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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Please Sign Petition For Zoning Study To Begin


In the past few weeks and months the forces of hate and ignorance have gained strength to conspire against a sane, methodical and collaborative reexamination of our neighborhood's zoning and plans for future development. While other neighborhoods like Crown Heights West have unanimously supported efforts to rezone and rethink, we've become mired in misinformation and a spiteful campaign to paint a Planning Study as not in our best interests.

I've gone to lengths to describe that these attacks are the misguided efforts of a few - people whose biggest agenda is to keep Empire Boulevard from being developed for residential. We have learned from the City that is possible to rezone Empire Boulevard from C8-2 to mixed use residential and to put caps on height. We've also learned that the City would like to force any such development to create an inviting streetscape with ground floor commercial. Imagine, instead of fast food and storage facilities, shopping, affordable housing, a grand boulevard? It's in the cards, if we play those cards right.

CB9 is completely at a loss as how to contain MTOPP and its campaign of fear and intimidation. It was suggested that a petition might give City Planning the much needed counterbalance, and so here I am, asking that you sign on to the following. I hope you will! And remember, this is the beginning of a process. Your voice will be instrumental throughout to ensure everyone's viewpoint, and the considerations of your particular part of the neighborhood, are heard.


This is what it says:

We, the undersigned, implore Community Board 9 and the NYC Department of City Planning to immediately begin a Planning Study of Community District 9, specifically the western portion of CB9's boundaries. The current zoning map dates to 1961. While other parts of NYC have been contextually zoned and updated to reflect a modern reality, we continue to live with decisions that were made for our neighborhood more than 50 years ago.

During the course of discussions between community and City, we have certain expectations and requests:

A) That all efforts be made to maximize the requirements of developers to build permanent affordable housing

B) That all efforts are made to keep new buildings within specific height limits and ensure contextual and aesthetically pleasing blocks

C) That plans be made to make best use of commercial corridors like Nostrand Avenue, Rogers Avenue, Bedford Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, and to consider the effects of allowing mixed-use construction on underutilized corridors like Empire Boulevard. Any changes, however, must conform to points A) and B) above, and reflect the needs of diverse community.

We recognize that the City has placed ambitious goals to address the affordable housing crisis. We share the goal of creating housing for a wide range of incomes. But we ask that our current high density be considered, and that growth be modest and fair. We are an extraordinarily diverse community that wishes to remain that way. As the City grows, we expect we will grow too. But we believe such growth should be smart, contextual, and take into account needs for schools, public transportation, roads, parking and other infrastructure.

We would prefer to undergo this process collaboratively, rather than have outside forces develop our neighborhood FOR us. We've seen the future - in certain buildings, like 626 Flatbush and another 23-story tower on Nostrand to our south, plus dozens of new "as of right" projects throughout Central Brooklyn. We'd like to temper the urge of developers to build without an understanding of the consequences to our historic and tight-knit community.

We look forward to working with you.
The current zoning map of the area, created in 1961, is below.

Wanted for Assault on Woodruff

This one has a pretty clear picture, so I'm happy to share on behalf of the precinct. Do you know this guy or where he lives?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

IM Pastry To Open Soon on Nostrand at Midwood

I for one am looking forward to this one big time! Check out their info below, and consider attending their Soft Launch Preview on February 12 at 1131 Nostrand Avenue.

IM Pastry Studio Background:

Started in 2009 as a home based business, IM Pastry Studio comprised of owners Tiffany Washington, Jo-Laine Duke Collins and Tamika Young, blends traditional cake flavors and recipes with new innovative tastes and custom designs. Tiffany, Jo-Laine and Tamika are mothers, businesswomen and natives of Brooklyn who wanted to bring a unique and inviting space to the borough that they all love all while sharing their passion for pastries, design and fashion which comes across their work.

Not only will IM Pastry Studio offer desserts and custom creations, we will serve as an intimate event space for patrons wanting to host children’s birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, have a cup of coffee or to just sit, back relax and enjoy a nice day in Brooklyn. 

