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 13, 2015

On Second Thought

Been thinking this over. I don't like the smell of it, and I'll come right out and say it. There's something rotten in Denmark about that article I just posted about. I'm a fairly good judge of bullshit, and I'm starting to sense either a tad bit or a big pile. I might be wrong, but here's what I was thinking on my bike ride over the Manhattan bridge. (Spectacular by the way, except that weird Apocalyptic wind brewing.)

I'm not saying Gibson went for the marketing jugular here. Actually, that is what I'm saying. His book just came out, and this stuff is going through the roof on social media. I'm sure Mr. Gibson will profit quite handsomely off his oral history of gentrification. Imagine that. A white guy making money off gentrification.

What bothers me is that this very big issue of real-estate-ambulance-chasing is being reduced to some offhand and (literally) under the breath comments by a single guy. If in fact everything he's saying is reported accurately (I have to assume in the age of high profile writer's fraud that NY Mag listened to the tapes...yes?) then there are THREE hard-to-fathom things happening.

1. White people are moving in and expressing their displeasure in having to live in the same building as black people. Really? Privately they might be uncomfortable, but in 2015 it's REALLY uncool to express your racism publicly. And newcomer Brooklynites are painfully cool. And saying it to your landlord or management company is pretty darn public. I'm guessing it a hell of a lot. The fact is, buildings are changing so fast the racists hardly have to say much of ANYthing and their dreams will come true.

2. Even if they ARE uncomfortable with the old-school neighborhood types, they're DEFINITELY not going to be uptight about roommates of color, as expressed in the article. I mean these kids mostly went to liberal arts schools and bent over backwards to be cool on race. And if you hadn't noticed, interracial dating and groups of partiers is hardly uncommon. Middle to Upper Class people don't generally have a problem hanging out with a diverse group of other Middle to Upper Class people.

3. This Ephraim fellow must be having a bad common-sense day, or why would he be sharing this stuff so openly? One reason would be if, in a warped way, he's trying to impress Gibson. If that's the case, all bets are off. He could just be lying in that way that braggarts do, or exaggerating. Hell he basically says he has to lie to do his job. Why should we take him at his word here?

No, I'm not excusing this guy's behavior, or doubting that the actual transactions themselves are happening. For the most part, it's public record. But my instincts tell me this is more about selling books than in telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


The Snob said...

Totally agree. I'm sure that this is happening. But there's something really pat about this story... I think there's another shoe going to drop about this reporting.

babs said...

Not sure about No. 1, don't know about No. 3, but I totally agree w. you on No. 2. No-one is going to complain about a middle-class or better roommate of any color, especially if he gives you automatic street cred. However, I do know of landlords/flippers/developers/thieves (choose you own appellation) who do talk and think like that.

cheryl on parkside ave said...

Glad to see I'm not the only person thinking there something about this article that is a bit weird. Everything mentioned is happening but.....everything fits just too well. Sure hope I'm wrong.

esteban girĂ³n said...

I think part of what makes the story so compelling is the matter-of-fact way the issues are discussed. As Cea says in the follow-up article, it's shocking to hear the actual words that Ephraim uses, but only because we are much more accustomed to hearing terms like "knowledge worker" or "good tenant" (that's my landlord's preferred phrase, and he uses it exclusively for new, white tenants). In the same way, it's common knowledge that though the law clearly prohibits it, landlords practice "source of income" discrimination ALL THE TIME. Ask any Section 8 recipient how hard it is to get a landlord to agree to rent to them; better yet, ask an HIV positive HASA recipient how they fare. The point is, these are not isolated incidents or things that kinda just "happen." Getting rid of the black and brown people in a building is an essential part of the business model for landlords like mine (Burke Leighton) or ZT or BCB. So you know they REALLY hate it when long-term tenants and new tenants organize together!

Rebecca said...

It's hard to tell from the NYMag piece, but this is not an article. This is one excerpt from a book that's coming out soon - an oral history of gentrification. So, various people telling their perspectives.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if that landlord was not talking about any and all white renters but rather whites from a particular community in crown heights. Maybe? Because it is absolutely correct that nobody else moves deep into Brooklyn and expects to not have black neighbors. I mean nobody. Its fiction, you're right.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Agreed there are landlords who think like this. I just also agree the tenants described seem either fictional or As I suggest they're from such a small and particular community it doesn't apply to the rest of us. And not even everyone from that community think like that, so that reduces the number of those tenants even more.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong. I hear other white people make racist comments all the time. They don't use the "n" word most of the time, but sometimes they do. The whole "no good liberal would be openly racist" thing is nonsense.

