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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Woman Killed On Clarkson

It's a sickening feeling. Coming home because your wife called to say a shooting happened right across the street. Arriving at 9:30, the cops wouldn't let me or any others onto the block, for an hour and half while they investigated. One thing was clear - that a friend, a co-conspirator with us on the block parties, a 30-year veteran of the block, had become very, very upset to find the slain woman. Turned out it was her niece. We're devastated for her. J is a big-hearted, generous woman, a legend on the block for better and worse, a "miracle" had recently come into her life as she just two weeks ago inherited, with her daughter, a brand new preemie girl, only 1 lb and 5 1/2 months at birth, from a close relative who simply can't take care of her. Life was good, J said just Tuesday night. Now she's lost a close loved one. And did I mention the victim was a mom? I don't know Fatima personally, but at 29 her life was taken. It's unlikely she was the intended target.

Others were shot. Three others. The commander called two "innocents." The wife says they're all innocents. So true. Nobody needed to be shot tonight. Even the bad kids should get their day in court, not a death sentence over some stupid dispute. And you know that's what it was - a girl, some money, drugs, possession of a few yards of concrete. The killer ran away, but he won't get far. They will catch him (I hope), they will do what they do with kids like him. He'll be forgotten by most, but the gang to which he was attached will become wary, and better armed. Retaliation is inevitable. There are no adults to act as peacemakers in the sick games these kids play.

A Samaritan neighbor we just met at last Saturday's block party was among the first on the scene. Rumors were everywhere. It took the Daily News to piece it together, because even my correspondence with the 71st Precinct Commander, while comforting, didn't give me much to go on. He said call back tomorrow for the details.

I've been writing here, and telling everyone I can - elected officials, block association presidents, the precincts (Clarkson is in two, the 71st and 70th), PLGNA, C.O.P., anyone who will listen, that it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

Tonight is when. And I feel sick about it.

Those pics are from the Daily News' Ken Murray. I can't bear to post the other of our grieving friend. R.I.P. Fatima Jones. May your children find their way without you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GO Brooklyn Art: Time To Sign Up To Nominate Artists

From local music teacher Leslie Ward comes a reminder about the project she's shepherding for the PLG. There will be a neighborhood meet-n-greet at Lincoln Park Tavern on Friday 8/31, where voters and artists can get to know each other better and you can find out more about how to give local artists a boost, potentially playing in the big leagues at the Brooklyn Museum.  To learn more about GO Brooklyn Art and see some of work being made, go to PLG Arts for profiles.

The whole thing sounds more complicated than it is. Basically, you sign up and then you get to go on a neighborhood art crawl to people's homes and studios, and decide whom to nominate for the next level of the competition. Sound fun? Then sign up here.

Check out the cool map below showing where the artists are and their names. Until I saw that I didn't really "get it."

From Leslie:
In this phase is all about getting the word out in the Community that it is time to register to Visit Studios on Sept. 8/9.  Over 1,800 artist have registered and will open their Studios on that weekend to the Community to visit and participate in the nomination process.

Basic Rules:  
You must Register at (4 quick steps and you're done). On  Sept. 8/9 You must visit and check-it to at least 5 Studios to be able to Nominate 3 Artists. 
Only registered participants can Nominate Artists.

Leslie and some GO Brooklyn poll workers!

New Window Treatments for Abandoned Building Near Patio Gardens

Thanks Eagle Eye M.S. for snapping the pic. He asks..."progress?" Perhaps responding to complaints and citations? Getting ready for that hurricane?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hot Crime In the Summertime - The Blotter

Thanks again to Nicole and Vinnie for keeping their quarterly-or-so date with just-the-facts, ma'am - for the PLG sector of the 71st anyway. Cell phone snatches remain a persistent threat; good as cash and easy to snag - one almost senses a cabal of sorts. The burglaries are pretty creepy too, but I'd remind everyone that we're tallying fairly decent numbers in all categories, according to the latest Compstat numbers. I'm particularly gratified to see that the number of felony assaults has dropped sharply...that was my biggest concern last year at this time. (but hey, we still have Labor Day Weekend, so who knows!)

