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, December 30, 2016

The Parksidian Year In Review

The Q is quite certain the world's political realignment will continue to dwarf local issues in the public's mind as we head into the strangest and most volatile period of national politics since Nixon's 2nd term. Think global, act local, shop local, eat global. Sound like a plan?

Some highlights from the year that did NOT involve Donald Trump:

  • Loogey Hawkers have long plagued civilized society, but the mucous came to roost right here in Lefferts City when the Sinister Serial Spitter ramped up his assault on unsuspecting upstanding citizens. This also wins the coveted "Oddest Oral Incident Award" for 2016.
  • House of Juice opened on Rogers and quickly became a mainstay of the community with clever marketing and fresh, healthy food and events.
  • Local artist Luna Soul burst onto the scene with a serious of happenings and shows dedicated to documenting the fabric of Leffertsonian life.
  • Lifestyle and Community Actionators BlackMarketWares brought resources and attention to the needs of local kids of color looking to navigate and change an often daunting world. Look for their Youth Summit at headquarters at Compound Cowork on February 11, 2017. 
  • A group of A-list longtime residents opened a terrific pop-up shop in the mysterious Tafari Cafe space next to Tafari Tribe. Last I noticed, they were still going at it in December for the Holiday Shopping Season (HSS).
  • A local powerhouse plopped a shipping container on the plaza at the Caton Market and called it CaribBEING house. It's been dropping sweet programming ever since.
  • Alicia Boyd's MTOPP Empire Study Group presented a lame-ass proposal for Empire Blvd that pretty much entirely left out the need for new affordable (and regular ol') housing, while borrowing all the best ideas for the improvements to traffic and bicycle lanes already suggested by others. Non-Macarthur-Fellowship-Winning Urban Planning Professor (NMFWUPP) Tom Angotti helped draft it.  A backgrounder thru February here.
  • As a result of the Q's continued resistance to "doing nada" and race-baiting as the neighborhood gets remade brick by brick in real time, an activist named Imani Henry anonymously and fiendishly built a "movement" against yours truly with a campaign to oust me from CB9. An email from Henry showed how he used social media to create the impression that dozens of people who've never even met me or read this blog are united in their belief that I'm the white devil out to remake the nabe in my image (and what a handsome neighborhood it would be!) Disappointing is a term that hardly does the effort justice, since Justice is precisely what Imani claims he's after. This is the sort of in-fighting and name-calling that keeps Central Brooklyn locked in an endless cycle of hand-wringing over gentrification, rather than accepting the new realities and recognizing that we have much to offer each another and the City generally. Sadly, it's when economic times are good that we find more ways than ever to cut each others' throats. White and Black and Brown, we have way more in common than divides us. But you wouldn't believe it, to hear the rhetoric.
  • Okay, this isn't really a bullet point item, but I'm within the formatting so forgive me. Let me just say, without reservation, that achieving near universal employment, even when it's stacked towards whites, is a tremendous step forward for our fair City. Yes, rents rise. Yes housing prices go through the clouds. But people have hope and opportunities - this is a "problem" we begged for just a decade ago. So what should you do? You build more housing, you build BELOW MARKET housing, and you don't turn inward and selfish. Ah hell, that would be too simple, common sensical, and practical and economical and just plain smart.
  • It really was (and is) big, big news, though most recent movers to Central Brooklyn won't have any idea just HOW big. Clarence Norman, Jr., the disgraced former Big Macher of the neighborhood as head of Kings County's Democratic Political Machine, has made a roaring comeback, mostly from behind the scenes. If such things interest you, read on.
  • It seemed innocent enough to be one of the first to note that celebrated author Ta-Nehesi Coates bought a house in the nabe. Would that it had been so simple. My humble post from March here
  • Silver Rice opened, bringing idiosyncratic and delicious sushi cups to the Flabenue, and the Q's tuna intake jumped six-fold.
  • Erv's, the little bar with big fans, decided to expand into the former laundry next door, ensuring that ever more Leffertsians can get their buzz on, soon with elbow room to spare.
  • Yet another new 71st Precinct Commander with a rockin' name - Norman Grandstaff.
  • With the help of a brilliant neighbor, the Q confronts the double standard of young men being young men, black and white.
