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.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Local "Activist" Spotted Littering Neighborhood With Posters Touting Herself

Gotta love the gumption!

She writes all the copy herself, in the third person no less. Then she's spotted by locals plastering the neighborhood with her own propaganda. Ms. Alicia Boyd was accused of criminal wrongdoing, assault, but the Q never saw much sense in that lawsuit. Lots of people are pissed at her, but the incident in question was pretty minor as ruckus goes. She did LOOK like she was going to clock someone, and she most certainly did resist arrest, knocking over a table and kicking officers as they tried to escort her out of the meeting room over on Nostrand. In another incident that was excused, she assaulted a BBG worker on Washington. Rage against the machine indeed.

What is truly unreal about her campaign to prevent ANY rezoning in the neighborhood - good, bad or indifferent - is that she's fighting her own neighbors in a manner that prevents even the most basic, civil discourse. There are many reasons the neighborhood, and the City, need to consider ways to increase housing stock and develop more rent stabilized affordable housing. But we'll never get there with her histrionics. I've watched with dismay as one local resident after another tries to calm her down long enough to get to the place where we could actually sit down with the City and plan our future. Trying to appease her is a lost cause. How could it be otherwise? Ms. Boyd is creating a cult of personality around herself. If you read her delusional self-aggrandizing copy, you'll see she's loving every minute of it.

Take a look at the picture of her supporters. Do they think so little of you as a neighbor with intelligence and conscience, that they will go to any length to prevent your opinion from being registered? Apparently so.

It's all fine, really. They have none of the power they think they have to prevent gentrification. That's always been the wedge they use to try to convince us they are on the side of the "little guy," when in fact nearly to a number they're all homeowners who've made a million or so dollars off gentrification, the "racism discount" that allowed them to buy homes in the first place. I should know; I'm one of them.

And then there are the well-meaning other million-dollar home owners who will tell you they are for unbridled landmarking and creating a "human scale city." Hey, I like humans as much as the next guy. You know how I like to treat those humans? Let me give you a quick list.

A) I don't call them Uncle Toms or "fat white fucks" and create petitions calling them racists
B) I don't use the dog whistles of anti-Semitism to appeal to those already seething over perceived Jewish takeover of Crown Heights
C) I allow them to discuss and vote in the spirit of democracy
D) I don't waste their valuable time, especially that of neighbors who volunteer to work towards an equitable future
E)  I don't claim moral high ground in a complex debate on class and race and neighborhood character
F) I don't use my "healing" non-profit to raise money for my political and legal battles
G) I don't call my neighborhood "all black" when it clearly is not (seen the subway platforms lately?)
H) I don't ignore the very real need for new housing among lower income working people

And most importantly perhaps, because I do like a brave "I don't give a fuck" activist, I'd love for MTOPP or Concerned Citizens to hear themselves as they fight ANY new development, even as it's happening all around them at market rates only. A "human scale City" might sound nice. But guess what? Humans need a place to live. And increasingly, "human scale" refers only to those humans who already have a comfortable and massively lucrative home of their own

Jane Jacobs was racist and naive, but she had some great points and fought the excesses of an all-powerful city planner. But Jane Jacobs lived in a very different time, when the primary goal was to keep jobs and manufacturing and yes, middle-class whites, right here in the City as they were pouring out for the suburbs. The exact opposite is true today, except replace the word manufacturing with tech and small business entrepreneurship. Her strongest arguments were about public safety for gods sakes! Wonder how she'd have dealt with the crack wars of the '90s. Or what she'd think of the desolate and mostly vacant Empire Boulevard near the Park.

Jane Jacobs is dead. We live in different times. And we need different solutions. Instead, we get the Kim Jong Il of Lefferts Gardens. Did I tell you about the time she bullied the Brooklyn Museum into accepting a "settlement" for having the audacity to host a real estate conference, wherein she would be the keynote speaker along with increasingly out-of-touch ex-planner Tom Angotti? Truly, we have spawned a movement. The word "bowel" might appropriately proceed it.

