The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

For A Great Christmas Tree, Look No Farther

Further? Farther? Anyhow, the Q is outrageously pleased to share the arrival of a TRUE storefront florist to the neighborhood. On Fenimore, sandwiched between the adorable Record Shop and quirky wild-to-table sit-downer called Honey Badger, Rasheeda and company have opened early specifically to deliver outstanding Christmas trees and wreaths. And soon, you'll find all your floral needs, including (get this) flowers!!!

When Mrs. Q and I moved to the nabe 15 years ago, there were only four things we felt would make our lives complete, commerce-wise. All the other "amenities" seemed unnecessary given the wild variety of offerings here and just a short train ride away. We hoped that one day the following would be opened by local entrepreneurs: a) wine store, b) coffee shop, c) florist and we wanted the d) the NY Times available at the local bodegas. That's it. We weren't looking for yoga, or kale salads, or book stores, or bars or any of the rest. It's a big beautiful city and not everything has to be within a few blocks. With the coming of the ubiquitous smartphone, the Times thing is moot. There are five wine stores and half a dozen coffee shops. And now...a florist!

Two nights ago we purchased the most beautiful, fresh Christmas tree we ever, ever had. It's drinking heavily (this is good in trees, not so much in middle-aged men). It's fat and phat and smells like Christmas, which as a lapsed Christian is about as close to tradition as I can muster. We love it, and we're very much hopeful the new shop will (ahem) flourish!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Is He A Peeping Tom When He Looks OUT Instead Of IN?

The Q's beloved Q Station has become the focus of a contemporary quandary. An anonymous poster known only as "Parkside Avenue" (no relation) has been taking photos and videos of random passers-by in front of the Q at Parkside station at Parkside and Ocean (like I had to tell YOU that). The question confronting those who've learned of the semi-invasive Instagram account - is it legal? ethical? hilarious? boring? titillating? any or none of the above? An example of a picture posted - one of a fairly obscured identity (lest you think I'm part of the problem, which, I'm told, I usually always am):

Marc Torrence of Patch wrote a piece about it, and then he managed to bag an interview with the dude, still anonymous. Marc provides some context, in the form of legal perspective on the notion that NONE OF US should assume we have any privacy when out in the public sphere. That is, make sure you put your pants on before you go outside and try not to pick your nose too much. And don't cavort with your paramour or do crimes or even trip and fall in a hilarious manner, because you might be starring in someone's reality TV series.

This reminds me of a situation I had a few years back, that I relayed right here on ye olde blogge. It was about the now defunct Disc Mart African music and ephemera store across from the Kings County Nursery on New York. Here's the post . For the click-averse, basically the store owner told me I couldn't take a picture of his sign without paying him, and I told him where to shove it and he preferred not to and it went south from there. Though truth be told, I chose not to publish the photo, not because he was right, but because despite my reputation I'm really not spoiling for a fight.

Here's the Q's take on the hubbub. Of course you can shoot a photo. You can even share it with the world if you like. When the photos are your art, or in this case your sort-of-art, you should take your ethical role a bit more seriously. That's opinion - that's not law. In other words, yeah you're invading people's privacy and you know it. Typically it's good form to ask before you take someone's picture, regardless of the reason. But if the art is ABOUT being a 24-hour security camera, well, I suppose we'll need to judge the worth of your art vs. the worth of privacy. Not for a court of law, but because we need to do something MUCH more important.

We need to figure out whether you're an asshole.

And in the end, that's 90% of what Justice is all about, is it not?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Loud Baby's Soft Opening

When a tiny shoppe opens, it's easy to wonder - how can money be made with so little real estate? In the case of Loud Baby (696 Flatbush), the teensy weensy might actually be an advantage. There's little room to camp out, like what the Apple Junkies do - sometimes known as the "creative class" - that hang out at larger coffee joints. This little spot - which has been many things through the years, including most recently a lingerie shoppe - isn't even big enough to be a garage. And yet, somehow, through the most crafty of renovations, the place feels comfy, the sort of place you WANT to frequent. The Q remembers seeing lots of little places like this on his visit to Mexico City last year (pre-earthquake) in the Roma Norte neighborhood. I'm a fan - this place has class and panache in spades.

