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, March 28, 2015

Pels Pies Company

Not their logo. Just random pic from the internets.

We've been warning you long it's time to get your pie and drink it too. Pels Pie Company, open tonight, with live music to boot.

446 Rogers
Tween Lincoln and Lefferts
Booze and Baked Goods

In other words, say goodbye to that carb-free weekday routine. Binge and Purge never felt so right.

thx to mr. plg for the tip! 

So I stopped in for pie last night. Sarah and Maddie were warmly welcoming, and the apple pie was just $4, big, and super scrumptious. Lots of curated wines and beer. The espresso machine is a-comin'

Come on by and welcome them to Rogers, the new Champs Elysees of Lefferts.

Sarah & Maddie at your service

Zoning Map For New Hudson Ambitions

In a lot of ways, the proposed Planning Study is hard to find consensus about because there's so much conjecture around it. But it's important to note that the most speculation revolves around areas that already have tons of potential to build new units "as of right." A commenter suggested that the parts of the Lefferts neighborhood experiencing a boom are already contextually rezoned. However, this is not correct, as the map of current zoning (above) shows.

The above includes areas of CB9, but everything from the south side of Clarkson down is CB17. Just below and to the east of Clarkson FlatBed is a lot of R7-1, though R6 allows for all manner of nutty stuff, as the planned 23 story tower down Nostrand past Church shows. It's zoned R6, so clearly you don't need R7-1 to go high - if that's your primary concern, which as Q readers will note, is not the only thing I take into consideration.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hudson Plans (Gulp) 420 More Units In Lefferts Area

Had to look at the calendar. Kendall C just sent me this article from the Commercial Observer - thought it by April Fool's. Interestingly, Hudson's plans pretty much perfectly match the likely strategy that the Q and others have predicted the industry to take. Build on transit hubs, buy up land that currently has little or no units, max out your FAR. And keep looking at the numbers, numbers, numbers. Hudson, as you recall, is building 626 Flatbush.

The best quote to walk away with..."Nostrand is the new Franklin Ave, after all"

“Hudson is very happy with the purchase and thrilled to continue developing in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a neighborhood we love,” said Joseph Kohl-Riggs, the director of acquisitions at Hudson, in prepared remarks. “Transit access is excellent, with the 2 and 5 trains two blocks away and the new Select Bus on Nostrand Avenue. We’re also excited about the corner retail here—Nostrand Avenue is the new Franklin Avenue, after all.”

Phase 1 of the new residential development will include 170 apartments and Phase 2 will have 250, according to CPEX.

“We have been advising the family for more than 10 years and the timing for this transaction worked out perfectly,” said Mr. Leary in a statement. “Our clients were able to capitalize on the demand for new housing in Brooklyn. Prospect Lefferts Gardens has some of the best housing stock in terms of pre-war buildings in all of Brooklyn, but there has been little new stock added to the market. We have watched values and demand in this neighborhood consistently rise year over year.”
310 Clarkson rendering

March Against Gun Violence Tomorrow

Geoffrey Davis is running for Assembly at the special election May 5. He's running against two other Democrats who are also not running on the Democratic line because the Democrats messed up and couldn't get a candidate by deadline. So, Davis is running under his own Love Yourself party. And he's holding a march against gun violence starting at Parkside and Bedford, tomorrow.

I'll write more about the campaign in the coming weeks, and yeah it would be easy to call the above know. See you there.

It's a fascinating bunch of candidates. Diana Richards on the Green and Working Families line. The BP and State Senator want septuagenarian Shirley Patterson on the Independent line. And there's an Orthodox candidate, Menachem Raitport, on the Republican line, who's sure to be competitive, meaning it's altogether possible that we might get a Republican Assemblyman, at least for one term.

So weird, it's not. Democracy ain't pretty.

626 Flatbush - Affordable Unit Applications Available

Say what you will about the Flatbush Monster. It's one of the only buildings around here being built that offers affordable units. The application is available, but the last page has the numbers most folks aren't wondering about:

At least now we have an answer to the question "affordable to whom." Just referenc the above, since it will be the benchmark in our neighborhood for the foreseeable future.

If you want a copy of the full application go here. Also, you can get an application by mail or phone - 646-388-8230

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The New Flatbush

Holy cow, this thing from Hello Living is quite the stunner, soon to grow from 1580 Nostrand below Church Avenue:

Reminds me of something I can't put my finger on, or rather shouldn't in public.

More pics show how you get that swoopy effect in the rendering:

Loyal readers will complain I've gone too much off course with this one. Not given the current rumblings in our neighborhood about rezoning. It is, in lurid detail, a wonderful example of creative use of the R6 zoning without contextual anything. Steve Smith of YIMBY explains how they did it.

GEM Closing

How on earth did rents rise to the point my beloved GEM Discount Store would need to close? My kids will be crushed. And my wallet emptied. Wah.

