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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Little Bit About A Lot Of Things

Not much to say about that picture, really. A few years back the big talk was of the house that had been knocked down at the end of the townhouses, and the modern condo building that went up at the north end of this lovely set of parkside limestones. Owners rallied and created a small landmark district to protect this row as a result - "Ocean on the Park" they call it. No one could have foreseen the behemoth coming behind. What's done is done. Can't say this picture makes me very happy, though the six story modern condo building has become part of the landscape and I hardly think on it anymore. Though have you noticed the outside walls are already warped and cracking? Not great construction, but no one expected more.

The new apartment building on Lincoln near the train station is finally coming along. Do you remember the building there before? So easy to forget. I think we'll all be glad to have the sidewalk back again. But it's this view below, from the Flatbush side, that really blows my mind. How the hell did that tree survive? It's hilarious really. And awesome. That tree deserves its own address, or at least a name. I'm calling it Mendous. Great name for a tree.

 In my extra-humble opinion, this building is just about the limit to how high you should be able to go, if you're going to add apartments to the area during a housing shortage. I'd prefer six stories, but who am I but that annoying guy on the Community Board who begs for sanity. And as we've already seen, a-partments a-plenty are being added anyhow and anyway all over the place - more than 30 projects and counting. I just wish we could force developers to build at least 25% affordable units. The chance may never come again. It seemed such a no-brainer, and then...let it go Q. Make like Elsa and Let It Go.

Right up there next to the train station I see that the Garden Deli has closed. Which despite its proximity to the Botanic Garden, the name was hardly what one has come to expect from a business with the name "garden" in it. There were usually a couple bananas and some onions. The most gardeny thing in there was probably the watermelon Jolly Ranchers, which I'll admit to having "picked" a time or too. "Pick Your Own" Watermelons. You know this spot is going to be a wine store, yes? I wrote about that ages ago and I'm too lazy to link to it. Wine store. Yep. Wine Store.

And lastly...

This week is the Clarkson from Flat to Bed Block Party. It's total chaos as usual, and I love it. Will there be bouncies? Maybe. There's gonna be a band, or not. I think so. DJ Milk Money is in the house, or rather, On the Street. Popcorn. Lots of grilling. Maybe some new and/or old goods sold. Kids everywhere. All my neighbors are excited. You just say the word block party and eyes light up. We've been trying to identify the longest living resident of the block. People keep telling me "it's that Jewish lady I forget her name" but apparently she died like over a decade ago and it didn't bother to tell anyone. Seemed she'd been in 60 Clarkson since it'd been built like 100 years ago. 60 Clarkson was "where the rich folks lived" according to Randy and Sandy, twin sons of Irene Gonzales, who, it turns out, is the ACTUAL longest living resident, going back to 1967. Or something like that. Hard figures are hard to come by. But it's all good.

Saturday. August 29. Come by and say hey.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of those 30 developments, is that development map working again? The one with the red pings, linking to the details about each development?

Anonymous said...

Is that the real, final fa├žade though? I am not an architect but they don't even have it built yet much less windows and frames and all else you add when you finish the actual construction. Also I noticed, as I stood at Lincoln and Flatbush this week pretty shocked at how much more obtrusive visually the shorter new building THERE is turning out to be, that I literally couldn't even see 626 Flatbush down the street craning my head to look. It all depends on where you stand or where your house is, and per the fight with dear Alicia, is it fair to let a few people whose backyards are most affected be the deciders for everyone on all things?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I was referring to the facade of the condo building on Ocean, not 626. That's what's starting to fall apart, and its only five years old.

My point of noting the old building on Lincoln is that it's easy to forget that there WAS a building there...a big brick eyesore in my opinion. So yeah, the new thing is taller, but it wasn't open sky before.

Re: Nimby.