And how about that loft? It's perfect for a little break for babies and toddlers to play, while mom or dad or nanny sips away on a (and I'm no snob, so take it with a grain of raw organic cane sugar) damn good cup of coffee and a well-curated pastry. THEN there's the strangely perfect addition of a smathering of children's clothes - chosen specifically by co-owner Maritza who happens to be a designer herself. It's the kind of stuff you can't get at Target or even the Q's favorite The Burlington Coat Factory, but with these threads you could be in and out in the time it takes to sip a latte.

So David and Maritza live on Ocean and have four kids (yes, four) and for that alone we should wish them best of luck. For those of you wondering whether you TOO should take the plunge into the wacky world of storefront shoppery, it may be worth noting that this sort of micro-biz is NOT for the faint of heart or weak of wallet. This is hard hard work, but it's been heartening to see so many neighborhood folks take the plunge. Sure we've seen businesses open with fanfare and crash with disappointment - I can name a dozen without cheating by looking at my own old blog posts through the years. And yet, with each coming week, more and more people are taking the plunge. Go for it, I say. And we should support them I say! (Like that cool looking new gift shop called Awesome up the Flabenue - gonna give them a look-see any day and will report back).

Adorable - here our intrepid co-owner and wife's sister welcome the Q and his brood

When you don't want to brave the crowds - why not just take the advise from a clothier?

The Loft is a killer use of the tall ceiling
Soft opening now, grand opening soon. Give it a shot - of espresso, yo.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Who Can Keep Up With All This?

Street Sweeper is back. You know, the kick-ass pizza joint on Rogers that suffered a fire last year? They've got a killer gazebo sitch out back too. Just in time for winter, with heater. A hot-gazzy, as they used to say absolutely nowhere.

Then a florist is moving in next to the record store (still can't believe THAT came to pass) and Honey Badger, the truly quirky but savory (quavory? squirky?) micro-bistro on Fennimore off Flatbush. Gonna have Xmas Trees soon, so says the F-book, which NEVER lies.

Then I find out that Christmas and Jesus are related, and I nearly bust a challah trying to explain THAT to the kids. Why did he have to be so cute, that baby Jesus? Hard to raise agnostic children anymore...

Then, and here's where it gets truly American upscale diner moving into the space next to Greenlight Bookstore at the base of 626 Flatbush? What's that I hear - that parents of Maple Street School parents are opening the place? Ah. And I thought we might finally get a Ruby Tuesday's. But a rube can dream, can't he?

And a reader pointed out that I never mentioned the scrumptious cake, cupcake and gelato triumvirate (or Holy Trinity to sugar addicts like moi) at 664 Flatbush - the brilliantly named J&J Delicious Cakes. You can save a heap of cash over those absurdly costly Boerum Greene and Ft. Gardens shoppes that everybody's rich friend raves about. Keep it local, yokel. The 'hood is alive with the sound of music, mozzarella, mousse, marzipan and morning glories. Ugh. Why does my brain behave this tiring. See you on the Flabenue! (and if you need to deal with some of that flab, we got you covered...with loose fitting garments OR fitness centers. Yes, plural.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bedford-Union Armory Complex Is Now Officially the Done Deal the Q's Been Telling You It Is For Months

This Is Now Part Of Your Future

Round Halloween, from the sorely missed DNA Info, word came that the NYC Planning Commission approved the plan for the Armory to become housing and rec center - in City-time this whole five year process has been relatively straight-ahead (the bumps, it turns out, were mere bumps - the Q being a bit player I can attest that a whole lot of noise turned out to be just that). And then just yesterday, councilwoman Laurie Cumbo declared victory for the neighborhood, Pyrrhic though it may be, saying she'd extracted the best possible scenario from the proposal by adding more affordable units and nixing the "luxury" condos. (The Q insists on using the quotation marks, because frankly anything new these days gets the "luxury" tag, to the point where buyers roll eyes and haters use the term as a gentrificational pejorative.)

