Junior’s Birthday Cake

November 3, 2015

There I was, minding my own business in Downtown Brooklyn, when I was approached by a member of the NYPD.

“Hey!,” yelled the cop.

“Yes?”

“Do you like cheesecake?”

“Huh?”

“DO YOU LIKE CHEESECAKE?”

Despite momentarily wondering whether “cheesecake” might be a code word for some type of illegal activity, I admitted that I did, in fact, like cheesecake.

With that, the officer told me that to celebrate its 65th birthday, today Junior’s restaurant was selling cheesecake for 65 cents a slice.

To Brooklynites, there is no question about where Junior’s is located, what it serves or why a 65 cent slice of their cheesecake is worthy of a proclamation.

Junior’s restaurant was founded by Harry Rosen on the corner of Flatbush Avenue Extension and DeKalb Avenue on November 3, 1950. Rosen said that if his was going to be a great restaurant, he had to have a great cheesecake. He and his pastry chef began tinkering with formulas for the rich sweet until they found what they considered to be the perfect recipe. The pubic agreed and Junior’s cheesecakes have gone on to worldwide acclaim.

Junior’s is now in the hands of third-generation owner Alan Rosen. The little corner restaurant with the scrumptious dessert has become a local landmark. There are branches in Manhattan at Grand Central and Times Square and a location within the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut. There is a mail order business (said to sell over one million cakes per year), several cookbooks and scores of awards naming theirs the best cheesecake in the city. And a single wedge of Junior’s classic cheesecake sells for $6.95.

To celebrate its 65th anniversary, the restaurant announced that it was selling slices of its famous original New York plain cheesecake for just 65 cents—one per customer—only at the original Brooklyn location on Tuesday.

The line began forming before the sun rose. Celebratory signs and balloons were fastened to the restaurant’s famed orange exterior, crowd control barriers erected, security guards posted at the front door, a squadron of police officers stationed at the curb. Behind closed doors, thousands of cheesecakes were baked, sliced, packaged and bagged for the waiting crowd.

By the time doors opened at 6:30 a.m., the queue stretched down the block and around the corner. Some passersby called out that people had to be crazy to stand outside like that “just for a piece of cheesecake.” But they were wrong. It wasn’t “just cheesecake”—it was Junior’s.

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The crowd waits

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The deal

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One slice per customer

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Security guard keeps order

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The hard working countermen

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The cake

Welcome to Junior’s! Remembering Brooklyn With Recipes and Memories from Its Favorite Restaurant
Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook
Junior’s Dessert Cookbook
Junior’s Home Cooking
Junior’s Restaurant
Brooklyn Eagle: Junior’s fans come in droves with loose change
NY Daily News: Slices of famous cheesecake for 65 cents
PIX11: Junior’s Cheesecake celebrates 65th anniversary
Foxwoods Casino


Halloween in the Heights

October 31, 2015

While their fellow New Yorkers complain about how the city is being destroyed by greedy developers, the residents of Brooklyn Heights bite their tongues. That’s because little has changed in the neighborhood in decades.

In 1965, the newly created New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Brooklyn Heights as city’s first historic district. Later that year the neighborhood was also named a National Historic Landmark and the following year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

All of that governmental recognition and legal protection mean that Brooklyn Heights essentially looks the same today as it did 50 years ago—a mixture of brick homes, brownstones, grand mansions, and wooden houses (some dating back to the Civil War), punctuated with century-old shops and churches.

The area is beautiful at any time, but it takes on a special appeal when decorated for Halloween. These are streets where young trick-or-treaters still troop from door to door, and few homeowners neglect adding at least a touch of seasonal color to their stoops and thresholds.

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Pumpkins and cobwebs

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Skeleton and pumpkins

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Dried corn

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Tombstone and ghost

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“Boo” says the pumpkin

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Pumpkins and evergreen

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Pumpkins and cobwebs

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Skeletons, cobwebs, etc.

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Pumpkins and ivy

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Pumpkins and potted mums

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Pumpkins and squash

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Mums and pumpkins

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Pumpkins, cobwebs and a blue planter

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Witch, bats and ghosts

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Pumpkins and spider

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Pumpkin and metal pots

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Big pumpkins

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Pumpkins and skeletons

Curbed: How Brooklyn Heights Became the City’s First Historic District
National Park Service: Brooklyn Heights Historic District
National Historic Landmarks in New York
National Register of Historic Places
NYC: Brooklyn Heights


A Neighborhood Tragedy

August 11, 2015

I was surprised to see the pastry shop closed, and at first I thought that some kind of itinerant florist was selling bouquets in front of their lowered metal gate.

