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, January 30, 2015

Please Sign Petition For Zoning Study To Begin


In the past few weeks and months the forces of hate and ignorance have gained strength to conspire against a sane, methodical and collaborative reexamination of our neighborhood's zoning and plans for future development. While other neighborhoods like Crown Heights West have unanimously supported efforts to rezone and rethink, we've become mired in misinformation and a spiteful campaign to paint a Planning Study as not in our best interests.

I've gone to lengths to describe that these attacks are the misguided efforts of a few - people whose biggest agenda is to keep Empire Boulevard from being developed for residential. We have learned from the City that is possible to rezone Empire Boulevard from C8-2 to mixed use residential and to put caps on height. We've also learned that the City would like to force any such development to create an inviting streetscape with ground floor commercial. Imagine, instead of fast food and storage facilities, shopping, affordable housing, a grand boulevard? It's in the cards, if we play those cards right.

CB9 is completely at a loss as how to contain MTOPP and its campaign of fear and intimidation. It was suggested that a petition might give City Planning the much needed counterbalance, and so here I am, asking that you sign on to the following. I hope you will! And remember, this is the beginning of a process. Your voice will be instrumental throughout to ensure everyone's viewpoint, and the considerations of your particular part of the neighborhood, are heard.


This is what it says:

We, the undersigned, implore Community Board 9 and the NYC Department of City Planning to immediately begin a Planning Study of Community District 9, specifically the western portion of CB9's boundaries. The current zoning map dates to 1961. While other parts of NYC have been contextually zoned and updated to reflect a modern reality, we continue to live with decisions that were made for our neighborhood more than 50 years ago.

During the course of discussions between community and City, we have certain expectations and requests:

A) That all efforts be made to maximize the requirements of developers to build permanent affordable housing

B) That all efforts are made to keep new buildings within specific height limits and ensure contextual and aesthetically pleasing blocks

C) That plans be made to make best use of commercial corridors like Nostrand Avenue, Rogers Avenue, Bedford Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, and to consider the effects of allowing mixed-use construction on underutilized corridors like Empire Boulevard. Any changes, however, must conform to points A) and B) above, and reflect the needs of diverse community.

We recognize that the City has placed ambitious goals to address the affordable housing crisis. We share the goal of creating housing for a wide range of incomes. But we ask that our current high density be considered, and that growth be modest and fair. We are an extraordinarily diverse community that wishes to remain that way. As the City grows, we expect we will grow too. But we believe such growth should be smart, contextual, and take into account needs for schools, public transportation, roads, parking and other infrastructure.

We would prefer to undergo this process collaboratively, rather than have outside forces develop our neighborhood FOR us. We've seen the future - in certain buildings, like 626 Flatbush and another 23-story tower on Nostrand to our south, plus dozens of new "as of right" projects throughout Central Brooklyn. We'd like to temper the urge of developers to build without an understanding of the consequences to our historic and tight-knit community.

We look forward to working with you.
The current zoning map of the area, created in 1961, is below.

Wanted for Assault on Woodruff

This one has a pretty clear picture, so I'm happy to share on behalf of the precinct. Do you know this guy or where he lives?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

IM Pastry To Open Soon on Nostrand at Midwood

I for one am looking forward to this one big time! Check out their info below, and consider attending their Soft Launch Preview on February 12 at 1131 Nostrand Avenue.

IM Pastry Studio Background:

Started in 2009 as a home based business, IM Pastry Studio comprised of owners Tiffany Washington, Jo-Laine Duke Collins and Tamika Young, blends traditional cake flavors and recipes with new innovative tastes and custom designs. Tiffany, Jo-Laine and Tamika are mothers, businesswomen and natives of Brooklyn who wanted to bring a unique and inviting space to the borough that they all love all while sharing their passion for pastries, design and fashion which comes across their work.

Not only will IM Pastry Studio offer desserts and custom creations, we will serve as an intimate event space for patrons wanting to host children’s birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, have a cup of coffee or to just sit, back relax and enjoy a nice day in Brooklyn. 

To kick things off we are hosting a soft launch preview on Thursday, February 12 (invite to come shortly) to showcase our amazing desserts and creative custom sweet confections including some of our signature, popular flavors such as Hazelnut Cappuccino, Strawberry Cheesecake and more.

In addition to opening our storefront location, we are also introducing our newest dessert item, “The IM Waffle Cake.”  "The Waffle Cake" is IM Pastry Studio’s most popular flavors transformed into a waffle cake for breakfast or brunch or anytime you are in the mood for such a delectable item. We use our own secret cake batter recipe to create a stack of four delicious waffles topped with fluffy frosting, fresh fruits, crushed nuts and decadent chocolate or caramel drizzles.

