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, June 28, 2013

Flatbush Corridor Project

Got word of a bad accident at the ridiculous intersection at Flatbush and Parkside. Any details folks?

Here's the presentation for the new Flatbush, minus the changes at Lincoln/Washington/Flatbush. Those are happening too.

I actually got an email from someone telling me I was making this all up. I assure you, it's for real.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Little Bit About A Lot of Tings

No, that's not a typo. I'm just reminding everyone to stop in a local greengrocer or deli and grab yourself a Ting soda, the Jamaican-born grapefruit spritzer in the small glass bottle (it's since been bought by a U.K. conglomerate, but the taste's the same). Delicious and hits the spot on a hot summer day! To my palate it reminds me of a non-diet version of Fresca. Residents of Kingston are apparently treated to the Ting logo as often as we see Coke here. I'd also add that a favorite cocktail is Ting and Vodka, known to locals as Ving. Try one and let us know what you think. I'll be abstaining per usual.
At the Community Board 9 meeting on Tuesday we learned more about the planned "fix" for traffic on Flatbush Avenue. It makes SO much sense to me that me can hardly contain me excitement.  More on the proposal and its history here. Let me just say though that this change is LONG overdue. There simply is not room for three lanes each direction (one parking and two driving). The constant darting back and forth has caused many a collision and injury. Cars feel they have a right to double-park, creating chaos. And anyone who says that merchants will be adversely affected by a plan to keep traffic moving is, in my view, placing a tiny bit of commercial convenience over safety and clean air for all. Double-parkers, please, please, stop!!! Delivery trucks only. Otherwise, you're just selfish, selfish, selfish. Okay, maybe if you're picking up an Air Conditioner or refrigerator or there's an emergency. But how often do we see people double-park to go get a Coke? Or a Ting? Or to WAIT for Peppa's (this one kills me; you've got plenty of time to find a place to park!) Or to just shoot the sh&t?

(yes of course the dollar vans are a problem too. but with less darting in and out i'll bet things get better. if i'm wrong, i'll buy you a Ting!)

Heading INTO town from 7-10am will be a No Standing situation...let's hope it's enforced so that cars, buses and vans get plenty of room to keep it moving. Left turn and right turn bays will get turners out of the way. And finally someone's had the good sense to kill the parking spots in front of the Popeye's-Family Pizza-Jeweler-TMobile stretch on Flatbush near Parkside, so that a right turn bay can be created. Drivers should now be able to SEE pedestrians in the crosswalk. If you've ever looked at the clusterf#ck at Parkside/Flatbush, or been stuck on a bus trying to navigate through it, you'll realize how crucial these changes are. To see how this all might look, you need only drive down Parkside towards the tennis courts. That's the same width, with just one lane of travel each way, and it works GREAT. Even the amount of double-parking has decreased, as folks choose not to stick out into the one lane of travel.

One strange addendum. A couple years ago, DOT added a right turn bay, with a median, for right-turners from Empire onto Flatbush at the Botanic Garden. They're going to take it away. Apparently the community of drivers hated this change, and DOT had to admit it backed up traffic horribly. And to those who've won a victory and an unusual apology from DOT, all I can say is I hope this means you'll remember how many pedestrians cross here every day and keep it slow when rounding the curve. (Actually, the biggest problem is people turning left from Ocean onto Flatbush, but that's a fight for another day.) Another major issue on Empire will be addressed by closing that tiny bit of Franklin below Empire. If you doubt the effectiveness of that change, go out and take a look some afternoon. You'll see the problems it causes. (Disco Princess thinks they should shut Franklin north of Empire as well, or put an end to turners).

Oh, and you won't be able to turn left from Lincoln Road onto Washington. That turn causes a pretzel in the middle of a very funky Flatbush/Lincoln/Washington intersection.

And how bout that plan to recreate the library at Medgar Evers? This one kinda snuck up on me. Now that Medgar's hired Rudy Crew as president (remember Rudy? superintendent of education Rudy? Rudy G telling him he ought to lose some weight and step in line, Rudy?), they're also going to get a bright and cheery new visage. I think it's much needed. Right now when I ride by M.E.C. the main entrance looks a bit like a prison or modern municipal building. Soon, you can expect something more like this:

Learn more about it all here.