Then I noticed a sign taped to the gate and crossed the street to read it. That was how I learned that Muyassar Moustapha, the man who ran the shop with his brothers, had been killed by a speeding motorist.

Oriental Pastry, along with the family that operates it, has been a Brooklyn fixture for decades. Walking through its doors is akin to taking a trip into the past or a foreign land, with heaps of spices and dried fruits spilling from bins and barrels, a small glass case filled with fragrant, freshly baked sweet and savory pastries, a revolving selection of purring resident cats, and friendly, caring proprietors.

As I gazed at the bouquets arrayed on the sidewalk, two neighborhood boys, both about 10 years old, came over to talk. They asked whether I’d known the man who died. Yes, I had.

Tremulously, one boy worried aloud about what would happen to the cats that lived in the store. They’ll be OK, I told the boys. They’ll still have good lives. But they’ll remember Mr. Moustapha, and they’ll miss him— just as we all will.

Flowers in front of the shop.

The sign.

Gothamist: Owner Of Oriental Pastry In Cobble Hill Reportedly Killed By Driver
Gothamist: Cobble Hill Mourns
Patch: Brooklyn Pedestrian Struck, Killed by Mercedes-Benz
NY Daily News: Man, 66, Mowed Down
Yelp: Oriental Pastry & Grocery


The Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up Pool and Beach

July 7, 2015

Wedged behind a construction fence, in a weedy corner of Brooklyn Bridge Park between Pier One and Pier Two, is one of the city’s secret delights: a pop-up pool and beach.

If you aren’t familiar with the term “pop-up,” it is used to indicate that something (a shop, restaurant, etc.) is open for an intentionally temporary period. The pop-up pool and beach were built here with the understanding that they would be demolished after five years.

These summer attractions stand beside a luxury hotel and condominium project, known as Pierhouse, which is currently under construction. As Pierhouse nears completion, the land on which the pool and beach now stand will be integrated into the surrounding park. Until that happens, they offer a perfect respite from the heat and humidity of a New York summer.

The primary feature of the tiny resort is a fenced-in blue pool that measures 30 by 50 feet and is only three to three and a half feet deep. This is a wading pool, not a swimming pool, and it is the perfect depth for young children. No electronics, food, glass, or printed materials are allowed beyond the fence (hence, I could not take any photos from inside the pool). There are also changing rooms, communal showers and toilet areas.

On the other side of pool’s fence is a sparklingly clean sandy beach complete with lounge chairs, shady umbrellas, an assortment of sand toys, balls and plastic spades and a snack bar that serves up lemonade, beer, chips and sandwiches. Aside from the food and drink, everything at the pool and beach are free.

The rules here are strictly enforced and those who want to enter the pool area are inspected by lifeguards to ensure that they comply with the clothing and health requirements. If you want to go, the pool is open daily, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, from June 26 until September 7.

Wristbands are required for entry to the pool, and they are distributed hourly on a first-come, first-served basis. Since the pool’s capacity is only 60, it is wise to arrive early before the allotted number of wristbands are taken.

Each wristband entitles the wearer to a 45-minute session in the pool. After each bathing period, the pool is closed and cleaned for the next wave of waders, splashers and sun-worshippers.

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The pool is almost impossible to see from the park

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The entryway is in the weeds

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The beach is small but lively

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The view of lower Manhattan is spectacular

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Everything is provided for visitors

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The pool has rules

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A glimpse through the fence

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Another view of the pool

Brooklyn Bridge Park: Pop-Up Pool Rules
Lizzmonade Concession Stand at the Pop-Up PoolBrooklyn Bridge Park: Pop-Up Pool
NYC Parks: Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up Pool
Brooklyn Bridge Park Project Development
DNA Info: Visitors Pop In to Brooklyn’s New Pop-Up Pool
Pierhouse
The Brooklyn Paper: Parks and declarations: Judge gives Pier 1 condos and hotel the all-clear
Curbed: Judge Rules, Again, That Pierhouse Can Rise to Its Full Height
Curbed: Brooklyn Bridge-Blocking Pierhouse Is Allowed to Keep Rising
Curbed: First Look Inside Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pierhouse Condo


That Didn’t Take Long

April 13, 2015

Well, that didn’t take long. On April 3, Hillary Clinton announced that she would be locating her presidential campaign headquarters at 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn.

