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.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Final City Council Redistricting Lines

So after months of brutal battle by the forces of Tish James and Mathieu Eugene over Lefferts, Sterling and Lincoln, the northern most border of the 40th District remains in the hands of the Haitian Sensation. The latest map of boundaries is here clearly showing Empire Boulevard as the dividing line once again, preventing the breakup of neighborhoods.

The Q met the feisty Tish for breakfast a few weeks back, as part of his curiosity campaign, and though she acted all non-committal about her bid for NYC Public Advocate, she was committed enough to call me a week later for a campaign contribution to that very race. For those of you who've seen Battle for Brooklyn, the illuminating doc on the Atlantic Yards protests, Ms. James comes out as one of the few public officials willing to take on the political and financial establishment in the biggest landgrab (to date) of Brooklyn's 21st century. The Q is ashamed to admit the degree to which he loves the new Barclay's Center (it reminds him not so much of a "rusty turtle" as Fudgie the Whale), but as you may recall the project was pitched by Bruce Ratner as so, so much more. It remains to be seen whether affordable housing, parks and plazas, and thousands of jobs materialize. But the Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, the Who, Jay Z, Barbara Streisand, the Nets, Justin Bieber have all graced our borough in the last couple months...pretty impressive. I'd love to be a fly on the mallet as that list of characters played croquet together!

Where was I?

Oh yeah, turns out Tish's annointed successor - the most awesome Laurie Cumbo - won't be dipping down into PLG after all. For awhile, it looked like the ever-dapper Eugene would lose Sterling, Lefferts and parts of Lincoln to redistricting.Mr. Eugene so far has no competition in his seat for next September's primary. Without a challenger, he will once again be sworn in as your representative in the City for four more years come January of 2014. He will be your voice in government until the end of 2017. Anyone going to challenge him?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Where to Last Minute Shop on the Flabenue

More city-wide press for local fave Play Kids...a Daily News piece and this super cute pic of little Will. Only 3 more shopping days, so grab your wallet and head on down to the corner of Westbury and Flatbush. There's plenty of other fun shopping choices on the Flatbenue, like...

Enkunish Hailu's darling boutique Smile (for every sistah in you) is a sure thang for fashion knick knacks and paddy wacks. I have yet to purchase anything here - there is nothing remotely my size - but every time I peak in I'm amazed at the stylish curation of the collection. The yelpers love it! 581 Flatbush.

Tafari Tribe has fantastic jewelry and imported stuff you won't find at Crate & Barrel, which not for nuthin' is a place that gives me the creeps every time I walk in one. Them and Pier I Imports. And that Design Within Reach joint too. Eww. Not so Tafari Tribe, which by the by is a perfect spot to pick up homey Afrocentric items you can't get no wheres elses. 593 Flatbush.

Did I ever mention my mnemonic phrase I use to remember the street names from Parkside to Empire? Poor White Hippies Feign Rastafarianism Making Marijuana Life Look Simple. Empire. (For Parkside, Winthrop, Hawthorne, Fenimore, Midwood, Maple, Lincoln, Lefferts, Sterlinc. Empire) It's amazing how many times I need to use it, even after all these years. I guess it was the "Tafari" that reminded me. And for the reggae lover, don't forget The Original Struggs, but please tell them to clean up the trash in front of their business?)

Other good bets are Nykki's Boutique, the Gem for ridiculous ornaments, those two popular "street cred" stores just south of the Gem (Fly Boyz and Brooklyn Finest - but tell 'em to cut it with the nasty lyric rap - because you don't want to be walking your daughter by there and the speakers blast "so put my ____ in your mouth, ho" and she's too young to know but I dread the day when she asks), and the cell phone store next to that where you can buy pretty much every kind of gadget under the sun, just ask, and they're always open to negotiation.

I hear Jamaican beef patties travel well...just reheat and serve...if you're going somewhere un-Brooklyn for the holidays. Or for you elfish pranksters, why not wrap up one of those big hunks of saltfish that all the grocers sell? I'll bet that'll get a rise from Aunt Bea on Christmas morn!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Abdo, why hast thou forsaken me?

Update: I spoke to Abdo last night. He feels he was sending the neighborhood mixed signals by combining computer repairs and coffee house (I supposed he has a point there). His skills as a programmer and techie are perhaps better served with a shop focused on selling computer time and talking up customers about his services. But after five years of selling coffee, I find it odd that he'd switch gears right now. I'd noticed an uptick in business in just the past few weeks. All of which may lend credence to rumor, noted below, that he got hit with a big unexpected bill. He did mention that money had become extremely tight. Anyway, I do heartily recommend him for all your tech needs - he claims to undercharge Tek Serve in the City by a bunch, and he's right here. So before lugging your machine into town, give him a try. Just don't expect to get wired anyway but tech-wise.

Internet Coffee House has given up. Or rather Internet Coffee House. Frankly, it's not much of a house either. After talking this place up and meeting with owner Abdo and giving him a pep talk, I feel slightly confused. I even left him a voice mail message just now wondering why, why? Where else was I going to get a damn decent bagel on a Saturday morn? The coffee was way better than DD. And while the place could be confusing and frustrating at times, you could always get a seat and hang out and surf the world wide webernet and sip tea and lately even look outside at passers by and regular Parkside folk like Vince, the kinda sad looking dark skinned man, used to have a beard then he shaved it but it's growing back, who sits on a crate most days, rarely asking for money just sitting, clearly a bit disturbed but very, very sweet though shaky, and I say hi to him now when I pass and it feels a lot better than saying nothing. Where was I? Oh yeah, the eulogy.

It could be that money just couldn't be squeezed from grinder. A fairly substantial rumor from one who would know is that Abdo got slapped with a major fine, perhaps from the Dept of Health, though he always got high grades.

I for one will mourn its passing as the oddest, and yet somehow most comforting, underdog of the coffee wars. You can still get on the computers and you can still get your computer competently fixed and you can still drop off your packages for UPS. But I won't be doing any of those things, at least til my computer breaks, and it saddens me not to traverse its awkward upward step at the doorway anymore. So long ICH!

Parkside Playground All Gussied Up

Thanks to local volunteers, the first winter for the Parkside Playground will go easy on the eyes and easy on the new plantings. Thank you very mulch! Remember, if you want to be a FoPP (Friend of Parkside Playground), stay tuned to the Q for updates as the group starts to formalize.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PLG Police Blotter (and update on petition)

Once again the crime fighting team of Fabri & Martinos bring us the crime report from Sector Charlie of the 71st Precinct. The two go over the reports together every few months and identify those crimes that took place in the area roughly known as Prospect Lefferts Gardens...thus crimes as far east as New York Avenue only, and Empire on down to Clarkson.

As always there are a few fascinating crimes. Like the $70,000 in cash stolen from the bodega near the park on Lincoln Road. A blood pressure machine stolen from the inside of someone's house. The story that "doesn't add up" about a man losing $48K while delivering it to an ATM.

Lastly, though perhaps most importantly, I sat down last week with Jack Lewis at the 71st and delivered the petition, signed by 300(!) of you, to add beat cops to heavily trafficked Flatbush Avenue. His answer wasn't no. It was..."I just don't see the numbers there to justify an impact zone." But then he said he said he'd see what he could do. I told him we'd keep the pressure on. Amy A. also met with Martin Brown, the commissioners liaison, and expressed the same thing. Brown says there are federals grants available from the DoJ for community policing. She and I (both grant writers) will give it a shot. Between that, pressure for beat cops, and the implementation of a C.O.P. program...maybe we can make headway. But I'm not giving up on the petition yet. He was very impressed by the number of signees. Feel free to keep adding friends to the list...a copy will be sent to Brooklyn south, the D.A.'s office, and commissioner Kelly's office as well. It's that important.

