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Archive for the tag 'manhattan'

Source: Official US Navy Imagery via Flickr

Source: Official US Navy Imagery via Flickr

Today is September 11th, 2013, the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that horrified the world. On that day, 2,996 people died,  and the course of American history was forever altered.

Since that fateful day, New Yorkers have lived with the awareness of how vulnerable we all are. As we stroll underneath Manhattan skyscrapers, race through subway tunnels and drive over bridges, only people with the most blithe dispositions are spared the occasional loose thoughts of crashing steel and exploding fireballs.

Sometimes I can’t help but think about how New York is the subject of so many different people’s worst nightmares about the world. Throughout the Cold War, more than any other world city, New York was in the cross-hairs of nuclear destruction. The city has been destroyed in people’s imaginations so many times, be it in comic books, TV shows, movies and novels that I actually find it immensely comforting, that in reality, New York is still here.

For a first world city, we are tougher than most. We put up with trash, crime, rising rents, economic hardships and hurricanes. Despite the horror 12 years ago, the city is still here, thriving and expanding. Through the works of countless good and ordinary people, we have kept this city together, preserving it as the beacon for humanity, words expressed best on the plaque of the Statue of Liberty:

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Today, please take a moment to remember the victims of the attacks; those who perished in their attempt to save others; those who fell ill in the years that followed; those service members who have paid the ultimately sacrifice in the name of Justice abroad – and also the living, your neighbors, friends, family and the countless strangers of Gotham, who should never again see such tragedy befall our great, unyielding City.


Visual News created a cool new graphic of the busiest subway stops in New York. I took a slice of the map to show you our area, which compared to Manhattan, is comparatively light.

Predictably, Times Square is the busiest station, averaging 182,170 riders, followed by Grand Central, 34 St-Herald Square, 14 St-Union Square and 34 St Penn Station.

Based on Visual News’s chart, the Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach station sees about 10 to 19,000 riders per day. Bensonhurst stops are comparable to Sheepshead Bay. Interesting stuff.


Four legislators – including representatives of Southwest Brooklyn and Staten Island at the local, state, as well as federal levels – would like to convince Governor Cuomo to make local travel more affordable before expanding the 7 train to New Jersey.

State Sen. Diane Savino, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Councilman James Oddo and U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who represent both boroughs, along with three additional Staten Island officials, are leading a bi-partisan response to a New York Post article that has the city and state considering a proposal to expand the 7 train – which currently runs between Queens and Manhattan – to Secaucus, N.J.

A letter from the group of pols states that funding for the project, which will come from an abandoned cross-Hudson rail project, should instead be used to prevent further toll increases on the already pricey Verrazano Bridge.

From Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“We ask that your office look into the reports that the city and state would ask Staten Islanders to pay more at the tolls in order to make commuting into Manhattan easier,” said the letter.

“Secaucus, N.J., residents already have access to a train via NJIT into Penn Station in Manhattan, ferries to West 39th Street, and buses to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 34th (sic) and Eighth. This is a project that is worthy of consideration in the future. Now is not the time to explore more ways to get from New Jersey to Manhattan when it’s our toll money paying for it.”

The Eagle also points out that any plans for the Verrazano also concerns Brooklyn, as New Jersey and Staten Island traffic taking Interstate 278 over the bridge also uses the Gowanus Expressway, and possibly the BQE, on the way to Manhattan.

What do you think?

Do you favor more interstate mass transit or more reasonable toll prices for drivers?

And do we really need more people from a place where Turnpike exit number trumps both God and country?

State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis represents Assembly District 60, which includes parts of Eastern Staten Island, as well as Bay Ridge

Father Knickerbocker, representing New York City, proposes to Miss Brooklyn (Image provided by Michael Miscione via

Not everyone was happy about Brooklyn’s consolidation into greater New York City in 1898.

To many newspapers, civic leaders and proud residents, it was ‘the great mistake of ’98’ – when Brooklyn would forever lose its identity as an independent city.

