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 15, 2017

Awesome Gifts

Need an Awesome gift for that hard-to-gift loved one? Pop on down to Awesome at 617 Flatbush tween Rutland and Fenimore. The Q's been meaning to go for awhile and finally got his fat ass up the 'Bush and was oh so pleasantly surprised to find goofy, hip and "woke" gifts that even made this old man blush a time or too. Owner and new mom Vanessa Raptopoulos lives in the nabe, so this is yet ANOTHER Mom 'n' Pop shop on the ever-expanding list of entrepreneurial upstarts making Flatbush and environs a micronomic engine. (ugh, that sentence! No time for edits.) I'll just leave you with a picture and a plea to go check out AWESOME.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

For A Great Christmas Tree, Look No Farther

Further? Farther? Anyhow, the Q is outrageously pleased to share the arrival of a TRUE storefront florist to the neighborhood. On Fenimore, sandwiched between the adorable Record Shop and quirky wild-to-table sit-downer called Honey Badger, Rasheeda and company have opened early specifically to deliver outstanding Christmas trees and wreaths. And soon, you'll find all your floral needs, including (get this) flowers!!!

When Mrs. Q and I moved to the nabe 15 years ago, there were only four things we felt would make our lives complete, commerce-wise. All the other "amenities" seemed unnecessary given the wild variety of offerings here and just a short train ride away. We hoped that one day the following would be opened by local entrepreneurs: a) wine store, b) coffee shop, c) florist and we wanted the d) the NY Times available at the local bodegas. That's it. We weren't looking for yoga, or kale salads, or book stores, or bars or any of the rest. It's a big beautiful city and not everything has to be within a few blocks. With the coming of the ubiquitous smartphone, the Times thing is moot. There are five wine stores and half a dozen coffee shops. And now...a florist!

Two nights ago we purchased the most beautiful, fresh Christmas tree we ever, ever had. It's drinking heavily (this is good in trees, not so much in middle-aged men). It's fat and phat and smells like Christmas, which as a lapsed Christian is about as close to tradition as I can muster. We love it, and we're very much hopeful the new shop will (ahem) flourish!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Is He A Peeping Tom When He Looks OUT Instead Of IN?

The Q's beloved Q Station has become the focus of a contemporary quandary. An anonymous poster known only as "Parkside Avenue" (no relation) has been taking photos and videos of random passers-by in front of the Q at Parkside station at Parkside and Ocean (like I had to tell YOU that). The question confronting those who've learned of the semi-invasive Instagram account - is it legal? ethical? hilarious? boring? titillating? any or none of the above? An example of a picture posted - one of a fairly obscured identity (lest you think I'm part of the problem, which, I'm told, I usually always am):

Marc Torrence of Patch wrote a piece about it, and then he managed to bag an interview with the dude, still anonymous. Marc provides some context, in the form of legal perspective on the notion that NONE OF US should assume we have any privacy when out in the public sphere. That is, make sure you put your pants on before you go outside and try not to pick your nose too much. And don't cavort with your paramour or do crimes or even trip and fall in a hilarious manner, because you might be starring in someone's reality TV series.

This reminds me of a situation I had a few years back, that I relayed right here on ye olde blogge. It was about the now defunct Disc Mart African music and ephemera store across from the Kings County Nursery on New York. Here's the post . For the click-averse, basically the store owner told me I couldn't take a picture of his sign without paying him, and I told him where to shove it and he preferred not to and it went south from there. Though truth be told, I chose not to publish the photo, not because he was right, but because despite my reputation I'm really not spoiling for a fight.

Here's the Q's take on the hubbub. Of course you can shoot a photo. You can even share it with the world if you like. When the photos are your art, or in this case your sort-of-art, you should take your ethical role a bit more seriously. That's opinion - that's not law. In other words, yeah you're invading people's privacy and you know it. Typically it's good form to ask before you take someone's picture, regardless of the reason. But if the art is ABOUT being a 24-hour security camera, well, I suppose we'll need to judge the worth of your art vs. the worth of privacy. Not for a court of law, but because we need to do something MUCH more important.

We need to figure out whether you're an asshole.

And in the end, that's 90% of what Justice is all about, is it not?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Loud Baby's Soft Opening

When a tiny shoppe opens, it's easy to wonder - how can money be made with so little real estate? In the case of Loud Baby (696 Flatbush), the teensy weensy might actually be an advantage. There's little room to camp out, like what the Apple Junkies do - sometimes known as the "creative class" - that hang out at larger coffee joints. This little spot - which has been many things through the years, including most recently a lingerie shoppe - isn't even big enough to be a garage. And yet, somehow, through the most crafty of renovations, the place feels comfy, the sort of place you WANT to frequent. The Q remembers seeing lots of little places like this on his visit to Mexico City last year (pre-earthquake) in the Roma Norte neighborhood. I'm a fan - this place has class and panache in spades.

And how about that loft? It's perfect for a little break for babies and toddlers to play, while mom or dad or nanny sips away on a (and I'm no snob, so take it with a grain of raw organic cane sugar) damn good cup of coffee and a well-curated pastry. THEN there's the strangely perfect addition of a smathering of children's clothes - chosen specifically by co-owner Maritza who happens to be a designer herself. It's the kind of stuff you can't get at Target or even the Q's favorite The Burlington Coat Factory, but with these threads you could be in and out in the time it takes to sip a latte.

So David and Maritza live on Ocean and have four kids (yes, four) and for that alone we should wish them best of luck. For those of you wondering whether you TOO should take the plunge into the wacky world of storefront shoppery, it may be worth noting that this sort of micro-biz is NOT for the faint of heart or weak of wallet. This is hard hard work, but it's been heartening to see so many neighborhood folks take the plunge. Sure we've seen businesses open with fanfare and crash with disappointment - I can name a dozen without cheating by looking at my own old blog posts through the years. And yet, with each coming week, more and more people are taking the plunge. Go for it, I say. And we should support them I say! (Like that cool looking new gift shop called Awesome up the Flabenue - gonna give them a look-see any day and will report back).

Adorable - here our intrepid co-owner and wife's sister welcome the Q and his brood

When you don't want to brave the crowds - why not just take the advise from a clothier?

The Loft is a killer use of the tall ceiling
Soft opening now, grand opening soon. Give it a shot - of espresso, yo.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Who Can Keep Up With All This?

Street Sweeper is back. You know, the kick-ass pizza joint on Rogers that suffered a fire last year? They've got a killer gazebo sitch out back too. Just in time for winter, with heater. A hot-gazzy, as they used to say absolutely nowhere.

Then a florist is moving in next to the record store (still can't believe THAT came to pass) and Honey Badger, the truly quirky but savory (quavory? squirky?) micro-bistro on Fennimore off Flatbush. Gonna have Xmas Trees soon, so says the F-book, which NEVER lies.

Then I find out that Christmas and Jesus are related, and I nearly bust a challah trying to explain THAT to the kids. Why did he have to be so cute, that baby Jesus? Hard to raise agnostic children anymore...