Now, the gruesome details:

Crime Report
September 22 - December 18, 2012


September 18th, 4AM. 570 New York Ave. Cell taken at gunpoint.

October 1, 3PM. 131 Maple. Cell snatched. Perp arrested.

October 1, Noon. 1042 Nostrand. Cell snatched. Perp arrested.

October 6th, 9:30PM. 1116 Nostrand. Attempted robbery with knife. Perp arrested.

October 10th, 1AM. 198 Lefferts. Attempted purse snatch.

October 12th, 4PM. Lefferts and Rogers. Knifepoint $325 taken.

October 15, 11:30PM. Westbury & Flatbush Ave. Strong arm robbery - victim was physically 

held down and two perps went through his pockets.
October 16th, 5PM. Nostrand and Parkside. Cell snatching.

October 22nd, 8:30. 1222 Nostrand. Cell snatching.

October 26th, 6PM. Fennimore and Rogers. Simulated firearm in pocket, took money, electronics and cell phone.

October 30th, 5:20PM. 135 Parkside. Physically took electronics and cell phone.

November 2nd, 8:30AM. 31 Midwood. Two males stole jewelry from victim.

November 6th, 12PM. 595 Flatbush. Victim was delivering large sums of cash to an ATM on foot. Perp forcibly took backpack full of $48k in cash and fled in minivan. Story doesn't add up.
November 9th, 6:30PM. Bedford & Rutland. Purse snatching. Got credit cards and cash.

November 16th, 2AM. 658 Rogers. Cell phone taken at gunpoint.

November 16th, 4PM. Fennimore and Nostrand. Simulated firearm, cell phone taken. Perp arrested.

November 19th, 2PM. 670 Parkside. Cell snatched. Perp arrested.

November 23th, 6PM. 66 Midwood. Punched victim in the face and stole cell phone.

November 24th, 8:30AM. 260 Hawthorne. Cell snatching.

November 24th, 12:45. Ocean and Winthrop MTA station. Cell snatching.

November 26th, 9PM. 1078 Nostrand. Attempted cell robbery. Two arrests were made.

November 29th, 4PM. Ocean and Winthrop. Simulated firearm on bike. Took cell phone. Perp was arrested.

December 1st, midnight. Lincoln and Flatbush. Victim was thrown to floor and property and cash removed from pockets.

December 5th, 5PM. Rogers and Clarkson. Forcibly took $500 cash.

December 5th, 2AM. 1118 Nostrand. At gun point cell and credit cards taken.

December 8th, lAM. Flatbush and Ocean. Purse snatched.

December 11th. Nostrand and Winthrop. Punched victim took $20 in cash.

December 11th, 3PM. 355 Lefferts. Money and jewelry taken.

December 15th, 4:15AM. 248 Parkside. Forcibly removed electronics, cell phone and money.



Felony Assaults

October 20th, 3AM. 516 Flatbush. Person shot twice in right leg. Unknown perp. Suspicious circumstances.

October 21st, 4PM. Nostrand and Sterling subway. Female sprayed with unknown substance in face causing pain.

October 24th, 2AM. 590 New York. Three assaults, three victims (two males, one female), all attacked by one male. Arrest was made.

October 26th, 10PM. 610 Flatbush. Multiple gun shots, shot in left foot and right hand. Unknown perp.

October 31st, 2AM. New York and Winthrop. Two people had fight, one stabbed the other with a screwdriver. Arrest was made.

November 28th, 2PM. 479 Rogers Ave. Person fired a gun at a fleeing victim. Victim ran down Maple St.


September 29th, 8PM. 2015 Bedford Ave. Came in fire escape, took electronics.
October 3rd, 12:30PM. 234 Fennimore (private house). Came in through read window, took golf clubs.

October 3rd, 5PM. 40 Lincoln. Perp broke front door, took money and electronics.

October 15th, 288 Hawthorne. Came in through rear window. Took electronics and jewelry.

October 18th, 3PM. 115 Lincoln. Front door broken, stole jewelry.

October 19th, 11PM. 17 Lincoln Rd. Commercial store. Came in from side and stole $70k in cash.

October 21st, 5:30PM. 254 Lefferts. Came through front door and stole blood pressure machine. Arrest was made.

October 24th, 8PM. 115 Ocean Ave. Came in through fire escape, stole money and electronics.

October 31st, 8PM. 355 Lefferts. Came through front door. Attempted to take $30k cash and jewelry. Arrest was made.

November 2nd, 10:30PM. 131 Lefferts (private house). Cut hole in window. Arrest was made.

November 6th, 3AM. 17 Lincoln Rd. Commercial store, came in through gate, arrest was made.

November 6th, 9PM. 342 Rutland. Broke in through front door. Unknown property taken.

November 18th, 8AM. 45 Hawthorne. Came in through front door. Stole $300 cash.

November 19th, 10PM. 146 Lincoln Rd. Came in through rear door and stole jewelry.

November 19th, 10PM. 539 Flatbush Ave. Commercial store, came in through front gate, took $180 in cash.

November 21st, 11:30PM. 523 Rogers Ave. Came through front door, took cell phone and keys.

November 22nd, 7:30. 384 Rutland. Front door, took cash and electronics.

November 24th, 4PM. 306 Lincoln Rd. Commercial truck was robbed, took electronics.

December 10th, 1PM. 290 Lincoln Rd. Took electronics.

December 12th, 7:30AM. 1272 Nostrand. Picked front lock and unknown what was taken.

Grand Larceny (No physical force between victim and perp)
September 29th, 11AM. 127 Clarkson. Jewelry taken from person.

September 30th, 6PM. Ocean and Parkside. Cell snatching.

October 2nd, 9PM. Ocean and Flatbush subway. Pickpocket took money and credit cards.

October 2nd, 1PM. 215 Lincoln Rd. Property and credit cards taken from car.

October 16th, 4PM. Winthrop and Nostrand. Cell taken.

October 24th, 4PM. Clarkson and Flatbush. Pickpocket took wallet and $260 cash and credit cards.

October 30th, 4PM. Fennimore and Bedford. Removed electronics from car.

November 7, 4PM. 400 Empire. Cell snatched. Arrest made.

November 29th, 9PM. Lefferts and Nostrand. Cell taken.

December 4th, 1PM. $900 taken from person.
December 4th, 3PM. 655 Parkside. Cell taken.

December 5th, 9AM. Parkside and Bedford. Cell phone taken.

December 5th, Flatbush and Ocean subway. Pickpocket took credit cards.

December 11, 6PM. Winthrop and Nostrand. Pickpocket took credit card and money.

December 21st, 9:30PM. 608 Rogers. Cell taken.

Grand Larceny Auto

October 3rd, 7PM. 1166 Nostrand Ave. 1997 yellow Nissan stolen.

October 6th, 11PM. 409 Lincoln Rd. 99 Black Volkswagen stolen.

October 7th, 8PM. 271 Lincoln Rd. 95 gray Nissan stolen.

October 12th, 9PM. 115 Ocean Ave. 2003 Silver Ford stolen.

October 25th, 6PM. Ocean and Lincoln Rd. 2006 Black Ford stolen.

October 27th 3PM. 159 Winthrop. 1992 gray Nissan stolen.

October 29, 3PM. 25 Rutland Rd. 93 black Nissan stolen.

November 23rd, 1PM. 259 Parkside Ave. 2006 Gray Honda stolen.

November 30th, 3PM. 40 Lincoln Rd. 2007 Gray Honda stolen.

December 12th, 6:30AM. 68 Hawthorne Ave. 1999 Gray Infinite stolen.





Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tonight's Community Board Meeting

This months Community Board 9 meeting is happening tonight rather than next Tuesday, the last Tuesday of the month. For some reason, they felt Christmas was a bad day for a public meeting. I for one was prepared to fly back from festivities just to deny someone a variance on their curb cut and stare down a prospective liquor licensee.

