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, July 29, 2011

Carpet Bagger Claims Exquisite Best Jerk, Bar None

It's impossible not to love the word "jerk." And when applied to chicken, a goofy nearly nonsensical headline must follow. But the Brooklyn Paper took things a bit far, in my humble opinion, titling its latest Flatbush missive: "Jerk Yourself Silly With The Best Chicken In Flatbush." It must be the humidity, cuz normally the BP comes through with the savvy stuff, not fratboy tripe like that.

Of course, I'm ignoring the point of Dan MacLeod's "fluff" piece. He claims that Exquisite, the one on Church, wins the jerk title "hands down." His claim is apparently bolstered by his legion of Twitter followers, which at 635 hardly qualifies as a "vast army." It's not even an actual "legion," which I was excited to learn numbers 3,000 - 6,000, from the Roman Empire. I'm no member of the Twitterati, but I'd say if your followers don't DWARF your followeds, you're not really enough of a celebretwitty (wow that's lame, Q) to go around crowning jerk joints. Still, I gotta like anybody willing to eat that much charred chicken to meet a deadline.

Here's a picture of a chicken, jerk chicken, and a jerk, in that order:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Economics of Canning

Some of you may know that I'm super intrigued by the "canners" of the Parkside Pioneer. The NY Times featured a story today that brings into focus the reason the Pioneer would want to jeopardize its attractiveness to customers with such an intense and dangerous daily scene in front of its store. As you can imagine, it comes down to cold hard cash. Not much, mind you. But at $.035 per bottle or can, Pioneer could bring in a hundred bucks or two on a good day...enough to create a public nuisance? You be the judge...

NY Times on Canning

Here's my earlier post:
the Q on Canners

Maybe it's just the heat talking, but I'm sick of the chaos and disregard for commuters and park-goers. Feel free to chime in, but I'm thinking of throwing my (considerable) weight against the practice come offense to individual canners, but this scene is not repeated at any other area grocery stores. Enough is enough; Parkside needs to take a step in the right direction. The benefits to businesses and residents outweigh the Pioneer's greedy daily take; and the canners, even by their own admission, will find other places to get "redeemed." And even make a penny more in the process?

Friday, July 22, 2011

265 Hawthorne Street and PACC

If you or someone you know - or someone you love, or someone you used to love but now merely know - happens to live at 265 Hawthorne street, a 71-unit building between Rogers and Nostrand, then this is welcome news indeed:

265 Hawthorne Story

Clearly the Pratt Area Community Council has expanded beyond its hood-centric name. I for one am always looking for good-news stories like this, particularly when it comes to neglected buildings and neighborhood "shifts." And I'm guessing PACC is an excellent source of good advice and expertise when dealing with neighborhood issues.

I've been thinking a lot about something I heard recently at our block association meeting, about how some buildings in the neighborhood have "gone coop," bringing energetic new owners to previously neglected buildings. But buildings in nabes like ours often take years to become all-owners. When owners and renters share an address, in the interim, you frequently end up with two distinctly different kinds of resident organizations (coop boards and tenants associations), sometimes operating parallel and with different agenda. Add to that the relationship between longtime rent-stabilized tenants and the higher-paying newcomers so often favored by landlords and wonder there's often tension below, or sometimes rising to and above, the surface.

Stay cool y'all. Here's a picture of an igloo, built on a Brooklyn street just after last year's blizzard - lest you forget how extreme are the extremes:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crime Forum - Notes From the Meeting - and wtf at 205 now?

Below are unfiltered notes from a diligent note-taker at last Thursday's PLGNA sponsored crime meeting. I don't think this is the place for me to comment on what was said in an open and congenial forum. I'm actually super-encouraged by the number of people who showed up, and the constructive ideas put forth. Most of the notes are self-explanatory, though some are a little cryptic.