The problem with the NIMBYs is they often don't say what they mean. Crusading for the rights of this group or the other is fine in and of itself. But NIMBYs often present the human rights struggle as if it falls neatly in line with their desires for their own quality of life. Things ain't so simple in the real world. Just say you don't want towers above X feet and I can respect that. Say you don't want higher density because you want your parking spaces. But don't pretend you're an expert City planner who can predict the future for poor people of color. It's simply too convenient that it all works out in your perceived favor, and the fact is poor people of color are getting dicked around all the time already by the reality of capitalism and racism. And (now I'm winding up) YOU dear home owner are perhaps the greatest recipient of largesse from THAT system. Guilty as charged.

That's why I've come to the conclusion we should focus on the law, not amateur social engineering. The law says you can't discriminate. The law says you can't coerce people out of their rent stabilized homes. The law can be changed, strengthened. Zoning changes can come with positive caveats. But given the system we have right here right now, people are being treated like cattle in a burger loving country. And frankly I don't see anyone flexing any muscle other than the tenants rights groups. The politicians talk the right talk, but the realities remain unchanged. Why? Because the home and apartment owners hold all the power, and frankly, they don't REALLY want the poor people to stay. Yeah, I said it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, exactly. I posted at 11:10, I'm not anti-tall or anti-development and I agree with all you say. I have found the use of poor people by the NIMBYs to be really disgusting dating back to the Atlantic Yards protests when that began. I even asked the founder of that organization when he called us when we lived in Park Slope looking for money, "But what is your main objective?" Because to me with my Midwestern and very practical outlook it was all over the place and just kinda fake. His claiming he was fighting for the poor didn't jive with the jobs creation aspect of Barclay Center. I know somebody who had been out of work for two years who got a great job there, so....what's the main objective of the NIMBYs again? 626 Flatbush will employ a heck of a lot more people than the one guy manning the parking lot booth that used to be there, the guy we'd pass when we'd head in to gaze at the rickety Christmas nativity set they'd light up in the back of the lot. Say why you object to things. Hating tall buildings, yes I get it, fine, but say it. Some may disagree and will but you need to argue your argument based on why tall buildings are bad. Hate gentrification, yes, we get it. (I'm a Manor owner and please don't leave, poor people, am I the only one thinking that according to Tim?) But if you're against increases in middle and upper income families coming in via new apt and condo buildings you're going to also need to address the ways that will improves schools (sorry folks, truth telling here, it does just that) and brings more local jobs. Well, that is if the businesses coming in are stores, hotels, apartment buildings and not merely storage buildings with like one janitor and one person behind a desk staring out at the sidewalk, bored. Which is Alicia's vision of heaven for her backyard.

Anonymous said...

No Clarkson Flatbed, the individual home and apartment owners do not hold all the power. Neither did the tenants groups flexing their muscle and showing their numbers in Albany succeed in strengthening rent regulations in any meaningful way. The developers and their hired politicians continue to maintain their power through divide and conquer tactics. I am always disgusted by luxury developers claiming their non-union 80/20 or 75/25 buildings have something to do with good jobs or affordable neighborhoods.

The developers have no regard for any of us - rich, poor, homeowner, tenant, Manor resident, non Manor resident. When houses are knocked down for new developments it affects tenants in nearby apartment buildings, and when tenants are kicked out to make way for new development it affects nearby homeowners. When towers like 626 Flatbush are built, it affects everyone all the way to Park Slope and Windsor Terrace. It is time we gave up this divisive rhetoric and realize that if we don't unite to oppose development and predatory equity we will become Williamsburg (that is all of the negative aspects and none of the positives like waterfront access, industrial space, and 15 min commute to most parts of Manhattan)

Actually, i think the majority of PLG residents already are united in support of one another. Even those who are more protected economically and physically because they are homeowners in a landmark district understand what development is doing to friends and neighbors who are not, and are supporting efforts to prevent wholesale change and displacement. A silent majority perhaps that is not often reflected in these comments.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:36, the reality of public schools in NYC is that there are just a handful of districts in the entire city where even a majority of kids are scoring at or above grade level in reading and math - Bayside in Queens, the Financial district and Upper East side in Manhattan. All that development and gentrification around Atlantic Yards didn't do much for the public schools. Probably just made it harder for your kids to get into a competitive high school like Brooklyn Tech.

