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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Q Gardens Comes To Life

from Anna and DPC
All I gots to say is wow. Those crafty volunteers to our south and west have managed to take control of and make over that little chunk of garbage and weeds that was a triangle next to the Church Ave Q/B station. Next stop - community garden.

Thx Anna from Ditmas Park Corner for the great photolog. Y'all can see the transformation before your very peepers via her great coverage of the cleanup. The krafty krew even managed to rouse Councilmember Eugene from his annual hibernation from issues and concerns of his electorate.

UPDATE: They're Open! Nacho Mother's Tacos

If the above pun is painful, I do not apologize.

thx to Mindy for the pic!

The patron. El Patron. More like "the Boss" in Spanish. Not like The Boss in Jersey. More like the Colombian Drug Lord El Patron, a guy named Pablo Escobar, who supposedly put together a $30 Billion cocaine empire. Think about that. $30 billion in drug money. At one point he was earning $30 MILLION a DAY. He explained the business thusly: "It's simple—you bribe someone here, you bribe someone there, and you pay a friendly banker to help you bring the money back." Well, that might work in backward Colombia, but it'd NEVER work in a modern democracy like the United States of America. We keep a tight lid on any such shenanigans. That's why we've got such an egalitarian society.

Anywho, I guess Mr. Cocaine is coming to Lincoln Road. Or rather, the latest in a local franchise of Mexican eateries called "El Patron." It would appear they already have outlets in Queens and
Clinton Hill. And now, they get to try their hands at managing the notoriously fickle landlady Rong Ge.

Here's a picture I nicked off the internets of some El Patron food.
I'm sure it's perfectly delicious, but sometimes I'll look at a plate of food and I don't see the food, I see it chewed up and lodged in the stomach, then the small then large intestines, and I just think what an odd ritual we've attached to the shoving of dead plant and animal energy into our mouth-holes. I mean, the delicacy with which we sometimes adorn the dinner experience is really just ornate window dressing designed to hide the bestial nature of our crammings. What if such artifice accompanied the other end of the process? Then maybe you can see where I'm going with this.

But all that's for another post. Or maybe not. In the meantime, we can look forward to slightly better Latin offerings with the same relaxed family-friendly booze, chow and TV vibe. Here's to a happy ending, better than our Colombian friend enjoyed. And what exactly happened to all that money? I'm sure it was dispersed fairly to the populace, drug treatment centers and compensation for his victims, don't you think?

Flatbush Trees Coming This May!

Hey I nearly forgot. With all the insane chaos last week at the CB9 meeting, and with yours truly being "served" with a petition to be removed for attacking "black leaders" in the neighborhood (that's right - Mathieu Eugene and Alicia Boyd are now considered leaders by some. That's some sick joke, right?) there was some great news reported on the Flatbush Trees project and The Parkside Plaza. More on the latter in a bit, but for the Flatbush Trees Cate from Brownstoner ran a nice piece with the following picture. Thanks again for community support! As Eppley pointed out, this has been an awesome experience for the young students at Jackie Robinson who've been involved in making the elements of the soon to bloom trees.

I believe the Q owes apologies to his mostly decent neighbors for getting a little, um, hot under the collar at the meeting when these numbnuts from CHTU called me out for being a racist pro-development blogger. No offense, cuz Crown Heights Tenants Union does great work (I'm about to post about a protest this Thursday), but these young knuckleheads should take a look in the mirror. Being a self-loathing gentrifier does not give you license to call out longer-term residents like myself racist just because I don't think we're being well-represented or led. That's the ultimate insult, in my book, to equal rights. If you claim to lead, black or white, you need to do so with dignity, decency and diligence. Sorry Alicia and Mathieu. You fail miserably, and my saying so is no more racist than wanting slightly taller buildings so for all this insane development in the 'hood we can get a bit of affordable housing. Only someone grasping at cats would think otherwise. Plus they're humorless - they seemed to have missed the joke in every culled statement from the blog. When they said the word "assaholic" into the mic at the meeting as a quote attributed to the Q I had to smile through gritted teeth. Hey it's my coinage; so I'll tell you right now you mispronounced it. It's ass-ah-hawl-ic. Rhymes with alcoholic.

How's that for language unbecoming of a Community Board member? Keep it up and there's lots more to follow. If telling it like it is is a crime, lock me up and throw away the key.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pels Pies Company

Not their logo. Just random pic from the internets.

We've been warning you long it's time to get your pie and drink it too. Pels Pie Company, open tonight, with live music to boot.

446 Rogers
Tween Lincoln and Lefferts
Booze and Baked Goods

In other words, say goodbye to that carb-free weekday routine. Binge and Purge never felt so right.

thx to mr. plg for the tip! 

So I stopped in for pie last night. Sarah and Maddie were warmly welcoming, and the apple pie was just $4, big, and super scrumptious. Lots of curated wines and beer. The espresso machine is a-comin'

Come on by and welcome them to Rogers, the new Champs Elysees of Lefferts.

Sarah & Maddie at your service

Zoning Map For New Hudson Ambitions

In a lot of ways, the proposed Planning Study is hard to find consensus about because there's so much conjecture around it. But it's important to note that the most speculation revolves around areas that already have tons of potential to build new units "as of right." A commenter suggested that the parts of the Lefferts neighborhood experiencing a boom are already contextually rezoned. However, this is not correct, as the map of current zoning (above) shows.