Committees are all chock full of reportage - the Flatbush Trees, Clove Road, babysitting classes for teens, Composting for Peace, the plan to turn Phat Alberts into a Trader Joe's (psyche!)... Come on down to MS 161 if you have the time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Stop the Violence" by local 9-year old rapper

After his breakthrough video "Pull Your Pants Up" comes Amor "Lil'man" Arteaga's brilliant follow-up. Can't help but notice a lot of local spots in the video, including our own revamped Parkside Playground and Caton Market. I think I see a bit of Umma Park in their too!

No need for me to comment. The kids says it all, better than any grown up. You can't miss this one.

and if you need more local flava, have at it:

Parkside Avenue Progress Report

Since way back in the ice age of 2011, when I first met Rudy Delson at the Parkisde Donut and Chicken Shop0e (before it lost charm and "expanded"), local residents have pooled their time and resources to address the lack of love on Parkside Avenue. Enough credit cannot be laid on Rudy's doormat. He's been the driving force and organizer. And the Internet Coffee House has been his Yalta, and he's convened many a meeting over Green Mountains therein. To see just how much of his vision he's accomplished so far, read my post from last March. He's been remarkably true to his vision.

Rudy and his dedicated minstrels followed through on the contest. A winner emerged and won $1,000. Then they put together a sterling proposal to the DOT's public plazas program. Yesterday we received our answer. A multi-million dollar renovation is not forthcoming. BUT, and as you can see that's a very big but, they're taken with our desire for change and want to help us revitalize the corner in front of the Q at Parkside with landscaping and amenities, to be discussed and to be continued. On Saturday night, purely coincidentally, I met at a party the very person who read and reviewed our proposal. What are the chances? She's totally excited to help us create a better, friendlier, prettier plaza. And they have some discretionary money at DOT to make it happen. Yowseh!

To call this a victory is to understate the case by a mile. Just under two years ago, no one at the City was talking about sprucing up the Q plaza. No one was talking about fixing the worst excesses of danger at that intersection, despite Carrie M's call to action. No one at MTA was talking about addressing the decay and rot of the train station itself. All have been addressed, and plans are under way. By end of 2013, expect the following to have been done, many already: the station will be rehabilitated, the corner will be safer for pedestrians, buses won't idle along Ocean causing traffic snarls, the McDonald's will have been made-over, the Moses Fried building cleaned up, the entrance to the park will have been closed to cars, the plaza will have been up-spruced, a sunny Saturday arts & crafts fair will have ended its second season, the ICH has stepped up its game, and if we agree as a community, we'll shut down that damn bottle recycling nightmare by the Pioneer (any takers? it's basically the same six people, and from talking to them it would appear they wouldn't be horribly hardshipped by a daily-limit indoor-only policy. Not for nothin' the three most frequent customers live within two blocks.)

What's the lesson? Squawk like a parrot in heat. Band together. Meet with officials. Write to the relevant agencies. Speak up at meetings. Join boards. Make and post videos. If there's an iota of consensus behind your concerns, there's a way to address them. (An example of non-consensus - at least twice a week, usually on weekends, Peppa's Jerk Chicken illegally barbecues behind its store, blanketing the neighborhood in wheeze-inducing smoke. When the Q wrote about it here, it became clear that the coughers didn't have the votes to tell a local longtime local business how or how not to blacken its chickens. Or rather, even if it had a slight majority of said votes, it wasn't worth the battle. I for one would rather live with some smokey nights rather than the knowledge that fans of Peppa's might come knocking on my door to barbecue MY wings and thighs. Consensus is not the same as democracy. It IS the opposite of autocracy though. I'm quite certain that the soul of the neighborhood depends on consensus MOST of the time, except, perhaps, where matters of safety are concerned. That awesome business that opened on Parkside near Bedford? Probably illegal as the day is long, but certainly not hurting anyone. Traffic patterns on Flatbush? Probably worth going with the safety experts rather than drivers, parkers or businesses preferences. That dude who pissed off all his neighbors by ignoring the landmark rules and creating a parking space in his front lawn? Probably worth denying his variance. Lack of a decent sit-down restaurant? I dunno...beg?)

When I mentioned to my new friend at DOT about the Flatbush trees she said she'd heard already about our plans to address those. I only sent the email to her boss, Brooklyn DOT commissioner Joe Palmieri, on Friday. Is it possible we're on a roll here? Let's meet up at the new Tugboat Coffee as soon as it opens for an espresso toast to the New Year.

Off Topic

I can't really write more random musings without acknowledging the grief in CT. The only thing I'm sure of is that crazy is crazy, and the best we can do is try somehow to mitigate the number and severity of wounded when a human goes ballistic. That this happened to children hurts more, freaks us out, but somehow I can't help thinking it was bound to happen one day. As a matter of fact, schools have felt the same way for quite some time, at least since Columbine.

I didn't know this. I heard from a colleague this morning that "lockdown" drills are common outside NYC. Children at a school in New Paltz are required to spend 45 minutes huddled in a corner of the classroom completely silent with the teacher shutting off lights, closing blinds and locking doors. When possible, the kids are put in a closet. The police come and judge the school's readiness. Readiness? Readiness for crazy?

I feel very uncomfortable with that. The idea that kids are being traumatized by preparations for essentially an extremely unlikely case of (basically) a terrorist entering a building seems like forcing all kids to imagine the unthinkable on a regular basis. I understand this was done during the early cold war; drills for useless fallout shelters were common. But we as a country actually thought that an attack was possible, maybe probable, and that hundreds of thousands would die, not dozens.

But I guess the point of such preparations is to lessen the number of victims in a heinous anomalous act. Gun control that limits the number of rounds shot could help, and gives heroes a chance to jump the guy. But really, to me, the story is about insanity. The lesson drawn is like that of the suicide bomber who only "thinks" that the act is justified somehow. It's insane, it's awful, and humans throughout history and around the world are capable of losing it and fulfilling our worst nightmares. And it's about copycat crimes, I suppose. Maybe video games. But mostly, "crazy." We can teach children about crazy, right? Evil? I think that's a bit of a stretch, unless it fits into your religion somehow.

But at least for now, it's an incredibly uncommon act that scares us all senseless. Is there really a "call to action" here? If it doesn't involve the issue of the mentally ill, I don't know what's the point. Stocking schools with their own mini militias seems incredibly stupid and would lead to random janitor or teacher killings, or kids getting hold of the guns.

Ugh. Along with the guy who pushed someone to his death on the subway tracks, chalk another victory for criminally crazy. And how delicate the brain must be to go so haywire.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mango Seed Chicken 'n' Waffle Kerfuffle?

Nope. Quite peaceful really. But on a rainy, chilly Sunday, what's that line snaking it's way up Flatbush from the Metro PCS? Free phones? Wait...they're queuing up for Mango Seed! Awesome. Their brunch has really taken off! What you say? They're giving away Chicken and Waffles for Customer Appreciation Day from 11-3? Sweeeeeet! Mango Seed has become the go-to place for a sit-down these days. Despite the pricey wine (so says the wife), the food is good and the vibe is warm. And if I wasn't on a chicken-waffle-free diet I'd be there right now.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Toomey's To Stay Open - Til You Come and Start Your New Business In This Prime Location!

Here's the long and short of it, from a regular, who got it from a longtime waitress. Toomey's owner owns the building. He's looking for someone to lease it - he's getting old and is ready to retire. He'll keep it open til the right deal comes along. Good news for greasy spoon lovers. If you haven't been, hustle over to Rogers and Empire before a piece of history is gone.