To kick things off we are hosting a soft launch preview on Thursday, February 12 (invite to come shortly) to showcase our amazing desserts and creative custom sweet confections including some of our signature, popular flavors such as Hazelnut Cappuccino, Strawberry Cheesecake and more.

In addition to opening our storefront location, we are also introducing our newest dessert item, “The IM Waffle Cake.”  "The Waffle Cake" is IM Pastry Studio’s most popular flavors transformed into a waffle cake for breakfast or brunch or anytime you are in the mood for such a delectable item. We use our own secret cake batter recipe to create a stack of four delicious waffles topped with fluffy frosting, fresh fruits, crushed nuts and decadent chocolate or caramel drizzles.

God Allows ULURP Meeting To Be Rescheduled

While the Good Lord may be generally supportive of Alicia Boyd, he apparently has seen fit to allow the ULURP Committee Meeting to go forward next Wednesday. You don't need to sign up to speak. Hopefully Ben Edwards will run a tight enough ship that all voices can be heard.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steelpan Cakes

If you've lived in the area long enough you know that on Church Avenue between Flatbush and Bedford there was once a great Kingdom of Ital. The king lived at the Veggie Castle, and his minions flocked to his brilliant cooking. Having vanquished the fierce but tiny people of the White Castle, who feasted on burgers barely bigger than a Kennedy half dollar. What the war was about no one can remember. Perhaps it was a fight over whether dairy and beef belonged in the human diet? The war lasted so long that the children of the children of the children of the instigators had forgotten the real reason. And eventually, Rastafari was victorious, though much like the Hagia Sophia turned mosque from cathedral in Istanbul, the new regime merely retooled the old structure for its purposes. The effect, was both hilarious and prophetically conservationist, and certainly indicative of the area's changing peoples and customs.

The middle kingdom looked thusly:

Enter the latest conquistadors and their syrupy sweet victory over the forces of Jah. Having built a modern castle brilliantly disguised as a drab and nondescript suburban office structure, the internet obsessed people of HOP have finally made home. iHOP they call it, and they intend to seduce the peasantry with a dozen forms of sugary topping for their puffy flatbreads.

Is this progress? Depends on your culinary preference. Tiny greasy burgers, boldy spiced stews and greens, or griddle-gluten with margarine and faux maple syrup. All fill the belly at the relatively little expense. Yet they leave the alimentary in wildly different forms.

Is a delicacy combining all three cuisines far behind?

God Is On Her Side

The latest screed from Alicia (below) shows she's got a powerful ally in her fight. Her big backer needs no introduction, but suffice to say he's always been a stickler for the details of NYC zoning. (psst...his name rhymes with Claude).

Also, please note the following statistic which clearly is a lowball - an "estimated 100,000 people" will be removed if we rezone this bit of the district.

The Board is in tatters. The latest to reach my ears beggars belief, and I'll see how much is true enough to print. Pearl Miles is taking the brunt of frustration, but there's plenty of finger-pointing to go around. I wish we'd just vote and be done with it. Basically if we don't show overwhelming support for a study, it ain't gonna happen. You read it here first. We're on the mat, folks, and the count has begun.

So regardless whether outside forces, even malevolent outside forces, have been responsible for the current state of affairs, it becomes clear that if you don't want something to happen all you need is the gumption and the gall to stick your neck out and scream. The long version of the story, though, is that the City will continue to make decisions that are in its perceived best interests, and we're only a small cog in the greater remaking of Brooklyn, NYC, Without the zoning study there will be continued disappointments and chaos to endure. But then, as long as Alicia's happy, we should all be happy. After all, she has the big guy in her corner. Plus, as a commenter noted, she's taken her show on the road. Seems she's just getting started.

