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, November 19, 2014

Speculation, Much?

So how did we go from armed robbers going after Ditmas Park businesses and residents to targeting gentrifiers?

According to a Gothamist piece, folks are speculating that the spate of armed robberies - presumably by the same folks, given the pattern - is somehow targeted against middle-class (and up) newbies? That's absurd, and totally misses the point.

Unless these hooligans have a very strange idea of social justice, they are...let me be super clear...ARMED ROBBERS. They steal things, then sell them, and use the cash to finance whatever it is they finance. That's it. Even if they WERE upset about gentrifiers, it's hardly the reason they snatched your laptop. Hey I'll be the first to apologize for my little diatribe if I'm proven wrong. But, c'mon y'all, defensive much?

Let me give a 1000% more plausible reason Lark, for instance, was targeted. Cash. Cash and a lot of easily pawnable luxury brand computers - Apples I'll bet - easy to steal and easy to sell.

Sheesh. Dollars to doughnuts these guys have robbed plenty of non-gentriers too in their lifetime. Hey, maybe even as part of this crime spree. Though it wouldn't make the news as such.


diak said...

Back in bad ol' days of high-crime NYC there was a saying known to those on both sides of the law: "Manhattan makes and Brooklyn takes!" Why is it such a stretch to think that now that a lot of those "makers" reside in Brooklyn they wouldn't be targets?

Or as the famous bank-robber Willie Sutton replied when asked why he robbed banks:
"Because that's where the money is."

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I shouldn't be. But I'm shocked the word gentrification came up around this. It plays into the fear of whites being targeted by blacks, BECAUSE they're white. And then someone will tell me that gentrification is not about race, which will force me to let out an exasperated sigh that lasts through Thanksgiving.

This line speaks volumes, from the article:

“Worst-case scenario,” Mr. Sheridan said, “the robberies are a pushback against the new people in the neighborhood.”

And what better way to push back than with guns and masks? Oy vey.

diak said...

I'm not surprised with this at all, even if I don't agree with it. Anti-gentrification is definitely in the air, right? Spike Lee's rant, that professor's ruminations on the death of Bed-Stuy, who knows how many think pieces in New York magazine, and, well, you've got to admit, a lot of posts on this blog. (And that's just the folks with brains; we won't go into the MTOPP wing of the Wingnut Party.) People are getting paranoid so it doesn't take much pressure to set off the tripwire of irrational fears.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I think people need to hear those rants, maybe if only to present the other side of the rah-rah spectator sport of Brooklyn Real Estate.

To equate the discussion of race or gentrification with crime proves we have a long way to go in this country. Heard someone talk about black on black crime? Guess what. Most crime in this country is white on white. Because we live segregated!

Crime was WAY WAY down in our neighborhood long before the current influx of newbies. Does anyone credit the longtime residents with the drop? Right now there's been a slight spike in shootings, not in Lefferts proper, but Flatbush and East Flatbush more generally. At the same time crime is dropping slowly, to new all-time lows. We live in a dense neighborhood...we should expect some bad stuff to go down from time to time.

I've been watching the numbers closely for many years now. I don't know how anyone with a brain and a heart would equate newcomers with lower crime. Maybe a touch. But not in proportion with sky high real estate prices and a massive jump in gentrification. If so, the drops wouldn't be equal to drops elsewhere in the City that were already gentrified long ago. Or ones that haven't been yet.

It really saddens me actually. Rather than looking at crime as everybody's concern, we make it us against them. And who exactly are the them? People of color? People with less money or cultural capital than you and me? Why not...criminals!

I know I'm preaching largely to the choir, but something is seriously wrong here. And it's not just some armed robbers on a spree.

babs said...

I've lived in NYC since 1977 and in Brooklyn since 1981 and I have to admit that the actions of some newcomers here give me pause - they really act like they are in some sort of Disneyland for adults, where nothing bad could ever happen. The other day, for example, I was at Berg'n and three guys sitting at a table next to me all got up at the same time to get beers, leaving three laptops completely unattended - they didn't even ask anyone to look out for them. It (almost) made me want to steal their stuff! Incidentally, a fundraiser was started for the victims of the robbery at Lark - in two days they've gotten over $5K in contributions, from 138 people. Maybe instead of resorting to armed robbery the perpetrators should instead set up a similar campaign.

babs said...

