Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lighting the Parachute Jump

Filmed by Coney Island photographer Jim McDonnell, the short was entered into the 2013 Coney Island Film Festival.

F Train Hell: 1,300 Commuters Stranded For Hours After Track Snap

92813train.jpgF Train Hell: 1,300 Commuters Stranded For Hours After Track Snap: Gothamist

Most New Yorkers would agree that there's no better way to cap off a long work week than being trapped on a subway for hours with hundreds of other straphangers. So approximately 1,300 commuters are probably counting their lucky stars after they got stuck on the F train for over two hours last night in Manhattan. According to the MTA, a southbound F train ran over a broken rail south of the West 4th Street station around 7:10 p.m.; the train didn't derail, but it couldn't move anywhere on the snapped track. And as you can see in the Tweets and Instagrams below, people were mighty pleased about the situation:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Screwed on the Boardwalk: Rare ticket given to couple riding bikes on the #coneyisland #boardwalk

Screwed on the Boardwalk: Rare ticket given to couple riding bikes on the #coneyisland #boardwalk

Rare ticket given to couple riding bikes on the #coneyisland #boardwalk

Walk to End Alzheimer's drew a big turnout in morning
Bike rider should have walked bike through the crowds
Festive atmosphere with lots of families
Not surprising that the boardwalk would be crowded on this spectacular day.  But with the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's starting at 9am  and a large turnout in the afternoon by Hasidim and their families to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot it was more festive with large numbers of families and young boys and girls in and out of hundreds of strollers.  It is always difficult to navigate by bike around the masses on the boardwalk and the prudent and considerate thing to do is get off and walk your bike for everyone's safety. But today was especially busy including a presence of heavy security.. Earlier I had just observed a woman in a light blue top speeding and swerving through the densely packed groups and wondered if she had a clue how reckless she was.  As I turned to go back I observed this young couple being stopped by a police officer and given a ticket for riding their bike on the boardwalk. They obviously were unaware of the rule which forbids any bike riding except between the hours of 5am-10am. .
The young woman explained that this was her first visit to Coney Island and she saw no signs or warning that biking was not permitted.  She is partly correct.  The signs are stenciled at the bottom of the ramps that enter the boardwalk at various locations along the route.. But they are not very visible and it is easy to miss the faded decals as one rides up the ramp.
I tried to warn other riders about the police ticketing and most got off and walked or turned back.  One elderly woman  told me to "F*** Off! I hope she got caught.
The parks department needs to make the signs more visible as one enters onto the boardwalk.  The parks department has a love affair with these decals along Ocean Parkway as well. The older ones are barely readable and the newer ones don't seem to do the job although the graphics are nice.  Brightly colored signs that are at eye level must be installed.
Soon afterwards I noticed the woman in the blue top speed again returning from the Coney Island amusement area.  I don't think she got a ticket.  Felt bad for the two that did.  It was the first time ever I saw a ticket being written for riding on the Boardwalk in the twenty years I have been going there..

Police officer writes ticket to couple for riding their bikes on the Coney Island Boardwalk

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mom, daughter, and pet dog

Today was pretty windy at the beach.  Blowing sand kept many people on the boardwalk and away from the shoreline.  As I was leaving I took this shot of this family sitting just off the steps that lead onto the beach. Didn't realize their pet dog was part of this crew until checked out the pic later.  You can tell how windy it was by the white caps on the ocean.  Long lens gave me a better result than I expected.  Brought back memories of our visits to the beach with the kids as they grew up only a few steps from the sand and surf.

Do Not Touch! #beach #coneyisland

#coneyisland #boardwalk after a light rain shower

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Some Ocean Parkway benches are just the right size.

