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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What the Zell! Is Hamilton Giving Away His Shot?

This is a longer story, and I'm on a deadline, so I'll cut to the gist. State Senator Jesse Hamilton has his hands full. Had Trump not won the presidency, he may have been able to continue in his Independent Democratic coalition (IDC) and kept his seat without incident. But folks are pissed at Republicans in a way they haven't been for years (well, at least 9). And the fact that Hamilton caucuses with the Repubs to gain more money for the district (and not coincidentally for himself - a chairmanship and all) has not won him many NEW fans. Hamilton was Eric Adams' chosen successor, and Adams himself took a bit of a victory lap when Hamilton won the 20th district, calling himself a Kingmaker. The truth has been a bit more nuanced.

And so this year a challenger is already making noise and raising cash, a young fellow with a terrific name - Zellnor Myrie. I mean, does this guy look like he means business or what? Smart choice posing before the subway station. Who can't relate to that??

Check out his story: Zellnor
I'm gonna be straight with you. I like Jesse. I really do. And I think he's right that when the state's as divided as the country, you need to get creative. And the IDC has done just that. But it's all out war, man. You can't run as a Dem and switch parties just before the election. That was weak. Then trying to claim that only gentrifiers are pissed about it? Fighting words. Not for nothing, Jesse, there's a shit-ton of "gentrifiers" in your district, and more every day. But it's nice to see that his chief opponent is anything but.

This is gonna be interesting y'all.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Then There's This White Guy

The male Homo Sapiens is an odd bird (or, mammal). Over the millenia he has developed many useful traits that have made him the Lord of his destiny. Among them, his fierce tribalism and loyalty (to tribe, not women mind you - his seed must be sown! Or at least shown, right Mr. C.K.?) have allowed him to go into battle for the dumbest of reasons. But each war, however small, has heightened his ability to conquer. In the 20th Century alone he went from single shooting shotguns to nuclear bombs. His intelligence (in certain situations) is clearly superb, though common sense is not his forte.

This fierce tribalism has led him down many ugly paths. Slavery, through the millennia, seems to have been his preferred choice of labor. Female domination and sexual predation has been a near-constant. Subjugation of peoples and whole nations has led him on an inexorable path to destruction, fueled by an insatiable appetite for more, bigger and better. Love continues to hold a premium to this beast, and yet even love takes a back seat to power, greed and good old fashioned fun. And beer.

There are few better examples of this creature's true genetic tendencies than his love of American football. All of the above qualities seem to mingle in the mind of this adult adolescent. And sometimes, as in mob mentality and state brutality, this rushing of hormones mixed with his dominant status provokes outlandish displays of...of...well, we'll let this Minnesota Viking fan tell the story in his own voice. And the fact that the team is called "the Vikings" is an irony not lost on the Q, a longtime fan of the team himself, why, he'll never fully understand. Note: this video is not for the faint of heart, or a New Orleans Saints fan:

For more terrific analysis, here's reader Josh's suggestion (great stuff):

Friday, January 12, 2018

Alicia's Frivolous Lawsuits Keep Losing - Will She Ever Give Up?

At this point, if you haven't been sued by Alicia Boyd you can't rightly call yourself of member of the community. The latest CB9 Chairperson to be targeted by her wrath is Musa Moore - the 4th chair since she started her crusade - and he's shown more patience than most. Having lost nearly every conflict, you'd think she'd sulk away. But like a certain character in the oval office, facing reality is not her strong-suit. Even after being scolded by a judge as she lost her case against ULURP chair Michael Liburd and Moore, she's been telling everyone that Moore is not just in Eric Adams' pocket, he's on his payroll, and that should disqualify him from his chairmanship. Not so, says MM: From CB9:

Below the Headlines the Resistance Is Real

Have you noticed that pretty much every news source covers the same 5-10 stories every single day? Sure they each have their own click-bait headlines and opinions to hawk, but the Trump-centric news cycle is tiresome. He said "what" now? Forget about it. He's a racist, windbag, ass-slapping snake oil salesman. Expect racist, windbag, ass-slapping snake oil salesman nonsense to come out of his mouth. Put a pin in it, and take it out the next time you're considering voting for him or not-voting for his opponent because "they're all the same." And let's vote every last one of the Trumpies out of office.

In the meantime, you have true heroes fighting in the trenches every day to try to get the meat-and-potatoes policy realities out into the public sphere. Like immigration, and the fact that I.C.E. waltzes into town yesterday and grabs a well-respected immigrant activist named Ravi Ragbir in downtown Manhattan and arrests him for apparently no new reason. No 40th district councilperson and supposed immigration champion Mathieu Eugene to be seen. But councilman Jumaane Williams practices some non-violent protest and tries to block the ambulance (why ambulance? to be sneaky Petes?) from taking Ragbir into custody.