Today, vendors were selling t-shirts with the slogan “Brooklyn Loves Hillary” on Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Politics may sometimes be slow, but capitalism and consumerism move quickly — at least, that’s how it works in Brooklyn.

Hello Brooklyn shirt.

Brooklyn Loves Hillary shirt.

Time: Hillary Clinton Leases Office Space in Brooklyn
LA Times: Hillary Clinton bases campaign headquarters in Brooklyn
Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters to be based in Brooklyn


Emily With a Ukulele Bag Lives in Brooklyn Heights

October 27, 2014

It is just an ordinary Brooklyn bodega near a subway station in Brooklyn Heights.

But today, as I passed the store, I noticed a sheet of paper taped to the front window. I read what it said, then sought out a worker and asked him for an explanation. This is what he told me:

A Chinese guy sees this girl, he talks to her. He knows she live around here. He look for her but he can’t find her. So he write that … poem. He put it on the ATM, on the front, in the back. He put it many places. He thinks maybe she see it.

He didn’t put his phone number on it.

He put it on the ATM.

So what happened?

She see it. She take from ATM machine. 

Was this today?

No, no, one week ago. 

And?

I don’t see her again. I never see him. But I think he love her. 

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Sign in the window

Poem1

The poem


Thanks, But What Kind of Prayer Books Were Those?

September 23, 2014

The holiest days in the Jewish year are fast approaching.

This sign, hanging in the window of a day care center on Brooklyn’s Montague Street, advertises services available to the observant during the next two weeks.

I can’t speak to the accuracy of the Hebrew used in their prayer books, but they might want to double-check the Engligh.

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Chabad of Brooklyn Heights
Congregation B’nai Avraham


Father’s Day is Coming

June 14, 2014

Wondering what to do for Father’s Day?

Brooklyn’s Sip Fine Wine offers these words of wisdom.

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Sip Fine Wine
New York Magazine: Sip Fine Wine


Little House on the Brooklyn Prairie

April 9, 2014

Take a look around and guess where we are.

There’s a white-washed building topped by a stout brick chimney. Rough hewn wooden posts holding up a shingled roof. Wood framed double-hung windows with slightly sagging screens. A wide porch holding an assortment of ladder-back rocking chairs, some with seats of woven rush, others with canvas webbing.

Are we in a small, sleepy Southern town? Or are we someplace in the American Heartland, perhaps an old farmstead out on the wide prairie?

Sorry, but no and no.

Actually, this rustic-looking structure is the Avenue H subway station on the Q line, deep in the heart of Brooklyn. Built in 1906, over the years the station has been updated and renovated but, thankfully, never replaced.

Now, don’t just stand there. Grab a glass of lemonade and let’s do a little rocking before we catch the next train to Brighton Beach.

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The Epoch Times: Renovated Brooklyn Station House, Relic With Modern Feel
NYC Subway: Avenue H Station
Subway Nut: Avenue H 


A Small Protest

March 13, 2013

Graffiti inside a bathroom stall in a Brooklyn grocery store.

Feed all people
Free the wage slaves
Question the system

The response.

And protest by
writing on a bathroom
stall instead of
actually doing something.

 

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Sofia? Sophia? Sofia?

August 13, 2012

This handwritten sign was posted on the side of a bus shelter in Coney Island.

I can’t help wondering whether the author taped it next to the model’s face because he thought she resembled the woman he wanted to find.

I haven’t yet decided whether Joe’s note is sweet and romantic or stalker-ish and creepy. Or both.

Sofia? Sophia? Sofia — Sophia — Sofia

This is Joe. Good looking Italian U met on July !!4th!! on the “D” train in Coney Island  — U are Spanish very beautiful  — 30, 125 lbs  —  long brown hair  — U gave me your ph. number and I lost my phone the next day!! I looked 4 U that weekend by the subway entrance but there were to many people  — anyone know a beautiful Spanish Sofia I described  —  help bring us together. Joe 374-816-3984 Thanx

 

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01.01.11

January 1, 2011

I wasn’t thinking about the significance of the date when I made an appointment for December 31 on the Upper East Side. It was only when I was en route that I realized that to reach my destination, I had to change trains at Times Square. It was still early in the day, but the place was already a madhouse.

