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Archive for the tag 'park slope'

Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

The racial diversity of Brookyn (Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service)

It might be hard to believe but every single pixelated dot represented on the map above is a person living in Brooklyn in 2010 and the colors correspond to their race. Dustin Cable, a senior research associate at the University of Virgina’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, created the interactive map using data from the 2010 census.

The zoomable “Racial Dot Map,” astonishingly places a different colored dot for everyone of the 308,745,538 people tracked in the last census. Incredibly, according to a report by National Geographic, if you zoom to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the location of the White House, you see can see 5 green dots (representing black Americans) signifying the first family and Barack Obama’s mother-in-law.

More locally, we can see how race fans out over Brooklyn. The predominantly white population (represented by blue dots) of Sea Gate abruptly gives way to the black, Hispanic (orange) and Asian (red) enclaves of Coney Island. The western section Brighton Beach is almost entirely white. A mix of Asian and Hispanic people are tucked neatly away in the land side of Brighton Beach, away from the more desirable waterfront, while the majority of Manhattan Beach is clearly made up of white people.

Sheepshead Bay is actually surprisingly integrated. It’s predominantly white but blended – especially as you approach Avenue U – with smaller pockets of Asian and Hispanic people lining the edges. We’re not particularly integrated when it comes to black Americans, though, which are appear confined to the greenish, orangish square of the Sheepshead-Nostrand Housing projects.

It’s quite the eye opener to see just how Asian and Hispanic the historically Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst has become. Anecdotally, and through census numbers, we know the area has transitioned drastically over the years, but seeing it visualized like this brings it to life. Bath Beach and the Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst border are real bastions of integration, if only because it’s still in flux.

Surprisingly, based on the unscientific eyeball test, some of the most diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn are Red Hook, Park Slope and South Slope (which we’re not entirely committed to recognizing as a real neighborhood yet).

Another interesting note is that the further you zoom out, the more you see the colors blend in ways that indicate greater diversity. Purple and teal colors signify great diversity and when the map is pushed back to reveal the entire tri-state area, it is clear that Brooklyn and New York City is mostly a purplish blob. This is evident in most metropolitan areas across the United States. Still, the closer you zoom in, the more you can racial divides, even on a street by street basis. Interesting stuff, indeed.

You can play around with the map by clicking here.

UPDATE (August 30 @ 3:32 p.m.): In response to a request from a reader named bill, I’ve attempted to overlay district lines on the map above. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close and the best I was able to do:


It was actually a great suggestion that helps us visualize exactly how districts were shaped to either bolster representation of some ethnic groups (either to match requirements set by the Voting Rights Act or concentrate a voting base, depending on your perspective), and to diminish others.

Some examples? Looks like Bensonhurst’s Asian community was divided up among four different council districts. In Sheepshead Bay, the housing projects by Nostrand Avenue, once part of the 48th District, were drawn into the 46th, pretty much removing all of the black vote from the district and putting it safely in a minority-majority district.

This is probably one of the most politically enlightening maps I’ve seen yet, so thanks to bill for suggesting we put it together.

Councilman Vincent Gentile, Source:

The B37 bus line, which ran from Bay Ridge to downtown Brooklyn, was eliminated three years ago. Councilman Vincent Gentile pledged to bring back the service when the MTA announced that it was being axed and now he is continuing that fight by organizing a petition, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

In his effort to get his petition off the ground and bring the B37 back to service, Gentile is teaming up with fellow Council Member Sara Gonzalez, Transport Workers Union Local 100 and other community organizations.

The restoration of the dormant B37 bus route isn’t the only thing the petition calls for. Included is the restoration of station booths along the N/R lines and the installation of elevators in the subways.

“The MTA has received $40 million more than it requested from Albany this year so now is the prime time to call on the governor and the MTA Board to use some of this money to restore services that were cut in 2010,” the Daily Eagle reported Gentile saying. “The B37 was absolutely vital to this community. It was our neighborhood’s connection to Sunset Park, Park Slope, Lutheran Hospital and downtown Brooklyn.”

The MTA noted the discontinuation of the B37 was due to low ridership and close proximity to the R train. MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker defended the decision.

“Riders were not left stranded. The B70 was rerouted to replace the segment of the B37 south of Bay Ridge Avenue.”

To sign the petition right now, Gentile has urged supporters to visit his office at 8705 Third Avenue while an online petition is being created.

Source: wallyg via Flickr

A man allegedly plunged to his death off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge early Friday morning in what the police suspect is a suicide, according to a report by SI Live.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, witnesses claimed to have seen somebody jump off the bridge’s lower level but the NYPD still hasn’t recovered the body. On the bridge, the police found an abandoned Cadillac Escalade with an I.D. belonging to 58-year-old Angelo Biondo, an owner of a Park Slope dog training business.

Biondo’s landlord had nothing but kind words for the missing man.

Biondo’s landlord, who didn’t give her name, said he had moved into the apartment about three years ago. He lived there with his 2-year-old bulldog, Marble, she said.