God Allows ULURP Meeting To Be Rescheduled

While the Good Lord may be generally supportive of Alicia Boyd, he apparently has seen fit to allow the ULURP Committee Meeting to go forward next Wednesday. You don't need to sign up to speak. Hopefully Ben Edwards will run a tight enough ship that all voices can be heard.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steelpan Cakes

If you've lived in the area long enough you know that on Church Avenue between Flatbush and Bedford there was once a great Kingdom of Ital. The king lived at the Veggie Castle, and his minions flocked to his brilliant cooking. Having vanquished the fierce but tiny people of the White Castle, who feasted on burgers barely bigger than a Kennedy half dollar. What the war was about no one can remember. Perhaps it was a fight over whether dairy and beef belonged in the human diet? The war lasted so long that the children of the children of the children of the instigators had forgotten the real reason. And eventually, Rastafari was victorious, though much like the Hagia Sophia turned mosque from cathedral in Istanbul, the new regime merely retooled the old structure for its purposes. The effect, was both hilarious and prophetically conservationist, and certainly indicative of the area's changing peoples and customs.

The middle kingdom looked thusly:

Enter the latest conquistadors and their syrupy sweet victory over the forces of Jah. Having built a modern castle brilliantly disguised as a drab and nondescript suburban office structure, the internet obsessed people of HOP have finally made home. iHOP they call it, and they intend to seduce the peasantry with a dozen forms of sugary topping for their puffy flatbreads.

Is this progress? Depends on your culinary preference. Tiny greasy burgers, boldy spiced stews and greens, or griddle-gluten with margarine and faux maple syrup. All fill the belly at the relatively little expense. Yet they leave the alimentary in wildly different forms.

Is a delicacy combining all three cuisines far behind?

God Is On Her Side

The latest screed from Alicia (below) shows she's got a powerful ally in her fight. Her big backer needs no introduction, but suffice to say he's always been a stickler for the details of NYC zoning. (psst...his name rhymes with Claude).

Also, please note the following statistic which clearly is a lowball - an "estimated 100,000 people" will be removed if we rezone this bit of the district.

The Board is in tatters. The latest to reach my ears beggars belief, and I'll see how much is true enough to print. Pearl Miles is taking the brunt of frustration, but there's plenty of finger-pointing to go around. I wish we'd just vote and be done with it. Basically if we don't show overwhelming support for a study, it ain't gonna happen. You read it here first. We're on the mat, folks, and the count has begun.

So regardless whether outside forces, even malevolent outside forces, have been responsible for the current state of affairs, it becomes clear that if you don't want something to happen all you need is the gumption and the gall to stick your neck out and scream. The long version of the story, though, is that the City will continue to make decisions that are in its perceived best interests, and we're only a small cog in the greater remaking of Brooklyn, NYC, Without the zoning study there will be continued disappointments and chaos to endure. But then, as long as Alicia's happy, we should all be happy. After all, she has the big guy in her corner. Plus, as a commenter noted, she's taken her show on the road. Seems she's just getting started.

Dear Neighbor
This is when you know that you God is on your side!
This storm saved us!
Here was their Plan:
Place 26 community board members on the
the ULURP committee, that was scheduled for Monday.
Within that group there would be enough to create a voting block
to get the "same" resolution passed.
Ignore the community's applications to be put on the ULURP
stating they didn't have enough time to process the applications.
Have the police present and have anyone who speaks that isn't
a committee member removed and/or arrested.
Keep the same parameters, including Empire Blvd that
City Planning has specifically stated it wants to up zone
to 10-12 stories starting!
Pass this resolution that would allow City Planning to decide
where they will up zone and on whatever blocks they choose!
This means, all along the Parameter of the Park and Garden
could face up zoning, inclusionary zoning etc...
Washington Ave, Flatbush Ave, Empire Blvd, Ocean Ave.
Also the entire Area would see an increase in density,
with now six story being the average,
but which could go up from 7 to 10 stories,
when putting in the zoning into affordable or inclusionary categories.
Then on Tuesday, without the resolution being an agenda item
where the community would be able to protest it and speak on it.
They would introduce it during the "Business" session,
where the community can not speak and then place it for a vote
and there you have it!  The same old resolution presented and passed!
However, there was one problem with their plan,
It seemed that God wasn't in favor of it!
And how could he be.
This plan poses to remove an estimated 100,000 people from this community!
People who have lived here all their lives,
worked and struggled to create a safe environment,
when the city ignored it, refusing to provide proper services
to it thousands of residents.
Now the Mayor is saying he has a plan, which is the same
plan as Bloomberg, because nothing has changed!
He wants to create affordable housing when the results
have shown time and time again that what we get instead of affordable housing
is unaffordable communities!
All because of Greed and corruption!
Everyone knows they don’t' want Empire Blvd for affordable housing
they want it for those Park Views
And Everyone knows that they won't stop at 12 stories
they will go to 20 stories to get those views!
There are other parts of this community that could have "affordable" housing
that won't endanger 100 year old homes, the removal of low and moderate
income families or pose a risk of sky scrapers being built
But City Planning won't even consider these areas, because
it isn't what the developers want!
And they are willing to break every law to get their way.
In fact Winston, the Director of the Brooklyn Office of City Planning
has stated publically last Thursday, Jan 22,
that if we don't give
them Empire Blvd to put 10 to 12 stories up
they will not rezone this community!
How does a City Agency get the power to threatened a community
that they will not do their job, if we don’t sacrifice our homes
and community to allow developers to make money!
The city officials have watch CB9 executive board break the law, commit criminal acts
falsify documents, and even some political entities have also engaged
in criminal misconduct, like the falsifying of documents, attempting to bribe
and these agencies have stood by and have done nothing!
But there is a greater force out that and it is proving to be just that!
A Greater Force!
That is working for us and is on our side!
But as the saying goes
"God helps those who help themselves"
So don't give up the fight!
Because we will win this one!
(718) 703-3086