When I got to my appointment, I sadly told the person I was meeting that my route had taken me through Times Square. She laughed and said, “Now I know you’re a real New Yorker! Only New Yorkers try to stay away from Times Square on New Year’s Eve — the tourists can’t wait to get there!”

She was, of course, correct, and as soon as our meeting concluded, I made a hasty retreat to Brooklyn, where I spotted this reveler on Montague Street. Happy new year!

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Woman celebrating the new year in Downtown Brooklyn


R.I.P. Michael

November 8, 2010

Today, as I emerged from the Clark Street subway station onto Henry Street, my eye was drawn to a bright spot of color beyond the doors. Moving closer, I saw that the vibrant hues were actually candles and bouquets placed on the sidewalk. The location, just outside a college dormitory, is a stop for a private bus that shuttles students from their Brooklyn residence to Manhattan.

Feeling dread, I approached the man working in the coffee stand adjacent to the spot and asked whether he knew anything about the flowers. Sadly, he told me that early yesterday morning a student had committed suicide; he’d leapt from an eighth-floor window. “My boss,” the man said, “was here when it happened. He didn’t see the boy fall, but he heard him hit the sidewalk.” He pointed out that the pole of the bus stop was covered with handwritten notes carefully taped to the steel.

As we spoke, a young woman came out of the building and knelt at the makeshift memorial, arranging a box of sweets among the flowers. The boy who fell, she said, was a close friend, only 19 years old. He jumped to the cold, dark street at 2:15 a.m.

I later read more about the tragic death in the newspaper, including the name of the young man who died, Michael Simmons. He was a talented actor who had recently arrived from Tempe, Arizona to study at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. My heart goes out to his friends and family.

R.I.P. Michael.

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Flowers, candles and a box of sweets

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Notes on the bus stop pole

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R.I.P.

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A friend mourns

The Brooklyn Paper: Death plunge at the St. George Hotel
New York Daily News: Friends say mushrooms contributed to fatal fall


The Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival

August 21, 2010

Each summer, the NY Writers Coalition offers an outdoor creative writing workshop for young people. At the end of the six-week sessions, the students join accomplished poets and writers and present their work at the Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival.

This year’s Festival included six notable poets who have participated in Jamaica’s Calabash International Literary Festival and Colin Channer, the founder of Calabash. After the reading, posing and hugging in the park, the writers met their fans and signed autographs at the nearby Greenlight Bookstore.

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Reading from the Calabash Anthology

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Patricia Smith

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Kwame Dawes

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Willie Perdomo

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A delighted audience

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Colin Channer

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Captured by poetry

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Two generations of writers

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The writers assembled

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Johnny Temple of Akashic Books

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Aaron Zimmerman and friends

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Reading in the Greenlight Bookstore

So Much Things to Say: Anthology of the Calabash International Literary Festival
NY Writers Coalition: Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival
NY Times: Summer Literary Festival Hits Fort Greene Park
Calabash International Literary Festival
Greenlight Bookstore


Two For the Price of None

July 21, 2010

One of the joys of living in Brooklyn is the overwhelming abundance of free entertainment. Especially during the summer, you’d have to lock yourself inside to completely avoid being exposed to the thousands of concerts, performances, festivals and extravaganzas — even spontaneous bursts of singing and drumming — that are available without charge around the borough.

It is impossible for even the most dedicated music lover to attend every show that takes place during a Brooklyn summer, but sometimes luck and circumstance allow those in the borough of Kings to something akin to a mini-music festival.

Today at lunchtime, a hip-hop flavored reggae band, Vybz Evolution, was performing on a stage erected in front of Borough Hall. The blazing sunlight seemed to fuel their high energy act as they sang, danced and engaged the enthusiastic audience.

Only a block away, in the cool, deep shadows cast by nearby buildings, Ginetta’s Vendetta brought the sound of funk-influenced jazz to a tiny plaza at the corner of Adams and Willoughby Streets. Listeners were spellbound as the band’s leader, Ginetta Minichiello, sensuously swayed in the street while playing her silver plated pocket trumpet.

Two great noontime concerts, only steps from each other, and both for the same great price: free!

