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.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Post It And They Will Come

Oh My Sweet Goodness. When I opened an email today from Mr. Michael Cetera, he of the Community Board 9, he who many years ago as a young man helped get Eastern Parkway landmarked, he who keeps digging over on Clove Road hoping to find, I don't know, Revolutionary War muskets or something, he who agrees with me anyone in their right mind that the parking lot at Ocean/Flatbush/Empire is a disgrace and an affront to the people of Lefferts, nay the people of the City of New York...yeah, that Mike Cetera. Where was I? Oh yeah...he sent me an email this morning. With a picture for the redesign of the plaza that plaza. It's rid-ic-u-lous. Across from the Botanic Garden, the Prospect Park, the glorious Phat Albert building and the third greatest Wendy's in North America no less!

But seriously...it's such a wasted opportunity and we all know it. Now, folks are finally starting to agitate about it.

I'm all pumped about the David Eppley art project that I've been pushing here to gorgeously psychedelically cover the green sheet metal Flatbush trees and will be going to an already enthusiastic DOT with the formal proposal and various elected officials (Adams and Eugene) in the coming weeks for funding (read about it here) not as an end but because we (meaning the board and lots of you who I've talked to and who've written in) see it as a great way to bring everybody's attention to the other attraction. And the other attraction, simply put, is getting the MTA to stop using that land as a parking lot, which as far as any one can tell is not legal, moral, kosher, or even nice. As soon as we get the right design in place, with the right people (meaning the design commission) involved, and the right owner (we're not sure yet) and the right power brokers involved (the mayor, the king), that land should be returned to us (since it really belongs to we the people anyway) and we should get something useful and purty out of it. And Cetera, who's no stranger to this kinda long term bureaucracy stuff (he worked for years as the City's architect) knows how to get this stuff done. So his first move, besides being kind enough to humor me with the tree business, was to enlist an old friend, Johannes Knesl, RA, an urban designer who served for many years as DOT's director of urban design and knows how to design open spaces that will meet the strict requirements for public plazas and streetscapes. He's retired now, moved down to North Carolina for a bit, but I do believe he's got a bit of the bug to move back up to the City. And if we ask real nice-like he may just offer this one for the love and not the money. No promises. But guess what? He is offering a sneak peak.

So ladies and gentlemen. For those who'd like a glimpse at what the future might bring. For those who'd like to be in on the ground floor. For those who like to think big, who like to imagine their neighborhood not as it is but as it could be. Who don't think just in terms of new restaurants or boutiques and condos and private real estate development, but of public spaces and shared goals and tax dollars wisely spent, I bring you an old fashioned drawing via new fashioned jpeg:

11 comments:

Dynishal said...

Getting rid of that parking lot is an amazing idea. Ditto re: creating a true public use on that space. If oen green space is all we can do, I'd support that change as a positive one. But I think it'd be nice to see a use that serves some purpose that's unmet by the ginormous park across the street. For example, basketball and handball courts. Or perhaps an adult playground: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/nyregion/new-york-introduces-its-first-adult-playground.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. A space like that would be active and serve unment neighborhood needs of young adults and seniors.

Dynishal said...

One other brainstorming idea -- a community garden! How amazing could that be with a BBG partnership? And what brings folks together more than growing flowers and veggies!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Dynishal: I don't think the space is big enough for the purposes you mentioned. And there's a big batch of handball and basketball courts just down the street by the Ebbets houses. They need updating, don't get me wrong! And I love the adult playground (sounds sexy doesn't it?) at the new Parkside playground on Bedford at Winthrop. Plus the Parade Ground, the new Lakeside Center...I don't think of a public plaza is adequate for that.

I actually think the Park itself should invest in those things though. A community garden inside the park is a tremendous idea. I want a place that you is a warm inviting spot to enter and exit the train, or sit and wait for the bus, or just catch your breath, or for a farmer's market, or to pass on your way to the country's fourth best Wendy's (they just built a killer one in Spokane).

theoldspeakjournal said...

Community Garden would be excellent, could possibly add some real locally grown produce to the weekend green market, and the hopefully soon to come food co-op? Rendering looks really good. So wait, they are or arent looking to keep the Flatbush Ave sign? I hope they'd spruce it up and keep it, it's been there my whole life!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

After Eppley's art project on the Flatbush Trees goes down, how about we do a Chia Pet thing on them? You know, growing grass on the outside of the trees?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

And Oldspeak: The trees are still there in the rendering. There may be a moment in the process, way down the line, where someone suggests tearing them down. But we're nowhere near that. The one thing I will never be okay with though, after the temporary art project, is leaving them dilapidated. They've been in an ever drearier state of decay for the past 25 years, when I first saw them. I dig 'em, but maybe I don't have the same heartstring pull Ol'speak.

Anonymous said...

If you can't get rid of the Parking lot? Hide it. This is a fabulous idea...

theoldspeakjournal said...

Ah ok. Yeah they definitely need to be restored, it's been too long. This project would be a perfect time to do so.

Bob Marvin said...

Tim,

I was responding more to Babs than anon.--there was a LOT worth ignoring in his or her comment.

Anonymous said...

On a not-so-related note: this NYTIMES article says 11226 is the zip code with the most 311 calls.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/nyregion/mayor-bloombergs-geek-squad.html

Clarkson FlatBed said...

That makes me very, very proud.