More to the is going on under the scaffolding at Moses Fried's scumbag project at 205 Parkside? Just a week after a murder took place around the corner at 6 Parkside Court, a bunch of good-for-nothings has started parking their rides, blasting music, and generally making the street impassable. I recognize some of these guys...and trust me, they don't have an ounce of sense between the bunch of them. They definitely have ounces of other stuff, though, should you happen to be in the market for trouble.

I know, I know what some of y'all are saying...just a bunch of kids blowing off steam on a hot summer day. Bullshit. These guys are the real deal...flashing wads of cash, crackin' wise, flashy cars with multi-thousand dollar stereos. I'm no prude, y'all. These guys are the real deal. I'll be giving Officer Martinos a call tomorrow to see what's up. Heck I remember after a murder there a few years ago they put up that police tower for, like, a month. All the great longterm ideas aside, when you see scenes like that getting out of hand, please call 911. The more the better. If the cops don't put pressure on that corner, I guarantee-you we haven't seen the last of the violence. Sorry to sound an alarming note, but I haven't seen that kind of screw-you bravado in awhile.

Ooops...almost forgot those notes:

Monitor house party situations nearby; be vigilant; Contact authorities to report drug deals – on street, or if done in your building; Go to Community 71st Police Precinct Council Meetings to be represented; Improve lighting : call 311 for street light fixes; Remove graffiti: call 311; General vigilance; Foot party patrols & become a patrol person (contact President of LMA); COP: Civilian Patrol; Education: gang workshop, police presentations; NYPD involvement even for a small neighborhood presence; “Sky-eye” camera installment in neighborhood; Escorts for females by subway exits; A sign-up (online/at next meeting) so people can volunteer on specific issues; Business involvement –corkboards, etc.

SAFTEY & SUGGETIONS: Notes from officer’s brochures on subway safety; If you’re going out of town- notify a few neighbors to remove flyers, mail, papers; Close fire escape windows; Highlight importance of 311 for things to call in (graffiti & street lights)

Confront & greet people in a friendly manner who are involved in drug deals etc; Encourage those around you (especially youth) with opportunities for engaging their time: job ads and community events; Encourage youth in community groups to patrol for community service hours or cash incentive

One for all ages; Use space for these meetings; Police crime forums could be held there (Gang workshop); Promote community events & organized youth programs that are already present & successful

Near Parkside & Flatbush- “30 Minute Motel”; Stalker: Hispanic, wearing makeup & nail polish

Community Garden; Melissa Lovell at can do art & education with youth

Make sure to cover the neighborhoods more thoroughly; Where can we post flyers? More public places; Flyers passed out to people in neighborhood streets (seem more receptive than in subway; Businesses: corkboards for these flyers so they can be posted; Put them in letter boxes.

Look into:
Vinny Martino did a crime forum & lecture on safety. Organized by Senator Adams.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Flatbush Ave Street Fair: A New Beginning for FEPMA

I attended the informal gathering on Wednesday night of the latest attempt to revive FEPMA, which used to be FECMA (there are still FECMA signs up on lamposts along the 'Bush). Whole volumes have been written about the change from Flatbush Empire to Clarkson Merchants Association to Flatbush Empire to Parkside Merchants Association. Some scholars believe that Voltan Bagot, the mad wizard of Globe Electronics, is a key reason why FEC became FEP. He threw his hat in with The Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) that heads south from Parkside, and I'm sure the rest of the block followed. And I'm telling you right here and now that the BID has led to a much cleaner, less chaotic feel, what with daily trash patrols, better lighting and the infamous Christmas ornaments and music. Enough insider talk...onto the meat of my missive.