Jeffrey Babbitt Remembered By Friends In Union Square » Sheepshead Bay News Blog

Babbitt remembered by his friends at Gothic Renaissance (Source: Gothic Renaissance via Facebook) Jeffrey Babbitt Remembered By Friends In Union Square » Sheepshead Bay News Blog (full article)

It has been 10 days since the tragic death of Jeffrey Babbitt, a local Sheepshead Bay man killed at the hands of a deranged homeless man in Union Square. While a private funeral was held in Beth El Cemetery in Paramus, NJ, the New York Times noted that Babbitt was also remembered by his friends who shared his love of comic books, fairies and all things fantastical in Union Square in a beautiful public display of love and remembrance.
As we previously reported, the attack on Babbitt took place on September 4. The 62-year-old Babbitt was a retired train operator who frequented Union Square often to visit his friends at the Forbidden Planet comic book store, where he was a beloved regular. Tragedy struck when 31-year-old Lashawn Marten announced to the crowded park that he was going to attack the first white person he saw. Babbitt just happened to be walking by when he received a blow from Marten that crashed him to the ground, cracking his skull and effectively ceasing his brain activity. Babbitt subsequently died at Bellevue Hospital, leaving behind his 94-year-old mother Lucille, who he cared for in their Sheepshead Bay apartment located on Ocean Avenue.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Coney Island rides again: “We will never make Disney here”

Coney Island rides again: Coney Island rides again: “We will never make Disney here”

In the ensuing decades, population loss, television, cars and air conditioning undercut Coney Island’s appeal. New York’s urban planning czar, Robert Moses, hated its tawdry arcades and thrill rides. He transformed the eastern end of the amusement district into a home for the relocated New York Aquarium. The housing projects with which he rebuilt Coney Island became some of the city’s most depressed and dangerous.

As the city grew rapidly in the ’90s, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani set his sights on Coney Island. Like Moses before him, he bulldozed a roller coaster to build a recreational facility, this time a minor league ballpark for the Brooklyn Cyclones. The Bloomberg administration eyed the island as a potential site for the 2012 Olympics, and in 2003, commissioned the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) to examine the possibility of revising the restrictive C7 zoning that since 1961 had sheltered carnies and coasters (and a few vacant lots, as well) from market forces.

But a Brooklyn developer named Joe Sitt stole the limelight from CIDC, announcing a $2 billion plan in September 2005 that made the Las Vegas Strip look dull. Sitt had shrewdly purchased over a dozen acres of the old amusement park in anticipation of a rezoning gold rush, and hoped to bring in marquee clients like Dave and Buster’s, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the Hard Rock CafĂ©.

Staten Island Jews Struggle To Recover From Hurricane Sandy

Staten Island Jews Struggle To Recover From Hurricane Sandy –

Nine months ago, Natalia Demidova crouched on the second floor of her Staten Island home and watched her neighbor’s SUV race a 10-foot wave down the street. The wave crashed through Demidova’s quiet residential block in the South Beach neighborhood and flooded her home with more than two feet of water.
Demidova is among the many residents of South Beach still struggling to restore the life she had before Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern United States last October. For most of the past year, she has been living with her family in a hotel while working to repair her severely damaged home. She had hoped to be able to move back last week, but instead is the High Holidays in the hotel.
“My 6-year-old, sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night asking, will it happen again? Will there be another storm?” Demidova told JTA.
Like so many communities devastated by the superstorm, the Jewish community of South Beach has spent nearly a year rebuilding. Still, much remains to be done.

First Look: 9/11 Museum to balance grief with remembrance - PhotoBlog

First Look: 9/11 Museum to balance grief with remembrance - PhotoBlog

Survivors' Stairs
As visitors descend from the memorial hall to bedrock level, they will walk beside the ‘Survivors' Stairs,’ a concrete stairwell that provided a means of escape for hundreds of people fleeing from the burning towers. The stairs, which led from the World Trade Center plaza to an adjoining street, remained intact after the towers' collapse and will guide museum visitors to the major exhibits. The staircase is particularly striking, Daniels said, because it is a reminder that the people escaping the attack that day “could have been any of us.”

The Century Bike Tour is time for red lights.