  • Bagels came to Lincoln Road, and you'd have thought they were gold nuggets the way Sunday noshers flocked to Nagle's to pan for lox. The Q still hasn't been, and doesn't feel obliged to visit. I've had more good bagels in this town than Carter had liver pills.
  • Mediocre photographer Clarkson FlatBed Jr. produced a remarkable essay in pixels to the Great Boulevard of Empire
  • Once bereft of decent wine stores, Lefferts City is now lousy with them, with a classy joint on every avenue. Drink and Little Mo and Vyne Yard jumped in on what was once only 65 Fen turf. And remember, 65 Fen ain't that old either. Oh, and a hip new Record Store right next to 65, which, I believe, is no longer at 65, because that's where the used vinyl shop is.
  • Great new place opened up that offers therapy for young folks, particularly of the sensory and occupational variety - Sensory Street. Run by Bea, the place is alive with fun and learning.
  • The Q got whiff of tenant agitation up at the Ebbets Apartments via the Crown Heights Tenants Union and took his lunch hour joining the crowd. You wouldn't believe what the management is asking now for a two-bedroom, and you can guess the longtime lower paying tenants are no longer favored by the owner. Thus...
  • Brand new Assemblywoman Diana Richardson hit the tarmac screeching with her Q-translated five point program H.E.A.V.Y., an acronym for Health, Empowerment, Activism, Violence and Youth. She never used my suggested acronym, perhaps because the V for violence should really be anti-violence? Dunno. I thought it was pretty clever.
  • The new look for non-landmark-designated Lefferts could best be encapsulated with this new building on Winthrop, across from the Parkside Playground. It's actually one of the nicer ones, though I already miss the Victorians.
  • Brooklyn Commons is remaking the image of the old Bond Bread building that became known as the Phat Alberts building, thx to the vision of the son of owner Al Srour, known as Jack, or to his friends, "Whiskey" Srour. (okay that's not true, but were I his friend I would DEF call him that.
  • Local ex-big cum new-big Clarence Norman, Jr. finally settled his score against some in the neighborhood by getting his longtime "friend" Carmen Martinez named as replacement for ousted CB9 District Manager Pearl Miles. For the benefit of the neighborhood or for personal vendetta? Put your money on the latter, but we could do far worse than to have Carmen at the helm. Much, much, much worse, believe you me.
  • Born and raised a cat's throw from the Q, Brian Cunningham quietly entered the race for Councilman from the 40th and the Q caught up with him in May, more than a year out from the primary of 2017.
  • In yet another plea for truly liberal urban planning, the kind where considerations are made for the most good for the most people, the Q looks for sympathy from his neighbors to can the bald-faced NIMBYism and start embracing smart growth because, let's face it, only homeowners win when you limit the production of housing across the board, affordable or otherwise. The Q doesn't mind that some favor landmarking and downzoning, as long as they recognize the trade-off is higher rents and fewer working people of all income levels finding a place to live. I'm not giving up, and neither should you.
  • Blue Sky Bakery opens on rip roaring Rogers
  • The Q confesses the REAL reason that Garrison Keilor makes him want to wretch. Later for you, Prairie Home Companion.
  • Lefferts City gets its own cops
  • A small French bistro is coming to Flatbush near JJ's and Parkside Pizza. Yes, you read correctement.
  • In which the Q helps readers remember not to carry their marijuana on their person in giant jars especially onto the MTA
  • A photo essay that makes the case you won't recognize this neighborhood in two years. 
  • A fab new Cafe Ix takes the place of Tip of the Tongue on Lincoln Road
  • More proof of a wildly changing 'hood
  • The south side of Fenimore is gunning for a Downzone
  • He's calling his new bistro Risbo. Hope the food is better than the name
  • There is perhaps no more welcome newcomer to the Flabenue than Greenlight Bookstore. It's socially conscious, uber smart, full of life and readings. Go go go.
  • The only TRUE affordable housing is the kind everyone likes to knock - public housing. Take another look folks; it ain't perfect, and it could be vastly improved, but it's still among NYC's greatest achievements
There's a lot more of course. But the single biggest story of the year came at the very end, when yours truly finally saw what's coming down the pike just north of Empire Blvd. A whole slew of new housing, plus more to come if the Spice Factory is upzoned. This will be the battle of the year, along with more from the Bedford/Union Armory. And lest you think that isn't YOUR neighborhood, I predict that once the new housing and commercial development fully takes shape on and around Empire Blvd, you'll begin to think of Southern Crown Heights and Lefferts as part of a piece. How and when it happens, that's what's in store for 2017. Oh, and the most unpredictable presidency in our lifetimes.