One note in a separate email from the 71st on a groping incident where the jerk was nabbed. This from Vinny:

On Sunday Aug12, 2012 a sexual abuse/misconduct took place on Maple Street. The NYPD put out a photo of the perpetrator and on Tuesday the Precinct received an anonymous email stating a possible name and possible address. This email was of great importance and lead the arrest of the perpetrator. With the community help this crime was  quickly solved. I would like to personally thank the person who took time and anonymously emailed the Precinct with the information. Be safe everyone.

PLG Area Crime Report
May 17 - August 16, 2012


May 19th, 10:30AM. Flatbush & Ocean. In train station, iphone forcibly removed from female's hand.

May 23rd, 6:30PM. Bedford & Midwood. Perp forcibly went through 14 yr old male'spocket and removed cell phone.

May 25th, 7PM. In front of 20 Maple. Perp grabbed cell phone from 21 yr old female's hand.

June 6th, Midnight. 570 Rogers Ave. Commercial establishment (a nail salon) was robbed of $200 in cash at gunpoint.

June 8th, 6AM. Ocean & Parkside, subway station. Perp punched victim and removed money from his pants. The perp was arrested, male 41 yrs old.

June 16th, midnight. Sterling & Nostrand. Perp forcibly removed cell from victim.

June 18th, 10AM. 248 Winthrop St. Male victim was punched in face and cell phone taken.

June 18th 7:30PM. Rogers and Winthrop.
 Perp attempted to take cellphone from 13yr old boy but failed.

July 6th, 11PM. 332 Rutland Rd. Male victim was punched and cell was taken.

July 9th, 3PM. 590 Flatbush Ave. Victim was robbed at gunpoint. Perp took phone and money.

July 10th, 6PM. 49 Maple St. Victim robbed at gunpoint, cash was taken.

July 18th, 3PM. Sterling & Nostrand. Perp forcibly removed victim's jewelry.

July 26th, 5AM. Clarkson & Flatbush. Perp forcibly removed money and cell phone from victim.

July 26th, 1PM. Bedford & Parkside. Perp forcibly went through victim's pocket and removed $20 and Apple Ipod. The perp was approximately 16, the victim was 13 yrs old.

August 6th, 3AM. Maple & Nostrand. Victim robbed at gunpoint, perp took $40 and cellphone.

August 10th, 1:30PM. Fenimore & Nostrand. Perp attempted a robbery of wallet but failed.

August 11th, 2:30AM. Front of 131 Lincoln Rd. At gunpoint, perp removed chain and other jewelry.

August 13th, midnight. 310 Winthrop St. Male was punched in face and $90 taken from pocket.



Felony Assaults

May 26th, 1:30PM. 525 Flatbush Ave. Victim was hit in the leg with a baseball bat. Unknown whether the victim and perp knew each other.

June 17th, midnight. 1075 Ocean Ave. Good Samaritan tried to break up a fight between male and female and was slashed with a knife.

June 20th, 11PM. Ocean & Flatbush subway. Fight broke out between two females. One punched the other in the face. An arrest was made.

June 24th, 11:30PM. 100 Winthrop St. Male victim was hit with a fire extinguisher. Male 43yrs arrested.

June 25th 11:30PM. Midwood & Bedford. Fender bender occurred between two cars and the offending car drove away. The offended car drove after the offender, bumped his car a few blocks later, then exited his car with a firearm and fired at the other driver. He shot the car. No one was hurt.

June 26th, 2PM. 44 Empire Avenue. There was a verbal dispute between three people. Male victim was hit with unidentified object causing laceration to the face. Male and female were arrested at the location.

July 5th, 8PM. 680 Flatbush Ave. Verbal dispute between male and female. Female was hit with broken glass and was cut on the finger.

July 14th, 9PM. Hawthorne & Bedford. Male was walking down the street, noticed pain in his hand and realized he had been shot.

July 18th 3:30PM. 569 Flatbush Ave, shoe repair shop. Victim states that defendant came into store to pick up her shoes. Defendant didn't like the job done on her shoes. Defendant then struck victim on the upper arm with shoe, causing bruising.


