First, yes, that's the wine store opening up by the Prospect Park Station. Yep, at the Flatbush entrance. 492 Flatbush to be exact. Gonna be nice, so I hears. The Q don't drink but I hear wine is good for you in moderation. Apparently it tastes good too. In moderation. Goes well with meals and witty rejoinders. Comes from grapes. The owners live in the neighborhood. All good. And yeah, I know it's been a long time since I told you about it and some of you doubted me but sometimes it takes a while. Running a business is no cakewalk, even if your business is baking cakes. Or running cakewalks. Speaking of which, the origin of the phrase cakewalk is intensely odious. Look it up. Terrifying even.
Second, yes, there was a CB9 meeting last night. Liquor licenses were doled out to El Patron on Lincoln Rd. (the old LPT) and a new Haitian food joint on Rogers called Boucan, which the owners told us translates to "campfire," like on the beach. So kinda Creole barbecue-ish? Anyhow, sounds like a winner. Erv's, the little cocktail bar that could, asked to renew and noted they're taking over the laundromat that was next door to expand and serve food along with their delicious cocktails. Which, since the Q don't drink, I'm completely parroting what's been said elsewhere about the clever concoctions shaken and stirred therein. When I was drinking many moons ago, you could've put an umbrella in a tumbler of Listerine and I'd have called it delicious, so ignore everything I say about the matter. FYI El Patron has been getting better, foodwise. And the family that owns the joint is positively lovely. So if you haven't been, or swore to never return, please do. Return, that is. Every restaurant, like every new snack food or brand of pop, must be tried at least twice, preferably some length of time apart.
Then the surprises started to roll in. First, after the usual Alicia Boyd diatribe about how she's saved the neighborhood from 50-story towers, Ms. Karen Fleming got up and railed against Boyd for being an activist but NOT a leader. Talk about air being sucked from a room! Karen & Alicia had been thick as thieves til just last month, when they were busy getting me kicked out of the Transportation Committee chair. Apparently Boyd had sent out an email mentioning Fleming, but didn't bother to call her partner in crime ahead of time. Plus, Boyd's had some pretty sharp words about one-time Mr. Big around here Clarence Norman, Jr., and Fleming don't play that. She READ Boyd on that one, saying long before Alicia moved to the neighborhood in the late '90s (gentrifier!) Norman was doling out favors, I mean help, to the community, so don't try to lecture US on how he's a Felon (which is he is) or prone to corruption (for which he was convicted - shaking down judges basically) etc etc.
And the Elephant in the Room that almost became visible, but then snuck back behind the curtain, was the issue of Carmen Martinez. And who is she, you might ask? Well, she was once "tight" with Norman back when he was Assemblyman and King County Democratic Party grand poobah. Crazy story - Carmen was actually up for the District Manager job that Pearl Miles got. And now she's on the community board - housing chair, and quite engaged I must say, and proactive. And while she's likely perfectly qualified to be hired for that gig nearly 30 years after being passed over, to some she's still tainted by the old Norman affair (did I say "affair?) and a lot of folks on the board are none too keen to see her name atop the list. Then all sanity left the proceedings, and the head of the search committee that's been vetting names for DM, Hector Robinson, essentially confided that he'd been shut down by CB9 chair Demetrius Lawrence for, supposedly, not having a satisfactory level of involvement from the committee, though that has never stopped CB9 before. After working hard to find the 3 best qualified candidates, Robinson was understandably pissed to have his work be for naught and called into question. And it would appear that it was not just poor attendance on the part of his committee-mates that led to Mr. Lawrence to not release the names. Someone's name is clearly not on that list that was supposed to be on that list. Was that Clarence Norman Jr. sitting in the audience? Why I do believe it was. Settling scores perhaps? Out for a night on the town? Or perhaps engaged in a wee bit of revenge mischief? You be the judge.
I was sitting right next to Ms. Martinez, who I quite like by the way, tough as nails and sharp as exacto, and asked her if her name was on the list of finalists. She looked genuinely unsure, though I have no idea what the hell is going on. Except I do. And you probably do too. And she probably does too. And nobody seems willing to say it. So I guess I will.
More on that in my next post. A poorly worded motion was made, the reliably fastidious Fred Baptiste tabled the motion, the meeting was adjourned. And AFTER all that, Laurie Cumbo got up to talk about the just passed new housing law that included most of the text amendment stuff that the Board's ULURP committee had wasted months debating, even though its passage was never really in doubt. The Q was the only committee member to vote for it, recognizing just how important it is to demand affordable housing be part of any new development. But to hear others tell it, like those on your own CB9, the City will go to hell in a hand basket as a result. Which is ludicrous, but somehow has become gospel to the new Low Density Singers. Whose first single is entitled "We Don't Need No New Construction," sung to the tune of...well, you know.
And by the way to all of you so disillusioned in your liberal mayor...did you really think he intended to STOP the growth of new jobs, new apartments, new amenities, all in the name of keeping neighborhoods undesirable enough to whites to keep them out? Are you HIGH? Because that's what people seem to be suggesting. That De Blasio's mandate was to keep neighborhoods poor and black. No. His mandate was to be sure that everyone had a place to live that he/she could afford. So they could follow there dreams, raise their kids, earn a paycheck. Jeez! Since when did Jane Jacobs get in the way of a decent quality of life for regular people, regardless of race or income? Entitled nonsense and a lot of fuzzy history and math if you ask me. And you didn't.
You want to do something real and not full of college ideology and utopian fluff-brain? Slow preferential rent increases to a reasonable rate. Put more undercover operations out there to stop racist rental practices. Force landlords to do timely repairs and maintenance. Insist on permanent affordability and make it hard to warehouse apartments to take them condo and coop. You know, stuff you can do with a simple council majority or compromise at the State level. And yeah, compromise means giving something in return for something. But most housing activists don't believe they have to give ANYthing. And that's why most housing activists get shafted, again and again. Because they're demanding something that EVeryone has the right to, but they forget to include...(gulp) the middle class, god bless 'em. Why not a coalition of the, I dunno, the vast majority of the population? You can't fight the top 1% with the bottom 20%. It's just not a fair fight!
It just gets weirder, and later, tired, so tired...
The Q at Parkside
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.