Happy New Year everyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Local Gift That Goes A Long Way

The Q spends loves to identify the failings in some and champion others. I don't know why I do this. It's the way I think I suppose, and the whole purpose of this blog is to better understand WHY I think this way, and to better hone my understanding of the world around me. I can't say that it's working, but for whatever reason I can't stop, at least not yet.

If you spend anytime reading the Q, whether to become infuriated or check for spelling and grammatical errors (I know, but I write so quickly with very little time to edit), or perhaps occasionally you find something herein worth sharing or ruminating on or better yet commenting in the wee box below, or if you've ever wondered why the Q's sentences run on and on with seemingly no end in sight, wondering if in fact he ever DID learn the basics of written communication or if he thinks, perhaps, that long sentences give him the air of some sort of important essayist rather than a lowly blogger who, just this year, was taken down a peg with a pesky call from one of his heroes Ta'Nehisi Coates, whom it should be noted I still think way overreacted about a house he bought in the neighborhood, thinking that knowledge of his whereabouts would somehow lead to an unsafe life for him and his family when in fact anyone can find anyone at anytime with a few strokes of the keypad, and anyway if someone wants to do him harm it's not like he travels with a security team, and frankly few people know him from Adam anyhow outside black intellectuals and wanna-be leftists with subscriptions to the Atlantic, but still I appreciate that he picked up the telephone to call me and blame me for something someone else would have done anyway, and besides I was just repeating what some douchbag realtor had been saying anyway, and I suppose it sounds like I'm making excuses but you can't undo the past and frankly I wish it had been another of my heroes calling to say "hey man I really dig your whole vibe" but that's cool I'm 50 years old and can't expect much beyond the occasional warm fuzzy from my adorable daughters and lovely spouse. Um...what was I saying?

Oh yes, if you've ever enjoyed anything on this blog I'd be grateful if you'd consider a donation to one of the few organizations that's actually doing something about the plight of those for whom gentrification has put their very homes in jeopardy. Landlords are looking to get the most vulnerable tenants out so they can take advantage of the neighborhoods' outrageous market rates, and The Flatbush Tenants Coalition puts feet on the ground and tools in the hands of people who have every right to stay in their homes due to the progressive, albeit flawed, rent laws of this state and city.

Here's their pitch below. Please consider a gift? Feel free to note the Q sent you, or not. I need no credit, just the knowledge that someone, somewhere, actually cares that this Holiday Season some are feeling insecurity and hopelessness. Go FTC.

Earlier this month, more than 80 of our tenant leaders gathered for an amazing post-election convening to discuss the new political landscape and what it means for our fight to build tenant power.  Our key take-aways:   fighting repression and injustice across the country means fighting locally, and … WE WERE BUILT for this fight!   Help us power up the fight today by making a generous year-end donation to the Flatbush Tenant Coalition!

Over the last five years, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition has built up an army of skilled & dedicated tenant leaders spreading the word about tenant rights and spearheading campaigns for safe, decent, affordable housing across the city. 