According to Vincent La Marca, Historian Michael Miscione will give a free talk, including great illustrations like the one above, on the struggle to create the five borough behemoth we know today as NYC, on Tuesday, October 25.

The lecture will take place at the New Utrecht Reformed Church’s parish house at 7:30 p.m.

Miscione is the Borough Historian for Manhattan, as well as the producer of a documentary on Brooklyn’s merger with the rest of New York City.

The New Utrecht Reformed Church is located on 18th Avenue between 83rd Street and 84th Street. For more information on the church’s history, please visit Historic New

With the chilly weather of fall upon us, I often think of the Circle Line Cruises that travel, from pier 83 on 42nd Street in Hells Kitchen, up the Hudson River to Bear Mountain for Oktoberfest.

It’s always quite a shock to go from being solicited by panhandlers on the urine soaked streets of Manhattan to hearing Bavarian Oom-pah music amidst the rugged terrain and colorful autumn foliage of the Hudson Valley.

In honor of getting drunk and eating (let’s not kid ourselves), plus just having some plain old fashioned fun in like nature and stuff, Colleen brings us little links of heaven in the form of scrumptious, fried, beer battered sausages.

Colleen’s Beer Battered Sausages


1 cup all purpose flour + flour to dredge
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup of your favorite beer
1 package of 6 sausage links
corn or canola oil to fry Click Here To Discover The Secret To The Kind Of Gratuitous Cooking That Gives Paula Deen The Vapors

This week’s Brooklyn Daily Eagle is carrying a posthumous piece on acclaimed 20th Century street photographer Helen Levitt, who would be 98 years old today.

Like scores of other notable figures from the last hundred years or so of American history, Helen Levitt was born and raised in Bensonhurst.

Levitt was known as one of the masters of modern street photography, with a career that spanned from the Depression era 1930’s to the dot com era 1990’s – when her limbs could no longer walk the labyrinth landscape of the city on the look out for new subjects.

From the Eagle:

Photographer Helen Levitt was born in Bensonhurst on Aug. 31, 1913. Her father was a Russian immigrant who ran a wholesale knit-goods business.

Levitt became a master of street photography, capturing stunning shots of her native New York, with some of her most lasting images being of children. Photography historian Keith Davis wrote, “Levitt responded to this protean theater of the street by creating photographs that are lyrical, uncontrived, and mysterious. Fascinated by the simplest marks and the most fleeting gestures, Levitt made images of children’s graffiti that suggest the timeless human need for self-expression, as well as the surprising insights of unselfconscious artists.”

Books containing Levitt’s work include In the Street: Chalk Drawings and Messages, New York City, 1938-48, as well as Mexico City and A Way of Seeing, which included an essay by James Agee.

The story also notes that DUMBO publisher Powerhouse Books has recently published some hardcover collections of Levitt’s, including Crosstown (2001); Here and There (2004), Slide Show (2005) and Helen Levitt (2008).

Levitt passed away in her Manhattan apartment on March 29, 2009.

Her shoes have yet to be filled.

image by Brian Hedden

Please see our more recent post for the latest news on the 18th Avenue Feast.

UPDATE 8/17/11: Thanks to a typo on the city’s events calender, it looks like our previous report was wrong. According to the mayor’s office, the 2011 Festa di Santa Rosalia  will take place for 10 days – from August 25 to September 4

UPDATE 8/14/11: According the city’s official event calender – which remains unchanged from last week – it looks like this year’s 18th Avenue Feast will last only one day.

The 2011 Festa di Santa Rosalia will take place Thursday August 25, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.. It will be held on 18th Avenue between 67th Street and 75th Street.

The Festa di Santa Rosalia, better known as the 18th Avenue Feast, or simply ‘The Feast’ has been a Bensonhurst tradition for decades.

The feast may be named in honor of the patron saint of Palermo, but to an increasingly diverse group of revelers the celebration transcends religion and even ethnicity.

For the past several months, gossip has abounded about the 18th Avenue Feast being cancelled. Recently, readers have contacted Bensonhurst Bean asking if there is any truth to the rumors.