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Wonder What It Felt Like

So you're raising a ruckus, dropping all kinds of scary hypotheticals, not letting anyone speak, claiming to be an expert on all manner of things...then you print out a flyer and copy up a ton and start spreading them far and wide.

thx Brooklynian
What does that feel like? To call your neighbors racial epithets, accusing them of ignorance and being house slaves? Does that feel good? Powerful? Does it feel "true" enough that it simply must be said? Do you go to sleep feeling you've done some justice, righted some wrong, won some argument? And in a Helvetica-like font to boot! Bold, baby, bold.

Does it feel sweet to put Chabad Lubovitch Jews in the spotlight, drawing out irrelevant but offensive links between your own twisted NIMBYism and an inferred sleight of hand from the Jewish community, thus invoking the darkest days of Crown Heights history?

If you're slamming everyone in sight, does it feel bad to leave some folks out? Is that what's going on? There are a few more constituencies that have not yet been viciously attacked. Nuns. Asians. Autistics. Keep 'em coming! The other night your crowd managed to even suggest that "affordable apartment dwellers" might sneak peaks at you gardening and throw garbage out their 12th floor windows. Throw garbage, after winning a lottery and getting a decent place to live for a reasonable rent? Well, after the way you're carrying on, maybe they can sell tickets for the privilege of throwing that trash. Trash is trash, that's what my neighbor John likes to say.

 If it feels good to turn a dialogue, okay debate, into vitriol, you must be one happy lady, Alicia. Congratulations! You've surprised even ME, and I even predicted this language. Though I never imagined seeing it in print like that. Helvetica!

To quote history: "You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, madame? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tall and Skinny

Permits were filed at 371 Lincoln Road for the below, according to YIMBY. Looks like that's just east of Nostrand. I find it interesting that this is what can become of 20' x 100' lots, which is essentially my house and hundreds throughout the neighborhood. Would be weird to see town homes come down and these go up all over the place. Some would cheer. Most would not. Of course, they already dot the neighborhood, on Ocean, on Hawthorne, on Crooke. Historic district blocks, of course, are protected, but that leaves dozens of blocks UNprotected. Wave of the future? I suspect a zoning code could protect three-story rows from becoming chopped up like this, but that would be for the next phase of the zoning process.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Brooklyn Greenery To Open Tomorrow

Mark your calendars. Tomorrow, Friday, January 23rd, is the soft-launch of Brooklyn Greenery at 560 Flatbush. Now I know the Q told you it would be a Mexican place, an outpost of popular Oaxaca Tacos. Tuns out Brooklyn Greenery, a swank little fresh-juice and take-out place switched places with Oaxaca which is now going next to Midwood Flats. That's two fun new joints for the price of one.

The two guys who run BG are Jason and John. They're buddies who met at Brooklyn College, and both of them grew up around here. I love it when you ask a true Brooklynite where they grew up and they tell you their High School! So if you must know, Midwood and Erasmus respectively. This is their first venture, and I couldn't wish them weller. Below is a decent photo I got off the web, and below that is me surprising Jason when he was probably sleeping because he's been working non-stop to get this place open:

Zoning Training Well-Attended

You know what the Q loves to see? And I've seen it more than once. Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo sitting up there in the front row listening intently. There she was, not bragging or wagging her finger, but just listening. Being part of the group. Learning things. Very, very cool. One might even be forgiven for thinking that she gives a damn.