Speaking of which, the other day a person took a dump between two parked cars in front of my house. Somehow human poo just smells worse and is more slippery and long-lasting than the canine variety. Dropping the kids off at the curb, I guess you could say.


danny said...

Did you hear the sad news about Ken Thompson?

Anonymous said...

Ok. So what's going on with the Duane Reade at Parkside and Flatbush? Is it getting a much needed facelift or what?

JP said...

I read on her website that she envisions Empire Blvd changing into some small town shopping district where only black entrepnuers own little boutiques and no building is more than two stories high. She doesn't outline any plan for this to happen. For some reason, she seems to feel that her vision is incompatible with anyone else's. She refers to everyone else as "city folk." WTF? She does not view herself as a city folk? Maybe she needs to to do more traveling. She has too much free time on her hands. If she is spending her free time suing the mayor, CB 9, the Brooklyn Museum then she should get a more constructive hobby. Does she not have a real job?

I understand that she doesn't want any construction behind the house that she owns and makes money on, but why is she suing so many people and organizations? From my perspective she seems to be more of a public nusance than an activist. Maybe I am missing something.

ElizabethC said...

No. That's pretty much it. AB is a not an activist as much as an agitator for her own personal needs. And she has terrible grammar, punctuation and spelling that makes the MTOPP website painful to look at.

In other news, yes, actually effective community activists DID pressure the Duane Reade into updating their crummy facade.

K said...

Jane Jacobs was racist? What's the evidence that makes you believe that?

I finally read her book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" and, even being long familiar with her ideas as presented by others in the 'culture at large', I found the book full of surprising insights that I'd never heard or read being attributed to her or her book.

The only thing I can think of as being plausibly 'racist' (tho I don't consider it racist) is that she didn't seem vehemently for forced integration or against the kind of small-scale racism that must have been involved in the formation of ethnic neighborhoods, e.g. Little Italy, Chinatown. Given how much vitriol is expressed about racial, and class, mixing *now*, I'm inclined to think she had a point, even tho it wasn't one she expressed explicitly, as far as I know anyways.

You should read her book and blog about it as you do. I'll re-read it too, and actually keep up with your blog in somewhat-close-to-real-time as well; instead of resurrecting old posts as I'm currently wont to do.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Let me rephrase. Jane Jacobs ignored the biggest issue of her day - white flight - because it wasn't convenient to her desire to hold onto her own house and have its property values rise. Her book is terrific, as is the Robert Moses bio by Caro. They were and are required reading for anyone interested in Cities. But JJ was NIMBY, though in fact no more racist than anyone at the time.

Check this out for a different perspective.

I have also come around to the incredible reality of Public Housing. We simply don't think big like that anymore.

K said...

Her book was about zoning and other rules and regulations neighborhoods, cities, and other municipal organizations could adopt to improve their neighborhoods. She probably ignored white flight, in her book at least, because it wasn't relevant to what she wanted to write about.

There's also what I think is the problem that the people who engaged in white flight probably shouldn't be forced to live near people they don't want to live near.

I think white separatists have exactly the right position about where the sort of white people who want to be white separatists should be relative to everyone else – separate. I am not sure what you think you are gaining by demanding that white separatists live in communities with a lot of black people in them, but I bet the black people in those communities aren’t thanking you. Why would they want a white separatist as a neighbor? Why should they have to have one?

But then, generally, I'm extremely sympathetic to people that have strong feelings about who they want to allow or prohibit to be their neighbors, including people being displaced in gentrifying areas.

JJ was partly a NIMBY, I'll readily admit, but compared to yourself or nearly anyone else, her NIMBY-ism could basically be rounded down to 0.

It's a good thing we don't "think big" in the sense of building public housing. I'm not entirely against public housing, particularly if it took the form of buildings roughly matching other buildings in the neighborhoods in which they're to be built. But aren't you ignoring that, outside of rare lucky circumstances, public housing in its heyday and what you seem to be nostalgic for, involved lots of eminent domain abuse and attendant dislocation of the residents of neighborhoods to make way for what turned out to be much less functional places to live?