May 25th 4:30PM. 1191 Nostrand Ave. Victim noticed electronics missing from apartment, no sign of forced entry.

June 4th, 3PM. 135 Maple St. Skate board taken through front door.

June 4th, 4PM. 75 Hawthorne St. Perp came in through front door and stole bicycle and scooter.

June 8th, 7AM. 122 Fenimore. Perp stole electronics and Black & Decker (unspecified). Entry point unknown.

June 10, midnight. 1283 Nostrand Ave. Came in through open window on fire escape. Stole $1000 and electronics.

June 10th, 2PM. 159 Maple St. Front window broken. Attempted to remove property but failed.

June 26th, 6:30PM. 305 Clarkson Ave. Perp came in through fire escape window and stole electronics.

June 27th, 5PM. Corner Empire & New York. Burglar came in through fire escape. Male 17 yrs old arrested.

July 9th, 1:00AM. 285 Hawthorne St. Perp opened rear window, stole credit cards and electronics.

July 15th, 6PM. 320 Sterling St. Attempted to come in through fire escape.

August 9th, 4PM. In front of 651 Flatbush Ave. Broke into a commercial truck, stole electronics.

Grand Larceny (No physical force between victim and perp)

May 18th, 6:30PM. Flatbush & Beekman. Cell phone snatch, female victim.

May 18th, 4:30PM. Winthrop & Nostrand.
 Victim fell asleep on train and perp picked his pocket of $10 and credit card.

May 19th, 12:30AM. 165 Winthrop St. Cell phone snatch.

May 27th 8PM. Midwood & Bedford. Purse snatched, $800 cash.

May 29th, 11AM. 970 Hawthorne St. Credit card fraud.

May 30th, 9PM. Flatbush & Ocean in subway. Pickpocket took debit and credit cards from person's pocket.

June 2nd 7PM. Parkside & Ocean on the bus. Pickpocket took credit card and $100 cash.

June 2, 11:30AM. 1283 Nostrand Ave. Credit card fraud.

June 2, 8PM. 78 Hawthorne St. Cell phone stolen from male.

June 5th, noon. 292 Lefferts Ave. Bank fraud.

June 6th, 8AM. 40 Empire Ave. Credit card fraud. Card was used in numerous locations around the precinct.

June 7th, 9AM. 100 Lefferts Ave. Someone cashed a check on someone's account.

June 8th, 5PM. Sterling & Nostrand. Chain snatch.

June 9th, 1PM. 1222 Nostrand Ave. Cell phone snatch.

June 10th, 4PM. Rogers & Midwood. Chain snatch.

June 11th, 12noon. 218 Hawthorne St. Fraudulent check written for $700.

June 11th, 10:30PM. Nostrand & Winthrop subway. Cell snatch.

June 12th, 6AM. Parkside & Ocean in subway. Cell phone snatched.

June 14th, 11AM. 1250 Nostrand Ave. Cell snatched.

June 15th, 2:30PM. 224 Hawthorne St. Bank fraud.

June 15th, 9AM. 170 Hawthorne St. Bank fraud of about $18,000.

June 17th, 4PM. 1798 Bedford Ave. Credit card fraud.

June 18th, 8PM. 105 Lincoln Rd. Someone withdrew $30,000 from someone's bank account.

June 18th, 10AM. Nostrand Winthrop subway. Purse snatch.

June 18th, 3PM. 355 Lefferts Ave. Debit card fraud.

June 19th, 4:30PM. 371 Hawthorne St. Necklace snatched.

June 20th, 1PM. 290 Empire Ave. Con man pretended to be insurance salesman and stole $2000.

June 20th, 11PM. 419 Lincoln St. Debit card fraud.

June 20th 8:30PM. Flatbush & Hawthorne. Chain snatched.

June 22nd, 4PM. 635 Rogers Ave. Jewelry snatched.

June 23rd, 5PM. 703 Flatbush Ave. Perp took from parked vehicle sunglasses.

June 23rd, noon. Nostrand & Sterling. Cell snatch.

June 23rd. 12:30AM. 59 Hawthorne St. Three unauthorized transactions on credit card.

June 25th, noon. 270 Empire Blvd. Bank and debit fraud.