My first contact with the annual Century Bike Tour sponsored by Transportation Alternatives was in 2011 when I tried to cross Neptune Avenue on my walk down Ocean Parkway to the Boardwalk.  Although I had the green light waves of cyclists blew past their red light  as they rode across the 7 lanes of  Ocean Parkway going east on Neptune Avenue.  Here is one of the photos that I took that morning showing riders crossing against the light..
I posted this comment on their website.
 While I support the greater use and enjoyment of cycling in the city I must report that during the tour event on Sunday 9/18 too many riders were not obeying traffic rules.  I walk down Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn to the Boardwalk every morning and today part of the tour crossed Ocean Parkway on the Neptune Avenue route.  Ocean Parkway is a 6 lane highway and Neptune Avenue particularly is one of the most dangerous intersections in Brooklyn.Recently a walk countdown timer was installed at that intersection which indicates our concern for the people in that neighborhood many of whom are elderly.  However, dozens of riders in packs rode through the intersection against the red light.  Also many rode three or four abreast in the traffic lanes.  If they did stop or slow down on Ocean Pkwy it was for a moment until they found a gap in the traffic so they could continue.  Too many riders have little regard to pedestrians and I myself (who is a rider) had to wait to cross even though I had the light and the riders were riding through it and trying to beat the oncoming Ocean Pkwy taffic.  This is not what I consider a safe or responsible way of using the roadways of this city and gives a bad name to cyclists.  Many of these riders were experienced and unfortunately they were the ones who seemed to encourage the rest of the pack of riders to continue in this unsafe manner.  I have photos from this morning that I would like to send to you. Thank you.  Allan
Here is the response that I received on September 28 from Ben Roberts, the events manager.
Hello Allen,
 Thank you for comments and concern regarding the NYC Century Bike Tour.
 Transportation Alternatives is committed to promoting safe and legal bicycling, as evidenced through our Biking Rules! campaign. (
We also promote it on the NYC Century Bike Tour web site and expect all riders to follow all traffic regulations.
 Again I am sorry to hear that some cyclists on our tour were not obeying the rules of the road, and I assure we will continue to promote Biking Rules!. 
 Ben McRoberts
Events Manager
Transportation Alternatives
127 West 26th Street #1002
New York, NY 10001

So last year I went back to the same intersection with my video camera and recorded four separate videos that showed the following:

  • Riding through Ocean Parkway red lights.
  • Riding more than single file on a very narrow Neptune Avenue bike lane and spilling over into the traffic lane.
  • Not stopping at the red light at the first service road crosswalk and nosing up to Ocean Parkway.
  • Massing at the mall crosswalk area blocking Ocean Parkway pedestrian and bike lane.
Many cyclists rode safely but too many others ignored traffic laws and  safe cycling rules.
"The solution is a tour volunteer at that intersection to monitor and direct the riders in a safe and responsible way."

Here is a link to a video I took of the way it should be done durng the 2013 Brooklyn Waterfront Epic Ride.  The monitor is in red at the front waiting with the group at the light and stays on the other side until all have crossed safely.

Here are the links to the four videos that were taken that day:

Here is one of those videos:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bensonhurst Bean » Blog Archive Stillwell Avenue Graffiti Mural Spotlighted By New York Times » Bensonhurst's News Blog

Source: WikipediaBensonhurst Bean » Blog Archive Stillwell Avenue Graffiti Mural Spotlighted By New York Times » Bensonhurst's News Blog
(click above for full article)

The colorful and eerie graffiti mural lining the wall opposite the Stillwell Avenue subway station in Coney Island was singled out as some of the city’s most interesting graffiti. The New York Times highlighted the piece, noting that the creators are identical twin Brazilian brothers known as “os gemĂȘos” (twins in Portuguese).
The brothers, identified as Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo on their website, are gaining worldwide fame for their psychedelic and surrealistic creations. The Times noted that the piece was created in 2005 for the Dreamland Artist Club, a special project put together by Creative Time, a public art group.