps of the original “B” insignia, and the comedy and tragedy masks above The Vitamin Shoppe. Here’s a photo, but Forgotten NY has an even better one:


Source: Lioni Italian Heroes

Source: Lioni Italian Heroes

Two Bensonhurst delis are slinging some of the best sandwiches in Brooklyn, according to CBS News’ latest “Best of” list.

John’s Deli (2033 Stillwell Avenue) and Lioni’s (7803 15th Avenue) both made the cut in the unranked list of eight best sandwiches in Brooklyn.

John’s is singled out for their Godfather, a meat and cheese heavy hero that pops with color. But the ambiance gets a nod, too:

Walking into John’s Deli is a bit of a throwback – a narrow area to stand on line, signs that say things like “If you’re in a rush, you’re in the wrong place” – and a menu that has plenty of personality to fit right in.

Lioni’s, meanwhile, scores high for their fresh mozzarella and old world charm:

The sandwiches at Lioni are named after various Italian and Italian-American heroes, with Frank Sinatra at the top of the list: salami, fresh mozzarella, and a bit of seasoning (olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano). Have fun eating your way through the extensive herolist, or try your hand at creating your own combination – there’s no wrong way to put together a sandwich.

While Bensonhurst accounts for two of the eight spots – meaning the neighborhood sells one quarter of the borough’s best sandwiches, right? – eateries south of Prospect Park are well represented, with nods for eateries in Sheepshead Bay, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.


A new eatery called Sooo Delicious Food Court is now serving customers at 1801 Bath Avenue.

Set up as one-stop shop similar to a Manhattan deli, with various counters for pizza, sandwiches, coffee and baked goods, in addition to a selection of standard bodega fare, the store opened doors this week. The owner, Nick Abulawi, was previously the manager of Bay Ridge’s Gino’s Restaurant, on 5th Avenue.

The location was previously occupied by Casa Calamari, which closed in 2012.


Paul In (Source: Facebook)

Paul Ingrisano (Source: Facebook)

Hell hath no fury like a math nerd scorned.

That is the lesson being learned by Bensonhurst resident Paul Ingrisano, an artist and entrepreneur who trademarked the 3,000-year-old mathematical symbol π. - pi, followed by a period – as the logo for his apparel brand.

Ingrisano, 26, filed paperwork in January staking claim to the symbol, which graces his t-shirts, tank tops, hats and other clothing. He told the Daily News that “Pi” was a childhood nickname inspired by his initials. His company is Pi Productions Corp.

Had he left it there, it would have been unlikely to rankle math nerds and designers. But Ingrisano hired a lawyer and sent out a battery of cease-and-desists to users of the online marketplace

That site, where artists set up online shops to vend clothing, stationary, mugs and other items with their designs, acted swiftly, removing thousands of items with the pi symbol and informing their users of the potential abuse. The symbol is widely used for all kinds of math jokes, from pi-rate puns to mathematical musings on the sweet, fruit-filled desserts.

Although the trademark is for π. – pi, followed by a period – the site pulled any product with the symbol, with or without a period. That set off geek designers nationwide, according to a Wired article:

Pi is a popular symbol in mathematical puns, so the pi-pocalypse lit a firestorm in the print-on-demand T-shirt world. “This is asinine,” wrote Dave Lartigue, whose banned “Pi plus E” shirts asserted that pi summed with the mathematical constant e add up to a tasty dessert. “Zazzle gave me instructions on how to file a counter-notice, and I plan to. Not because I really care about the dumb design, but because this is ridiculous asshattery that shouldn’t be allowed to continue.”

“This would be like McDonalds claiming the letter M as a trademark,” wrote Jez Kemp, whose Zazzle store offers apparel imagining pi dressed in a pirate costume. “The trademark is in the combination of style and symbol, not the symbol itself.”

Zazzle reversed its decision two days later, but Ingrisano told the Daily News he’s been receiving hate mail including death threats for trying to claim his piece of the π.

“I’m not trying to hurt anyone,” the 26-year-old Bensonhurst resident told the Daily News. “I’m just trying to protect my symbol and what I do.”