Then, and here's where it gets truly American upscale diner moving into the space next to Greenlight Bookstore at the base of 626 Flatbush? What's that I hear - that parents of Maple Street School parents are opening the place? Ah. And I thought we might finally get a Ruby Tuesday's. But a rube can dream, can't he?

And a reader pointed out that I never mentioned the scrumptious cake, cupcake and gelato triumvirate (or Holy Trinity to sugar addicts like moi) at 664 Flatbush - the brilliantly named J&J Delicious Cakes. You can save a heap of cash over those absurdly costly Boerum Greene and Ft. Gardens shoppes that everybody's rich friend raves about. Keep it local, yokel. The 'hood is alive with the sound of music, mozzarella, mousse, marzipan and morning glories. Ugh. Why does my brain behave this tiring. See you on the Flabenue! (and if you need to deal with some of that flab, we got you covered...with loose fitting garments OR fitness centers. Yes, plural.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bedford-Union Armory Complex Is Now Officially the Done Deal the Q's Been Telling You It Is For Months

This Is Now Part Of Your Future

Round Halloween, from the sorely missed DNA Info, word came that the NYC Planning Commission approved the plan for the Armory to become housing and rec center - in City-time this whole five year process has been relatively straight-ahead (the bumps, it turns out, were mere bumps - the Q being a bit player I can attest that a whole lot of noise turned out to be just that). And then just yesterday, councilwoman Laurie Cumbo declared victory for the neighborhood, Pyrrhic though it may be, saying she'd extracted the best possible scenario from the proposal by adding more affordable units and nixing the "luxury" condos. (The Q insists on using the quotation marks, because frankly anything new these days gets the "luxury" tag, to the point where buyers roll eyes and haters use the term as a gentrificational pejorative.)

For those not in the groove on this one, the story is remarkable, though hardly unique in the annals of NYC land-use history. I'm gonna try for the layman's version and you can let me know whether I nail or flub it. The short version: the neighborhood gets a big new rec center, an inexpensive one at that, replete with swimming pool, basketball courts and space for community groups. Developer BHC gets to build a big, new signature project in the middle of Brooklyn, one that will surely be its urban calling card, if not its most profitable deal ever. 250 or so below-market rent-stabilized apartments get built; as many more market rate get built. So maybe 1500 new people move to the neighborhood, a great many of them white and professional, and the juggernaut of gentrification continues unabated. Housing activists feel they got nothing. Developers feel they lost millions. The elected officials are grateful the election happened beFORE the final decision (coincidence? I think not).

And while the site rests on City property, no new public housing will be built. And the Q would add that if the City can't find its way to build any truly affordable housing for those struggling below the poverty line RIGHT HERE, it clearly has little will to build it anywhere. One might say without hyperbole - the days of NYC being affordable to the working, senior or disabled poor are officially winding down. To say otherwise, in the midst of a humanitarian housing crisis of obscene proportions in this City of Trump, would be to tell a bald faced lie. Or bold faced lie. Maybe both.

This is America folks, in 2017. It is the land of entitled greed. The land of populism. The land of anti-immigrant fervor. The land of anti-anti-immigrant bark but no bite. The land of guns, drugs, overindulgent consumerism, vulgar and violent entertainment, voting-in sexual predators, and to top it all off - liberals apparently unable to do anything about any of it. Because, among many many other things, and let's get real here, nobody REALLY wanted poor people moving into newly built housing along the 2 and 5 lines. It's just and La Guardian and icky.

For a moment in the Empire Blvd Farce and Bedford Union Armory battles we were witnessing a strange mixing of true lefty activism and NIMBYist anti-development tantrum-ing. To the Crown Heights Tenants Union, homeless advocates, NY Communities for Change (nee ACORN), Flatbush Tenants Union, Equality for Flatbush and more I'll re-up my advice: you have no true allies in the halls of power and the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn. Ripping through Community Board meetings and carrying signs and marching does little more than prove, in the eyes of the deciders, that YOU are the ones out of touch, and thereby, out of luck. Good riddance, you can almost here them saying.

Were there ever a moment for Great Cities to explode into chaos, here in 21st Century USA, I'd have to guess this is it. Something must be holding back the rioting, looting and burning...low unemployment perhaps? Trump shock? Tough policing? Or is this just the calm before the hurricane that finally convinces us that income inequality is just as dangerous as climate change?

And make no mistake. It's ALL about the gap between rich and poor. They will write our story, the Obama-Trump-?? story, and they will wonder how we didn't see it coming. We were focused on the reckless and rude snake-oil salesman, missing the real problems behind the Brash Baby Man. It's dangerous stuff, but maybe not in the ways that we and the Media Elite keep telling us.

Either that or this year's The Bachelor will merge with Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and American Idol to create a truly un-missable season of mind-numbing suspense and can't-look-away repulsive sexual tension. Oh, and check out the new X Box, iPig and self-driving social media convertibles from Amazon Prime Whole Foods Venture Capital Silicon Home Delivery Gluten-Free Yoga Uber anyway "Where's the Fuck Is My Charger????"

Friday, November 17, 2017

Flatbush Zombie House - Expectations Be Damned

The Q is typically full of opinions, but I can't manage a single up, down or sidewise on this particular new business called Flatbush Zombie House, which seems to be taking off quite nicely as a new neighborhood nightclub, just next to famed Peppa's Jerk Chicken off Woodruff on Flatbush. Somehow without being from the Islands, the owners seem to have embraced the Caribbean flavor of the neighborhood in a big way. With a tiki bar. As if tiki is an actual thing. And it's named almost exactly after an acid-ingesting rap group, quite bizarre and oddly excellent band actually those Flatbush Zombies, but not related, though I'll bet they'll drop by off the Dollar Van at some point. Or Dollar Limo, cuz they sell a ton of music, and outcast kids really dig 'em. With a love for Dance Hall and hip-hop, and island-themed drinks, right next to a storied Jamaican take-out joint - so many things happening at the Flatbush Zombie House I can hardly make sense of it all. See for yourself on the vid below:

Every time I peek in (theQ don't drink so a peek is how I roll) it seems great. The crowd reflects the full range of neighborhood flavor, though (of course) skewing to the young, professional side. Drinks ain't cheap, even in dimly lit bars anymore. Hip, not trying too hard. Great reviews on the Online. Seems like a winner to me.

I'll be you're wondering what THE Q always thought would be a winner, and I'm sure you were. Check this out - I call it Chuck E Cheese After-Hours. You take that Chuck E Cheese at the Atlantic Mall, and once the kids stream out around 8pm you turn it into the wackiest club ever. Dance music, even live music (they have a stage after all), heavy bands etc. Maybe partner with the Chucky film franchise for a real chilly Halloween vibe.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Coffee Shop Opens and The Q's Guide To Gentlemanly Behaviour

Since this is ostensibly a blog about the neighborhood, just let me note that a cute little coffee shop and kids clothes store opened on the west side of Flatbush between Parkside and Beekman, 696 to be exact. Called "Loud Baby." Love it! And a restaurant is going to move into 626 Flatbush's other retail space - that should put a lot of rumors to rest, though still not sure what sort of place. Methinks bourgie to go with the tower, but methinks wrong sometimes. Speaking of...