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The stage in front of Borough Hall

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Tasha of Vybz Express

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Soloist from Vybz Express

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The banner acknowledges Borough President Marty Markowitz

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Ginetta’s Vendetta on the street

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Ginetta and her trumpet

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Keeping the beat in the shade

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Meta Ginetta (note poster in the background)

MySpace: Vybz Evolution Band
YouTube: Vybz Evolution Band
DC Caribbean Carnival
***
Ginetta’s Vendetta
MySpace: Ginetta’s Vendetta
Jazzitalia: Ginetta’s Vendetta
Jazziz: Ginetta’s Vendetta
DC Bebop: Ginetta Minichiello


Don’t Let The Name Fool You

July 19, 2010

When you hear the name of the place, it would be reasonable to assume that it is somewhere along the Hudson or East Rivers. But don’t let the name fool you. Manhattan Beach is not on, or near, the island of Manhattan. In fact, this neighborhood is located on the narrow peninsula that forms the southernmost boundary of Brooklyn.

Physically, Manhattan Beach is about 12 miles from Manhattan Island and less than two miles — straight down the road — from the bright lights, clatter and raucous throng at Coney Island. But culturally, economically and spiritually, Manhattan Beach is a world unto itself.

The area was first developed as a summer resort by the Manhattan Beach Improvement Company. In 1877, the company opened two luxury hotels here along the sparkling sand. By the time World War I erupted, the hotels had both been torn down and the land sold to a residential developer. Soon the quiet stretch of beach, only three blocks wide, was filling with single family homes, many of them lavish enough to be described as mansions.

Today, the neighborhood, where the streets are in alphabetical order, is one of the wealthiest, quietest and safest in New York City. Since 1955 it has included a 40 acre public park that boasts fountains, playgrounds, picnic tables, two baseball diamonds and tennis, volleyball, basketball, and handball courts.

In fact, the most significant change to the stability of this enclave of about 7,000 people has been an influx of newer residents, many of them immigrants from Russia, during the past decade.

Many of the newcomers have purchased older houses, torn them down and replaced them with larger, showier, more elaborate places. Quite a few of these new residents tend to favor architecture reminiscent of The Sopranos or Las Vegas. But they, just like those who have lived here for generations, adhere to the neighborhood’s unspoken creed: they are fiercely protective of their property, their privacy and their community.

An armed private security force, the Beachside Neighborhood Patrol, drives through these wide, quiet, shady streets, keeping an eye out for trouble. A significant number of the homes prominently display burglar alarm signs, security cameras, keypad locks. Houses and yards are hidden behind impenetrable hedges (both natural and artificial), high fences, locked gates.

And yet … this is no exclusive, gated community that is locked away from the world. The residents of Manhattan Beach are sophisticated, dedicated urbanites who have consciously chosen to live in the most populous borough in the largest city in the US.

Here, behind the thick hedges, beyond the manicured lawns, they enjoy the best of both worlds: the richness, diversity, art and culture of the city, along with the space, tranquility, peace and quiet of the country — and all of that, just steps from the ocean and public transportation.

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No Trespassing signs on a dead-end street in Manhattan Beach

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A backyard with an ocean view

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Hedge and wall ensure privacy

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Fence embellished with gold paint

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A home in Manhattan Beach overlooking Sheepshead Bay

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Plenty of custom windows here

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Paved driveway behind gates

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Curved plantings echo curved stairs

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A synagogue in Manhattan Beach

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Cedars in pots hide the back yard

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Beige stone with red tiles

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Off street parking

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Elaborate roof structures

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Little room between these houses

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Red brick and white woodwork

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Victorian-inspired with multiple balconies

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Balcony and roof deck

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Elaborate front gate

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Mediterranean influence

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Front yard with plantings

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No one can see inside when there are no windows

Beachside Neighborhood Patrol saved after surge of support from Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach Community Group
If You’re Thinking of Living In Manhattan Beach
Sheepshead Bites


The Plaque

July 17, 2010

You have to go all the way to the end of the Manhattan Beach promenade to see it. Even then, it is almost hidden from view. Go to the spot where the walkway meets a tall, vine-covered fence, approach the short railing that separates the promenade from the jetty, and look down at the stones.

That’s where you’ll see it, fastened to the rocks. A small bronze plaque, weathered from the salt water that washes over it daily. I would have missed it entirely, if not for the brightly colored bouquets laid at its base, nearly covering the simple inscription.

I don’t know whether people carefully climb over the metal barrier to place bouquets upon the rocks all year around, or whether there are flowers on the jetty today because the events that prompted the plaque occurred exactly 12 years ago.