If you want some inspiration to start gearing up to take back both houses of congress come hell or high water, just watch and listen to Jumaane as he speaks to Buzzfeed's reporters. Folks, this is a NYC Councilperson. An elected official. And one truly patriotic American.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sometimes the Numbers Just Don't Add Up

The Q is sad to bid farewell to Video Revival, the non-profit screening room on Rogers just atop Empire Blvd that had a wildly eclectic curatorial flare. Most recently I'd been there for a kids birthday party - talk about perfect! A little movie, a little cake, seats for 30 rowdy 8 year olds. On that model alone you'd think you could make the numbers work. Alas, it was not to be. From the website:
*** We are on a temporary hiatus, though our location at 346 Rogers is now permenatly closed, sign up for the mailing list for more details on upcoming programming and relocation ***
And the Q was preparing to bid adieu to a longtime blogging institution most recently known as BKLNER. (don't forget that period at the end!) Publisher Liena Zagare has been a leader in the local neighborhood news scene since launching Ditmas Park Corner, nee the Ditmas Park Blog, but then Liena went to AOL for a hot minute after selling the blog to AOL's "Patch" and then came back to launch "Corner" which then became an amalgam of blogs covering Kengington to Park Slope and even "Cheaps Head Bay" and calling it Corner Media and (take a breath Tim) and then THAT became BKLNER. - and all was good in the world. Terrific writers and hyper-local news. I know people who are absolutely ADDICTED to the stuff. And why not? If all politics is local, then all news is politics. Or some suchamuch.

Simply put. It takes. Money. To run. A company. And the advertising dollars for local media don't add up much better than for, say, the aforementioned local art movie house. After DNA Info and Gothamist disappeared a couple months ago after workers threatened to unionize, BKLNER. seemed all the more crucial.

So when Liena announced that she'd need to close up shop by end of this year if she didn't reach a threshold of subscribers (or in the parlance of non-profits "donors"). But like some Christmas miracle out of "It's a Wonderful Life" nearly 2000 hearty souls whipped out their plastic to sign up to make payments as low as $2 a month to keep the enterprise going - for now.

And to roll with this theme the Q just noticed that relatively longtime falafel stop NY Halal & Co just became Atomic Wings, probably to boost numbers. Shrewd move methinks. Folks love wings, even when they look like warmed over schmegg. Think on it. Someone had to actually stage and take this picture, and conclude it was a winner:

And tonight, the joint was still serving curries and lamb over rice. So maybe they're going to cash in on the Atomic chain name while still serving their Halal standbys. Apparently Atomic Wings is one of those joints that co-exists anyway. Like, you can be both an Atomic Wings and the Local Bar, or Atomic Wings and Le Haberdashery.

The Q's a big boy and he loves crappy food. But quite honestly, that picture is giving me a hankering for a fast at least til the break of said fast. As in, nighty night.

. ?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Bob Thomason - Ninety Is the New Eighty In Twenty Eighteen

If you've used the term PLG to describe your neighborhood, there's one man you can thank (or curse) for the name more than any other. He's longtime resident Bob Thomason, who helped start the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association darn near 50 years ago (hold crap). And while not everyone latched onto the neighborhood name, Bob latched onto the neighborhood and stayed involved through good times and bad, often invoking the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. at functions big and small. He's delightful. And this post is most definitely NOT in memory. Dude still has a lot of kick lift.

You can call him Mr. PLG

Long-time PLG resident and community activist Bob Thomason turned 90 on December 29. Bob and his wife Jane moved to PLG in the mid 60s with a dream of helping create a community where people of all races and backgrounds could live side by side. To that end, Bob helped found the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association (PLGNA). In 1973, PLGNA became involved in a landmark legal battle to combat redlining. Over the years, it has helped tenants to organize unions and blocks to form associations; supported safety programs; transported seniors; developed youth programs; and served as an umbrella organization for other neighborhood groups. Bob has been there every step of the way, putting into practice his deep faith and belief that all our lives are richer when lived together.

Besides creating community, Bob's other great love is cycling. He pedaled across America, from New York to San Diego, at age 61 and he's never stopped. He's seen the world on his two-wheeler, taking solo trips of three months or more to China, Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands, among other places. Although he's slowed down a bit in recent years, you can still find Bob circling Prospect Park and taking overnight trips out of town.

And if you run into Bob on the street, don't be surprised if he offers to sing you a song, usually a selection from the American Songbook. If you are that lucky, please take him up on it. Nothing makes Bob happier, and it's guaranteed to brighten your day as well. He's quite the crooner!

So, Happy Birthday to our friend and neighbor. Bob often says he's aiming for 100. We wish him that and more. And we wish for him, and for all of us, the world that he's envisioned and worked toward for so many years.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Awesome Gifts

Need an Awesome gift for that hard-to-gift loved one? Pop on down to Awesome at 617 Flatbush tween Rutland and Fenimore. The Q's been meaning to go for awhile and finally got his fat ass up the 'Bush and was oh so pleasantly surprised to find goofy, hip and "woke" gifts that even made this old man blush a time or too. Owner and new mom Vanessa Raptopoulos lives in the nabe, so this is yet ANOTHER Mom 'n' Pop shop on the ever-expanding list of entrepreneurial upstarts making Flatbush and environs a micronomic engine. (ugh, that sentence! No time for edits.) I'll just leave you with a picture and a plea to go check out AWESOME.

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.