Dear Neighbor
This is when you know that you God is on your side!
This storm saved us!
Here was their Plan:
Place 26 community board members on the
the ULURP committee, that was scheduled for Monday.
Within that group there would be enough to create a voting block
to get the "same" resolution passed.
Ignore the community's applications to be put on the ULURP
stating they didn't have enough time to process the applications.
Have the police present and have anyone who speaks that isn't
a committee member removed and/or arrested.
Keep the same parameters, including Empire Blvd that
City Planning has specifically stated it wants to up zone
to 10-12 stories starting!
Pass this resolution that would allow City Planning to decide
where they will up zone and on whatever blocks they choose!
This means, all along the Parameter of the Park and Garden
could face up zoning, inclusionary zoning etc...
Washington Ave, Flatbush Ave, Empire Blvd, Ocean Ave.
Also the entire Area would see an increase in density,
with now six story being the average,
but which could go up from 7 to 10 stories,
when putting in the zoning into affordable or inclusionary categories.
Then on Tuesday, without the resolution being an agenda item
where the community would be able to protest it and speak on it.
They would introduce it during the "Business" session,
where the community can not speak and then place it for a vote
and there you have it!  The same old resolution presented and passed!
However, there was one problem with their plan,
It seemed that God wasn't in favor of it!
And how could he be.
This plan poses to remove an estimated 100,000 people from this community!
People who have lived here all their lives,
worked and struggled to create a safe environment,
when the city ignored it, refusing to provide proper services
to it thousands of residents.
Now the Mayor is saying he has a plan, which is the same
plan as Bloomberg, because nothing has changed!
He wants to create affordable housing when the results
have shown time and time again that what we get instead of affordable housing
is unaffordable communities!
All because of Greed and corruption!
Everyone knows they don’t' want Empire Blvd for affordable housing
they want it for those Park Views
And Everyone knows that they won't stop at 12 stories
they will go to 20 stories to get those views!
There are other parts of this community that could have "affordable" housing
that won't endanger 100 year old homes, the removal of low and moderate
income families or pose a risk of sky scrapers being built
But City Planning won't even consider these areas, because
it isn't what the developers want!
And they are willing to break every law to get their way.
In fact Winston, the Director of the Brooklyn Office of City Planning
has stated publically last Thursday, Jan 22,
that if we don't give
them Empire Blvd to put 10 to 12 stories up
they will not rezone this community!
How does a City Agency get the power to threatened a community
that they will not do their job, if we don’t sacrifice our homes
and community to allow developers to make money!
The city officials have watch CB9 executive board break the law, commit criminal acts
falsify documents, and even some political entities have also engaged
in criminal misconduct, like the falsifying of documents, attempting to bribe
and these agencies have stood by and have done nothing!
But there is a greater force out that and it is proving to be just that!
A Greater Force!
That is working for us and is on our side!
But as the saying goes
"God helps those who help themselves"
So don't give up the fight!
Because we will win this one!
(718) 703-3086

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Wonder What It Felt Like

So you're raising a ruckus, dropping all kinds of scary hypotheticals, not letting anyone speak, claiming to be an expert on all manner of things...then you print out a flyer and copy up a ton and start spreading them far and wide.

thx Brooklynian
What does that feel like? To call your neighbors racial epithets, accusing them of ignorance and being house slaves? Does that feel good? Powerful? Does it feel "true" enough that it simply must be said? Do you go to sleep feeling you've done some justice, righted some wrong, won some argument? And in a Helvetica-like font to boot! Bold, baby, bold.

Does it feel sweet to put Chabad Lubovitch Jews in the spotlight, drawing out irrelevant but offensive links between your own twisted NIMBYism and an inferred sleight of hand from the Jewish community, thus invoking the darkest days of Crown Heights history?

If you're slamming everyone in sight, does it feel bad to leave some folks out? Is that what's going on? There are a few more constituencies that have not yet been viciously attacked. Nuns. Asians. Autistics. Keep 'em coming! The other night your crowd managed to even suggest that "affordable apartment dwellers" might sneak peaks at you gardening and throw garbage out their 12th floor windows. Throw garbage, after winning a lottery and getting a decent place to live for a reasonable rent? Well, after the way you're carrying on, maybe they can sell tickets for the privilege of throwing that trash. Trash is trash, that's what my neighbor John likes to say.

 If it feels good to turn a dialogue, okay debate, into vitriol, you must be one happy lady, Alicia. Congratulations! You've surprised even ME, and I even predicted this language. Though I never imagined seeing it in print like that. Helvetica!