The above includes areas of CB9, but everything from the south side of Clarkson down is CB17. Just below and to the east of Clarkson FlatBed is a lot of R7-1, though R6 allows for all manner of nutty stuff, as the planned 23 story tower down Nostrand past Church shows. It's zoned R6, so clearly you don't need R7-1 to go high - if that's your primary concern, which as Q readers will note, is not the only thing I take into consideration.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hudson Plans (Gulp) 420 More Units In Lefferts Area

Had to look at the calendar. Kendall C just sent me this article from the Commercial Observer - thought it by April Fool's. Interestingly, Hudson's plans pretty much perfectly match the likely strategy that the Q and others have predicted the industry to take. Build on transit hubs, buy up land that currently has little or no units, max out your FAR. And keep looking at the numbers, numbers, numbers. Hudson, as you recall, is building 626 Flatbush.

The best quote to walk away with..."Nostrand is the new Franklin Ave, after all"

“Hudson is very happy with the purchase and thrilled to continue developing in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a neighborhood we love,” said Joseph Kohl-Riggs, the director of acquisitions at Hudson, in prepared remarks. “Transit access is excellent, with the 2 and 5 trains two blocks away and the new Select Bus on Nostrand Avenue. We’re also excited about the corner retail here—Nostrand Avenue is the new Franklin Avenue, after all.”

Phase 1 of the new residential development will include 170 apartments and Phase 2 will have 250, according to CPEX.

“We have been advising the family for more than 10 years and the timing for this transaction worked out perfectly,” said Mr. Leary in a statement. “Our clients were able to capitalize on the demand for new housing in Brooklyn. Prospect Lefferts Gardens has some of the best housing stock in terms of pre-war buildings in all of Brooklyn, but there has been little new stock added to the market. We have watched values and demand in this neighborhood consistently rise year over year.”
310 Clarkson rendering

March Against Gun Violence Tomorrow

Geoffrey Davis is running for Assembly at the special election May 5. He's running against two other Democrats who are also not running on the Democratic line because the Democrats messed up and couldn't get a candidate by deadline. So, Davis is running under his own Love Yourself party. And he's holding a march against gun violence starting at Parkside and Bedford, tomorrow.

I'll write more about the campaign in the coming weeks, and yeah it would be easy to call the above know. See you there.

It's a fascinating bunch of candidates. Diana Richards on the Green and Working Families line. The BP and State Senator want septuagenarian Shirley Patterson on the Independent line. And there's an Orthodox candidate, Menachem Raitport, on the Republican line, who's sure to be competitive, meaning it's altogether possible that we might get a Republican Assemblyman, at least for one term.

So weird, it's not. Democracy ain't pretty.

626 Flatbush - Affordable Unit Applications Available

Say what you will about the Flatbush Monster. It's one of the only buildings around here being built that offers affordable units. The application is available, but the last page has the numbers most folks aren't wondering about:

At least now we have an answer to the question "affordable to whom." Just referenc the above, since it will be the benchmark in our neighborhood for the foreseeable future.

If you want a copy of the full application go here. Also, you can get an application by mail or phone - 646-388-8230

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The New Flatbush

Holy cow, this thing from Hello Living is quite the stunner, soon to grow from 1580 Nostrand below Church Avenue:

Reminds me of something I can't put my finger on, or rather shouldn't in public.

More pics show how you get that swoopy effect in the rendering:

Loyal readers will complain I've gone too much off course with this one. Not given the current rumblings in our neighborhood about rezoning. It is, in lurid detail, a wonderful example of creative use of the R6 zoning without contextual anything. Steve Smith of YIMBY explains how they did it.

GEM Closing

How on earth did rents rise to the point my beloved GEM Discount Store would need to close? My kids will be crushed. And my wallet emptied. Wah.

Over at (c'mon man, send me a note, I wanna know who you are!) is this photo, which if the text of Mr. Flatbushed's post is to be correlated is, in fact, the very corner of today's Duane Reade/GEM:

Methinks, rather mesuspects, that something fishy's in Flatbush. Perhaps a new plan for that VERY large corner space just a block from the park?

Just Concisely Venting

I'm hoping the whole City Planning study mess is over soon and either I can focus on sitting down at meetings with them or clearing my schedule for next couple years, focusing on housing and public safety or some such. It's been exhausting and emotionally draining. I hardly know why I care anymore. But I'm not a quitter and I'll see it through to the end.

One last time, I'll write down the reason I cared in the first place. Basically to psych myself up for the next round.