In 2016, we:
·         Grew our base to more than 65 active tenant associations collectively representing more than 20,000 tenants winning thousands of repairs and tens of thousands of dollars in rent reductions

·         Supported our member associations to challenge rent increases and illegal rents, including filing a court case – together with the amazing Brooklyn Legal Services – to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent overcharges

·         Spearheaded Brooklyn Tenants United to win the first-ever Brooklyn Housing Court Taskforce so tenants have a real voice in how the court works (shortly after winning $100 million in the city budget for a new Brooklyn Housing Court building!)

·         With other NYC tenant groups, made history again by winning NYC’s second-ever rent freeze!

We’re ready for what’s ahead.  Support the fight!!

Monday, December 19, 2016

History Made Simpler Than It Ought To Be Allowed To Be

It's notoriously difficult to see one's historical moment in real time. When I see my own life and times in hindsight, I recognize a pattern. I've over or under appreciated the significance of personal and world events to such a degree that I find the process of self and cultural examination to be as much a sham as stock-picking or gourmet salt. Mostly, my experience has shown me that History is easier to understand with hindsight. Duh.

Ah but for a few votes here and there the anxiety of America's educated class could have been lessened ever-so-slightly for at least another couple years. The Presidency is, alas, Winner-Take-All. Or, as in this case, Take-No-Prisoners. From ten years, twenty years, a hundred years hence, it will all come flying into focus and they'll wonder why we couldn't see it at the time. The rise of the internet, then 9/11, then the War on Terror and its War on Us, the Depression of '08 and the Arab Spring through Charleston and #BLM, the election of a truly decent man who happened to be black followed by the election of a simian Oligarch who could not have been anything but white. Come to think of it, it all kinda relates to the Internet, which will rival the printing press and the wheel when the disembodied Brains discuss their ancestors in whatever way brains talk to one another when they have no bodies.

Humans are notoriously bad at predicting the future. We always see sunnier or gloomier outcomes, and that may be part of the human condition. We predict. And so we plan, we worry, we create industries called Insurance. At the risk of stepping into a very, very crowded field of Trumpian Inquiry, let me state that I am not capable of predicting any outcome for the next couple years, but I do know that the VERY FACT of uncertainty is the most troubling and anxiety-producing aspect of all.

You see...

It was always quite likely that a Republican would win the White House. That's what happens - one party, then the other, with uncanny frequency. It's easy to assume that Trump is something entirely other. He's not, really, just less "couth." He's part of the 25% of the electorate that's ALWAYS been fixin' for a fight, the resistance to evolving mainstream orthodoxy, which is, in the end, what much of the far right and the not-even-all-that-far right have always been, god love 'em or hate 'em. And they're not about to change. They're sickeningly slow to causes like civil rights, and to global warming and kale salad. The far and not-so-far right are an enormous part of the coalition that makes up the rightward half of our two party dynamic. And while much of the country and its mainstream media has tended to reside somewhere between what we call "the Fars" the edges on either end have always held considerable sway by the sheer passion of their causes and their devotion to "shaking things up."

Think about what happened this year. Bernie Sanders, the Old Cranky Socialist Jew from the Northeast, fired up the Hard Left and nearly took the mantle from the Standard Bearer. The Far Right, not to be outdone, showered all its Tea Party zeal onto a true and bonafide (and let's admit it now, charismatic in his way - he DID have a hit TV show after all) outsider, someone just as politically incorrect and racially unhinged as they. The middle 50% or so - those who generally championed the likes of Hilary and Jebichio - were horrified. But this has all played out so many countless times before, and yet we react as if its the first time that the D & R coalitions were defined and decried by and for a lack of respect for the mainstream. That's the whole point, or problem, depending on where you sit. Whether you create your coalition AFTER the election (as with a Parliamentary system) or BEFORE (our weird Republic), it IS a coalition. Until it breaks down, which is inevitable over the course of 4 or 8 years. A coalition only sees eye to eye while its fighting a common foe.

That is to say this is the REPUBLICAN'S PROBLEM. We must fight and we will. But they have created the monster and its their duty to control him. Think of how many Republicans ACTIVELY WORKED FOR TRUMP'S DEFEAT? #NeverTrump indeed, Even the former Presidents! Look at this list, it's like, cray cray in a good way. The Left is expected to fight the new Prez. But the GOP has an OBLIGATION to temper his worst undemocratic impulses. I believe they will, at least enough to hold the Union together til the next election.