Police identified the missing and presumed dead youth as Daniel Zahra, 18, of Brooklyn. The tragic incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday while the family boat was anchored 100 yards off Manhattan Beach in Sheepshead Bay.

The teen and his father had been spending time together on the boat, and Daniel asked for, and got permission, to go for a swim, authorities said. But the youngster never resurfaced after he dived in.

The searchers used helicopters and sonar radar to search the ocean floor, which was about 30 feet deep where Zahra dove. The young man’s father, his eyes brimming with tears, was too distraught to talk to reporters. He sat in a car near the beach with family members, waiting for an end to the grim search.

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Keep off the jetty

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The flowers draw attention to the plaque

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The rocks of the jetty are treacherous

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The inscription is almost hidden

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Danny Zahra: 1980 – 1998 Forever in our hearts

NY Post: B’klyn Teen Feared Drowned
NY Times: A Search for a Missing Youth


I Bought it at Western Beef

July 10, 2010

Western Beef is a New York-based chain of warehouse style supermarkets. Despite the word “Western” in the name, and the cactus in its logo, this store is very much Eastern and urban; the highest concentration of Western Beefs is in the Bronx, with Queens running a close second.

The company, whose origins go back to the early 1900s, uses the slogan “We Know the Neighborhood.” They explain that

Through diligent demographic research and paying close attention to our customers, we have determined each neighborhood’s specific needs, by learning about the local population’s ethnicity and product demands.

In other words, the stores, many of which are located in areas with sizable immigrant populations, sell merchandise selected to appeal to the nearby shoppers. I bought these unusual soup mixes, manufactured by Grace Foods, in the Western Beef store on Brooklyn’s East New York Avenue, a largely Caribbean neighborhood.

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Logo on Western Beef shopping bag

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Fish Tea Soup Mix

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Pumpkin Beef Soup Mix

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Cock Soup Mix

Western Beef
Grace Foods


Mermaids on Parade

June 19, 2010

This year’s Mermaid Parade was bigger than ever, possibly because this Coney Island institution featured iconic New York musicians Lou Reed as King Neptune and his wife, Laurie Anderson, as Queen Mermaid.

The sidewalks, fire escapes and rooftops were packed with viewers as hundreds, perhaps thousands of marchers, strollers and riders paraded along Surf Avenue. When they reached the police barriers at Astroland, they turned and began the parade again, this time passing through a long, narrow barricaded strip of the Boardwalk.

While the nautically-themed costumes were as clever, colorful and outrageous as ever, some of the participants opted to give their looks topical twists. These included not-so-subtle references to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (mermaids smeared with black paint, pasties shaped like oil wells) and sly nods to this summer’s vampire craze (mermaids with fangs and bloody neck wounds).

But whether they are classic or trendy, flashy or subtle, one thing is certain at this parade: everybody loves a mermaid.

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Dick Zigun, unofficial mayor of Coney Island, leads the parade

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Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed under a parasol

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Banners for King Neptune, Queen Mermaid and the Royal Mer-Dog

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Spectators crowded onto every surface

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Yes, even elephants

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Mermaids get thirsty, too

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A pirate smiles on the boardwalk

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A mermaid with blue hair

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Colorful creature from the sea

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A crown of sea serpents

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Pretty in pink

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Vampire mermaid

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A blonde mermaid

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Lobsters, come out and play …

Coney Island USA Mermaid Parade


Good Friday on Court Street

April 2, 2010

Friday evening, and nearly everyone was in a hurry to get home. But on Brooklyn’s busy Court Street, traffic was at a standstill. Horns were honking. Angry drivers were leaning out their windows, shaking their fists, demanding to know what was going on — was it an accident? A disaster? A drill? What could possibly be so important that it caused the police to close the roadway at rush hour?

I walked past the stalled cars and trucks, beyond the police vehicles and uniformed officers that blocked the street, and saw the center of the commotion: a Good Friday procession assembling outside the oddly named Saints Peter & Paul & Our Lady of Pilar Church at Congress and Court Streets.

I didn’t have time to pause and hear a full explanation, and the only camera I had with me was in my phone. If you know more about this event, or this church, please share the story.

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The street was blocked off, but no one was directing traffic

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A crowd gathered

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Police officers stood around the center of attraction

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A priest recited a blessing

Local Catholic Church and Family History & Genealogical Research Guide


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