Oh, and I almost forgot! You need mulch? Greenwood Cemetary has mounds of it and you can go pick up as many bags as you can carry - for free. According to local greenthumb Amy M., you can go get it anytime. Probably best to call first though. Enter at 25th Street and 5th Avenue and ask the guard for the mulch pile. This entrance is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 718-210-3080 with any questions

AND go see that free performance of Chekhov's The Seagull that's taking place by the rustic hut on the lake, just inside the park from my beloved Q at Parkside. It runs through Sunday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just Q-urious...

Ever mysterious but always beguiling Parkside Court beckons with a two-bedroom rental listed by Corcoran. I'm a week behind on this one, so sue me - has full-time employees.

The Q is Qurious as a Quat (his new motto), and wonders aloud: is $2,500 really reasonable for a single floor of a limestone building on P-Court?

I'm thinking $1,800 is about right. $1,600 would allow you to be a bit picky about whom you rent to (within the law of course!) Maybe's it's the Corcoran name that's supposed to lend the rental some heft?

See! I can do real estate based posts too!! (maybe they're ALL real estate based. maybe that's all that really matters anymore...sigh.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Haunted House of Clarkson - Is FOR SALE! (ghosts sold separately)

Since the Q moved to Clarkson a decade ago, the fabulous Haunted House near the corner of Bedford has remained a distinct fascination. Ah, there it is:

Not long after moving here, I asked the folks in the weird front addition to the house to let me in...strangely they obliged. It was one of most Magnificent Ambersons moments of my life to date. Read all about the house here.

It's back on the market. Here's the deets. Why not pony up the $3 million and sink another couple mill into it, and then you can really live like a Lion of Lefferts, plus you'll be within spitting distance of Gandhi and that bullet proof liquor store. Magnificent, indeed! More pics below...

Thanks Matt P. for the heads up on this one. Something about biking in the Himalayas really helped hone his internet radar.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Few Observations

Yesterday, big gang hang on the southwest corner of the Parkside Playground. The weed, the nasty rap lyrics blasting. Right across a two foot high fence from the toddlers playing in the water and on the kiddie playground equipment. Nice, guys. Real sweet of you to share.

Then, I come back today with my tot, and I'm treated to the below, which if you're anything like me, will make you feel a deep, deep sadness:

Sorry about my finger at the bottom of the picture. That's not the sad part. It's the gang graffiti. On slides meant for young kids. I asked a grade-schooler what it said. The youngster wasn't sure about the one on the left, but knew it was gang. The one on the right, the kid knew what it was, so I passed that tidbit along to those who might be interested in knowing. You're all smart. I don't need to try to draw out big dramatic words to describe what this makes me feel, like, all the way down.

On my way home tonight, after a ride from the other side of the park, reflecting on some of the things I've heard and read (many from y'all who have shared publicly or privately with me - thank you), I rode by the same playground as I do sometimes just to once again be reminded that yes, even with a little spit in the air, a crowd of young men is hanging out in the dark behind the restroom, having a laugh. Could be innocent. Actually it shouldn't be happening at all. Check the below:

If you want to avoid picture one, I would suggest doing what you say you're going to do in picture two, because it doesn't take an M.C. Einstein to tell you that it's between dusk and dawn that most of the hoodlum stuff goes down. It's dark in there, and there are two exits, one on Parkside and one on Winthrop. It's a great place to be, even if the cops come looking for you.

So I ride down Fenimore, half expecting a patrol car to be parked halfway down the block, given what happened Saturday night. I'd learned earlier in the day that the cops have no leads and don't know what started the fight that led to last night's shooting at 121 (though I agree with a commenter that 127 often seems more like the captain's quarters). Big group of guys hanging out across the street, at one of the often mentioned buildings, either 118 or 122. Now, a night after the incident, wouldn't you want to clear the area, let things cool down a bit? I mean, someone was trying to kill one of these guys last night. Don't you think there's a bit of unwanted tension in the air?

I guess I just don't get it. Maybe I'm just not cut out for police work. I guess I'd be making the wrong decisions constantly. Glad to know that things are under control, though.

Caution!! Cuidado!! If You Want To Picnic In Brooklyn...

Need help holding that "perfect" spot for a barbecue 'n' picnic? A little yellow tape comes in mighty handy...and yes, the revelers came back to this spot later to hold their family event. Very clever.
photo: Elizabeth C.