Other than that tonight's community "training" session at Crown Gardens (that complex on the east side of Nostrand tween Carroll and President) was pretty tame. Alicia Boyd made a lot of racket, sounding off like she was more the expert than the three professionals with Master's degrees and decades of experience between them. Granted I left around halftime, and there was plenty of time for things to get out of hand. Maybe they did; please share with us! But the first half didn't see a lot of ball movement, just the usual hard earned first downs and punts. As usual, the zoning experts were clear and calm.

One thing did become abundantly clear. We need contextual zoning for large swaths of the district. The "Quality Housing" rules that go with "letter" distinctions like R6A or R6B or R7A would go a long way to preserve the character of the neighborhood. Nearly half the district is R6 for instance, and you can create an awful lot of Fedders buildings with all that real estate. You can build tall too if you grab enough land, so the strict height limits would be welcome as well.

I rode my bike home, past the beautiful blocks of Crown and Montgomery. Even if they don't become landmarked, Quality Housing designations could help preserve their context, maybe even prevent developers from buying them up in twos or threes to build new. Past Ebbets and Tivoli, past the new developments just north of Empire, then...Empire. And it really is shitty city down there. The Western Beef is fugly, and that parking lot is way too big and kinda creepy. The damn fast food gauntlet. The storage spaces that barely employ anyone. And then I really got it. Alicia doesn't want to lose her sense of air and space that the WB provides. It's very open there - you even get a nice bit of sky. I find it god awful and mugger-heaven, but perhaps if I lived on Sterling I'd be fond of it. No matter that a developer could buy up Western Beef right now, without rezoning, and build a tall hotel - maybe 15, 20 stories if it were skinny, which it probably would be with the park and garden views. Heck from the top you might be able to see over the Park and Greenwood Cemetery's tallest points right to the harbor. And those sunsets...those deep chemical New Jersey sunsets. Breathtaking. Book me the honeymoon suite!

So I get that. If that's at the core of all this nonsense, I wish she would just come out and say it. The fact is...something's going to go where the Beef is. It may even be in the works. The question worth considering is...wouldn't this be a great place for housing? So more people could enjoy the great transportation, the Park and Garden, and some of those units could be mandated affordable? I just don't get it. But then, there's always the other reason to leave it zoned for crap commercial, or C8-2. Tradition!!

thanks again Paul G!

ULURP Meeting Venue Changed; MTOPP Threatens Yet Another Lawsuit

Hey Ben Edwards! It's your turn to get served! Seems like it was only minutes after Alicia Boyd read Ben the riot act for not following the letter of the law on the Open Meeting statutes, CB9 announced a change of venue. To Erv's on Beekman. Drinks on Boyd!

Just joshin' It'll be:

The Q's pumped. I always wanted to go in that building! We'll have an opportunity to show those students how adults conduct themselves in the real world! Watch and learn, kids! Watch and learn!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First ULURP Committee Meeting of the Year - This Monday Evening

Yep. And given that last email from MTOPP, it's gonna be fun with a capital Ferocious. It's the Q's hope that the good folks at the 71st will be on hand to gently escort away anyone making trouble or preventing respectful dialogue. There's business to attend to, and while the Community Board is required to hold an open meeting, it is not obliged to facilitate people who have vowed "to shut it down."

The agenda, the one that the Q has been begging the chair to discuss for 7 months now, is printed below. If like me you are drawn to conflict like a moth to flame, you will undoubtedly be there. If on the other hand your mind is made up about whether to engage City Planning in a Zoning Study of our outdated zoning, and where the study should focus, then you may be excused with good reason. Still, it would be nice to see some numbers in favor of joining the City's efforts to build affordable housing IN context with the prevailing architecture. And yeah, we'll probably see some residential on Empire to take the place of the current landmark-able fast food and storage places. Not tall - everyone involved has agreed there must be strict limits on height to avoid becoming another NYC canyon. In exchange we can expect to downzone and contextualize the zoning through huge chunks of the neighborhood. That's all speculation by yours truly at this point, but informed speculation.

In short, there is nothing to fear about engaging City Planning in a dialogue. Otherwise, we get what we get. Oh, and it won't take 3-5 years as some knuckleheads say to get a resolution through the Council. Probably closer to 2 years (check out the CB8 timetable).  Why the rush? Let me just remind you that in 2008 we first asked for rezoning. It's 2015. Do the math. If you don't take advantage of the City's resources when they're offered, it could be years before we have the chance again. The City, and the economy, they giveth and they taketh.

