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, September 24, 2014

If You Want To Know How Things Got Outa Hand...

Alls you gotta do is look at the gameplan. Below is what was handed out to the MTOPP folks before the meeting.

I gotta say I'm impressed. The Republican Party could use these tactics to nudge their governmental obstruction up a notch.


41 comments:

disco princess said...

Hi, Q. I'm surprised MTOPP didn't use the "Not for us!" chant when that officer made that comment about members of the audience living in "affordable housing".

P.S. The Republican Party doesn't really need any more tactics to kick up government obstruction up a notch. :) (See also: the government shutdown of 2013)

diak said...

Pop quiz time:

MTOPP stands for:
a) Malcontents Trashing Our Political Process
b) Malign Townhouse-Owning Pale People
c) Misrepresent Totally Other People's Perspectives
d) Mannerless Thugs Opposed to Public Planning
e) Making Terrific Opportunities for Profiteers Possible
f) all of the above

NYC Parent said...

MTOPP and PPEN are really two birds of the same feather, only PPEN is a bit more polite.

The PPEN mission statement, though using euphemisms, is full of the same, hyper-racializing of people living where they want to live.
But they want to seem so-sophisticated because they speak of the "undertones and overtones of race and class"

PPEN speaks of "luxury" as though it is, by definition, indefensible because, if you can't afford to live in the luxury building it has "excluded" you.
News flash: they are building NEW luxury units that did not exist before, and not restricting the existing housing at all AND they are in fact providing more affordable housing units.

Yes, if something becomes more desireable the price will go up.
This is why an IPhone costs more than a flip phone.
Do I have a RIGHT to an iPhone if someone else wants to buy one?
And so, if a neighborhood becomes more desireable, then the rents will go up.
But the process is incremental, which is why we sign things called LEASES, which allows people who take some respnsibility for their lives to plan for their long term living arrangements.
But to some, if I have signed a lease on an apartment, it seems I have become an indigenous person who must thereafter, for all perpetuity, be allowed to remain in the same location or I have been "displaced" by a "colonizer."

Would you want to live in a neighborhood where the rents never go up? That is called a housing project, and last I checked, they are not desired by anyone, even if it is affordable.
Only if you can allow rents to rise, when things become more desirable, can you attract businesses that are going to want to build restaurants and stores that sell things you might want to buy outside of a 99c store.

Yes if eeevil landlords and "developers" are trying to strong arm tenants from moving, that can and should be addressed.
But a neighborhood that can attract new money, and yes, even (gasp) some "luxury" buildings is by far going to be a cleaner, safer and more economically vibrant community.

disco princess said...

re: "Would you want to live in a neighborhood where the rents never go up? That is called a housing project, and last I checked, they are not desired by anyone, even if it is affordable."

NB: 1. NYCHA is in the process of phasing in rent increases.
2. A "project" is not an entire neighborhood.
3. The thousands of people who are still on a waiting list for NYC public housing would negate your statement that a project is "not desired by anyone".

NYC Parent said...


My point is that, if one wants to shape a neighborhood, the housing project model is not the desired goal in my opinion, albeit a housing project may in fact have incremental rent increases, and some may indeed "desire" to live there, if they have no other alternative.
That is, "affordability" while a desirable goal, is certainly not the only goal, and may (when sought to the expense of all other values) end up creating many unintended and undesirable consequences.

no_slappz said...

Public housing projects are like public schools -- it's what you get when consumers pay zero, or close to zero, or some discount from the market rate, for the services provided.

Projects, like public elementary schools, reflect entire neighborhoods.

Large numbers of parents/students are on waiting lists for local schools, even when the schools are unimpressive. When the price is right -- in the case of public schools, it's zero -- demand is strong.

disco princess said...

With all due respect, from where is the term "housing project model" being derived? Where do you see "project" in PPEN's mission statement?

Affordable housing, which can include rent-stabilized housing, is not the same as "projects".

Nothing in PPEN's mission statement says anything about trying to keep rents from going up. "PROSPECT PARK EAST NETWORK (PPEN) believes in community involvement in the development process, and preserving the racial, cultural, economic and age-diversity of our neighborhood beside Prospect Park "where the people of all classes" escaping the glare and glitter and turmoil of the city might find relief for the mind and physical recreation" in a natural setting (New York Legislature, 1859)" does not state that they want PLG only to be for one class of people.

disco princess said...

