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, February 6, 2015

Well I'll Be Darned: A Lengthy and Fairly Accurate Article Appears On Our Neighborhood's Struggle

A well-researched article by Aaron Cantu appears in a lefty blog called Truthout. Here it is.

A few things I learned.

  • Spurned ex-City Planning worker Tom Angotti is apparently the go-to "expert" when it comes to issues of planning
  • We live in the western portion of East Flatbush (who knew?) 
  • "We are the densest populated area in Brooklyn and the second most affordable. We don't need or want more people. We don't need the creation of affordable housing." - Alicia Boyd
To the last point. Some in Alicia's crowd don't want residents of affordable housing to throw garbage in their backyards. And the densent part of Brooklyn is actually down by me: Caledonia I call it. It's in CB14, not CB9.
Otherwise it's an excellent primer, and I commend Cantu on doing his homework, and not sticking to the soundbites.


Bob Marvin said...

And, to the second point, we live in the northernmost portion of Flatbush, not East Flatbush, which starts across New York Avenue.

Nevertheless I too thought that article was pretty good and more accurate than most.

mdicus99 said...

Article is good, but misses a few critical points:

Park Slope Rezoning: Downzoned brownstone areas to move the density to 4th Avenue which runs over the R train line. This was Transit Oriented Development and precisely the trade off that was made. 4th Avenue was full of 1 story commercial uses (taxi depot, fast food restaurants), auto repair shops and gas stations, not residential.

Flatbush Downzoning: A similar rezoning happened in CB 14 (ca 2010) around 2010 where victorian flatbush was downzoned and areas near Flatbush Avenue were upzoned. Not mentioned in the article was how this rezoning moved all of the density from Victorian Flatbush to Flatbush Avenue. Notice that none of that housing is being built...

PLG Remains an Affordable Rental Community: The reason PLG remains affordable is because of the vast inventory of rent stabilized housing that exists along Ocean Avenue, parts of Flatbush Avenue and sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. If people really care about mitigating the effects of "gentrification", residents, MTOPP and others need to be joining forces with other affordable housing advocates to preserve this housing not just for the folks living there now, but for the future. This is HUGE gap in this article and tremendous resource that Park Slope, Williamsburg and other neighborhoods didn't have to protect long term low and middle income residents from the impacts of gentrification.

Fight for Empire Boulevard: What are we fighting for? I don't think I saw a mention of the total and utter mess Empire Boulevard is. 4 or 5 fast food places, MTA parking lot and other one story disappointments for people of any background and income level.

Fear of Height on Empire: This they got right, this really where the conversation needs to be.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure there will ever be a conversation.

Anonymous said...

Re:"4 or 5 fast food places, MTA parking lot and other one story disappointments for people of any background and income level."
What MTA parking lot are you talking about - the one by Prospect Park Station? That one is technically bounded by Flatbush and Ocean Avenues.

The vacant and dilapidated one-story vacant commercial buildings along Empire Boulevard are more of a disappointment than the McDonald's or the Dunkin Donuts.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think the guy who wrote this doesn't know what he's talking about. The premise that building affordable housing causes gentrification is the stupidest most absurd idea I've ever heard. If you're opposed to new housing development in the neighborhood because you don't want change, I can understand that, but don't try to claim that opposing all development makes you a defender of affordable housing. The fact is that this is a capitalist economy governed by the laws of supply and demand, and no amount of community activism will change the fundamental problem that there is much greater demand for housing in NYC than there is housing available.

mdicus99 said...

The MTA parking lot is at the intersection of Flatbush/Empire and Ocean and is a disappointment given that the intersection is the gateway to our community, Prospect Park and BBG.

BBG recognizes this and is redoing this entrance to be more welcoming just like it has done with the other entrances on Eastern P'way and Washington Avenue.

Rezoning would encourage a reshaping of this corner into something more attractive and welcoming to our community.

Dynishal said...

The parking lot that begins behind the Flatbush trees and wraps around the back of the station building & the adjacent MTA power station is an obsession of mine. Almost anything would be a better & more welcoming use than the current situation, with an ugly fence that collects trash surrounding an underutilized lot. I'd love to see fitness equipment, a small b-ball court, container gardening -- almost any active, community use. Between this lot & the spaces connected to the Prospect Park station on Lincoln Road & the Parkside station, MTA/NYC Transit is using its most of its PLG properties in ways that don't benefit our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Re:"The MTA parking lot is at the intersection of Flatbush/Empire and Ocean and is a disappointment given that the intersection is the gateway to our community, Prospect Park and BBG"

What about the mural on the Flatbush Avenue side of the station? What about the large kiosk that has directions for pedestrians on Flatbush Avenue? Do those not welcome people to the community?

There was a fundraising drive to restore the Flatbush Trees on the corner of Flatbush and Ocean? Does that not count?

Considering the verbal pushback that Gov. Cuomo gave to Mayor de Blasio's proposal of building housing over Sunnyside Yards, I doubt the MTA will be likely to "develop" that portion of the property any time soon. (It's still MTA property.) I'd rather have them concentrate on having them shovel that side of Flatbush consistently first whenever it snows.