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Former Brooklyn Borough President Sebastian Leone Dead at 91

Dec 01, 16 Former Brooklyn Borough President Sebastian Leone Dead at 91

Posted by in All, News

Sebastian Leone, known for his struggle to improve Brooklyn’s reputation during the 1970s, long before the borough’s recent renaissance, passed away on November 14 at the age of 91. His wife Helene Leone said that he had succumbed to the effects of pneumonia. Leone was the borough president for six years from 1970 until 1976. During those years Brooklyn was not the up and coming hot spot among the young professional crowd and celebrities. It was more like, as journalist McCandlish Phillips wrote in the New York Times: “a neglected stepchild of Manhattan.” Most accounts credit Leone with begin the first Brooklyn official to put up the famous “Welcome to Brooklyn” sign. In 2010 Leone told The Brooklyn Paper that: “In those days, you always had to be Brooklyn-positive. I used to say, ‘One out of every 80 people that live in America live in Brooklyn!’ If you consider people that were born here, worked here and have relatives here, then one out of 10 people have some affinity for Brooklyn!” Leone left his job as Borough president in 1976. A few months later, at the beginning of 1977, he became a State Supreme Court justice. He retired in 2001, and lived the remainder of his life in Bay Ridge. His wife, their son Matthew and two grandchildren survive...

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LinkNYC Hooking Up with Brooklyn

Nov 21, 16 LinkNYC Hooking Up with Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Technology

New York City has been transitioning to a city of free-WiFi, but somehow Brooklyn has been left behind. But not anymore. Brooklyn joined the world of superfast communication when two hot-spots were switched on. Both of them are in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, on Fulton Street, but do not fret; that is just the very beginning. Brooklynites should not fear that to get their free Wi-Fi they will have to travel to points far flung. The near future is poised to bring free Wi-Fi to nine more areas in the weeks ahead. Expect to see free internet access near LIU-Brooklyn and in Prospect Park. Staten Island is not being left behind, either. It already has its first kiosk, with many more on the horizon. All this connecting is made possible by LinkNYC, which offers more than just free internet access for phone calls. In addition to  free domestic phone calls there will be easy connections to 311 and 911. Plus, if your phone’s battery is running low (again!), just plug into the USB ports also available at the kiosks. Tablets will allow users to look up services in the city, and the kiosk itself will have on display public service announcements. LinkNYC does not allow free web browsing, which it did in its early days. But it does allow travelers and the homeless, and others without guaranteed internet phone service to stay connected in the greatest city on...

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Brooklyn Bridge Repairs Running High

Nov 14, 16 Brooklyn Bridge Repairs Running High

Posted by in All, News

Back in 2010 the original estimated cost for the much needed repairs to the 133-year-old Brooklyn Bridge was put at about $508 million. In 2015 the bill was then set to reach about $600 million. Now New Yorkers can expect to pay in the vicinity of $811 million. That is an almost 60 percent increase over the original cost estimate. The steep increase in cost is blamed on “scope changes” and “unforeseen field conditions.” And not only will it be costlier to build than originally expected, the probable completion date has been moved back to April 2017. That is four years later than the original plan called for. “Big public projects take too long to complete and routinely run over budget,” said Maria Doulis, from the Citizens Budget Commission, a watchdog group. “The city has made attempts to be more transparent about this by posting information online, but it’s unclear what actions are being taken to evaluate and address the root causes.” New Yorkers will be footing 54 percent of the cost, while the federal government will pick up the rest of the tab. The Department of Transportation said the additional work will include steel repairs, painting of more areas of the bridge, and even fixing damage that was caused to protective shielding which occurred as a result of a barge...

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Affordable Brooklyn? Try Sheepshead Bay

Nov 07, 16 Affordable Brooklyn? Try Sheepshead Bay

Posted by in All, Real Estate

Although the average rental in Brooklyn is considerably less than Manhattan’s sky-high prices, the range in Brooklyn is wide. Some people who might be thinking, based on Brooklyn’s overall average rent, that living in Brooklyn is still too costly, should consider some of the borough’s less expensive neighborhoods. There are three areas in Brooklyn where the average rental goes for under $2,000. That’s a bargain if you compare to Brooklyn’s most expensive area, DUMBO, where rents average out at over $5,500. Compare that to the Manhattan average of a bit more than $4,100 and Brooklyn’s average rent of almost $3,200. It kind of makes you want to know what horrible places have rentals for under $2,000. Well, it turns out these places are nice. In Sheepshead Bay, which is on the southernmost border of Brooklyn, just east of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, there is a charming, quiet, calm feel in the air. “It’s a tight-knit neighborhood that is relatively quiet compared to living in, say, Downtown Brooklyn,” says Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. “A key draw continues to be its location on the water and, thus, the area has been seeing more new development activity,” he added. The downside is that it takes about one hour to get to midtown Manhattan by the B and Q trains. The other two neighborhoods which have rentals for under $2,000 per month are Sunset Park and Flatbush. Not as cheap as Sheepshead Bay, and maybe not as charming, but a bit closer to Manhattan, and overall, nice places,...

