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.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mansoob Gut Job

The new owners at the old Mansoob's deli building are going to town on the renovation of their building at the NE corner of Parkside/Flatbush. The deli is staying according to the current, how shall we say it, disengaged proprietors, but no word yet whether the deli might show the neighborhood some love by cleaning up its act. It's one of a few eastside of Flatbush delis that sort of bring the look of the whole area down, not to mention some of them acting as safe-havens to local hoodlums. How, you may ask, do businesses turn to the other side? Intimidation, and sometimes cash. I mean, think about it - I've counted more than a dozen tiny storefront delis in the direct vicinity, not counting grocery stores, and simple math will tell you the area can't support that many joints, and the least successful sometimes get desperate for dollars. If I were a proper investigative journalist I'd dig deeper into the story of how some storefronts become crimefronts, with the shelves being stocked with only the barest of necessities and a few high-volume items that keep the biz from looking completely crack-worn. The Q first learned about the practice over 20 years ago, when even downtown Manhattan was full of shady numbers-running storefronts with little in the way of legitimate sales. And as someone who looked like he was in the market for "non-essential dry goods" I'd get offered a bag or two from time to time, not by the person behind the counter mind you, but by someone suspiciously stationed inside the store, like, ALL the time. I'd pretty much forgotten about that aspect of the crack era, but recent conversations with folks who remember brought it all back to me, clear as a bell. Locals have hipped me to the way it works in our area, though it's difficult to say whether any one particular business is skirting the law or merely incompetent - I know of two that are 100% in collusion with local thugs. Given that I used to look more like a good-for-nothing than I do now, it's hysterical that people tell me that when I walk into one of these places everybody acts cool, but as soon as I'm gone they go back to talking gangsta business (thanks D.J. for the tip). This is one of the reasons I want to speak with the D.A., because it would be nice to know what the law can do to shut down these businesses. And lest anyone think I'm picking on ALL the businesses around here, far from it. I love the restaurants (most), the beauty places (most, and some are downright spectacular looking) and boutiques, and nearly all show respect for their neighbors by keeping their shops tidy and signs and windows cheery and unadorned with outdated garbage. Hey, I'm not looking for a cute town in the Swiss Alps here, just some basic decency and self-respect. And yeah, Original Struggs I'm talking to you too...clean up the filth and dog crap that's constantly in front of your store and tree pit or I swear I'll...I swear I'll...I mean...I'll come over there myself and...and...clean it up myself.


Anonymous said...

The fronts drive me nuts for obvious reasons. I do not understand why they don't get observed and busted. It would be very easy.

I fear that the Little Papas on Lincoln and Flatbush, after a run of offering some desirable products, has succumbed to local crime. There is a newish group of guys who hang out outside and make several short trips inside throughout the day.

The new "clientele" are really f'n annoying, and it bothers me to no end that Francisco, the owner, would let this happen, especially as he's expressed an interest in better serving the community before. Either he's been intimidated quite badly, or his concerns about the neighborhood were completely disingenuous.

MadMommaCarmen said...

The fronts drive me crazy too. The best part is that its not a secret to anyone. Even Senator Adams knew what was up just a few yards from his office.