Which means, as far as I can tell, a truly unique utterly awesome space is available for someone with vision and grit, gumption and elbow grease, and not least, a culinary flair.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dollars for Dumpers

Recently, and less recently, neighborhood heroes have managed to catch the license plate number of illegal dumpers. In layman's terms, illegal dumping means throwing your crap where it don't belong. In this City, we're all responsible for disposing our trash and recycling in front of our abodes or businesses. Taking it elsewhere and "dumping it" reeks havoc on the system and leads to a general level of yuckiness. See construction garbage near a public trash can? Illegal dumping. See bags of household trash in those same cans? Illegal dumping. See a business without a valid sticker showing a contract with a private collection company? They're illegally dumping almost every day. And then there's the vision we all have of someone bringing an actual dump truck up to a vacant lot and dumping out the contents and lumbering away. That's the mother of all dumps, but a dump's a dump and deserves a thump in the rump. Nothing gets my goat more than dumpers, though in truth my goat might come in handy to eat the rubbish. (do they really eat cans, or is that a country myth?)

While littering is both "filthy and selfishtm" dumping is the king of all selfish garbage related acts, because you're not only ignoring your refuse responsibility, you're laying it on someone else. But thankfully, we have a way to MAKE YOU PAY!!!

If you see someone dumping illegally, write down their license plate and send in your complaint. To sweeten the deal, you may be eligible for half the fine. Just read the fine, fine print about the fine below, or click on this link. (According to the list below, though it may come as a shock to some, it is NOT okay to dump manure willy-nilly on your neighbor's sidewalk.)

It is unlawful for any person, their agent, employee, or any person under their control to suffer or permit any dirt, sand, gravel, clay, stone, rocks, rubbish, building rubbish, sawdust, shavings or trade or household waste, refuse, ashes, manure, garbage, rubbish or debris of any sort, or any other organic or nonorganic material, or other offensive matter being transported in a dump truck or other vehicle to be dumped, deposited or otherwise disposed of in or upon any street, lot, park, public place or other area whether publicly or privately owned.

Both owner and driver of the vehicle shall be liable for the dumping violation. Fines for the owner of the vehicle range from $1,500 to $20,000. In instances where the owner and the operator are not the same person the maximum fine is $40,000. In the Tip Program two summonses could be issued depending upon who the Sanitation Police Officers apprehend.

Where information furnished by an individual under the Tip Program to the Sanitation Department has resulted in a fine or civil penalty for unlawful dumping, at the discretion of the Sanitation Commissioner, up to 50% of the amount collected shall be offered as a reward to said individual.

If you know of facts and circumstances which suggest illegal dumping is occurring at a location and want to report the occurrence but remain anonymous, you can file an Illegal Dumping Plan form. After your Tip is received Sanitation Police will monitor the location for several weeks in an attempt to catch the dumper. When the dumper you reported is apprehended again dumping at the reported location you will be eligible to receive up to 50% of any fine collected or $500 if there is a criminal conviction and no fine is paid.

  • Observe the vehicle:
    • Do not make your presence known;
    • Do not touch the material dumped;
    • Report the vehicles, not the individuals.
  • Record vital information:
    • License plate number;
    • Vehicle description;
    • Nature of material dumped; and
    • Typical time and day of the week when the dumping takes place.
  • File a citizen Illegal Dumping Tip form with the Sanitation Enforcement Division.
NOTE: Employees of the Department of Sanitation, the Environmental Control Board and NYC Peace Officers are not eligible for a reward.


You can print the Tip Form (14KB) or request that a form be sent to you by calling the New York City Citizen Service Center at 3-1-1 or contacting your local community board.


Please Note: Review the form for accuracy and completeness and forward it to:
Director of Enforcement
NYC Department of Sanitation
1824 Shore Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11214
  • In a few weeks you will be notified by mail of the status of the complaint.
  • If we were unsuccessful in catching the vehicle dumping you will be notified.
  • If a Notice of Violation was issued you will be notified.
  • If the respondent appears and pleads guilty or is found guilty and pays the fine, you will receive your reward fairly quickly.
  • If the respondent defaults, the case goes for collection and any reward would then be paid after the fine is collected.
Please Note: You cannot receive your reward until the alleged illegal dumper is found guilty or defaults and the fine is paid, which may take several months. NOTE: The Department also operates an illegal Dumping Reward Program. Under the Reward Program individuals file an affidavit which is used to bring a case against the reported illegal dumper. Individuals who file an affidavit are eligible for 50% of any fine collected but may have to testify at an Environmental Control Board Hearing.

Must Read: Haitian "Auto School" Teaches Drumming and Dancing

Rode my bike by this place "La Difference" a while ago and couldn't believe the amazing sounds coming from within. The NY Times has a great story on the joint here. It's down by Church Ave, but a hop, skip or bus ride away.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Parkside Playground Needs Volunteers On Monday

As the Q likes to say, it takes just a few committed individuals to make a real difference. Witness Kimberlee Auletta and her dogged pursuit of a better and safer Parkside Playground. After cleaning out debris from the landscaping a couple weekends ago, and planting bulbs, with help from neighborhood volunteers, she's now ready to oversee the layering of wood chips needed to mulch for the winter. She's organized everything; all you have to do is show up on Monday December 17th from 9-12 AM. It might be tough time slot for some, but I'm sure there are those of you who would love a chance to help beautify the scene of many happy childhood memories to be. Here's the info:

Final Clean-Up for 2012 @ Parkside/Winthrop Playground
Monday, December 17th

This summer, our neighborhood got a great gift with the opening of the renovated playground at Parkside/Winthrop.  Many of us have enjoyed going there with our families over the past few months after school and on the weekends.   Over the past few weeks, the planting beds at Parkside/Winthrop Playground have been cleaned, 300 bulbs have been planted, and now we've entered the final stages of winter prep.  We have 2 truck loads of wood chips ready to be spread in the beds.

If you are around, come on out Monday, December 17th from 9am-12noon.  We could use all the help we can get.  Rakes are provided – as is instruction from our friendly Parks Dept gardener, John Clark.

Hope you can make it! - K.A.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A New Beginning for the Flatbush Trees?

The Q promised months ago to stay on top of getting action on those old green metal trees at the confluence of Empire, Ocean and Flatbush. The original project, born in the smiley-face free-to-be-you-and-me '70s, has worn poorly. Few can even remember it looking anything but sad.

After discussing with the powers that be at DOT, getting the original plans from Seth K, and using resident expert on all things City bureaucracy Mike Cetera, it turned out that the only way to get "approval" to do anything was to present an idea to the Design Commission. Many people over the years have envisioned taking over the whole parking lot for a public plaza. Mike enlisted a pro bono architect to come up with such a longterm plan that could be part of our ask to the D.C. Then, in response to my posts, an artist named David Eppley (who lives around the corner from the trees) came to us with a unique proposition. His material of choice for murals and such is industrial tape. Colorful and removable, the tape will allow him to create a work using the trees as the form but re-imagining the content. He adds:

"Working with Botanical Gardens and local school group I would create a tapestry of pentagons to cover and embrace the existing tree forms. Students and I would work on creating pentagons out of vinyl. Inside each pentagon could be student drawings of  flowers and plants in the Gardens and Prospect park.

Safe to say I could present this idea after I return from a upcoming trip I am taking. So an early February date for presenting to the board would be ideal for me. It would be great to get it going by summer. Could be a good SYEP program. (Student Youth Employment Program)."
By engaging local kids, the piece could feel "owned" by the community. His idea could end up looking something like this:

We'd want to do something with the columns as well, of course!

The idea was floated at last night's joint Transportation and 197a/Parks committee meeting.

The result was universal approval of the two-pronged plan: start by calling attention to the plaza by doing a temporary artwork, all the while planning and fundraising (i.e. elected official buy-in) to take the illegal parking lot back and create something useful and green. The full board will vote on the idea soon. You're welcome to comment here or come to the meeting; I'll check to see when it's on the agenda.