And so, as happens after major upswings and downswings, a true 25 percenter gets elected. That is, not someone who falls along the Republocrat fault line. Obama was a 25 percenter (I dare you to disagree, though he was just over the line). Nixon was a 25 percenter.  Clinton and the Bushes and Johnson were Republocrats. FDR and Lincoln and Jackson and Teddy and Reagan were 25 percenters. Ike and Truman were Republocrats, and so on and so on.

Until the mainstream Ds and Rs come together and recognize their common cause, the 25 percenters will continue to shake things up. And is that always so bad? Right now, it seems insurmountably horrible. The end of the Republic. The souring of the dream. The beginning of the end.

Or is it...just another symptom of a truly phenomenal document called the Constitution, whose tattered edges have yet to show a tear? No one promised the Civil War wouldn't happen again, that much is true. But neither did anyone say the election of Trump can't and won't produce a next generation of leaders more capable and talented and compassionate than any we've ever seen. I'm counting on the latter, and will joyously revisit this Post when it comes to pass.

In the meantime, just keep fighting. We might even find common cause again, we from the middle to the left.

Local Politicians Continue To Lavish Girts on Young Constituents

In blatant disregard for campaign finance laws, elected officials in Flatbush continue to "buy" future votes with cheap trinkets, sugary treats and lavish girts. While most politicians refuse to RECEIVE girts in exchange for their votes, it appears that the use of girts is still prevalent in the less scrutinized world of so-called GIRTS FOR VOTES going the other direction, especially in the case of vulnerable and impressionable children. Case in point:

A spokesperson for State Senator Kevin Parker claims his boss was FRAMED, and provided this diagram in his defense. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Let's Get Real Serious Here For a Moment

Update: The Q's reading the application again, and on further examination, guess what? It includes 960-972, the Spice Factory. Once this thing is done, if it happens, the value of the Spice Factory goes through the roof. No one should be surprised. It's the perfect place for new housing. But this is a change of a lifetime for the area. Empire Blvd is starting to look like small potatoes...

Perhaps you're sick of the Q's bellyaching about zoning. Well, my belly REALLY aches today and I need to tell you why before I puke on my own I-Told-You-So's.

The ULURP committee of CB9 met on Tuesday. The Q's on the committee, but not the Board proper, so he/I can vote at the committee level but not the full B; for now. (Oh, before I forget, first up was a great presentation about the application for landmark status that is moving forward for basically the REST of Lefferts Gardens beyond the Manor and current Historic District. As in, below it. More on that in a coming post, but suffice to say that longtime local Richard Walkes is putting together solid research (even the beloved Montrose Morris is involved!) with an application that will highlight the historic nature of the neighborhood that INCLUDES, rather than ignores, the amazing post-war architecture and architects of the big six-story apartment buildings. Yours truly signed on months ago, but this is kind of the first time the effort has seen public scrutiny. Frankly, I have no idea what the potential is for a 2nd Lefferts Historic District, but what the hey, the effort to downzone inner blocks was killed by MTOPP, who, in should be noted, is ALSO against downzoning anywhere now, because they think it's a conspiracy to get to Empire Blvd.)

Now, for the Main Course. You might be aware that the Sea Crest Linen company folded and its land is being redeveloped for a city-block-sized massive residential project just north of the Spice Factory on Franklin Ave (which itself is just north of MTOPP's treasured icon, the fast food/storage strip known absurdly as "Empire" as in Empire of Pre-Packed Hamburgers). Now we learn, as could easily happen elsewhere - including ON Empire - the developer Cornell Realty (Shifra Hager is the name of the principal) has put in its own PRIVATE application to rezone not only the aforementioned project but also ANOTHER site just north of Tivoli Towers, which itself has an owner that is engaging in barely-legal efforts to increase its profitability, in other words "get 'em out."

