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, September 18, 2015


Cracks me up. "If you're browsing for a home..." sounds like you're out and about with some bills in your pocket looking for a new pair of shoes. Kathleen Lucadamo writes another "up and coming" piece about our area. I guess you can't get more Up and Coming than the Wall Street Journal. Since I get sort of annoyed when I try to read a piece in the WSJ and they actually expect me to PAY for their due diligence on MY neighborhood, I'm making the executive decision to repost the whole article below. Thx Kathleen! (and Rupert).

When Rebecca Fitting returned to Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, last year after a six-year hiatus, a lot had changed. The Lefrak Center at Lakeside, long under construction in Prospect Park just off Lincoln Road, had opened with ice skating, roller skating and a splash area for children. There was a new bakery, Pels Pie Co., that serves beer. And the number of brunch places had multiplied. Still, the 41-year-old said, the neighborhood hadn’t lost its West Indian flavor and small-town feel. “People say ‘hi’ to each other here. That’s not something you see a lot of in New York,” said Ms. Fitting, who with her toddler moved from Clinton Hill to a junior one-bedroom. Prospect Lefferts Gardens, bordered by Ocean Avenue to New York Avenue between Clarkson Avenue and Empire Boulevard, boasts landmarked homes, large in scale and lower in price than in nearby Park Slope. While families seek these homes, artists and young professionals are gobbling up rentals in new construction, say real-estate agents. Prices range from $3 million for single-family homes to $300,000 for studios.

“It looks like an extension of Park Slope lately,” said Keith Mack, a broker with the Corcoran Group who has lived in the area for 15 years. “The secret is out. It’s a destination now.” Mr. Mack said he sold four homes last year in the Lefferts Manor Historic District, which stretches from roughly Flatbush Avenue to Rogers Avenue and Fenimore Street to Lincoln Road, each for over $2 million, but estimates similar homes in Park Slope average for about a third more. “They are coming from Manhattan, Westchester, the West Coast. They are finding the same-sized house and same details they can find in Park Slope,” he said.

Now, says real-estate agents, families are also scooping up fixer-upper homes on side streets outside the historic district while single adults stick with rentals. Not everyone is thrilled with gentrification. One local group sued to stop the construction of 626 Flatbush Ave., a 23-story rental, arguing it was too tall and needed a proper environmental review. A judge ruled in the developer’s favor in February, and the building is on the rise. Rents at 123 Parkside, a hospital-turned-luxury building with a roof deck just outside Prospect Lefferts, run $2,400 for one bedrooms. Two residential towers on Clarkson Avenue are also in the works.

Bill Sheppard, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens and longtime resident of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, counts at least 10 new developments in the area. I’ve seen many changes, but on the other hand there’s a historic district, so it’s stayed pretty much the same,” he said. Sale prices have gone up 50% in the last three years, he said, adding that bidding wars are common because turnover of historic homes is low. “There are never many properties available. Every year there are more buyers and the supply is about the same,” he said, though he noted many older homeowners are opting to sell and capitalize on the high prices.

 Gentrification shows no signs of easing: Dessert-guru Michael Allen is opening a shop in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The Maple Street School, a cooperative preschool, is expanding to a new location in the fall of 2016. “We used to beat the bushes for students 20 years ago,” said Mr. Sheppard, who sent his daughter there. “Now it’s competitive.” Ms. Fitting, who owns Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, said she does all her errands locally but worries area businesses and longtime residents won’t survive the rise in rents. “You get a quality of life here that is almost affordable,” she said. “Nothing is affordable anymore.”

 Parks: The area is bordered by the southeast portion of Prospect Park, which houses the Parade Ground with ball fields and the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, where there is a skating rink and sprinklers. Schools: Prospect Lefferts Gardens is in District 17, but many parents send their children out of the neighborhood or to progressive schools in the area including Maple Street School, Lefferts Gardens Montessori and the Lefferts Gardens Charter School.

Restaurants: Popular cafes include Blessings on Flatbush Avenue, Erv’s on Beekman Place and Gratitude CafĂ© on Rogers Avenue. For sweet stuff, Pels Pie Co. and Jamaican Pride are tasty stops, while Midwood Flats is best for dinner or brunch. Traditional Caribbean food can be found at De Hot Pot. Shopping: Parents flock to Play Kids for toys and gifts. Grocery stores, nail salons and pharmacies line Flatbush Avenue. Transportation: The area is serviced by the 2, 5, B and Q trains, and several bus lines.


Bob Treuber said...

A pile of elitist poo.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting the whole article Q. I was so annoyed that I couldn't read the article on the web that I almost bought a WSJ hard copy. You're the best local blogger around!

Bob Marvin said...

"I get sort of annoyed when I try to read a piece in the WSJ and they actually expect me to PAY …."

Me too! I know you know this Tim, but for anyone who doesn't, you can read full WSJ articles for free by Googling the title.

Anonymous said...

Its truthful poo, though. Articles like these are not catering to an elitist group. They are catering to the hundreds of thousands of people in nyc that make a lot of money and want to buy in a place that will deliver a return. This elite class that is often referenced here is not concerned with lefferts. Theyre more concerned about buying up stuff in greece. And croatia. And chile. Etc. PLG is just another neighborhood in BK. Ready for change. Targeted for change. Just like every other one along major transit corridors. In 1998 i was told buy by parks and express trains. Youll never lose. So far, so good. Brownsville and canarsie will always be brownsville and canarsie. Lefferts is gonna be IT for awhile.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I suspect, Anon 9:25, that "elitist" depends on your perspective. One thing I've learned by following the Brooklyn real estate situation is that an awful lot of the cash buying IS happening by outside investors. Hedge funds and overseas investors are looking for the outsized returns that NYC real estate provides. So it's not just a matter of high-income New Yorkers buying houses. A lot of it speculative buying by folks and funds with massive bank. Bed-Stuy in particular was a major target for investors. Lefferts probably less so, particularly because of the low inventory.

Anonymous said...

With all the journalists moving in the neighborhood, you can expect more press coverage like this. Unfortunately the gentrification of PLG is already a train that is not going to stop.

Anonymous said...

They are catering to the hundreds of thousands of people in nyc that make a lot of money and want to buy in a place that will deliver a return. This elite class that is often referenced here is not concerned with buyer

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, but why does it annoy you so much to have to pay to view an article from the WSJ? Don't you believe writers deserve to get paid for their work?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Yes, that's why I pay for my subscription to the NY Times. Not a fan of the WSJ or Rupert Murdoch however. Would rather steal those articles, frankly. I do believe Sir Rupert has the funds to pay his writers to do his bidding, from now until the 25th Century if he wanted to, and if not, well, I'll just have to suffer without the WSJ.