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, September 29, 2010

Flatbush Gardens - When Projects Go Private

If this post weren't so odd I'd say I was going for an easy laugh. While technically not in Caledonian Parkside, the Flatbush Gardens apartment complex has fascinated me ever since they started touting it on the subways a couple years ago. I'm guessing you haven't visited it personally, since it's a 20 minute walks south and east of our beloved Q at Parkside. Turns out (and this is definitely NOT news to longtime Flatbushians) it used to be the Vanderveer Projects, and still basically is, save the name change. The Housing Authority sold it, and it's now owned by the same folks who bought Starrett City, another formerly public housing complex gone private. All these Projects look a bit like their famous semi-private cousin Stuy-Town, and in this amazing ad the folks at Clipper Equity actually try to compare Flatbush Gardens favorably to it:

You're probably laughing right now, because as a savvy New Yorker you know damn well that if you want to live cheaper you gotta move farther out and away from the Town and Country subscribers. But what if you were moving to NYC and needed an affordable place to rent, and you saw Flatbush Gardens' fancy website. And you heard Brooklyn was THE place to be. That's the story behind the couple in this incredible video ad. It really has to be seen to be believed. Roll Tape.

The truth about FG is probably a little closer to the abysmal reviews posted here: Apt Ratings. So caveat emptor I guess.

Geeky epilogue:

Y'all know that Stuy-Town was bought for like a trillion dollars by Tishman Speyer. And after a couple years they had to give it up in bankruptcy court. Now, for some reason people have always proudly told how Stuy-Town and other big complexes were NEVER public housing, and that MetLife built them, and don't get them confused with them there P.J's. And technically I suppose it's true. But Robert Moses was behind the whole thing, even putting pressure on MetLife to do it, and there was rent control and tons of City and state regulations protecting the tenants, and when the City's that involved in a public-private partnership, and calling the shots, it's public housing, no matter who's name is on the title. Those days are over. Now, when people talk affordable housing, we're lucky to get a few units of Fedders houses with curbcut parking spaces.

Well, at least they have air conditioning!


CBC said...

Before moving to this 'hood, my hubby and I checked out Flatbush Gardens 'cause the ad sounded like what we were looking for. Oh my, what a piece of shit! The elevator was broken (the sign said it would be repaired the year prior), there were roaches in the hallway and the apartment they showed us had a hole in the wall (a hole as in, you could see outside!). Flatbush Gardens are glorified projects and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

And watch out for the upcoming strike by the Union workers who maintain the building. The current owners want to cut their wages in half because their investment turned sour. Sorry guys, not the workers' fault.

MJMcBee said...

I want to cry into a cup and drink my tears after reading those tenants' nightmarish tales!! Even more grateful to be a Clarkson Flatbed-head now.

Anonymous said...

Great post and thanks for the MetLife info. Amazing how many of these places have ended up private - even if StuyTown was different than say a Mitchell-Llama. I guess the protections for these places to remain as they were (tho' this one sounds like it has in every other way) either weren't that good or ... It's so true what passes as affordable housing nowadays of the small amount that ever comes to be.

There was a loophole for years - closed up maybe last year - in which developers would get tax breaks for building affordable housing for a project in Manhattan and then place the affordable housing component in Queens or East New York! Incredible.


Anonymous said...

Though they look like public housing, the "Vanderveer Estates" were always private.