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.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ta-Nehisi Coates - We Were Just Teasing!

The Q is stunned. Shocked. A week after embracing the idea of a great writer moving to the neighborhood, he's thinking of backing out on us? Because people know the address? EVERYONE knows EVERYONE'S ADDRESS, man! You have heard of the internet, yes? Edward Snowden? Some, in the halls of power, actually say we're more safe. With a straight face. Yes, they do.

Like we don't know where Woody Allen lives. Spike Lee. Nora Jones. Bjork. Ethan Hawke (yes, Ethan, that was me giving you a high five in Boerum Hill the other day). In L.A. they sell maps to the stars homes. And they're surprisingly easy to break into, according to the The Globe.

Mr. Coates, I hope you're ready to reconsider. You will not be anonymous anywhere you live. But you will never be safer than you'd be in Brooklyn.

The door's always open. And after a few weeks, no one will even remember you're here. Just ask A.O. Scott who lives down the block from you whether anyone pays for his coffee when he walks into Gratitude Cafe. You're a big star, yes. But not all THAT big. Speaking of big, maybe get a big dog. And a good lock. Ask the neighbors to keep an eye on things. You'll be leaving the windows wide open in no time! (Uh, it's still the big City. Maybe ixnay on the indowsway. But frankly you'd be safer here than in the 'burbs. The creepy, quiet, 'burbs. Or the serial killer exurbs. Or the...or the...Zika-Ridden Countryside!! Is nowhere safe? Nope. I mean yep.)

Trust me. You're in friendly territory here. But don't take my word for it. Take the word of all the interested parties who claim my interest is too fawning all the while taking time out of their otherwise fabulous days to comment on the comments. Oh, the hypocrisy. Oh, the leisure time. Oh, the times. Oh the time! Gotta run...

Coates Reconsiders


ilya said...

Nah, I doubt he's actually staying away. I think this is just his lament about never coming back to PLG of his anonymous years. That's how I'm reading it. Also, you don't spend 2.1 mil and walk away - Mac genius or not.

Andrew Case said...

It was all a ruse. He was just buying the house to sell it to Two Trees, along with the two next door. They'll be six-story glass condos in 18 months.

Bob Marvin said...

What a shame. When Alice Walker lived on Midwood I not only was her address known, but her house was on the PLG house tour (with her identity reveled). I guess Mr. Coates will feel more comfortable in the suburbs.

BTW Andrew, the house is in the PLG Historic District, so whatever happens there'll be no glass condos.

John Mark said...

Several years ago there was a blog called something like "What's on Steve Buscemi's Stoop?" that chronicled the Buscemi household's very Park Slope activity of putting random junk on their stoop for people to take for free. Eventually Buscemi nicely asked him as a neighbor to respect his privacy and take down the blog and he did. To this day, if I'm over that way, I take a look and see what the Buscemis might be giving away.

So then fast forward to America in 2016. I would imagine that Steve Buscemi rarely gets death threats. I would imagine that Coates does. So yeah, I understand his position here, and I don't think it's fair to tell him to suck it up.

Anonymous said...

I would feel uncomfortable too. He got way too much attention buying that house from what's described. There are more famous people than he in PLG so why make such a big deal about him and his house. Everybody should have chilled out. It is a lesson in how a blog post meant for locals alerts the bigger news outlets and sometimes we want that and sometimes we really really don't.

Andrew Case said...

I was of course just being silly.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I fancy myself guys, just fine. But don't think for a minute it was a "blog post" that led him to reconsider.

Read the article. Not mine, his.

Blogs are a dime a dozen and every half-ass celebrity gets written about, yes, all the way down to where they live. I'd mention a dozen but why give it more ink than it deserves?

And one more thing...where do you think I found out about him moving here in the first place? The rumor mill. I didn't go "digging for a story." I'm too lazy for that shit. You can't tell me people were going to keep it a secret.

And yes, one would hope he'd suck it up. Or at least, give us a friggin' chance. You should have seen how polite I was eating oatmeal next to Michael Stipe and kimchi one table away from the bald guy from Smashing Pumpkins, what's-his-name. I chatted with David Bowie at Carnegie Hall once. He was wearing sweatpants. Bjork was a doll at Celebrate Brooklyn last summer, there with her punky daughters friends to see Chaka Khan. Sandy Weill of Citicorp bought me a coke! And I did have drinks with Ethan Hawke once. Philip Seymour Hoffman, anyone? The Sarandons. Jay Z took the train to his own damn concerts when Barclays opened.

Were a wealthy famous person to move into Brooklyn Heights, would we even be having this conversation?

The whole thing is starting to seem as ludicrous as Ludacris. Who by the way just bought a coop on Winthrop, natch, outside the Manor.

Anonymous said...

Way to singlehandedly drive Coates out of PLG with your prurient Caucasoid "gossiping," as he called it. You're making whites look invasive, obsequious, and creepy. Please stop.

Anonymous said...

Caucasian ten year resident here, yes there is a creepy caucasoid segment here trying way too hard. Also the neighborhood is small-town in the yucky ways, not just the great ways. Cliques like you got in a time warp back to high school. Gossip. It's kind of stupid, sorry kids, and sometimes it makes me want to escape to the anonymity of Manhattan too. But there are ways for the famous and nonfamous to fly under the radar. The Buscemi blog story is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

John Mark wrote: I would imagine that Steve Buscemi rarely gets death threats. I would imagine that Coates does.