“He loves her so much, so much,” she said of the dog, noting that he recently told a childhood friend, ‘If anything happened to me, you have to take care of her.'”

“I think he was planning this.”

The landlord said Biondo, who was divorced, ran a dog training business.

“He was so kind. He was normal,” she said.

Since 2011, the Verrazano has been the site of five suicides and five suicide attempts.

Pacifer Tree, Source: Retrofresh! via flickr

One of my earliest childhood memories is observing which kids in preschool still had pacifiers and which didn’t. I don’t remember if I ever brought my pacifier to school, but I do remember seeing other kids make fun of the kids who did. I made sure not to ever do it. That was one of my earliest memories of learning about shame and conformity. It was kind of cruel, but that’s what growing up is all about.

I have no idea what to make of the pacifier tree located at the Plymouth apartment complex (48th Street off 14th Avenue). On the one hand, it looks kinda cute to see all those innocent pacifiers hang off the tree like budding flowers. On the flip side, it might be kind of sad for children to walk by their favorite and most comforting accessory, well out of arm’s reach, day after day.

According to a report in the New York Times, the pacifier tree is a rite of passage for Borough Park youngsters. Rachel Rhine, who has a view of the tree from her apartment window, described the ritual first hand.

“I see mothers picking up their little kid and the kid actually puts it on and they say: ‘O.K., say goodbye, no more. You’re a big girl now,’” Ms. Rhine said. “It’s kind of a celebration to say, ‘That’s where it goes and that’s where it stays and that’s the end of it.’”

In countries like Denmark and Sweden, hanging pacifiers in trees has been a long standing practice. According to the Times, they hang thousands of pacifiers off single trees, nearly causing the branches to break.

Apparently, the tradition started in Borough Park when a former superintendent of the Plymouth just started hanging up all the pacifiers that kids would throw out of their carriages. Unless he was a Dane or a Swede, I guess he started hanging them up for parents to collect or maybe he was just being weird. Either way, the pacifier tree is here to stay and will now likely become another annoying Brooklyn trend once someone in Park Slope sees it and says, “Like, yah, cool art, man.”


The late, great Maurice Sendak is receiving a rare honor in his home borough, as the Department of Education has approved plans to name a new school after the legendary illustrator and children’s author.

Unfortunately, the school will be in Park Slope, miles away from his childhood home in Gravesend.

P.S. 118, which will open this fall on Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street, will be called the Maurice Sendak Community School, reports DNAinfo.

[Presumed principal Elizabeth Garraway] said the author’s imaginative spirit fits in with what she hopes to accomplish at P.S. 118, which will have a multicultural curriculum.

“We want to be a place where kids are flexible thinkers and they step outside of the box, and Maurice Sendak was known for his creativity,” Garraway said.

… Sendak’s estate was “elated” by the honor, and the DOE approved the name quickly, she said.

Born in 1928, Sendak spent his early years in Gravesend, living at 1717 West 6th Street. He attended David A. Boody Junior High School at 228 Avenue S before heading to Lafayette High School.

Last spring, following his death in Connecticut, Bensonhurst Bean (with the help of our readers) discovered two of his earliest published illustrations – both from those schools’ yearbooks.

(First ever published Maurice Sendak illustration in Lafayette High School?)
(Nope, this one from Boody is older.)

“What’s your delivery area?,” I asked during a recent trip to Zito’s Sandwich Shoppe in Park Slope.

“Where do you live?” asked co-owner and Bensonhurst native Enzo Conigliaro.

“Bay Parkway in the 60’s,” I said without missing a beat.

“No… that’s… just too far,” Enzo replied, looking back at me with a combination of both empathy and concern for my mental health.

While I pretty much knew the answer before even posing my question, Continue Reading »

The Huffington Post reported earlier today that a suspect arrested for a pair of sexual assaults this weekend in Sunset Park might be connected to a string of rapes and gropings in central and southwestern Brooklyn that began earlier this year.

Federico Chamorro Yax – who lives in Bensonhurst – was arrested in his apartment on Sunday night. Police believe he may also be responsible for a September 4, attack on a 30-year-old woman near his home.

During the September sexual assault a man forced his hand up the woman’s skirt.

Yax reportedly attacked two 22-year-old women in Sunset Park on Sunday. The victims fought back and managed to injure their attacker. Hours after the episode, police found Yax at home still bleeding from the fight.

From Huffington Post:

Police have been searching for suspects connected to a series of sexual assaults being reported in Brooklyn, specifically Park Slope, Sunset Park, and other nearby neighborhoods. As of September 23, ten attacks had been reported since March and have contributed to a rise in subway crime.

Police say that it is still unknown however, whether or not Yax can be connected to the Park Slope attacks, which have generated a wave of community action to fight against sexual predators including a 300 person rally and volunteer escort services to protect women walking home from subway stations.

The above video, posted online by ABC 7, shows images of Yax in custody.

Police sketches of the perpetrator

A rapist who police thought they had back in June is actually still at large and has attempted to once again prey on women in South Park Slope and now, Sunset Park.