While seeking answers, we discovered quite a bit of conflicting information floating around the internet.

Some residents, along with wikipedia, say the feast is finished. However, the event calender insists it’s on, citing the Feast’s Facebook page, which in turn cites

Another Facebook page called We Want The 18th Ave Feast discusses the idea of the feast being shortened by a number of days. Upon investigation, this story seemed to hold the most water. According to a local official, the possibility of a downsized Santa Rosalia celebration may likely become a reality.

Bensonhurst Bean spoke with Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia who says that, although it may only run for one day, the feast’s prospects for this year look good. Click Here To Find Out More, Including Why One Merchant Would Like To See The Feast Cancelled

photo credit: Colleen Murphy

Aren’t engineers supposed to like bridges and tunnels?

The Army Corps of Engineers must be tired of all those Ed Hardy jokes. The Corps is currently determining whether or not to ditch their ‘Bridge and Tunnel’ home at Fort Hamilton for the bright lights of money-makin’ Manhattan.

The Daily News is reporting that the proposed move of more than 100 employees to Manhattan would probably close New York City’s only army base. The move to the city could also be detrimental to local Bay Ridge businesses at a time when many store owners have already felt the pinch of a sluggish economy.

In Washington this past week, Rep. Michael Grimm (R- Staten Island, Brooklyn) seems to have bought the community a temporary reprieve.

From the Daily News:

“Quite frankly, Fort Hamilton is a huge part of our community, and I wouldn’t allow anything to jeopardize that,” said Rep. Michael Grimm (R-S.I.). “When I say they’d have to move over my dead body, that’s not a sound bite, I meant it.”

Grimm added a section to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill last week that stops cash from flowing to any Corps relocation.

The bill passed the House, 219 to 196, on Friday.

Click here to read more about how the Army Corps is going all ‘Muppets Take Manhattan’

Coney Island's safer due to an increase police presence, but what about Brighton? (by Eddie~S via flickr)

According to an article published in the Home Reporter, crime is going down in Coney Island.

At a Bensonhurst West End Community Council meeting held earlier in the month, Captain John Chell, the 60th Precinct’s executive officer, stated that year-to-date crime is down 16% when compared with last year.

From the Home Reporter:

“We had an extremely busy Memorial Day weekend – over 100,000 people came to Coney Island – and there was not one violent crime the whole weekend,” Chell said, noting that during Memorial Day weekend 2010, there was one shooting and four to five people stabbed.  He chalked up the improvement to a collaborative effort between city workers.

One of the big improvements cited was an increase in police presence.

“For every eight cops on the street, there is one sergeant. That means there were almost 64 cops on duty this weekend and we plan to keep it that way the whole summer. It’s all about having a minor omnipresence.”

I just hope those extra police came from Manhattan, because if they were taken off the Brighton Beach beat, it may not have been such a great idea.

Home Reporter: Coney Island summer season off to a great start, say cops


Mixed drink-devoted website The Intoxicologist is featuring a new, I mean old, cocktail named after our beloved neighborhood. The throwback beverage, called the Bensonhurst, is a variation on the Manhattan.

“Bensonhurst is a cocktail descendent of the Brooklyn,” according to The Intoxicologist. The site credits Chad Solomon with the original recipe.

What’s in a Bensonhurst? Intoxicologist features two slightly different versions. One uses rye whiskey and the other bourbon, though both have the same basic elements of a Manhattan- whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Much like the Brooklyn, what makes a Bensonhurst stand out is its utilization of dry vermouth (versus the sweet stuff in a classic Manhattan).

My only gripe is with the end of the article where, in one sweeping indictment of a line, Bensonhurst is characterized as  “a tough Italian neighborhood.” Maybe I’m being too sensitive but I don’t think any New Yorker would want their neighborhood summed up in one sentence. Even The Brooklyn Paper admits Bensonhurst has changed.

The Intoxicologist: Must Try Classic Cocktail Alternatives