You must exist in really polite society, or something.

Then there's the codified speak, like when your girl, "Babs" refers to "crap Feders houses" on the Leferts list. But she's not talking about crappy brown people, right? Just crappy poor people.

--Yeah, I'm anonymous, I don't peruse these parts enough to stick around.

babs said...

Excuse me but most Fedders house developers are white as are many of their buyers. My complaint about them is their cheap construction and hideous architecture, no matter who lives in them.

babs said...

And I'd say I'm talking about people with crappy taste - and that comes in all backgrounds and income levels.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Yes, Anon 12:56. I hear them too. It's in the context that I doubt the speaker. I'm quite certain he's exagerying.

I think that he's dissembling because he wants to believe what he's saying is true, thus allowing him to do what he knows is morally wrong. How many times does he say "I'm not racist but..."

It's just more of the twisted reality of racism. Nothing is at it seems.

Anonymous said...

So tell me again TIM, why should NOT support the efforts of MTTOP? You crap on Alicia Boyd like you're some jilted ex lover but she is 100% right about this. This is more of a REASON to do so.

And yes Anonymous 12:56. liberals can are as racist as their white conservative brethren.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Um, your ignorance speaks for itself. Next...

Anonymous said...

Nice one Tim. I knew you were always a lightweight. Ciao!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Btw, she never gave me a reason. After that hiking trip in Maine she said she needed time to herself. I didn't realize that what she meant was buying a house in PLG and renting out rooms to strange Europeans on Airbnb.

Anonymous said...

What she does is none of your business. That is her personal decision and a financial one at best. It doesn't betray what she stands for. What's next? Are you going to question her bowels too?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

FYI Einstein, I've been...rather WE'VE been talking about the racism and displacement of people from the neighborhood a hell of a lot longer than Alicia Boyd. She showed up out of nowhere to defend Prospect Park (remember the original name of MTOPP?) then switched to protecting Empire Blvd from residential buildings, lying her ass off and claiming to be a righteous warrior. And hey, if she could express herself without tearing everyone apart, we'd find plenty to agree on. I pity anyone who thinks Alicia is a leader of anything but a campaign to promote herself.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Let's think about that for one minutes, shall we? "What she does is none of your business." When she came out swinging this year, you're damn right it became my business, and every single person in this neighborhood.

I'm beginning to think you might actually be AB.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:31 - He's blissfully unaware that the "philosophy of victimhood" cuts pretty much all ways, destroying everything it touches.

My conspiracy theory is that both parties are paid off by the developers to ensure that no actual "affordable housing plan" comes out of CB9. Just look at the results.

Anonymous said...

So it's personal huh? You wanna share the podium with her? Is that it, or do you want to kick her out of it? Either way, I am thrilled to have Ms Boyd be the voice of the voiceless in this fight for fairness and equality. Those who claim to fight for the little guy like our BP and some of our coward local leaders are too busy licking the boots of greedy landlords to secure reelection.

Anonymous said...

You have a vendetta going on and it has perverted your sense of justice.

This article is more definitive proof why there needs to be change and why this area doesn't need anymore luxury housing like the one going up on 626. Old times need to wake up and take the fight to these bastards.

Anonymous said...

To Anon May 14, 2015 at 3:55 PM:

"philosophy of victimhood"

How coy of you to say. Why don't you tell me what you REALLY think?

Anonymous said...

Tim - OMG these liberal white folk moving in CAN'T be racist. This is just earth shattering news. No, no, I don't believe it. I won't believe me."

No Tim, you don't believe it because you are a naive liberal with the mind of that of a 20 something valley girl on the tough hard streets of The Bronx. The world isn't a "nice" as you claim it is and Brooklyn is no different.

Anonymous said...

Looks like some of Alicia's minions are here.

Mark said...

De blasio's affordable housing policy is a scam. He's in the pockets of real estate developers who will only provide very small affordable housing units and he knows it. Any redevelopment thats places on Empire will cater to the upper middle class many of whom are white and have little interpersonal skills with minorities.

Mayor of the people my ass. He is as bad as his predecessor.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Mark. You've oversimplified things considerably. Plus, if your attitude is that the neighborhood needs to say "no" to upper middle class white people, I'd ask that you look at the map of new developments in the neighborhood. There are dozens. And they're not being built for poor minorities. In fact, they're not being built for poor OR working class people, because that's not what the market dictates right now.