Re: "Public housing projects are like public schools -- it's what you get when consumers pay zero, or close to zero, or some discount from the market rate, for the services provided."

Really? Then why do I have declare my county of residency when I file NYS taxes? if my taxes aren't being used for my local schools in district 17, can I get my money back? LOL

NYC Parent said...


I wouldn't expect PPEN to formally endorse a "housing project model"
But the fact remains that the "community involvement" and "diversity" being sought by PPEN, as a practical matter, is to oppose "luxury" (which you do explicitly) and advocate almost exclusively for the poor, on the premise that a poor person has a "right" to live in any neighborhood, for all time, in which he or she happens to be renting now.

And so, I am trying to make a point that by actively discouraging, and excoriating "luxury" (as PPEN clearly does) you are in fact vilifying an engine of economic opportunity for everyone.
By including "luxury" (and money, and creating jobs) you are not reserving a neighborhood for "only one class" as you imply.
But if you actively seek to exclude the monied class (as PPEN is) then you are in fact limiting economic opportunity for everyone even or sometimes especially on the lower end of the wage scale i.e. people who can now work in new restaurants, fix cars of people who have money, help clean houses.

The fact that PPEN attempts to "include" everything and everyone in its slogans that "we seek to preserve the cultural diversity for all classes etc" does not change the laws of economics: if a neighborhood demonstrably improves as a place where people want to live, then unless we establish Commissars who deem who may or may not move into a neighborhood, then rents will rise, and you will have (on average) more tenants with money.

There is also a fine line between zoning (for the common good) and everyone getting a bit too much in everyone else's business about where they can or should live, what kind of rent you can or should charge, etc.

The fact that yes, not everyone, for all time, will be able to afford rents in that neighborhood is a byproduct of people being able to live where they want. And so, there is a bit of tradeoff between old fashioned freedom to live as you want, and all this hand wringing about "what if" someone chooses to live in a neighborhood, and is willing to pay more rent than someone else.

If I want to sell a car, do I have to sell it to the first person who names a price, or do I have a right to hear an offer or two, and sell it to the highest bidder?

This is not to say that landlords shoudl be able to break leases. Leases should be enforced, and for the most part NYC Housing Court is very tenant friendly, and wont' put up with someone who seeks to "evict" someone for no good reason. But if you see your lease coming up, and your neighborhood is in fact getting more expensive, it may just be that you as a tenant may have to make some alternative plans, at least for the time being.

You should also keep in mind that, for most people, they start out relatively less affluent, and acquire more money as they move up in life. And so, one shouldn't confuse the inability of everyone to afford "neighborhood X" at any point in time, with "excluding" anyone from any background of ever living there.

It just means that, if you want to live in a nice place (that is becoming even nicer) you may have to cycle through places that people with less money do live in, to be able to afford the even-nicer place.

Its not a conspiracy, but life, and there are many good things that come of people having this kind of mobility and choice in their lives.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

NYC Parent: Look, capitalism is working fine, and people will live where they can afford. You are a proponent of the very things that are already happening - more than a dozen new residential developments, and dozens more to come.

PPEN is trying to call attention to the need to mitigate the worst excesses of the market forces. They're not saying that Lefferts ought to be only for the poor...you're imagining that. Yes, the poor should be given consideration, but also all the current tenants at all income levels. They're saying there needs to be opportunities for people to stay, and I would argue that strengthening rent stabilization laws, enforcing the ones that are there already, encouraging tenants to organize and know their rights, demanding maximum number of affordable units in every new development...these are all things that you'd probably agree with, no?

Those are the main things PPEN has come out in favor of, along with smart rezoning that keeps the neighborhood in context.

So you're conflating PPEN's position with MTOPP's. I think you have more in common w/PPEN than you'd like to admit.

If I may be bold, what you really have is a problem with is any mention of race and class. That makes you uncomfortable, and for that reason if for no other, I'm glad they make it part of their mission/vision statement.

