(I did get a kick out of the line in the piece about the girl who moved to Bushwick in 2001 to an apartment for $950 a month, heard gunshots and got hit by a car, moved a couple stops back on the L to Williamsburg swearing never to go back to Bushwick, but then moved back to Bushwick 10 years later and bought a $370,000 apartment four blocks from the original flat. I mean, is that the story of NYC real estate in a run-on sentence or what?)
There was a bit or two of actual "Q at Parkside" interest in there, about the coming building at 626 Flatbush, a proposed complex that took some heat from commenters last time I posted about it here. You can read this excerpt from Michelle Higgins' piece if you're feeling link-a-phobic:
Developers have taken note. Hudson Companies, which invested early in places like the meatpacking district and Gowanus, plans to begin construction in late summer on a 23-story, 254-unit rental building at 626 Flatbush. “We sort of gravitate toward neighborhoods where the land is more affordable than prime neighborhoods,” said David Kramer, a Hudson principal, “but that still have so much going for them — where it’s easy access to the subway, retail that’s good and getting better, and a safe environment.”
Fair enough. Perhaps more than anything I've read about the neighborhood to date, that's pure unadulterated Brownstonerization. Don't try to deny it; I will claim you supplied it. Can't imagine that 123 on the Park, the old Caledonian Hospital, will be much different. That's why I have to laugh when I read some of the comments bemoaning lack of amenities around here. It's only a matter of time. There will come a day, barring major economic or terrorist tragedies, when we might wax nostalgic for the goode olde days of balde koins, closeout heavens and internet coffee houses. The Q is a realist, but I'm not always thrilled to be. And dang if I didn't get old too. [Not to go all off-topic, but I remember when yesterday's bands sounded like today's bands. It's annoying. It's not like today's bands sound bad. They don't. They still sound good. I'm not saying they sound bad, honest. I'm just saying they sound like a band that I used to like when I was your age called something else, which makes you think that I'm old, which I am. Which is why guys my age usually end up getting into jazz. Problem is, I don't really like jazz. That's why I work where I work I guess. A place where it doesn't matter how old you get, they don't make fun of you for liking the music you like. And you can talk to someone a third your age about what you like about it and not feel creepy. Is THAT the difference between art and pop? Not feeling creepy?]Mr. Kramer’s interest in the neighborhood was piqued after a college roommate bought a house in Lefferts Manor and told him what homes there were going for. “It occurred to me,” he said, “if you have a homeowner who is willing to pay that much in a landmarked district, it would be a compelling spot for a rental product that doesn’t exist in these transitional neighborhoods, with a doorman, concierge, views.” He says 626 will have all three, plus a fitness center, a screening room and roof-top garden plots.
Let me also dissect that word "prime" used in the excerpt as well. Apparently, Mr. Kramer does not consider this neighborhood yet prime, a word which can be defined many ways, but let's assume he's not referring to the mathematical term meaning a number that can only be divided by itself and one. Mr. Kramer means that while the area has some of the potential to be every bit as great as a Park Slope, a Cobble Hill, a Murray Hill or a Turtle Bay, it just needs a few doormen and roof-top garden plots to get it there. Thankfully, Mr. Kramer and other like-minded philanthropists are considering pooling their resources to take us to the promised land.
But now let me get serious for a second. Ms. Higgins is clearly an excellent writer and a well-researched one at that. But there's a moment in this article when I nearly dropped my, er, phone. Because I was reading it on a...phone. Which is a weird things to say, when you're, old. Anyways, I do have to say I take issue with a paragraph about Crown Heights that I find pretty lazy, or maybe just insensitive or indicative of the way real estate becomes a shallow stand-in for history and race-relations. When I moved to Brooklyn in 1988, I moved to a place that was both deeply segregated and yet, paradoxically, fiercely liberal, union, staunchly Catholic, way Jewish, Muslim, and every other faith, angry, ueber gesticulating, anti-Manhattan, suspicious of outsiders, suspicious of money, suspicious of developers...I mean it was so not what New Williamsburg is today. So this article that is basically about how the high price of housing and how it's sent some residents seeking new central Brooklyn neighborhood options, sets up this paragraph about Crown Heights:
I mean, "in part?" How about "thanks to the extraordinary power of the human desire to put aside ancient tribal resentments, fears and hatreds in order to love, live and learn from each other to build a better community and world so that their children might one day be brother and sister or even husband and wife and move the species towards a greater humanity, one where inalienable rights to faith, health and dignity might blah, blah, blah and blah blah, with blah blah and blah blah to blah????"
Buyers will find an area still very much in transition away from a turbulent past. In August 1991, to take a notable example, a Hasidic man in Crown Heights lost control of his car and killed a black child, sparking three days of riots that saddled the neighborhood with a reputation not easily shaken off. Community relations have vastly improved since then, thanks in part to residents’ efforts.
G'night everyone. May we never riot again, unless it's for a really, really good cause.