To quote history: "You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, madame? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tall and Skinny

Permits were filed at 371 Lincoln Road for the below, according to YIMBY. Looks like that's just east of Nostrand. I find it interesting that this is what can become of 20' x 100' lots, which is essentially my house and hundreds throughout the neighborhood. Would be weird to see town homes come down and these go up all over the place. Some would cheer. Most would not. Of course, they already dot the neighborhood, on Ocean, on Hawthorne, on Crooke. Historic district blocks, of course, are protected, but that leaves dozens of blocks UNprotected. Wave of the future? I suspect a zoning code could protect three-story rows from becoming chopped up like this, but that would be for the next phase of the zoning process.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Brooklyn Greenery To Open Tomorrow

Mark your calendars. Tomorrow, Friday, January 23rd, is the soft-launch of Brooklyn Greenery at 560 Flatbush. Now I know the Q told you it would be a Mexican place, an outpost of popular Oaxaca Tacos. Tuns out Brooklyn Greenery, a swank little fresh-juice and take-out place switched places with Oaxaca which is now going next to Midwood Flats. That's two fun new joints for the price of one.

The two guys who run BG are Jason and John. They're buddies who met at Brooklyn College, and both of them grew up around here. I love it when you ask a true Brooklynite where they grew up and they tell you their High School! So if you must know, Midwood and Erasmus respectively. This is their first venture, and I couldn't wish them weller. Below is a decent photo I got off the web, and below that is me surprising Jason when he was probably sleeping because he's been working non-stop to get this place open:

Zoning Training Well-Attended

You know what the Q loves to see? And I've seen it more than once. Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo sitting up there in the front row listening intently. There she was, not bragging or wagging her finger, but just listening. Being part of the group. Learning things. Very, very cool. One might even be forgiven for thinking that she gives a damn.

Other than that tonight's community "training" session at Crown Gardens (that complex on the east side of Nostrand tween Carroll and President) was pretty tame. Alicia Boyd made a lot of racket, sounding off like she was more the expert than the three professionals with Master's degrees and decades of experience between them. Granted I left around halftime, and there was plenty of time for things to get out of hand. Maybe they did; please share with us! But the first half didn't see a lot of ball movement, just the usual hard earned first downs and punts. As usual, the zoning experts were clear and calm.

One thing did become abundantly clear. We need contextual zoning for large swaths of the district. The "Quality Housing" rules that go with "letter" distinctions like R6A or R6B or R7A would go a long way to preserve the character of the neighborhood. Nearly half the district is R6 for instance, and you can create an awful lot of Fedders buildings with all that real estate. You can build tall too if you grab enough land, so the strict height limits would be welcome as well.

I rode my bike home, past the beautiful blocks of Crown and Montgomery. Even if they don't become landmarked, Quality Housing designations could help preserve their context, maybe even prevent developers from buying them up in twos or threes to build new. Past Ebbets and Tivoli, past the new developments just north of Empire, then...Empire. And it really is shitty city down there. The Western Beef is fugly, and that parking lot is way too big and kinda creepy. The damn fast food gauntlet. The storage spaces that barely employ anyone. And then I really got it. Alicia doesn't want to lose her sense of air and space that the WB provides. It's very open there - you even get a nice bit of sky. I find it god awful and mugger-heaven, but perhaps if I lived on Sterling I'd be fond of it. No matter that a developer could buy up Western Beef right now, without rezoning, and build a tall hotel - maybe 15, 20 stories if it were skinny, which it probably would be with the park and garden views. Heck from the top you might be able to see over the Park and Greenwood Cemetery's tallest points right to the harbor. And those sunsets...those deep chemical New Jersey sunsets. Breathtaking. Book me the honeymoon suite!

So I get that. If that's at the core of all this nonsense, I wish she would just come out and say it. The fact is...something's going to go where the Beef is. It may even be in the works. The question worth considering is...wouldn't this be a great place for housing? So more people could enjoy the great transportation, the Park and Garden, and some of those units could be mandated affordable? I just don't get it. But then, there's always the other reason to leave it zoned for crap commercial, or C8-2. Tradition!!

thanks again Paul G!