I didn't want to let this get lost, cause I'd actually like to hear what y'all think, so I promoted it from comment to post. The Q has some thoughts on the West Side car traffic closures, because I think some folks are thinking we've been shafted for being poor.
Anon 4:24. That's not what I said. In terms of this particular issue, I think it would be wrong to make the claim that richer nabes get what they want, and we get the short end. Let me tell you what they have over in Park Slope, and increasingly in Windsor Terrace. They have strong, consistent, well-run organizations. They have political connections. They have a powerful and productive Community Board (CB6). Most importantly, they have respected City leaders. We have none of those. And you can GET all of those things without piles of cash (though it never hurts, I'll admit!)
The City does not generally "bestow" services and changes upon neighborhoods. I've learned it's much more reactive than proactive. It's a big City and there are limited resources and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you present a strong, coherent proposal - like, say, the narrowing of intersections parallel to Flatbush north of GAP, DOT will do it. If you have a strong Merchant's or Civic Association or BID and you want to do an attractive median and bike lanes and smarter traffic (like Vandervilt). And if you want a protected bike lane and two rather than three lanes of traffic along a major travel route - like PPW, you can get it, despite an intense car lobby. Individuals are often behind this stuff. Passionate, committee people who stick it out and put the pieces together.
So far, in regards to closing traffic on the east side of the park I've seen an online petition. Which (we should all get used to knowing this) is an extremely ineffective way to get things done. Who even saw it? I mean, I can get 500 signatures to build a giant Wicker Man and burn it in the Nethermead, but that doesn't mean it gets done. Hey, ask Seth Kaplan how easy it is to get what you want for PPW when you don't have the organization behind you, the political will. It's a bitch and a half. And you can come off sounding like some crazy guy if you don't rally people around you in a coherent and thoughtful manner.
PLGNA and CB9, and CB14, must make this a priority. Better yet, Diana Richardson and Jessie Hamilton, because you know damn well Mr. Cheap Suit Eugene ain't gonna take the lead, call meetings, get involved, talk to the Mayor. Hell, he drives from Canarsie to work every day. Because he lives...in Canarsie. And loves his car. And doesn't know shit from Shinola.
Guys, this is about leadership and organization. Sure, the Mayor will eventually close our side of the park. But it will be DESPITE the lack of commitment on our part, not because of it. It'll happen because it's insane not to. And still the drivers from Flatbush and Flatlands and Midwout and even the Island of Staten will blow a gasket. And if THEY have strong leaders and organizations behind them they might get there way too.
So yeah, rich neighborhoods get more attention. But it's because they DEMAND it. We may have pent up demand, but until people start really getting involved, nothing's gonna happen. Look at Delson and his crew and the plaza at Parkside. You think that was going to happen in a vacuum? And he EVEN got Eugene to kick in dough. That's right, he kissed enough ass and made it clear this was a photo-op. Because Rudy Delson is a go-getter. Like Amy Musick. Or Quest Fanning. Or Cheryl Sealey and Brenda Edwards and Celeste Lacy-Davis and Alex Ely and Skei Saulnier and Richard Green and Carrie McLaren and Warren Berke and Diana Richardson and Renata Gomes and Renee Ciconne and Siobhan and Marvin and Eppley and Esteban and Kaplan yes, yes, yes Alicia Boyd. Gotta give it up there for gumption, fortitude and attention to detail. Tons of others. But on this issue, I just don't see the effort. It'll come. I double-dare ya!
Sorry if I sound preachy. It's just that I've spent the last few years learning how this stuff works, and you can whine all you want about being the poor and black side of the park that gets shafted. Or you can do something about it. What kills me is that it's so often white people complaining about how the poor, black side of the park gets the raw deal. Like, what the hell are you doing about it?
Go on. Bring the love or hate in the comments! Someone's gonna step up. Or just disagree with my analysis, watch how little positive, progressive change takes place.
The Q at Parkside
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.