For those not in the groove on this one, the story is remarkable, though hardly unique in the annals of NYC land-use history. I'm gonna try for the layman's version and you can let me know whether I nail or flub it. The short version: the neighborhood gets a big new rec center, an inexpensive one at that, replete with swimming pool, basketball courts and space for community groups. Developer BHC gets to build a big, new signature project in the middle of Brooklyn, one that will surely be its urban calling card, if not its most profitable deal ever. 250 or so below-market rent-stabilized apartments get built; as many more market rate get built. So maybe 1500 new people move to the neighborhood, a great many of them white and professional, and the juggernaut of gentrification continues unabated. Housing activists feel they got nothing. Developers feel they lost millions. The elected officials are grateful the election happened beFORE the final decision (coincidence? I think not).

And while the site rests on City property, no new public housing will be built. And the Q would add that if the City can't find its way to build any truly affordable housing for those struggling below the poverty line RIGHT HERE, it clearly has little will to build it anywhere. One might say without hyperbole - the days of NYC being affordable to the working, senior or disabled poor are officially winding down. To say otherwise, in the midst of a humanitarian housing crisis of obscene proportions in this City of Trump, would be to tell a bald faced lie. Or bold faced lie. Maybe both.

This is America folks, in 2017. It is the land of entitled greed. The land of populism. The land of anti-immigrant fervor. The land of anti-anti-immigrant bark but no bite. The land of guns, drugs, overindulgent consumerism, vulgar and violent entertainment, voting-in sexual predators, and to top it all off - liberals apparently unable to do anything about any of it. Because, among many many other things, and let's get real here, nobody REALLY wanted poor people moving into newly built housing along the 2 and 5 lines. It's just and La Guardian and icky.

For a moment in the Empire Blvd Farce and Bedford Union Armory battles we were witnessing a strange mixing of true lefty activism and NIMBYist anti-development tantrum-ing. To the Crown Heights Tenants Union, homeless advocates, NY Communities for Change (nee ACORN), Flatbush Tenants Union, Equality for Flatbush and more I'll re-up my advice: you have no true allies in the halls of power and the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn. Ripping through Community Board meetings and carrying signs and marching does little more than prove, in the eyes of the deciders, that YOU are the ones out of touch, and thereby, out of luck. Good riddance, you can almost here them saying.

Were there ever a moment for Great Cities to explode into chaos, here in 21st Century USA, I'd have to guess this is it. Something must be holding back the rioting, looting and burning...low unemployment perhaps? Trump shock? Tough policing? Or is this just the calm before the hurricane that finally convinces us that income inequality is just as dangerous as climate change?

And make no mistake. It's ALL about the gap between rich and poor. They will write our story, the Obama-Trump-?? story, and they will wonder how we didn't see it coming. We were focused on the reckless and rude snake-oil salesman, missing the real problems behind the Brash Baby Man. It's dangerous stuff, but maybe not in the ways that we and the Media Elite keep telling us.

Either that or this year's The Bachelor will merge with Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and American Idol to create a truly un-missable season of mind-numbing suspense and can't-look-away repulsive sexual tension. Oh, and check out the new X Box, iPig and self-driving social media convertibles from Amazon Prime Whole Foods Venture Capital Silicon Home Delivery Gluten-Free Yoga Uber anyway "Where's the Fuck Is My Charger????"

Friday, November 17, 2017

Flatbush Zombie House - Expectations Be Damned

The Q is typically full of opinions, but I can't manage a single up, down or sidewise on this particular new business called Flatbush Zombie House, which seems to be taking off quite nicely as a new neighborhood nightclub, just next to famed Peppa's Jerk Chicken off Woodruff on Flatbush. Somehow without being from the Islands, the owners seem to have embraced the Caribbean flavor of the neighborhood in a big way. With a tiki bar. As if tiki is an actual thing. And it's named almost exactly after an acid-ingesting rap group, quite bizarre and oddly excellent band actually those Flatbush Zombies, but not related, though I'll bet they'll drop by off the Dollar Van at some point. Or Dollar Limo, cuz they sell a ton of music, and outcast kids really dig 'em. With a love for Dance Hall and hip-hop, and island-themed drinks, right next to a storied Jamaican take-out joint - so many things happening at the Flatbush Zombie House I can hardly make sense of it all. See for yourself on the vid below:

Every time I peek in (theQ don't drink so a peek is how I roll) it seems great. The crowd reflects the full range of neighborhood flavor, though (of course) skewing to the young, professional side. Drinks ain't cheap, even in dimly lit bars anymore. Hip, not trying too hard. Great reviews on the Online. Seems like a winner to me.

