4/26/15

Jorge Posada at the BookMark Shoppe

At 7 PM on May 13, legendary New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada will be at the BookMark Shoppe, at 8415 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, to greet fans and sign copies of his newly-released memoir "The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes."

The Journey Home, with sixteen pages of color photos, tells the surprising story of Posada's life and career in baseball, from the Puerto Rican ball fields through his seventeen great seasons with the Yankees.

This touching, open-hearted memoir is a testament to Posada's hard work and his deep bond with his father, Jorge Sr., a Cuban exile who helped him achieve his dream of becoming a Yankee.

Bay Ridge Sports and Theater Camp Open House Events

On Saturday, May 2, Bay Ridge Sports Camp at Holy Angels Academy will host a Spring Tennis Special at McKinley Park, at 75th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, offering "the city's best prices" on pee-wee programs for children aged 4-6 years; junior programs for children from 7-18 years; and adult beginner clinics.

According to the website, the Bay Ridge Sports and Theater Camp will host an Open House from 12-4 PM on Saturday, May 16 at Holy Angels Academy, at 337 74th Street in Bay Ridge.

From 11 AM to 2 PM on Saturday May 9, the Bay Ridge Sports and Theater Camp in Gravesend will host an open house at Our Lady of Grace, at 385 Avenue W.

For more information, call 718-745-7776 or visit the website.

4/25/15

Suicidal Bensonhurst Man Missing

His name is Xiao Bo Zhu. He is a suicidal 24-year-old Chinese immigrant who went missing on April 20.

He was last seen on 18th Avenue wearing black and white clothing.

There is a $1,000 reward for information about him.

Call 646-897-6583.

Correction:  Because these flyers were posted on the platform at the 59th Street R station, I initially assumed the missing man lived in Sunset Park,  but according to the Home Reporter, the missing person report originated from the 62nd Pct. in Bensonhurst.

Police Seek Shore Road Package Thief

If you live in an apartment building on Shore Road, you may want to check out the screen grab at right of surveillance footage from 7401 Shore Road on April 18 showing a young woman stealing packages from in front of residents' doors.

The woman is described as 20-something, African-American/Hispanic, 5'5" to 5'7" and about 170 lbs.

According to the poster, the package thief enters buildings in late evening, collects packages, takes them into the stairwell to open them, then exits through the front door to a waiting SUV and is driven away.

According to the poster, a police report has been filed and the woman's photo is being circulated to Bay Ridge businesses and Shore Road apartment buildings.

If you see the woman, call 911 or the 68th PCT at 718-439-4200.

In the Courtyard


Learning Sandy's Hard Lessons

Since the catastrophic flooding in Hurricane Sandy's wake in 2012, 99% of the residents of Staten Island's Oakwood Beach neighborhood have sold their homes to the state of New York.

The land where their homes once stood will be permanently cleared and allowed to revert to its natural state, providing a wetland buffer between neighborhoods further inland and future storm surges.

Oakwood Beach had seen its share of hurricanes over the years, but Sandy, which destroyed or damaged about 300,000 dwelling units, hundreds of thousands of businesses, mass-transit tunnels and track beds, and 2,000+ miles of roads, was the Big Kahuna. The tab: $32 billion.

In Sandy's aftermath, Oakwood Beach homeowners who wanted to move were confronted by the reality that they couldn't afford to walk away from their properties. Then one of them discovered that Gov. Cuomo's office had a homeowner buyout program. A group of 165 Fox Beach homeowners applied for a state buyout, and got it.

The state has now extended the buyout program to other shorefront neighborhoods in Staten Island and Long Island. But Oakwood Beach homeowners who didn't qualify for the buyout have no choice but to stay and hope to find a buyer.

The painful process of post-Sandy retrenchment is the new normal in coastal New York City, where residents of populous waterfront communities are still navigating the laborious, years-long disaster recovery process in Sandy's wake.