Tough Neighborhood

Saturday, June 22, 2013

South Lefferts News

A reader may have been a bit premature on Maverick comics. Seems it was just an awning change:

And yes, the MTA has moved in semi-permanently onto the Q at Parkside Plaza. Work on the station begins soon, with over a year of work to go. No pain, no gain.

And now...foreclosure?

And so the saga continues. I was just going to make a vow to start focusing more attention on my homestretch of southern Lefferts when an eagle-eyed reader snapped this pic attached to the door of the building owned by Rong Ge.

On the one hand, I suppose the financial difficulties of one of our neighbors is really no one's business. But as the Q as pondered before, the financial difficulties of this particular landlord and this particular building, have been tied the dreams and aspiration of northern Leffertsians for years. I'm quite certain that more than $100,000 in neighbors' duckets pour into the tills weekly via the four businesses in Ms. Ge's building. And so, one wonders, after bizzes have gone up for lease, then mysteriously disappeared, and Rong's own house is for rent...what the heck is really going on? Owner of LPT Jim Mamary won't talk to me, but workers have, and I see him loading boxes in and out, suggesting he's not exactly rolling in dough either.

I'm not really asking for speculation or mean-spirited gossip. Just saying it's quite the sitch.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Boutique Opens at 670 Flatbush

Last night as I pedaled home around 10pm I noticed a very festive and happy grand opening going down at 670 Flatbush, just a couple doors up from Play Kids. The boutique looked positively awesome, with what looked to my decidedly untrained eyes as '60s-ish tight fitting space-age outfits on the mannequins, lots of interesting eye-popping party jewelry, and the awesome name of Marcia Perfume Diva adorning the grand opening banner, though the place is actually named Marcia Diva's Boutique (the proprietor's name is Marcia Perfume though). I'll be sure to stop in and find out more on a less chaotic day, but a quick google search reveals Marcia is a public personality who puts on parties and is quite the extrovert. The Q wishes her the best. This is the kind of fun shop that makes walking down or up the Flabenue such a treat for qurious qats like me. I mean, sure I complain about the trash and all, and we're working on that, but last night looking into all the shops, so many of the hair places bustling with laughter, the 7th game of the NBA finals on and people shouting at the TVs, and having just come from the quiet streets of Park Slope, I was reminded how much I love my home and the way it reveals itself to me, layer upon layer.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Milk It

With so much commentary flying about regarding "specialty items," I thought I'd point out that it was not so very long ago that you couldn't get organic milk in the neighborhood. Even three years ago I was trekking to the Slope on the Park for grass fed dairy products. Now I can get it 24-7 at Suzy Farm.

Is all organic milk created equal? The Park Slope Food coop schooled me on the subject, and the answer, as with most organic products, is a resounding no. Take the most common brands available in local grocery stores, Horizon and Organic Valley. Being a commie-hippie-punk at heart, if not necessarily always in deed, I find the below wiki entries to be most revealing, and I'll leave it to y'all to make your own call:

Horizon Milk

Organic Valley

I still find it useful to do even a teensy bit of research on every product consumed, even if it's just to make myself feel better, knowing that we're all going to hell for destroying god's greatest gift to humanity, after love of course, mother earth. Although if she'd just made it less humid, we wouldn't have had to invent air conditioning.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mama Louisas

From deep in the deeply detailed thread on the new Wholesome Market (see below post) came a reminder that some in the neighborhood don't know about the sandwich treasure on New York Avenue - Mama Louisas. Which means you might also not know about Kings County Nurseries next door, or the truly unique "Disc Mart/Blackmind" Boutique across the street. Mama's is (amazingly)over 100 years old, dating back well back into the days when the area was called Pigtown) and makes outstanding heroes, so if Wholesome ain't cold-cutting it for you, there's another EGGScellent option.

As to the griping about Wholesome, I'm wondering a) exactly what people were expecting and b) whether the gripers have plans to make their list of specialty item needs known to the amiable shopkeeps. As to the lack of organic produce, that's definitely a head-scratcher. Seems a no-brainer, but what they do have (non-organic) looks fairly decent to me, though slim-pickins'. I for one ain't given up my Food Coop membership over it. But dang people have gotten picky bout their delis! For your fresh bread, is it so hard to walk three doors down to ToTT? I thought that was part of the Urban Fantasy, that shop-to-shop bourgie boulangerie thang. By-the-by, ToTT let Tugboat keep the bagel market. I thought that was kinda magnanimous actually...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tonight: COP Program Orientation at 71st Precinct - Be There!