Yes. It's uncomfortable. But it needs to be part of the conversation, so that we can move forward together, black/white other. Most white folks are too afraid to even utter the word "black." Watch it come up in conversations - it's remarkable how their voices get softer and their speech more deliberate.

NYC Parent said...

In my experience most people who claim to want a "conversation" about "race and class" really want to lecture you about race and class.

I also resist the notion that we have "classes" in the sense that most people who want to "converse" about class want to talk about it.
"Class" implies a kind of immobility (you are born to such and such a class, and live your life in it)
I think that, for the most part, a "class" model is very ill suited to discussion of rents and poverty in NYC, where the typical experience is more of mobility (both up and down) and speaking of "class" in my view tends to harden lines of conflict, and couch issues as "us vs them" as opposed to how we can get opportunity to move up to the most people.

That said, I'm all for common ground, and I do agree with mitigating effects of rent increases, but when PPEN speaks of "luxury penetrating our neighborhood" is that the language of mitigation, or the language of conflict, vilification, and class warfare?

The fact that I disagree with injecting race and "class" into issues that, in my opinion, should have nothing to do with those notions doesn't mean that I must be "uncomfortable" like some Victorian getting the vapors.

I think, in fact, that many of our progressives are themselves puritanical and "uncomfortable" speaking about money, in the sense that they are innately "uncomfortable" at the notion that someone may be living well , and assume that if they are, it must be at the expense of someone else.

Is PPEN more polite than MTOPP? Surely. But thats a pretty low bar.

Ektorp said...

I think PPEN's positions *are* very similar to MTOPP's. Both argue that we shouldn't allow new luxury housing because it will displace existing residents. Both argue that new affordable housing isn't affordable enough (without any basis in fact). Both argue that a few hundred new residents in a district of 113,000 people will have massive detrimental effects on the quality of life and character of the neighborhood.

But I agree that there are differences in their stances.. just differences of a degree. MTOPP opposes all new development of any kind, while PPEN has just not found a new building that they would support. PPEN says they support affordable housing while MTOPP says even new housing of *any* kind, even *affordable* housing will cause displacement.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

No Ektorp. PPEN is not saying that we shouldn't ALLOW luxury housing. They are concerned that an emphasis on market rate housing (luxury is a ridiculous term ready to be retired - you want REAL luxury it's not what's going up at 626, trust me) will cause irreparable harm. They've never said don't build. In fact, in the first meeting with Eric Adams, the group took a decidedly pro-development stance. Yes, we need new apartments. The 23-story looks and will feel quite exclusionary, despite the 20%. And it will signal to other developers that tall is the way to go.

The undercurrent, however, is always there. Black neighborhoods don't get development; white ones do. When a neighborhood gets white enough, it gets more resources. To deny this fact is to deny American history, which, is still very much being written along the same ol' lines.

Other comments here are so insulting to the "poor" as to question the author's comments generally. It appears that to be poor - i.e. not earning enough to deserve the full benefits of a democratic supposedly egalitarian society - is a major strike against one. Some of you seem to have a very monolithic idea of what the poor are and how they influence a neighborhood in a negative direction. In fact, many of "the poor" are decent, hard-working people, some without an education, some with considerable skills that just don't happen to pay much. Or people who by circumstance or calamity have been unable to work. Or whose jobs pay just minimum wage. Is the person who serves your burgers not entitled to a place to live that's not a two-hour commute away?

So please, don't lecture about the poor unless you can qualify that with hard evidence that being poor is in itself enough reason to disqualify one from a roof over one's head in the neighborhood one's lived in since birth.

disco princess said...

Q, NYC Parent never did explain how the term "housing project model" means or how it was derived despite being asked to do so. (I don't recall that terminology coming from the PPEN or the MTOPP camps during the CB9 meeting for example.) Shouldn't that term be clarified so we'd all be on the same page during this discussion?

re: Other comments here are so insulting to the "poor" as to question the author's comments generally.
I agree with this.

re:"You should also keep in mind that, for most people, they start out relatively less affluent, and acquire more money as they move up in life. And so, one shouldn't confuse the inability of everyone to afford "neighborhood X" at any point in time, with "excluding" anyone from any background of ever living there. "
Are you applying this blanket statement to the entire United States? Are you applying it to NYC? Do you have any data to support your assertions?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

NYC Parent, your views on class got me going back over some old graphics I've seen about the relative immobility of the various classes in the U.S. compared even to so-called socialist countries, say in Scandinavia. If you wonder why income inequality in the U.S. is such a hot topic, it's because mobility has decreased here, quite substantially in fact, as the wealthy have become better at monopolizing the top.