Will the trees survive that long term re-envisioning? Who knows. Maybe they don't have a place in that final plan. But in discussing this with many, it's clear that people are divided about that. I hope a consensus emerges - a really great plan to spruce up the plaza might be just the kick we need to move forward.

I was asked recently why I care so much about that little piece of concrete. To me it's a powerful symbol - along with the Phat Albert's building - that PLG and Flatbush have low self-esteem. Nothing about that entrance to the neighborhood speaks to the pride and history that actually exists here. The art idea may not be an ultimate solution, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Thoughts?

Ladies and Gents: "feel" Beauty Supply

Mike's International's transformation is nearly complete. The picture, via Martin, says it all.

Also, across the street, locally owned B Fruitee has clearly won the 2012 Smoothie Smackdown. Purple Berry has closed. Congratulations Sherma and crew for drawing in the customers with your baked goods, fruit concoctions, and warm welcoming smile.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Graffiti Explosion

The neighborhood has become home to a major graffiti-wave of late. As I rode up Bedford Avenue today I witnessed scores of recent tags...most of them the work of the same two or three artists. One seems to be NERDZ. The other one, starting with a "T," I've been calling Twerps in my head, though it's not as clear. And NY1? Can't be pushing the news channel, can they? Witness the evidence:

It's free to get this removed...go here. Problem is locating the owner. More work to do. Sheesh.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Buyers and Cellars

The old Papa & Sons at Lincoln and Flabenue is taking shape. Landlady Rong Ge noted in our last conversation that the floors were rotten, and sure enough the new owners are tearing up the old wood, as evidence by the photo below. And thank you, Mr. Contractor, for the barrier in front of the open basement first!

Maps, Maps, Maps

For those who haven't seen these maps before, this here link is an excellent place to bone up on your Flatbush history - the Brooklyn Historical Society's slide show of Flatbush's transition from village to suburb to today (still a suburb? you bet, and SO much more). Two things strike the Q on my latest viewing of, Rutland Road was known as Tulip well into the 20th Century. Eventually, the couple of blocks nearest the park known as Tulip became an extension of Rutland as we know and love her today.

The other is the simple fact that what is known as Flatbush, or the HEART of Flatbush, has shifted in public imagination ever since the advent of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens name in the late '60s. It is hard to find a map of Flatbush before then that focuses on the area that we now associate with the name - the ever embiggening nabe known to newcomers as "Ditmas Park" In other words, for oil intents and porpoises, PLG WAS Flatbush, home to the original gentry of the town (note that there were Vanderbilts living near what is now the Q/B line).

Others will be surprised to see that Parkside was known as Franklin Ave. Others will care not, but those folks, who make up the vast majority of the English speaking world, are not readers of this blog. Lately there's been an uptick in the number of readers of the Q, which I can only ascribe to a) lack of employment, b) Brownstoner's more ardent interest and linkage, c) the dearth of info on the area, or d) the fact that I wrote a piece on the NY Giants opening a gyro shop on Parkside, a satirical muse that has generated a large number of confused eyes who are searching for food options on their smartphones while attending Giants games. I've noticed a spike in traffic to that post on homegame Sundays!

Perhaps I should write a piece of gossip on Lindsay Lohan and watch my numbers go through the roof.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Toomey's to close AND star in movie (heading to Hollywood?)

From Babs comes sad news that the neighborhood's only greasy spoon is up for lease. An enterprising restauranteur might want to consider the spacious Toomey's at Rogers and Empire. The Q had only been a couple times but loved the ambiance - as in, real greasy and real sweet. And fried.

But even as the longtime landmark says goodbye, Hollywood says hello in the form of a film shoot. So long Toomey's. We're sorry to see you go.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Gun Buyback - 19 Shopping Days til Christmas!

These buyback programs have taken thousands of guns off the streets and put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the hands of holiday shoppers. While this poster suggests you'll receive cold hard Benjamins, you'll actually be given a debit card, which is ironically NOT taken in many of Brooklyn's finest farm-to-table restaurants. However, most bistros will accept firearms as barter...

In all seriousness it was only just now that I realized how effective these can be...not that hardened criminals routinely turn in their guns, but rather that people that would have SOLD THEM to hardened criminals are given a safe alternative.  Pass along...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Aunt Mazella's Pound Cake

No need to introduce. It's a must view to all in the nabe. Guaranteed to make your day, especially if you're a sap like the Q.

Meat Your Maker

The PLG CSA is ready to serve all your carnivorous needs in one swell foop. They need a few more takers to guarantee delivery to the Maple Street School where you can pick up your flesh on the second Wednesdays of the month from 4PM. Anyone can join, even recovering vegans.

Here are the details from Karen at the PLGCSA:

We are happy to announce that we have meat shares available from Herondale Farm starting in January 2013.

Herondale Farm ( is offering monthly grass-fed, pasture-raised on organic fields 15 and 10 pound beef/pork/lamb/chicken shares starting in January 2013. Chicken-only shares are available starting in May 2013 (when they are “in season”). There are no half shares, but people frequently split shares by finding a partner and alternating months. 

All meats come individually vaccuum-packed and frozen.Pick up is the second Wednesday of the month from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sterling Street between Rogers and Nostrand Avenues, 1/2 block from the Sterling Street 2/5. Subscriptions are every four months and you can sign up for the whole year at once and will be invoiced every 4 months at the start of each season. You can pay in one lump sum or pay monthly and you can order additional meats with your share.

15# and 10# Beef/Pork/Lamb/Chicken Shares

Includes: 5 pounds of prime cuts (e.g.: beef steaks, lamb chops, pork chops, leg of lamb, split chicken breast); 5 pounds of roasting/bbq meats (e.g.: brisket, london broil, ribs, roasts, whole chicken, chicken leg/thigh); 5 pounds of ground/stew/sausages (e.g. ground beef, lamb or pork, kabobs, chicken or pork sausages, beef hot dogs, chicken wings, bacon)
Pork or lamb can be substituted out if needed. Please indicate this on the form

Price Per Four Month Season

15 pound share: $650 payment plan/$600 pay in full
10 pound share: $500 payment plan/$460 pay in full

10# Chicken Shares

ONLY available starting in May

Includes: 1 whole chicken 3.5-4 lbs, 1 pack of split breast (2 pieces) 1 -1 .5lbs, 1 pack leg and thigh (2 pieces) 1 -1 .5lbs, 1 pack wings (5-6 wings) 1 -1 .5lbs, 2 packs chicken sausage (1 lb each – flavors include Breakfast, Mild and Hot Italian, Andouille and Chorizo)
10 pound share: $300 payment plan/$270 pay in full

For more information:

Download the flyer here.

To register:

Download the registration form here.

(The password to open the document is “heron”).
If you are a new member, you can sign up online at:

Forms should be sent
directly to Herondale Farms via email or mail.

We need at least 20 shares for them to deliver to our location, and that was not a problem last year, but since the first season doesn't have a chicken-only share, it's been harder to get people to sign up.

If people have specific questions, they can contact Karen at

Karen notes: "I've been a member of this meat share for about a year now and can attest to it directly :)"

That's the emoticon for mmm mmm good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

PLGNA Annual Meeting Covers Lots of Ground

A great turnout last night at Grace Reformed for the annual PLGNA meeting. I was at the first "rejuvenation" meeting of this 40+ year old neighborhood collective three years ago, and I'm happy to say that it's beginning to feel like a real force for positive forward motion on issues that matter to us all. Any all-volunteer group is going to struggle from time to time with resources and person-power. But people are beginning to step up and take an active leadership role in shaping the next phase of progress for the nabe.

