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.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Prospect Park News You Need To Know

The Parks Department has managed to commingle two silly catchphrases - MULCHFEST and TREECYCLE - into two glorious post-holiday shindigs next weekend. On the weekend from 10 to 2 both days, 12 &13, bring your tree to Park Circle (where PPSW meets Parkside) and watch it get chipped before your very eyes, and grab some freshly minted mulch to boot. You can also put your tree at curbside and DSNY will pick it up and bring it to the mulch pit. It's almost too mulch fun!

Folks have been asking after the Lincoln Road Playground, and according to a local jogger-father-parkguy, the twisty slide has been fixed and all they need to do is replace the effed up playground rubber so that kids will only fracture, not break, their arms when they fall off the equipment. Weather has impeded progress, but the p-ground should be open soon, though it might be just in time to get iced over. The Q will announce the date of opening as soon as I hear.

Lastly, and most troubling, it's true that the gorgeous Boathouse will not be open regularly on the weekends anymore. Me and Mrs. Q got married there. To my mind, it's a great beauty (the boathouse AND my wife), and if they could ever get that damned concession right, you know like a real little cafe, it would be absolutely perfect. But here's the thing. It was only really open to the public at all because it was home to the Audubon Society. The building is primarily used as a rental to make earned revenue for the park. It costs dough to keep it open, and the park is struggling. It was an obvious choice for closure and savings, and allows them to rent it on weekdays as well as nights. And while it may seem ludicrous that a park in the middle of a $75 million project wouldn't have enough cash to keep open the Boathouse, they're entirely different pots of money and you can't use capital project money for expenditures. Makes sense...the donors gave for Lakeside, not for the Boathouse. They'd be pissed; I'd be too.

What needs to happen is a campaign specifically to keep the Boathouse open and Audubon there. Right now, the plan is for "pop-up" Audubon programs around the park. That sounds like a fine idea - except that it means the Boathouse stays closed.

How do y'all see rectifying this bummer?


Anonymous said...

Is that music studio in there still open? I had tried to go and check it out a few times but there were always weddings going on, hence my access was barred.

Bob Marvin said...

The argument about funds not being available to keep the Boathouse open is certainly a valid one BUT it has to be taken in context with the fact that the Alliance has, over the last couple of years, ended the practice of having PAID school trips, which raised revenue. Earlier they had eliminated the position of the employee who had scheduled such trips and, more recently, the position of the employee who was supposed to raise funds for the Audubon Center. It seems to me that the alliance has taken steps to make the Audubon Center less well-attended and created a self-fulfilling prophesy that serves to withdraw more and more support.

I think that the Prospect Park Alliance has, on balance, done wonderful things for the park, but that their policies vis a vi the Audubon Center/Boathouse should be re-examined.

I suspect that my wife, who has started a campaign to try saving the Audubon Center (CF her article in the current Lefferts Manor Echo) will have more to say non this matter.

Anonymous said...

Wow - big bummer. I fully appreciate the difficulties of managing limited resources. But what do you want to bet the cafe over in the Picnic House stays open?

Yup, thought so.

-Paul G.
(I was also married at the boathouse, and will greatly miss taking my son there)

The Snob said...

From the conversation that I had with the Alliance, I can add that, as a positive, while the building itself will be closed on weekends barring events, the grounds will be open. Sitting at the boat launch and tables will still beckon on warm days (ahem, as long as no one's getting married). The Audubon activities around the park will be nice, as well, although they will no longer be our nabe's little secret. Also, the building will be open, as it is now, during school breaks. Hang tight until Lakeside opens?