Locals And Leaders Alike Share Their Hopes For Bensonhurst In 2014

Source: ocularinvasion/Flickr

Okay, so it’s officially two full weeks into 2014, and most people have already decided on, and then decided to abandon, their New Year’s resolutions. But the Bensonhurst Bean checked in with local leaders, business owners and neighbors to find out what their resolutions for the neighborhood are, and what they hope to see for Bensonhurst in 2014.

Councilman Vincent Gentile, whose district spans Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, took the opportunity to reinforce his faith in the communities he represents:

My New Year’s resolution is to be as diligent as ever to make Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst – and all of New York City – a great place to live, work and raise a family.

That’s nice. But… boooring. Luckily, Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia got into the spirit of things, and reveled in the diversity of her community.

Bensonhurst has the second highest immigrant population. I think it would be nice to sample some of their foods. We have Russian, Polish, Guatemalan, real Chinese food. That’s really the backbone of immigrant communities. Me being not adventurous, I think I would like to do that. Different foods of the community.

We’ve already asked to join her in her food travels.

Paul DiSpirito, owner of Lioni’s Heros, is paying attention to the newly elected officials in New York City.

I’m taking a passive approach  to see how these new elected officials perform. Twelve years we’ve had Bloomberg. Last four years he overstayed his legacy with the green and the bikes. I want to see what’s going to happen. The snow storm was successfully cleaned up. I give [Mayor Bill De Blasio] an A for that. Now we’re dealing with his appointments.

He took a more sober turn and addressed the murky future for his softball team. During a recent Community Board meeting, a proposal for a Seth Low Park overhaul received support from the board, despite objections from DiSpirito that there was no room for the softball team that currently uses the park.

I’m pretty in tune with the neighborhood. These are things I’ve never heard of – the building they plan to do at Seth Low. Why wouldn’t the softball field be one of the things that are incorporated into the new park? That’s my new stance this new year. Why take it from us and give it to other people? They told me they’ll find a new place for us but I don’t believe that.
We’re not gonna lay down, I can tell you that.

Tim Law, a member of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn and Community Board 11, pointed out that the Chinese New Year hadn’t passed yet.

January 31- Chinese New Year. Year of the Horse. The horse is very industrious. Those born this year will be very hard working people. They set one goal and they stick to it. They don’t give up easily.

Still, Law shared his hopes for 2014. Or the Year of the Horse. Whichever. He said he wants community leaders and the people to work together with the neighbors to prevent crime. He also wants the Italian-Americans and Asians to work together to raise the standards of living.

We have to help each other. We cannot fight individually. Bring the neighborhood together.

And that, friends, is a great starting point for 2014. A diverse community coming together, keeping an eye on the elected officials and sharing some tasty food. Looking forward to it!


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