Can people rise a la Horatio Alger? Of course. And like the lottery, it's the exceptions that put the lipstick on the pig. Those stories go a long way to getting Americans to say to pollsters that we're an egalitarian society where hard work and intelligence will move you wherever you want to go. In other countries, where there's even more mobility, people are less inclined to agree with that logic.

We've been brainwashed to believe that class is highly mobile, to such an extent that we deny what's right in front of our eyes. Poor tends to stay poor. Lower and Upper middle tend to stay that way too. But surprise, surprise, rich manages pretty darn well to stay rich, despite massive fails in the realm of "hard work."

Great graphics on the topic here:

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/national/20050515_CLASS_GRAPHIC/index_03.html

Clarkson FlatBed said...

One point of clarification: The 20% of 80/20 is means tested. But it is NOT free housing, and it is not intended for those not working. It's actually a fairly laborious process to qualify for the apartments. You must be able to document your income, and go through a credit check. Some argue that for low income people this is all a bit too onerous. But I'll leave that to another discussion.

(The irony of course is that some of the people qualifying for the 20% are people who have high educations. Say you're an actor who waits tables, but most of your tips are under the table. You could "prove" yourself into a pretty sweet deal. And of course they're not the only ones engaged in the underground economy.)

The whole thing is pretty crazy. If someone can suggest a better method I'd love to hear it.

DP I would just ignore the whole NYC Parent argument. His assertions are based on...nothing. PPEN is not opposed to people being able to afford nice things, like great apartments and whatever else they wanna buy. They are interested in engaging the conversation about what is appropriate in THIS neighborhood, particularly in light of what's happened elsewhere in the borough. And I'm sorry NYCP, but leaving race and class out of the discussion is just plain ludicrous. It may not inform ultimate decisions, but it's there and it's a powerful part of the neighborhood's identity. For now.

If fairness is at play, I'd be the first to jump on the development bandwagon whole hog. It's questionable whether fairness has much to do with any of it. And I think PPEN and other community groups have a great point in wanting to know the truth about how decisions are made, and about what's best for the neighborhood.

MTOPP has none of those attributes, and in my opinion has pretty well mucked up the whole conversation.

NYC Parent said...

Some seem very much to want to believe certain things, such as PPEN being "reasonable" and "not opposed" to high end housing.

"Prospect Park East Network is a group of residents from PLG.We came together out of the need to protect our community from the effects of the luxury development that has penetrated our neighborhood."

"Penetrated" Sounds reasonable, neutral, non confrontational to me. To continue from PPEN:

"The most glaring of these projects has been the development of the 23 story luxury tower at 626 Flatbush Ave. ...We are very much aware of the racial, economic and class overtones and undertones of such a building and have never sought to hide these facts. As a matter of fact, these ideas have always been at the forefront of our mantra."

So, this building must be "racist" I suppose.

To continue from PPEN:
"We cannot afford to be confused or distracted by those who have defined us based on their own fears and limitations. To do this would be to play right into the hands of those who do not have our best interest. As we destroy each other with unfounded accusations, we weaken our strength as a community. The developers and the powers that be look forward to such a blundering mistake. It allows them to strategize even further for their own benefit as we fight each other."

A tad conspiracy minded? I can practically see Mr. Smithers rubbing his hands at the next monthly meeting of the Powers That Be on how next to exploit "the community."

More of what PPEN actually says in its mission statement, not what we think we'd like them to be: "..There is a 23 story luxury tower going up before our very eyes. By the very definition of the term "luxury" in the grand scheme of today's developers, most of us in this community will be excluded from the grand opening in the "community center" and most of us will be excluded from any schools that may be provided by Hudson companies."

There it is, that PPEN embraces as a way to demonize someone building a new building --and "before our very eyes" no less!

And yes, the premise is that something at a higher price than some can afford is, by definition "excluding" someone according to PPEN.

