Walking by 205 Parkside today I couldn't help but notice the van parked ominously on the sidewalk. And the door to the building was open, and a ladder to the scaffolding made one thing perfectly clear. This 20-odd year vacant building is about to be given a new lease on life, for better or worse. I've posted all the reasons why I'm not ultimately optimistic. Perhaps I sound like a man with a vendetta; actually I just see a lot of heady symbolism in the fate of this building, near as it is to my beloved Q at Parkside.
Next to the van two men were talking as if meeting for the first time. "What part of Bangladesh are you from?" asked the (very) young Orthodox gentleman to the driver of the van. A sweet conversation was going on. I decided to introduce myself, and I asked man #1 if he worked for Mike (Moses or Moshe) Fried), and he said yes, though he stuttered a bit when he said "worked for" and I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't Fried's grandson. Fried said at the Community Board meeting that said grandson would be leading the project. Seems like a nice young man, and in this case I hope the apple falls far from the tree. Like well into the next time zone.
The whole cockamamie notion that this building is going to be a decent hotel? Utter bologna. Back in 1999, the Daily News ran a piece about a building on Woodruff owned by (you guessed it) Moshe Fried. Neighbors were up in arms because he had signed a contract with the City making his building a makeshift SRO homeless shelter. The block was (and is) dominated by social service residences of one sort or another, and I guess locals were concerned that the density of needy folks was causing problems - and 155 Woodruff was, for some, one NIMBY project too many.
But here's the kicker. Then, as now, Fried used the "hotel" loophole to his advantage, to the tune of a City contract yielding sky-high profits - nearly a Benjamin per room per night for a full-house of squalid apartments, paid ON TIME by the CITY OF NEW YORK...here you can read it for yourself:
1999 Daily News Article
This line in particular: "The Community Action Project, a nonprofit community group, and residents believe Fried misrepresented the building as a hotel to the city to capture the lucrative contract. He reportedly gets $82 per room a night."
I look forward to getting to know the younger Fried. Perhaps one day his relatives and mine will stay at the hotel at the same time and get to know each other over drinks round the pool.
The Q at Parkside
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.