This is not at all meant to imply that any of the victims of these robberies were doing anything wrong, only that it's important for all of us to remember we're living in a big city, even if it is the absolute safest big city in the US, and there are bad people out there who do bad things. It's also a bit sad that $5K can be raised in two days to replace some laptops and iPads, when other, perhaps less newsworthy, charities have to struggle to raise funds.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

To those who don't know, Slappz has been tormenting me for years now. But not just me...I've spoken to other bloggers who get to enjoy his warped intellect and condescension as well. Every once in awhile he pulls an interesting argument out of a hat, when he's not regurgitating Fox News nonsense.

Slappz, let me get this straight. Had one of the laptoppers at Lark been packing heat, the whole scenario would have been avoided? More likely...the patron takes out a gun and a shootout followers, and rather than a few thousand dollars worth of stolen merchandise you get injured or dead bodies. The idiocy of that logic astounds me.

The point I was making, that you managed to miss, was that one hears the argument that whites should take solace because generally speaking it's black killing blacks, when of course, people tend to kill or shoot people they know, which tends to be people of their own color.

The fact that at least one of the suspects in this PARTICULAR armed robbery was described as Hispanic seems to matter not in the realm of irrational speculation of motive. I for one look forward to swift justice and an end to the speculation. As if Fear and Ignorance weren't already throwing a circus.

Anonymous said...

Newcomers blaming crimes on gentrification is the latest fad don't cha know?

Now it is true that the criminal element in this city likes to target gentrifiers more so than others due to what criminals believe to be a bigger reward in robbing a gentrifier or a business that caters to them aesthetic than robbing some corner store where there are cameras around.

Simply put, that is where money is with the least amount of resistance. If there were a chain of Caribbean establishments lined up on Cortelyou Rd, you can bet your ass that these thugs would rob them too if the opportunity presented itself. A robbery is just that, a robbery. Not some pushback against new people. Pushback would be picketing in front of these establishments, telling them to get out of the neighborhood.

Keep in mind, these areas in which the robberies occurred lacked density and lighting. Lark Cafe is in a part of Church Avenue that is desolate at night. Ideal spots for an armed robbery.

Mr Sheridian's comments come as no surprise. People like him are what many of us find insufferable with this new crop of gentrifiers. I don't think they want to be part of the existing community. They view those who don't fit into this hip and cool aesthetic as aliens from another planet. And what was their reasoning for this? Those god awful anti-gentrification writings on the Church Avenue subway station. You think perps care about that?

If I were a robber, I would be happy for gentrification because it brings in a younger, more affluent class of people into the neighborhood which means more people to rob and more businesses to loot.

diak said...

Perhaps you shouldn't be so downhearted about this, Mr. CF. If you think about it, this white gentrifier fearfulness is — in a backwards way — proof of what you're telling us all the time. Namely, it's ALWAYS about RACE. Maybe they're getting your message.
I think you can't have it both ways. On one hand, we're told over and over again that we're blind to the racial component of virtually every issue. And then when some whites want to inject race where it probably doesn't belong, you are "shocked."

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Yep. I'm shocked. And you're right, I shouldn't be.

If the insinuation is that by me, a lowly blogger, talking about race, it's somehow burdening the issue by talking about it at give me way too much credit. Given the cost of admission to this here rag, I say caveat emtpor.

And don't take yourself, or me, too seriously. It's what's on MY mind, and given the strangely large number of readers every time I talk about race (or new restaurants - the two speak volumes)...I'd say it's on a lot of other minds as well.

If you want to take a class in this sort of stuff, go to college. If you want to muse on it, then I invite you to dig deeper than I can possibly go. I'm sharing my thoughts, not writing a book. Yet.

Maureen said...

IFor what it's worth- I read on Ditmas Corner blog that the writer's group that were robbed in Lark were all women of color.