The rapist, who struck while initial suspect William Giraldo of Bensonhurst was in police custody, has attempted a number of sexual assaults in recent weeks. In most cases, he would grab or grope a woman from behind.

Fortunately, during the most recent attempts, victims have managed to either alert neighbors with screams, scaring the suspect away and/or successfully fend off the attacker – who is described as small in stature.

News blog Gothamist is reporting that a group recently formed in Park Slope to prevent future attacks and raise awareness of a rapist that’s still on the loose, plans to hold a rally tonight near the sight of one of the attacks.

From Gothamist:

Safe Slope, a group formed last month, the “Take Back Our Streets” rally will begin by the Prospect Avenue R stop on 4th Avenue at 17th Street at 8 p.m., ending at the Detective Joseph Mayrose Park on 17th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Council Members Sara Gonzalez and Brad Lander are expected to join the rally, and at the park the Center for Anti-Violence Education will offer a mini self-defense demonstration. (You can also sign up for a series of free self-defense classes they are offering in collaboration with Council Members Sara Gonzalez and Brad Lander.)

The group is also launching a Safe Walk program in South Slope/Greenwood Heights/Windsor Terrace on Thursday through Sunday nights, between 8:00pm and 3:00am. Safe Walk volunteers will provide “pick-ups” at local establishments and subway stops and will provide “drop-offs” anywhere between 9th and 30th Streets and between 2nd and 8th Avenues in Brooklyn. The number to call if you want a Safe Walk volunteer to join you is T.B.A. And if you are interested in volunteering, the group urges you to email them at

One of the rapist’s attacks from earlier this year touched off an internal affairs investigation into alleged inaction by police.

Similarly, a woman who says she may have had a run-in with the rapist, described receiving a rude and dismissive response, while trying to report the encounter to law enforcement.

Earlier this year, the rapist had also attacked a victim in Bay Ridge.

Anyone who has been the victim of either an assault or attempted assault should immediately call 911.

Anyone who has information regarding the rapist’s identity is strongly urged to contact Crimestoppers at  1-800 577 TIPS (800 577 8477).

Bensonhurst Bean urges all of our readers, regardless of location, to remain alert, especially when walking alone at night.

In addition to statements by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Councilman David Greenfield we reported on this morning, earlier this afternoon Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer all released statements expressing their condolences to Leiby Kletzky’s family and thanking volunteers for their help in the search. (Update 2:52 pm- Councilman Michael Nelson also released a statement, at 2:31 pm)

From Assemblyman Abbate:

Brooklyn, NY— Assemblyman Peter Abbate, who represents Borough Park in addition to Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, and Dyker Heights, issued the following statement today on the horrifying abduction and murder of Leibby Kletzky, a 9-year-old boy.

 “First and foremost, I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the Kletzky family. As a parent, I know that this is nothing short of a nightmare. Over the past 48 hours, thousands came together, putting forth an extraordinary effort in the search for Leibby. Now, as a community, we join in continuing to support the Kletzky family in any way possible.

 I thank all of those from the Hatzolah, Shomrim, Chaveirim, NYPD, FBI and every single person who put up a flier, walked on the street or contributed in any way to the search. The massive outpouring of help is a clear indicator that even in the face of the greatest adversity, we are a strong united community.

 No family should ever have to endure a tragedy such as this. I know the community and all of New York City joins me in keeping the Kletzky family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Borough President Markowitz:

“I join Brooklynites and all New Yorkers in mourning the passing of Leiby Kletzky, the victim of a sickening murder that has saddened and outraged Brooklyn’s close-knit Jewish community and families throughout our city and the nation. My sincerest gratitude to all those who searched for Leiby while he was missing—including Assemblyman Hikind, Shomrim Patrol and Hatzolah—and to the NYPD for acting immediately to investigate and apprehend a suspect. Click here to read BP Markowitz’s full statement as well as press releases by Manhattan BP Stringer and Councilman Nelson

The dumpster where police found Leiby Kletzky's body (Todd Maise for Daily News)

At about 9:30 am this morning, the Daily News updated their story, quoting Dov

Suspected killer Levi Aron (Facebook via Daily News)

Hikind that the suspected Borough Park child killer is Jewish. Authorities still have yet to release his name. The suspect, whose name is Levi Aron, lives with his parents in the nearby neighborhood of Kensington, in a third floor attic apartment. He has yet to be charged.

Shomrim patrol coordinator Jacob Daskel told the Daily News that he knows the suspect from around the neighborhood.

As we previously reported, the missing boy’s body was found in a Park Slope dumpster and apparent body parts, including the boy’s feet, were found in the suspect’s refrigerator.

The main suspect, who at the time of publishing remains unidentified Levi Aron, moved to Brooklyn from Memphis, Tennessee after divorcing his wife Debbie Kivel who, according to the Daily News, had also filed an order of protection against him. He works at Empire Hardware (639 McDonald Avenue). A co-worker quoted by the News said the Aron arrived to work ill seeming normal yesterday. He said the suspect was known to have a temper. Continue Reading »

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