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.
Friday, December 18, 2015
The Q: Boy Who Cried Wolf? Nostrand-amus? How About - Map Reader?
Thanks Jacob for keeping the pushpins rolling. Here's more details on the shocking (see above) tracking of new residential developments in the neighborhood.
Nice to see that the Historic District works so well to keep out new buildings - seriously it's a testament to the far-sightedness of old-timers. Wish my block had some protections. The kind that were in the works with a Planning Study, that could have downzoned inner blocks even down to rows of houses in favor of new developments where they dang well belong - along avenues of transit and sites that currently have taxpayer lowrises or fastfood and storage marts and parking lots. Imagine, favoring storage marts over housing for actual people. Bitter, Q? Hell yes.
But at this point I'm prepared to reflect and calm the fuck down. It ain't gonna happen. We have people bitching about density and complaining about light and air to the point that no one wants to be part of the City's efforts to deal with a housing crisis on the one hand and destruction of neighborhoods on the other. Folks, you can't "not build" your way out of near-zero vacancy-rates that're raising rents beyond reason. Can't be done. Not historically, not now.
Brooklyn is a victim of success. There are thousands of new jobs, new amenities, new opportunities. People want to live here, and we can't stop that. We SHOULDN'T stop that. It's what this borough was begging for for decades. Now that it's here, we can't handle change? Smart development? Sure there's ridiculous luxury high-rise happening. And the City should stop it. That damn tower at One 57th St and 432 Park and the Time-Warner Center. But that is NOT part of the lower and middle class housing being proposed by City Planning for our neighborhood. And yes, making up to $100K a year is middle class in this town. Even $150K with a family of four. If you don't think so, you don't get out much. This City has changed dramatically and people with those incomes are desperate to find (gulp) AFFORDABLE housing. THAT'S why rents are so damn high around here. It's a great neighborhood, and it's been affordable to professionals and newly minted arrivers. Less so every day, though. Rents are topping $3K already in some buildings.
Anti-density folks will tell you they champion the working poor. It's bullshit. You can't favor downzoning everywhere and claim to care for the lowest income-earners. You should be organizing tenants and providing legal help to keep them in their homes if you really care. Join the CHTU of Flatbush Coalition. Get busy. But don't stop the building of apartments, of all income needs.
The actual poor? The much-hated City is doing everything it can to build supportive housing, but it will never be able to keep up. And when they DO propose building "public housing," which is what you should call it when you provide nearly all the income by taxes, folks come out of the woodwork to complain about all the poor and ill people moving in. I shit you not, you should hear the discriminatory nonsense that comes out of people's mouth when they announced putting some supportive housing on Maple east of here, built by a terrific non-profit called The Bridge. The "crazies" are going to abduct our children the neighbors yelled, with only the pitchforks missing from their flailing hands. Hell, the "crazies" are already living there and spewing hate if you ask me. And to think a mere 50 years ago the whites were screaming the same about blacks moving into their neighborhoods. I said it before and I'll say it again. In so many ways, we've made zero progress as a society.
Mayor, council, ignore the noise, please. Do what's right. It would appear that they're finally waking up to the reality that the current gentry (i.e. Community Boards) care about themselves, their cars, their parking, over the needs of the community they supposedly care so deeply about. And in a City where MOST people don't own cars or houses, and MOST people barely make rent, and MOST people would be better off with more density, we continue to play out this longstanding game, the one where we think we can keep the City as it is. Jane Jacobs was wrong in that regard. Her beloved Greenwich Village is a museum. A lovely museum, no doubt, but all her favorite parts have long since departed. That is, if she REALLY cared about social and economic diversity as much as she claimed. Think about it. Perhaps the single best thing protecting Manhattan's diversity are the giant housing projects built by Jane's arch-nemesis.
Roll over them if you must Mayor. The future of the City depends on you taking the long view, while landmarking and preserving where you can. That's why they call it City "Planning," not City "Preserving." Until we go socialist, it's the best you can do.
Sounds like the Mayor is finally beginning to fight back.