Yes, there are always issues of "class and race" --and no one denies that people may FEEL this way. But FEELING that you are aggrieved by a new building doesn't make it true, and people can reasonably reject that position, AND criticize those who seem to exacerbate "class and race" divisions by wanting to put them in the forefront of every "conversation." This is not Bull Connor blocking the schoolhouse door to children of color --its a new apartment building,

There are so many fallacies on this page that one could teach a semester's class on it. But I found the folllowing particularly puzzling: "The undercurrent, however, is always there. Black neighborhoods don't get development; white ones do. When a neighborhood gets white enough, it gets more resources. To deny this fact is to deny American history, which, is still very much being written along the same ol' lines."

So is the complaint that our neighborhood, which one poster apparently denominates as "black" DOESN"T get enough development? And so the problem is that this goody is only granted when white people "move in" (presuming they've obtained the requisite passport)? But I thought "development" was a BAD thing. Which is it? Are The Powers That Be racists because they've decided at their last meeting to "deny developement" to black people, or are they exploiting black people by bringing dreaded "development" ? Its hard to keep it straight.

disco princess said...

Re: "And so the problem is that this goody is only granted when white people "move in" (presuming they've obtained the requisite passport)? But I thought "development" was a BAD thing. Which is it? "

Answer this question: Where were the developers 25 years ago? Don't worry; we'll wait.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Thanks DP. A pithy response is all that's really needed to NYCP's rant.

But I can't let it go without SOME comment.

There are like, let me count now, about 10,000% more white people around here than when I moved here 11 years ago. Just like with schools, white folks en masse consider a neighborhood desirable when it hits, like, 20% or so. I've watched it happen too many times to count. What constitutes a "black neighborhood?" Open to interpretation, I suppose. IMO this neighborhood was. It's now truly diverse. But the direction is obvious to anyone. If you were a person of color, which you undoubtedly aren't, you might be troubled by what you see as juggernaut of change, designed around the premise that white is valuable, black is not. It would trouble you, and you may want to mitigate the worst excesses. Sure it'd be nice if laws were being adhered to in terms of housing rights. But they're not. They're being broken every hour of every day. All over the 'hood, just out of your perception.

No one, repeat no one, has said that development is a bad thing. Only MTOPP has some kind of crazy ass notion that to "plan" is somehow negative.

In fact, rereading your diatribe, I can see that in fact you're the one who sees conspiracies. None of the things you cited is at all absolute or dictatorial. And the bit about not being distracted is about the ranters from MTOPP, not the developers.

Developers are not in and of themselves evil. They are doing what they do. To try to fight them would be like fighting geese migrating. What you CAN do is plan. You can work with government to decide where and how to build, and place limits on the most destructive practices. That developers don't have the community's full interests in mind is well founded. It's a numbers game, is it not? Numbers do not always add up to a higher quality of life. That's all. Let's be smart about how this happens.

Don't worry NYCP. The neighborhood is heading in the direction you desire, and there will be plenty of money flowing. And we promise not to take away your bistro burgers and single malts. You will not lose anything to this process, but maybe we all will gain.

NYC Parent said...

A thought experiment, lets take a recent posted statement, and substitute "white" for "black"

Here is the poster's statement:
"There are like, let me count now, about 10,000% more white people around here than when I moved here 11 years ago. Just like with schools, white folks en masse consider a neighborhood desirable when it hits, like, 20% or so. I've watched it happen too many times to count. What constitutes a "black neighborhood?" Open to interpretation, I suppose...."

So in mirror image land, that would be:
"There are like, let me count now, about 10,000% more black people around here than when I moved here 11 years ago. Just like with schools, black folks en masse consider a neighborhood desirable when it hits, like, 20% or so. I've watched it happen too many times to count. What constitutes a "white neighborhood?" Open to interpretation, I suppose..."

Wow that sounds pretty much like what a very bigoted, white homeowner in Prospect Lefferts might have said in 1975.

Hyper-racializing everything doesn't get better with time. I'd vote for more MLK and content-of-character over racial bean counting.

disco princess said...

re: "Thanks DP. A pithy response is all that's really needed to NYCP's rant."