  1. The neighborhood has not EVER created a proper plan for growth with the City. It's time. 197a is not going to happen with CB9 as currently configured. This is the best way to learn, listen and develop responsibly.
  2. Developers are taking advantage of gentrification to build more and more market rate apartments on every parcel of land they can buy up.
  3. The City has placed an emphasis on getting developers to build affordable housing that is ACTUALLY affordable. Maybe not to the very poor, but to working families making less than $50,000. In 20 years, we'll be glad we helped protect diversity in our community, because right now, there are precious few protections for that.
  4. Blocks inside the major corridors can be protected from outsized and out of context development. That is a FACT and it has worked elsewhere. Check with other Community Boards...when they ask DCP to come in they get much better results than when developers and elected officials initiate the process.
  5. Empire Boulevard needs a serious look before it becomes tall hotels and/or more storage facilities (hey combine the two! now that's a million dollar idea). It's zoned "junk" commercial, when it could be a grand boulevard where people can live and businesses can thrive. Do nothing, and you don't get a chance to shape it, regardless how high.
  6. A private study has zero chance of breezing through the ULURP process. Unless a private group can come up with tens of thousands, maybe well over six figures, to do an analysis AND environmental review, you won't even have it LOOKED at by DCP with anything but a cursory glance. Then, they're the ones who prepare it, or not, for ULURP. If anyone doesn't like the way it looks - Eric, Laurie, Mathieu, Bill etc. - it will be altered to fit their concerns. So why not START with the City? I don't need a degree in Planning to argue for less density and height and more contextual zoning. No one does. You argue for what you want and give a common sense defense. Don't try to tell DCP what they already know. But if you do a study, then I suppose you come armed with some extra degree of clarity. So do the study. Be part of the process, don't derail it.
  7. MTOPP and others have completely upset the existing equilibrium in the neighborhood and should not be allowed to run the process. To date, they have. Their tactics of trash and burn have infuriated well-meaning community leaders and volunteers. They've tarnished the reputations of people, and divided the neighborhood along racial and class lines. They've infuriated the Jewish community by singling them out as getting special protections. I would love to see their efforts go down in flames, though at this point it's hard to see them going anywhere. Including their members who don't even live in their neighborhood.
Yeah, it's frustrating. It's particularly frustrating to have smart, talented members of the community argue against the Study. But they're all good people at heart, and I don't begrudge any of the angry homeowner crowd. There's really only one full-on race-baiting jerk, and I hope her Air BnB business gets a slew negative reviews, and that her non-profit get busted for raising money that has nothing to do with its mission. New Directions in Healing indeed. But in the great human spirit, may she not get hurt, unless it's emotionally, as she's done to many others. Lie for a lie, truth for the truth. Or lie for the truth, truth for the lie?

I'm still working on it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Neighborhood Association Gets New Leadership

PLGNA's been around since the '60s and has a great legacy of work done in the name of the community. In fact, the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association is, after all, where PLG got its name. Founder Bob Thomason is still kicking and can be heard firing up the crowd at local meetings. About five years ago the group rebooted after a bit of malfeasance-induced hiatus, and gradually it's begun to get its sea legs.

And tonight, the group elected a new President, in Quest Fanning. I've known Quest long enough to develop deep confidence in his intelligence and commitment to the needs of the neighborhood. Quest is a genuine and curious guy, funny and sincere. He's a lifelong resident of Ocean Avenue with a brief detour to Patio Gardens and is a recent new husband and dad; that is to say, he's putting down roots here in his own roots. I've seen him get downright passionate and even a little choked up when talking about the great strength and diversity of his neighborhood. Congrats Quest, and may you do great things.

But he's not alone. The smart-as-a-whip defense lawyer Joyce David will serve as secretary, and the delightful retired educator and Chester Court dweller Brenda Edwards takes the VP slot. Nelson Simon stays on as treasurer.

NYC is a town of neighborhoods, and every strong neighborhood has a strong association of blocks and committees addressing the various needs and constituencies among its residents. There is a long tradition in this town of organizing by 'hood, and developing community in order to have a voice in a massive City.

Here's to PLGNA, and to its new Board officers.

Committee Blows It - Back Again It Goes

Short version: MTOPP called attention to the fact that Ben Edwards had adjourned the meeting, then Demetrius Lawrence said "wait we have to vote" and said it wasn't adjourned, thereby making the vote to send the draft to the full board null and void. Another meeting will be called to re-vote, and to discuss a proposed (just proposed at this point) text amendment that would allow builders more buildable feet if they provide certain needed housing, for seniors in particular. Of course, those vehemently opposed to any increased density are opposed. Opposed to, it would appear, seniors. No affordable housing via inclusionary zoning. No new senior housing. Because we can't handle a couple stories of extra height. Unbelievable. Whose side is the opposition on, I ask?

As an added bonus, some young Alicia acolyte read aloud a petition demanding my ouster from the Board for being racist and disrespectful. To which I must ask...a promise or a threat? Granted, I'm not the only one being tarred and feathered. Eric Adams and Pearl Miles get a lot of abuse. New temporary chair Laura Imperiale got her fair share. But since Alicia's petition to have me removed contains specific accusations, I thought I'd claim them all in a concise little list.

  1. Calling Mathieu Eugene not worth his cheap suits. Check
  2. Calling Alicia and certain members of her crowd Assaholic, in need of a 12-step program for Assaholics. Check.
  3. Calling (now resigned) chair Dwayne Nicholson in need of leadership training. Check
  4. Calling the Community Board an embarrassment, which ironically is akin to what Alicia's been saying for the past year. Check.
  5. Writing the post "Not In My Black Yard," where I suggested that Alicia is using race-baiting techniques to cover her real objective, which is to not allow building on Empire, which is quite literally her back yard. Check.
  6. Writing "perhaps Alicia will break her jaw gardening," thereby rendering her unable to hurl insults and disrupt the meetings. Actually, I could see how that one could be interpreted as wishing harm on her. I don't. She's done irreparable harm to herself and needs no help from me. Debatable and deleted.

That's it. After tens of thousands of words on a gazillion topics. That's what they can come up with. Frankly, I'm not doing a very good job of speaking my mind if that's the best they can do. You'd think I'd have betrayed my love for the community more than that on a slew of occasions. I write this stuff as quickly as I can because I have precious little time each day. I suppose I could use an editor, but where's the fun in that?