June 26th, 1PM. 305 Clarkson Ave. Credit card fraud.

June 28th, 9:30PM. 285 Clarkson Ave. Cell snatch.

June 29th, 5PM. 308 Lincoln Rd. Credit card fraud.

June 30th, noon. 347 Midwood St. Identify theft/ bank account/bank fraud.

July 1st. Nostrand & Sterling. Person fell asleep on train and woke up with purse unzippered and $200 cash missing.

July 1st, 4AM. Lincoln & Bedford. Pickpocketed a wallet, cash and debit card.

July 2nd 6:30PM. 9 Parkside Avenue. Unauthorized credit card transactions.

July 5th, 9AM. 115 Ocean Ave. Credit card fraud.

July 10, noon. 295 Parkside Ave. Unauthorized credit card charge.

July 11, 9AM. 590 Flatbush Avenue. Bank fraud - someone opened a cell phone account under someone else's name.

July 13th, 1PM. 355 Lefferts Ave. Victim noticed electronics and cell phone missing from bedroom.

July 13th, 8PM. Ocean & Parkside subway. Cell phone snatch.

July 14th, 5:15PM. Ocean & Parkside subway. Cell phone snatch.

July 20th, 2AM. 45 Lincoln Rd. Female left purse on table of commercial location and returned to find it missing.

July 21st, 9PM. Midwood & Bedford Ave. Cellphone snatch.

July 27th, 1AM. Parkside & Ocean subway. Cellphone snatch.

July 31st, 8AM. 77 Lefferts Ave. Credit card fraud.

July 31st, 7PM. Nostrand & Hawthorne. Cell snatch.

August 2nd, noon. 145 Lincoln Rd. Credit card fraud.

August 5th, 3AM. 130 Fennimore St. Stole side mirrors of a BMW.

August 11th, 9:35AM. Ocean & Parkside subway, cell snatch.

Grand Larceny Auto

June 26th, 10:30AM. 328 Lincoln Rd. 2005 green Honda.

June 24th, 1AM. Lefferts & New York, 1992 green Land Rover.

June 4th, 6:30PM. 535 Parkside Ave. 2011 black Mercedes Benz.

June 17th, 9PM. 359 Winthrop St. 92 gray Lincoln town car.

June 11th, 6AM. Rogers & Hawthorn. 09 gray Hyundai.

July 16th, 105 Empire Ave. 2010 blue Mazda.

July 23rd, 6AM. 163 Ocean Ave. 2012 gray Dodge. AN ARREST WAS MADE - two perps were found in the car.

August 1st, noon. 36 Nostrand Ave. 98 blue Toyota Camry.

August 10th, 8AM. Bedford & Rutland. 2008 black Toyota.

Anonymouse Was Right - My Bad on Papa & Sons

Turns out the soon to close Papa & Sons on the NW corner of Flatbush and Lincoln will NOT be a bank. This from the landlord's lips. The "deep throat" on this story was clearly no Mark Felt. What will it be? She's not saying publicly, but there's apparently a serious contender in the works. I'm guessing Mahjong Parlor or peep show.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Church Avenue Sidewalk Sales

Sidewalk Sales on Church Avenue
Church Avenue BID - 884 Flatbush Avenue - 2nd Floor - Brooklyn, NY - 11226 -

Sidewalk Sales: Sidewalk sales return tomorrow and all weekend along Church Avenue! Stop by your favorite Church Avenue stores and get everything you need for the last days of summer and back-to-school shopping. Pick up picnic and BBQ supplies at 99 Cent City, 99 Cent Goal, Bobby's Department Store, and Modell's. Check out the end of the Summer sales and stock up on back-to-school clothes at Wealthy Hostage, Danice, and Ability Selection. Ready-made lunches are available at Downtown Natural (now open at 7:30 a.m.), great fish and meat for grilling at our several fresh fish and meat markets, seasonal fruit at the markets on E. 19th, and much more. Am-Thai will be serving delicious food and iced coffee, the recently opened Lark Cafe offers savory sweets and ice cream, and Shayna's Restaurant will be cooking up traditional roti dishes.
  • When: Fri. August 24 - Sun. August 26 from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Where: All along Church Avenue between Coney Island Avenue and Flatbush Avenue