I'll be you're wondering what THE Q always thought would be a winner, and I'm sure you were. Check this out - I call it Chuck E Cheese After-Hours. You take that Chuck E Cheese at the Atlantic Mall, and once the kids stream out around 8pm you turn it into the wackiest club ever. Dance music, even live music (they have a stage after all), heavy bands etc. Maybe partner with the Chucky film franchise for a real chilly Halloween vibe.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Coffee Shop Opens and The Q's Guide To Gentlemanly Behaviour

Since this is ostensibly a blog about the neighborhood, just let me note that a cute little coffee shop and kids clothes store opened on the west side of Flatbush between Parkside and Beekman, 696 to be exact. Called "Loud Baby." Love it! And a restaurant is going to move into 626 Flatbush's other retail space - that should put a lot of rumors to rest, though still not sure what sort of place. Methinks bourgie to go with the tower, but methinks wrong sometimes. Speaking of...

It has come to the Q's attention of late that many male titans of arts, politics & industry regularly read The Q at Parkside (too many to list, I'm afraid. too too many...) It has also come to the Q's attention that many of these powerful men (and they are nearly all men, let's admit) have allowed their God-given sexual appetites to cloud their moral vision. Any man of sound mind should understand the difference between consent and non-consent, and yet these very "sane" men often claim that they were engaging in consensual behaviour - over years and years and dozens of occasions -- only to find that "whoops," they're knee-deep in legal and professional scandal. My guess is that most of them loosened their definitions of consent over time to meet their fetishes and, receiving no push-back from their colleagues, media or law enforcement, came to the jaundiced conclusion that their behaviour was well within the limits of reasonable, though naughty, behavior. They were just being bold, taking the bull by the horns (so to speak), behaving with rough masculinity, or maybe they even managed to convince themselves that this was all well within the realm of kinky but normal sexual behavior.

So for those of you - ye great men of overflowing passions and enviable success - if you seem befuddled by the outcry, I would like to offer some advice from the heart. The Q is no Lothario or great lady's man, or even a particularly adept suitor. He has, however, mostly handled his personal and carnal affairs with a degree of dignity, and so I offer these few "Q" tips for your edification.

Business is Business: When conducting business, even informal or "after-hours" business, do not attempt to negotiate matters of the flesh. That is to stay - keep your jimmy in its cage. Don't refer to it. Don't engage it. In fact, don't press your luck by going in for anything more than a handshake where warranted. You are in a place of work, even when that place LOOKS like a place of play. If there is a current, past or potential business relationship involved, always err on the professional, the dignified, the gentlemanly.

Why? It is illegal, unseemly and abusive to use your professional standing to push your advantage sexually. That's it! Simple. Doesn't matter if you're a Senator or Manager of a Burger King. No sex, or even flirtation. If the woman is interested in pursuing something she will do so, and you will not miss the signs. Promise.

Done? Hardly.

Sex, if you hadn't noticed by your own predilections and histories, is a barely understood and somewhat distant bi-product of reproduction. At best. What turns you on is no one's businesses and anybody's guess, unless you come out and say it (or in frightfully many cases, SHOW it without so much as a warning.) But even the most taboo fetishes are difficult to contain, particularly for men I think. Some are relatively banal - guys who are turned on by this part of the anatomy or another, or tall or short or dark-skinned or platinum blondes or legs or fingers or, I dunno, nostrils. Then there are the somewhat socially acceptable fetishes - positions, activities, orientation, role playing. It gets kinkier of course, but even those things (so I hear) become erotic and playful within consenting situations. Some of them might even LOOK like illegal or inappropriate behavior. But again, the consenting adults have made plans and safe words and maybe even a list of do's and don'ts. Fair enough. Rules within rules.