So sham or no, this Mayor you so despise has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the neighborhood is changing at breakneck speed. The only thing he has control over is whether or not any of the new buildings will have means-tested housing at all.

I wonder too about your "interpersonal skills with minorities" comment. I don't recall that being a requirement to rent an apartment, but perhaps you'd like to propose legislation to make it so? And while you're at it, put in a clause that requires people to say please and thank you, and not curse in front of children. Also no spitting on the sidewalk and absolutely no drinking before 5pm.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

and yes, i'm relishing the 20 year old valley girl comment. I'm actually considering having it written on my headstone.

Anonymous said...

Ah ha. Tim's true colors finally come out. Alicia was right about you. Boy I tell ya, the devil is very busy right now and his name is Tim Thomas. You sir shouldn't be speaking for this neighborhood. You are part of the problem and your solution to the problem will have more people displaced because you fancy having over Caleb and Megan from bumfuck fly over states who drive up the rents and push their concept of humanity in our communities by treating those around them like they have AIDS!

The fact that you try so hard to dispute the story of this landlord says everything I need to know about you and how you view this neighborhood. "This racist landlord is just too much for me. It's all a lie! Racism is so 2008." Whatever dude. I know for a fact that when push comes to shove, you'd be standing side by side with these greedy mfers like the devil that you are.

There are probably thousands (maybe more) of landlords who privately speak openly in racial terms to other whites as if they are shooting the shit with them shows the horrors of gentrification and what it does to potential renters who aren't white. These parasites have been doing this for years, decades and the city has been very lenient on their discriminatory practices and it's only recently that the media started reporting on these wretched beings and their backward views to the public. Alicia is shinning a light to this and you like the quisling you are think it's all fabricated. How typical.

You talk about cursing, why don't you tell your audience what the white "liberal" members of the board told Ms Boyd during a meetings? I think the word begins with the letter C.

Don't forget your to bring your dog dog whistle to the next meeting. We'll be glad to scope out your pudgy ass from the crowd and expose you and the those who wish ill upon Ms Boyd.


Clarkson FlatBed said...

I love this guy. His comments show up all over the blogosphere. He's a true instigator. I mean, you have to love juicy lines like this:

your solution to the problem will have more people displaced because you fancy having over Caleb and Megan from bumfuck fly over states who drive up the rents and push their concept of humanity in our communities by treating those around them like they have AIDS.

It's one of his favorite turns of phrase, the white-sounding names with the term "fly-over-states."

He's also going to scope out my "pudgy ass." Hilarious. Come and kiss it baby! I'll pucker up for you.

Delicious. Thanks for the treat.

Alex said...

I still don't understand why anyone thinks that AB is at all concerned with affordability. She apparently has only benefited from areas gentrifying - she was able to buy her house after what I can only imagine was a lucrative dispute (buyout) from her landlord in Boerum Hill, and she can rake in $$ by renting through AirBNB now that PLG is "on the map."

Is "Anon" that Randy guy who posted on FB?

Bob Marvin said...

This particular "anon" sounds a lot like "the What" who used to plague Brownstoner. At least he's amusing and he raises a very important question: Is Tim a valley girl or the devil? Maybe (gasp) he's a sinister combination of the two–a valley girl/devil. That would be a great title for a '50s pulp novel (if valley girls had been invented back then).

Anonymous said...

Much of what the poster in question writes is indeed puerile.

That said, "Caleb" and "Megan" are indeed viscerally annoying names. We must concede that. It must!

Anonymous said...

Devils? Homeboy is on some old school Professor Griff shit! Feels like 1994. I'm finna bump some Fear of a Black Planet to enhance the nostalgia. Where's my Cross Colours hat?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Yes. "The What" is the guy. What an extraordinary run he's had. Troll of the decade if you ask me. His fantastic use of phrases like "Mutant Asset Bubble" and "Assheads."

But here's the crazy part, Bob. You remember "No Slappz?" He still comments like crazy, but I stopped publishing his comments. Sometimes I read them for fun, most times not. But right when this "fly over states" guy starts commenting, No Slappz goes into hyper-drive. He's made 10 or 12 unpublished comments in the last few hours.

What if they're the same guy? One taking the Prof Griff route, the other the racist know-it-all. That would be a feat.

roxv said...

that anon poster has a 50% chance of being alicia herself; most trolls don't uphold her like a hero.

also, i think your point holds more weight than ever now that the NY Times published a review of said book today, along with a professional headshot of the author

Anonymous said...