Meanwhile, the ignorance continues. While fighting the Community Board - who are NOT experts and should NOT be counted on to answer specific planning questions - the community is missing its best opportunity to go block by block to determine where you should and shouldn't build new market rate buildings.

In the meantime, I would ask that you consider the following projects (a partial list at best) of new buildings going up CB9 that have NO affordable (up to roughly $50K in income for families of four, in most cases) units. And this doesn't take into account the dozen + projects in farther south in Flatbush proper, on Lenox etc. In fact, one of the only buildings with affordable units is...626 Flatbush. I'm close to saying "let the haters get what they want." Go ahead, let the building continue without input from us or the City. Just see what we get.

  1. 165 Apartment building on Rogers at Crown, replacing St. Ignatius
  2. The old Gulf Station at EP & Bedford - might be a hotel OR residential
  3. The old Sea Crest Linent site at 46 Crown. 209 units rental building
  4. Tivoli Towers is undergoing a repopulating campaign with its new jerky landlord looking to change the wealth of tenants. Already the harassment has begun.
  5. The former parking garage on Carrol near BBG will be midrise residential
  6. On the NE of EP and Bedford (I know, across the street) 133 apartments
  7. The Associated on Nostrand was bought, and they're lying about letting the supermarket stay for 5 years. Mark my words
  8. The BBG owned spot on Montgomery near Washington will be 170 units
  9. Never to be forgotten...ever...23-stories of 626 Flatbush
  10. EP & Nostrand - 29 unit building
  11. The hilarious little triangle at 995 Washington
  12. 31 Lincoln 87 units
  13. 651 New York Ave and Fenimore/Hawthorne - 40 units
  14. 329 Sterling Street, rentals
  15. 111 Clarkson - 50 Unites
  16. 149 Clarkson - 5 story rental
  17. 50-54 Clarkson - when the hell are they gonna start that one?
  18. 371 Lincoln Road
  19. One Sullivan 
  20. 90 Sullivan Place
  21. Those new townhouses on Hawthorne on the way to Nostrand
  22. 46 Crown
  23. Not in district but 123 on the Park and its soon to be built sister building alters the nabe vibe considerably
  24. Many many more in the works
Lest any of you living or planning on living in the above think I have a problem with you, don't fret. The second you move in you're a neighbor. And to be honest, we're a lovely nabe and the City's growing, so who's to blame you?

It's simply a matter of planning for the growth. That's all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tonight's Community Board Meeting

Agenda items 1 and 2 are issues close to the Q's heart. Number 3 will likely bring more shouting. Hopefully the issue will be laid to rest tonight. Thumbs up, thumbs down, it's fourth down, I'm tired, and ready to punt.

Shootout at the Not O.K. Corral

Ironically, I had just finished telling an inquisitor who was interested in moving to my block that things were real quiet down my way lately. This was the kind of rival group shooting (you could call it gang if you like, though I don't like using that term unless it's confirmed that it was ABOUT a gang dispute). This is just the kind of violence that gives you pause. Bedford and Clarkson. Busy intersection. Reading the description in the Daily News, you can't help but wonder what these guys were thinking.

Two men were wounded in a shootout between rival groups on a Brooklyn street Monday, police said.

The victims, ages 22 and 29, were hit during an exchange of gunfire between the two groups, who were standing across the street from each other at Clarkson and Bedford Aves. in Flatbush shortly after 5 p.m., police and witnesses said.

"They were arguing. I see them arguing and arguing. When they started shooting, everyone started running," said Natasha Renaud, 25, who was doing laundry on the block.

The older man was hit once in the lower right leg, the younger one twice in the torso, according to police sources.
Witnesses said the men opened fire despite innocent passersby being on the street.

The groups started shooting despite the presence of passersby, according to witnesses.  

The groups started shooting despite the presence of passersby, according to witnesses.

"There was a lady with a little girl, and they shoot and they don't care," said witness Elias Osorio, 32.

Both men were taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition.
Cops recovered both .9-mm and .45-caliber shell casings on both sides of Clarkson Ave., police sources said.

Cops were searching for the shooters Monday night, but had made no arrests, according to police.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Beautiful Pink Tickets Blooming Throughout Neigborhood

Bam! And then it hits you...

If you see a marked Sanitation enforcement vehicle in front of your home or business, don't think they're just texting or snoozing. They're probably writing you a ticket for being trashy. Think you've kept your sidewalk clean? Take a look into the street 18 inches from the curb. That's your responsibility too.

Just as I was leaving the house with Little Miss FlatBed Jr. a gentleman presented me with my pink summons for $100. There were flattened frozen carboard boxes and some old carpeting that apparently become uncovered during the great melt over the weekend. And while the cars had been parked upon said garbage all weekend, it was this AM that Mr. Clean rode by and saw it. Yes, I have an excuse. But plain as day, there it was for the whole world to see. And this, after cleaning garbage from all down my side of the street on Saturday! Oh, the injustice.

This is what we get for increased enforcement. And I, for one, am glad for it. The neighborhood's a friggin' dump most days, and it's time we all took responsibility for it. See something, don't just say something. Put it in a can. And ticket the hell out of those businesses who leave mounds of trash in front of their establishments. It doesn't matter WHOSE garbage it is. It's WHERE it is. End of story.

