Brooklyn Today: February 28, 2012

Good morning. Today is the 59th day of the year. It is the birth anniversary (1906) of Brooklyn-born gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. Siegel first came to prominence in the 1920s, when he teamed up with Meyer Lansky to form a gang that “rode shotgun” for bootleggers who delivered whiskey from one city to another. In 1931, Siegel and several other Jewish mobsters were chosen by Charles “Lucky” Luciano to murder rival Mafia boss Joe “The Boss” Masseria because Masseria, who only moved in Sicilian circles, wouldn’t recognize their faces. In 1939, Siegel moved to Los Angeles to supervise gambling rackets there.
In the mid-1940s, Siegel constructed a hotel and casino in Las Vegas called the Flamingo. Even after Lansky and Luciano put money into the Flamingo, it still lost money and its operations kept going over budget. Siegel was shot to death in 1947.
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Starting today, a new construction work zone will be set up along Narrows Road South near the last entrance to the Verrazano Bridge. This will result in the temporary elimination of up to approximately 20 parking spots. The work is part of the $50 million Verrazano-Narrows toll plaza improvement project.
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A Brooklyn barista on Sunday won the Northeast Regional Barista Competition and was rewarded with trips to Portland, Ore., for the national contest next month, and to Costa Rica, according to the Daily News. Katie Carguilo, 28, of Crown Heights, won first place with her Ethiopian blend of espresso. The contest, which was held in Midtown Manhattan, drew crowds of coffee-lovers who cruised booths and sampled desserts and caffeinated drinks.
According to MarketWatch, the Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh has filed an application with the state to convert  from a federally chartered stock savings bank to a New York state-chartered stock savings bank. According to the bank, the conversion should not have any significant impact on its customers or its current activities, although it does expect some annual cost savings as a result of the conversion.
Pizza connoisseur Tony Muia, who operates the “A Slice of Brooklyn” tours, will debut his “Slice of Brooklyn” TV show at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, on the Travel Channel, according to am New York. Muia rates J &V Pizza in Bensonhurst as his favorite pizzeria, but also likes Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, L & B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst and Grimaldi’s in Fulton Ferry.
The Local reminds us, as part of its Black History Month series of articles, that Bill Lee, Spike’s father, is a legend in his own right. A composer and bass player, he has played with Duke Ellington, Odetta, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and others. Bill Lee, who provided the soundtracks for some of Spike’s early movies, has lived in Fort Greene since 1959.