At 7:20 PM, Wilfrid Compere (of Compere & Compere accountants) beckoned me to sit down on a lovely and comfy imported couch at Tafari Tribe, one of the grooviest stores on the Avenue (more on that in another post). Mr. Compere used to be president of FECMA, but he seems to now be more of an honorary, having ceded his title to Delroy Wright of Source Health Food store. Delroy led the meeting of about 10 or so, as they tried to dust themselves off from previous misbegotten efforts and start afresh. Apparently, having a street fair is a great way to encourage participation among merchants. This is akin to having a block party to kick off a block association (of residents.) [Having just gone through that process, I'd be happy to help you create a block association and get your block party going. If you live in CB9, all the easier, cuz I'm now on the Board God help us all. I'd love to share my experience with you, so don't hesitate to email me.]

Bottom line is - without a coherent merchant's group, change will come slow to the 'bush. And while it's hard to imagine all those salons and tax places and delis and liquor stores and take-out places coming together as one...stranger things have happened. To hear Mr. Compere tell it, the real buy-in takes place at the level of landlord/owners. They're the ones who can turn a merchant's group into a BID, a city-recognized org that volunteers for a slight increase in taxes to pay for a proper staff and things like hired street sweepers. The tax increases eventually make their way to store owners in slightly higher rents, but this is usually offset by greater sales and a better quality of life all around.

In other words, it's up to the merchants and "owners" to decide what kind of commercial neighborhood we're gonna have. It's not just a City thang, though the government can surely help. Power to the people, if they want it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crime Meeting: What's Your Take?

From the back of the church, it looked like 75 or so people crammed into the Church of the Evangel on Bedford to talk crime. I saw the back of some of your heads, but lil' Miss Clarkson Flatbed wasn't having it. I was outa there as things were gettin' good. I'd love to hear your take on what transpired. Comments?

Well, I got the lowdown from a few folks, and the meeting notes to boot. I'm totally heartened by what I heard and read...if one person took ownership of each of the solid ideas to come out of that Mayberry Town Hall, we'd be sitting pretty. Here's to changing what sucks, and keeping what don't. Shouldn't that be a bumper sticker?

One thing about house parties what point in one's life does one go from "cool house party on my block!" to "those house parties are the scourge of the neighborhood!" Does that happen right around the time you start needing naps again? Cause I'm really digging naps these days. And don't even get me started on Metamucil...the stuff is a miracle cure! Call it psyllium husk if you want...same stuff, same smooth smove.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kid Missing on Clarkson UPDATE - FOUND!

Massive police presence tonight in and around 19 Clarkson Avenue. A detective with the 71st told me a kid was reported missing and the're investigating all leads while canvassing the neighborhood. One officer was overheard saying that the kid had actually been picked up, and therefore could be...just about anywhere. If you learn more on this or other stories, feel free to give theQ a holler, either as a comment, or at I'm not actually a reporter; I just play one on the internet (from time to time).

UPDATE 8AM THURS MORN: According to a member of the Clarkson Ave Block Association, the child was found safe and okay, adding "an ambulance screeched away presumably to take her to the hospital to make sure she is uninjured. The cops were shouting and cheering and running down the sidewalk slapping people high fives. The father was sobbing relief."

This might not be the time or place to complain about the Mary Bobb Daycare Center. But there are those of us who have long feared that overcrowding is a big problem in that small townhouse. And a huge sign of neglect to those of us in the know is - why the hell don't they clean up that backyard so the kids can go outside once in awhile? Surely a sign that they're not serious about providing top-notch care for those adorable toddlers and pre-schoolers. Still, parents seem to have voted with their enrollment - the place is packed to the hilt. And Mary Bobb has greatly expanded her empire, adding even a private elementary school over on Rogers. If negligence was involved in the above, I hope she/they get slapped with a serious violation of appropriate severity.

FURTHER UPDATE - 9AM: Stopped by Mary Bobb on the way to work. A woman called at me through the window asking what I wanted. I nicely asked for the story of what happened last night, as a concerned neighbor, and she gruffly told me that if I didn't have a kid enrolled there she didn't want to talk about it. I asked if she was Mary Bobb and she said yes. In no uncertain terms I told her she needed to be a better neighbor than to bark at a concerned compatriot from her darkened window - if not, her antagonism was not going to sit well with the block association or other more empowered authorities. I think it's time for an investigation, don't you?