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This Just In - Darn Good Sushi Delivers to Caledonia

It's raining Wasabi 'n' Edamame in Caledonia. Word has reached the Q that pretty-darn-good Kumo Sushi on Cortelyou will deliver within 1.5 miles. Their website even gives you a handy tool to check whether you qualify. The radius ends somewhere north of Hawthorne and east of Bedford. Yelp is generally impressed, though a few outlier reviews dragged it down. Frankly I think Sushi Tatsu Number 3 should rename itself simply "Number 2," if you know what I mean, so I'm happy to try another joint. It was recommended by a gifted foody, so I'm passing the rec along. Give it a shot and give us a shout!

(As a commenter points out, you can check out for other delivery options. It's still pretty slim pickins out there, but let us know what you're ordering in and share your thoughts! Important to note that Middle Village's Queensdelivers will bring "wings" to your door with a minimum $99 order. And if you need barbecue, try Jimmy's in Manhattan. Only a $500 minimum is needed for their delivery.)

Gentrification Took Your Job

Not sure I fully understand the implications here, as I'm accustomed to the big G being blamed primarily for lack of housing, rising rents and shift in culture:
Provocative? Most def. This was posted as a flyer, anonymously, in our 'hood. Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Apple Sues iHOP for Trademark Infringement

Actually, that is not true. That is what we call, in the blog biz, a bait and switch.

What IS likely true, according to a sleuthful neighbor, is that the International House of Pancakes will open its newest location on Church Avenue where the much-missed Veggie Castle once reigned. For those too new to the neighborhood to remember the iconic Rasta Ital cooking joint that took over a White Castle many moons past, the owners chose to leave the sign and iconic look intact (see pic). Veggie Castle sadly closed a few years back, apparently priced out of its location.

So there is a slight tie-in with the headline gag, in that Apple MIGHT consider suing iHOP if they so much as lowercased the "i", while White Castle was apparently capable of recognizing that imitation is high flattery and can even burnish one's brand. OR, the slider-munchy-blind stoners at Corporate were simply too high to call their lawyers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

71st Precinct On a Crime Busting Spree

Congrats to the 71st on the following, via Vinny Martinos. Glad to see that the Civilian Observation Patrol was helpful over on Kingston, but for the love of God when are we going to start patrolling over here? It's been over a year since Ben Edwards and company started signing up recruits. Let's get that thing rolling, along with the nifty jackets and sporty vehicle.

Cell Phone Arrest

08-15-2012 at 9 AM There was a cell phone larceny on Brooklyn and Maple in which a cell phone was snatched from victims hand by a perpetrator on a bike. After a brief canvass a positive ID was made and the perp was arrested.

08-16-2012 at PM 1115 PM Three Perps surrounded victim at Montgomery and Utica. They then forcible removed her cell phone. A canvass was immediately conducted and all three perps were positively ID at E92 and East New York Ave.

Firearm Arrest

08-16-2012 at 9 PM front of 1106 President Street a Perp was arrested for a loaded handgun and marijuana POSSESION.

08-17-2012 at 140 AM in the rear of 1663 Carroll Street a Perp was arrested for possession of a loaded firearm and resisting arrest.

08-17-2012 Gun shots were fired on Nostrand Ave at approximately 5 PM (No one was injured) The perp was ID by the 71Precinct Detective Unit and was brought into custody Saturday afternoon.

Burglary Arrest

Wednesday 08/15/2012 at approximately 1100 PM a member of the Civilian Observation Patrol noticed an individual walking down Kingston Ave. acting suspicious. As he followed the individual he noticed him enter an apartment. He immediately called 911. When NYPD arrived the individual was placed under arrest and charged with Burglary. The perp has confessed to nine other burglaries. Excellent work by COP.



