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, 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:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Your Community Needs Your Input! SUNDAY 2-3 at BBG

This post is directed at you! Yes, you. We need you on Sunday. Everyone. Free snax! And free Brooklyn Botanic Garden for members of the Community Board 9 district (sorry CB14, I wish I had time to work on both). CB9 is west to Ocean, south to Clarkson, north to Eastern Parkway, and East to Utica. (For free admission to BBG, you must enter at 100 Washington entrance and tell them you're there for the meeting!)

We had a mtg last night to hash out the agenda, and it'll go something like this. At 2, the chair of CB9, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein will welcome you. District Manager Pearl Miles will tell you about CB's, how we can influence City government and planning, and how a 197a plan can push the City in the right direction. Then most of CB9s committee chairs will talk for 5 minutes tops about plans in their areas: public safety, housing, public spaces, environment/sanitation, transportation, youth, education, economic development, etc. Then at 3 we break for said snax, and you'll have a chance to choose the areas of interest to you and break out into small groups to solicit your input and hear others discuss what they'd like to see tackled, changed, and improved. We'll meet back up around 4:30 to wrap-up, and your voice will have been heard and we'll make plans to move forward. Bring all and everyone. We're meeting in the auditorium which is at the 100 Washington entrance to the garden. Mention that you're there for the meeting and gain entrance to the garden without cost.

Sound like a plan? Right on. (and thanks Skei for the nice poster!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chester Court

Most of you have probably marveled at the lovely tudor houses on cul-de-sac Chester Court just off Flatbush. But did you know that cul-de-sac means literally the "butt of the bag?" Makes sense if you think about it.

But what I really want to share is from Curbed, this amazing picture of the Flatbush/Chester intersection from way back:

Then, with the powerful use of state-of-the-art infrared inset technology, comes the Curbed Cornerspotter "reveal:"

Don't know about you, but that Lefferts style homestead, much much older than the 1920 date of the photo-shoot, yanked at my yearn-strings. You can almost hear Otis Campbell yodeling a late night tin-pan alley tune after an evening of sucking down home brewed hooch. Er, that might have been Mayberry RFD; my memory's a bit off on account of the rheumatiz. I guess those tudors must just be a few years old when this thing was taken. If you live on this block you ought to have a copy of this framed to hang over the mantle!

One thing it nails home to me...there was a HUGE building boom at the early part of the 1900s that radically transformed the area in a very short period of time. Developers were gobbling up land and throwing up "old world" style townhouses, much in the manner that current greedsters are throwing up "Fedders" style curbcut housing, or McMansions in the exurbs. Of course, the 100-year Brownstones have grown in appeal and status, but at the time critics lamented the cookie-cutter style faux-mini-mansions cropping up like weeds. Will today's buildings festooned in Fedders one day fetch 400-500 times what they were purchased for? (houses on my block went for $2,000 in 1912.) Only time, and Brownstoner, will tell.

And to think that beautiful big tree behind that old house was sacrificed in the name of progress. But let's get real...about 100 more people can live in that four story apartment building than in that three bedroom house. Supply meets demand, you could say.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Arts for Sandy Tomorrow Night

Okay, I highly recommend this awesome Sandy benefit event. Right cause, right organizations involved (see below). How to tie it in to the theme of this blog? A-ha! Got it!

The event was organized by pal Laurie Cumbo, founder and head of MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts). AND, she has announced she's running for Tish James' City Council seat, which she is vacating to run for Public Advocate. AND, this council seat has a proposed change of district that will dip down into PLG if approved (down to north side of  Lincoln, I believe.) And THAT, fair reader, is the tie-in.

Go enjoy yourself and these fine orgs, each of which offers up little chunks of fresh baked arty goodness:

ActNow Arts Foundation, Inc.
Alexandra Beller/Dances
Bang on a Can
BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn featuring Dan Zanes
BOMB Magazine
Brooklyn Ballet
Brooklyn Music School
Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
Haiti Cultural Exchange
Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy
Irondale Ensemble Project
KowTeff African Dance Company
Lafayette Inspirational Ensemble
Mark Morris Dance Group
New York Writer's Coalition
Noel Pointer Foundation
Purelements An Evolution in Dance
Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company
Scenarios USA
SONYA (South of the Navy Yard Artists)
The Actors Fund Arts Center
The Town House Art Gallery
Urban Bush Women

Friday, November 9, 2012

Some Volunteer Options Post-Sandy

Having been to Coney Island I can attest to their need for help. A pal suggests you go to


Volunteer Sign-ups for the The Park Slope Armory!  

