Add City Councilmember Domenic Recchia to the chorus of Coney Island watchers directing jeers at Broadway bigwig Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The celebrated composer earlier drew cheers from Brooklynites when it was announced that “Love Never Dies” — the sequel to “Phantom of the Opera” — will be set in turn-of-the-last-century Coney Island.
Those raves quickly soured when the royal knight said some disparaging things about the current state of the people’s playground.
“Of course, Coney Island today is nothing at all,” Webber was quoted assaying. “But at its height, which would have been about 100 years ago — and it lasted for 20 years — it was like the eighth wonder of the world.”
That characterization isn’t sitting well with the movers and shakers at the helm of the biggest revitalization effort Coney Island has seen in decades.
Last week, Recchia fired off a letter to Webber inviting him to take a closer look at Coney Island.
“I would like to register my disappointment with your comment, made during the show’s announcement, that ‘Coney Island today is nothing at all,’” Recchia wrote.“Despite the hardships currently faced by the community, it is still home to more than 50,000 people and remains a destination for people from all over the world.More importantly, working with Mayor Bloomberg and my colleagues in the City Council, I recently passed a broad rezoning that will revitalize the neighborhood with year-round jobs and entertainment.”
Recchia predicted that those efforts will even “surpass the early 20th century period you will be portraying in the show.”
Webber reportedly has already accepted an invitation to tour Coney Island with Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“Love Never Dies” is scheduled for a London debut in March. After that, it supposed to open on Broadway in November 2010.
The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) may not be able to give precise directions to that imaginary locale, but it can bring a touch of Muppet magic into the lives of children big and small, with the release of its new limited edition Elmo library card, timed to coincide with the iconic TV show’s 40th anniversary.
A total of 30,000 of the cards have been produced, and they will be available to both young and adult subscribers at all of the BPL’s branches until supplies run out.
The Elmo card will be available beginning November 14.
New York City’s Health and Mental Hygiene Department last week warned doctors about a mumps outbreak in Brooklyn.
Officials said the cases started turning up in late August, and the outbreak began among children from Borough Park who attended summer camp in Upstate New York.
To date, 57 confirmed or probable cases have been identified, and cases have been identified continued in Borough Park since the start of the school year.
According to reports, the victims have ranged in age from 1 to 42 years of age, and most cases are among children ages 10-15 years old.
According to the Health Department, mumps is characterized by acute swelling of the parotid or other salivary gland, lasting 2 or more days, and without other apparent cause. Those suspected of having mumps should stay at home for five days, according to the agency. Individuals who have received two doses of mumps vaccine are at significantly lower risk of developing mumps but outbreaks have been seen among fully vaccinated individuals. The disease is spread via large respiratory droplets. A contact is an individual who had face-to-face contact, within three feet of a presumed mumps case, or an individual who had direct contact with the case’s respiratory secretions.
All suspected of cases of mumps should be reported to the Bureau of Immunization at 212-676-2288.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Botanic Garden recently announced that they have contributed to the seed banking of 10 percent of the world’s wild plant species through participation in the worldwide Millennium Seed Bank project (MSB), based at the United Kingdom’s Royal Botanic Garden (RBG).
Seed bank officials announced the ten percent achievement, considered a major milestone for global biodiversity conservation efforts at an Oct. 15 event at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank facility in Wakehurst Place, England.
“Through our historic partnership with Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, we have identified and collected the seeds of 75 important and declining local plant species from the greater New York City area for safe storage and as a hedge against their possible loss from nature,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden president Scot Medbury said the progress made by the Millennium Seed Bank and its worldwide partners “speaks to the great global movement to ensure the future of biodiversity in our rapidly urbanizing world.”
The Brooklyn Lyceum continues its monthly literary event, First Sundays Writers Series, on November 1, joined this time around by Galway Kinnell.
Making a rare appearance in Brooklyn, Kinnell is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, as well as a MacArthur fellow. This evening at the Lyceum, he will be reading new and selected works.
The casual evening is hosted and curated by journalist and poet Susan Hartman, and will also including aQ&A with and a book signing by the author.
The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. The Brooklyn Lyceum is located at 227 Fourth Ave. For more information go to www.brooklynlyceum.com or call 718-857-4816.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded two trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden this week “State Champion” status, affirming that they are the largest of their species on record in the state.
The trees, a Kansas hawthorn (Crataegus coccinoides) and a Carolina holly (Ilex ambigua var. monticola) are the first trees in New York City to receive this honor. Only native or naturalized, nonhybrid species are eligible for champion designation.
These specimens were nominated by a private citizen and their dimensions verified by the DEC, and awarded the top honor on Oct. 27, under the shade of one of the champions.
The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is taking its show on the road.
The agency will be in Flatbush next month to make another presentation of its proposal to ease traffic problems along Church Avenue, between McDonald Avenue and Utica Avenue, as part of its Congested Corridors project.
The presentation %u2013 which will be held in the auditorium at Erasmus High School, 911 Flatbush Avenue, on November 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. %u2013 will be given during the November meeting of the Community Board 17 Transportation Committee.
According to Lebrun Burnett, the committee chairperson, the meeting will provide area residents and business owners with their “last opportunity to make comments on what is going to happen on Church Avenue.”
What will happen on the strip will not include revamping it to accommodate one-way traffic. “Church Avenue is not going to be one way, going any way,” Burnett assured the crowd gathered at Winthrop Intermediate School, 905 Winthrop Street, for the board’s October meeting.
The city Education Department is teaming up with the City Council and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to inform parents about available seats in universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) programs.
Parents can enroll their four-year-olds in the free programs by Friday, October 30.
About 5,000 full-day and half-day UPK seats are still available for children who will turn four years old by December 31, 2009.
The programs are offered in public schools, childcare centers and community-based organizations.
According to officials, “Research supports UPK as a way to support the social, emotional and academic skills of children as well as prepare children for kindergarten.”
To find a program near you, call 311 or 888-469-5999.
The city has launched an enhanced 311 service for public school families.
Officials say the service “provides an easy-to-use resource for parents and guardians seeking answers about their children’s education.”
Families can now select a new option on 311’s main menu to speak to an expert trained in responding to education-related issues, such as questions about enrollment, transportation and admissions.
“Thanks to the enhanced service at 311, public school families will no longer have to wonder which number to call or worry about getting passed from one office to another,” said schools Chancellor Joel Klein.
This paper tips its hat to the memory of Police Officer George Sikes of the 61st Precinct, who died earlier this month following a brief illness.
A smiling protector in blue who had walked the streets of Sheepshead Bay for most of his career, Sikes recently received the NYPD’s coveted Theodore Roosevelt Award given to police officers who return to duty after overcoming a disability or illness.
While Sikes could have easily retired, he returned to the Coney Island Avenue command after receiving a liver transplant, friends and family members said.
His death, they said, was not related to the transplant.
After a brief departure, the Brooklyn Museum’s holdings of Ancient Near East art have returned to their third floor Kevorkian Gallery.
The collection, with twelve massive carved alabaster reliefs completed in 859 B.C. as its centerpiece, was removed from the Kevorkian Gallery so a construction crew could create a sloped floor and improve wheelchair access that would make the gallery more in spirit with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The reliefs, which once adorned the vast palace of King Ashur-nasir-pal II of ancient Assyria are now complemented by some fifty objects reflecting the diverse cultures of the region that is present-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey, Museum officials said.
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