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.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fried No Chicken - Meets with Community

It's really amazing actually. A few phone calls, a few emails, a couple stopping by's, a few blog posts and voila! Seated at the table at 890 Nostrand, Community Board 9's headquarters, were reps from Sen Eric Adams office (thanks Reuven!), Assemblyman Karim Camara's office, Borough President Markowitz's office (go Ann Marie!). Others in attendance: "Ocean on the Park" Ed, blog-orific "Babs" Rogers, down-to-earth district manager Pearl Miles and Martin Ruiz, prez of PLGNA. And yours truly of course.

After fifteen minutes or so of chit-chat amongst ourselves and with his designated good cop from his architect's office, Moses "Mike" Fried arrived and immediately threw down his charm bucket. It became clear mere moments later that his bucket was full of horse puckey.

Mike told us many things to gain our sympathies, and in fact, his story is quite remarkable. Three times he reminded us that he was a Holocaust Survivor, and twice that he was a religious man. While I certainly don't doubt the former, I'm not sure how the second is relevant. He seems to think that being religious means being ethical, and one need only read the papers to know this is utter bull. Post WWII Europe was no longer an option for him, so he moved to NY where his self-described empathy for the poor led him to build low cost homes in East New York that sold for $32,000, when most were $35,000. The specificity amazed me! That was the 1950's, he said, and ever since he has tried to provide housing for those who have nowhere else to go.

He told us how his Lefferts Hotel USED to be a whorehouse before he bought it. He told us how much the neighborhood needs a hotel (right, and a convention center too). He complained that 205's previous owners had done nothing at all, and nobody complained (how would he know?) Half a dozen times he told us there will be no prostitution. So here's the newsflash for you: He's willing to go on record as saying he has NO PLANS TO RUN A BROTHEL!!

His architect claims he's going to spend less than $100K to rehab the place (she actually said 60K; Mrs. Q tells me the permit typically under-reports to save on fees) yielding 19 500 s/f "one bedrooms." While legally he's bound to allow stays no shorter than 30 days, he was quick to add that he wouldn't turn people away for, say, a week (oops!). And in the end, it's really not about him, apparently. His grandson, who also goes by Michael but pronounces it Michelle or Mitchell (he said both), will inherit the building, so another generation of Fried's can live off the proceeds of grampa's good works. And good name.

Construction starts in the next couple weeks and goes for 6 months to a year. Oh, and he guaranteed that the Pakistani people he hired to do the job are very nice people, and that some of them probably come from the neighborhood. And the black ladies he hires to be the maids? He said they're very nice people too. So you see, he's a real champion of diversity.

I'm sorry Mr. Fried. You have every legal right to build your fleabag motel. But we have every right to watch your every little move.

Welcome to the Q at Parkside Mr. Fried! We'll leave the light on for ya...


Bob Marvin said...

We're not necessarily f*c*ed. Worst case scenario; it DOES turn out to be a brothel, we get it shut and the rathole looks a little better, for a while, with $100K worth of cosmetic repairs. There IS the outside possibility that the owners might actually do something descent [although I wouldn't hold my breath].

Did anyone ask about that mysterious HPD sign?

the Q said...

Bob: I like your optimism. Still, I don't see how even a long-stay hotel, created cheaply out of a dilapidated building, can be anything but a nuisance at best and den of iniquity at worst. Seriously, who's going to want to stay in this thing? All the person at the desk needs is a little greenback slapped to the palm and presto - instant hourly joint.

Oh, and yes we did get an answer about the sign. When an emergency is called in (pieces falling off the building) HPD aquires a permit from the DOB, does the work, then bills the owner. So the job is technically an HPD job, not a Moses Fried job.

Bob Marvin said...

I never though it would be good; just that it'd maybe be a slightly higher level rat hole than it is now :-(

In any case, by staying on top of the situation and, when necessary, dropping a dime when/if we spot any illegal activity, we can ensure that Fried, et al are more f*c*ed than we are [assuming they haven't reformed--I can hope].

babs said...

I do think that our presence as concerned neighborhood residents has put Mr. Fried on notice that he'd better be very very careful what he does with that building. And who knows - maybe he really does intend to do something decent with it. In any event, we'll all be watching. Thanks for putting that together CF!

Rudy on Winthrop said...

Yes, thank you so much, both for the effort to set up the meeting, and for taking the time to tell all of us about it.

I would be interested in hearing a few words from Adams's, Camara's & Markowitz's offices. What were their impressions of the meeting, and what's their advice now?

Skei said...

$60K would get you new windows for half of the building- that's about it! How in the world does he plan on renovating the entire building for $60K!! That's pretty shocking! We've done a renovation of a 4000 sq ft and I'd love to know Mr. Fried's secret- or maybe I don't want to know. I realize I came to the party a bit late- but how the hell did this go through with the past history of the other notel motel?? And is there any way to stop it at this point in time?

babs said...

I keep reading that headline as Fried, No Chicken - as in fried chicken but without the chicken. I somehow never noticed that they were both spelled the same before! And, Skei, that $60K figure was quoted by his poor expediter, who had no idea why she was there, and who later admitted that she might have the number wrong. Mr. Fried himself estimated that the reovation would cost "most people" $2 million, but because he is in construction he can do it for less (by employing "very nice," albeit illegal and unlicensed, construction workers, perhaps?). And no public approvals of anything were required because he is not deviating in any way from the existing zoning, apart from eliminating the ground-floor retail spaces in favor of apartments and the central lobby. Regardless, we just have to keep a close eye on this place!

And BTW, my parents bought a 3-bedroom house in Commack, LI, in 1961 for $17K, so those places in ENY seem pretty expensive to me! Maybe they were apartment buildings?