Thank you to the 1000s of volunteers who have helped thus far!  Your efforts are impressive and so appreciated.   Alas, as the days go on, our needs continue.  The Shelter is asking volunteers to sign up for specific jobs each day.   Take a look at the jobs we need and please sign up!   In particular, we need folks who speak Spanish and Russian.   Shifts last 4 hours and go 24 hours a day.  Please click on the following web link to go to the signup sheet:

To sign up, just follow the instructions on the page. It only takes a few seconds to do.  Thanks in advance for volunteering!

  • Park Slope Armory is located at 361 15 street between 7th and 8th avenues.
  • This shelter houses about 300-350 people from nursing homes in the Rockaways. Mostly a senior population, many with health challenges.  
  • Volunteers shifts last 4 hours and go all day and all night.  ( Double shifts are welcomed and encouraged!)
  • Things to know:  Where comfortable clothes, no photos and no kids (sorry).   
  • Questions:  nightshiftatthearmory@...
PLUS, from assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs office some very interesting options:

1. Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs and Midwood High School :   Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs and Midwood High School are accepting donations of the following supplies: Flashlights, D batteries, buckets, mops, work gloves, rubber gloves, towels, industrial garbage bags (often called compactor bags), chapstick, hygiene products, baby wipes, gift cards, and more; they are not accepting clothes at this time. Donations can be dropped off at Assemblywoman Jacobs’ District Office (2294 Nostrand Avenue between Avenues I and J), Monday-Friday from 9-5 PM or at Midwood (2839 Bedford Avenue ) during school hours. Financial donations can also be made out as checks to the Midwood High School Parents Association.

1.   Flatbush Shomrim: The Flatbush Shomrim is seeking monetary donations as well as new items with tags , including children’s toys, toiletries, diapers, baby wipes, sanitary napkins, new coats, etc. The items will be distributed in hard hit areas throughout New York City and can be brought to 2298 Nostrand Avenue between Avenues I and J from 9:30 AM -10:00 PM.


1. Masbia Soup Kitchen: Masbia is looking for both donations and volunteers to help feed thousands of senior citizens displaced by the storm. For more information about volunteering, please log on to, or contribute to Masbia’s cost of food at .

4 .       Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) : JASA is looking for volunteers to help seniors trapped in their apartments because of the Sandy, as well as those who have not received their regular meal deliveries due to the storm. Volunteers should be willing to carry supplies up 7-20 flights of stairs during daylight hours. For more information, contact Jacob Stolar at 212-991-6572 or

5.       The Jessie-Streich Kest Fund: A fund has been created to honor the life and memory of Ditmas Park resident Jessie Streich-Kest, who was struck and killed by a falling tree during last week’s storm. Contributions in Jessie’s memory will go to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue, an organization she cared deeply about. Donations can be made online via YourCaring at, or via Facebook at
DonateToTheJessieStreichKestFund; checks can also be mailed to: Jessie Streich-Kest Fund, c/o the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, 241 Water Street, 3 rd Floor, New York, NY 10038.

  6.       Michael Pergola, South Midwood Resident: Michael Pergola of South Midwood is collecting batteries, flashlights, candles, instant coffee and other goods which he will shuttle to hard hit areas of the city. Contributions can be brought to his home at 783 East 21 st Street between   Glenwood and Farragut Roads . He can be reached at 917-685-5679 or at for more details.

  7.       1199SEIU Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund: 1199 SEIU is asking for monetary donations to support its members who are struggling in the aftermath of the storm. To contribute, log on to

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

If You Care About the Future of Our Neighborhood, Put November 18th On Your Calendar

The below poster says "you" where the Q would say "our," but the point is to think about the big picture. Want to see less trash? Sick of Voting Problems? More composting? Better school options? New housing? Bike lanes? Fewer bike lanes? New plazas? More affordable housing? Less affordable housing? Policed playgrounds? More bus shelters? Less old-style diesel buses? Repaired streets? Fixed subways? Timed lights? Safer streets? Fewer gangs? More diversity of businesses? Less graffiti? Community centers? Jobs for teens? Caviar Mondays? Dress Up Fridays?

This is about creating a 197a plan for CB9. The City's charter allows communities to make formal recommendations about how the City should allocate resources, handle zoning changes and plan priorities. Such plans have had a huge effect on neighborhoods like Williamsburg/Greenpoint and Greenwich Village. 

Please set aside Sunday November 18th at 2PM at the Botanic Garden. Enjoy FREE access to the garden as well! (BBG is in our Community Board). We need you. We need your input.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Curious Poll Sites

So family Q headed to our usual polling place - IS2 on Parkside near Nostrand, and as is custom we passed ridiculously long lines going into PS92. I've never thought too much about it...after all, I'm as selfish as the next voter and care only for my own voting comfort. IS2 has no outdoor wait, and a five minute friendly line inside, then your filling your ovals and outa there.