And what does this current and well-prepared document portend? You can read the overview yourself, which pretty much says it all:

If you want to see the full app, just shoot me an email. It's all public at this point.
You shouldn't need a rendering to imagine this, but basically once this stretch from Carroll to Crown long the western side of Franklin is rezoned, we will immediately see one massive 16-story complex (four towers still, I'd assume, or one giant slab) and another medium-sized 16 story building on Carroll, across from the Transit Cops station house, which will be, it should be noted, ALSO rezoned and could then be sold by the government to a private developer to build (one would hope at least) even more affordable housing. The ULURP application, excerpted above, takes advantage of the new MIH and the ZQA text amendments to maximize height in return for adding below-market rent-stabilized apartments, more than 100 in all. And while I applaud the creation of new affordable housing, this deal shows just how valuable is our neighborhood's land, land that just a few years ago would not have supported such top dollar to develop. The City is growing, and much of that growth is "up." Especially along transit lines.

Here's the predicament in a nutshell. Because we refused to sit down with City Planning on OUR TERMS (the Q's white whale #2), we will see more and more of these types of "spot rezonings," and as long as our elected leaders hold firm to their emphasis on creating affordable housing, these applications will sail through the process, despite what will surely be a lot of loud and disruptive hemming and hawing throughout. The Community Boards advise in the process, but the City Council and Borough President have the real authority, as the rest of the Council usually sides with the Council Member. So the project is basically in Laurie Cumbo and Eric Adams' hands. And we know how much they L-O-V-E Alicia and co. Look for more lawsuits from the pro bono legal beagles at MTOPP. Actually, legal pitbulls is more apt.

So there you are. Everyone has their price, even the Golombecks who control the spice complex. We could soon see a whole bunch of 16-story buildings standing in the shadow of Tivoli and Ebbets. Whether that's a good thing, given the creation of affordable housing, depends on your NIMBY-ism or politics. Because surely, to a working family in desperate need of an affordable apartment, the decision should be obvious. Beverly Newsome of the Ebbets Field tenants association said on Tuesday that "when people lose their lease at Ebbets they have to move out of Brooklyn. That's the reality." Unless they win a lottery for affordable housing. And who are these people being priced out? Your predominantly hard-working and super lovely neighbors who contribute to the economic and cultural health of the City. That's who.

The irony? 25 years ago, CB9 under Jake Goldstein fought with the BBG to protect the area from any more tall buildings after Tivoli. And won. This application would nullify the height restrictions, ones that we could have easily fought for AS A RULE throughout the neighborhood, had Empire Blvd been on the table.

I spoke with Jake today and he felt pretty sick about the turn of events happening without his involvement. He says that it was the President of the Botanic Garden who led the effort, citing shadows that would hinder plant growth, and CB9 at the time was only to glad to help. This radically decreased the value of the land of Sea Crest and the Spice Factory, and their owners were none too happy. But now Golembeck has the chance of a lifetime to reinstate his former wealth. Watching this play out will surely be the event of the Spring. Oh, along with the constant attempts to de-legitimize and impeach the President of these here United States.

Question: does the proposed limit of 16 stories, which would be the case after the MIH, mean the end of life as we know it? Hardly. The long run would probably only heighten the health of the neighborhood. That stretch is just as much of dead zone as Empire. But in the short run, you can bet that homeowners will do their utmost to kill the deal.  The Q has mixed feelings. How about you?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

And Just Like That...Gone

This one hurts. Such a gorgeous old building, the old Congregational Home at 123 Linden Blvd. 3 views through the ages:

Look for the new building to be at least 20 stories high, and the old-age home to have at least a few years left of funding as a result. Last I peeked the sign for Councilman Mathieu Eugene was still up, neglected, like the way he treats our neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

One Way to Break the $1,000 Apt Barrier

Times are weird when brokers start quoting you prices BY THE BEDROOM, having assumed that you're more than happy to split the $3200 rent four ways. At first glance this listing on the List of Craig gave me a chuckle...til I realize that my niece would have JUMPED at this offer, she with her three roomates who ended up at a run-down walk-up in ACTUAL Bed-Stuy, as opposed to this listing which seems deeply confused (or tired from all the copy writing) about what neighborhood it's in.