All of that requires enormously clear communication and trust. And while many of us engage in or say we're fine with "casual" sex, particularly when participants are single, the words "casual" and "clear communication" don't really line up. What's the result? Lots of unwanted "hookups" and awkward, perhaps even demeaning experiences to relay down the road to friends, therapists or fellow inmates. Why, women might ask, would it be so hard for men to remain dignified in the sexual realm, to know how to keep their libidos in check, to recognize the signals accurately and to proceed only when given the clear green light? Ever seen a guy go uber-ape when he IS given the green light? There's your answer. The floodgates unleashed, watch out downstream. Same for women of course. Once the gloves are off, it's a fool's bet to figure what's to come of it.

Not for a minute would I excuse ungentlemenly behavior, in any way shape or form. But I have two young daughters, and I'm not going to leave them in the dark. Men want sex. They are clever animals, but animals nonetheless, with not a particularly noble ancestry. And they have but one primary biological imperative. To say that we have somehow moved beyond that basic animal fact is ludicrous. Try telling a horny teenager to better manage his hormones. Not bloody likely.

If we've decided (or perhaps I should say if we decide FOR REAL) that we want our boys to grow up understanding what's happening to them, sexually, when biology and maybe their buddies are telling them one thing but morality says another...we're going to have to do a hell of a lot better job explaining something that for many of us adults is barely comprehensible. The blind leading the blind; or the libidinally confused leading the pubescently challenged.

Are you, my male reader, fully in charge of your sex drive? If you do you must have an extra special chromosome that I've yet to encounter in the real world. Perhaps you've found a good mitigant - religion or some spiritual practice, some tonic or potion, maybe anti-depressants. Maybe you've been castrated (nothing wrong with that of course!) Or perhaps you've got one of those socially taboo fetishes that have forced you to push it all down, way way down, like so many Catholic priests have done to the detriment of legions of young boys (and girls) again and again and again and again. On some level, I can't believe this conversation hasn't been decided. There are temptations that will leave even the best-intentioned man to wander far from his supposed morals. Unchecked, by power or station, we have Mr. Hydes to contend with.

Biology does NOT favor women in the species when it comes to sexual coercion. Size, patriarchy, testosterone and physical strength conspire, as does the tendency for men to band together with like-minded brothers to reinforce the worst in behaviors. There is no progress without an open dialogue in the home, with boys, with colleagues, about the true power of the sex drive, and like absolute power, its ability to corrupt absolutely.

There are those who will say that these high-profile cases from C.K. to Harvey to Cosby to Trump to Roy "Dick" Moore are about power, not sex. And I will take heat for what I'm about to say next I'm sure. I will say they are about sex first - but that the men are using their power to get the sex. That is, they do what all men do at every station in life. They use whatever tools they have available to convince a woman to have sex with them. Good looks, nice bod, hot car, good sense of humor, good father instincts, good timing, liquor...yes, yes any man who tells the truth will tell you he uses whatever advantage he can find to attract a mate (and I do mean mate in the most carnal sense, as well as the more Victorian rituals of pair-bonding). OF COURSE there are also other aspects of mating that are special and outsized in our species - including love and friendship and a desire for lifelong mating and shared child-rearing. But when sex happens, it happens with a spark that's absolutely insane, counterintuitive, bizarre, and many times far beyond our control. I really don't think we can control the fantasy or the urge, any more than we can control our first thoughts on just a bout anything. We can only seek to choose the right action. But to deny that the urges are there only makes matters worse.