Do the right thing CB9. Ask for a gentle and thoughtful rezoning. And remember, the fight for the soul and diversity of the neighborhood is not rezoning. It's predatory landlords. And loopholes in rent regulation. And THAT should be the very next order of business, if this CB9 is to have any relevance at all. Oh, and that nonsense about how the Jewish Community is "protected" from rezoning? Let me remind everyone that the Jewish Community asked to be part of this study to accommodate growing families in overly low zoned areas, and generously stepped aside, recognizing that the western part of the district needed more immediate attention. If anything, we should be thanking Eli Cohen and the JCC for being gracious.

Lastly, there is nothing funny about race-baiting. Not in Crown Heights. Not anywhere. Not now. Not ever.

From Mad to Madness

I just read the latest from Alicia. My jaw is on the floor. I think I just stepped on it by accident. The below is what she wrote to her list. Rezoning - in order to preserve the predominant character of the neighborhood and encourage smarter development than the chaotic building we have happening now - has been characterized as...well, you can read it for yourselves:

Good Morning Neighbor

We have just been confronted with a serious crisis!
Community Board 9 plans on not having any resolution
presented to City Planning!

That is right!  Without a Resolution we are done!

What they want is to have 1 ULURP committee meeting
on Monday, Jan 26, at 890 Nostrand Ave.
Solidify the parameters of the study,
which is entire Black community, from Eastern Parkway
to Clarkson Ave, from Flatbush/Ocean Ave/ Washington Ave
to East New York Ave!

This is the entire Black Community
and it contains none of the Jewish Community!

Then on Tuesday, at the Community Board meeting
Located at 650 Bedford at 7 pm,
 not include the rezoning study on
the agenda, so we can't speak
But present a recommendation during the "Business session"
where the community can not speak
and vote to pass these parameters into City Planning Hands!

We need to come out on Monday and Tuesday
and shut CB9 down!
We will not allow our community to be sold to
the White Man, for whatever pay off they are gaining!

Yes, I'm calling a spade a spade!
This is our reality
A black community is being sold
to White developers
 And they are using Black people to do it!

The Jewish Community is not being included
in this study and thus has protection!

If you want to help mobilize for this coming week
Please call me asap.
We need people to man the phones
and to get flyers out into the community!

Dwayne Nicholson, chair of CB9, just wrote the board a note to us denouncing her latest two emails as hateful. You have to wonder whether ANYone, from the Mayor and Council on down, could be comfortable with MTOPP's language and sentiment. And how many of them, and the hard working folks at City Planning, would characterize a zoning study as "selling a black community to white developers?" (WvE, they're on to you! What are those white devils paying you, anyway? I understand, really I do. It must be hard to watch all those millions being made as you cash your civil servant paychecks. Just remember to make my cut out to my alias cuz I don't want to get reamed on my taxes, 'kay?). Especially when those white developers seem to need little help buying up properties all over Brooklyn. They've been on a spree for years now, and were hardly waiting for MTOPP's permission.

Then, perhaps most ominously, she basically accuses black members of the Board as being "used." I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear a certain Uncle's name invoked on Monday and/or Tuesday. The 71st will be on hand. Let's hope we have the balls to escort her out to the ambulance. Kings County Behavioral is mercifully just down the avenue. The meds will be waiting in paper cups.

Perhaps this a blessing in disguise, and her willful divisiveness will bring us all to the table together to slay the beast of racial invective, whilst engaging in respectful dialogue about a matter of some importance to the community? 

Josh & Karen and AirBnB

Apologies to Joshua and Karen for questioning their validity and identity. As an eagle-eyed reader points out, not only were they the poster children for an AirBnB ad in the Times mentioning Lefferts Gardens, but today they're quoted in the Old Gray Lady herself:

But just as distressed over the skyrocketing cost of housing in the city were residents who said the money they made from renting spare bedrooms on Airbnb has become indispensable. Joshua Greenberg, 39, a freelance writer, said that housing costs had chased him from Manhattan to Carroll Gardens, to Crown Heights, and finally to Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he now lives with his wife, Karen Wight-Greenberg, and two young children.
I have to say that despite my populist leanings I'm really only in support of this being legal if you own your apartment or house. If you're a renter, I think you should get some sort of permission from the landlord, unless short-stay rentals are specifically allowed. I do NOT think landlords should be saving apartments for the purpose though. In a housing crisis, that's just nasty to withhold (probably stabilized) apartments. And while I got no problem with it legally, the same is true for people withholding their legal apartments from the market generally. Though in a private house, I don't think the City should be in the biz of telling you what to do.

Oh, and people should absolutely have to pay hotel tax. It's not fair to those who do.