Evidence-free accusations, name-calling (devil! quisling!), and a laser-like focus on The Q to distract from the lack of anything constructive being done. Sounds like Anon @ 12:14 has scored a copy of the MTOPP playbook.

At least the recent election suggested that people in PLG are increasingly tuning out this kind of toxic histrionics, after those incoherent flyers carpeting the neighborhood netted their endorsed candidate a whopping 308 votes. Maybe the lashing out here is one of the last gasps of this counterproductive nonsense?

All Alicia Boyd has been "shining a light" on is herself, and the bizarro logic that screaming down any other POV is the way to effect change in a diverse community. It is, however, a great way to feed a cult of personality, so they seem to be winning there.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

To anyone foolish enough to continue following this thread, full disclosure. This discussion drew out two equally annoying POVs from outliers, whose comments I refuse to make public.

On the one hand, the argument about lazy poor people not helping themselves. On the other, the diatribe against lazy rich people, not helping anyone else. Both groups contribute nothing to society, apparently, so the argument goes. But sitting on one's ass is apparently much more comfy when you're rich.

Say it's true that there are a certain number of straight-up "takers" out there in the world, rich and poor. Isn't that number massively dwarfed by the number of people working their ass of to get ahead, taking care of their families, contributing what and when they can, treating their neighbors decently and trying to leave the world better than they found it?

So much effort, to call out so few. Both strategies serve to prevent us from finding common cause by playing into the black/white rich/poor polemic that strangles progress.

No sane person can deny racism. But apparently, they continue to try. To appear sane, that is.


Bob Marvin said...

"that anon poster has a 50% chance of being alicia herself"

Nah–anon. has a better sense of humor and command of written English

Anonymous said...

Tim, as a diehard supporter of Alicia Boyd, i think you are the worst human being on the face of this planet and when Alicia Boyd obtains victory for hard working men and women who make up this neighborhood, I hope she makes you her BITCH, bitch boy.


Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon: 2:13. Hope? I'm counting on it.

Can't believe you guessed my endgame!

Btw, did they give you the rights to sign a comment MTOPP?

Further example of why your group has absolutely no cred when it comes to leading anything but marshmallow roasts.

Anonymous said...

Can I throw this out there? I've noticed a real preponderance of black customers at new local businesses that would reasonably be considered outgrowths of "gentrification." I'm talking about Cinnamon Girl, Tip of the Tongue, El Patron, Midwood Flats, etc. These are places that certainly would not have existed 10 years ago. Hell, I even saw Alicia Boyd and her crew in BlueBird once. Makes you realize - black people like nice shit too.

Caucasian Please said...

Who do I have to tip to get a comment published here?
(Guess I'll have to buy a kazoo and show up at CB meetings.)

Clarkson FlatBed said...

First off..

Blow. It's who do I have to blow to get a comment posted around here.

Second off, your name. Please, Caucasian. Change your screen name.

Third off, don't make jokes about Tawana Brawley.

Fourth. Reread 1, 2 and 3. I'm happy to entertain musings on race, gentrification, housing, politics, race, bistros, race, race... But I've spent a great deal of time knocking others for race baiting, and I'm really tired of it. Say what you have to say, but don't expect me to print blatantly provocative stuff designed to get a rise out of people already feeling antsy and burned.

Am I being hypocritical? Applying a double standard? Probably. But as they say, if you don't like it, the interweb is big and has plenty of room for your own blog.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 3:12. Anti-gentrification warriors, when focused on illegality and blatant racism in housing and economics, have all my sympathy and I expend a great deal of intellectual energy determining what makes it all tick and how best to combat it.

Those who would prefer that neighborhoods accept poor quality of life do not have my sympathy. It's possible to grow responsibly, legally and with dignity, and there can be space for every kind of business in such an environment.

But yeah it seems rarer and rarer to have "nice" and "old school" exist side by side. Enjoy it while it lasts. We are actually living in a mini-utopia that will pass before we can realize how good it had it.

Anonymous said...

"Caucasian Please" is actually a Chechen. It's okay.

LG is the most interesting neighborhood in all of New York City and I find myself fascinated by it each and every day.

Anonymous said...

Stories like this really do help MTOPP cause, like it or not. I'm no fan of theirs but it's going to be very difficult to sway other people from them when this type of attitude among some of these landlords and some of their white tenants is common knowledge. It also doesn't help that the person the author is talking to is jewish.