On Eve of Crime Forum, Murder on Parkside Court

This just in...

Murder near 205 Parkside.

Was the table ever better set for crime? Thanks Mr. Fried. Thanks gunman. Thanks Daniel, for the tip. See you tomorrow night.

PLGNA meeting

: An officer from the 71st told me there were a hundred people at a party on Parkside Court last night (Tuesday? what's up with that? are they running a speakeasy over there?) A man walked up to the victim and shot him point blank. And somehow, among all those people, they couldn't nail the guy or trace him. Really?

FEPMA (nee FECMA) Rises

The Wife said "hey, Q, take a break from all the community stuff and write a goofy post like the old days." This is not that post, yet the advice obviously touched a nerve. Goofiness springs eternal, so soon I'll be back to may regularly scheduled silliness. In the meantime, hells-a-poppin' round these parts!

Anybody have news on the shooting last night? A reader tells me of a melee near 205 Parkside, perhaps in the oft-rowdy interior of Parkside Court, around 10 or 10:30 PM. Would love to know details if you have...

In a more encouraging development comes news that FEPMA (Flatbush from Empire to Parkside Merchants Association) is hosting a planning meeting for a Street Fair this very eve at Tafari Tribe (703 Flatbush). Here's the poster:
If you're a merchant along Flatbush, by all means come. The real significance to me lies in the hope that we'll see better coordination amongst the businesses along this avenue of exponential potential. I mean that. There's already tons of cool businesses; but there's trash, vacancy and, um, questionable commercial activity aplenty. Merchant's Associations can lead to BIDs, which can then leverage a city-led initiative to bring services to the neighborhood, including, say, a couple dudes from The Doe Fund's Ready, Willing & Able program to help keep things clean. But for the time being, this is a great start. Go Team Flatbush!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Crime Numbers In Ahead of Thursday's Community Mtg

Hey all. Just thought I'd throw the 7/3 numbers up against the 6/26 numbers for comparison. Neighbors concerned about crime called a meeting for this Thursday, through local community action group PLGNA. More info on the PLGNA site.

It's probably important to remember that not all crimes get reported. That's why the historical perspective is so important in determining trends. We had a block association meeting on Clarkson the other night, and it was clear that many longtime residents still harbor fears and suspicions about the cops. They certainly don't want their names used when reporting crimes - many believe that even though the cops SAY calls are anonymous, they don't believe it.

On the other side, the cops are always saying at Community Council meetings and elsewhere that they desperately NEED such complaints to take specific actions. In talking with our Community Board District Manager Pearl Milers yesterday, it became clear that there are many things we can do to help the police AND there are many things we can do to help ourselves. Better lighting (she stressed that WE can make a difference in this regard by installing and keeping outdoor lights lit, as well as lobbying the City THRU the CB). Block associations and crime watches make a difference, plus they create stronger bonds in the community and make the "knuckleheads" stand out more. Folks MUST call the precinct IMMEDIATELY when they see trouble - don't wait for someone else to do it - in fact, multiple complaints will get the problem addressed even sooner. Local "hot spots" need to be ratted out every time something goes down. And the cops need specific tips - who said what, who was wearing what when the "deal" went down, what was said by whom. As you can imagine, a simple walk-in by the cops is not always effective. They need to catch people "in the act" or with drugs or guns ON their person. And they need our help, because a complaint from the community gives "probably cause" and a reason to risk harassing or frisking the wrong guy. Cops stress getting in the habit of noting particulars about people's appearance - clothing, glasses, big nose, height, shoes - a simple description of race and gender is often too broad to be of use.