And shouldn't Airbnb capitalize the b's? I found it difficult to pronounce and comprehend at first.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Karim Camara Out As Assemblyman

Hey, we're on a roll with mayo! After getting a new State Senator in Jessie Hamilton, when longtimer Eric Adams became Borough President, now we're saying sayonara to the Reverend Karim Camara, our NY State Assembly dude. He's moving on to lead something you've never heard of and probably don't care about so I'll spare you the details. Let's just say it sounds like a lot less of a headache and he won't have to take any more heat for the State's notoriously inept governance.

Granted parts of the Q's readership are NOT in his district - the 43rd. And granted further MOST of you couldn't care less, because let's face it, most of you are more interested in cinder block collections than following Albany politics. As (my) state senator Kevin Parker pointed out to me in a super fun sit-down, though, there's a HELL of a lot of power in those bodies, even if it seems like three people decide everything. Andrew Cuomo - quite probably the ugliest of the 50 governors - seems to be all-powerful, but in fact it takes dozens and dozens of scary-looking-overachieving-angry-paunchy men to make the State truly dysfunctional.'s to you, Karim. For being soft-spoken, well-dressed and baby-faced. While I have no idea what you've done for us, I expect it's both more and less than we expected.

In all seriousness this is always an opportunity to think about what sort of person we want representing us when no one's watching. It's an exciting district - lots of change, lots of character, and plenty of characters.  And so, just days into his new term, Karim bids us adieu to yieu and yieu and yieu, meaning a special election will likely be called and we can breathe again knowing we are once again represented. Til then, try not to take unnecessary risks.

Want to know if the 43rd is YOUR district? The Q's got you covered:

Lefferts Quiz

Just after the blizzard of '88 - 1888 that is - Adrian Vanderveer Martense took this picture of a horse drawn sleigh:

If you can guess where it is, you either cheated or have a darn good memory for someone nearly 150 years old. Hmm?

Here Comes the Sun (Power) - Info Session Wednesday

What do y'all know about this? Sounds pretty cool. Who's going and can tell us about it?

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Late Night MLKJr Day Post

The Q's mind is a muddled mess on race. I started this blog to unclutter and unpack some of my lifelong chatter, but I just seem to grow more befuddled by my ever-changing perspective and lack of understanding, since, you know, I'm not...there I'll go right out and say it. I'm not black. Never have been. Never been a woman neither, but for some reason I haven't trained my eye on feminism the way I have on racism. (Mrs. Q is thanking her lucky stars on that front right about now...if she even reads this stuff anymore.)

In the span of 24 hours, I've been sent many fun items to check out, four of which came in the following order:

A) A treatise by a not-particularly accomplished dude named James Buntin in Slate titled "The Gentrification Myth: It's Extremely Rare and Not As Bad For the Poor As You Think."

B) An SNL skit (see bottom of post) that wouldn't be funny at all if Gentrification in Brooklyn weren't in fact a thang (because comedy is way more real than any cherry-picked statistics, especially statistics as interpreted by a dude who clearly gets off, as do I, by being contrarian, and somehow thinks that Adams Morgan in D.C. somehow qualifies as a case study in current trends.)

C) A hilarious observation that this weekend's Charles Blow scorcher on how wealthy people should consider, contrary to their stated beliefs, that it's extremely expensive to be poor, was placed right next to this here Air BnB picture:

D) A biting piece on how you and I probably don't know "what Martin Luther King actually did," which boils down to the following - MLK urged and taught black folks to face their worst fears born of years of living under a constant state of terror, thereby ending the terrorism in the South. Terrorism - good choice of words. And he urged and taught black folks to collectively take the beatings and fury with dignity, thereby exposing who it was that was truly weak and ultimately the most fearful and ignorant - the white Jim Crow power structure. And so, I surmised after reading the essay by Hamden Rice, MLK is not just the "Dream" guy, but actually a nightmare-ender.

I urge you to read/view them all, and tell me if your head too spins like a dreidal in its neck socket.

Btw, Buntin's article is a sick and sorry piece journalism. First, the studies he cites are nearly 20 years old. Talking about '90s gentrification to describe current social trends would be like talking about the '90s internet to describe current social media. He cites some of the same statistics I've seen elsewhere to say displacement doesn't happen, then notes that gentrification is actually REAL in places like D.C., Chicago and NYC. Like, who actually gives a damn about anywhere else anyway? (Btw, add L.A. to the list James - white folks have finally crossed the old freeway dividing lines. Atlanta's undergoing racial upheaval, and Texas...well, only Texas cares about Texas so I'll let them sort that out.)