Shelley Kramer of one-year-old toy store PlayKids keeps showing up everywhere, and is committed to working to make life better for local youth. She was unanimously voted onto the PLGNA board last night, and we can continue to expect great things from her, as well as the Youth Committee of PLGNA and CB9, an exciting combination of resources from both organizations (CB9 covering a larger area that includes south Crown Heights and Wingate/Pigtown and parts of East Flatbush). With Deborah Mutnick, Amy Alberts, Hilary Papineau and others, count on the Youth Committee to follow through. It's a great cast with a great cause - giving kids activities and skills to succeed and stay out of street-life.

Kramer takes oath of office
Brian Halloran held forth on the Arts Committee regarding its plans to make more arts education available to local kids. A rep from SUNY Downstate pleaded her case for the neighborhood to take a more active role in saving the venerable and unique complement to Kings County Hospital. Learn more here. Folks from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service were there to talk turkey (and broccoli and carrots) about the new standards for school lunches. Read more about the nation's largest provider of food, save the military, here. And on urging from the Q, reps from the 71st precinct were on hand to say absolutely nothing on helping our side of the precinct with a more visible presence on the streets. That's why I still urge you to sign the petition, which I will personally deliver to Jack Lewis when I meet with him in the next couple of days. And I will report back on what he says, and hopefully on how best to make "beat cops" a reality around here. I've heard tell that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I'm hoping for a relaxing grease-bath sometime soon.

That is all. Back to work!

Tugboat Coffee Coming Very Soon to Flatbush

The Q spoke to Chad, of Chad & Kola, the partners opening a new espresso bar joint on Flatbush near Lincoln Road, just up from Gino's. Should be small but sweet, and it sounds like the two really know what they're doing. Glad to be the bearer of good news that just as soon as they can get ConEd to sign-off, they'll be pouring their preferred brew (D'Amico's I believe he said) by January. ConEd has been the hold-up, since they're pretty overwhelmed since a certain Sandy passed through town. Kola worked at Blue Ribbon, which I patronized one time with a frisky toddler and swore never-again to go to a swank spot with a child in tow. As I recall, it's a place of some culinary swagger, and I suspect our young Flabenue newcomers will know a thing or two about running a shoppe. Here's to a good run, guys,

Monday, December 3, 2012

PLGNA Annual Mtg Tonight

If you haven't made your Monday evening plans yet, it's still not too late to show up at Grace Reformed on Bedford at Lincoln for the annual meeting of PLGNA. President Martin Ruiz and the many other dedicated PLeGNAlians would be pleased to see you there.

So Long Jack Katz of Flatbush Ave BID

Jack & Rita Katz

One of the area's longtime heroes has passed (story here from Eli Rosenberg of Brooklyn Daily). Jack Katz helped organize the Flatbush Ave Business Improvement District from Parkside on down to Cortelyou, and ran it for these many years. Along with capable friends and allies, he took an area from its grimmest to its giddiest, now a hugely popular shopping destination for comers far and wide. The streets are relatively clean of debris thanks to daily patrols by the BID's trash crew, and the festive holiday lights and decorations make it clear to anyone walking south on Flatbush that you have in fact entered a neighborhood that cares how it is perceived by the outside world. Jack was one of the last links to Flatbush's storied pass, but he wasn't so nostalgic not to recognize what the Flabenue could become for its current residents. Rather than kvetch about what once was, he believed in the people and businesses of Flatbush and worked for their betterment. He'll be missed.

Perhaps, in the transition that will inevitably follow, it would be possible for the BID to consider adding a few blocks to its northern border?

Below is a very exciting document detailing what the BID was and is all about. I know that Voltan Bagot of the soon-to-have-a-new-window-display Globe Electronics sits on its board. He may have even been responsible for opting out of FECMA, which became FEPMA. I'll ask him. The Mrs. misses that old display though.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Putting the Beds to Bed

A small bevy of neighbors got together yesterday morning to help prepare the landscaping at the Parkside Playground for winter. Raking, pulling out crabgrass and weeds, cleaning up trash. It was a nice first step towards claiming the playground for the neighborhood, because ultimately, City playgrounds reflect the care attended them by locals. I've noticed that throughout the borough, folks have taken back public spaces from neglect by taking an active interest and "squeaking" to officials when things go awry. What was nice yesterday was to have a rep AND gardener from the Parks Department. John Clarke was the expert gardener and we learned a lot from him, including noting that a big clump of "weeds" was actually an herb that for centuries has been used to increase breast milk in nursing moms. What was the name of that plant? He said something about preparing it in a way that could trick kids into thinking they were brownies, but he kinda lost me there. Even at an early age, this blogger was able to tell the difference between a REAL brownie and some crunchy ground cover. Seriously now...

All in all, a great start. Kudos to Kimberlee Auletta for setting it up. Look for more playground action as we head into Spring.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The New Building on Lincoln

From the presentation by developer Tom Anderson at Tuesday's CB9 meeting, it looks like ground could break by mid-winter on the new 130+ unit 9-story building on the vacant L-shaped lot that lovingly spoons the buildings at the NW corner of Flatbush and Lincoln. What just a few years ago was going to be glass skyscraper condo has now been scaled back to a modest rent-stabilized building. In order to qualify for HDC financing, Tom has to make 20% of the flats affordable to means-tested folks. The rest, quite surprising to some of us following the deal, would come in around 10% below market to start. His estimate was from $1,800 - $2,500, studios to two-bedrooms, which caused frequent Q commenter Babs to question his research. $2,500 for a two-bedroom? Sure, a few will pay that, but right now $1,800 - $2K for a 2BD is apparently more common for places near or on the park.

I spoke with Tom for a bit and he seems like a nice enough guy. Been in Brooklyn for 30 years, has a good reputation for his other projects. Some don't like the design, but I think it's more than fair for a City financed building.  Anyway, here's some closeups of the pics he brought to the meeting:

And yes, as you can see by the above pictures, the primary materials for the project will be balsa wood and tongue depressors. You gotta love all that roof action, though. Mid-Aztec-Ruiny details and a lovely silken faux cabana.

There will be 80some spaces for parking underground. Two big retail spots, one at 33 Lincoln the other on Flatbush. Giant community space. All he needs is for HDC to float a bond, and he's golden. If he fails to get the financing, he falls back on Plan B, though he doesn't really have a Plan B other than find someone to invest. Btw, that's my Plan B too. About my life.

Whaddya think?

Fast Food Pay Is Pathetic

Folks at 914 Flatbush's Burger King are among many hundreds of workers trying to bring attention to the need for higher minimum wages (see above). When I think of people working 8 hours at the BK for $56 I get sick to my stomach. Actually, I get sick to my stomach thinking of the way I used to slam those Whoppers down while driving across the USofA as a younger man. Remember the 99 cent burger wars? Think about it...hunks of factory cow and high fructose corn syrup and embalmed tomatoes for less than a buck. I can only imagine how many poorly paid people all down the line it takes to bring us this garbage. (but damn it tastes good...until you get three-quarters of the way through your meal and you want to slit your wrists.)

God knows we have plenty of fast food around here. And that means we have hundreds of neighbors getting paid dirt for wages. It's just a petition of course (well, I guess I'm being hypocritical saying that), but fast food workers in NY are asking for our e-signature towards a higher wage and the right to unionize. Not much to ask I say. Here's the site: FastFoodForward.

(I promise not to make this site a political rant thing. We all get enough of that on Facebook and such. I just thought it was cool that the Burger King near Erasmus was taking part).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Q would like to ask for your support on a petition to show the NYPD that we need more than just talk along Flatbush Avenue, and as witnessed by shooting just today, on other thoroughfares as well. I've been to at least a dozen meetings in the last two years, most recently the CB9 "Envisioning" meeting, and I've lost count of how many people have asked for a consistent presence of cops along our intense, vibrant, hectic and sometimes downright lawless main streets. Would it be so much to ask for a pair of beat cops, preferably on foot, to patrol the Flabenue 24-7? Get to know the people and businesses? Answer questions, help people in need, maybe share a laugh or two when the times are good? I've heard so much about "community policing" and "broken windows theory" and "smart law enforcement." But where are the uniforms when we need them? We hear about Stop and Frisk, and the problems of cops not knowing the people they suspect, and resorting to old-fashioned profiling as a result. But what if they knew their communities well enough to know the good guys from the bad?