Yes, especially since he has chosen not to reply to direct questions with supporting data, which may lead one to think that his arguments are without merit. As Jay-Z would say, "We don't believe you, you need more people!" :)

NYC Parent said...

So, someone who agrees with you says "yeah you're right" and just dismisses opposing viewpoints because he claims to mind read bad-intent....

Yes, your response was pithy, and entirely missed the point, i.e. your question "where were the developers 25 years ago?"

It seems that on the one hand PPEN, and others, are claiming that the ABSCENCE of "development" is proof of some kind of discrimination against people of color.
On the other hand, PPEN, and others, seem to be claiming that the PRESENCE of development is exploitation of people.

When you set up the test as: the presence of "A" = racism, and the absence of "A" is also racism, then you've pretty much set up a meaningless experiment.

So "where were the developers" 25 years ago?
First, "The developers" are not a monolithic group either. They actually compete with each other, and actually try to make money when they can.

But as to where "they" were, my guess ( and it is just an informed guess from some understanding of how business tends to work) is that "the developers" will enter a neighborhood when they think there is money to be made. They generally don't refrain from business activity for other reasons.

But my initial and main point in posting here was to point out (I think observe) that despite its more reasonable tone, PPEN has really taken an anti development stance in practice, and worse (in my opinion) helped contribute to a sense of racial division in doing so, I think unnecessarily.

But having said mine, and read yours, I'm going to sign off now ; and please don't take any further silence on this thread as approval, or that I "can't provide data" etc.

Anyone who is interested in this issue can read what the various posters have said and it may inform their own conclusions.

Parkside_Guy said...

I know plenty of black homeowners in the neighborhood who are fine with the changes going on. As I see it, this is mostly about renters who feel they have a right to something that they do not own, using a race-based argument where an economic one would suffice (and probably be more compelling).

disco princess said...

NYC Parent, I asked you September 29, 2014 at 4:27 PM from where did you get the term "housing project model". Is it even a thing? Did it come up in PPEN's or MTOPP's mission? Crickets. So, please don't lecture about "dismissing opposing viewpoints".

Clarkson FlatBed said...

NYC Parent and Parkside Guy. That's right! Racism against whites is equal to racism against blacks. It truly IS an even playing field. Can't we all get along?

Let's try your little word game with another sentence and see how it goes.

Large real estate companies are buying portfolios of massive apartment buildings with a de facto business plan that involves exchanging black lower income lower rent paying tenants for white higher income paying tenants.

Large real estate companies are buying portfolios of massive apartment buildings with a de facto business plan that involves exchanging white lower income rent paying tenants for black higher income paying tenants.

The bean counting is about $$. When you increase the number of white beans over black beans, your chili fetches more at Smorgasbord.

As long as that's true you have no moral authority to claim that an economic argument suffices. Check back in when those statements are equal, or even CONCEIVABLE, and we'll talk.

And oddly, Parkside Guy and NYC Parent are once again commenting right on top of each other. Is it possible that the two of you are a) best friends, b) on the same schedule, or c) one person with two computers?

Bob Marvin said...

"Wow that sounds pretty much like what a very bigoted, white homeowner in Prospect Lefferts might have said in 1975"

Really NYCP? I'm a white homeowner who was here back then [when you were, no doubt, sh*tting in your diapers]. I don't recall anything like that coming from my white neighbors. Anyone who thought that way would probably have left ten years earlier, when blockbusting was at it's height.

NYC Parent said...

There seems to be a misunderstanding.
Not saying that the typical white homeowner in PLG was bigoted in 1975. Not at all. The point was that the comment made by another poster, IF transposed "black" for "white" would indeed sound like what a bigoted person might say, IF such a person were present in the neighborhood at that time.
So no I wasn't in any way impugning long time residents of the neighborhood. Far from it.

Midwoodelian said...

This blog becomes very ugly at times. It is unfortunate that many here feel this is a race issue.

I happen to agree with NYC Parent. The reverse racism is a tumor that is growing worse. Why is aggression justified towards folks of pale skin color?

Reference was made to the "white flight" of the 50s-60s and how our nabe is experiencing possibly something similar but in the reverse right now. Is there something wrong with that?

We live in a free market, let that dictate what the rents and purchase prices will and will not be and leave the color out of it. Jeeez!