It has come to the Q's attention of late that many male titans of arts, politics & industry regularly read The Q at Parkside (too many to list, I'm afraid. too too many...) It has also come to the Q's attention that many of these powerful men (and they are nearly all men, let's admit) have allowed their God-given sexual appetites to cloud their moral vision. Any man of sound mind should understand the difference between consent and non-consent, and yet these very "sane" men often claim that they were engaging in consensual behaviour - over years and years and dozens of occasions -- only to find that "whoops," they're knee-deep in legal and professional scandal. My guess is that most of them loosened their definitions of consent over time to meet their fetishes and, receiving no push-back from their colleagues, media or law enforcement, came to the jaundiced conclusion that their behaviour was well within the limits of reasonable, though naughty, behavior. They were just being bold, taking the bull by the horns (so to speak), behaving with rough masculinity, or maybe they even managed to convince themselves that this was all well within the realm of kinky but normal sexual behavior.

So for those of you - ye great men of overflowing passions and enviable success - if you seem befuddled by the outcry, I would like to offer some advice from the heart. The Q is no Lothario or great lady's man, or even a particularly adept suitor. He has, however, mostly handled his personal and carnal affairs with a degree of dignity, and so I offer these few "Q" tips for your edification.

Business is Business: When conducting business, even informal or "after-hours" business, do not attempt to negotiate matters of the flesh. That is to stay - keep your jimmy in its cage. Don't refer to it. Don't engage it. In fact, don't press your luck by going in for anything more than a handshake where warranted. You are in a place of work, even when that place LOOKS like a place of play. If there is a current, past or potential business relationship involved, always err on the professional, the dignified, the gentlemanly.

Why? It is illegal, unseemly and abusive to use your professional standing to push your advantage sexually. That's it! Simple. Doesn't matter if you're a Senator or Manager of a Burger King. No sex, or even flirtation. If the woman is interested in pursuing something she will do so, and you will not miss the signs. Promise.

Done? Hardly.

Sex, if you hadn't noticed by your own predilections and histories, is a barely understood and somewhat distant bi-product of reproduction. At best. What turns you on is no one's businesses and anybody's guess, unless you come out and say it (or in frightfully many cases, SHOW it without so much as a warning.) But even the most taboo fetishes are difficult to contain, particularly for men I think. Some are relatively banal - guys who are turned on by this part of the anatomy or another, or tall or short or dark-skinned or platinum blondes or legs or fingers or, I dunno, nostrils. Then there are the somewhat socially acceptable fetishes - positions, activities, orientation, role playing. It gets kinkier of course, but even those things (so I hear) become erotic and playful within consenting situations. Some of them might even LOOK like illegal or inappropriate behavior. But again, the consenting adults have made plans and safe words and maybe even a list of do's and don'ts. Fair enough. Rules within rules.

All of that requires enormously clear communication and trust. And while many of us engage in or say we're fine with "casual" sex, particularly when participants are single, the words "casual" and "clear communication" don't really line up. What's the result? Lots of unwanted "hookups" and awkward, perhaps even demeaning experiences to relay down the road to friends, therapists or fellow inmates. Why, women might ask, would it be so hard for men to remain dignified in the sexual realm, to know how to keep their libidos in check, to recognize the signals accurately and to proceed only when given the clear green light? Ever seen a guy go uber-ape when he IS given the green light? There's your answer. The floodgates unleashed, watch out downstream. Same for women of course. Once the gloves are off, it's a fool's bet to figure what's to come of it.

Not for a minute would I excuse ungentlemenly behavior, in any way shape or form. But I have two young daughters, and I'm not going to leave them in the dark. Men want sex. They are clever animals, but animals nonetheless, with not a particularly noble ancestry. And they have but one primary biological imperative. To say that we have somehow moved beyond that basic animal fact is ludicrous. Try telling a horny teenager to better manage his hormones. Not bloody likely.

If we've decided (or perhaps I should say if we decide FOR REAL) that we want our boys to grow up understanding what's happening to them, sexually, when biology and maybe their buddies are telling them one thing but morality says another...we're going to have to do a hell of a lot better job explaining something that for many of us adults is barely comprehensible. The blind leading the blind; or the libidinally confused leading the pubescently challenged.

Are you, my male reader, fully in charge of your sex drive? If you do you must have an extra special chromosome that I've yet to encounter in the real world. Perhaps you've found a good mitigant - religion or some spiritual practice, some tonic or potion, maybe anti-depressants. Maybe you've been castrated (nothing wrong with that of course!) Or perhaps you've got one of those socially taboo fetishes that have forced you to push it all down, way way down, like so many Catholic priests have done to the detriment of legions of young boys (and girls) again and again and again and again. On some level, I can't believe this conversation hasn't been decided. There are temptations that will leave even the best-intentioned man to wander far from his supposed morals. Unchecked, by power or station, we have Mr. Hydes to contend with.

Biology does NOT favor women in the species when it comes to sexual coercion. Size, patriarchy, testosterone and physical strength conspire, as does the tendency for men to band together with like-minded brothers to reinforce the worst in behaviors. There is no progress without an open dialogue in the home, with boys, with colleagues, about the true power of the sex drive, and like absolute power, its ability to corrupt absolutely.

There are those who will say that these high-profile cases from C.K. to Harvey to Cosby to Trump to Roy "Dick" Moore are about power, not sex. And I will take heat for what I'm about to say next I'm sure. I will say they are about sex first - but that the men are using their power to get the sex. That is, they do what all men do at every station in life. They use whatever tools they have available to convince a woman to have sex with them. Good looks, nice bod, hot car, good sense of humor, good father instincts, good timing, liquor...yes, yes any man who tells the truth will tell you he uses whatever advantage he can find to attract a mate (and I do mean mate in the most carnal sense, as well as the more Victorian rituals of pair-bonding). OF COURSE there are also other aspects of mating that are special and outsized in our species - including love and friendship and a desire for lifelong mating and shared child-rearing. But when sex happens, it happens with a spark that's absolutely insane, counterintuitive, bizarre, and many times far beyond our control. I really don't think we can control the fantasy or the urge, any more than we can control our first thoughts on just a bout anything. We can only seek to choose the right action. But to deny that the urges are there only makes matters worse.

Take Bill Cosby, for example. One of things most people thought and said when they found out that he had essentially been a roofy rapist for years was...gee whiz, the guy is rich and famous and funny. He could have any girl he wants! Really? Well, what if the sex he wants must allow him to drug his partner and have his way with her? How many women might be turned off by that fact? Sure he could have, and probably DID have sex with lots of ladies consensually. But that's not what consumed him (of course I don't know this for a fact; this is conjecture). What drove him crazy to the point of acting out was immoral and illegal, and unlike homesexuality (which was and in some places IS both of those things) I don't see society deciding that roofie rape is suddenly hunky dory. There are probably tens of thousands of Bill Cosby's out there. To think otherwise is foolish. He had the enablers and resources to get away with it for longer than most. But I doubt his predatory predilection is that much different than the average necrophiliac, the pedophile, the person with desire for beasts or family members or any other horrendous sexual deviation that seems to happen in hundreds of thousands or who knows how many people worldwide. You can't lock them all up for their thoughts. You have to figure out how to prevent the acting-out in the first place.

