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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Man's Rezoning Is Another Man's Trash

Seems that it may be time for an update on the various voices bellowing loudly for recognition in the rezoning process. Today I see in Brownstoner that MTOPP, a/k/a Alicia Boyd, has tried to create a stir around the (not even yet-proposed) rezoning of Empire Boulevard. Remembering, as the Q has pointed out previously, that we are only now getting to the point of discussing the geographical area of a rezoning study with City Planning, it seems to me very unproductive to create the impression that the neighborhood is united against rezoning and developing Empire Blvd. Quite the opposite. Unlike 626 Flatbush which has had detractors and proponents since the beginning, I've heard relatively few voices express an interest in keeping Empire Blvd the Fast Food and Storage Facility corridor that it is now. I'd also say that I personally find it disruptive to create the impression that more has taken place than it has. At this point, various players have weighed in on what they'd like to see from Empire. But these are all expressions of desire, hardly the stuff of reality at this point. 626 had its permits and its financing when some in the community began to protest. In my opinion, you can't protest something that isn't happening.

Certainly there is much to be discussed about whether and what the appropriate vision should be for Empire Blvd. I've long felt that it is EXACTLY the appropriate space to consider affordable housing options, even a middle-class focus. Hell, much better than East New York in my opinion, though one could imagine a growth along that corridor for lower and middle class housing that extends eastward to Brownsville and ENY. Empire is an excellent, underused location, and responsible development would be welcome. MTOPP is, of course, entitled to its opinion and tactics. But the fact is that 11226 is much more dense than Lefferts Gardens, which MTOPP has misidentified as the most dense neighborhood in Brooklyn. MTOPP, or more precisely Ms. Boyd, continues to go its own way, misstate facts, and sometimes misses opportunities to build useful coalitions. And on this latest mission, I've noted that Alicia has explicitly expressed the primary reason for the MTOPP position on Empire Blvd. She and her Sterling Street Block Association are but one block away, making any development a concern for its direct effects. Ask anyone on Chester Court...no one enjoys massive construction happening just outside one's window.

 On that count, at least, we can all agree.

5 comments:

Alex said...

Thanks for calling bullsh*t on MTOPP, Tim. Unfortunately, MTOPP takes credibility away from the more constructive voices in the rezoning discussion, using hyperbole to generate reaction without putting forward any practical solutions (at least none that I've seen). They seem to endorse the moratorium, but that was not their idea.

Ernie Ern said...

I agree Q. First - Empire Blvd. is just as important to us in Crown Heights (especially the 'South' part of CH) as it is to those in PLG considering we share its border. Second - if there is any stretch of avenue/road/street/blvd. in our vicinity where residential housing exists exceeding 6 stories, this is the ideal location. I just can NOT bear to see another storage facility where a beautiful 15 story residential building housing folks of all income levels above brand new retail space could exist. Everybody is screaming for more affordable housing but then so many seem to shut down any real development for one reason or another. As some point SOMETHING has to be built SOMEWHERE and it needs to be over 6 stories. I am beginning to think no one in our neck of the woods is ever going to be happy - LOLOL.

disco princess said...

re:[i]Everybody is screaming for more affordable housing but then so many seem to shut down any real development for one reason or another. [/i]

It may be because people are cynical. If any affordable housing is built under a 80/20 plan, the supply won't be enough to meet demand. (By the way, Brooklyn's still waiting for the housing that was promised with the Atlantic Yards project!)

I don't know about a 15 story building; how about a new 10-story building instead?

Cameron Page said...


"But these are all expressions of desire, hardly the stuff of reality at this point. 626 had its permits and its financing when some in the community began to protest. In my opinion, you can't protest something that isn't happening."

Gotta push back on one point:

Tim, in the past you've stated correctly that this neighborhood dropped the ball when it comes to 626 Flatbush. We weren't involved enough early enough.

Agree or disagree with MTOPP, at least they are involved early, which is exactly what we need.

noslouch said...

Hi,

I'm new to the area, but from my experience living up north (Greenpoint), there's something to be said for resisting the temptation to rely on tall condos to create a lively commercial/residential zone.

When you compare Greenpoint's commercial strip (Manhattan Ave) to Williamsburg's recent "revitalization" of Kent Ave between N 3 and N 7, this commenter sees a clear winner in Manhattan Ave.

Kent Ave is fully in the shade, surrounded by buildings completely lacking in character. While there are certainly new businesses open in the retail spaces, it feels more like Miami than Brooklyn.

Manhattan Ave, on the other hand, while dotted with a few warts, feels like an actual neighborhood, instead of something that's been sanitized of it soul.

Anybody else planning on attending on Friday? See what's what?