Over at (c'mon man, send me a note, I wanna know who you are!) is this photo, which if the text of Mr. Flatbushed's post is to be correlated is, in fact, the very corner of today's Duane Reade/GEM:

Methinks, rather mesuspects, that something fishy's in Flatbush. Perhaps a new plan for that VERY large corner space just a block from the park?

Just Concisely Venting

I'm hoping the whole City Planning study mess is over soon and either I can focus on sitting down at meetings with them or clearing my schedule for next couple years, focusing on housing and public safety or some such. It's been exhausting and emotionally draining. I hardly know why I care anymore. But I'm not a quitter and I'll see it through to the end.

One last time, I'll write down the reason I cared in the first place. Basically to psych myself up for the next round.

  1. The neighborhood has not EVER created a proper plan for growth with the City. It's time. 197a is not going to happen with CB9 as currently configured. This is the best way to learn, listen and develop responsibly.
  2. Developers are taking advantage of gentrification to build more and more market rate apartments on every parcel of land they can buy up.
  3. The City has placed an emphasis on getting developers to build affordable housing that is ACTUALLY affordable. Maybe not to the very poor, but to working families making less than $50,000. In 20 years, we'll be glad we helped protect diversity in our community, because right now, there are precious few protections for that.
  4. Blocks inside the major corridors can be protected from outsized and out of context development. That is a FACT and it has worked elsewhere. Check with other Community Boards...when they ask DCP to come in they get much better results than when developers and elected officials initiate the process.
  5. Empire Boulevard needs a serious look before it becomes tall hotels and/or more storage facilities (hey combine the two! now that's a million dollar idea). It's zoned "junk" commercial, when it could be a grand boulevard where people can live and businesses can thrive. Do nothing, and you don't get a chance to shape it, regardless how high.
  6. A private study has zero chance of breezing through the ULURP process. Unless a private group can come up with tens of thousands, maybe well over six figures, to do an analysis AND environmental review, you won't even have it LOOKED at by DCP with anything but a cursory glance. Then, they're the ones who prepare it, or not, for ULURP. If anyone doesn't like the way it looks - Eric, Laurie, Mathieu, Bill etc. - it will be altered to fit their concerns. So why not START with the City? I don't need a degree in Planning to argue for less density and height and more contextual zoning. No one does. You argue for what you want and give a common sense defense. Don't try to tell DCP what they already know. But if you do a study, then I suppose you come armed with some extra degree of clarity. So do the study. Be part of the process, don't derail it.
  7. MTOPP and others have completely upset the existing equilibrium in the neighborhood and should not be allowed to run the process. To date, they have. Their tactics of trash and burn have infuriated well-meaning community leaders and volunteers. They've tarnished the reputations of people, and divided the neighborhood along racial and class lines. They've infuriated the Jewish community by singling them out as getting special protections. I would love to see their efforts go down in flames, though at this point it's hard to see them going anywhere. Including their members who don't even live in their neighborhood.
Yeah, it's frustrating. It's particularly frustrating to have smart, talented members of the community argue against the Study. But they're all good people at heart, and I don't begrudge any of the angry homeowner crowd. There's really only one full-on race-baiting jerk, and I hope her Air BnB business gets a slew negative reviews, and that her non-profit get busted for raising money that has nothing to do with its mission. New Directions in Healing indeed. But in the great human spirit, may she not get hurt, unless it's emotionally, as she's done to many others. Lie for a lie, truth for the truth. Or lie for the truth, truth for the lie?

I'm still working on it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Neighborhood Association Gets New Leadership

PLGNA's been around since the '60s and has a great legacy of work done in the name of the community. In fact, the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association is, after all, where PLG got its name. Founder Bob Thomason is still kicking and can be heard firing up the crowd at local meetings. About five years ago the group rebooted after a bit of malfeasance-induced hiatus, and gradually it's begun to get its sea legs.

And tonight, the group elected a new President, in Quest Fanning. I've known Quest long enough to develop deep confidence in his intelligence and commitment to the needs of the neighborhood. Quest is a genuine and curious guy, funny and sincere. He's a lifelong resident of Ocean Avenue with a brief detour to Patio Gardens and is a recent new husband and dad; that is to say, he's putting down roots here in his own roots. I've seen him get downright passionate and even a little choked up when talking about the great strength and diversity of his neighborhood. Congrats Quest, and may you do great things.

But he's not alone. The smart-as-a-whip defense lawyer Joyce David will serve as secretary, and the delightful retired educator and Chester Court dweller Brenda Edwards takes the VP slot. Nelson Simon stays on as treasurer.

NYC is a town of neighborhoods, and every strong neighborhood has a strong association of blocks and committees addressing the various needs and constituencies among its residents. There is a long tradition in this town of organizing by 'hood, and developing community in order to have a voice in a massive City.