How do we change a culture that encourages, or at least doesn't DIScourage, coercive sex? I don't know to be honest. But it will involve vigilant reporting and authority figures empowered to do something, to SAY something, whenever and however it happens. Men must stand up against other men. Much as I've argued here previously, Trump is WHITE AMERICA'S PROBLEM. He is a symptom of a deep sickness in a fearful and manipulated electorate. 60% of whites voted for the guy. That is ASTONISHING. Take that home to Thanksgiving, and remember to go easy. Screaming at the Trump voting relative is not going to change minds. Appeal to their hearts, to their sense of decency and patriotism. And if that doesn't work, kick them hard and fast in the groin.

It will require all women to recognize they cannot allow a man to get away with the behavior, since not doing so is just kicking it down the hall to the next victim. Women AND men can venerate the truth tellers and castigate the belittlers.

But we also have to tell our boys that they're not sick or immoral for having the fantasies or urges to control women or worse. We have to differentiate between fantasty and reality, and build empathy for those who are vulnerable as an opportunity to own our dignity as modern men, men capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong and then acting accordingly. 

Men: cop to your own darkest fears and fantasies about sex. Then relay your strategies for dealing with them. Your son is not weird for his fetishes. But his dignity, and ours, is in danger if he behaves badly to women. It's really that important, and our daughters deserve it.

Every victim deserves our attention. Every son is a potential sexual assaulter. Let's see that it's not ours, because ours is ALL of ours.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Judge Rules Against Alicia Boyd, Bigly

Attending a community meeting at which attacktivist Alicia Boyd is shouting and preening is a bit like enduring an un-anaesthetized tooth pulling, minus the relief afterwards. Especially if you're expected to attend, as a member of a committee or community board, to muscle through it without overreaction.  The Q has resolved to keep his Boyd-induced headaches to a minimum in the future. However, unbridled by Board membership, I will allow myself to let loose a roar of my own from time to time. I find her most enduring when she's calling me a fat white fuck, or FWF for short.

Because he has found her behavior so endlessly compelling, the Q kept you abreast of the self-taught lawsuits that brought the board to its knees, and caused not one, not two, but three chairs to step down. Not to mention the bitter firing of its longtime district manager, and the utter chaos that kept the neighborhood from engaging with the Dept of City Planning on a Zoning Study. (So glad we dodged THAT bullet! It's not like development isn't proceeding full-speed-ahead. Except for Empire, which remains incredibly dumpy considering a booming economy and full-fledge housing crisis. Ouch. I think I just felt my tooth hurting again...)

As I've said before, if you want a copy of the full ruling just email me. I've read the whole thing and here's the summary:

Boyd and Janine Nichols wanted the letter that was drafted to City Planning to be nullified because it was drafted "in secret." The judge said it was not drafted in secret. In fact, I was at the open-to-the-public meeting where we discussed it and voted on it.  A first draft had gone around to committee members by email, if that's what was bugging her. And no, she was not cc'd. What a shitshow that woulda been. The meeting she referred to ended in chaos, and accusations of violence, and the arresting of Ms. Boyd who took a table down with her while kicking cops. It was a tour-de-force performance, and you can see it on the youtube. It's quality reality TV.

Regarding that fateful meeting, the judge says we were well within our rights to request the study at all. And he said that the board must only take action at an open meeting, not that every meeting needs be open, though they generally always are. He also upheld the board's right to restrict non-board or community-member participation, but not attendance, at committee meetings, other than in matters involving privacy concerns or personnel issues or both. (In other words, sit down and shut up, Boyd. Or you'll be dragged out by your ankles. You can't just create a ruckus and stop people from debating issues in a civilized tone.)

The judge said Boyd's opposition to a Planning Study was understandable but that doesn't mean she can hijack the process as set forth in the City Charter. He acknowledged former City Planner and anti-DCP activist Tom Angotti's affidavit made potentially valid points, but it's not the judicial systems place to litigate matters that are clearly for legislative consideration. The spirit and letter of the ULURP process had been followed. So no-go on that one either.

Boyd and Nichols claimed Board members were placed illegally. They didn't provide proof that BP Eric Adams put more than his share of people on the Board all at once, thereby destabilizing it and making it possible for Boyd to bring it to its knees. Actually, it's longtime Adams deputy Ingrid Gordon who made THAT mess, but it's besides the point. The members appointed were all qualified and the City Councilmembers themselves didn't object (in fact, remember that guy Mathieu Eugene? He appointed me...not once but twice. Think he looked at the list? Hah! Not bloody likely. The dude hates me like vampires hate garlic. That's more proof than anything else right there.) Also neither the BP or Gordon were named in the suit, so that point was moot.

B&N wanted to nullify sections of CB9's by-laws that allow the committee chairs and overall board chair to appoint non-board community members to committees. Actually, it's people like Boyd and her followers that show why the rule is such a good one in the first place. It allows the board to keep them off, while at the same time offering up plenty of seats to people who DON'T disrupt meetings. I know lots of people who serve on committees, myself included now that I'm off the board proper, and there is no litmus test. All that's required is a desire to serve and show up at meetings. Oh, and NOT create a ruckus.

B&N said the board didn't respond to FOIL requests. Yes they did, said the judge.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, B&N said the public wasn't allowed to speak at meetings as is required. It's actually not required, except on the agenda at the monthly board meetings.

In fact, the public is given ample opportunity, informally. But guess what? If you hurl insults or cause the meeting to stop functioning, you're gonna lose that opportunity. Basically the Board sets its own agenda and policies. The only meeting where the public is REQUIRED to be given an opportunity to speak is at the full Board meeting. And even then, only on the specific agenda items to be voted on. (Personally I find the bitch-and-moan open forum to be a waste of time, since its only used for Board bashing anyway.)

So there you have it. Two years after we tried to initiate a planning study, Boyd gets shut down legally. And it's probably all too late now anyway, so in fact, she wins. That doesn't mean she's going away. Expect more antics and more opportunities for the rest of us to kvetch and groan and keep our distance.

Cunningham to Challenge Eugene Electioneering

Good for him. Let's not get our hopes up about overturned results or sweeping voter reform just yet. But at least the message seems to be getting through...Mathieu Eugene's version of the Kings County Democratic Machine is built like bull dozer. Mathieu had no business being in ANY polling place where he wasn't voting. His supporters were not to be within a 100 feet of any precinct. Poll workers were only to respond to questions about the ballot, not instruct voters how to vote straight down the party line.

This from City Limits, says Cunningham is now planning to challenge the election formally. In the story you'll hear how hapless poll captains had no formal training on how to deal with complaints. Of course not - they're being chosen and paid by politicians, and they're far from neutral themselves. I heard a full on political argument happening between workers at PS92. They shouldn't even be talking about candidates at all. That said, an election is hard to get exactly right. For shits and giggles I tried signing my name in a completely different way, all loops, just initials. Not so much as a second look.