P.O. Vincent Martinos

71st Precinct - Community Affairs
New York City Police Department
421 Empire Blvd
Brooklyn, New York 11225

Phone: (718) 735-0527
Fax: (718) 735-0518
email: Vincent.Martinos@NYPD.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Woodruff Deli Kerfuffle: A Counter Encounter Turns Ugly

The semi-sordid and frequently thug-infested deli at the NW corner of Flatbush and Woodruff was in the Post's Daily Blotter a week and a half ago. The blow-by-blow account is riveting, so I'm reprinting it here without the Post's Blessing (or the Pope's Blessing for that matter):

An irate deli owner attacked a woman in a dispute over small change in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, authorities said. Farouk Alshubi, 24, who owns the Woodruff Deli, on Flatbush Avenue near Clarkson Avenue, allegedly threw the change in the customer’s face after she purchased loose cigarettes at about 8:50 a.m. Thursday and questioned his math skills. She retaliated by flinging a candy bar at him and knocking a candy display off the counter, cops said. So Alshubi hurled a welfare card-scanning keypad at the woman’s face, breaking one of her teeth, the cops added. The woman also required 15 stitches to close a gash suffered during the fight. Alshubi was charged with assault, menacing, possession of a weapon, and harassment.

One can hope this is an isolated incident, though in all honestly the Q sees near-fisticuffs take place all the time over simple cash interactions. I can't help but be reminded of the tense days of yore (actually, late 1980's early 1990's) when relations between Korean/Chinese store owners and African-Americans was a big deal. As a hayseed outsider, I would often note the disrespectful attitudes on both sides of the counter and try to figure out what brought it all on. By the time of the Crown Heights Riot in '91, I was fearful that the City would soon be engulfed in some sort of all-out race war. And the L.A. riots proved how close we really were to the brink. Sometimes I wonder if I imagined those days - the crack vials, the anger, the murder rate, the general feeling of decay and lawlessness - but all I need to do is look at the crime stats, or speak to an old-timer who's been there seen that, to know it was very real indeed. I was 25ish then, playing the rock music, carousing, working by day at the Brooklyn Museum (the guards made up the most truly diverse group of folks I've ever gotten to know), thinking that Brooklyn itself could only ever serve as a cheaper-than-the-east-village place to lay one's head during a requisite 3-5 year stay in NYC, the only city on earth cool enough to nurture Afrika Bambaataa AND Talking Heads AND Boogaloo AND the Ramones and still have cool enough left over to actively celebrate people living in warehouses and former edifices of industrial depravity, and I obliged by moving into a giant space on 3rd Stret near the Gowanus canal with a bunch of work-averse boys. I was already late to the party of course, but then again you never really know you're part of a scene while it's happening, and the early part of the decade was actually an enormously fertile time for "out" music, dance-music hybrids, Americana, freaky jazz, indie and hip-hop...even if rock relocated to the Northwest coast for a time. (New York's "grunge" was way more interesting anyway, farcically fruited up by Big Apple weirdness. In Seattle they took it SOOOO seriously - too much rain and caffeine I guess). Who would have thought that a mere 20 years on and the world's college grads are beating down Brooklyn's door like so many Muslims on the Haj to Mecca? A-ha! There IS a tie-in here. Muslims. Bodegas. Can you even call it a bodega when it's not run by Spanish speakers? That reminds me I must ask a local deli guy what's Arabic for bodega.

Is there a lesson in the madness of one encounter over the deli counter? Probably not. But the disrespect and cultural distrust and misunderstanding are eerily familiar to this not-so-newcomer. Now, those of us outsiders who stayed here through and past our extended adolescences are, for better or worse, an integral part of the cultural fabric of Brooklyn; no longer do I imagine a future living in some exotic locale, and no longer can I honorably feign ironic distance from the proceedings. Like the immigrants before me I came to Brooklyn looking for a new life. Granted I had all the advantages that membership in the dominant American culture afforded me, though I'm proud to say I came to town with just $1,000 and a Mazda GLC and have been making it work ever since. (That Mazda was stolen within the year, in case you were wondering. My first true life lesson, though I wish that 12-string guitar hadn't been in the trunk. Oh the feelings I could've expressed!)

A fascinating story or study must exist out there that documents the rise of Arab-run delis, the decline of the Spanish-speaking bodegas, the influence of Duane Reades and corporate chains on local business. And always on my mind is this question: how many of the workers at local mom-and-pops live in the neighborhood? And perhaps most continually explosive, why is it that so many years on it's still recent immigrants who are running the shops of  black neighborhoods?

