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, October 21, 2011

That THING Near The Lake

Most of you have undoubtedly looked longingly at the construction site known as the Lakeside project, the massive re-do of the skating rink, which is ultimately a visionary reclaiming of park space from that big bummer of a parking lot that used to was, yet another misstep we can easily blame on Robert Moses et al. Lakeside is an ambitious project worth watching closely, and it will undoubtedly transform the experience of living on our side of the pentagonal Park. If you've been over to the lake recently, you've undoubtedly seen the tall plywood fence that's been put up in front of the chain link. It's being "wrapped" with clever colorful advertisements, telling us what to expect of the coming attraction. "Lakeside is for hockey," or "Lakeside is for rollerskating" or "Lakeside is for lovers" or "Lakeside is for all-night domino games" or "Lakeside is for sleeping off a drunk in the gazebo" or "Lakeside is for not feeding the ducks because it's now incredibly un-p.c. to feed the ducks anything but oats or halved grapes which the ducks don't really care for and the oats fly everywhere and the grapes sink so it's no fun at all and one of the great pastimes of yore is now off-limits and nosy people will come right up to you and say don't feed the ducks even though it's clearly giving you great pleasure and it's really just between you and the ducks now isn't it?"

And then there's this:
Many people have guessed what this structure is, and I'm happy to report they're all wrong except for the ones who guessed that this is actually something that is intended to be taken down. That's right. It's not part of the project at all, but rather "practice" at building the final product. Apparently, according to officials at the Prospect Park Alliance, this is quite common with big construction projects. The various tradespeople involved in the project get together and build a bit of the structure to practice working together and get a chance to work out kinks in the process and materials. Crazy, right? If you knew that fact already I suspect you're in the biz somehow, so stop feeling so smug. Wipe that smug off your mug right now.

These are the sorts of things you learn when you go the Prospect Park Alliance Community Committee meeting, as yours truly did on Wednesday night. Anyone can go, provided they represent a local "group" of some kind. So the Fabulous Fanning Brothers were there (actually they're father and son, but they've got a brotherly vibe about them) representing CB9 and PLGNA respectively. A dude from Park Slope Partners was there, a rep from Lefferts Manor Association, and a smattering of others, but something like 80 different groups have shown their face from time to time. The meeting happens at the ancient Litchfield Villa mansion along Prospect Park West, and if you haven't been inside DO come and check it can almost see the grandeur of yesteryear, though between you and me they've pretty much trashed the place. For a group that's spending tens of millions on Lakeside, you'd think they could take better care of their headquarters. Am I being harsh? Go look for yourself...

One last thing I learned at the meeting. Did you know that the Park can pull the plug out of the lake at will? On some level it's just common sense, since it's a man-made lake and all, but the Park looks at the forecast, and if they see a ton of rain in the making, they let the water out of lake, or add during drought, so that the water level stays fairly constant. Sometimes they get it wrong, as they did during one of those interminable weeklong blub-blubs from this past summer, when the water flooded through the marshes. It's basically a giant bathtub, with real rather than rubber duckies.

Remarkable the things you can learn just by showing up somewheres. And 15 minutes late, too!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good writing. Very enjoyable, as well as informative.