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, April 20, 2016

Empire Boulevard - What Would We Do Without It?

So many memories. So many cheeseburgers. And so many coffee tables that just didn't fit in the new apartment, but maybe one day! All this and more leads one to the conclusion - do nothing, keep Empire as is, in all its glory, for future generations to enjoy, locked in time. Like a theme park - Colonial Williamsburg or Plymouth Plantations even! Sell tickets! Real life recreations with live actors.

For the past two years, a fight over the future of two blocks of Empire Blvd leading to the Park have turned neighbor against neighbor in an unusually heated argument about a once-arcane subject - zoning. Some see in Empire a place that embodies the sometimes conflicting goals of progress and preservation. What does the Q see? The marvels captured in the pictures below should make the case once and for all that Empire should be enshrined just as it is - a historic district, on the National Register of Historic Places, maybe even a World Heritage Site, or at the very least, an awesome place to snarf a burger and donut after working out at Planet Phitness.

Fine fencing. Keeping the riffraff out, or the delicate beauty in? Nice parking spot!

Where doth yonder doorway lead? To a storage room of earthly delights, no doubt.

Makes me pine for my youth in the glorious Midwest

Seriously, one of my favorite things on Empire - the roof of the Firestone

Yep! That hole at Bedford & Empire Is Yet Another Storage Facility

The irony is too sweet. Supplies, but no actual apartments to speak of.

24-hour access! It's like an emergency room, for bric-a-brac!

Terrific Use of Real Estate Near Park & Garden


A relative newcomer - not but a few steps from the funeral home

Vandals Stole the "E"

Pretty hilarious that there's another BP just around the corner

More underused non-public parking

Awaiting...another storage facility?

A terrific example of mid-century Brutalist crapitecture

Sorry to see Toomey's go. Still, that's one butt-ugly building. Or two.

Amazing. There's actually a strip mall a block from Prospect Park!

Kinda cool carpet place - could go anywhere

Is actual place where people live? Must keep that. Bet they're still stabilized.

Always good to have a pumpin' weekend-only nightclub. Right down from the Botanic Garden.

Sort of nouveau gulag

Windows would absolutely ruin the vibe

Before the internet, there was wheat paste!

A-List Exterminators - 718-908-5933 (in case the sign blows off, bookmark this page for the digits!)

Moved down the road a piece


Such convenience - practically in the schoolyard

What's with the blue chalk markings? Seriously, I don't get it.

It's the leadup to the Park that'll take your breath away

Parking, parking, parking! But you can't park there and go to the park. Or park at night.

Loaded? Oy. Never liked the way USPKH cut up Kar and Ate. Who wants to study Kar Ate?

This gives me an idea. Drive-thru church! Pentecostal Shakes. Baptist Burgers. Prayers on the go!

A little slice of New Orleans, right here on the Empire, next to Phat Albert's rump

Strolling Down the Boulevard. Can't you hear Joni singing "I was a free man in Paris..."

One of just 5,435 DDs in the tristate area!

I'll always have a soft spot for Wendy's and its "biggie" menu items

Dave Thomas was adopted. So was the Q. Little known facts.


Bob Marvin said...

The "butt-ugly building[no.] two" next to the former Toomey's was still a lovely little Italianate villa, a left over from Flatbush's graceful past, when I first moved here [shortly after Dutch colonial rule ended :-)] . It has since been re-muddled into oblivion. That and the deco Firestone store are the only buildings of any architectural interest left on this godforsaken strip.

Alex said...

A-, Tim. You made one mistake! The shuttered laundromat lot is mixed use and could become a residential property.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece!

Anonymous said...

Is there any hope that de Blasio will go ahead and rezone Empire with or without CB agreement?

Curious27 said...

Word is that a new mas camp has taken up residence in the old medical building to the east of Toomey's. Well, ears have it, as I hear them practicing in there almost every night. Their previous spot was the parking lot between the funeral home and the shuttered auto parts place, but that has been usurped since by adult daycare vans.

Anonymous said...

The adult day care is very needed. We had one elderly woman neighbor left alone day and night on our block in her house by her family to whom I introduced myself every day on her stoop for seven years her memory was so bad. I don't even know if she remembered to eat. The storage facilities, please for the love of God, surely people have to be reasonable enough to find 10 story building better than those. The battle of Empire is such an embarrassment to this neighborhood. Second only to the years ago battle over law enforcement, the people screaming at meetings to leave those poor drug dealers on the corner of Maple alone. Why I never go to neighborhood meetings.

babs said...

That Firestone building was actually once proposed for landmarking (it lost).

babs said...

There was steel pan group that practiced in that spot last year too.

Brenda from Flatbush said...

I am so close to this, being right on the bottom edge of the Parade Grounds, and all I can say is my heart goes out to anyone of sense or decency caught in this bizarre dysfunctional frozen zone and its now-insane level of hostage-taking. (And I lived through the bogus "Korean fruit store boycott.") I would hate to see Empire lined with a phalanx of more hideous Sky Penises for the Very Rich, but the current mishegoss is just as bad. Irving Kristol famously said "Two Cheers for Capitalism"; on this one, I can muster barely that many cheers for democracy.

Anonymous said...

Nicely put, Brenda. May I propose, and I'm serious, we ask the new storage place to name it "Alicia Boyd Storage." It is a fitting tribute. We would pay for a unit there if they did that.

Alex said...

OMG brilliant. How do we get in touch with the "constructors"?