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 14, 2011

The Parkside Prize - And They're Off!!!

No need to begrudge Brownstoner its big "scoop" (wink-wink). Here's their spiffy story on the race to beautify Parkside Avenue between Ocean and Flatbush. Stoner Scoop.

Rudy on Winthrop and I sat down for popusa nigh on six months ago. That was when, sensing he'd found an ally in the Q, Rudy divulged his wild plan to call on every Tom, Dick and I.M. Pei to rethink the Avenue, the very block upon which we were eating said popusas (actually, as I recall, I was the only one eating popusa - Rudy had the grilled cheese). I thought he was nuts (still do) but I admire his wit, his pluck and his footwear, not to mention the tenacity with which he raised the money, built a network of committed neighbors, created a nifty website, and starting tomorrow plans to alert the entire English-speaking world to the existence of a $1,000 prize to the best remaking of our own commercial corner of the Park. More to come, but for now, hats off to a man, a plan, a canal - The Parkside Prize.

(For those of you to lazy to click this link, here's some of the killer copy from the website)

About Parkside Avenue

Parkside Avenue could be one of the great streets of Brooklyn.

It begins at Park Circle, and for half a mile it runs beneath the trees south of Prospect Park, with the Parade Grounds to one side and Prospect Park Lake to the other. It ends at the foot of mighty Kings County Hospital, which stands guard over all of Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

In between, there is one block that needs some attention, some affection: the block between Ocean and Flatbush. For example:

Ocean Avenue divides the neighborhoods of Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush from Prospect Park. Thousands of pedestrians cross Ocean every day, on their way to and from the park. But Parkside Avenue serves as a major conduit for traffic heading north and south through the borough. Thousands of cars speed through the intersection of Ocean and Parkside every hour. What can be done to pacify this hazard?

The subway station at Parkside Avenue is a treasure of the old BMT system, but it is in ruin. Ailanthus trees grow from its roofs, its ceilings are collapsing, its paint is peeling, its exits smell like a sewer. Is this the best imaginable entrance to Prospect Park? Shouldn’t this be the boldest, greenest subway stop in all New York?

The sidewalks along Parkside Avenue, and the plaza in front of the park itself, are derelict and underused. Shopping carts sit in every corner, trash is piled in every nook, and refuse blows over the open concrete. What is the highest and best use for all this wasted public space? A fountain, a farmers’ market, a plinth in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted?

The most prominent building on the block, 205 Parkside, is a shambles. What could this building be? A community center, a school, workspace for avant garde artists and robot enthusiasts, a pan yard for the steel drum scene?

Parkside Avenue is not a blank slate. But we invite you to imagine that it is.


Rudy on Winthrop said...

And if anyone is interested in getting involved, the group of folks who are putting the prize together is meeting this Sunday, at 5pm, at the Internet Coffee House in Parkside (right across from Parkside Court).

Please come! We need all the help we can get, and there's lots of fun stuff to be done!

Anonymous said...

Oh god, please no I.M. Pei designs.

Anonymous said...

Don't be hating on I.M. Pei, he has done some good stuff (and his last name is on my paycheck.)
He tried his hand at brooklyn block improvement way back in the late 60s,

not sure how this has held up.

Bob Marvin said...

It's not as if I.M. Pei is anywhere near as bad (in terms of damage to Brooklyn) as Richard Meier, or Frank
Gehry :-)

babs said...

Has Frank Gehry ever designed a building that's actually been built in Brooklyn? And what has Richard Meier done beyond the building on Grand Army Plaza (which I kind of like, especially since it was built on a parking lot, so no buildings were destroyed for it)? I'd have to say the architects who've done the most damage to Brooklyn are Karl Fischer and Richard Scarano, as well as every soulless anonymous hack responsible for all those Fedders POS crapboxes out there.

Bob Marvin said...

Gehry leant his name, and prestige, to Ratner and company, giving a degree credibility to Atlantic Yards

Anonymous said...

Oh I was just stirring the pot doggin' on Pei. He's a perfectly fine architect (did some lovely stuff in Philly). I just don't like his NYU towers. What I want is Diller-Scofidio to come make some High-Line style magic here in BK!!

babs said...

Agree on Gehry's overall scumminess in getting involved w the Rat and I will never forgive him for that (plus I just plain don't like his work). Unfortunately it was back room deals and Ratner publicity stunts, like Nets players giving out free Thanksgiving turkeys and promising jobs to people in Bed-Stuy and other poor neighborhoods, that got Atlantic Yards into the sh*tshow it is (and which many of us always knew it would be). Gehry was just a ruse all along and when it didn't work in drumming up support from the circles the Rat was targeting he was dumped.

Martense Resident said...

I love it! Sorry I just found out about the 5pm meeting. Please post the next time there's an opportunity to get involved.

Now, who has ideas for cleaning up the street trash along Flatbush?

Martense Resident said...

And P.S.: Crown Heights has a (small) farmer's market. How can we get one? Finding decent produce around here is depressing.

babs said...

Many PLG resdents are members of the CSA that picks up at the Maple Street School, or the Flatbush CSA that picks up on Church and Flatbush, but neither is year-round solution. Instead, why not join the group working to establish a food co-op in the neighborhood? They have a Meetup group (Lefferts Community Food Co-op) and a Facebook page. A buyers' club is slated to open later this fall.