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.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Know Thy Neighbors: Robert Kopecky and Sue Pike

There's magic in the waters of Caledonia.

While neighbor Celeste is right to point out that very few Scots remain in Caledonia (whose porous borders are Parkside, Ocean, Caton and the Parade Grounds), there remains a sense of myth and Gaelic-esque wonder. There's also a couple of really big buildings with reasonable rents. Hardly Loch Ness, but intriguing just the same.

I met Caledonians Robert Kopecky and Sue Pike awhile ago, but I had no idea how unusual were their day jobs. I'll get to that in a second. They clearly fall into the camp of relatively recent emgires to the neighborhood, in their case all the way from the Heights of Prospect, beyond the Nethermead and through the Veil of Cashmere. (actual place names, to those unfamiliar with the Park's faerie nomenclature. And who might I ask was Rick of Rick's Place? Must have been from the land of Sodom, considering the proclivities of the good men who casually stroll among its foliage).

An attractive couple in their prime years but married just a few dozen moons, they're super warm and hospitable, shown here in the living room of their gorgeous upper-floor 2 bedroom apartment at 160 Parkside Avenue:

I'm not a real estate agent and this is not, but I will tell you that they pay a really reasonable rate for a rent-stabilized place right on the second-greatest urban park in the world. (Listen, I've actually only been to a couple dozen urban parks and can't say for sure who's #1. The Park called Central is definitely not #1, and I'll wrestle you over it). If you're looking to rent around here I'd keep your eye out for places available in this building. Robert and Sue have no complaints, and Robert joined the tenant's association board. In fact, one of the things I find so refreshing about their take on our neighborhood is that they don't qualify their affection. They like the people who live here and don't spend a lot of time complaining about what could be nicer. It's just not their style to bemoan "what is." And while all the good folk of the neighborhood recognize how the neighborhood could improve, the improvements needn't come at the expense of what's already working. And let me tell you what's REALLY WORKING for me! This amazing view, looking south, from their apartment:

Now let me tell you the juicy stuff. Robert's a brilliant illustrator, and has worked in the field for decades. Around the turn of (this) century, he started working as an animation designer, which means if someone comes up with an idea for a show like PBS Kids' Word World, Robert's the one who conjures it to life. Which is exactly what happened. If you don't know the show, check out an episode here. Or if you're linkphobic, here's some nifty pics to get an idea of what WW's all about.

As you can imagine, that's just the latest in a long career of brilliant design and comix making. His website is full of ideas, stories and comics and he's not miserly about sharing them. You could spend a whole day or two with this stuff: RobertKopeckyDesign. But you'd only be scratching the surface of his imagination. For a real trip into Kopecky-ism, check out his massively infotaining blog Art, Faith, and The Koko Lion, wherein our neighbor makes this here QatParkside seem downright trite and visually retarded. As you talk to Kopecky, the conversation is likely to take many unexpected turns, and his Southern Californian drawl (he's from St. Diego) will lull you into thinking he's just a regular dude, which he is, and he way isn't.

Next up, and deserving of her own post, Sue Pike, and her most extraordinary ability to communicate with the other side. By which, I don't mean Windsor Terrace. Try Time-Space Continuum.

1 comment:

Carmen said...

Awesome! I love Word World. Ummm... I mean my preschooler loves Word World ;)