Burglars Hit Churches in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park

So far, during October and November, eleven churches in the southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park have been burglarized.

Marks have been chosen regardless of denomination, with Roman Catholic basilica Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park and Fourth Avenue Presbyterian in Bay Ridge being included.

In each break-in, cash and easily fenced items like laptops and cameras are targeted, while religious items are ignored.

Police still have no suspects, but they did find a jacket the burglar(s) left behind, and they believe that the jacket's owner was involved in all of the burglaries.

The burglars' extensive itinerary has included Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, on Saturday, November 8; Our Lady of Angels Church, on Saturday, October 18; St. Anselm's Rectory, on Thursday, October 23; St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, on Friday, October 17; OLPH (Church/School), on Tuesday, November 4; and Zion Lutheran Church, on Tuesday, November 4.


WTC Disability Law Application Period Extended

In a move praised by first responders, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law S7628-A/A9562-A, a bill that amends state law governing the injuries and illnesses of those who took part in the 9/11 rescue, recovery and cleanup at the World Trade Center.

The legislation re-opens the filing period and extends the deadline for those with WTC-related conditions who have not yet applied for benefits under the World Trade Center Disability Law.

State Senator Marty Golden, who sponsored the bill, called the World Trade Center Disability Law a significant help to first responders, saying that there are still qualified applicants who haven't yet applied for benefits.

Park Slope BID a Small Business Saturday Star

A handful of Park Slope shopkeepers are starring in a national ad campaign for Small Business Saturday, the “shop local” alternative to corporate retail’s Black Friday doorbusters.

The national promotion, created by credit card giant American Express, highlights mom and pop shops and boutiques in Park Slope's Fifth Ave. Business Improvement District, from 18th St. to the Barclays Center, as a "shop small" destination.

Last year, a flim crew created this two-minute video for Small Business Saturday in the Slope, featuring interviews from inside Gorilla Coffee and Poppy and Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store.

Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday encourages people to do their holiday shopping in independently-owned stores close to home.  According to sponsor American Express, the event has spread to more than 1,400 neighborhoods across the country. The Fifth Avenue BID now times its Christmas tree-lighting celebration to coincide with the event as a way of drawing more foot traffic.

This year’s opening ceremony in the Slope begins with music and ornament-making for kids at 6:30 PM on Saturday, November 29, at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Third St.

The Daily News article.


City's Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens Overwhelmed

Due to Congress' drastic cuts to food stamp benefits, 80% of New York City's food pantries and soup kitchens face increased demands for emergency food.

The impact of the food stamp cuts on the city's emergency food resources is widespread and ongoing. In September, 60% of the city's food pantries ran out of at least one kind of food, and at more than a third of them, hungry people had to be turned away.

According to a plea for donations from food rescue organization City Harvest, which serves nearly half of the city's food pantries and soup kitchens, the poverty rate in New York City is higher than at any time during the past 10 years. In some New York City neighborhoods 40% of the children face food insecurity. Nearly 2 million New Yorkers are expected to be facing food insecurity in the coming year.  

For more information about City Harvest or to donate online, visit the website.

If you prefer to give locally, consider donating to Reaching-Out Community Services, an emergency food program in Bensonhurst.

The Brooklyn Magazine article.

More from the Daily News.

Stolen Verrazano Relief Replaced

At 11 AM on Wednesday, December 3, Council Member Vinnie Gentile, with other elected officials and community leaders, will officially unveil a replica of the long-lost bas relief of Giovanni da Verrazano at the Memorial Flagstaff at John J. Carty Park, at 95th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge.

Installed when the bridge opened in 1964, the Verrazano Memorial Flagstaff, a black-and-white Italian marble pedestal, held a bronze bas relief of Italian explorer Verrazano, first European to sail through the Narrows.

Stolen in the early 1980s, the relief has been re-cast and will be replaced, along with four rusticated stones from the Verrazano castle at Verrzano's birthplace in Chianti, Italy, at the base of the monument.

Decorations for the Departed, Green-Wood


NYC on the Short List to Host the Democratic National Convention

According to an email blast today from City Council Member Vinnie Gentile, New York City has been named as a finalist to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Gentile attributed the city's placement on the short list of contenders to Mayor Bill de Blasio's spirited pitch for Brooklyn, where the convention would be hosted at the Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue.

Announcing the news, Gentile noted that one in seven Americans can trace their roots to Brooklyn, the country's crossroads and a microcosm of its diversity.   

The winning city will be announced in early 2016.

More from the New York Times.

Ribbon Cutting at The Dyker Park Dog Run

Good news for Fido. Council Member Vinnie Gentile will be on hand at 11 AM tomorrow, Tuesday, November 25, to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the new Dyker Park Dog Run, at the corner of 86th Street and 7th Avenue in Dyker Heights.

Raffles and prizes for your best friend from favorite local pet stores Vinny’s Pet Shop, Petland Bay Ridge, the Animal Pantry, and Paws Truly.

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