And we can help increase local jobs by shopping locally. Don't want to call anyone out, but I have a feeling a few folks in this neighborhood are still doing all their shopping in Park Slope.

no_slappz said...

Hating tall buildings, yes I get it, fine, but say it. Some may disagree and will but you need to argue your argument based on why tall buildings are bad.

When you're ambling down the sidewalk, you never notice the heights of the buildings you pass. You'll notice an empty lot, but once a building is more than a few stories tall, the peak is out of your field of vision. Sure, you can stop and look up. But as long as you're walking, you'll never notice.

When you walk along 34th St past the Empire State Building, all you notice are the businesses at street level. Chipotle Grill, Duane Reade, Heartland Brewery...

Hate gentrification, yes, we get it. (I'm a Manor owner and please don't leave, poor people, am I the only one thinking that according to Tim?)

Gentrification? How about rebirth? Recovery? Fresh start? Revolution in real estate? The story repeated in NY City time after time.

But if you're against increases in middle and upper income families coming in via new apt and condo buildings you're going to also need to address the ways that will improves schools (sorry folks, truth telling here, it does just that) and brings more local jobs.

No one has found a way to improve the output of schools that's more effective than finding better students, however, better students are always the product of more competent parents. Schools aren't capable of overcoming the urban pathologies that derail students in crumbling neighborhoods.

The first big break-point in school performance is evident in third grade. The next break appears when it's time for middle school.

Bob Marvin said...

do the cracked and warped walls of the Ocean Avenue Condo look bad enough to seem dangerous, or is the damage just cosmetic? I can't walk over and look because I'm still out of town. should DOB be called?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Cosmetic. Ed Fanning pointed it out to me on Tuesday night. He lives, as you know, within actual spitting distance and has to see it every day.

Bob Marvin said...

That's good--Ed is a civil engineer and I respect his opinion.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I let Slappz in for a moment, just to remind y'all where he's coming from. I get nearly a comment a day from him that I choose not to share.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 4:27 AM. Are you always up so early?

I actually strongly disagree with you, as you may suspect. I think the vast majority in the neighborhood couldn't give a rat's ass about any of this. The huge majority of folks I see coming out and voicing concerns are homeowners. Calling it like it is, Anon. And a lot of the renters that I see AREN'T EVEN FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD. They're part of a larger revolutionary fringe that takes on gentrification and issues of social and economic justice wherever they can get a foot in the door. And god bless them. I actually saw 3 of the usual CB9 protesters out in front of the government building on Hanson Place on totally different issues. But they're not seeking unity; they're looking to disrupt. I've been following this very closely, Anon, and the "neighborhood" is not represented in these meetings.

The neighborhood as a whole, I'm afraid, doesn't give a shit. So "silent majority" or not, I don't see the will for whatever it is that you might like to see.

And these developers that are ALL bad and greedy? Folks like them built your house. It wasn't built by a bunch of Rumpelstiltskins in the middle of the night. It was built by developers looking for a fast buck.

So tell us what YOU want and WHY. Because I've heard every which way to Sunday what we should do, not a silent majority of anything.

thebusiness said...

To put it bluntly, no slapzz is a pos. Google his name and you'll find out just what kind of person he is. He is an anti muslim bigot, an apologist for white racism and is known for his anti black views. He is a propagator of misinformation and has mostly lied on numerous issues throughout his time on the internet. He is the Pamela Geller of the comments section. He has an extensive online footprint going back years and has expressed the kind of cancerous views that will leave you questioning humanity. I wouldn't be surprised of this ahole posts at stromfront.

I like your blog but please do not publish anything this uncouth neanderthal has to say. His name alone brings out a visceral reaction out of me and those who are aware of his views. I just wish time would hurry up and take this wretched man away..