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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Where Jackie Robinson Once Reigned, A 7-11 Rises

The mystery is revealed. The SW corner of Empire at Bedford, which once would have looked across the street to the mighty Ebbets Field, will become a 7-11 store, which despite its name will undoubtedly be open 7-7-7, or rather 24 hours a day like most good bodegas, of which there are nearly a dozen already in the direct vicinity, meaning it will have to be the world-class Slurpees and 16-hour slow cooked hot dogs that draw in the crowds. Or, more accurately, it will be the small number of parking places that
allow for a quick in-and-out, or Kum-n-Go as we used to say in the midwest. The parking is HUGE to winning profits, since it's so hard to park next to your favorite bodega. The Q doesn't own a car, however, and there are a small army of 24-hour places on the west side of Flatbush up to Empire, so I doubt I'll ever see the insider of the place. Still, good to know there's a Slurpee to be had if I'm in some sort of DSM-V diagnosed emergency.

I'm not terribly surprised of course. Empire has become a bit midwestern in character anyhow, sort of resembling a typical cow-town frontage road, with its fast food and self-storage and auto-parts and beloved Firestone and such. It's a shame I suppose that it couldn't be more grand, and maybe one day it will be. Ultimately I blame Phat Albert's for letting its grand old bread factory building fall into disrepair, lending the whole boulevard a sense of desperation. With no civic leadership to speak of, there's also been no effort to develop the area, meaning, as it does elsewhere in the city, a sort of lowest common denominator hodgepodge of nondescription. As I've noted here before, I've always felt that this area would be great for mid-rise affordable apartment buildings, retaining ground-floor retail of course. I mean, right near the Park and Garden! Oh well. No one asked me and I doubt they will. Check out this picture though:

On the subject of convenience stores, I was excited to see that one of the very first, some say THE first, was a joint called UToteM from the southwest U.S. They were eventually bought out by the wildly popular Circle K franchise in the early '80s. I suspect the play on an "Indian" word didn't always meet with approval. Heck, I recall eating at a Sambo's restaurant when I was a kid, and thankfully you certainly don't see THOSE anymore. Trust me, despite the offensive name, the food wasn't worth saving either.

Over the years, and in my travels, I've never ceased to be amazed by the sheer number of these git-n-go style stores and the slight variations between them. In Iowa growing up, we had a lot of the aforementioned (and cringe-worthily named) Kum n Go's, but also both Quik Trip:
and Kwik Trip:

Casey's General store was another. But here are some of the other popular brands of Co-sto's I've noted and, yes, purchased oversized fountain drinks from:

Anyone from metro Philly has undoubtedly sated their munchies by walking into a Wawa and muttering "Gottahava Wawa."


But Upstaters and New Englanders are just as familiar with the Stewart's logo, emblem of a shop that seems to have really hit a home run by focusing on massive portions of ice cream, even sporting their own brand. Oh, and of course hardrolled pb&j for 99 cent! The classic indeed.

And don't fret if you head south of the border! Mexico's got you covered too. It's pronounced oak-so:

Thank you. Come again!


Anonymous said...

like most good bodegas, of which there are nearly a dozen already in the direct vicinity
Yet, there are no other bodegas on that stretch of Empire Boulevard, certainly not going toward the Prospect Park train station. Speaking of Ebbets Field,I make the walk every day to and from there, and I don't pass any along the way. There were bodegas along that route years ago.

I think the 7-11 will serve a purpose, especially since it comes with Citibank ATMs. There are no Citibank branches in the area either. &-11 is a convenience store and it'll be convenient for me. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the bodega of the south, the inestimable Piggly Wiggly!

I kinda miss 7-11's slow roasted/ dehydrated meat cylinders.

-Paul G.

Anonymous said...

711 sets standards for sanitation and our local bodegas, sadly, do not. This is just one of the reasons why 711 is going to upend the traditional NYC bodega.

Can't tell you how many times I've gone into stores along Flatbush to find that they've turned off their refrigerators to save $$ on electricity. One even confessed to me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:57 AM hit upon something that popped into my mind about the upcoming 7-11; it will be shiny, bright, new...and clean!

I'd like to see Wawa come up here. The ATMs at Wawa are surcharge free, which is a win-win for everyone!

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Anonymous said...

I'm not against 7-11 but I agree very strongly with the overall post being about total lack of vision and leadership on the development of Empire Blvd. Every candidate for office in PLG, every person in office, talks and talks about affordable housing and you're right, that would have been a perfect place to build affordable middle class housing if they were actually ever going to do anything. With thoughtfully done commercial space on the bottom floors. Instead we got....a bunch of storage facilities. Shame. Between this and last week once more seeing the same dealers we've seen every Summer for 6 years back on the corners on Flatbush I am not voting for anybody who has held office here in their running for Borough President. And you know who I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

so many storage facilities so that the people who are being kicked out due to gentrification can put their belongings into.