The Q's suggestions: Eyes and ears open; get specifics; block associations; reporting suspicious activity; noting who belongs and doesn't belong on your street; attending CC meetings the third Thursday of every month; getting to know your community affairs and local beat cops; better lighting; keeping doors and rooftops secure; and to help avoid being a victim, please don't walk around oblivious! I see people all the time lost in the daze of their iPads or cell phones. Folks, you're a sitting duck when you're in that state, and muggers take notice of you. I saw someone snatch an iPhone just the other day and run like a pro-trackster down the street. Before the young lass could realize what happened, he was gone. This is NOT her fault of course. But if I were a criminal looking to score a quick $100 with a cell phone, she was definitely a prime target. And by the way, if you think such a mugging is special to our neighborhood, it's not. Numbers of such crimes went up all over the City when the latest expensive gadgets became commonplace. For a mugger, it's like you're holding cash in your hands while distracted!

I got a couple emails asking me for my take on the upcoming meeting. Frankly, I think any excuse to get neighbors together to talk is a good one. I hope the meeting is constructive, and that local leaders and precinct reps have been formally invited. They need to be part of any solutions, and aware of our concerns. See you there!

Oh yeah. The numbers:

Monday, July 11, 2011

The 411 on 311

People have been asking me lately whether a call to 311 is really good for anything. When everything else fails, it surely can't hurt. But I'm going to throw this here case study out to y'all, and we can track the effectiveness together. This morning, I called in complaints to two of my trash nemeses...673-675 Flatbush (The Original Struggs) and the back alley of 225 Parkside (which you can see through a fence at 700 Flatbush. The man on the other end was pleasant, informative, patient. He explained how the gig works...basically, the complaint goes in, I get a confirmation number, they go and investigate, and a summons is written if what I say is true. Here's the confirmation on those two claims:
Of course, they could write them up and nothing happens. Or, perhaps if I'm lucky, those two spots will get cleaned up, even briefly, for the first time in months. I'll let you know how it goes.

On the subject of alleys, there's one behind my house. Actually big enough for cars (it once was a functioning alley with parking for, I don't know, Packards and Edsels and later AMC Pacers) running east/west behind the huge apartment complex on Parkside. And there's a thin alley next to my neighbors house, running north/south, along the rental units of 35 Clarkson. Over the years we've seen all manner of garbage get tossed out of windows...and let's admit it, this is just plain craaaazy, because we live in a town where all you gotta do is get it to your super, who takes it to the street, where well-compensated City employees lug it and take care of disposing it for you. So for the nutjobs using their windows as trash compactors, I'm suspecting mental illness, booze, drugs or all three. Not that those always lead inevitably to sacks of leftovers tossed from fifth-story apartment windows (I for one never did those things whilst under the sway of that sweet trio), Still, I gotta say it took me by surprise the first time I saw someone stick their garbage pail out a window upside down and shake. Come to think of it, that's not the only thing I've seen stuck out a window and shaken. Not long after we moved here, I caught a guy regularly peeing out his window, for all to see and hear. The guy in the flat below was particularly bummed. One day, I'd had enough. I heard the familiar trickle, stuck my head out my back door and screamed "you stick that thing out your window one more time I'm gonna shoot it off with my shotgun!" Now, I don't own a firearm, and there's an argument to be made that threatening a stranger's manhood thusly could backfire tragically. Luckily, my lunatic scream proved convincing, and I never heard or saw the guy or his schlong again.

Which brings me to this question, to be answered soon, I hope. What the heck do you do with a slumlord? Got a real bad one just down the block, who's cheating the City AND his tenants at the same time. Stay tuned for more on 60 friggin' Clarkson...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sanitation Flyers & Snaring Flying Speeders

When I stopped in at Community Board 9 headquarters the other day, I noticed this pretty frickin' fantastic flyer from the Department of Sanitation. It's even in colour!!
We should drop one of these on every biz on Flatbush, Parkside, Rogers, name it. Now, most business owners probably already know this stuff. But some may not. It's basically the owner or merchant's responsibility to clean all the way out to 18 inches past the curb...and bullet point one notes, IN BOLD NO LESS, that tree pits must be kept totally clean. Nothing gets my goat more than seeing a struggling tree crowded out by dumped crap.