The Election Day antics all point to but one conclusion. Eugene's a fool. Why would one take a chance at all of breaking the law? He was the Democratic Party candidate in a district of Democrats - basically a shoo-in. Foolish. Reckless. And even if a judge rules no reason for a do-over, it's sad for the neighborhood and City that so many people have had their faith thrashed when it comes to voting and politicians. Then the Man goes and thanks God for his blessings? Oof. If you're gonna cheat you should at least own it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Moving On - The Parkside Plaza Wants YOU Tomorrow

Come nurse your wounds and hang with the real "winners." The beloved Parkside Plaza Committee!!

Disappointed? Sure. But Not Demoralized.

Brian was a great candidate, particularly, the Q thought, this second time out. He exuded a new confidence, unafraid of speaking frankly about his opponent's shocking misgivings. But no, you don't dislodge a 10-year incumbent by just being the better candidate and campaigning fiercely. You're going against every last Eugene supporter that he's cultivated through the past years, and the stubborn willingness of voters to vote Democrat without pause. Veterans of previous campaigns privately confided they felt it was an outside chance at best. Roughly 60/40 numbers for the councilman, in all. And yet, it's hard to discount the feeling that the election was stolen, not least because of ME's shady electioneering. More on that from our good friends at Bklnr., replete with gotcha pictures.

Just remember though...nothing's changed. The district didn't get a lift, but neither was it dealt a death blow. I've been involved in community and political affairs in Flatbush for precisely as long as Mathieu has been in office. I was duped into thing that he was more than just smiles and cheap suits, and that he would be able to bridge the chasm between the many wonderful Haitians living in the community and the old-timers and newcomers of various stripes to address issues common to us all. Sure we knew he would be a beacon of hope and a champion (in front of the camera at least) of Haitian immigrant rights and TPS. But we never imagined he would be so absent, so vacuous and so uninvolved on a personal level with the needs of the neighborhood's wildly diverse residents. He leads on nothing. He follows through on nothing. He is, in essence, a nothing entity, at least for the majority of us. Let's just hope he isn't grooming a successor!

And so it goes, and so it goes. Imagine being a liberal Democrat in deeply red and regressive Alabama - it can't feel good to be so misrepresented in government. At least OUR guy is too inconsequential to do lasting damage. Politically, sometimes it feels like you're a fish out of water, unable to swim with the big fish (like tunas Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander and even Laurie Cumbo), In four years, we'll have our chance. And in the meantime, don't let the Councilman forget whom he's supposed to serve - everyone. That is, if you see him. I suspect we'll see even less of him now that he's a lame duck. Emphasis on the lame.
Is that the face of an innocent man? (from Bklyner.)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Welcome To the Undemocratic Democratic Republic of Flatbush

If you're new to the area, you can be forgiven for being shocked. Elections around here aren't an exact science - more like an approximation with a pinch of strong-arm. Our leaders and judges are pretty much chosen for us by current elected officials and the Kings County party. The somewhat Honorable Yvette Clarke can be blamed for choosing Mathieu Eugene as her successor. I guess she and her mom Una felt he'd sew up the Haitian vote from thence til kingdom come. And for 10 years at least that's been true. (Who knows, maybe kingdom will come in the next couple years, proving me right?)

Voting irregularities abound today, much as they do every election. This time, Eugene is running scared, and word is he's PISSED to have to electioneer at all. Much like elections in banana republics, or Oil-istocracies or just about anywhere in the world this is kinda what democracy looks like when the incumbent doesn't want to lose. Eugene showed up at polling places to glad-hand, his "volunteers" are pushy and pushing past the 100 yard zone around precincts. Some confused voters are being misled about how the ballot works - some even told to vote the straight Democratic line. Business as usual.

If you come from somewhere small-town, university town or suburban, perhaps this all seems a bit nutso - the thug tactics, patronage, paying people to intimidate, refusing to shake the hand of your opponent. Welcome to Brooklyn! Even our elections are, um, artisinal!

Keep an eye out. Alert polling captains of any infringement of rules. Take pictures. Report to the AG and BoE. And if the election is super close, expect a legal challenge.

Check out this hilarious defense from Adam Ullian of Eugene's office, as quoted in Patch, in classic Spicer/Huckabee form:

Adam Ullian, who works on the Eugene campaign, told Patch that Eugene was at the polls because he had been told that Cunningham was at the polls earlier in the day. Ullian said Eugene wanted to make sure the poll workers and election officers knew that wasn't allowed.

"That was his intent. Not because he wanted to break the campaign rules," Ullian said. "The intent was to let them know that, hey, he's not supposed to be there."

If You Don't Vote Today, You Lose Your Right To Complain!

Just trying out a new tactic for you naysayers out there.

Look, it's been an uphill battle to unseat the 10-year incumbent, the thuggish, nasty, arrogant, no-show, ignorant, impotent, incompetent, laughing stock of the City Council - "Dr." Mathieu Eugene. It's outrageous that he's lasted this long, but that's the power of incumbency. The good "doctor's" henchmen our out on the streets carrying signs and the candidate himself has been seen illegally electioneering in polling stations where he isn't even registered to vote (according to eyewitnesses - not independently confirmed). One of his placard-bearing soldiers told me he wasn't even being paid (others were of course). Really? Actually campaigning out of the goodness of your heart? Dang. And I thought America had fallen to pieces. You give me hope, young brainwashed Democrat!

Even if you do mistakenly vote for Eugene, you get to complain. I voted for him 10 years ago and I've been complaining ever since! Take a few minutes to educate yourself on this race, and maybe the ConCon proposal on the back of the ballot. (I voted yes, but there are those who swear it would lead to a stripping away of environmental and labor protections, to which I say that's fear-mongering and in fact, it could be argued, the proposals sent back to voters could provide MORE of such protections, and do so in a more democratic manner. But to each his/her own. Fear or Bravery, IMO.

Just vote. In the Q's opinion, massive voter turnout now and in the future is the only true protection we have against the Mathieu Eugenes and Donald Trumps and Roy Moores of the world. Regressive Populism can only be defeated with Progressive Big Big Numbers - in other words, Populism with Popularity. We the people, indeed. Makes an old lefty like the Q misty with patriotism, if not for the now, for the future.

Vote Cunningham.

Just a bit of day-of campaigning from the dictator at PS249

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Post-Debate Eugene Refuses To Shake Cunningham's Hand

Brian Cunningham crushed do-nada incumbent Mathieu Eugene tonight in a debate 48 hours before the Election Day polls close. The moderator's questions were solid, the event marred by raucous vapid applause from Eugene's small but loud gaggle of minions. But after final comments, Eugene blasted debate host (not moderator, host) Duane Joseph for being a biased moderator, a Cunningham surrogate. Craaaazy, y'all. Duane merely welcomed the crowd and ran the p.a. Why would you piick on the Gentle Giant? And if that weren't bad enough, Eugene refused to shake his opponent's hand, or as a rascally pundit noted, he went all-in with the Papa Doc optics (hey, I didn't say it, but he was posturing like a dictator). As in seriously, check this shit out:

For a more professional and unbiased account of the debate, check out this from your good friends at BKLYNER. Needless to say, many folks were shocked by Eugene's and his supporter's antics.