In response to those who cite that Compstat shows the overall crime going down, I'd ask you to consider your own experiences, and to read this oft-cited document from a former NYPD PBA exec about how those numbers should not be the ruler by which precinct performance is judged. I for one trust the Jack Lewis and his crew are generally well-meaning and hard-working. And maybe we need to speak loud enough so that they can go to their superiors and get the resources they need to make beat cops a reality. We the people are asking for a simple, straightforward, and hopefully affordable collaboration with those who protect and serve us. We need help to move forward as a neighborhood, and we're asking to be heard.

Here's the petition if you'd be so kind as to consider signing it. Below is the text as it appears on the document. And please, pass along to your neighbors. Thanks! tt

71st Precinct, NYPD: Please Provide At Least Two Beat Cops Up and Down Flatbush Ave Below Empire Blvd!

Illicit activity along our "main street' has held the neighborhood back for too long. We'd like to see the 71st partner with the community to make Flatbush a safer place to walk, bike, drive, shop and grow a business. We believe that an investment of even just two foot officers, getting to know the people and rhythms of the neighborhood, would be the perfect anecdote for rampant lawlessness, drug selling, gang activity, and a near-constant sense of danger along this important commercial artery. A relatively small number of people are holding an entire community captive. Please consider the mutal benefits of a consistent presence along the Flatbush corridor!

Sample Letter
71st Precinct, NYPD
Please Provide at least two consistent "beat cops" up and down Flatbush Ave below Empire Boulevard. We need your help!
[Your name]

Parkside/Winthrop Playground Needs You - This Saturday

One bright spot for the neighborhood this year was the opening of the newly renovated Parkside Playground. The basketball courts are in nearly constant use, as are the areas for younger kids and toddlers. Already the place is looking a little worse for wear, and of course there was the rocky start to the vibe and "use" of the space. Teens were making it a nighttime hangout, and the cops were alerted. Some undercovers have made it their business to keep an eye on the playground, though it's still not locked nightly, nor is the police presence enough to prevent the occasional phone snatching.

A local mom has made it her mission to get a "Friends of the Parkside Playground" (FOPP?) together. Other playgrounds have done this to great effect. She's even gone as far to involve the Brooklyn Parks Commissioner and has planned an inaugural event, where you, a potential FOPP, can come out and get in on the ground floor. Share this with all your neighbors!

The first event is this Saturday December 1 from 9am - Noon at the playground, whose primary entrance is on Winthrop (I know, I know.) There will be Parks Dept gardeners on hand, and our primary goal is to organize and to clean trash within the landscaping. Bring your kids! There's a playground there!

Contact Kimberlee Auletta for more info and to RSVP. And remember to sing our theme song, "I'm a FOPP and I'm Proud."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kdog blueroost then...

Update: Work is also going forward on the former Papa & Sons, which we reported here would be an upscale deli/grocery. Sources say it's true. There will clearly be folks happy about that. Along with the espresso bar going in next to Gino's, expect a "Bourgie Spring." I jest of course; I don't mean to knock anyone's preference for coffee. That is, like religion, a deeply personal thing.

All the naysayers kept saying nothin' wuz happenin. And yet it wasn't nothin' that put up them there plywoods!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tuesday CB9 Meeting Agenda

Update: 193 Ocean is off the agenda...the owner isn't going to show up so the item is tabled. 
Folks have been asking when the community gets a chance to weigh in on the proposed big apartment building on Lincoln Road (with another entrance on Flatbush due to its peculiar L shape). When I posted about this in early October, there seemed to be some concern about the "affordable housing" aspect of the project (see comments). I think this would be an excellent opportunity to let the powers that be know what you think, after listening to developer Tom Anderson first of course. Also on the agenda, a resident of one of the beautiful townhouses on Ocean (193 Ocean to be exact) seems to have done alterations without Landmarks permits and wants a chance to explain why. To anyone living in a historic district, this will be a familiar issue. Seems like lots of times neighbors are the ones to turn folks in. So East German! Don't know what Kevin Coles did (a pool in the backyard overlooking the train tracks?) but I guess we'll hear all about it. See you on Tuesday!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Flatbush Needs A Brake-Over

Happy Thanksgiving fellow Q-sters! I thought I'd take a moment to express my gratitude...for crossing Flatbush not 20 minutes ago without getting hit by a B41 and a speeding lane-changing Dollar Van. What good fortune! Then it hit me. Not the bus or van, but a simple truth, and perhaps a solution. Here goes...(warning: serious geeking out taking place just ahead).

I had just ridden my bike down Parkside Avenue heading east from the glorious tennis bubbles and noticed what a calm and pleasant ride I'd just had, with even the confidence to look up at the progress at "123 on the Park" a/k/a the Caledonian Apartments. After crossing Ocean Ave, I felt I'd best dismount and walk the bike on the sidewalk; I was feeling way exposed to all manner of vehicles, and then, despite making the safer mode of movement, and while walking WITH the pedestrian light at Flatbush, I nearly got reamed by said bus and van. So what exactly changed from Parkside A to Parkside B? A lot actually. Both roadways were busy, but the vehicular temperature changed completely by the time I got to the 'Bush.

Turns out that the street width from curb to curb is roughly the same on Parkside as Flatbush. However, the newly painted traffic lanes on Parkside, Park Circle to Ocean, have just ONE lane of traffic in each direction. There is a narrow yellow checked "demilitarized zone" between the moving lanes. And the parking lane is wide enough to fit a truck (like the ever-present Olde Good Things rig, more on them here), with a clearly marked outside edge, which has the added benefit of making it less likely you'll open your door into a moving vehicle. Traffic moves smoothly along Parkside, in part because there's no temptation to try to cut in front of other cars. The merging in and out of lanes is part of the frustration drivers feel on Flatbush. Dollar Vans, whose income depends on speed of travel, are practically encouraged to create their own zigzag routes in the poorly designed traffic scheme.

I haven't taken a tape measure to it, but my foot is about a foot, so my best walked estimate is that DOT has tried to construct six lanes (four for driving, two for parking) on Flatbush with just 48 feet to work with. Below are the suggested widths of streets per Seattle's version of the DOT (I know, I know, but let's assume for a moment their experts know SOMETHING about traffic safety?) Here's what they use as standards:

Lane Type Standard Lane Width
Parking lane 8 feet
Parking lane on bus route 10 feet
Through traffic lane 11 feet
Curb lane 12 feet
Bus only lane 12 feet
Turn only lane 12 feet
Curb lane (vehicle/bicycle) 14 feet

So basically, NYC's DOT is allowing six lanes with just 8 feet each, the absolute minimum standard for a PARKING lane according to the above. And we have buses, dollar vans, delivery bicycles, double-parkers, 18-wheelers... When the DOT finishes its traffic study this coming Spring, if there is no suggestion of limiting traffic to one lane each direction (allowing too for the inevitability of double-parkers along these commercial streets), I will go on hunger strike. *

Before another pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist is killed on this dastardly road, we need someone to take responsibility for safety on the Flabenue. An elected official? A public servant? A dedicated bureaucrat? Anyone?

*hunger strike to conclude only when the DOT sees the error of its ways, or one day after commencing, whichever comes first.