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Brooklyn, Queens Adding Restaurants of a Different Variety

Oct 31, 16 Brooklyn, Queens Adding Restaurants of a Different Variety

Posted by in All, Entertainment

Foodies have what to smile about this month with several new eateries opening in Brooklyn. Residents of Bushwick and Bay Ridge are in for a treat when Artichoke Basille’s Pizza opens not one, but two new locations. Home-grown in New York, this mini-chain offers some unique pizza offerings, like crab pizza, burnt anchovy pies and of course artichokes. Now Astoria denizens can have a wonderful Middle-Eastern experience at Café Istanbul, complete with belly dancing. Sonny Shaikh is the owner, hailing, not from Turkey, but from Mumbai. India. Shaikh has been in New York for 23 years and decided to walk on the wild side and give up his career in high tech and try his hand at serving Mediterranean, Egyptian and Turkish delights. In addition to gastronomic offerings such as baba ghanoush, hummus, rack of lamb and shrimp tagine, diners can whet their appetites with 30 flavors of Hookah available all day, and belly dancing shows on weekends at 11pm. The Hall is a permanent new restaurant housed in the spacious Union Fare food emporium at 6 East 18th Street. The food is inspired by state fair fare and proves to be quite creative. Comfort foods abound, of course, such as steak kebabs and a falafel dog with feta, tahini and tzatziki. If messy is more your style, then dip into the nachos, sweet chili wings and a BBQ pull pork sandwich adorned with waffle...

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Brooklyn DA Thompson Dead from Cancer at Age 50

Oct 10, 16 Brooklyn DA Thompson Dead from Cancer at Age 50

Posted by in All, News, Politics

Only five days after announcing publicly that he was ill with colorectal cancer, Ken Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney, is dead at age 50. He died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital surrounded by family members. Although diagnosed this past spring, he carried on with his duties until last week when he appointed his chief assistant, Eric Gonzalez, to head the office until he won his battle with cancer. “As a man of intense faith, I intend to fight and win the battle against this disease,” Thompson said. Thompson’s wife Lu-Shawn wrote on Facebook: “The world lost a great man. Rest in Peace to my husband.” said: “I am profoundly saddened. Ken was a dedicated public servant who embodied the highest principles of the law.” Thompson became the Brooklyn DA in January 2014 after beating the incumbent Charles Hynes, who had served as Brooklyn DA since 1990. It was the first time anyone had defeated a sitting Brooklyn DA since 1911. Thompson was also the first African-American in history to fill the job of Brooklyn’s chief prosecutor. Thompson was known for ordering his office to refrain from prosecuting low-level marijuana arrests. This was partly so he could dedicate more resources to violent crimes such as rape, gun crimes, and domestic violence. He also wanted to spare New York youth from “the burden of a criminal...

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Fluctuations in Air Travel

Sep 27, 16 Fluctuations in Air Travel

Posted by in All, Technology

Over the last ten years or so, airplane travel has changed significantly.  There are many reasons for this and the result of these changes has been both positive and negative for the passengers and airport industry workers. Given the events of 9/11, airport security has transformed in a way that makes it possibly unrecognizable from what it was pre-2001.  While that is good for air passengers’ peace of mind it leads to a few primary issues:  an increase in airfare price due to added government-run airport security (but with that a jump in employment opportunities); a potential escalation in delay for flights and more aggravated passengers. According to Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, today the air travel experience is much more relaxed than it was back in the 1960s when people would for example, actually dress up for getting on a plane.  “Now if anything, they dress down, wanting to be as comfortable as possible,” Sonnenfeld remarked. But at the same time, it is much easier to get a lower-priced, ‘no frills’ flight than it was 10 years ago.  When plane fares dropped initially it was just for local flights but now it seems airlines are popping up and are able to offer cheaper flights internationally (without the frills) as well. One such example is Spirit Airlines. A lot of travelers find the air experience much more comfortable than they did a few decades ago. Elio Moti Sonnenfeld also pointed out the benefits of the relatively new non-smoking rules, noting out “Some years ago, people were allowed to smoke on a plane, causing discomfort to the non-smokers.” In addition, the amount of passengers choosing air travel has increased substantially over the last few decades.  According to Marcelo Risi of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), while in 1950 there were 25 million traveled abroad, this figure shot up to 1.1billion in 2014. Consolidations and corporation mergers have led to an improvement in air travel according to Elio Moti Sonnenfeld. With the 2013 creation of the...

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Formula E Racing Coming to Brooklyn

Sep 26, 16 Formula E Racing Coming to Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Entertainment

New York City is on the map for many sports events: the third leg of the Triple Crown, The Belmont Stakes; the Knicks and the Yankees play here; even the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has its home in New York. Until now car racing has been absent from the New York sports scene. Come next July New Yorkers will play host to the Formula E auto race, in which the cars can reach up to 180 mph on a straightaway, or average about 150 mph in the reality of twists and turns of a Red Hook race course. Yes, Red Hook in Brooklyn has been chosen as the venue. Fred Dixon, the president of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization explains why: “It’s a phenomenal setting in terms of view. Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge. Very iconic,” Dixon explained. Don’t think this is just another car race. No. These cars are special. They are 100 percent fueled by electricity. So the race is promoting the development of the green technology of electric cars. Due to the present limitations of an electric car’s battery, each of the 20 drivers in the race will have two cars at his disposal, so that when the first car’s battery fades, a second car can be commissioned into the race. The importance of showcasing the technology was emphasized by the Mayor: “New York City is where technology, sustainability and commerce collide,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be the new home of the...

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