Yes, jobs and optimism keep young folks coming to the City, furthering the pressure on you know what and you know where. Coming from college, though, a 2-bath duplex sounds darn hip and comfy, til the "couple" breaks up and that "quiet girl" gets hooked on meth and has her "boyfriend" "sleep over" "once in a while" as in every night and he eats the leftover "pizza" and pisses on the seat, or the pizza, you're not really "sure."

83 Winthrop for God's Sake - No Affordable Units, Natch

From the listing (is it Bed-Stuy or Lefferts? Who cares??!!!)

These newly renovated 4 Bedroom is amazing! Hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, massive oversized windows, open concept living room and modern kitchen with stone countertops, dishwasher, stainless steel appliances, ample closet space, 1 and 1/2 baths, sunny windows throughout, spacious bedrooms, laundry in the building, outdoor space, back yard space, and CENTRAL AC!!! 
This building is conveniently located in prime Bed-Stuy 2 blocks from the Winthrop stop on the 2 & 5, and short walk to the Prospect Park stop on the B,Q, & S lines. Walking distance to Prospect Park and Local & Express Subway Stations. You don't want to miss an opportunity to live in one of the best up and coming neighborhoods! 
Again, this is a room share!!! An apartment room share, as such, the advertisement you are reading is for a room in this apartment. In order to qualify applicants must have spotless credit ratings, 670+, and healthy income of 40x rent. Guarantors are welcomed. Make this beautiful 4 bedroom 2 bathroom duplex your SANCTUARY in Prospect-Lefferts TODAY!!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

From Sneakers to Kimchi

That sneaker place up near Beekman? You know the one, at 556 Flatbush, with the Don't Shoot mural on the gate? Gonna be a Korean BBQ spot, so says a source close to the action whose name is being withheld because I can't remember it. He said his friend knows the owner. That's me, then him (via the internet), then his friend, then the owner. Fact check THAT, baby.

Sounds about right to me.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Turning Point For Errol's Bakery

Update Update Dec 9: According to Equality 4 Flatbush, the lease negotiations continue, and there is currently no move by the landlord to force Errol's to vacate. So confusing! And yet, the show of support is still on for next week - the 17th of December.

Update Dec 8: From reader Josh: I was in Errol's last night getting my curry chicken fix and heard they are going to court today. The landlord raised their rent which they agreed upon then changed their mind and gave them six days to vacate. Sad days.

If true, the below speculation is moot.

Here's what the Q knows so far about the popular Caribbean Bakery at Flatbush/Hawthorne. Their current lease is up. Owners Dorothy and Errol Miller reached out to the local Parkside/Empire merchant's group for legal help at one point to renegotiate. I have no idea whether it's simply a matter of money or if there's more to the story, but your friends at Equality 4 Flatbush have stepped in to organize an event to show community support. Hopefully by then I can get more info on what actually is the sitch. (Feel free to chime in with your intel!) Usually if you stage something like this one would hope to see more detail, but maybe that's confidential? If the Landlord is someone at fault beyond wanting market rate, then I would imagine a legal issue is at stake. I do know that Delroy Wright of the now defunct former merchant's association FEPMA made some noise about this on the local Facebook page, and subsequently reached out to Imani Henry of E4F. One would certainly hope if Errol's is doing fair business that something could be worked out. It's hard to imagine the corner without them. But then it was hard to imagine a 23-story building across the street too.

Anyhow, E4F is an anti-gentrification group and this is their poster for the Dec 17th Show of Support event.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Caton Market to Affordable Housing - Public Hearing Tonight Wed Dec 7

Perhaps you know that Caton Market is to become a large apartment building of below-market apartments? In the years' single most significant effort towards ensuring a neighborhood of income diversity, this project deserves a fast greenlight and public support. I'm sure there will be dissenters. But be sure to do your homework. The City land under the well-meaning but ill-conceived closed-air market at Caton/Flatbush could both serve its current purpose AND house a bunch of people desperate for affordable housing. Want to comment? Tonight's the night.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Kings County Nursery NOT Selling for North of $10 Million

UPDATE: HOLY COW! Joe changed his mind. Thx to commenter Kimplicated, we now know that Joe asked the broker to take down the listing!