And, like, how long ago was it now that a Mr. Hooper lookalike could have been seen manning the counter? OR, is the whole new bourgeois mom-and-pop phenomenon of Brownstone Brooklyn the result of Mr. Hooper's lasting influence in the urban imagination? May he and Fred Rogers rest in peace...their legacies live on at Larder, Provisions and those goofy cherry-lime-rickey soda fountain joints popping up all over town. "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood" indeed.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Au revoir, Papa & Sons

photo courtesy of Across the Park, circa 2006
Just in from the confirmed rumor mill, Papa & Sons, the venerable maxi-bodega at the NW corner of Flatbush and Lincoln Road, will close at the end of the month. To be replaced by...a bank. Details at 11, or, more likely, in the comments below. Anyone know which flavor of multi-national ATM flim-flammers we should expect?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What do gold chains and i-Phones have in common?

They're as good as cash and easy to swipe. Word has reached the Q that the 71st precinct, as well as districts throughout the City, is experiencing near-epidemic rates of theft of high-worth items off people's persons. Those folks I've spoken to who've been robbed describe the crime as enormously scary, since there's physical contact between perp and victim, and it sometimes involves pushes, shoves, threats or worse. It's hard habit to get into, but it's so important not to provide thieves with an easy target. I've personally witnessed four snatchings in the last year, two here, two on the "other side of the Park." If you're walking down the street engrossed in your "phone," it's basically like you're holding $400 in cash in your outstretched hand. With dozens of brazen businesses ready to turn Apples into Greenbacks, it's just too easy for a fast-moving thief to get rich quick. And the rise in chain-snatchings corresponds with the enormous run-up in gold prices, so gold jewelry should be kept safe as well. The latest CompStat numbers show a 60% year over year rise in grand larceny, and that's largely due to the high number of thefts of i-Phones and gold jewelry.

The Community Affairs office at the precinct asked that we post these reminders. Read on.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Keeping Abreast of the 'Bush

You can take a boy out of the 'Bush, but you can't take the 'Bush out of his inbox. Friends and neighbors have been good enough to send along pics and newses of the neighborhood, and since the Q's managed to snag a few moments of internettage from his gracious hosts, I must share with y'all.

First up from Jeanne E. comes a nice reminder of what happens when no one takes ownership of a commercial strip's tree pits. K-Dog and then Blue Roost always took care to keep the frontage in front of their businesses free of debris. I highly suggest that either landlord Rong Ge or the new lease-holders keep an eye on the trash problem, since this block (like her sister avenue Parkside) is traveled by thousands of commuters every day who would ask only that their work-walk take place in visual and olfactory peace. The Q was about to blow a gasket over the insane dumpage at old Mansoob's bodega at the NE corner of Parkside/Flatbush just before he left town. We GOTS to do something bout that corner too. Will the madness never cease?! Okay, maybe I sound a bit histrionic, but it really amazes me the level of indifference.

Remember the fresh tomatoey goodness of Cafe Pomidor, the delightful eatery at the corner of Flatbush and Midwood? Of course not, because it never opened, despite months of promise via a colorful gate-draping banner. Marshals (federal? flatbushian? the discount clotherie a la TJ Maxx?) have seized the space, which apparently often occurs when the rent is not delivered on time and in full. The Q has often wondered why Marshals of any kind need be involved - probably means that there was stuff of some value inside the premises and the landlord has taken possession of said stuff in lieu of payment. (more info on Marhals, per Adrian's comment, here)

Finally, I've received word from Pearl Miles at the Community Board that the appropriate agency (Parks) has accepted responsibility for the gaping hole near the Wendy's on Flatbush near Empire. We should expect a new street tree there eventually, and at the very least an in-filling, probably of dirt, though it sure would be fun if the Dave Thomas (may he rest in peace) crew were to create a deep pool of delicious and chilly FROSTY filling. Sometimes, it's the little things that really add up and make a neighborhood special (some prefer [Jane] Jacobsian; I lean more towards [Willy] Wonkavian). Okay, the Q's heading back under his rock for a few...this post is getting indefensibly silly...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Greenest Block(s) in Brooklyn