Still, it hasn’t stopped dozens of spurned mathematicians and artists from posting critical comments on the company’s Facebook page:

“Pythagoras would have stabbed your bitch ass,” said one.

“You probably don’t even know the first 10 digits fucking tool,” said another.


Walking past 86th Street and Bay 34th Street last week, I realized that the relative long-lived Jenny’s Flowers had closed down, and construction was underway at the 2332 86th Street storefront.

From the looks of it, they’re totally renovating the space, inside and out. Sure enough, a little search on the Department of Buildings website revealed that, indeed, they are. And the changes in the new layout are intended to make it more amendable to an “eating and drinking establishment.”

We’re looking forward to seeing what new restaurant is on its way. What kind of food would you guys like to see here?


The long-lived 86th Street video game store Circle Two Inc. closed down this month, and workers were on-site emptying the storefront out last Tuesday.

At 2364 86th Street, the business had served the community for at least 15 years or so that we can recall, weathering massive changes in the industry, including the launch of online retailing. It’s not clear why it has closed now, and the phone number for the storefront has been disconnected.

So long, Circle Two, and best of luck to its owners on their future ventures.

Beer Island in 2008. Apparently, no one on Flickr took photos of the real sites, so you get this lonely guy with a murse. (Source: laserlars/Flickr)

On the list of things that I’m way too excited about and probably flag me as less than a gentleman, Coney Island’s Beer Island is being resurrected as Margarita Island, Amusing the Zillion reports.

For those who don’t know, Beer Island was one of those places that could only emerge in the post-Thor, pre-development purgatory phase of Coney Island, when various establishments were shuttered to make way for new amusements and construction that took a few years to appear. To save face, Thor leased out a few properties to various operators, of which only Beer Island was redeemable.

Let me set the scene here: a big fenced lot. Within, someone dumped a few tons of sand, set up some chintzy tables and umbrellas, and hired some buxom dames to wear bikinis and dole out suds from a shack.

It was glorious, and it was given the boot when the city evicted the boardwalk businesses after purchasing the property from Thor.

Now, it’ll be returning, this time to Bowery Street and West 12th Street. Here’s the nut from AtZ:

The outdoor bar’s liquor license was issued a few days ago and a food truck specializing in Japanese teriyaki is already parked on site. New picnic tables are set up on the corner lot, which had been vacant since Coney Island Arcade burned down four years ago. The property is owned by Jeff Persily, who is also leasing the space next-door to [Margarita Island owner Carl] Muraco for his arcade, formerly located in one of Thor’s buildings.

Five-dollar beers? Yes, please. Check out AtZ’s scoop for more details, including the food they plan on bringing in.


Signs are up at 1912 86th Street, announcing the impending arrival of La Fogata Restaurant.

It’s too soon to say when it will open or even what kind of restaurant it is, but judging from the plethora of other “La Fogata” restaurants one can find on Google, it’ll be selling Latin dishes.

That’s not too much of a difference from its predecessor at the location, Las Americas, a Mexican-American bar and restaurant. The posters in the window are still from Las Americas, so it’s probably a few months off until it reopens. Las Americas closed earlier this year.

Welcome to the neighborhood, La Fogata, and best of luck!


The Salvation Army officially opened the doors of its senior center at 7309-7321 18th Avenue this week, following the charity’s $12.75 million purchase of the property in March 2013.

The location is the former home of the 39,000-square-foot Cotillion Terrace catering hall, which closed up sometime in the last decade or so. Originally, the owners hoped to demolish the hall and develop condos. Those plans fell through, and the building has sat empty for several years, a haven for graffiti artists hitting up its boarded up doors.

As you can see in the photo above, which was taken Tuesday, Salvation Army still has some cleaning up to do. But from this write-up in the New York Times last week, it sounds like the senior center had to make a hasty retreat from its longtime home in Manhattan’s Bowery and relocated here.

When news first broke that the Salvation Army had purchased the property, it was reported at the time that it would become a large retail location. We hope to still see that come through, but that doesn’t yet appear to be the case.


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