So far, the State has invested $200 million to buy and demolish 505 homes built on wetlands in New York City, in order to move thousands of residents out of the way of the next superstorm. But ironically, during that same period, the State and the City have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and rebuild homes in waterfront neighborhoods, like Red Hook in Brooklyn, just as vulnerable to extreme weather events, and just as damaged, as Oakwood Beach.

Given New York’s world-class status, its inconsistent approach to climate change-driven extreme weather events is under global scrutiny. Can this big, resourceful, complicated city pull off resiliency?

In New York City, sea level rise is now a fact of life. Sea level rise of one foot since 1900 has made the City more vulnerable to flooding than at any time in modern history. That extra foot of water added 25 miles and 80,000 flood victims to the reach of Hurricane Sandy’s 14-foot storm surge.

Scientists call New York City, where sea levels are rising at nearly twice the global rate, a sea level rise "hot spot." And they predict that sea level rise will accelerate during the 21st century, maybe reaching 75 inches by 2100. During that time, catastrophic weather events will increase, maybe by a factor of 4.

About 40% of sea level rise is beyond our control, because the land underneath New York City is slowly sinking as part of larger geological forces. But the other 60% is caused by climate change-driven global ice melt as the result of burning fossil fuels and destroying old-growth forests. Melted ice flows into the ocean. The melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets account for as much as half of global sea-level rise over the past two decades.

New York City is also affected by the slowing down of the Gulf Stream. As the Arctic ice melts and more fresh water flows into the North Atlantic, the ocean becomes less salty and less dense, which is apparently disrupting the Gulf Stream and affecting sea levels.

Even if we can overcome climate change denial and take appropriate action, sea level rise will continue over the next century because of the excess heat now trapped in the world's warming oceans. Moving back from the beach should be a universal response.

But many oceanfront homeowners are willing to accept the risk of their property being destroyed by another climate change-driven disaster. Many, if they can afford it -- or if their insurance rates are being subsidized -- want to stay on the beach, even though that is a shakier bet than ever.

Residents of waterfront Red Hook, embracing their neighborhood's exceptionalism, hope that, in the next extreme weather event, the self-sufficiency and resiliency initiatives they have undertaken will allow the neighborhood to function as an island within the city.

It may take another superstorm to convince Red Hook residents that it makes more sense to move back from the water than to experiment with the re-design of coastal communities in hopes of withstanding the next climate change-driven flood.

The article from TakePart.com.

4/24/15

MTA Entombs Feral Cat Colony at Bay Parkway Station

For years, a colony of feral cats has lived inside an archway above the tracks at the Avenue O end of the N platform at Bay Parkway station.

Until April 9, when Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers sealed up all the holes in the archway, local animal lovers had fed the cats and rescued the kittens by pulling them through the holes and taking them to local animal welfare organization Ferals in Peril.

But the walled up adult cats have no way out, and unless the MTA relents and allows rescuers to access the cats, they will likely die of starvation.

The station manager has refused rescuers permission to trap and relocate the adult cats. For years, the MTA has told rescuers seeking to remove the cats that they are forbidden to cross the trackbed on order to get to the cats.

Would that be necessary?

The Brooklyn Paper article.

Gentile Gaining on Donovan

With 11 days to go before the May 5 Special Election to fill Michael Grimm's seat in the 11th CD, the race between Democrat Vinnie Gentile and Republican Dan Donovan is starting to look competitive.

That was not the way the race began six weeks ago. Then, Gentile was derided as "the last man standing" for the Democratic nomination and Donovan regarded as the shoo-in favorite.

But the hard-working Gentile has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, with Kings Country Politics now pronouncing that he "is inching towards a possible upset."

Since the televised NY1 candidate debate a few weeks ago, Donovan has dropped out of sight on the Brooklyn side, blowing off candidate debates in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge without apology as he racks up endorsements from big-money Republican donors like the billionaire Koch Brothers. 

In the meantime, the Gentile campaign has stayed focused on the basics: phone banking, canvassing and burning shoe leather. His campaign is looking to raise $30,000 by May 1.  You can make a donation here.

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