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, May 26, 2010

Across the street from the Q at Parkside

Since moving to SW PLG/Eastern Caledonia seven years ago, I've been struck by the changes in the small businesses in our neighborhood. As in, virtually none, save one salon swapping for another. That's right, as Brooklyn has shifted and swayed to the sweet breeze of fashion, the ma and pa shops around the Q at Parkside remain largely unchanged.

Take Parkside directly across the street from "the Q at Parkside" for example. As house and apartment prices have skyrocketed (and stabilized), the block continues to attract relatively little commerce. The noble handmade sign of Parkside Cleaners commands attention, and I'm a fan of the oddly bustling Maverick Comics and of course, the star-crossed ICH. But beyond the infamous shooting of high school senior and rollerblader Brian Scott at the Parkside Donut shop last fall, little of note takes place on this potentially very lucrative strip. Is it the McDonalds that holds it back? The oddly named and shuttered U-Deli? The other neighbor businesses? That never stopped anyone before. Heck when I lived in the pre-boom Gowanus area, a little start-up called Patois opened on Smith street amidst similar squalor, and a mere three years later the street became Brooklyn's culinary Champs-Elysee.

For chips-n-giggles I called the number of Kaloshi Realty, whose for-lease sign has hung for months above one of the gated shops. I told her I wanted to do a wine shop (not true 65 Fen!), which we knew would sound shi-shi. She quoted me $3,000 a month. Say what?!? They'll take $1,500 and first and last month free and we all know it. What a lousy negotiator! (FYI, Kaloshi brokers dozens of other businesses around the neighborhood, and even the long-vacated Royal Video store on Flatbush at 6th Avenue. Full disclosure: I used to live above it with a certain notorious New Yorker reviewer who shall remain nameless (here anyway...he does have a name, I'm just not saying).

Any thoughts on the Outdoor Parkside Mall?


MJMcBee said...

Well hellosie dosersons, fine neighbors! (I spend 97.3% of my day talking to my 5 month old daughter so you'll have to excuse the Ned Flanderisms). I would like to Tim-idly introduce myself as I dip my toe into the chilly waters of the blogosphere (just the shallow end, for now, lest I fall in without my duckie innertube)-- My name is Mary Jo McBride and I am a Clarkson Flatbed Knucklehead ("Hi, Mary Jo"). I would like to applaud my FlatMate for stepping up to the keyboard and getting a "discussion" going about this fine eclectic area of ours, called...? Normally I get intimidated by purposeful discussions, being more of a soliloquist myself (unless you count talking to the People Who Live in My Head as dialogue) accustomed to waxing eloquent to a riveted, albeit drooling audience on subjects like whether or not I know the Muffin Man. But I find it my civic duty to join this particular conversation, thus possibly yanging the ying of karma I've created by telling myself that the Trash Fairy cleaned up the debris that made a pit stop in front of my house for two days, begging to be dealt with and then magically vanishing with the wind. Nice to meetcha.

Randy said...

Tim (Clarkson FlatBed), I don't know where you're going with this blog thing, but so far so good. Just don't get too bogged down (blogged down?) in the real estate trap of other blogs. It's all about house prices and gentrification and not about the neighborhood. And hello to MJMcBee. Blogs aren't scary...they become addictive though.

Anonymous said...

Had a friend, back in the late 80's-early 90's who had an upscale women's clothing business on Flatbush between Midwood and Rutland Rd. His entrepreneurial vision, all the way back then, was to turn Parkside between Flatbush and Ocean into a "business-social corridor" with various music clubs, restaurants, an art gallery, etc. Unfortunately, his vision for his own shop in PLG was premature and he ended up moving it to Flatbush in Prospect Heights. And, of course, his vision for Parkside never materialized. I remember him bemoaning the fact that his idea never seemed to gain traction among the already-established businesses here and, apparently, he was equally unsuccessful in attracting new entrepreneurs to the area.

I've always thought that the Parkside corridor had way more potential as a diverse business strip than Lincoln Road, if for no other reason other than its size. However, as Lincoln Road takes off (hooray!), Parkside remains pretty much unchanged. (Not hooray.)