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, November 9, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset...

Quite enjoyed the annual PLGNA meeting, hosted ably by president Martin Ruiz. Journalist Milford Prewitt gave a nice talk about changing demographics in the neighborhood, the Youth Committee is kickin' it into high gear, yours truly gave a rambling report about the Safety task force, and longtime resident and shop owner Delroy Wright of the trying-to-be-resurgent Flatbush to Parkside Merchant's Association (FEPMA) gave a dynamite performance encouraging engagement of youth and the need to put cops on the streets -  thisdespite the oft mentioned fear of harassment and profiling. Here's a picture to prove I was actually there...more on the gist later.

What I really wanted to post about was all the construction, destruction, and non-deconstruction that's been taking place, mostly on the fringes of what I usually think of as theQatParkside's neighborhood. Though what I REALLY want to talk about is the new plan to change the traffic and pedestrian nightmare at Ocean and Parkside. The DOT actually came up with plans, which I happened to get a peek at last week. Yes, folks, the effort led by local Maddie Fix-Hansen, seems to be moving forward, and you'll be hearing more about that as soon as a public hearing is scheduled by the Councilman. All I can say is that the plan is a heck of a lot better than the free-for-all that currently happens, and it's not just a change in the traffic lights, but a more substantial shift in how cars and buses and people will experience the various turns and signals. I'm sworn to secrecy or I'd draw you a picture...actually I can't draw to save my life, so scratch that.

First up on my radar, the Garden. Lots going on there. Like the massive new entrance on Washington with what looks like a garden on top of the new visitor's center, which will be quite nice I'm sure, but sheesh I'm beginning to think that BBG is more interested in its entrances than in the actual plants. I also attended an unveiling of the plan to redo the cafe. Basically it'll be in the same general footprint of the current cafe, but with a new "hut" and better "flow." The word "flow" is apparently used by actual architects, while the word "hut" is something I came up with to describe what I saw in the rendering, which was very pretty, but didn't include bringing back the Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich, which was my favorite reason to eat at the garden for many, many, many moons. In fact, I've been chowing there regularly for 22 years since I worked at The Brooklyn Museum right outa college, and I must say the excellent catering company deserves a new "hut," and the shift in orientation will actually create a garden view while one dines al fresco.

They're also going to start working soon on OUR entrance, where they'll be adding a new outbuilding that looks like the below.

Looks like a souped up "shed" to me, and you better hope they don't take any square footage from the children's garden, though it pretty much looks like it does. There'll be bathrooms and a small visitor's center so you don't have to trek deep into the garden to take care of your "business," transactional or otherwise.

Over in Caledonia, there's a phoenix rising on Crooke, a new low-income housing facility built by CAMBA. It's actually almost ready for tenants, and you've probably seen it in person, so who has use for this rendering?
You can read more about it at: 97 Crooke

And of all the places to build a luxury building, the first tenants have arrived on Nostrand at Sullivan. You may be one of those "only south of Empire" snobs, but you should really take a peak at this one, the first real stab at upscaling southern Crown Heights:

Here's a big juicy one! Medgar Evers College seems to finally be moving forward on getting the City to close down Crown Street between Bedford and Franklin for a campus "quad." They actually want to de-map the street, tear up the concrete, plant a garden, put in lots of benches, and have some outdoor theater space, and here's the kicker...LOTS of nearby residents are actually AGAINST it. Because they're worried about a little trickle of extra traffic or the inability to park there. I mean talk about selfish. Sorry guys, I'm not buying it. We're talking PUBLIC GREEN SPACE and a proper campus for an important neighborhood stepping-stone institution of higher learning. I know that Crown is gorgeous between Bedford and Rogers...but this will only make it MORE so. Sometimes you just got to give in a tiny bit to the greater good...and yes I know I'm not being very polite about expressing my opinion, but that's kind of what having a blog is all about. The $17 million project isn't a done deal yet, so there's plenty of time to persuade me otherwise. In the meantime, I urge you to stroll down Crown between Bedford and Franklin, and tell me that the below would not be a VAST improvement:

One last project to note is the potential closing of a cute little historic, crooked little street called Clove Road, just north of Empire between Nostrand and New York. You can read more about the archaeological significance in this fascinating Hawthorne Street post. Here's where it is on the map. The scuttlebutt on this one is that the Community Board is thinking of de-mapping this one as well for a pedestrian plaza, and locals are similarly up in arms about losing on-street parking. Even MORE interesting to me, is that little sliver of an alley that joins New York Ave to Clove Road, known as Malbone Street...which was once the name of Empire Boulevard, but changed after the giant and tragic Malbone Street subway train wreck of 1918, that took place on the Brighton Line, now known as our dearly beloved Q.

Sunrise, sunset, indeed.


Eagle-Eye Mr. M.S. said...

Great blog entry! Thank you for the update. Eagle-Eye Mr. M.S.

Anonymous said...

Yes thanks for all the tons of information! Definitely since moving here we've learned Flatbush is very car-addicted. I know somebody who grew up in East New York who refuses to take the subway even when he's going into Manhattan or somewhere else with little or no parking. Just something those fighting the good fight for green space will have to contend with. Good luck to them. Having a "quad" kind of outdoor gathering space is typical of colleges and very beneficial to students.

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