When brothers Mina and George Hanna held a grand opening of their new Subway restaurant on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, the hardworking police officers of the 62nd Precinct were at the top of their guest list.
“We have a lot of friends who are cops,” George Hanna told this newspaper at the ceremony on Feb. 8.
But the presence of Capt. Anthony Longobardi and his cops at the grand opening of the Subway restaurant at 6313 18th Ave. on Fri., Feb. 8 symbolized far more than friendship, according to sources. It was also a symbol of the crime-fighting partnership that the precinct enjoys with merchants in commercial areas.
Police like to say that the public plays a vital role in helping police fight crime because the public serves as the eyes and ears of cops out on the street. And merchants, who spend long hours in their stores, are an important resource of street-level information, police said.
The 62nd Precinct, which covers Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Mapleton and parts of Gravesend, contains several shopping strips, including 18th Avenue, 86th Street, New Utrecht Avenue, Bay Parkway and Kings Highway. The police work to build strong relationships with merchants.
But crime fighting was the last thing on the minds of the people who flocked to Subway to see the Hanna brothers unveil a 12-foot-long sandwich. Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the restaurant’s opening, the owners hosted a sandwich cutting ceremony.
“It was very nice of them to invite us. It’s much appreciated,” Longobardi told this newspaper as he stood near the restaurant’s entrance with his officers eyeing the giant sandwich containing ham, turkey, roast beef, salami and cheese.
In addition to the police, the Hanna brothers invited Assemblymember Peter Abbate to help them cut the sandwich to open the eatery officially. Abbate, a Democrat, represents parts of Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park.
The Hannas grew up on Bay Parkway, coach youth basketball at Saint George Coptic Orthodox Church, and opened up their first Subway franchise in 2015 when they were just 19 and 20 years old, respectively.
“We love this neighborhood. So when we decided to open a new restaurant, this seemed like the perfect place,” Mina Hanna said. “What I like about being a franchisee is that Subway sources their ingredients locally whenever, wherever possible which supports local businesses and communities.”
The 18th Avenue restaurant is the first Subway franchise in New York City featuring the new Subway Fresh Forward Design with digital menu boards, an additional sandwich-making station and a brighter, more modern décor. Eventually, all of the Subway eateries will feature the new look.