Associated Supermarket Owner's Day in Court

The drama continues in the $45,000 mugging of the owner of our local Associated Supermarket back in 2010. Our man Bruno Corona has testified that his bookkeeper tipped off his attacker, Carlos Pere-Rodriguez. Corona was jumped, violently attacked and relieved of $45K in receipts. Story in the NY Post. Here's hoping justice is served, and that Associated continues to carry those Applegate cold cuts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Son of Sal Arrested in Shopkeep Murders

His neighbors on Staten Island called him "Son of Sal," not due to a penchant for grisly murder, but due to his seemingly harmless eccentricities. Did the teasing make him do it? Probably not. And even if the defense claims "insanity," I just want to put it out there that this guy, should he prove to be telling the truth in his confession, is definitely more than a little quirky. He's out of his ever-loving gourd.

The police have apparently nabbed "John Doe Duffle Bag," the odd man out in photos near the murder scene at 834 Flatbush, a white middle-aged balding moustachioed duffle-toter on a stretch of Flatbush more known for its West Indian and African American shoppers. Was it the fact that he appeared so out of place that led detectives to him? In a nod to the ineffectiveness of police sketches, one can only say that they were WAY off on this one, at least initially. See the cops' original cookie-cutter young black man sketch to the right. With sunglasses? Sheesh.

The story as told by the Daily News suggests that Salvatore Perrone will spend a good long time behind bars contemplating the emptiness inside his soul. If you're planning on serving on his jury, please forget everything I just said, because of course we want to assume here that he wasn't just sporting the wrong moustache on the wrong day in the wrong place. I mean, just look at him! Aren't those the eyes of a serial killer? Or at the very least, a junior high science teacher.

I sincerely hope this is the end of it. And if it is, kudos to the kops for kicking it into high gear in the last few days. Such a ghastly story, and so many distraught family members. Truly, truly sad and senseless.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Raffle Deal for Q Readers

Part of the deal of having your kid in a "coop" nursery school is that you get to raise money for it! And serve on committees! And clean! And shop! And pay the tuition! It's AWESOME! And is "nursery school" not politically correct anymore? I almost never hear it uttered.

Look, Maple Street School is pretty awesome, and damn convenient for working stiffs (it's right next to the Q/B train at Prospect Park). And each fall the school raises money through a raffle, the prizes are great, and the odds are pretty good too. From my vantage point on the finance committee, I can also tell you that the amount we raise each year from fundraising is suspiciously close to the amount we give out in financial aid. Meaning your raffle purchase is not just going to rubber cement and peanut butter (two things that are also very un-p.c. at nursery school these days, by the way).

Here's my deal for you, since I have to sell a minimum number of tickets. If you email me here and agree to buy a pack of 5 for $20, I will PERSONALLY ride my bike over to your place and deliver them. By hand! That's right, artisanally!

A Kindle, tix to Yo Gaba Gaba, 12 weeks of kids dance classes, wines from Down Under...who's in?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Miracle on Eastern Parkway

When I was at the CB9 envisioning forum on Sunday, I was talking to the Brooklyn College sociologist and historian on hand Jerome Krase. We spoke briefly of the Crown Heights riots...he was thinking 1977 I was thinking 1991. So many riots, so little time...

But the below article places into perspective just how much good can come from tenacity, planning and consensus building. Can you imagine Eastern Parkway as a highway? It almost happened. Check this editorial from the Times in 1978:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cold Blooded Murder on the Flabenue

UPDATE: Details emerge, including a request for potential witnesses to come forward, here.

The Q has always had a soft spot for the many ma and pa shop owners along our glorious boulevard. Some have carved specific niches for themselves, particularly targeting cultures and ethnicities that the big box chain stores ignore. The Flatbush Avenue BID includes a staggering number and variety of businesses. A walk southward down and past Erasmus High is a loud, jostling and exhilarating experience. The owners of these businesses are often the sole full-time employees and work countless hours a week running their prides and joys.

It's with great sadness and shock that we learn of the shooting death of the nearly octogenarian shopkeep of the awesomely named She She boutique. Rahmatollah Vahidipour was shot in the head Friday evening and dragged to the back of his store and covered with clothes. Police have linked the death to two other murders of shopkeeps in the last few months, suspecting that the same 22 caliber pistol was used in all three.

Friday's shooting is similar to two other murders of Brooklyn store owners that happened over the summer. In both of those incidents, authorities believe there's a possible link to numerology and obsession with the numbers 1, 7 and 8.
The address of Friday's killing included the number 8 as the unidentified victim's store address was 834 Flatbush Avenue. All three shooting were committed with a .22-caliber handgun.
The two prior store owner murders happened on July 6, when 65-year-old Mohammed Gebeli was found shot to death at his clothing store at 7718 Fifth Avenue and on August 2 59-year-old Isaac Kadare was found dead in his Bensonhurst store at 1877 86th Street.

Read more:
The other lone proprietors were killed in similar fashion in the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst neighborhoods. They were all of middle-eastern descent. Some suspect numerology at play, though that theory made more sense with the first two than with this one, since the addresses of the others were scrambles of one another (7718 Fifth Avenue, and 1877 86th Street. This one was at 834 Flatbush...though i guess you can make a 7 out of 3+4, though I can't say I've ever been confused for a Robert Langdon).

It's just horrible, really. It doesn't seem the killer is partial to one neighborhood, and I'm sure that makes it even harder for the cops. I guess it's not to soon to start using the word "serial" next to this killer. Let's hope they find the psycho soon.
Police say a Brooklyn boutique owner was shot and killed inside of his store Friday night and are looking to see if this incident is related to prior killings that may have been based on the victim's addresses.
Officers found the 78-year-old Vahidipour Rahmatollah of Great Neck, NY in the back of She-She Boutique on 834 Flatbush Avenue with a gunshot wound to the head. Authorities believe he was shot at the counter and dragged into the back of the store where the suspect covered the victim's' body with clothes.
Friday's shooting is similar to two other murders of Brooklyn store owners that happened over the summer. In both of those incidents, authorities believe there's a possible link to numerology and obsession with the numbers 1, 7 and 8.
The address of Friday's killing included the number 8 as the unidentified victim's store address was 834 Flatbush Avenue. All three shooting were committed with a .22-caliber handgun.
The two prior store owner murders happened on July 6, when 65-year-old Mohammed Gebeli was found shot to death at his clothing store at 7718 Fifth Avenue and on August 2 59-year-old Isaac Kadare was found dead in his Bensonhurst store at 1877 86th Street.
The NYPD has offered rewards of $22,000 in each of the homicides for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone with information about them may call the Crime Stoppers hot-line anonymously at 1-800-577 TIPS (8477).

Read more:
Police say a Brooklyn boutique owner was shot and killed inside of his store Friday night and are looking to see if this incident is related to prior killings that may have been based on the victim's addresses.
Officers found the 78-year-old Vahidipour Rahmatollah of Great Neck, NY in the back of She-She Boutique on 834 Flatbush Avenue with a gunshot wound to the head. Authorities believe he was shot at the counter and dragged into the back of the store where the suspect covered the victim's' body with clothes.
Friday's shooting is similar to two other murders of Brooklyn store owners that happened over the summer. In both of those incidents, authorities believe there's a possible link to numerology and obsession with the numbers 1, 7 and 8.
The address of Friday's killing included the number 8 as the unidentified victim's store address was 834 Flatbush Avenue. All three shooting were committed with a .22-caliber handgun.
The two prior store owner murders happened on July 6, when 65-year-old Mohammed Gebeli was found shot to death at his clothing store at 7718 Fifth Avenue and on August 2 59-year-old Isaac Kadare was found dead in his Bensonhurst store at 1877 86th Street.
The NYPD has offered rewards of $22,000 in each of the homicides for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone with information about them may call the Crime Stoppers hot-line anonymously at 1-800-577 TIPS (8477).

Read more: