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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Let's Do the NIMBY, Again!

Not just a social phenomenon. The NIMBY is now a dance craze sweeping America. Everybody who owns a house now, to the tune of the Hokey Pokey:

You put your equity in
you file a lawsuit case
you cite your Quality of Life
and then you rub it in our face.

Relax, I'm only kidding around. It's good to laugh at our own hypocrisy now and then. Below, you gotta view the wildest local political propaganda I've seen in...well, ever! I suspect the Crown Heights Tenants Union or maybe MTOPP is behind it. Hats off, it's INCREDIBLY effective. As I shot this you can hear me explaining what it's about to a couple passers-by, many of whom were riveted by the LED images. I mean, people really don't know this is happening, especially since there are major changes afoot for TWO Brooklyn armories. That are both on Bedford Avenue for chrisakes! And both have plans that are related to affordable housing issues. Check this truck out, which, by the way, was idling to keep the power running. With no one in the truck and the doors locked! Just outside the Shirley Chisholm office building near the DMV:

Kill the Deal! Kill the Deal! Well, yeah, as it stands it doesn't seem low-income Crown Heights residents have a lot to cheer about. Current plans are to build a rec center that lots of folks probably can't afford, a ton of apartments that lots of folks probably can't afford, and a few dozen apartments they probably CAN afford if they win the lottery. Throw this in with the new massive homeless shelter opening in May on Rogers at Carroll, and the planned big ol' building on Franklin, and you've got yourself lots of new residents, and potentially a tall tower or two to boot, visible from the sacred BBG. But truth be told, you also have a lot of progressively minded projects to address a) a general housing shortage b) too few below-market rent-stabilized apartments and c) lousy facilities for transitional families, i.e. homeless, mostly as a result of the housing shortage and lack of rent-stabilized below-market housing.

Confused? Some folks aren't. And those folks would be the NIMBYists, who as far as I can tell, don't want ANY of it. Not housing where it realistically can go, not affordable housing if it comes with market rate, or as they like to say "luxury," not homeless housing, and let's be honest, they don't REALLY want low-income-only housing either, with eased-up credit requirements that (clear-minded) activists say is necessary to provide actual opportunities for most low-income folks. That's essentially Public Housing, and when you call it THAT, or Section 8, the real tough NIMBYism comes out, the kind with unkind words for poor people, lazy people, trash throwers and drug dealers. Yes, I've been to those meetings too. And god forbid you should have supportive housing for mentally ill folks!

Last thing that just BLOWS THIS BLOGGER'S BEAN - Remember when I was bellyaching about how First Baptist Church (of Clarence Norman Sr and Jr. fame) was getting $500,000 to help "sell" the Bedford Union Armory project? Guess who came out with an op-ed IN FAVOR of the Deal that so many want to Kill? Yep. And here it is, in all its developer-drenched glory. Them's some Almighty Huevos sizzlin' over at the rectory. This from the pastor, now that $500,000 landed in the church's development company's lap. (full disclosure, most of this I actually agree with, but still, this is the kind of politics we're dealing with here):

For Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Crown Heights has been offered a once-in-a-generation chance to revitalize the Bedford-Union Armory with a new recreational center, affordable office space for nonprofits and affordable housing — all resources our community has been demanding for years.
Let’s not squander this incredible opportunity by capitulating to a shortsighted approach that would “kill the deal.” Let’s work together to make it an even better deal for all Crown Heights families.
For more than a half century, the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights has been at the forefront of religious, political and social activity in our neighborhood. As First Baptist’s pastor, it would be a disservice for me to sit idly by without adding my voice to the chorus of those speaking out on the Bedford-Union Armory. Remember that First Baptist is not just a stakeholder in this process — the proposed development also encompasses the full block directly behind our church.
We strongly support the redevelopment of the armory because of the powerfully positive impact it will have on local residents of all backgrounds.
Young people and seniors — and everyone in between — will benefit from free and low-cost programming in the armory’s new quality athletic facilities, which will include basketball courts, indoor fields and a swimming pool. These facilities will also play a vital role in providing much-needed opportunities for local public schools, which often lack space for their sports teams to practice and play games.
Nonprofit organizations — such as the West Indian American Day Carnival Association and Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy — will gain the permanent homes they need in new affordable office space at the armory. These organizations serve tens of thousands of Crown Heights residents, including many of African and Caribbean heritages who have historically been underserved.
When it comes to affordable housing, I believe the mixed-income plan at the armory represents a positive step for our community. The proposed rental housing will be 50 percent affordable — a total of more than 160 affordable apartments — with homes for both low-income and middle-income individuals and families. While I agree that low-income housing is a huge priority in Crown Heights, we also need more homes for middle-income earners. The reality is that, yes, people of color in our community do make $75,000 per year, or $100,000 per year, or more. They will surely benefit from this deal — and that is a good thing.
This does not mean we think the armory proposal is perfect. While a mixed-income approach is good, we believe there should be more low-income housing at the armory. We are currently working with our elected officials and the developers — BFC Partners and the Local Development Corporation of Crown Heights — to discuss paths for achieving deeper affordability. It is likely that more city and state resources will be needed to accomplish that goal — and we are ready to push for those additional resources.
Here’s one thing I know for sure: If we kill the deal, we won’t get any more affordable housing. We will get nothing.  No rec center for our youth, no office space for our nonprofits and no housing for low- and middle-income families. The armory will simply sit vacant for many more years to come.
We can’t afford to lose this opportunity. Let’s work together to make the new Bedford-Union Armory a reality for our Crown Heights community.


Anonymous said...

The churches are being paid and are in bed with the developers and politicians. Everyone is getting something out of it. Harlem is a perfect example of a community that became too expensive for the residents that have kept it together for years; preserving its culture and heritage. Please... the politicians and the church leaders have been selling a bill of goods to communities of color,for years; and getting their cut on the side. No surprises here!!!

babs said...

Atlantic Yards & Herbert D. Daughtry. All I have to say. Sold out his entire congregation. Living the high life. For sale!

Alex said...

Why do people persistently question the affordability of the rec center? This is not Chelsea Piers - it's a facility that will be run by CAMBA, and any logical estimate would conclude that membership costs will be similar to a YMCA, aka cheap.

Additionally, it should be pretty easy to get someone to donate funds for free memberships for people in the community (that is, if Bertha Lewis does not convince more people to withdraw their support).

mbuletti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mbuletti said...

Does not the $500,000 BFC will give to the LDCCH "fund" seem paltry?

Average cost for creating one unit of affordable housing is $200,000. Average sale price of a condo in Brooklyn, for 2016, was $795,000.

BFC will be profiting from the sale of 58 condos. With the $500,000 the LDCCH will have a great start for beginning construction on those two units of affordable housing.

MikeF said...

Actually, the union that wants to construct the housing is behind it. When the developer agrees to use the union, they will agree to stop "killing the deal"