You guys aren't helping the "community" and neighborhood by making everything about white and black. In fact, I believe you are hurting it.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Sigh. Leave the color out of it. Close your eyes. Plug your ears. "I must not think bad thoughts..."

I don't know how many other ways I can say it, so I think I'll stop now. Repeat: there is nothing wrong with a free market when the playing field is equal. If you guys spent 1/1000 the time helping to level the playing field that spend defending the status quo, you might actually accomplish something on this planet.

Pointing out how the dice are loaded is part of my mission as a blogger. Actually, as a human. If you want rah rah rah for the hometeam, I can point you in the direction of countless blogs that blow air up the ass of the American dream. They far outnumber blogs that take a critical eye to the slaughterhouse.

What you guys need is your own blog. Start one. It's easy! It's free!! It's...actually, your viewpoint is already THE preeminent American viewpoint, so don't bother. It's already baked into the apple pie and flowing through the water.

no_slappz said...

disco princess asks: Answer this question: Where were the developers 25 years ago? Don't worry; we'll wait.

Where were they? Mostly taking a break. That was 1989, a year when there were about 2,000 murders, when crime was way out of control and people were leaving the city.

The stock market had taken a big hit in 1987, which was followed by a real estate slump in NY City. At that time you could have bought a three-story limestone townhouse in Park Slope within a block of Prospect Park for $250,000.

Interest rates were much higher. And perhaps most eye-catching, was the fact that in those days, in Brooklyn, when it came to rents charged for rent-stabilized apartments compared with rents for market-rate apartments, there wasn't much difference.

Rents for apartments in both categories were pretty even in each neighborhood.

As a place to be, Brooklyn started to catch on in the 1990s. And the real estate developers went to work, some renovating existing properties. Others taking on small projects. The big projects started going up after 2000.



People were leaving Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

disco princess said...

Midwoodelian

1. Re: "We live in a free market, let that dictate what the rents and purchase prices will and will not be and leave the color out of it.
Actually as long as rent-stabilization exists in NYS (and if there were an 80/20 split in terms of market rate and "affordable housing" in newly constructed buildings) exists, the rental market is not entirely a free market.

2. Re: "Reference was made to the "white flight" of the 50s-60s and how our nabe is experiencing possibly something similar but in the reverse right now. Is there something wrong with that? "
The two situations are not analogous, so that's a non-starter. Next!!

3. re: "This blog becomes very ugly at times. It is unfortunate that many here feel this is a race issue." and "You guys aren't helping the "community" and neighborhood by making everything about white and black. In fact, I believe you are hurting it."
This particular post by Tim did not mention race. NYC Parent took the conversation down that rabbit hole first by claiming that MTOPP and PPEN were "hyper-racializing of people living where they want to live" (even though that language does not exist in PPEN's mission statement). In no way did Tim make everything about "white or black" either; he mentioned how class factors in as well...or did you miss that part? #criticalreading

Ektorp said...

What I still don't get is what makes 100 market rate units at Lincoln Road okay, while 200 units at 626 Flatbush will cause hypergentrification and displacement. Where do you draw the line?

disco princess said...

Wasn't one of the main reasons PPEN has a beef with 626 Flatbush is because its height is so out of scale with the other buildings that immediately surrounds it? That doesn't seem to be the case with the new building on Lincoln Road.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Thanks Ektorp for an excellent and less divisive question.

I'm not an active PPEN member and can't speak for them. But I'll say this...height. With one fell swoop, Hudson has moved to recreate the entire feel and character of the neighborhood. I know that some will still deny that, but for chrisakes look at the size of that thing. It's only a quarter of the way tall. It will truly dwarf the neighborhood. It's very, very symbolic of a new order.

Caledonian Hospital was largely reno of existing space. They had a right to do it how they please, and there was zero neighborhood opposition. Tom Anderson has been a good citizen throughout on Lincoln Road, both on this project and in the past. His building is completely within reason, in terms of suitability for its space.