What's crazy too is that his editors let him stick with the jaw-dropping headline when halfway through he completely changes the subject: 
 While critics of gentrification decry a process that is largely imaginary, they’ve missed a far more serious problem—the spread of extreme poverty.
I wonder exactly how many critics of gentrification actually missed the spread of poverty? Oops! Didn't catch that USA Today scoop! It may shock readers of the Q but this "displacement" that Buntin says doesn't happen isn't even the core of the real problem. It's the WAY that it happens. If a landlord in a market rate apartment raises the rent - because he can - and can find a tenant who can pay the higher rate, well, that's how capitalism works and it sucks if you were the one priced out. It's happening all the time in post-gentrified Manhattan. But if a landlord CAN'T legally raise your rent more than a certain amount and employs illegal and intimidating tactics to get you out or to pay more, then you have SYSTEMATIC displacement. And when that process happens by whites to blacks, don't be surprised if it arouses a bit of suspicion and echoes of previous struggles.

If, as Buntin argues, you are black with at least a high school diploma, and you manage to keep your place of residence, you too may see some benefits from gentrification. His advice runs something like this: hold tight mildly educated not-too-impoverished black folks! We're coming to the rescue sooner than you can fire up a Macbook Air! Assimilate while you still can; it's good for you! Roll film...

When Cultures Collide

You're going to see it eventually, even if it's when your cousin Edna sends it in her monthly "newses" email from Omaha. So why not on the Q?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Treesy Does It

Lincoln Road got some love today, with a new tree AND a replacement for a lost brother in branches. That's the $26 million building, 115 Ocean, right there on the right of the tree-man. Such lavish new landscaping is likely the key reason for the massive pop in price.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lefferts Quiz

So, who recognizes the following and where it is. Pic one is of the construction to date, pic two is the new rendering, courtesy of Stephen Smith and YIMBY:

Come Next Thursday To Learn About Zoning

From your good friends at CB9:

Dear Community:

Community Board 9 is pleased to present an informational session on New York City's Zoning and ULURP Processes on Thursday, January 22, 2015, 6:30 pm, Crown Gardens Community Room, 1185 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225 - Entrance to the Community Room is on Nostrand Avenue, between President and Carroll Streets, right across the street from Community Board 9's office on Nostrand.

We encourage everyone to come and learn what zoning is; and the process for conducting a zoning study.  You will also be provided information on ULURP (the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure)

The informational session will be conducted by representatives from the Department of City Planning.

We look forward to welcoming you; and to providing vital information on these very important processes.

Best Regards

Pearl Miles

Once again, you will have an opportunity to hear what zoning is and isn't. If it's like last week's session for the board, there will be opportunity to ask questions as well. If you have yet to become involved, this would be a good place to start. If you've been involved for quite some time, well, this is where the Board has decided to go...pretty much back to the beginning. Be there.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Lease That Lays the Golden Eggs

The Q gathered together some addresses from the various activist groups fighting landlords for targeting tenants for displacement through many means, from miserable service to harassment to not cashing rent checks to renting only to whites to offering miserly buyouts and intimidating the vulnerable. Evil? Nah. Just all in a day's work on the way towards a Lease That Lays the Golden Eggs - a building free of rent stabilization. Twas a time when the spread between market rate and rent stabilization was not so great. In fact, thousands of people in the neighborhood were given "preferred" rents for years, a discount from the maximum the landlord could charge under stabilization. Those days are gone.

If you or folks you know live in one of these buildings, I encourage you to reach out to the Crown Heights Tenants Union, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. And remember, you have the right to get a rent history of your apartment, which will show you how much you SHOULD be paying now. The Q just learned that one of these landlords who owns hardware and constructions concerns actually PAYS THEMSELVES for capital improvements that are shoddy. But the receipts are there for the judge! And the landlord can jack up the rent as a result. It's so disgusting and demoralizing as to make your head spin. This is how neighborhoods are torn apart, typically by race and class, and reconfigured to meet the outsized profit goals of the below companies, who have essentially cornered the market in Crown Heights and Flatbush and Lefferts and... Plus remember, this is just a subset of the bigger story in NYC. At this point, these companies are controlling so many lives they're like mini-states. Any of you live in any of these buildings want to share?