Here's to PLGNA, and to its new Board officers.

Committee Blows It - Back Again It Goes

Short version: MTOPP called attention to the fact that Ben Edwards had adjourned the meeting, then Demetrius Lawrence said "wait we have to vote" and said it wasn't adjourned, thereby making the vote to send the draft to the full board null and void. Another meeting will be called to re-vote, and to discuss a proposed (just proposed at this point) text amendment that would allow builders more buildable feet if they provide certain needed housing, for seniors in particular. Of course, those vehemently opposed to any increased density are opposed. Opposed to, it would appear, seniors. No affordable housing via inclusionary zoning. No new senior housing. Because we can't handle a couple stories of extra height. Unbelievable. Whose side is the opposition on, I ask?

As an added bonus, some young Alicia acolyte read aloud a petition demanding my ouster from the Board for being racist and disrespectful. To which I must ask...a promise or a threat? Granted, I'm not the only one being tarred and feathered. Eric Adams and Pearl Miles get a lot of abuse. New temporary chair Laura Imperiale got her fair share. But since Alicia's petition to have me removed contains specific accusations, I thought I'd claim them all in a concise little list.

  1. Calling Mathieu Eugene not worth his cheap suits. Check
  2. Calling Alicia and certain members of her crowd Assaholic, in need of a 12-step program for Assaholics. Check.
  3. Calling (now resigned) chair Dwayne Nicholson in need of leadership training. Check
  4. Calling the Community Board an embarrassment, which ironically is akin to what Alicia's been saying for the past year. Check.
  5. Writing the post "Not In My Black Yard," where I suggested that Alicia is using race-baiting techniques to cover her real objective, which is to not allow building on Empire, which is quite literally her back yard. Check.
  6. Writing "perhaps Alicia will break her jaw gardening," thereby rendering her unable to hurl insults and disrupt the meetings. Actually, I could see how that one could be interpreted as wishing harm on her. I don't. She's done irreparable harm to herself and needs no help from me. Debatable and deleted.

That's it. After tens of thousands of words on a gazillion topics. That's what they can come up with. Frankly, I'm not doing a very good job of speaking my mind if that's the best they can do. You'd think I'd have betrayed my love for the community more than that on a slew of occasions. I write this stuff as quickly as I can because I have precious little time each day. I suppose I could use an editor, but where's the fun in that?

Meanwhile, the ignorance continues. While fighting the Community Board - who are NOT experts and should NOT be counted on to answer specific planning questions - the community is missing its best opportunity to go block by block to determine where you should and shouldn't build new market rate buildings.

In the meantime, I would ask that you consider the following projects (a partial list at best) of new buildings going up CB9 that have NO affordable (up to roughly $50K in income for families of four, in most cases) units. And this doesn't take into account the dozen + projects in farther south in Flatbush proper, on Lenox etc. In fact, one of the only buildings with affordable units is...626 Flatbush. I'm close to saying "let the haters get what they want." Go ahead, let the building continue without input from us or the City. Just see what we get.

  1. 165 Apartment building on Rogers at Crown, replacing St. Ignatius
  2. The old Gulf Station at EP & Bedford - might be a hotel OR residential
  3. The old Sea Crest Linent site at 46 Crown. 209 units rental building
  4. Tivoli Towers is undergoing a repopulating campaign with its new jerky landlord looking to change the wealth of tenants. Already the harassment has begun.
  5. The former parking garage on Carrol near BBG will be midrise residential
  6. On the NE of EP and Bedford (I know, across the street) 133 apartments
  7. The Associated on Nostrand was bought, and they're lying about letting the supermarket stay for 5 years. Mark my words
  8. The BBG owned spot on Montgomery near Washington will be 170 units
  9. Never to be forgotten...ever...23-stories of 626 Flatbush
  10. EP & Nostrand - 29 unit building
  11. The hilarious little triangle at 995 Washington
  12. 31 Lincoln 87 units
  13. 651 New York Ave and Fenimore/Hawthorne - 40 units
  14. 329 Sterling Street, rentals
  15. 111 Clarkson - 50 Unites
  16. 149 Clarkson - 5 story rental
  17. 50-54 Clarkson - when the hell are they gonna start that one?
  18. 371 Lincoln Road
  19. One Sullivan 
  20. 90 Sullivan Place
  21. Those new townhouses on Hawthorne on the way to Nostrand
  22. 46 Crown
  23. Not in district but 123 on the Park and its soon to be built sister building alters the nabe vibe considerably
  24. Many many more in the works
Lest any of you living or planning on living in the above think I have a problem with you, don't fret. The second you move in you're a neighbor. And to be honest, we're a lovely nabe and the City's growing, so who's to blame you?

It's simply a matter of planning for the growth. That's all.