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, February 13, 2019

Here It Comes - The Spice Factory Rises

So unnecessary. So predictable.

Months and years of combat against the City by local citizens led by AB (MTOPP in particular) has yielded nothing in the way of protections against outsized development. The Community Board has taken the stance of "No Negotiating With Terrorists," as if City Planners and "more housing" advocates didn't have a leg to stand on. They do. In fact, the City IS the leg. And Boyd and company have misplayed their hand so horribly as to leave us with projects like the new Spice Factory development that, barring unforeseen economic catastrophe, will look something like this:

Read all about it
Roughly in line height-wise with Tivoli towers and some of the other new developments being planned, this part of southern Crown Heights is quickly being transformed into a massive new rental neighborhood. Which, of course, it always WAS going to be. Once these buildings are built (and despite what you'll hear to the contrary, they will pretty much sail through with promises of hundreds of units of new means-tested i.e. "affordable" housing), new precedents will have been set for the area.

And then, as they always do, Empire(s) will fall. (Activists Get Nothing)

And to think, when the Q first started looking at the issue, Eric Adams and co. were hoping to work with City Planning to cap buildings at 10-12 stories. Now, by alienating the City and allowing "spot rezonings" to go through one-by-one, I'd say the neighborhood that was won't be anymore.

Is it the end of the world? Of course not. Was it an enormous missed opportunity to partner with the City in deciding how and where this stuff should go? Hell yeah.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Slammin' Tacos on Parkside?

Normally the Q doesn't put much stock in online reviews. Except when they're overwhelmingly exceptionally glowing. And this new place on Parkside next to my buddy Abdo's Apple repair shop is looking pretty damn okay. El Jeffe it's called, and it seems as if it's a unique twist on Mexican food. We know what it'll be like from its other location in Bed Stuy, about which is said:

346 reviews
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Oleida E. Rangel
2 months ago
I’d give this place 10 stars if I could! Tacos were unbelievable specially their shrimp tacos. Staff was super friendly and really worked together as a team to make sure orders were taken care of promptly. Place was packed when we came in …More
12 hours ago
Had their shrimp taco and shrimp boss nacho. Best I've ever had, period! They give great size portions, and never skimp on food. Its pure perfection.Take my money lol!
Rich Prince
2 weeks ago
This place was great. Cleanliness, service, ambiance, music, all of the above is great. The food was perfect!
Demisha Nesbitt
a month ago
Fresh and very tasty! Good prices. The frozen sangria is good as well.
Unique Life
3 months ago
The food is great especially the shrimp and fish taco. Had the patron margarita and its delicious. Customer service is wonderful. I love the ambiance and music
Tamara Castro
4 months ago
The jerk pork rice bowls are amazing. Nice kick of jerk spices. If you get it with pineapple, it's at the bottom of the rice, black beans, then topped with jerk pork, lettuce, and a drizzle of a creamy sauce. On the sides are diced tomatoes …More
Colin Teague
a month ago
Don't expect super authentic Mexican food, but this is an amazing hole in the wall spot for tacos, nachos, frozen drinks, etc. Fun atmosphere with hip hop music, friendly staff and some board games. Definitely one of the best places to grab a bite/drink in Bed Stuy
renee mason
a month ago
Food is great, drinks is excellent, hospitality and customer service is exceptional. Whenever I'm in Bed Stuy I stop in and have fried shrimp tacos and fish tacos and a margarita. They are sooooo good.
Melanie Harris
4 months ago
Great food. Had the rice bowl with veggies and the jerk pork. Veggies were perfectly crisp and colorful. Pork was flavorful; perfectly seasoned. Highly recommend.
Cherishe Cumma
3 minutes ago
I ordered from this restaurant using Uber eats yesterday . I got the pork tacos and the pork bowl with pico de Gallo and chips . Everything in my order was fresh and felt like I was eating healthy . I would definitely order from this …More
marcella riley
a month ago-
I had the jerk pork burrito it was very good, the meat was juicy and the burrito was very filling. The lemonade was too sweet to my liking but overall great service

Monday, February 11, 2019

So Long Flatbush Caton Market

One day they will look at us like we're crazy. Oh yes, we'll say, there used to be this enormous brightly hued blue and yellow warehousey corrugated shed without windows that used to house burgeoning  businesses. An incubator for street vendors to help them transition to storefronts.

"Sure. Right. No windows? Did anyone ever shop there?" they'll ask.

Not so much. It was designed poorly and cheaply, meant to shield the lively street vendors from the elements. Instead it became a bit of a tomb, and residents mostly passed without entering.

Here's to a fixture of the neighborhood that has now been razed, for a large new all-affordable (means tested) building (inset) that will radically change how we experience this corner. Particularly when they tear down the old bank building kitty-korner from this. (Catty-Corner?) Actually, it was originally Caddy Corner, from the word for four. You know, like quatro and quatre. A great thing to know! As well as Vermont, for (ready?) Green Mountains. (remember your French?)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gulp and Splatter

Tonight! Tix still available. Sip and Paint. At Brooklyn Commons a/k/a Phat Alberts. 

Rapid Realty Runs Across the Street

There's a new Marshal in town and he seems to have plenty of deputies. Did you know that City Marshals are not actually employees of the City? Seems more like Repo Man to me (see below).

So another business gets the "Seized" treatment, this time Rapid Realty busted for a "fictitious name." Really what this means is that the landlord felt he/she/they weren't getting the dough they deserved, or perhaps were deserted in the middle of the lease, and told the marshal to grab anything and everything of value as collateral. My hunch is that the fictitious name bit is a bit of malarkey to allow the Marshals to do their business.