Building Address Landlord
990 President Street 11225 burke Leighton
951 Carroll Street 11225 burke Leighton
805 St. Marks Avenue 11213 BK burke Leighton
1834 Caton Ave 11226 BK burke Leighton
1016 President Street 11225 BK burke Leighton
2505 Bedford Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
215 Sterling Street 11225 BK burke Leighton
389 East 48 Street 11203 BK burke Leighton
78 Hawthorne Street 11225 BK burke Leighton
31 East 21st Street 11226 BK burke Leighton
21 East 21st Street 11226 BK burke Leighton
726 Ocean Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
2201 Cortelyou Road 11226 BK burke Leighton
219 E 17th Street 11226 BK burke Leighton
610/612 Flatbush Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
476 Ocean Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
458 15th Street 11215 BK burke Leighton
2564 Bedford Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
2325 Foster Avenue 11210 BK burke Leighton
608 Flatbush Avenue 11226 burke Leighton
115 Ocean Avenue 11225 BK Jonas
217 EAST 7 STREET Jonas
465 EAST 7 STREET Jonas
214 EAST 8 STREET Jonas
714 EAST 27 STREET Jonas
147 Ocean Avenue Jonas
931 PUTNAM AVE ZT Realty
403 MACON ST APT 16 ZT Realty
1045 UNION ST ZT Realty
874 BERGEN ST ZT Realty
244 NEW YORK AVE APT 8 ZT Realty
942 BERGEN ST ZT Realty
1398 DEAN ST ZT Realty
267 CLIFTON PL ZT Realty
303 PUTNAM AVE ZT Realty
299 PUTNAM AVE ZT Realty
585 PARK PL ZT Realty
276 THROOP AVE ZT Realty
1082-1092 President St Shamco
1026 President St. Shamco
1 St. Pauls Ct Shamco
200 E 18th St Shamco
2015 Foster Ave Shamco
215 Martense St. Shamco
350 E 19th St Shamco
538-546 E 21st St Shamco
543-549 E. 21st St. Shamco
75-89 Hawthorne St Shamco
860 Ocean Ave Shamco
1702 Caton Avenue Shamco
1710 Caton Avenue Shamco
1716 Caton Avenue Shamco
1722 Caton Avenue Shamco
50 E. 19th St. Shamco
1901-1907 Dorchester Rd. Shamco
65 E. 19th St. Shamco
2110 Newkirk Avenue Shamco
690 Rogers Ave Shamco
566 Parkside Ave Shamco
558 Parkside Ave Shamco
2101 Bedford Ave Shamco
1204 Ocean Ave Shamco
1553 Ocean Ave Shamco
79-93 Bristol St Shamco
1155 DEAN STREET Renassiance Realty Group
1151 DEAN STREET Renassiance Realty Group
764 ST JOHN'S PLACE Renassiance Realty Group
1561 PITKIN AVENUE Renassiance Realty Group
39 ARGYLE ROAD Renassiance Realty Group
45 ARGYLE ROAD Renassiance Realty Group
285 SCHENECTADY Renassiance Realty Group
1646 UNION STREET Renassiance Realty Group
153 CHAUNCEY ST Renassiance Realty Group
511 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
493 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
495 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
519 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
505 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
487 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
2-12 Sutter Avenue Renassiance Realty Group
235 Utica Avenue Renassiance Realty Group
1701 Utica Avenue Renassiance Realty Group
564 West 126 St. BCB Property Management
556 West 126th Street BCB Property Management
560 West 126th Street BCB Property Management
308 West 88th street BCB Property Management
1159 President St. BCB Property Management
1153 President St., Brooklyn BCB Property Management
543 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
529 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
527 Nostrand, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
525 Nostrand, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
179 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
384 Court St, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
1215 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
317 4th Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
250 Pacific St, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
234 Union Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
285 Court St BCB Property Management
384 Court St BCB Property Management
1059 Union St BCB Property Management
1115 Union St BCB Property Management
442 Lorimer St BCB Property Management
15 Crown Street BCB Property Management
991-993 President Street BCB Property Management
329 Lincoln Place BCB Property Management
315 Lincoln place BCB Property Management
319 Lincoln Place BCB Property Management
323 Lincoln Place BCB Property Management
1171 President Street Pinnacle
382 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
225 Parkside Avenue Pinnacle
991 Carroll Street Pinnacle
706 Lefferts Avenue Pinnacle
681 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
1554 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
459 Schenectady Avenue Pinnacle
176 Clarkson Avenue Pinnacle
3301 Farragut Road Pinnacle
489 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
481 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
497 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
990 Montgomery Street Pinnacle
40 Argyle Road Pinnacle
28 Argyle Road Pinnacle
307 12th Street Pinnacle
961 Washington Avenue Pinnacle
1535 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
1362 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
619 Rugby Road Pinnacle
615 Rugby Road Pinnacle
607 Rugby Road Pinnacle
1042 Union Street Pinnacle
292 St Johns Place Pinnacle
926 Carroll Street Pinnacle
1038 Union Street Pinnacle
1597 Bedford Avenue Pinnacle
916 Caroll Street Pinnacle
1048 Union Street Pinnacle
85 Clarkson Avenue Pinnacle
529 East 22nd Street Pinnacle
1060 Union Street Pinnacle
601 Crown Street Pinnacle
426 East 22nd Street Pinnacle
222 Lenox Road Pinnacle
2102 Beverly Road Pinnacle
176 Clarkson Ave Pinnacle