While I'm thinking of it, I should relate that a vote took place at last month's CB meeting in support of placing a limited number of speed cameras to catch speeders - not just in our neighborhood mind you - to get people to obey the speed limit. Did you know that the speed limit CITYWIDE is 30 mph? As far as I can tell, that makes most NYC drivers outlaws. Transportation Alternatives wanted to solicit our endorsement as they make their case for cams to the City. To be clear, a ticket via these license-plate snatching vids costs dough, but not points on your license. That's because it's hard to know for certain WHO was actually driving. The City figures, though, that if you lent your car to someone, you'll be motivated to collect from them if you get a fine.

There were a few voices expressing dismay that the City seems hell-bent on thwarting drivers. One board member went as far as to accuse the Mayor of wanting us to go back to the time of horse and buggy.

I'm going on the record as fully against the idea of "going back to horse and buggy." I mean, if we can't keep a few Popeye's containers off the streets, how are we going to handle the cartloads of horse patties?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cum on Feel the Noize - Lefferts Style

So the Lefferts listserve is all abuzz with talk of crime, drugs and quality of life. A couple of concerned neighbors have joined together to call a meeting. Here's what they're saying:

Dear community members and neighbors,

The time has come to meet to discuss the safety and future of our neighborhood. The time is here to gather and discuss how we can collectively and collaboratively act to make a difference in reducing crime where we live. Please tentatively reserve Thursday July 14th at The Church of Evangel at Hawthorne and Bedford at 7pm to meet as a community. Please spread the word. We will confirm the date before the weekend but wanted to share this information with everyone now. We look forward to your attendance and active participation.

Josh Greenberg, Martin Ruiz and Nicole Fabri

I say come on down! Always good to meet and discuss the latest trending topic...

But it might be worth noting a couple things. One, crime is not up generally in our Precinct. A few high profile, or well-talked about, cases may be blurring the bigger picture. Here's the latest statistics from CompStat:

One of the things I'm going to call and find out more about is the jump in rape...13 over 6 at this point last year. That's probably the most remarkable thing in these numbers, and worth investigating. If you look at the historical perspective, though, I think you'll see why so many people feel safer in the area than 10, 15 and 20 years ago. Look at one figure in particular: 1,708 robberies in 1990...just 273 last year! Wow.

There's a lot more we can do, obviously. And I'm looking forward to hearing what people have to say. Remember you can always call 311, 911 or the Precinct Community Affairs officer. Try Vinny Martinos at (718) 735-0527. Get to know him. You can even email him at Please...they don't hear from us as much as they'd like. Or as often as I'd think they WOULD, considering how many people get very upset about this stuff. They LOVE to see the numbers go down, and they need our help. It ain't 1990 anymore; the force has been very much improved, corruption decreased, and while the majority of officers till come from outside the neighborhood, the diversity of the force is WAY better than it used to be. Always room for improvement of course. I for one would love to see more beat cops - not necessarily a sentiment shared by all, but suffice to say most.

Lastly, ever since moving here 8 years ago, I've heard people compare our neighborhood to Park Slope. I get that. We're right along the park, and people move here when they get priced out of the Slope. There's a million reasons why such a comparison is misleading or unnecessary, but in one major respect - crime - it's worth noting the reality vs perception. Here's a similar statistical report taken from the 78th Precinct:

Guess what? Park Slope is a safer neighborhood! And it's cleaner. And it's got more coffee shops and restaurants. And it's got higher incomes and educational attainment levels. And better schools. And yes, it's got more white people. There...I said it! (Btw, you want to know what else they got over there? Massive community involvement in their Community Board (just check the difference in CB9 and CB6 websites) and precinct council. So if replicating the strengths of another neighborhood are a priority, then we really need to look at what works and what doesn't. Just sayin.)