To be clear: I don't know the backstory and I'm not assigning blame. The Q got in trouble for merely pointing out the shuttered doors in the past. This space is now available for rent.

Perhaps you should stop by Rapid Realty's other location on the Flabenue to inquire about renting it?

Classic scene from Repo Man. A story of guns, love, mutli-culturalism, the American Dream and get-rich-quick class mobility:

Monday, February 4, 2019

February 26 You Can Vote For A True Leader

Long story short: Election Feb 26 and it's a no brainer. Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate.

Been following Jumaane with a lump in my throat since he first showed remarkable leadership and courage the night Kimani Gray was shot in East Flatbush. That was the night the Q woke up. I'm not saying I'm woke; I'd get torn a new arsehole for that. I'm saying I, Clarkson FlatBed, woke up to the facts - the reality that the completely innocent young men of color all around me were living day-in and day-out. I'm not going to say that the police hadn't been helpful in shutting down some real-life drug and gang violence in the neighborhood. It's complicated that way - the police helped make me feel safer. I've never trusted cops out-of- hand; but when an innocent mom gets shot down in front of her young son across the street from your house, you'll take what you can get. And many of us were grateful when they nabbed the guy.

So, Kimani Gray was shot and killed in May of 2013. Trayvon Martin's killer was acquitted that summer. #BlackLivesMatter was born. Martin held Skittles; Gray was said to have held a gun. Bullshit. A year and half later and the 67th precinct was shown to have a sick history of gun planting.

The question remains; is a de facto police state, over-incarceration and daily humiliation worth the occasional crime prevented by the abuse of authority, all in the name of keeping "the nice people" safe? That depends on whether you belief "Black Lives Matter." We learned, that year in particular, that not enough cops and citizens believe that they do. And three years later, those same deplorables helped elect the most cynical, self-serving racist this country has seen since...oy, it's a lot of self-serving racists when you think about it.

Having risen through the ranks as both a Democrat councilperson AND an activist, Williams has shown time and again that he puts principles before expedience. I read every missive from Williams start to finish. Either he's a hell of a writer or he has some very, very good people working with him. I suspect both.

Vote for Jumaane on the 26th, and any other time you see his name on the ballot. His actions and rhetoric rise to the level of some of the best civil rights leaders. His curiosity and intellectual appetite can win over the most sceptical snob. His bonafides ensure that he doesn't speak "over" those he speaks "for," Tourette's Syndrome be damned. Do the right thing, indeed.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Reading, Writing and Residents

Live here? We want to hear your story. And Deborah Mutnick, of PLGNA and Long Island University, wants to help you write it as gooderer as possible.

Imagine a workshop, up at Grace Church on Bedford once a week, with neighbors from all walks of life, actively honing your skill of the quill. And then, having your story published in a Voices of Lefferts book, to be sold at none other than Greenlight Bookstore?

If you are someone, or perhaps more importantly if you KNOW someone, who has a song in their heart and a story to tell - or even just the story (I could set it to music if you like: Lefferts Gardens: The Musical) then by all means FILL OUT THIS FORM BELOW and send it to Professor Mutnick.
Actually, this form is a picture. A J-Peg if you will. So if you don't want to be bothered with a scanning it, just write her that you'd like to be part of the Voices of Lefferts workshops starting not this weekend but next, Feb 9.

So send her an email with your NAME, EMAIL, POSTAL ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER and the optionals: NEED CHILDCARE? AGE RENTER/OWNER? OCCUPATION RACE/ETHNICITY and she'll get back to you. She's good like that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

It Couldn't Happen Here

The Q doesn't know about you, but all these frigid temperatures have me thinking about the National Socialists right here in the good ol' USA.

80 years ago, or when my father was one-year old, Madison Square Garden came to life with a rally that should still shake us awake today. The Q will gladly make the obligatory Trump analogy, but really, seeing the Nazi salute with George Washington and the American flag shows we were, and are, always but a couple of elections and a coup away from dictatorship. For me, the difference in the U.S., as opposed to say Venezuela or Turkey, is that the current oaf in office (he is an oafficial) has pissed off military brass and longtime government insiders to such a degree he'd have a hard time consolidating power. But clearly a large portion of the population that we THOUGHT were old-guard conservatives are actually ethno-nationalists of the type that took over liberal Weimar all those years ago.

Like, get a load of this:

Field of Vision - A Night at the Garden from Field of Vision on Vimeo.

Given the standard MAGA rally nonsense we've witnessed over 3 years of campaigning (yes, it still feels like a campaign - that's why so many of us feel so weary) it's fairly easy to see how the right Post-Trump candidate could come along and build momentum from an already frothy voting base. And were that person to have the military's backing, and if the Left began to revolt in a way that made the status-quo nervous, look out and get ready for the fight of your lives.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

When Scaffolding Is Welcome

If you've ever wandered past the imposing Erasmus Hall campus and peeked through the gates, you've probably been shocked and awed by the old original Erasmus Academy building, a relic of another age that seems to plead "please, come and fix me, fix me before I'm lost to history." Well, that's what the Q heard it say by gum.

Word comes via the reliable BKLYNER that work has begun to restore it to its former glory. After many false starts through the years, we may actually see this Alexander Hamilton linked building used for teaching and learning. Thanks to Geoff Cobb for the amusing anecdote about ancient rifles being found recently, a couple hundred years after their "usefulness" expired - an early example of the NRA's answer to school shootings?

2018 pic by Geoff Cobb