Then today, I saw a neighbor from across the street - the even side of Clarkson. And she was voting at PS92. Then I started plugging in addresses to the Board of Elections site, and lots of my closest neighbors vote at PS92 too. Which got me do they determine these things? If voting district maps are written as crazy as that - think about it, south side of my street PS92, north side IS2, south side of Winthrop PS92 - what's the rationale? It's not related to gerrymandering in the traditional sense, since it's not tied to assembly, senate, congressional and council districts. I just don't get it. And I'm happy to report that the Grinch's heart grew 3 sizes today, because I felt a pang of sympathy for my neighbors standing in the cold outside 92.

Perhaps on a day less rife with anxiety over the election's result, we'll need to look into this curiosity. I smell a rat, or at the very least, incompetence.

And how about that wonderful parking lot eatery across from PS92 near Bedford? I'd do a feature on it, but I'd be afraid it would get shut down, like the in-their-home restaurant in PLG a couple years ago. Personally I think it's fantastic...they even sell newspapers with coconuts as paper weights. And today they were playing awesome AM radio hits from the '70s like "Knock Three Times...On the Ceiling If You Want Me." Or perhaps more appropriate around here "Knock Three Times..On the Ceiling If the Bass From the Dancehall Reggae Is Rattling Your Fine China."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Knights on Green Steeds Arrive

A trip to the Pioneer left me aghast. Dozens of what I can only assume are National Guard vehicles and troops convoyed down Flatbush Avenue on their way to Floyd Bennett Field, which I now understand is the staging ground for the Feds relief efforts near our coast and the Rockaways. It's seemed to many that the FEMA response has been slow, but help is obviously coming, as witnessed by this video I took:

In case you were wondering exactly what the Dept of Defense, under coordination from FEMA, was doing, here's a ridiculously detailed list. So I guess the support is finally arriving to the areas that need it most. Generators, fuel, food, cots, blankets, engineers and machinery for the heaviest lifting.

The only thing that WE seem to be lacking right now is bread. Check this out from the Pioneer this eve:

The following is for the most curious cats only. Turns out that most of the breads other than Wonder that show up in our local groceries come from a single conglomerate called...Bimbo. Yes, Bimbo. Or Grupo Bimbo (pronounced Beembo). They do in fact have local bakeries here in NYC, so it's not like your baked products are coming all the way from Bimbo's headquarters in Mexico. But I only just now found out how ubiquitous is the brand. Here's what they own, according to Wikipedia:
  • Arnold/Oroweat – Producer of loaf bread primarily sold throughout the United States.
  • Bimbo – Producing cakes and bread. Bimbo breads and cakes are found in major United States cities with large Mexican and Mexican-American populations.
  • Boboli – Producer of ready-made pizza crusts.
  • Brownberry - Producer of loaf bread primarily sold throughout the United States.
  • EarthGrains - Producer of loaf bread primarily sold throughout the United States.
  • Entenmann's – Pastry baker in the United States.
  • Francisco - Producer of bread and rolls
  • Freihofer's - Producer of bread and cakes most commonly found in upstate New York.
  • Marinela – Producer of Mexican cookies.
  • Mrs. Baird's – A leading bakery primarily present in Texas and surrounding states.
  • Sara Lee
  • Stroehmann's – With Oroweat above, a producer of loaf bread in the United States.
  • Thomas' – Producer of English muffins and bagels.
  • Tía Rosa – Producer of home-style bread, pastry, and tortillas.
Makes you think. It certainly makes deliveries easier...and I DO loves me some nooks 'n' crannies.

Sandy Food Drive - Close to Home

If you're looking for a place to drop off food nearish-by, try Eric Adams' office. Conveniently open every day from 11am, I suspect the energetic State Senator soon-to-be Borough President will have access to the trucks needed to get stuff where it needs to go. I'll check in with him and see where most of these foodstuffs will be heading. And thanks Megan for the heads up.


Holy Horsepucky. To view the after effects of the storm from the internets is one thing. Up close, it's a damn catastrophe. Yesterday a friend and I rode bikes down to Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach and Coney Island. I'd seen pictures from Red Hook, which seems to have a pretty excellent online presence that is able to articulate needs - Red Hook Recovers. It's a full-on sh*tshow there of course, but you get the sense that Brownstone Brooklyn is capable of sharing the news and helping in a semi-organized fashion. Elsewhere, less so.

