Southern Brooklyn

7 Million Dollars Dumped In Sheepshead Bay


Sorry to disturb your 2009 Passover Seder, but we have to give you this breaking news that comes to us via e-mail:

As we have been warning the DOB came down today and issued violations and a stop work order for the violations of the Sheepshead Bay Special District USE zoning which forbids MARKETS!
I guess they will have to go to the BSA for a variance. We tried to warn them.
Oh well, Happy Passover and Happy Easter to ALL!

Steven Barrison,Esq.

So, it looks like the Cherry Hill Gourmet Market and Restaurant has finally gotten the official word that they are not going to be able to operate business as a market. Whether the restaurant side of the business is good-to-go is still unclear.

Sheepshead Bay Special District Use zoning did not allow for the monolithic grocery store they had planned and it looks like the Department of Buildings has told them that the store does not meet the requirements.

If the market operators request a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) from the NYC Department of Buildings, we’ll have to wait to hear the outcome.

Until then, we’ll just have to shop as usual in our old favorites: Sheepshead Bay Gourmet Market on Ave Z & E 18 St; Super Stop and Shop Supermarket at Ave Y & E 17 St; Waldbaum’s at Ocean Ave & Voorhies; Pathmark at Nostrand & Ave Y; Kosher Palace; Fine-Fare; Key Food everywhere; and etc, etc. If you’re just looking to get some basic food, you can try Basic Foods on Coyle St.

Read more of my commentary after the jump.

Sheepshead Bay is not a place that’s begging for another market, unless it’s a farmer’s or green market. Just do a Google maps search for supermarkets and grocery stores in the 11235 or 11229 zip codes and you’ll see the dozens of little red dots identifying the specialty stores and groceries. In fact, we have so many quality grocery stores in our area, that people travel from far and wide to shop here.

Why didn’t they do their research? Forget research — all they needed to do was listen to those in the know. Or maybe they weren’t asking anyone in the know. Most of us were unaware that there was a special district zoning law in effect to help protect the maritime community. Even when I asked about why we need a another restaurant or why we need a grocery — even a gourmet market — no one wrote in to tell me about the special maritime district. There was so much controversy, so I was curious to know why there can’t be both a market and a restaurant — not that we need either one.

Sheepshead Bay is ripe for a special building designed to “serve” fish as well as people — albeit in an educational way. While David Isaev was saying that his store would be like nothing else, I was thinking, “you mean, like none of the other food stores that exist all over the world. Yeah, how creative.”

The Lundy’s building needs to be dedicated to the maritime and fishing industry in a way that no other building in New York City can lay claim to. It should be a dynamic museum, a facility for education about environmental conservation and ecology, and a cultural hub and meeting place for fishermen and anyone interested in how Sheepshead Bay became a bay in the first place.

Instead of PET-1 through 7 plastic containers filled with substandard sushi and salad made a day ago, wouldn’t it have been great had the new tenant and his cohorts envisioned a portion of the maritime place as a special seafood terminal offering the day’s catch? With the rarity of such fish, we might have had tycoons coming to our Sheepshead Bay Fish Auction willing to bid the highest amount for a highly-coveted freshly-caught Fluke. The fish would be expertly prepared by the finest chef-of-the-day — for a tax-deductible donation that would go towards the preservation of the Sheepshead Bay waters. In no time, so much money would be raised that we might even have enough to be able to re-introduce the Sheepshead fish to our local waters.

There are at least 50 other great goals toward which the Lundy’s building might have aspired — even mad profit-making ones. When making their business plan, did anyone involved convene a planning committee? If so, who from the local community with direct knowledge of Sheepshead Bay’s unique history was invited? Had they thought of asking Steve Barrison — and had they listened to him — he might not have been in the position of having to say, “I told you so.”

Just who plunks seven million dollars into a business associated with so much controversy without addressing the specific needs of the community? I suppose someone who can afford dumping it all into bay.

And speaking of the bay’s community and its fishing heritage — at the last SB/PB Civic Association meeting, it was announced that new limits on the fishing industry with regard to season open dates, catch size, and bag limits are going to essentially shut the recreational fishing industry down.

Unless improvements are made fast, Sheepshead Bay might be sunk.

[Thanks to Bill Woodroffe for forwarding the e-mail to us.]