The basics of the debate went something like this. Solid question, solid answer from Cunningham, meandering pandering nonsense about "we must work together" and "I have been fighting hard" and then even a few lies like "my office is number 1 in constituents served" and perhaps the strangest answer to "are you pro-choice?" I think you could possibly concoct. I'm still trying to make sense of it.

Eugene was responding to the fact that Planned Parenthood refused to endorse him, because he hadn't come out against Pro-Life fake family planning clinics - abstaining in fact. Eugene talked about having delivered many babies (though he's lived in the U.S. for decades and never practiced here) and how when a mother is giving birth and is given the option save her life or her baby's, it is a very personal decision and she must make it, and of course she chooses the baby. You could almost see an entire roomful of people straining to figure out what the hell he was saying. But wait a a doctor isn't he SUPPOSED to save the mother's life? And how often does one even have time or inclination to present a mother with such a Sophie's Choice? I mean, is he just totally making this shit up??? I'm not even sure he answered the question at all, at least not as it was asked. So very, very strange. And whenever he equivocates, his accent gets suddenly WAY thicker, like he's purposely trying to be misunderstood (not mocking his accent here - but I've noticed this over the 10 years that he mumbles when hoping not to be heard). But seriously...what the fuck was he saying about life of mother/baby scenarios?? It's actually haunting me.

And even if the debate hadn't been so laughably Cunningham's victory, this next picture tells you all you need to know about whom to vote for on Tuesday. End of the night, after Eugene has long since left with his disrespectful supporters (I particularly like the Eugene groupie/staffer Soumia Chraibi who gave me the finger while calling ME out for booing his rejection of a handshake - classy!). BC spent the remainder of the eve taking questions from everyone who wanted a moment of his time; then Cunningham helped clean up the room.

Don't let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the neighborhood's course pass us by. And tell everyone you know.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Two Big Electric Fires - One Night

Came home from work to this happening at (oh god, not again) 60 Clarkson:

According to my pal Vina it was an electrical fire in 6E. She said the lady whose apartment it was is devastated. But nobody - nobody, is surprised by the occurrence of fire. Everyone knew slumlord Barry Hers was doing shitty work in the building and recently folks were complaining of smelling smoke, and not just the cheeby cheeby. To my knowledge no one was hurt, but the street was slammed with people. It's so incredible to see how many people file out of a single NYC apartment building - and this one only has 80-some units.

As I walked through the crowd I spotted a couple reporters. Without deaths, this fire wasn't going to make the 11 o'clock news I figured. But I'll bet Rachel Holliday-Smith will be here! You know, the intrepid local reporter for DNA Info that I link to three or so times a week? Except...I can't anymore. In fact, all those links are currently dead. Because...well, read for yourself.

Rachel's smart. She can write. She'll find another job and she'll nail that one too. But we just lost two of the most outstanding hyper-local news sources ever - DNA and Gothamist. After I started digging into the 60 Clarkson saga it was Nathan Tempey of Gothamist who really started to make the connections and nail the S.O.B. He was going longform on the story, and many others. These two reporters were among the young guns that you count on to make the Kleptocracy almost resemble Democracy. And with one fell swoop, billionaire Joe Rickets tossed 'em all out. Fact is, only billionaires can afford to run news organizations anymore. (maybe that's just the cost-of-living - it's always been a rich man's sport hasn't it Roop?). And Rickets wasn't doing it for his love of journalism. He saw a way to harness hyper-local advertising. But the fact is, we don't want to pay for content, do we? Like pretty much everything else, we feel entitled. Entitled to good journalism, good TV, free parking and regular trash collection that hauls our plastic and uneaten meat to the dump.

I'm going to eat a Halloween $100,000 bar and rue the day. THIS day. The one where two very different but somehow deeply related Electrical Fires hit home.

An Actual Debate! Check It Out on Sunday 4pm

Hard to believe it'll come off as advertised. But it will be great to see the candidates confront each other up close and personal.

Folks, this race is going to be a lot closer than anyone imagined...

Unwarranted Self-Promotion (no, not from him)

The Q has spent most of his adult life (and a good deal of his pre and post adult life) making music. Writing songs. Playing in bands, you know the drill. I can see in retrospect that there have been two complementary  tracks - one experimental and outrageous, the other poppy to the hilt. Both reside in the rock, skronk and folky veins. One, Babe the blue OX, happens to include two other Lefferts residents (actually ON Lefferts, as a matter of fact), while the bassist singer Rose lives in Kensington).

After a semi-successful run in the 1990's on Homestead and then RCA records, the Q (then known as Timothy James Thomas - his coming-out as the Q was but a twinkling in the groin) turned back to the straight-up rock and pop stylings of his youth. Then he briefly stopped making music to sober up, returning with a vengeance with music made in basements and crummy bars. The Babe continues, and the flame re-emerges every so often in the forms of nostalgia and melancholy. It must be noted, without boast, that the Q can still play the hell out of his Telecaster. You can fool a Strat, but you can't fool a Tele. If you know what that means, you must play at least a wee bit yourself.

Two super-long career-spanning records of material are now available to be freely streamed and cheaply purchased. And they're in alpha order, because who wants to decide what works and what doesn't? I've never had a clue. I'm stunned to see that I somehow managed to pen more than 100 songs that I actually still want to hear. The rest have been scrapped, but even they remind me of moments and emotions that have since faded into wistful, sometimes painful, memory. But like Poloroids in a shoe box, I can't help but be moved that we humans still have a desire to communicate in ways that language alone fails.

Here they are. Enjoy or scoff. They are now free to roam.

always an inspiration

always an inspiration

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Complacency Could Still Put Mathieu Eugene Back In City Council

It's Sad with a capital sssssssss to think that do-nothing, non-responsive, disinterested and uninformed City Councilperson Mathieu Eugene might just win a final four year term representing most of Flatbush. It is an indictment of us all to think that matters of urgency to us would mean so little to so many voters that they'd either care to ignore 10 years of negligent representation or forgo voting altogether.

Shame on us if he wins again. I know no person serious about politics who has even one good reason to vote for the man; yet he will come away with between 5,000 and 8,000 votes just by being a smiling man from Haiti who throws money at a few churches and hospitals. Money which, it should be said, is called "discretionary" because he doesn't actually have to work for it or champion these projects - he just gives it away like Santa. And to put even THAT in perspective, after more years in office than almost anyone on the Council, he gets the third fewest dollars. He's a joke on the council, he's a joke in the neighborhood, and like our president he likes to claim responsibility for little victories he had nothing to do with. Don't let him get away with it...again.

That's why it was heartening to see the Queen of Brooklyn Blogs (QBB) Liena Zagare tell it like it is about Eugene's anemic performance getting one measly stoplight installed over on Coney Island Avenue.

Liena's assessment here in BKLYNER. 