But yeah it sucks when it's your turn. I'll probably write in my defense, just to satisfy my urge to say F.U. BUT, at least we don't have it as bad as in the 19th Century, when seeing dead animals at the curb was not so uncommon. I wonder if those fancy big street sweepers could have handled THIS:

That's Not Photoshopped Folks

Friday, March 20, 2015

ULURP Meeting Minutes

In the interest of greater transparency, I'm including here the minutes from the last ULURP Committee Meeting, 3/16/15. (I'm not going to dignify the petition currently going around asking for my ouster from the Board, except to say that some of the things I'm being called out for kinda tickle me. I still like the line "maybe we'll get lucky and Alicia Boyd will break her jaw while gardening at her townhouse" I was imagining her at a CB9 meeting with one of those jaw-braces on, trying to disrupt the meeting without opening her mouth. But I can see how that might have stepped over the line. I'm sorry if that sounded violent; it was meant to be darkly humorous. I honestly don't wish any ill will upon her or anyone else. Just a little quiet so we can think and speak, that's all I ask. But calling Mathieu Eugene not worth his cheap suits? I mean c'mon. You can't knock crappy elected officials, regardless of race? Where are we, Putin's Russia?)

Anyhoo, here are the minutes and I hope you enjoy the back-and-forth. Once Alicia was gone, there were good points made, despite the constant interruptions and my own ugly outburst when someone from Joyce Stewart from 320 Sterling Street screamed at me "All you want to do is protect your house in the Manor." Hey man, you can knock me six ways til Sunday, but don't call me a Manor guy! Not that I wouldn't LIKE to be, mind you. Damn nice blocks.

Parents Take Note: Next Saturday's BK Rocks for Maple Street School

A great time, circus style booths, food and music in a new location this year. The Masonic Temple was fun but too boomy...this should be a lot more fun with less chance for acid flashbax. Tickets here.

Gorgeous Parkside Avenue Gets Its Due

It may not be "in the Manor," but Parkside is where it's at, baby. I never get tired at looking at these beautiful duplex buildings. Montrose Morris gives it its due today in Brownstoner. The full story here.

photo by S. Spellen a/k/a MM

Thursday, March 19, 2015

338 Lincoln Road Next

Google view will show you where it is: 338 Lincoln, btw Rogers and Nostrand. Mike F tells us it went for $180K. Wow. And right next to a Fedders. Damn those things are hideous. And I'm not even all that picky. We gotta demand an end to front of house parking spaces. It kills a block's vibe. Granted, I'm not a driver. What do y'all think?

ULURP Committee Approves Letter to Department of CIty Planning

After a year of turmoil, the (current) ULURP committee has approved a letter, to supersede the rescinded previous letter from March of 2014, and guess what? It's basically the same. It asks for the Department of City Planning to start a study in collaboration with the community. In it, a specific (wholly unrealistic) request is made that all new residential construction in rezoned areas must have 50% affordable, and 30% middle income, and 20%  for higher incomes. Read that sentence carefully and it kinda sounds like it's asking for these percentages so that high income people can stay in the neighborhood. But what's a comma between friends?

Why is this "mandatory inclusionary affordable housing" important? Because without it, it's unlikely that much means-tested housing will be created at all, as of right. As we've seen, projects are cropping up right and left, and nearly none have and affordable units built in at all. I can hardly see how this isn't a win for sanity and decency. And yes, we'll likely allow residential on Empire, a much needed improvement that could help the City grow along transportation hubs. Look around the world and see what happens when you don't plan smart for growth. NYC, of all world cities, needs to figure out how to be denser smarter and with a diverse citizenry. To me, that's what it's all about. Oh, and a decent Empire Boulevard that doesn't feel like a mugger-burger paradise.

DCP claims they rarely come into a community until asked (unless the Mayor initiates it, like in East NY), so one would hope that the Board would approve this on Tuesday and the conversation and environmental review will begin. I'd be very happy to see any and all District 9 residents read up, learn up, even conduct their own studies to bring to the table. The time for specific screaming conversations about specific blocks will be a welcome change from the screaming about process and the illegitimacy of the community board. Let the new and improved screaming commence, I say.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Youth Leadership Council - Tell a Neighbor!

Tell everyone you know with teens, or be a mensch or menschette and reach out to some kids you see on the block and tell them about this fantastic opportunity.

NYPD does this cool program that creates meaningful relationships between young people and the cops. I don't need to stress how important this is these days. It really can mean the difference between terrible tragedies and communication. Imagine at least one young person on each block, an ambassador for a different trajectory, a person with a direct line to the authorities. It's not for everyone; some people mistrust the cops so much they wouldn't even be seen with one.

Here's the application. At the very least, it's a chance to reach out to folks, which is the very most effective way to create a real neighborhood vibe. I don't mean to sound corny, but...we're the adults now. It's our time to be the role models, assured and brave and reaching out of our comfort zones. I'm going to take my own advice and bring this thing to at least three prospects on my block. I hope you do the same. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've never once had a problem when talking to young guys on my block as long as it's about something positive. Love to hear if any of you have similar experiences.

