‘It’s like a war’: Local grocery store irks Brighton Beach community

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This store serves more than just fresh produce.

A Brighton Beach grocery store has terrorized the local community, according to neighbors who alleged that the owners have left garbage littered on the sidewalk and cars crowding the road.

“It’s like a war between the community and the store,” said Arlene Brenner. “There’s more stuff everyday. One day there’s a truck parked on the street and no one can get through, the next day there’s trash all over the sidewalk.”

My Mandarin grocery store, located on the corner of Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Avenue, has been fined by the Department of Buildings several times since opening last December for a variety of Building Codes and Zoning violations, according to a department spokesperson. But that has failed to deter store owners from skirting the law, according to Brighton Beach resident Ida Sanoff.

“This is someone who does not care about rules and regulations,” she said of the store’s owner. “His attitude seems to be, ‘Screw you, I’m doing whatever I want.’”

Neighbors accuse the store’s management of leaving parked cars and trucks scattered around the property, and carelessly operating forklifts and other heavy machines on the premises, creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians.

“It’s become a really unsightly and dangerous corner. It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Sanoff. “Visibility on that corner is very poor. There have been several near misses with people getting hit by cars.”

Other residents lamented the severe congestion problems caused by the store.

“They park a huge 18-wheeler truck in the no standing zone, and pretend they’re unloading, but it stays there for five or six hours a day. They use it as storage, and it creates so much traffic,” said Tislya Skibityanskaya.

Skibityanskaya lives in an apartment above the store, and claims that store management plays loud music and violates Department of Building rules by cooking food in a make-shift, unlicensed kitchen area outside.

“They cook food in the parking area, which is illegal. Last weekend we couldn’t even be in our apartment because of all the smoke,” she said.

The store also maintains generally unpleasant and unsanitary surroundings, according to Brenner.

“They left out cardboard boxes that food comes in, and it rained, so the whole area smelled like rotten food and cardboard,” said Brenner. “The corner looks like a third world country.”

Neighbors have expressed their frustrations with store management, but have been unceremoniously rebuffed by the store’s owner.

“He is arrogant. Every time you talk to him, he curses you out. He’ll scream at you to get off of his property,” said Skibityanskaya.

Some Brighton Beach residents have moved on to pointing fingers at city authorities, who they claim have failed to remedy the problem.

“The way My Mandarin operates is endangering public health and safety, causing embarrassment to our community, and is a prime example of New York City government inefficiency and inaction,” said Mendy Sontag.

Sontag has begun to organize community members around the issue, circulating a petition addressed to various politicians and relevant government agencies.

“Everyone has been responsive, but everyone keeps passing the buck,” he said. “They will tell us that they aren’t the ones responsible. It’s like playing ping-pong with all the different departments.”

Sontag hopes the petition can bring attention from lawmakers and local authorities, and finally end the nightmarish situation.

“You don’t see this on any corner in New York City,” he said. “Why is this allowed to continue in this neighborho­od?”

The store’s management did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at or by calling (718) 260–4577.
Updated 9:08 am, April 16, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Businesses do this all over Brooklyn with impunity. Where I live the distributor across the street leaves un-hooked tractor trailers in specifically marked red-sign no parking zones and then one in front of the fire hydrant on their side of the street. The cops tow anyone in those areas away so that the company can illegally leave their un-hooked trailers there for days. The authorities do not care.
April 16, 2019, 10:04 am
Peter Engel from Fort Greene says:
Why isn't the owner's name and holding company mentioned? Was any attempt made to reach them for comment?
April 16, 2019, 11:57 am
Anna from Brighton says:
Just report him for tax fraud, $100 he's doing something shady. He's not feeling the pinch from parking tickets but he will feel the pinch from a nice IRS investigation.
April 16, 2019, 12:52 pm
Harvey Fishman from Brighton Beach says:
Brighton Beach Avenue is hardly the place for clear areas. How about Jackie's Department Store down the block? They are constantly blocking the sidewalk with their merchandise. How many of the people complaining have ties to other merchants that compete with My Mandarin? The store tried to avoid congestion by placing the fruit in a tent, but no these people were determined to close them down and complained until the City was forced to shut the tent down. I live down the block on Ocean Parkway and shop in the store because their prices and merchandise are good. But some people can't stand competition. Harvey
April 16, 2019, 2:55 pm
Native New Yorker from Bensonhusst says:
This is what happens when you vote in socialist and commies in office. Vote them in again, your be in a third world crap hole in your own neighborhood if you aren't already!!
April 16, 2019, 5:07 pm
bklynwunder says:
@Harvey - The sidewalk in front of Jackie's isn't filled with food encrusted, smelly, fly attracting trash. And Jackie's isn't cooking in their back yard, subjecting neighbors to stinking, lung burning smoke. There was a supermarket on this corner long before My Mandarin and they never put merchandise on the corner. The disgusting red tent he put up was illegal and unsafe in every way and that's why he was forced to take it down. You are 100% wrong when you say that people want to close this business down. All people want is for him to obey the law. This corner has become a totally, filthy, unsafe, stinking pigsty.
April 16, 2019, 5:26 pm
Native New Yorker from Bensonhusst says:
This is what happens when you are a Native New Yorker from Bensonhusst, with a third world crap hole education. You say a lot of stupid things.
April 16, 2019, 6:42 pm
Romina from Sunset Park says:
This is 8th Avenue for blocks and blocks.
April 16, 2019, 8:02 pm
Occasional Cortex says:
This is what happens when you dumb down the ed system. Bring back discipline and voluntary school prayer back to school. That is the only eay to fix education.
April 17, 2019, 1:59 pm
Ridiculous says:
Welcome to America! These low-life you know who I am referring to, don't care about anyone but themselves! They come to this country to ROB the American system of every loop-hole they can manipulate. Sadly, this is the NEW society of Brooklyn and the are the cockroaches of the human race! so glad I don't live in that disgusting hole anymore!
April 21, 2019, 10:31 am
Daniel Ioannou from Coney Island says:
Wait!? Doesn't Brighton Beach have a Business "Improvement" District... How's that forced assessment working out? Just another of the many instances why B.I.D's are not as effective as they claim to be. Enforcement of existing rules and regulations is all that is needed.
April 23, 2019, 12:17 pm
Sheryl from Coney Island says:
What is the BID doing to stop this? Has anyone called the Department of Small Business Services? They should be made aware this lawlessness is happening in a BID.
April 23, 2019, 10:38 pm
JF from Midwood/Marine Park says:
This is the same jerk who had his business on Kings Hwy and East 17th Street, Mama Liza. He did the same stuff there and even has NUMEROUS violations on his house on Avenue P and E.18th Street.
May 12, 2019, 4:13 pm
Timofey from Sheepshead Bay says:
Apparently this guy is claiming he is facing discrimination from the neighborhood because he is Muslim and having his fines dismissed? Not only is this a lie but he is also Jewish not Muslim.
May 30, 2019, 10:03 pm

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