While the Q is away, the rarely checked inbox is awash in the good news that Lincoln between Bedford and Rogers won the coveted Greenest Block in Brooklyn award for 2012. No surprises there, to those of us who've had the pleasure of a saunter under its lovely canopies. And yet I couldn't help but notice and rejoice that, in a borough of thousands of blocks, yet another Flatbush/PLG block placed this year - Sterling 'tween Washington and Bedford. Not too shabby, oh Northeastern Flatbush! I am, however, flabbergasted that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, one of the sponsors of the prize, would label the neighborhood wherein the aforementioned 4th greenest block resides as Crown Heights. Anyone with a pulse and an ounce of horse sense knows that Sterling is below Empire and therefore 101% Flatbushian PLG. For shame! Which begs another the Garden itself in Crown Heights? Or perhaps we should claim it for our own as tat-for-tit? Or is it given special status as a borough-wide institution, like the Park? One would never call Prospect Park a part of any particular neighborhood, though a strong argument could be made that BBG resides in Crown Heights. Anyone care to dispute or refute any of the above? (This is most assuredly "summer" blog posting at its laziest, and I for one approve.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Parkside Playground Update

Word reaches the Q that the 71st Precinct is partnering with the Parks Department to patrol and to nightly lock the Parkside Playground to ensure the safety of the much-needed gathering space for young people and children. This is undeniably an excellent and commonsensical response to the rocky start for the park. We're sending the right messages to the authorities, and I'm glad they're listening. To everyone who picked up a phone and called to demand attention to the need for police presence and vigilance, the Q applauds you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Q is Number 1! (the train, not the blog).

From the credible Straphangers Campaign:

1. The best subway line in the city was the Q with a “MetroCard Rating” of $1.60. The Q ranked number one in the system for the first time since 2001. The Q ranked highest because it tied for best in the system on announcements — and also performed above average on three measures: delays caused by mechanical breakdowns, seat availability at the most crowded point during rush hour, and subway car cleanliness. The line did not get a higher rating because it performed below average on the amount of scheduled service and average on regularity of service. The Q runs between Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard in Queens. 
 I'm recusing myself. Comments?

Don't Believe in Miracles? How about...AC?

This just in from the Saturday Evening Post, er, 60 years ago - soon, man will have vanquished summer.

Please relish with me nearly any quote from the below brilliant snapshot of a nation about to forever change the locations of our national urbanity (Phoenix, anyone?) and the very climate itself (global weirding). I mean, how amazing is air conditioning? And how seductively destructive?

Yes, there was a time not so very long ago, when, during heat waves, there was no cool air to be found...anywhere. Even refrigeration was new to in mid-20th century (my dad grew up with an actual icebox). Those with even a little bit of money literally headed for the hills - the Catskills was all about escaping the City heat. Oh, and wee bit of Dirty Dancing of course!

For those of you like me who are just plain curious about what life was REALLY like in the 40's, 50's and 60's, there's no better read that the Saturday Evening Post. I'm thrilled that the old archives are now available on the online. Enjoy!

National Night Out - Next Tuesday

The 29th Annual iteration of "National Night Out," an event meant to bring neighbors together to help fight drugs, crime, and hooliganism, will be happening in both PLG and Caledonian-Flatbush-Caton-Park-Q-at-Parkside. The latter is happening at the corner of Caton and Argyle. This seems about right given recent troubles that have taken place in the Parade Grounds, from dry-ice bombs to, gulp, gang-style murders. For the former, I'm not so sure Maple between Bedford and Rogers is the ideal location to get those bad guys shaking in their boots, but it IS a damn pretty block. I guess I always thought part of the point was to show the riff-raff we ain't gonna take it, not to show them, say, the beauty that is 100 year old limestone town houses and tasteful coordinated landscaping. I can think of a few blocks (mine for instance...yours?) where a show of community solidarity with the precinct could speak volumes. At any rate, please join the crowd and there's some serious good times to be had. Posters for each event below...