Hello Community;
     We would like to introduce you to a new Youth Program called the NYPD Youth Leadership Council, it's a group of trained young people who work in partnership with adult leaders on a defined area of policy, practices and /or service to impact individuals and communities with a focus on youth.  The age of the Council members are 14-18 years old.  The Youth will serve for 1 year.  This Council will meet once a month at a chosen location.  The Youth will be picked up by police and dropped back home. 

    This Council will help Youth develop leadership skills, provide exposure to the law and law enforcement, Assist peers and community by addressing issues of mutual concern, engage in Civic duties, they'll learn about government, fulfill community service requirements and work towards a letter of recommendation for college.

    Please mention this Youth Council to your neighbors and Community Associations.  We are looking for youth to start this Youth Council Thursday, March 26, 2015.  Attached is the application and it should be submitted to the 70 Precinct Community Affairs Office or the 70th Precinct Youth Officer.  Thank you. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Myspace Realty Coming to Flatbush - Hold On To Your Jetpacks

Remember Myspace? Remember Friendster? AskJeeves? City Search? Urban Fetch? Lycos? Actually all of the above still exist. They adjust, they downsize, they become something specific and tiny. The Q was trying to remember his first email address...I know it had to be silly. It was AOL and everybody did that. It was like when we discovered you could be goofy on your answering machine and we all had to try it. This is before cell phones. This is when you might not be able to get hold of your best friend for a COUPLE OF DAYS because they were busy. You dealt. It was a fact of life...not everyone is waiting by their phone. You might have to call one of their other friends and ask if they've seen them. You had a list of numbers written on the wall in pencil. You used pencils.

Want to think something REALLY amazing? Remember when Nirvana's Nevermind came out? And Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory? Those game-changing records happened in 1991. That year, I was at a party, and this guy named Jason was typing at an old-style Macintosh Computer, which looked like this:

I asked him what he was doing while the rest of us were dancing like maniacs to Nirvana and Tribe. And he said, I kid you not "I'm typing with someone in Japan. In real time.The internet is awesome." So check this list on the Wikipedia of all the websites that were around pre-1995. It'll blow your mind. Crazier still, this link to CERN, one of the only "websites" that would have mattered in 1991, because the W3 (World Wide Web) was still referred to as a "project." Okay, so if you're a computer nerd you're not impressed. But this just wasn't that long ago, and I'm having a hard to remembering what that was internet. I mean I know Gramma didn't have the internet for most of her life. But me? I'm modern. I'm a contemporary of Bjork for god sakes!

So...oh yeah, Myspace Realty. They're pretty much the Gentrification Accelerator. You know things are about to get really white really fast when Myspace arrives. Why? Because their whole biz model depends on it. Okay, okay, it's a "class" thing not a race thing. Except when it isn't. Whic is most of the time.

Here's what the always on-it Mike F. has to say about it over on his Brooklynian thang.

MySpace NYC Real Estate
Lefferts Gardens
661 Flatbush Ave. (near Hawthorne)
Brooklyn, NY 11225
Coming soon 4/1!

Their business model is to be the realtor of choice for LLCs which have recently purchased small to medium-sized buildings. Vacancies are then created by paying off (and/or pushing out) long-term, often rent stabilized, tenants. Once apartments are vacant, quick renovation jobs are completed, which cater to the preferences of young people (ie stainless steel appliances, IKEA cabinets and closets, and exposed brick). The apartments are then rented to young people who are renting their first place in the city, and often willing to share the units with others. By creating bedrooms, being willing to accept shares and even facilitating matches, the apartments are often filled "room by room" by tenants who need an apartment quickly and don't own a lot of stuff. As a result of working closely with LLCs who flip buildings, MySpace is willing to charge the new tenants "no fee". Whereas many realtors who target more established tenants, charge a fee to fill apartments in buildings they have no relationship with. By being willing to accept lease guarantors (usually the parents), the firm houses young people with no established work history who are often willing to live in neighborhoods that their slightly-more-established-in-NYC peers shun. By targeting young tenants, the firm can be assured regular turnover which results in vacancy bonuses to apartments that are still subject to rent stabilization. A very powerful, efficient, profitable model. ...driven by demand. And, often completely legal. It only works in neighborhoods that are very close to more expensive, more desireable areas. - See more at:

Parkside Empire Street Fair Meeting - Tonight at Bluebird!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tonight's Meeting at CB9

So if you weren't there I don't really blame you. It was kind of like trying to knit with your hands tied behind your back. Which, had Alicia Boyd been knitting, she would have learned how to do, because once again her outrageous disruptions led to her being cuffed:

Alicia's coalition of, um, maybe six people, screams and yells over the top of everyone pretty much the entire meeting. You almost get used to it after awhile, the brain filtering out the white noise (no, I'm not going there, so don't try to say I was thinking of making that joke because I'm not that crass.)

We tried to conduct a meeting. It was fairly productive, in the sense that the few people with anything important to say said it. Who were they? Fred, Warren, me, some lady from CB8, Beverly Newsome, Renne Collymore, Kenya Sollas, the gentleman who is prez of the Union Street Block Association, Jake Goldstein, Suki Cheong, Carmen Martinez, and a couple of ladies who are always at these things and probably live up near Empire whose names totally escape me. Maybe a couple others, I don't know. Ben did an admirable job given his lack of charisma from the mic, and he managed to get us out of there by 10, which is really all any of us could have hoped for. Thank you Ben.