That's about all I have know for certain. Anything else about gentrification is pretty much conjecture, though I've seen some evidence through people working on the lawsuit that by changing the nature of buildings in the neighborhood you speed the process and send ever-stronger signals that this is the place for parkside luxury, with secondary displacement increasing as a result. If it's true or not remains to be seen. I already see with my own eyes the trends and the plans. I don't doubt for a second that even two years hence the time for this conversation will have passed, and we'll be wondering if we could have, or should have, done more.

leffertspapa said...

To answer Ektorp: The difference between the Lincoln Rd and 626 developments is the fact that the Lincoln tower isn't threatening the backyards of certain residents of Chester Ct or Ocean Ave. As evidenced by MTOPP, people get a little more passionate when something is in THEIR backyard. No biggie if it's someone else's.

IMO the Lincoln tower, which is shoehorned onto a super tight lot with nine stories directly on the sidewalk, crammed feet away from those townhouses on Flatbush, is going to loom far worse than the 23 stories of 626 which are well set back from the street.

no_slappz said...

Clarkson, you wrote:

Repeat: there is nothing wrong with a free market when the playing field is equal.

When is a market free? When is the playing field level? Since 1978, when Jimmy Carter dumped the Community Reinvestment Act on the country, efforts to create your kind of free/level market have been underway.

The free/level movement picked up more speed during the 1990s, and by about 2000, anyone with a pulse was able to borrow vast sums for real estate purchases.

People with lousy credit scores, sketchy jobs and NO money for a downpayment were able to borrow 100% of the purchase price for a home. How much freer and more level can you get? But where did that lead?

When the government gets over-involved in managing housing and credit, bad things happen.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

That's a laugh! Hey guys, the playing field was level pre-1978! We should go back to 1977...ah, the salad days.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Hmm. And Leffertspapa...where do YOU live?

As longtime commenter, but oddly silent lately, Paul G likes to say, don't fear density. Especially at the train station.

So...who agrees with that statement? Actually, believe it or not...I do. As I've said, I think more, not fewer, people ought to have a chance to enjoy the amazing location we have. Not TOO many more, but enough to satisfy some of the enormous demand.

babs said...

For once I have to say that our resident troll has posted a rational comment (and NOT the one about Jimmy Carter) - there was virtually no large-scale development anywhere in NYC 25 years ago apart from Battery Park City, which was built on an extension of Manhattan created with soil excavated during construction of the World Trade Center.

The large-scale development (and displacement) we're witnessing is a 21st century phenomenon and may be traced to Mayor Bloomberg's tax incentives for developers and the rezoning of nearly 40% of the city. Check out this article for a brief survey: http://www.newyork.com/articles/real-estate/how-bloomberg-changed-new-york-real-estate-99465/

So yes, I understand how people can be afraid of any and all rezoning and development, but it's important to remember that Bloomberg is finally gone. De Blasio may also be a tool of the real estate interests, but at least he cloaks his pro-development stance in a semblance of concern for those making under $300K/yr.

We have a better shot working with the City now than we ever did under Bloomberg, and doing nothing at all (or attempting to allow nothing to be done) will only result in the entire matter being taken out of our hands.

no_slappz said...

Clarkson, you wrote: Hey guys, the playing field was level pre-1978!

That year, actually 1977, was the year the secondary market for mortgages was created, and that, by itself, pretty much ended the basis for redlining.

After 1977, banks could underwrite a mortgage and sell it to another bank through the mortgage market. Prior to that, when a bank underwrote a mortgage, the mortgage stayed on its balance sheet until the real estate was sold, or the mortgage was paid off.

In those redlining days, properties in poor neighborhoods where bankers and banks were scarce were priced way way below properties in the desirable areas. To acquire them, banks sought big downpayments. Thus, for those with the cash, some superb properties were available at steep discounts compared with the preferred areas.

Therefore, the properties were cheaper -- on a relative basis -- for those who lived in those neighborhoods.

Now, the less well-off residents are up against every buyer who has a slight speculative twinge inside himself.

These days there's even a real estate investment firm from Australia buying residential real estate in Brooklyn. That's what happens when the playing field is truly leveled.

no_slappz said...

babs, as far as large-scale development goes, the king of large-scale is still Robert Moses. He wins by a mile.

He engaged in a slum-clearance program in the early 1950s that led to the construction of Long Island University and University Houses between Flatbush and Brooklyn Hospital -- among other projects in Brooklyn.