July 31, 2009

6805 Third Avenue

7am this morning.

( Click photo to enlarge )

story as reported by NY Daily News

July 30, 2009

6805 Third Avenue Bay Ridge Fire

The fire began about 1130 Wednesday night, and wasn't put out until nearly 3am.

Amazingly, everyone in each of the sixteen apartments got out. The Red Cross took good care of them.

It was a four alarm fire. That would mean Engine Company 241 and Ladder Company 109 from just down Third Avenue, along with the guys from three other firehouses.

There were 14 injuries - 12 to firemen, two to residents.

The Sunnydale Farms deli has been at this location since the 1970s. I worked there over 30 years ago, along with a bunch of troublemakers. It was owned by John Bae, from Korea. It had been owned by different Korean families ever since. I've shopped there hundreds and hundreds of times. It was a clean and friendly place, just what you want on your block.

I knew the current owners by sight. They normally closed at eleven. So, last night, they would have left right before the fire started. They came by today. As you might expect, they were devastated.

At seven tonight, scaffolding was being put up around the building.

I hope that they can find a way to save the structure. And that the residents find new apartments that they like. And that Sunnydale Farms reopens soon, in a place very close to the corner of 68th Street and Third Avenue.

FromNews 12 Brooklyn including a video interview with Sunnydale owner Sung Ho.

Major Fire at 6805 Third Avenue

There was a major fire last night in the apartment house at the southeast corner of 68th Street and Third Avenue. The building appears intact, but I think that all or nearly all the windows on the street side were smashed in. The building appears empty and smoke damaged, including the Sunnydale Farms store on the corner.

I couldn't take a photo this morning but will try to do so this evening.

There was an army of media trucks there at 7am today. A woman reporter from WABC said that everyone got out.

From Brooklyn Paper

From NY1

WPIX Eleven reports that there were 14 injuries, including 12 firefighters.

Very good video from WABC Channel 7

Photos in NY Post

The fire took place from around 1130 - 2am last night.

There are reports of " severe " damage to the building.


I feel very bad for the residents, and for what appears to be the loss of the Sunnydale Farms deli. For decades, that store has been a clean, friendly place with good prices. The Korean owners were constantly tinkering with the place, trying to make it just a bit nicer and better. I hope that they can reestablish the business soon. I shopped there maybe twice a week, and was there this past Tuesday night.

July 22, 2009

Why I'm Leaving the Republican Party

These days, the Republican Party doesn't stand for very much. And I don't like some of the things that it stands for.

Today, a bill sponsored by South Dakota's Republican Senator John Thune came within two votes of largely overriding state laws restricting the right to carry concealed firearms. Basically, someone who had the right to " carry " in North Carolina would by virtue of this law be given the right to carry that concealed weapon even when visiting states like my own state of New York. A state which requires, but rarely grants, permits in order to carry hidden firearms.

New York has had sensible restrictions on weapons since 1911, when the Sulliaan Law was passed. They're a major reason why New York City is the safest big city in America, and why New York State has lower violent crime rates than the large states with loose rules on who can carry a firearm in public.

These laws are immensely popular around here, among both Democrats and Republicans.

Today, Senator Thune essentially pulled a gun on the populations of New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and a number of other states. The Republicans talk a good game about local control and states rights, but, here, the citizenry in the Northeast / West Coast / urban Midwest were told that their views don't count at all.

Senator McCain shamed himself by voting for this bill. Senator Spector, the new Democrat from Pennsylvania voted against it. Specter may have been the deciding vote on this, as some Democratic senators - Reed, Feingold, probably voted against their conscience for tactical and political reasons. But, no doubt about it - this was a Republican shot at the heart of responsible gun control and the right of states to reflect the wishes on this issue.

States like New York would no longer have any real right to tailor gun laws to local needs. They could presumably have controls on their own citizens, but not on the millions of out of state residents who pass through. That's ludicrous and irresponsible.

This is one of the more divisive issues in America now. You might think that a good solution would have Texas values prevail in Texas, while the values of New York apply in New York. Not according to the Republican Party. The views of urban America on these matters are not to be taken into account.

The Sullivan Law has been around for nearly a century, and now they decide to go after it.

I've had some serious problems with the Republican Party over the past decade, over budgetary and some other issues. But here, they're attacking my rights and the rights of my city and state to maintain the level of safety we've enjoyed.
Since the Republicans appararently don't stand for much, and since they don't respect my rights, I'm going to fire a shot right back at them. In tomorrow morning's mail will be a signed " change of party " form to the NY Board of Elections. I'm leaving the Republican Party. I won't be going to the Democrats - there's nothing there for me. As soon as the paperwork is processed, I will officially be an " independent " - allied to no party.

To paraphrase what President Reagan said about the Democrats: I didn't leave the Republicans. The Republican Party left me.

I Resign!

I resigned from an organization today. Details and reasons why to be provided by 10pm Brooklyn Standard Time tonight.

Speculation invited.

Over and out.

July 13, 2009

The R Train is Not the Dirtiest Subway Line!

R Train: Bat Signal, originally uploaded by specmotors.

A recent survey by the borderline useless Straphangers Campaign atated that the 7 train was the cleanest line , while the R train was the dirtiest line in the system.

The survey was done by means of 2200 observations made by 29 volunteers from September-December 2008. They checked exactly 100 subway cars on each line Astonishingly, litter was not one of the things that was measured!

I ride the NY subway more than most people, at all hours. While I have a lot of complaints about the R train, as to most people, the simple fact is that it is not dirtier than other train lines by any objective measurement. Try riding the A train to Kennedy Airport at 5am some day and then you'll see some dirty subway cars.

The sample was too small to be meaningful. And as it did not include litter, what was measured didn't make sense.

Speaking of the R train, I've noticed a lot of really old cars being used on the R line over the past couple of weeks. Including lots of the R 42 models which haven't been seen much on the R until recently.

These now old trains will all be " retired " soon. They were widely used on the " RR " back in 1970. ( See the nice graffiti on the pole )