Bottom line? The committee was generally in favor of the draft, asking only for the word "modest" to be further detailed in reference to blocks over in the mostly Jewish part of the neighborhood who want to make, er, modest expansions to their homes. Not a game changer, but Beverly's point was excellent anyway. Then a number of people chimed in that they'd rather have 50/30/20 housing than the 50% affordable request in the draft. What was hilarious was that some in the room seemed to think that the vaunted 50/30/20 was actually considerably BETTER for low income people, but I'll leave it to them to find out that 50/30/20 actually exists, but it's for 50 % market rate housing, not 50% low income, and nobody is going to take them up on it anyway, because it's not what the market will bear, even WITH the huge tax write-offs offered to developers. Whatever, that's what a Study is for. So people can, you know, study the issues.

So what's the upshot? After all the hemming and hawing over the past year (exactly one whole year) we have basically the same document that will go the full Board that we had one year ago. It would seem that the committee was generally fine with it, save a couple naysayers. And despite the fact that a few words have changed, I've discussed this with Planning many times and none of this language means much at all anyway. The key part of it is "we'd like the City to start a study now." And we laid out a simple case for contextual zoning and (that word) modest increases in density to support affordable housing creation.

Now, to bed, knowing that I only got angry and had to walk out once. Progress, not perfection.

Please Vote In Lead-Up to Tonight's ULURP Committee Meeting

I think Babs had a good point about there being too many petitions flying around these days. However, since the neighborhood group Concerned Citizens has created one of their own, I propose that readers sign either theirs or mine before the ULURP Committee Meeting where we will discuss the draft to City Planning of a letter designed to finally begin a study, after a year of debate and information gathering.

Kind of an informal poll, if you will:

If you'd like a study to proceed sign this one:

If you'd prefer that we vote "no" to proceeding, so that the community find a way to conduct its own study prior to any City involvement:

I'll be sure to bring the tally to tonight's meeting as at least some evidence of community support for or against the revised draft below, which may include some slight revisions by the end of the meeting, depending on committee members input:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

UPDATE: Wine Store NOT Coming to Flatbush Near Lincoln Road

Not the guy opening the shoppe, nor is this his baby.

While it's not over til the Phat Lady croons, plans are afoot for a local resident to open a wine store at the old Blue Roost Cafe B'Fruitee spot, 539 Flatbush.

How does the Q get his information, anyway? It's a mystery even to him.

Scratch that. A wine store is definitely coming, but the old Blue Roost spot didn't pan out.

If you have a good lead, why not shoot me an email, since I know who the resident is that's opening a shoppe.

Come Out For Parkside Plaza Meeting - THIS SUNDAY

If you want to dip your feet in a feel-good bit of community involvement, you'd do much worse than to join the Parkside Plaza committee, which is nearly ready to remake Parkside Plaza in the image of the Platonic ideal of a Plaza. Lefferts-style, of course.
When you have a great logo, you're rolling with the big boys!

We are just two months away from the opening of our new plaza on Parkside. It's been years in the making, and the day is almost here.
There are lots of small things we'll be doing over the next two months to get ready:  distributing posters about opening day, passing out fliers to invite our neighbors out, planning fun events on the plaza for the warm weather ... and we need your help!  Please come on out to our big spring meeting:

WHEN: Sunday, March 15 at 5pm
WHERE: PlayKids, at 676 Flatbush Ave
WHO:   You!

We look forward to seeing you there,


for Parkside Plaza,
a project of the Parkside Empire Flatbush Avenue Merchants Assoc.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Here We Go Again...

In her latest missive to her diminishing band of acolytes, the hardest working woman in show business, Alicia Boyd, has now decided to attack the likely (read likely) interim Chair of CB9 Laura Imperiale, who would get the gig soley because chair Dwayne Nicholson couldn't hack the insanity anymore and resigned. Alicia claims Laura would benefit personally from any new residential on Empire Blvd. because she works for a construction company that builds out infrastructure. Laura is smart and a straight-shooter and will hopefully ignore this onslaught, but as we've seen, it's hard to ignore a madwoman on a rampage.

The Board, however, would have to ratify her appointment as temporary chair, so it's even too early to start lodging official complaints.

Below is the remarkably detailed nonsense from MTOPP. Note that they claim 20K - 40K people are moving to the neighborhood if we allow residential on Empire from Flatbush to Rogers. Because as we've seen and I've posted about, there's a few thousand people coming to district even without a Planning Study. All Alicia needs to do is step one or two blocks north of her beloved Empire Junkenue to see how much new construction is happening.

I get more disgusted all the time. The woman is actually quite calm and collected when outside these board settings, so it's clearly all an act designed to give her exactly what she wants - status quo next to her house. I refuse to be bullied. The Board should refused to be bullied. We should all be able to move forward without this nonsense. Her opinion is valid if she states it calmly and is real about just how few people stand behind her. If you see her, tell her I said so. Actually, she reads the blog, so don't bother! She called me out by name in her LAST message.

Basically, Alicia is calling out Imperiale out for doing her job up til now as a Board member. What's next...suing someone for voting against her wishes? Or for looking at her sideways?

I guess it's your turn Laura!

Dear Community Board 9 member

MTOPP is requesting that due to Conflict of Interest that Laura E. Imperiale,
acting chair be removed from her position. 
For brevity sake, I will outline the contents of this email
and provide attachments that contain evidence as well
as the law governing CB9 members in regards to conflict of interest law.