Just got our Christmas Tree from Kings County. Sad to hear they're answering the siren call of the Development Gods. At least they'll make a ton of dough. As the Donald would say...SAD. As in actually sad, not sarcastic mean sad.

They're Selling Both Sides of the Street - See Doug E. Lliman

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let's Get That Protected Bike Lane For Goodness Sake

Please sign this well-conceived petition and plan from your friends at TA to create a protected bike lane btw Empire and GAP, not unlike what happens on the "other" side of the park. I can already here the outrage from drivers at CB9. "Now you want we should go back to HORSE AND BUGGY!" they'll say. Progress is progress. Give us the bike lane, for safety, for sanity, for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Whatever your reason, let's go. (The Q;s hunch is that this will start a bargaining process that ends in a two-way lane on the BBG side where there's currently a sidewalk.)

-Flatbush Avenue, between Empire Blvd and Grand Army Plaza, is a non-residential strip that is plagued by speeding vehicles because of an excessively wide roadway. This puts people at risk as they walk and bike to Prospect Park, the Prospect Park Zoo, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and more.

--To ensure vehicles do not race above the speed limit, we are requesting traffic calming along this dangerous route by means of slightly narrowing the road with a two-way protected bicycle path.

--For southbound cyclists who wish to ride to Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, and other neighborhoods east of the park, the only safe option currently available from Grand Army Plaza is an unnecessarily long loop through Prospect Park, which also closes late at night. Flatbush Avenue could be used to create a more direct route that brings safety to all road users.

--Some cyclists already ride up and down Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Blvd. However, many do so using the sidewalk because the vehicular speeds pose too much danger. When cyclists are on the sidewalk, it is a safety concern for pedestrians. A two-way protected path would those who walk, those who bike, and those who drive to all have safer passage.

--A protected bike lane was already installed on the affluent western side of Prospect Park. This change yielded reductions in speeding, fewer injuries & crashes, and drastically lowered the number of bikes riding on the sidewalk. The same should now be done for the eastern side of the park.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sunday Stroll, Part Duh. The Remake of a Neighborhood

So much construction! So little time before the next meltdown! Hurry, hurry, fellas. Gotta get in while the gettin's good! A few more shots from within spittin' distance of the Q's abode.

An obvious spot to tear down and build up. Can't see this lowrise and parking lot lasting.

Looks Like The New Building on Bedford Is About To (literally) Swallow Those Old Victorians

More New Apartments on Bedford Where Houses Used to Was

This One's Truly Sad - The Beautiful Old Age Home at 123 Linden About to Be Demolished

During construction of the new apts at 123 Linden, you'll be able to see the nursing home behind it for a change
Since 123 is/was a tremendous asset to the neighborhood, a little more background is in order. Here's a Brownstoner piece on the building by the beloved Montrose Morris. And below a picture of the before, and if you want to know about the 20 (that's right TWENTY) story building to take its place, read on.

I really didn't see this one coming. After speaking to folks at the Nursing Home, sounds like it was a financial necessity.

Just over on the next block towards Flatbush, don't forget this is coming:

I honestly don't think people have the slightest idea what's happening to the neighborhood all around us. This painfully slow process of waking up to the new reality just boggles my mind. I've let it go - sort of. I see that's there's no political will to rezone anything, anywhere, in any of the three community districts close to our homes. But there it is.

One can only hope that the neighborhood doesn't become littered with the below sorts of vacant lots, if and when the money dries up.

Yeeeeehawwwww! Land, land, land and lots of it.

Looks like nearly every new building in the nabe is preparing for a fencing match

They call 'em soft sites. This large lot with the Ideal Supermarket won't survive longterm