Mathieu Eugene: Always Happy To Take Credit For Things He Didn't Do Or Even Care About

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Diana Richardson Weighs In On Cunningham/Eugene Race Next Tuesday

Somehow this pic captures DeeRich perfectly
From your tell-it-like-it-is neighbor Diana Richardson, your State assembly-person, whose candor is always welcome in the Q's book. I urge you to read this, remembering that is highly, highly uncommon for a sitting elected official to come out against an incumbent in another office, as incumbents usually win and having to work with someone you worked to defeat is, to put it mildly, a tad uncomfortable and a smidge prickly. carefully! Particularly if you voted for Pia Raymond, an honorable candidate from the Democratic primary who is not on the ballot this time around. Brian is, on the sneaky upstart Reform line.

Greetings PLG:
I feel as your N.Y. State Assembly Member that it is time for me to speak to you personally regarding the District 40 Elections.
  1. I have heard the echos for the need for new leadership in the CD which has a underlay in my AD.
  2. After looking at the election data (Please note I stated data so this is not an emotional statement): PLG SPLIT their vote totally. When you look at PLG as a whole but especially in the Manor, the votes went to Raymond and Cunningham evenly.
  3. I totally understand the split because many of the candidates are good and hard working and to be honest I know them ALL personally (everyone who ran) (One of the reasons I did not get involved and let the community make their own decisions)
  4. Now that the Sept results are in there is only 1 option for change: 1) Vote for the Incumbent Mathieu Eugene or 2) Vote for Brian Cunningham on the Reform line. I have watched many discussions with my name in it as far a party lines go. Let me be the first to tell you that a party line is just that: A Party Line. Did you know WFP endorsed me at 7pm the night before the 12pm deadline to get a party line? Yes, I almost didn't have that line. I created my own line "Now is the time" I was going to run on that line and the Green Party Line. (You can Google the Green Party story) - Had I not obtained the WFP line those 2 lines is where my name would have appeared. 
  5. I recently saw a post where some one suggested "writing in additional names on the ballot when voting". I STRONGLY stand against  the write in of any names because that WILL NOT get you to the end result of the change that you desire.
  6. I know it's difficult when the candidate we support does not win. I have personally been on the end of losing and I know how painful it is.(trust me unless you have run for public office and lost PUBLICLY you don't know how bad it really hurts🙈) HOWEVER- we can't let our emotions cloud logic. This is a number games. 
  7. Again, I've looked at the numbers, if unified again if unified PLG WILL make the difference in this race.
  8. It is not enough to ppst online and engage in back an forth discussion. I am asking everyone to volunteer for they change they seek. Here are some things for you to consider doing. A) Knock on the doors of your neighbors to talk about the candidiate you support B) Make phone calls (aka phone banking) C) Put up a poster in your residential window, lawn or business D) Ask the local businesses you patronize to put up posters and assist them with doing so E) Make a list of 10 ppl and call to  remind them to vote on E-day.
  9. My personal statement - I have more going on internally than you can imagine. In the face of everything I feel that I represented the 43rd AD fully. I can not personally wrap my hands on this race. However, as your elected official if you take the advice I've written above you will have a fighting chance on Nov 7th.
  10. Everyone in this room is capabale of making decisions and I respect that. Note I never told you how to vote. But given the facts I think you know what to do.
- Diana Richardson

Monday, October 30, 2017

Skyscrapers To Replace Spice Factory

What defines a skyscraper? These days you have to top 60 stories or more, but back in the 19th century 15 or 20 would do. Heck in the musical Oklahoma! Will sings of a skyscraper 7 stories high - "about as tall as a building ought to grow!" This before confronting Ado Annie, who by her own admission was a girl who "cain't say no." To a Persian peddler no less! It's a scandal! It's an outrage!! God bless the Great American Musical, the most utterly optimistic of all forms of artistic expression...

The Q gets no great pleasure from saying he told you so. But here we are. The Wall Street Journal reports that builder bigwig Bruce Eichner claims to have found the money for a half billion dollar project to replace the Spice Factory and environs just above Lefferts on Franklin near the Botanic Garden with 25-35 story towers - four in all - that would surely create the appearance of a skyscraper city just to the east of the BBG, since Tivoli Towers and Ebbets already loom over the area.

Remember the outcry when Borough President Eric Adams suggested buildings near Empire that topped out at 10 or 12 stories in exchange for inner-block protections in the area? That reasonable sounding approach to development led to the outright demolishing of the Community Board by local attacktivists and a wholesale fight for the survival of McDonalds and Storage Marts, which are seemingly more precious than housing for humans. The irony is thick as muck. Because this project will involve large numbers of below-market apartments, I suspect the City under De Bloz will find this project very appealing. Will Laurie Cumbo agree? Remains to be seen. The Q suspects this will go through with room to spare.

The below write-up is from the Journal's Peter Grant, and reprinted with the assumed permission of Rupert Murdoch, a close personal friend who plays bass on the Q's latest album "Oligarchia." He's no Geddy Lee, but neither is Geddy Lee these days. Nice poppin' though, Roop!

Veteran developer Ian Bruce Eichner, who has hit numerous highs and lows in his 40-year career in real estate, has taken a big step toward his latest dream: a $500 million, 1.2 million-square-foot residential project in Crown Heights that would set aside half of its units as affordable housing.
Mr. Eichner has a tentative deal to obtain construction financing for the project from the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, he said, which is a mutual fund that invests for union pension funds. As part of the deal, the project would only use union workers, a major goal for organized labor in a city that is losing its status as a union town.
Mr. Eichner, who is partnering on the project with Lincoln Equities Group, said the venture is “about 10 days away” from closing on a deal to pay about $75 million for the land, which consists of about 3 acres at Franklin Avenue and Montgomery Street. The venture wants to build four buildings that would range in number of floors “from mid-20s to the mid-30s,” said Mr. Eichner, who heads Continuum Co.
The venture has begun talks with the city planning department to begin a rezoning process that would enable it to build that high. Part of the plan would be to earmark about 800 units for below-market rents, which would make the development one of the city’s largest such affordable projects on private land.
“We’re seeking an up-zoning, assuming this is something the city wants,” Mr. Eichner said. “Early indications from the local elected officials are that this is exactly what they want to see.” A Planning Department spokeswoman said the department hasn’t yet received a formal application for the project.
The project will still be scrutinized by the local community board, which has been tough on developers in the past. Mr. Eichner said he is planning a “robust” effort to include the community in terms of recruiting workers and tenants for the project. The deal marks the latest sign that the Brooklyn development juggernaut is continuing even as New York’s rental market is softening. If all goes well, the Continuum-Lincoln venture would break ground in the first quarter of 2019, Mr. Eichner said.
The development would mark the latest chapter in Mr. Eichner’s eventful career as a real-estate developer, which began in Park Slope, Brooklyn, during the 1970s. By the late 1980s, he was developing Manhattan skyscrapers but several of his projects—including CitySpire and the office tower at 1540 Broadway—ran into financial problems during the real estate crash of the early 1990s.
Mr. Eichner rebounded. In the real estate boom leading up to the 2008 crash, he developed the giant Cosmopolitan Resort Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. That project ran into trouble after the crash and was eventually taken over by its lender, Deutsche Bank AG .
In the most recent recovery, Mr. Eichner’s biggest project has been the luxury condominium at 45 East 22nd St. named Madison Square Park Tower. About 75 of the units have sold, with about 20 left, Mr. Eichner said. Median rents in Brooklyn rose to $2,460 a month in the third quarter of this year, up 0.6% from the third quarter of 2016, according to That marked the slowest growth rate since 2011, StreetEasy said.
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, which has about $6.1 billion in assets under management, invests for about 400 union pension funds. If the deal being negotiated is finalized, the developers will likely do a bond financing through the New York Housing Development Corp. and the trust would buy the bonds, Mr. Eichner said. The trust only invests in projects that use 100% union labor. Lately nonunion shops have been doing more construction work in New York.
The Crown Heights project would counter that trend. “There’s obviously an awful lot of private residential work in the last few years that has gone nonunion,” Mr. Eichner said. Theodore Chandler, the chief operating officer of the trust, confirmed it had given the venture a “letter of interest” to provide financing for the Crown Heights project with the amount to be determined. “We’re very much looking forward to potentially being a part of the financing.”