This is what happens when a white liberal mind begins to imagine things. Mark seems to be a racist nut, imagining that whites have developed some kind of racial animus toward blowhard Coates, a writer known only to a thin slice of the reading public. Unknown to 99.99 percent of the country. An invisible man.

The only place Coates might face an attack -- and even this possibility is remote -- is at a Barnes & Noble reading, when some pedantic fan challenges his use of the semicolon.

Anonymous said...

As if a little hostility stopped Jackie Robinson from living in the neighborhood...

If the nearly anonymous Coates has become paranoid about his minor writerly celebrity, he should take advice from Thomas Pynchon, who has lived invisibly in Manhattan for decades.

Anonymous said...

He's just a person and the way you weirdly fawn over him makes it seem like you have some sort of complex. The fact that you are making his move personal to you is creepy. Giving "us" a shot? How is this about you?

He says in his post he is nostalgic for his old, black neighborhood. But you are turning his presence into a spectacle, and making him feel like an outsider who doesn't belong. The commotion you are making only underscores black is no longer the norm in the neighborhood. It feels like you are grabbing onto a noteworthy exception that you have to parade around to overcompensate for the slow loss of diversity. It is disgusting. He's a person, not a black token trophy. I'd be weirded out by you too.

Uh huh said...

Dude comes off as a drama king. He's concerned about his safety?? Ummm.... we all have jobs and families and shit to do. Newsflash- no one cares except him.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 9:38. You have absolutely zero sense of humor. I was writing about Coates last summer because his writing touched me. Then he moves nearby. This is a blog. It IS about me, dumbshit. Filtered through whatever the hell I'm yapping about. Then, when you comment, it's about YOU. That's how it works. For fucks sake, take a class.

Once again the 3rd rail rears its ugly volts. Gossip is basically the stock and trade of online musing. Fawning? Do the words fawn and fan now mean the same thing? Hell yeah. I'm a fan. I'm fawning. Guilty as charged. If it were some hot shit young white writer would you feel the need to tell me off for being excited that someone cool was moving in?

Let me repeat: you have ZERO sense of humor. Less than Zero actually. Is Bret Easton Ellis moving in? He gets his own post too if he does.

Damn. Write about race, die by the sword. Maybe now I DO get What's Eating Gilbert Coates.

John Mark said...

This has very quickly become one of the more bizarre comment threads on this blog. But anyway, I don't think I'm out of line for assuming that someone who speaks the truth about race in America and police brutality gets his fair share of death threats. Or at least more than Steve Buscemi.

And for what it's worth, I think that acknowledging that someone you respect is moving to your neighborhood on a blog is just fine. But I did think it was weird how much ink it got in the mainstream press when famous people spend 10x what he paid for his house every day in NYC.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

If it's about the death threats (believe it or not I've gotten them too) and he takes them seriously, it's reasonable (though not necessary) that he considers living in a heavily secure apartment building.

But it's not the NY Post that makes that a reality. It's the death threats themselves, and whether they're credible.

By the way, I do NOT think that someone writing cruel, racist hate mail to be death threats. If that were the case, I could start my own cottage industry. 99.999% of it is just sick people letting off steam. I have yet to have a single person stop by my house or drop off a package, and my address is available to all. Maybe with one exception. I believe Michael Showalter DID stop by as a result of the blog. But that was just for neighborly chitchat. And of course, his house was plastered all over the internets as well. In his case, I suspect he considered it to be free P.R.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Don't think for a minute I'm comparing myself to Coates, btw. Let's get that straight! It's just that there's a lot of presuming going on around the issue, like people know what's going on for him. Sheesh, if there were panties in need of bunching, they have certainly found their savior.

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree with Anon 9:38. Tim, your post was trying a little too hard and a lot creepy. Would YOU have written the same post or had the same reaction if a famous white writer backed out of buying a house in the nabe? You kind of remind me of that saturday night live skit where white people try to out-do each other bragging about having "black friends". Ick!

Anonymous said...

John Marks is at again when he says " I don't think I'm out of line for assuming that someone who speaks the truth about race in America and police brutality gets his fair share of death threats."

The truth? Marks can't handle the truth. Or at least he won't accept it. The truth in this country is whites almost never kill blacks.

Meanwhile, Coates isn't Al Sharpton, not that Sharpton speaks any truths. Coates isn't a divisive lightning rod for controversy. He's just a writer in an era of writers who are invisible unless they get themselves on a podium at the Brooklyn Book Festival. And even then they struggle.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Creepy Anon 2:19? Really. Like getting anonymous comments calling you creepy isn't a little...creepy?

There actually WAS a story about a white famous person in the neighborhood that I toyed with discussing openly. The difference? I didn't really care that much about that particular celebrity. I wasn't excited about it in the least.

Coates is different because his writing is at the epicenter of a conversation that I'm interested in, and have been having privately and publicly for years. I also like the music of Kendrick Lamar. If he moved here and I wrote an essay about how exciting it was, would that too make me the Saturday Night Live guy? And if I got excited that A.O. Scott lived here, would that be creepy? Oh, right. Please. There's so little to get jazzed about these days excuse a white guy for his guilty pleasures.

Don't look now, but your double-standards are showing.

FlatLen said...

It seems to me that famous or somewhat famous people should use LLCs when they purchase. It makes sense to me, because anonymity can be so important. Yet, I wonder how the mortgage interest and property tax issues might be handled if that route were pursued.