Maybe you'd agree if you thought it was feasible, but I sure think that a much better alternative to public housing would be actually affordable housing.

K said...

It's also extremely fucked-up that you oh-so-casually besmirched a person as being basically the worst kind of person it's possible to be today because she neglected to discuss a topic, even tho you think it was "the biggest issue of her day". Shame on you!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I doubt, K, that you read Jacobs' book carefully. I also doubt you read my post carefully either, but you certainly aren't obliged to do either.

Guess what. Civil rights kinda WAS the biggest issue in the 1950's. Jacobs was an early advocate for Urban Planning. She was a journalist. She was a historian and student of architecture and anthropology. For her NOT to address race, and the issue of where black and brown people were either relegated to living or prohibited from living - that's a sin Mr. Finch. It's a sin. (that was from TKAM, but I may have mangled the words). In fact, I think JJ wanted to live in a world of a certain kind of hard-working immigrant. Her book is a lot about safety. As in hers.

I'd say you and I have an old-fashioned disagreement going. For some perspective on my perspective, I suggest you watch the Pruit Igoe Myth, an eye-opening documentary on the famed St. Louis housing project.

Yeah, there was a lot of eminent domain. There was also a lot of really, really poor people living in sub-standard housing that was dangerous and deadly - fires were common, services non-existent. Most of the time, projects were a major step up for a lot a lot of people. They were incredibly popular when built, with huge waiting lists. The waiting lists, btw, remained to this day. HPs serve an incredibly crucial need, despite what gets written about them. Real people raise real children there. Old people spend their last years in the comfort of family. It's sick the way we pathologize poverty. Really, really sick.

And K, I didn't call her the worst kind of person. She was extraordinarily enlightened for her day. But her day, and sadly ours, are full of the same stereotypes and ungrounded fear. Clearly we've made zero progress.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Perhaps we've forgotten that Public Housing IS "truly affordable housing." These are not shelters. Residents pay what they can afford. Isn't that the very definition of affordable housing?

Or, we let the market do its thing and truly unregulate ALL housing. That might actually be better than the system we have now, frankly, and fairer. But that ain't gonna happen. Building actual affordable housing - i.e. public housing - is one of the only big ideas we have left. They needn't be huge or even ugly. But there would need to be consensus that such housing is truly necessary for a decent city to survive.

MikeF said...

As a result of being "that affordable", public housing is in a state of disrepair because public monies are no longer available to subsidize it.

...hence, very few people are willing to build that level of housing in the present funding environment.

Show me something that will be sustainable, through changing political administrations and economic climates, and I'll be first in line to support it.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

You know what's in a state of disrepair? The MTA, and yet it keeps the City moving and thriving. 500,000 people call the NYCHA home. The vast majority are paying 30% of their income, not staying "for free." A 30-year plan could keep them in good shape - in fact, many are doing just fine.

Your information is outdated, and the myths persist.

MikeF said...

Clarkson FlatBed said...

That report is basically political - to get more money. Which, given the 60K+ homeless population, should be coughed up, given the crazy sums they're spending now.

Since Bloomberg/deBlaz things have vastly improved. Vastly. There are some lovely homes (perhaps you've been in some), and these buildings are built to last. Unlike some of the shit going up now for $3K.

Even the landscaping is better - at least at some. Less crime too. You should talk to the people who moved out of 60 Clarkson. It's like they moved to Emerald City.

It's all do-able, and where there's a will there's a way.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

But yeah, they're "the projects." And as long as we think of them as hopeless, they will remain so. It's like the schools. Giving up is not an option.

MikeF said...

I don't think there is the will to maintain the "genuinely affordable" housing NYCHA has now, much less construct more units.

...but you are welcome to hold out and wait.

K said...

I'm so glad I misread you!

My comment grew way too big to fit in your tiny little comment box. I ended up posting it as a post on my blog here.

Seriously – let's do a blog reading of the book; chapter by chapter. It's a great book. And we could totally argue about where she should have addressed race, civil rights, etc.