This will only reaffirm the belief that many black residents have already held since the early days of gentrification; that many of these landlords do not value black tenants the way they do with white tenants and it's also going to draw heavy suspicion on white new comers moving into predominately black neighborhoods (like EAST NY) who are already feeling like the walls are closing in around them due to the racial angst they feel many landlords and some of these newly arrived tenants have towards them.

I would rather see more done in legislation to address this than to talk and have hourly debates about why they feel what they feel. It's clearly obvious that you cannot change person's racist views with logic or reason especially when they feel they have nothing to lose. You can have a million black male/female presidents, mayors, city council members and it won't be enough to assuage their beliefs. That's where the law comes in. Watchdog groups and such who can expose these racist landlords and get some form of redress. Any word if this landlord is still around? Has anything happened to this guy since this story was published?

I know it's illegal for landlords to discriminate but they it anyway without explicitly doing it. Perhaps the law needs some more teeth to fill in any holes where landlords can exploit. Another thing would be for good minded people to join tenants rights groups and pressure local and state leaders to do more about housing in NYC that will addresses all the concerns mentioned.

One last thing I would like to see and that is for more African Americans to take more of an invested interest in their communities. I'm talking economically. That means buying property, fight for more amenities in your neighborhood, more jobs and vote for politicians who will not only say what they are going to do but who will actually do it.

- Daniel

Anonymous said...


Clarkson FlatBed said...

Daniel: What's MTOPP's cause? I have yet to figure that out.

First, it was protecting Prospect Park from high-rises. Then it was protecting her block from residential around the corner. Then it was fighting Pearl Miles. Then it was fighting the whole Community Board. Then it was baiting Jews. Then it was hating the Uncle Toms. All along has been a zoning and housing issue which is coming more clearly into focus as a subset of an emerging anti-affordable housing movement in NYC that sees the City as complicitly aiding gentrification. There are useful issues to address there, though demonizing is not helpful.

From all that, you see a "cause?" In order to attract converts, she stumbled on the anti-gentrification thing. But she and many of her friends are homeowners on some of the toniest blocks around here. Until recently she was touting the wonderful gentrifier amenities around here on her Airbnb site.

She is a fraud, Daniel. She is more like a troubled person looking for a cause, than someone whose cause is leading them to act. Where has she been all these years on these issues? And for that matter, where is she now? For her, it's all a moving target.

And to call issues of racism MTOPP's cause is incredibly insulting to those who have been fighting discrimination for decades, including some of our elected officials whom she libels and slanders at every turn.

In other words, the only people she's attracting to her "cause" are people as messed up as she is. That she continues to dominate so much headspace of the community is such a bummer. We'd be well on our way to determining how to accommodate growth, and get some much needed City-led amenities and affordable housing out of the real estate boom.

A remarkable opportunity has passed it by, and yes, I lay the blame at her feet.

Bob Marvin said...

"What's MTOPP's cause?"

That's not really a difficult question to answer; it's to discredit any effective opposition to out of scale development. That's what provocateurs do. The rest is smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Alicia has a multiracial coalition that grew within a year while you sit at home helpless to do anything about it. Face it Mr Thomas, this beef in which you started has a lot more to do with you and your envy towards this woman and MTOPP's extraordinary efforts in the community fighting for tenants than whatever tactics you claim to bicker about. It's rather sad to watch you, an old grey haired man with idealistic attitudes about housing and race to go on like this. I pity you, and at the same time, I laugh at your weak attempts to silence this strong woman. It's time to pack it in old man. When I mean by pack it in, i'm not talking about that huge beer belly that hovers over your tiny sack like a curtain. I mean drift away into the sunset and retire your silly musings on this issue.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I don't drink beer.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

She's not fighting for tenants. She's been fighting Pearl Miles (vendetta), the Community Board (45 of her neighbors), Eric Adams-Mathieu Eugene-Laurie Cumbo-Jessie Hamilton-Bill de Blasio- Tish James, Tim Thomas, Jake Goldstein, Dwayne Nicholson, Laura Imperiale, Mike Cetera, Warren Berke and many, many others.

She's fighting for herself. She's fighting figments of her imagination. And she's helping no one. Tell me one tenant she's kept in his/her apartment. One.

And while I don't doubt that you are fit, with large balls and a young man's hair, your hero is no Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Clearly I love you, fool, cause I love posting your stuff. Keep it up!