Those of you who commute by walking down Parkside to the Q already know the remarkable transformation that has taken place to 205, the Moses Fried owned building that has been the bane of the block for more than two decades. Here you can see that new windows, removed graffiti and new glass to the lobby have done wonders, though the scaffolding continues to thwart passers-by:
I worked for the Doe Fund, a creative program for homeless men that involved the Ready, Willing and Able work and sobriety program, and I know well that there's a need for single-occupancy room (SRO) housing, especially given the state of homeless shelters in 2011. So the fact that Fried took a perfectly nice apartment building and turned it into a shelter-esque joint is not my beef. It's that as a landlord and developer, Fried has shown little interest in people beyond profit. Though in fairness, he leased a building of his to a pretty decent non-profit on Woodruff serving a deserving population of homeless women and kids. Let's be clear though - the price was right; Fried's no do-gooder. Given two such rather large buildings on Woodruff, another huge shelter-building at across Ocean on Woodruff, a real big one at 60 Clarkson, and it would be fair to say we've got a high percentage of "transient" folks in a fairly tight radius. I don't want to speculate about what that means for the neighborhood...though I've certainly heard plenty of opinions through the years. A building in northern PLG cause a major brouhaha over just this sort of business plan (read about Providence House here). I found the argument a bit overwrought, given that we live in a way more heavily "social-serviced" neighborhood down here, largely without too much trouble. Though I'm not impressed with how most landlord's assume their responsibility in maintaining these buildings, and in particular, the comings and goings of non-residents. Ambulances and police cars are frequent visitors to the four buildings I mentioned, and some of the stories I've heard of goings-on give me pause. And yet, this is part of the grand experiment of NYC, rich and poor, privileged and troubled, that hopefully still exists as an ideal in the hearts of many. The reality on the ground? Often less than ideal. Just ask the tenants.
More to come on 205 Parkside. I hope for the best, though the fact that squatters have been living there throughout the demo and construction makes me think Fried has little true caring for the people he claims to want to serve. One "resident" whom I queried says he's been paying rent for years. Wow. In an abandoned building without utilities. That's bold. "I'm a deeply religious man" is Fried's favorite refrain. I hope he lives up to the words of his faith.
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.