It's finally happening. Vinnie Martinos says all are welcome. The patrol car is ready. All we need are the able-bodied volunteers. But you must show up tonight at 7pm at the 71st precinct, Empire at New York Ave. You're not committed to actually driving around in the Civilian Observation Patrol car just yet, but you must attend the orientation and get fingerprinted in order to be considered. The idea is for members of the community to cruise around and observe, then let the precinct know what we see - no fancy interventionist stuff. Plus, we get to know each other better. To me, it's all part of the neighborhood watch and D.A. block captain work we're doing already, per that meeting last week and other efforts. And I'll be posting in the next couple days about what up with that.

So show up tonight at the precinct, And remember, there's a cool jacket in it for those who become "C.O.P.s" This is NOT vigilante justice. It's just another piece in the getting a handle on the Drugs 'n' Thugs nonsense that's plaguing the area and getting a lot of us down.

Latest Q Tip from Parkside

Interesting. From Rudy came word that someone finally came and trimmed the trees on the south side of Parkside, and that the bag that had been there since at least 2008 finally came down. I put his picture up, meaning to post on it, got distracted and rode to work, then came back to the post to find that people had already commented on it. One person had gone so far as to get all angry-like. Well, Mr. Mad Man, my post was actually going to be a good news story about things taking a turn for the better. Although it appears that Maverick Comics is closing. As they sing in Fiddler on the Roof, "Sunrise, Sunset..."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Holy Wholesome, Batman! (PLUS the Q's review!)

So...what do you think, North Lefferts? Impressed, meh, nonplussed? Other?

The Rong Ge owned strip is now fully operational and awaiting your patronage. All aboard.

P.S. If the title and body of this post make no sense to you at all, then you're not from around here, are you?

The Q's Review:

It's a bloody awesome deli. Bright, clean, nice selection of daily use items. Easy Lover blasting on the radio...It's not Union Market, it's not Joe's or Whole Foods, but if you don't see what you like tell them what it is right now and I'll bet they'll get it for you. Just a few years ago, this place would have been considered fancy. It's not run by hipsters, so it's only guessing what you're going to want. So why not tell them? They want your business, they invested a lot of money in the neighborhood, and they want to stay. If you don't let them down, I bet they won't let you down.

Some things you couldn't get before that you can get now - decent to-go food and sandwiches, specialty chips, lox, decent packaged sausages, tate's chocolate chip cookie's, good selection of ice creams, muffins the size of a soccer ball...

Just give 'em a nudge in the right direction...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

PS249 Caton School Fundraiser Monday 4-7 PM

The Q has taken part in many, many fundraisers over the years. He's a fundraiser himself, and thought he'd seen 'em all. But this one takes the cake, er the fries.

Tomorrow, Monday June 17, from 4-7PM, stop by our neighborhood McDonald's at Parkside  'n Ocean and order your favorite menu items, as you will be served by principal and teachers from the Caton School, the delightful neighborhood District 17 school located just south of the Parade Ground on Caton.

Why would you do it? Because the profits for those three hours go to the school. You eat burgers, the school gets books. You suck down shakes, the school gets to retain that para.

I know what you're saying. McDonald's and grade school kids don't mix. It's not the right message.  Childhood obesity is an epidemic and McDonald's is partly to blame. Well...okay. But...okay, you're right. Sort of, yes. BUT, and this is a big BUTT. The manager has shown a renewed interest in communicating with the community. And the renovation is 100% welcome. They've even loosened the policy on hanging out, so that seniors can linger over coffee, an issue that irked some of the old timers. And it is, after all, a fundraiser.

So yeah, it's a little weird. Trying to put the best face on it. And I will definitely go get me some fries. And a shake. Probably not the burger though. Gooooooooooo CATON!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hard where?

Why, hard HERE of course. Right next to Patio Gardens. I have my doubts that it will be anything too fancy, but it's gotta beat that flashy 99cent game and cell phone place that opened and shut after Eric Adams moved out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sign off, sign on.

Ahoy! Any typesetters out there know what font that it? I kinda miss the old hand-done sign. But I kinda don't.