It's worth looking at the actual numbers. (Feel free to take a look at "worse" precincts like the 75th too for more perspective). Generally, given that each precinct has about 100,000 residents, you could make the statement that Park Slope is twice as safe. THAT'S A MASSIVE GENERALIZATION OF COURSE, but fairly accurate statistically. Or you could argue that you're WAY less likely to be the victim of a violent crime over there. This shouldn't surprise any of us. Checking maps of reported crime, you could argue that MOST of the violent crime happens east of PLG. Most violence is by people known by the victim, and relates to domestic violence, gangs or drugs. If you're lifestyle doesn't fall into one of those categories, and you exhibit common street smarts, I'm pretty confident that you have a very low chance of experiencing extreme trauma associated with living in the North Flatbush area. Enough with the devil's advocacy...I felt the need to add my perspective. After all, that's what a blog is for! And yet...

Let's get together and make it even safer, friendlier, cleaner and more beautiful. I look forward to seeing you all next week.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Q Recommends: Mr. Yu for Your Renovation and Construction

I generally don't go out on a limb to recommend folks for much of anything. Block Party? Try Dave Chappelle. Hot Dog? Try Nathan's. Moody atmospheric indie-rock with a morose sounding baritone lead singer? Go with The National.

But perhaps you're at that point with your house or apartment where you're ready to do something new, different or just plain necessary. And a trip to Home Depot ain't gonna cut it. You've now entered the grown-up world of "renovation," a word that conjures horror stories of permits, poor measurements and overpriced cabinets. Never Fear, Mr. Yu is here, and the price will be much lower than you expected. He can pull all the necessary permits, and he's got mad skills and a super-efficient work ethic, plus a hardworking and sweet staff when bigger project's necessitate. His English ain't winning awards, but you'll get past that if you want to work with him.

He made a beautiful deck for way less than we should have expected. He took care of masonry issues, knocked down walls to create doors, hand-made the doors himself, and handled all the painting and hardware etc. Sure we had a killer design by architect Roger Broome (also super-reasonable - contact me offline for his digits), but Mr. Yu was able to identify ways to save money. And his wife's kimchi, brought by one day as a gift, was, in every regard, delicious. (goes well on hot dogs by the way. I know, I know, I'm late to that party.)

Deck shotz:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freaky Flatbush Friday

Took the day off from work but stayed close to home. What a friggin' gorgeous day. If you haven't taken a toddler to the beach lately, I highly recommend it. The look of amazement on their faces reminds you how awesome it is to live in a beach town. And if you don't think of Brooklyn as a beach town, then you really got to get out more. Or reread this post I wrote exactly one year ago today. Beach.

But that was after "naptime." In the morning, a jaunt up Flatbush revealed this sad sight:

Yep. Another struggling store bit the dust. I brought a computer there just last fall...the guy did a fine job, and it was cheap. I mean, Trippleclick was no tech genius. But he'd been there for some time, making a go of it, and I had to hand it to him; that extra "p" in Trippleclick was for "price." As in, very fair.

Next up on the menu was this follow-up shot to brother PLOG's post on the Heineken mural:

The artist's name is Caesar, and he draws a mean mug of mead. Check it out sometime; the air bubbles on the outside of the glass look super fresh. Now, I had to tell Caesar the truth.Some of us aren't crazy about the questionably legal use of the side of an apartment building as booze billboard thang. On the other hand, he makes a mean mural. Which got me to thinking...

If this guy is this good a muralist, maybe he wants to take a crack at the side the Duane Reade along Parkside? When I asked him, he lit up. "Donate the materials, and me and my buddies could make somethin' that would knock your socks off." Non-commercial, of course. Makes you think.

The possibilities are endless. And I'm feeling thirsty...