I can assure you that conflicts of interest are taken very seriously
when it comes to Community Board members and their conduct. 
It is unlawful to intentional use one’s position on the board
for one’s own professional or personal gain. 
We believe that Laura has done just that!

Proof of Laura Conflict of Interest contained in this email
Under the following categories.
Laura’s Company Tully Construction
Laura’s Employment History
Laura’s Current Position
Laura’s Actions as Vice Chair and acting chair of CB9 Board over the last year!

As a result of our findings, we will be doing the following.
1.      Providing the entire community with this information
and requesting that they submit a complaint (anonymously if they chose)
concerning this serious conflict of interest.
(find attached “complaint Conflict Letter)

2.      We will be placing an request for an immediate investigation
with the Department of Investigations,
and the DA’s office of Public Integrity Division.

3.      We will demanding that Laura Imperiale be removed as temporary chair,
and that any appointments she has made to the ULURP committee
or any other decisions she has made as temporary chair be null
and void until  the investigations being launched are completed.

4.      We will be putting out an official statement to the media
and providing them with evidence, of this serious issue,
to ensure that the community at large is aware
that one of the largest construction lobbyist in NYC,
with strong political ties is now chair of a community board,
that is engaging in a serious struggle over land use!

Evidence of Conflict of Interest
Laura’s Company Tully Construction
Tully Construction is a multi-million dollar construction company
that secures City Agency contracts to do all types of construction,
mainly focusing on structural modifications
and changes to Urban Landscapes
Their clients include, MTA, NYC DDC, NYC DEP, NYC DOS, NYC EDC,
Below is a link to the Columbus Circle project they did for the city in 2005,
in which serious infrastructure was performed both underground and on the street level.

This is the same type of work that would be needed
 if Empire Blvd would be changed from a Commercial zone, to a residential
Major work on the sewage, gas lines and other public lands
 would have to be performed to accommodate
20,000 to 40,000 new residents on a three block radius

This would include both surface and underground construction;
the addition, relocation and removal of sewage lines,
water mains, gas lines and steam pipes along
with road and other surface details  construction
that Tully Construction performs for public agencies.

Thus Laura's firm will greatly benefit from this up zoning
if several years from now they are selected to perform these jobs.
Of course by that time Laura, would be long gone from the board.

Laura’s Employment History
Prior to joining CB9 and before she went full-time at Tully Construction
she worked as a consultant for Constantinople & Vallone Consulting LLC
advocating on behalf of charter schools, banks,
 real estate developers, landlords, and  management companies.

Laura’s Current Position
Laurie is the Director of Governmental Affairs
For Tully Construction Co. Inc/Tully Environmental Inc.
As the Director one of her primary jobs is to secure contracts
with the various governmental agencies by lobbying the local
Politicians, in particular the City Council and Mayor’s office.
(see attached “NYC Lobbyist Search – Laura and 2Laura)

Thus she has a relationship with the local politicians and
We are sure with further investigation, we will see that she
Also has a relationship with City Planning.

As the climate in our political environment is for the up zoning of
Our community stated by our Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
And Borough President Eric Adams, it doesn’t take a lot to
assume that Laurie is pushing on their behalf because of her
Professional relationship to the political structure here in NYC.
And at the same time securing future deals for her company.
The following evidence will attest to her wanting up zoning in this community
and she in no way is representing the interests of the residents.

Laura’s Actions as Vice Chair of CB9 Board over the last year!
August 4, 2014.
Laura first meeting with the community as Vice-Chair of CB9
She was seen and recorded on tape as having pointed her finger and shouting
To homeowners and residents in the community, who did not
want to Empire Blvd on the rezoning request being given to City Planning,
 “Be Quiet, Be Quiet! I had enough of You [residents]”.

She also closed down the meeting, demanding that the community board
make the final decision about keeping Empire Blvd on the study,
instead of it being worked out at the committee level, where it was clear
there was opposition.

September 23, 2014.
Laura voted "No", not to rescind the resolution that would have gotten
Community Board 9 up zoned all throughout our community.
This now a part of common knowledge.

October 24, 2014
Laura was reported by the media as stating
that City Planning was going ahead with the study,  
indicating that she had inside tract with City Planning,
after Sept 23, resolution was suppose to not have been passed!

February 4, 2015
Laura was seen on video tape clapping when Laurie Combo
stated she was going to up zone this community without the
Community board consent and right after that speech, Laurie
Combo fell into Laura Imperiale arms indicating some type of
familiarity to their relationship and above all support for
Lauire Cumbo’s position to up zone this community, without
the consent of the community.

March 10, 2015
Laurie is currently soliciting members of the community to be on
The ULURP committee of her choosing, stating her plans to get things done
within the next two months.
(see attached “Seeking members on ULURP committee)

Finally, you will find attached a whole list of documentation
about conflict of interest laws,
And the enforcement of these laws. 
The courts take seriously the issue of conflicts of interest
and we will be approaching the law enforcement agencies
 to intervene on our behalf.

However as a board member you too have the obligation
to protect the community and the board itself from unscrupulous members
and unlawful acts of behavior exhibited by board members
especially a chairperson of the board.

Thus we hope that you will act immediately
regarding this issue and ensure that Laura Imperiale
Is removed from her temporary position as chair,
until a full investigation is completed,
otherwise it is very possible that CB9 board itself can be held
liable for the actions that its Chair makes,
when presented with evidence that is not acted upo