Basically as we rode the ever-so-slight downward incline from Prospect Park to Brighton and Coney, the devastation became more pronounced. By the time you get to Sheepshead, every curbside is full of basement-discarded debris, downed trees and telephone lines, and electricity becomes scarce. I can only imagine the unprotected Rockaways look way worse. In fact, I just caught this Youtube video and cried. The Rockaways had come so far in recent years, becoming NYC's Riviera, with new construction and thriving businesses where it was once an eerie seaside ghost-town when I moved here 20+ years ago. My family enjoyed the recently reconstructed boardwalk and trendy concessions and beautiful beach many times this past summer. Gone, gone, gone...whole pieces of boardwalk have been swept into city streets.

But reports out of the Rockaways, Staten Island, and low-lying tidal flood areas of Brooklyn like Gerritsen, Bergen, Mill Basin, Manhattan Beach - not to mention Queens and the completely ravaged Jersey Shore - suggest that we are living through a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime tragedy effecting hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods. The effects will likely take years to recover from, and like Katrina before it, we may not recognize our region once the work is completed. It's that severe. I mean, if a parking lot of school buses looks like this:

For those of you like me who haven't a car, it would appear that bicycling to volunteer spots would be a good option. Or finding neighbors who are making a trip. And bringing non-perishables and washed, warm clothing, and batteries and baby food and diapers seems a reasonable alternative to heaving and ho-ing. But if you haven't had a chance to help and are feeling helpless because of the ENORMOUS lines for fuel, or childcare needs, or infirmity, or work, or stress, or whatever, don't feel bad like I've been feeling. There will likely be weeks and months of work to do, and like Katrina, communities might begin to feel forgotten even more than they do now.

Here's a local place to bring stuff that's within walking distance - the firehouse on Cortelyou. Unfortunately our beloved Q seems to be among the last trains to get up and running, though MTA is now saying it's running between Kings Highway and Atlantic, so maybe we CAN get to Cortelyou, or 7th Ave, where Temple Beth Elohim seems to be cooking with gas in the relief department. Last night I noted that the B41 seems to be running extra buses to handle the slack from the Q.

Of course, money is needed by relief organizations all over. But one thing I notice is that our stores are up and running, selling many of the goods that have been hard to get elsewhere. So perhaps this is a good time to raid the 99cent stores that sometimes incur the wrath of local residents for their ubiquity. Their mountains of dry goods could very well be a lifeline right now!

Feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions, and whatever else here!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Perfect Opportunity For Entry Level Restauranteur

The first thing the Q needs to ask is this: can you name the below device?

If you answered anything other than "induction cooktop" you got the answer wrong. It is not a turntable, and a turntable will not help you quickly and efficiently cook risotto. Don't try to convince me otherwise, for I have tried it.

It might seem an odd question at an odd time, but an opportunity has been made apparent to this blogger that you or your friends or your friends' friends might want to take note of. Michael Campbell, effervescent owner of 65 Fen and Delroy's and that "other place," lost his chef a couple months back and is now looking for someone with style, smarts and savvy to reopend Delroy's as your invention. In other words, if you have a killer idea and the energy to carry it out, here's an opportunity to waltz right into a pretty decent little space and create a following for yourself. The hitch? You guessed it. Induction Cooktop.

Which really shouldn't slow you down. You could prepare items elsewhere and bring them in already prepped, right? I'm not sure whether Michael got the liquor license to serve wine, but I was at the CB9 meeting where we gave the application the thumbs up. If you and he split the profit on opened bottles from the "wine cellar" next door...see where this is going? A win-win as they say. Or a wine-wine. A new day for you and your cooking. A sweet little shop that could open, say, the first of the year?

Stop in and see Michael, at 65 Fenimore, if you're interested. Tell 'em the Q sent ya. And if you're looking for someone to sample your wares, feel free to give me a shout. My mouth is open anytime.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

BBG Opens Tomorrow - Free Through Sunday

Just in case you were bugging out cuz the Prospect Park is verboten, the toll has been lifted at the pay-park across from the park. No bikes, scooters, fishing or running faster than a light trot.The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is splendiferous in autumn...see you there.

Pssst...New Business Alert

As evidenced by the dozens of comments to our post about the new joint at the old Mike's International, there's a real hankering for new under-represented options for the area. Well, the wait will soon be over for one joint that we whispered about awhile ago. I think it's fair after today to bring you up to speed.

There's a new business moving into an old barber shop one store north of Gino's sit down ristorante. I poked my head in there today, and sure enough the owner-partners Chad and Kola were there, two Brooklyn bred lads who say they know a thing or two about coffee. So yes, an espresso bar-pastries-internet place is opening in a month or two. Sandy slowed things down a bit, but the two gentlemen are nearing completion and ready to roll. So it looks pretty likely that a new option will replace the much-lamented loss of K-Dog and Blue Roost.

Good luck guys. From the responses we've received here, you should have a nice line out the door upon opening!