Take Bill Cosby, for example. One of things most people thought and said when they found out that he had essentially been a roofy rapist for years was...gee whiz, the guy is rich and famous and funny. He could have any girl he wants! Really? Well, what if the sex he wants must allow him to drug his partner and have his way with her? How many women might be turned off by that fact? Sure he could have, and probably DID have sex with lots of ladies consensually. But that's not what consumed him (of course I don't know this for a fact; this is conjecture). What drove him crazy to the point of acting out was immoral and illegal, and unlike homesexuality (which was and in some places IS both of those things) I don't see society deciding that roofie rape is suddenly hunky dory. There are probably tens of thousands of Bill Cosby's out there. To think otherwise is foolish. He had the enablers and resources to get away with it for longer than most. But I doubt his predatory predilection is that much different than the average necrophiliac, the pedophile, the person with desire for beasts or family members or any other horrendous sexual deviation that seems to happen in hundreds of thousands or who knows how many people worldwide. You can't lock them all up for their thoughts. You have to figure out how to prevent the acting-out in the first place.

How do we change a culture that encourages, or at least doesn't DIScourage, coercive sex? I don't know to be honest. But it will involve vigilant reporting and authority figures empowered to do something, to SAY something, whenever and however it happens. Men must stand up against other men. Much as I've argued here previously, Trump is WHITE AMERICA'S PROBLEM. He is a symptom of a deep sickness in a fearful and manipulated electorate. 60% of whites voted for the guy. That is ASTONISHING. Take that home to Thanksgiving, and remember to go easy. Screaming at the Trump voting relative is not going to change minds. Appeal to their hearts, to their sense of decency and patriotism. And if that doesn't work, kick them hard and fast in the groin.

It will require all women to recognize they cannot allow a man to get away with the behavior, since not doing so is just kicking it down the hall to the next victim. Women AND men can venerate the truth tellers and castigate the belittlers.

But we also have to tell our boys that they're not sick or immoral for having the fantasies or urges to control women or worse. We have to differentiate between fantasty and reality, and build empathy for those who are vulnerable as an opportunity to own our dignity as modern men, men capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong and then acting accordingly. 

Men: cop to your own darkest fears and fantasies about sex. Then relay your strategies for dealing with them. Your son is not weird for his fetishes. But his dignity, and ours, is in danger if he behaves badly to women. It's really that important, and our daughters deserve it.

Every victim deserves our attention. Every son is a potential sexual assaulter. Let's see that it's not ours, because ours is ALL of ours.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Judge Rules Against Alicia Boyd, Bigly

Attending a community meeting at which attacktivist Alicia Boyd is shouting and preening is a bit like enduring an un-anaesthetized tooth pulling, minus the relief afterwards. Especially if you're expected to attend, as a member of a committee or community board, to muscle through it without overreaction.  The Q has resolved to keep his Boyd-induced headaches to a minimum in the future. However, unbridled by Board membership, I will allow myself to let loose a roar of my own from time to time. I find her most enduring when she's calling me a fat white fuck, or FWF for short.

Because he has found her behavior so endlessly compelling, the Q kept you abreast of the self-taught lawsuits that brought the board to its knees, and caused not one, not two, but three chairs to step down. Not to mention the bitter firing of its longtime district manager, and the utter chaos that kept the neighborhood from engaging with the Dept of City Planning on a Zoning Study. (So glad we dodged THAT bullet! It's not like development isn't proceeding full-speed-ahead. Except for Empire, which remains incredibly dumpy considering a booming economy and full-fledge housing crisis. Ouch. I think I just felt my tooth hurting again...)

As I've said before, if you want a copy of the full ruling just email me. I've read the whole thing and here's the summary:

Boyd and Janine Nichols wanted the letter that was drafted to City Planning to be nullified because it was drafted "in secret." The judge said it was not drafted in secret. In fact, I was at the open-to-the-public meeting where we discussed it and voted on it.  A first draft had gone around to committee members by email, if that's what was bugging her. And no, she was not cc'd. What a shitshow that woulda been. The meeting she referred to ended in chaos, and accusations of violence, and the arresting of Ms. Boyd who took a table down with her while kicking cops. It was a tour-de-force performance, and you can see it on the youtube. It's quality reality TV.

