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.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blog for an unnamed neighborhood

Parkside. That's where I live. Since moving here 7 years ago with my (now) wife, Mrs. Clarkson FlatBed, I've never known quite what to say when y'all ask what neighborhood I live in. When talking to my North Brooklyn brothers and sisters I often say "the other side of the park." But that's like calling an Asian person "Oriental." It depends on your "orientation." And it's way politically incorrect to boot.

Lefferts Gardens? Nah. We're too far south to be part of the K-Dog Nation. I leave it to the excellent Hawthorne Street blog to cover that scene. Lefferts Manor is a gorgeous, tree-crammed hood-within-a-hood just to our north. You can read all about the thrills of gentrification near the Prospect Park stop elsewhere too.

But when I stroll our one-year old daughter up to the Lincoln Road playground I feel like I'm entering a new groove. Can you relate? Do you exclusively go to the Parkside stop and smugly take a seat on the Q or B before the crowd at Prospect Park gets on and straphangs all the way to Manhattan? (unless a pregnant lady boards...of course...goes without saying...w'all get up for a pregnant ladies...never miss a chance to give our seats to a pregnant lady...)

Maybe Flatbush. But Flatbush is HUUUUUGE! Seen it on a map? It would account for nearly half a million people! That's not a neighborhood. That's an Eastern European country.

Not Ditmas Park. Again, if you're a CWEAF (college-white-educated artsy-fart)you can claim an urbane coffee shop (Vox Pop) and a couple fine but over-rated restaurants (Picket Fence, Farm on Adderley). And what's with this "Victorian Flatbush" neighborhood anyway? I think Mary Kay Gallagher came up with that name, and if you don't know who I'm talking about google her. Force of nature that one...

No, I live in Parkside. Bounded arbitrarily by Prospect Park, the Parade Grounds, Caton, Nostrand and, I dunno, Fennimore(?) this bizarre, never-dull rapidly changing staying-the-same African-Caribbean-CWEAF-American neighborhood is what it is. Only the Q at Parkside defines us. And so...I give you THE Q AT PARKSIDE.


Bob Marvin said...

If Fenimore is the northern boundary of "Parkside" you're just across the street from Lefferts Manor--not all that fat at all!

Bob Marvin said...

Whoops--make that "not all that FAR", not fat :-(

Ceelledee said...

Well, hello! Just found out about you today from your post on Brownstoner. I'm enjoying what you're doing so far. Keep it up!

Alexis L. of One Grand Home said...

What, exactly, was the point of making a joke about Asian people?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Alexis: I poked fun at the ridiculousness of the word oriental, not people who are Asian. I'm drawing a comparison between two misguided uses of language that rely on the location of the speaker. When someone refers to the "other" side of the park, what does "other" mean? You're making an assumption about the center of gravity, and that's the way people spoke of Asian people for centuries, using a synonym for "eastern" to denote their race.

Let me know if that clears it up. If not, I suspect we have a difference of opinion about what is and isn't absurd about language!

Oriental: adj. 1. Of or relating to the countries of the Orient or their peoples or cultures; eastern. Often considered offensive.