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, August 28, 2015

The Old Gray Lady Speaks - 60 Clarkson

pic by Sam Hodgson

The Q is feeling good to day, that the Paper of Record's Vivian Yee has done a big piece on the implications and injustices of 60 Clarkson, my troubled neighbor. On the eve of our annual block party, when dozens of homeless children will hopefully be frolicking up and down the block and eating well for once, maybe grabbing some of the donated books or dancing to DJ Milk Money or a live band, we can only hope that the City can get this issue sorted out. In fact, just last night, I learned from CB9 District Manager Pearl Miles about a new housing subsidy program that can keep folks who have fallen behind on rent from becoming homeless in the first place. It used to be called Advantage, but it disappeared in a flash of legislative ineptitude. Here's to a brighter future, rather than the dog eat tail story inherent in the 60 Clarkson battle.

But if you live in the neighborhood, or anywhere in the fast-changing City, this one is a must-read:


And lest you doubt that Barry Hers is a class A scumbag, his assertion that he could get three times the rent he gets from the City, his chunk of which is $2300 a month? This is what he said when the City tried to cut it from $2300 to $2000 God save his soul:

 “I said, my rent, I’m not getting high rent,” Mr. Hers recalled in the interview. “People in this area are paying two and a half or three times that. If I took a cut, how would I be able to live?”

Shut up. Just shut up, Barry.  Just shut the f$%@ up already.


Brenda from Flatbush said...

I can only imagine that your tireless reportage and advocacy got this on the radar. Even the Times reporter seemed stymied by trying to slash through the bureaucratic swamp gas surrounding this issue, while depending on a host of unreliable narrators from "Hers" to the city's own mouthpieces. Sadly, there is a huge piece missing here: a sense of purpose in giving the residents themselves agency, dignity, and empowerment. They seem to be adrift in a culture of "placements" and "services." Why would an elevator smell like piss? Who pisses in an elevator? If your elevator smells like piss, who wouldn't come out with a bottle of Clorox and a roll of paper towels and simply clean it? Faced with these types of "shelter," I would love to see some cultural "disruption"--whether from people who have organized tenant patrols and day-care collectives to those who rescued the LES "squats" back in the day--to help these folks take back their lives. Because neither the city nor the "landlord" is ever going to give a crap.

Anonymous said...

What happened to personal responsibility?
What happened to the concept of self betterment?
Why is everyone at fault here besides this woman ?

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Ouch, have you seen the combox of the NYT for this article? Liberals screaming at their mirror in terror that they are becoming Republicans, that's how little sympathy the residents are getting. And I thought I was being tough in my comment above. Didn't want to mention the open ketchup bottle next to the roach spray, but someone did. Yee should have done as they did in the "Dasani" article last year and focused on the kiddies--the lady who's been there for 5 years with 6 kids and little apparent decluttering or housecleaning has gotten roasted over the coals of indignation, and Bill O'Reilly couldn't have set her up better than the NYT did. It pains me, because I suspect depression (and maybe "self-medication") is a big factor in this "lifestyle," and having gone through depression I can say "there but for the grace of God go I"...but there are also some good points being raised, if quite roughly, about behavior among these tenants...what's your perspective, having met these folks as neighbors instead of "cases" or "subjects"?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 4:36. I know this woman very well. I will tell you straight up that you don't find yourself homeless with six kids unless you've made some questionable choices. Not everyone is made for "success" in this life, and there are a million factors that contribute to an inability to climb out of penury. That's why, as I like to note, 1% of the NYC population is what we're dealing with - given how tough this City can be, there you are. The numbers of seriously mentally ill and drug and alcohol dependent alone are higher than 1%, and many of them get a free ride from their caring families. The number of clutterers is probably bigger than 1%. The number of selfish jackasses? Clearly much, much higher.

If you think for one minute that families in homelessness are model citizens with great life skills and deep family support who just HAPPEN to have missed a paycheck, then you have no idea how hard life can get when you don't have all the mental, financial, physical and/or educational (not to mention stable upbringing) advantages. The amount of violence and rape that many of these women have seen would maybe set your haughty indignation back to empathy. Or not. Maybe you're a "bootstraps" guy and that shit means nothing. Maybe it's just assumed that every human being will get on the bus, suddenly gain all the skills they never learned, and live the American dream despite their shortcomings.

I'll tell you one thing, though. If you think taking the children away is a good idea, you should know how much these children adore their mother and do everything they can to keep the family together. It's a family, like it or not. And kids in foster care do NOT do better, despite the occasional horror stories we read in the paper. Fact is, "decent" families don't WANT to take in these kids. They're too busy with their uptown problems already.

This country has seriously lapsed into such a state of denial it doesn't even get what #blacklivesmatter is saying. Doesn't get that providing for people is just what WE DO as human beings. This isn't a social science experiment. This is the human race you're talking about. Actual, frail, and sometimes messed up human beings.

Rebecca said...

I am appalled by some of the comments on the NYT. They're dehumanizing. But the ones that stick in my craw the most are the ones that say Yee is overwriting. The ones that call her piece too Orwellian or too Dikensian. The people saying things like that must have no idea what's outside of their own little box and that this article wasn't overwritten, and 60 Clarkson is just one example of a broader housing and NYC management issue that is so incredibly overdue to be addressed. It's so easy for people to be critical from their safe little homes while they tap away at their computers and gadgets. I'm saddened reading it, but I'm glad it's bringing much needed attention to both the building and the greater problem of a broken system.

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Clarkson, your response comment above is clear-eyed and compassionate at once, something that seems bafflingly hard to find these days. I posted a link to the NYT article on my FB page, hope you won't mind if I post your response there as well.

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Just happened on a report by the lightweights at Gothamist that seems to scoop the NY Times piece by over a month; the Grey Lady covered the same ground, even interviewing the same resident. Hm.