Regarding that fateful meeting, the judge says we were well within our rights to request the study at all. And he said that the board must only take action at an open meeting, not that every meeting needs be open, though they generally always are. He also upheld the board's right to restrict non-board or community-member participation, but not attendance, at committee meetings, other than in matters involving privacy concerns or personnel issues or both. (In other words, sit down and shut up, Boyd. Or you'll be dragged out by your ankles. You can't just create a ruckus and stop people from debating issues in a civilized tone.)

The judge said Boyd's opposition to a Planning Study was understandable but that doesn't mean she can hijack the process as set forth in the City Charter. He acknowledged former City Planner and anti-DCP activist Tom Angotti's affidavit made potentially valid points, but it's not the judicial systems place to litigate matters that are clearly for legislative consideration. The spirit and letter of the ULURP process had been followed. So no-go on that one either.

Boyd and Nichols claimed Board members were placed illegally. They didn't provide proof that BP Eric Adams put more than his share of people on the Board all at once, thereby destabilizing it and making it possible for Boyd to bring it to its knees. Actually, it's longtime Adams deputy Ingrid Gordon who made THAT mess, but it's besides the point. The members appointed were all qualified and the City Councilmembers themselves didn't object (in fact, remember that guy Mathieu Eugene? He appointed me...not once but twice. Think he looked at the list? Hah! Not bloody likely. The dude hates me like vampires hate garlic. That's more proof than anything else right there.) Also neither the BP or Gordon were named in the suit, so that point was moot.

B&N wanted to nullify sections of CB9's by-laws that allow the committee chairs and overall board chair to appoint non-board community members to committees. Actually, it's people like Boyd and her followers that show why the rule is such a good one in the first place. It allows the board to keep them off, while at the same time offering up plenty of seats to people who DON'T disrupt meetings. I know lots of people who serve on committees, myself included now that I'm off the board proper, and there is no litmus test. All that's required is a desire to serve and show up at meetings. Oh, and NOT create a ruckus.

B&N said the board didn't respond to FOIL requests. Yes they did, said the judge.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, B&N said the public wasn't allowed to speak at meetings as is required. It's actually not required, except on the agenda at the monthly board meetings.

In fact, the public is given ample opportunity, informally. But guess what? If you hurl insults or cause the meeting to stop functioning, you're gonna lose that opportunity. Basically the Board sets its own agenda and policies. The only meeting where the public is REQUIRED to be given an opportunity to speak is at the full Board meeting. And even then, only on the specific agenda items to be voted on. (Personally I find the bitch-and-moan open forum to be a waste of time, since its only used for Board bashing anyway.)

So there you have it. Two years after we tried to initiate a planning study, Boyd gets shut down legally. And it's probably all too late now anyway, so in fact, she wins. That doesn't mean she's going away. Expect more antics and more opportunities for the rest of us to kvetch and groan and keep our distance.

Cunningham to Challenge Eugene Electioneering

Good for him. Let's not get our hopes up about overturned results or sweeping voter reform just yet. But at least the message seems to be getting through...Mathieu Eugene's version of the Kings County Democratic Machine is built like bull dozer. Mathieu had no business being in ANY polling place where he wasn't voting. His supporters were not to be within a 100 feet of any precinct. Poll workers were only to respond to questions about the ballot, not instruct voters how to vote straight down the party line.

This from City Limits, says Cunningham is now planning to challenge the election formally. In the story you'll hear how hapless poll captains had no formal training on how to deal with complaints. Of course not - they're being chosen and paid by politicians, and they're far from neutral themselves. I heard a full on political argument happening between workers at PS92. They shouldn't even be talking about candidates at all. That said, an election is hard to get exactly right. For shits and giggles I tried signing my name in a completely different way, all loops, just initials. Not so much as a second look.

The Election Day antics all point to but one conclusion. Eugene's a fool. Why would one take a chance at all of breaking the law? He was the Democratic Party candidate in a district of Democrats - basically a shoo-in. Foolish. Reckless. And even if a judge rules no reason for a do-over, it's sad for the neighborhood and City that so many people have had their faith thrashed when it comes to voting and politicians. Then the Man goes and thanks God for his blessings? Oof. If you're gonna cheat you should at least own it.