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, September 29, 2012

Know Thy Neighbor: Michael Showalter

Every since writer/comedian/actor Michael Showalter moved onto my block, things have gotten a lot tidier. That's because Michael shares the Q's obsession with trash, or rather the needless gobs of it on neighborhood sidewalks, alleys, corners, tree pits and curbs. Rather than simply complain about it, he regularly and humbly attaches the below pictured prosthetic-robot-garbage- picking-arm and cleans a fair section of our side of the block himself. He doesn't complain, nor does he gloat. He even went so far as to clean mounds of trash from the alley behind us, where folks actively throw their household refuse out their apartment windows. So while I'd love to tell you about the marvelous book he's written, or the TV shows he's penned and starred in, the classic cult summer camp movie he co-made, or the uproariously funny car commercials he recently did, you can read about that stuff on the Google and on his webthingy. To me, he's just neighbor Michael, man with the silver and blue pickerupper gadget depositing Popeye's wrappers into a Whole Foods brown paper bag. Right on, brother.

If you scroll down over these pictures fast enough it looks like he's in the act, sort of like a digital flip-book. Scroll back and forth and you'll get a sense of his "swing," part Tiger Woods part D'Artagnon.

P.S. Mr. S also shares the Q's interest in Trap Neuter Return, the feral cat reduction program that's actually quite involved but SO worth it. Between us we've caught and neutered 20 cats put them back in our yards to live out their kitty lives in peace. There are lots of your neighbors involved in the TNR movement, so if you see someone trapping kitties ask 'em about it. You can feed and enjoy such spayed cats without worrying about adding to the exponential over-population of discarded and wild felines, and they become quite sweet after getting fixed. In fact, I see one at the window (Bootsy) and I'm gonna drop some kibbles on 'er right now.


shelley said...

Thank you, Michael!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Michael! I love these kind of meet-your-neighbor pieces on folks who live here. Keep 'em coming. On cats, I'm cat crazy all my life but just to share an alternate view, I personally have very mixed feelings about TNR especially in the urban city. These cats are really in danger of meeting a horrible end living outside. There are fighting dog breeders/trainers here and they're using small animals to train the dogs to attack and kill other animals. The cats are also vulnerable to other cruel people's tortures. And on top of all that, hate to vilify street cats, but they can decimate the bird population. We have noticeably fewer songbirds in our yard now than we had when we moved here 6 years ago. A balanced ecosystem is important and having lots of stray cats is not balanced at all.

Anonymous said...

Great piece and we share your concerns on a couple of fronts. We are persistent 311 online people for trash issues and we run a TNR operation on Winthrop Street having also taken care of 25+ cats in our backyard and front also.

I would like to address a few of the concerns the previous person had about TNR. I am an avid birdwatcher and am all too aware of the impact cats feral and domestic have on bird populations. However, the cats are here already and doing nothing only leaves them to the cruel fate of endless breeding, fighting, and the high mortality rate kittens suffer. Litters often meet an agonizing death by starvation as mother cats often abandon their litters or are too young to know how to properly care for them.

THe TNR process does greatly reduce the suffering of cat populations but, until the colony reduces because of attrition, the impact on migrating birds continues unabated. There is a misconception that caring for cats increases cat populations. What does happen is the cats become more visible in the neighborhood and so appear more numerous but they have been here all the time.

As for their use in the inhumane world of dog fighting, that remains a concern and I would advise notifying the police if any evidence of this practice is suspected. Cruelty to animals is a very serious felony and if there are any dog fighting rings in the area they must be broken. I personally have a good count of the cats in my "colonies" and though we have lost a few to cars I don't think any have been lost to dog fighters. Feral cats require some real persistance to catch, very few of them are approachable enough to just pick up. Those that are that friendly we try to adopt out whenever possible.

Rob on Winthrop

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Just purely awesome! Thank you Michael. You truly do help make this neighborhood better.

Anonymous said...

Everyday I pass in front of 80 Winthrop and see a few adorable cats hanging out outside the building. I already have a cat and cannot take another one, and with the cold weather coming it really breaks my heart to think of them outside. So if you know anyone who wants a pet or could take an animal in their homes please please please check them out!

hawk said...

if i see MS on the street, would it be rude to ask him to do his doug catchphrase from the State?