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.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

It's Official. Ta-Nehisi Coates Is A-Comin'

But which coffee shop will he prefer? Odds on, Gratitude Cafe. It's closer. Lincoln Road y'all. I trust we'll all react like the cool New Yorkers that we are and be totally blasé about it to his face, all the while gloating about it to our friends and enemies.

Coates Confirmed By NY Post

Did you hear it in the Q first? Of course you did.

Was the Q geeking out about him all summer? Of course he was.

Next up. I'm working on getting Henry Rollins and Bootsy Collins to move in and start a band. The Rollins-Collins Band, of course.

A Carnival For the Family - Saturday May 7

It's my kids's school, and it really is fun if you like bouncy castles and touching trucks.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

(Q at) Parkside Plaza One Year Celebration Bash! May 14

Bob Marvin Talks the Walk

Who wouldn't say oui to a brunch-time stroll with 40+year Lefferts resident Bob Marvin? On a Saturday? In May? If Jane Jacobs got anything right, besides thwarting the excesses of Robert Moses, she encouraged us to slow down and smell the limestone. She also helped ensure that no one you know would ever be able to afford an apartment in Greenwich Village, but that's another story.

This is a picture of Jane. Not Bob.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

If it comes to pass, and it looks damn likely, the single biggest positive physical change to the neighborhood will happen within a year or so. The Phat Albert's clock will be restored to its former glory, along with some serious repairs to the building's facade. That alone would be enough. But wait...there's more!

Slowly and stealthily, the warehouse building that was once the Bond Bakery has been undergoing an extraordinary change from within, thanks to the attention of Jack Srour, son of Albert, who, by the way, is neither particularly fat OR phat. But danged if he didn't have some good timing, personally and professionally. Albert fled the start of the civil war in Lebanon nigh on 40 years ago and humbly built a humble retailing humble empire of humble goods. Jack's inherited the savvy. And as a Brooklyn resident himself, he knows precisely the enormous worth of the building his family owns. Trust me, he gets it.

If "location, location, location" means anything, the old Bond Bakery has it in spades. Park, Garden, views and a plethora of trains and buses. Planet Fitness was the first new tenant to change the vibe, but it's the recently opened Bklyn Commons that will really remake the triangle. Maybe we should call it Flempwa (Flatbush Empire Washington?) Or Fleffwemp? (Flatbush Lefferts Washington Empire? Because it's actually a rhombus). Whatever. It's clear Srour would prefer to highlight the Bond Bakery aspect of the building. Old-timers will tell you they can still remember the wafting of baking bread in the neighborhood each morning. That and perhaps the smell of smog from the ghastly air quality of NYC in the '60s and '70s?

The Brooklyn Commons is a top-notch first-rate ship-shape co-work space, with simple one-desk spaces running from $475 a month to larger multi-desk offices that look like, well, an office. You get complimentary coffee and tea, the utilities and wi-fi etc included. Air conditioning in summer (crucial) and you don't have to buy something once an hour from the barista to legitimize your hogging of table-space. You can come in hourly too and sit at communal desks, or do that by the month (around $150 unlimited). There's a sweet outdoor patio on the roof, and the design is all super-slick and up-to-date, replete with vintage photographs and graffiti. He's nearly 80% rented already, and that's why he's expanding into another big space at the Washington side of the building. Workers were doing demo and construction just today as I peeked into the cavernous room.

You can do events at the Commons too. Apparently the Brooklyn Film Festival's coming (tenants have to agree to cede the common space for nighttime shindigs when they happen.) Rentals of the big space can hit $250 an hour, with breaks for community minded stuff. Jack wondered aloud if the Community Board might be interested. Wow, now THAT would be something. I told him that probably wouldn't be such a good idea, but I'll bet there are some groups out there that would be perfectly suited to the space. Like I says, location, location, location. Interested in renting for events? Contact Johanne Brierre, who just so happened to grow up on Hawthorne III, by the by.

Events & Community Manager Johanne Brierre & Owner Jack Srour

And what of Phat Albert's? Well, it's safe to say that the Savvy Srours will find a more profitable use for the downstairs space. He wasn't committing, but Jack and I did talk a bit about Berg'n over at 1000 Dean, you know, Brownstoner Jonathan Butler's old Studebaker factory cum chum-hang and offices. It's clearly not lost on him what a nice combo of businesses might look like on the upper Flabenue. Imagine, tons of workers, fitness space, bar and food. And with Wendy's just around the corner to provide Frosties at most any hour, what's not to like?

Actually, speaking of sweet chilly treats, check out the pic below of the Bond Bakery and corner where the Wendy's is. Zoom in and you'll see an Ice Cream Parlor, right there where the beautiful parking lot is now.

And lastly, yes, big plans are afoot to rejigger the long-forlorn clock and tower. New windows, newfangled electronic mechanisms, and pretty soon you got yourself a great countdown clock to New Year's.

I'm telling you Jack. Fix up that clocktower and you will be, I assure you, a neighborhood hero.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Affordable to Whom? It's Not a Myth

As neighborhood naysayers continues to thwart a Planning Study that would unquestionably lead to the creation of more affordable housing, word comes that 626 Flatbush and its 50 units of affordable rentals will be opening end of summer or so.

And so, as the building spree continues, it turns out that the best hope for the future has been relegated to a 23 story building, much taller than we should have expected in exchange for the much needed working folks' units.

How affordable? The units are designed for those making 40 to 50 % of AMI (Area Mean Income). That is, folks making around $35 - $40K. So when someone asks "affordable to whom," that's pretty much your answer. Apartments renting for around $1,000 or less.

Yimby's Article

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The developer of 626 Flatbush, the 23-story building that we love to hate and hate to love, has released a stunning promo video that reflects the kind of production values typically reserved for Manhattan and, of course, the New Brooklyn of the 'teens.

Believe it or not, y'all, it seems the Q's attention to the video was not the kind intended, and they've since privatized the video. Damn it was good though, video drones and all.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Look Out East Flatbush - Here "We" Come

Happy for them; still, surprised the NY Times is on the case
They're usually behind by a year or two.
That's Linda Jaquez's picture
Never in a million years...but hey if you want a house you gotta start looking outside the "box."

NY Times On House Hunting in E Flatbush

MTOPP Over the Big-Top

At last night's Board meeting - pure hilarity. Alicia and Janine et al offered incoming attendees a "program" for the evening that features yours truly as the "star." Which of course is fitting, given that I'm the "biggest racist" on the board, and thus demand top billing.

And guess what? Stapled to each program was a bag of popcorn. Some of which was Kosher! Bravo.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nagle's Bagels Coming To Lincoln Road

And they're giving away 10% of net profits to...drum roll...The Parkside Plaza! Now I won't quibble (I will nibble though). It's tough to turn a profit in your first year. BUT if we all agree not to go gluten-free for a year upon Nagle's opening, we stand a pretty good chance of keeping the Plaza rolling in the right direction. Props due to Seth Kaplan and the Lefferts Gardens Facebook community, and of course, the Parkside Committee that defied the odds and created an urban refuge where once there was none. And to think, an actual bagel place in Lefferts. I'm speechless, and feeling brunchy.