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cunningham for Council - Vote Nov 7

He's running a bold campaign outside the broken Kings County Democratic Party machine. Despite running on the obscure Reform Party line (the only way he could get on the ballot), this lifelong Democrat got more endorsments than the 10-year incumbent. Planned Parenthood considers him the Pro-choice candidate. Think about that - how hard you got to work to not get the endorsement of Planned Parenthood when you're the only Dem on the ticket. Eugene is a joke and a stain on on the neighborhood. Give the new guy a chance. We'll hold him accountable - this is no blank check. We've been rudderless for too long. Plus, he has a beard.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Alicia Boyd and Lorraine Thomas Claim Victory Against...You

Short version. Your community attacktivists Alicia Boyd (she of MTOPP) and Lorraine Thomas (the MTOPP mole actually ON the Board) are claiming victory over your Community Board, which is essentially like claiming victory over YOU. Because your CB9 is comprised of 50 of your neighbors, who have been held hostage and bludgeoned by Boyd and company for the better part of three years, often unable to accomplish even the simplest of tasks as mandated by the city charter.
Alicia Boyd in action; yours truly checking his phone while showering in her spit.
Background: MTOPP filed a suit over a year ago claiming the hiring of new District Manager Carmen Martinez did not conform to the letter of the law. This was after MTOPP managed to lead the charges against the former DM Pearl Miles. MTOPP's constant attacks and lawsuits against her and former Chair Jacob Goldstein got both of them canned, basically for little to nothing at all. Eric Adams didn't help, by replacing half the Board in the middle of the ruckus. MTOPP harassed the  board chair Dwayne Nicholson into resigning, then chair Demetrius Lawrence into resigning, and hasn't let up against the latest chair Musa Moore.

And now they claim victory, having "won" the removal of Carmen Martinez, who by all accounts has been doing a terrific job running the office. Regardless of how you feel about the various people involved, or how they were hired, or the machine behind the puppetry. Mizzes Boyd and Thomas and some truly mean-spirited others have torn your one City-mandated representative body to shreds. Boyd is clearly deranged, but she's no dummy. Were she on the side of justice and all that is right, I dare say she'd be a hero. As it is, she's a goat, an unruly goat at that. ready to "Keep Empire Blvd Shitty" to the detriment of all that is good and possible vis a vis le Great Experiment known as New York City.

What is a Community Board? To hear the critics rail, you'd think it was a bunch of faceless, corrupt bureaucrats out to take away your civil rights and force you to endure unwanted changes and development in your precious neighborhood.

Don't believe the hype.

Your CB9 is a bunch of your neighbors. Period. They come from all walks of life, and they're generally lifelong committed and engaged citizens looking to make sure their nabe gets its fair share of city attention and services. That's it. It has very little actual power. BUT, a well-functioning board is well-situated to advise the city on matters of importance. When it is respected by city officials, for its willingness to work with city objectives and personnel AND for its well-reasoned and well-organized operations, shit gets done. Look no further than CB6 across the park. Park Slope gets the job done. It's safer, cleaner, better responded to than "our" side. It's CB meetings are efficient models of hyper-local democracy. Sure things get heated sometimes. But the City listens, and the City abides.

Ms. Boyd, I hope that your next ride on the H-Train is one-way, and that your metrocard privileges are revoked. You have ripped the guts out of the body politic in Lefferts/CrownHeights, and yet somehow you claim victory. Even the judgement itself shows how hollow were your howls. Back to square one, for both board and neighborhood. The waste of time and effort knows no bounds.

(if you're the sort that likes to see the full rendering of court case and verdict, shoot me an email and I'll send you a copy)

Parents Of Wee Ones - Check Out This Playschool!

The Q loves, loves, loves the term "playschool." To me, that's what it's all about, and doesn't try to overstate the goal. A teensy bit of school, a lot of play, a chance for mom and dad to do their thing while the toddler gets a bit of the social thing happening. I would argue that at 51 it's still my ideal scenario, and we don't get nearly enough of it!

From a friend whom we (the royal WE) trust comes a recommendation for just sort of sitch right here in the 'hood. A HoodSitch, as I like to call it. Below is the info. (Maybe you're not ready or situated to commit to something like the more expensive, tres pro and it must be said lovely Maple Street School, of which the Q and Mrs. Q were satisfied clients before it went all uppity at 626 - the classrooms there are top notch by the way, so I'm by no means dissing MSS, quite the opposite. But each parent has her own needs. I love the look of Rutland.)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Halloween - Look No Further Than Home For Trick or Treatin'

What, you thought I was joking? Ladies and Gentlemen, Sia joins Applejack and Pinky Pie
Safe, sweet, and full of sweets, the local "safe walk" organized by the 71st precinct is quite simply the great secret of Brooklyn Halloween fun. Along the beautiful blocks of Lefferts Manor, you'll see many a neighbor decked out in the latest costumes. Who will go as Harvey Weinstein? Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson? Post-Fatwa Larry David? My girls both wanted to go as Sia, and a fight ensued. Thank GOD there's now a Sia Pony from the My Little Pony movie. One can be real Sia, one can be Pony Sia! Bless the marketing departments!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Tomorrow Oct 21: 3:30 pm. Let's Help Brian Cunningham Skewer the Lame Duck

It's time to get serious, y'all. Just a half-hour or hour of your time is required. Bring the whole family. Organized by a passionate neighbor, this event gives you a chance to meet the only hope we have that the next four years aren't as lame as the last 10. Let's get rid of the worst Councilman in NYC and replace him with a capable challenger, who managed to get his name on the Reform Party line for just this opportunity. Ironically, if elected, he'll be more of a Democrat than a certain State Senator around here who likes to tie his pony to the Republican hitch up in Albany. (Jesse, they're coming to get you!) So get on out there and vote for a true Democrat! (er, but on the Reform line).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why Brian Cunningham Has A Chance In Hell

Good news for those who think Mathieu Eugene deserves only one vote (his own, that is if he hasn't switched his residence back to Canarsie where he mostly sleeps) in the upcoming November general election.  The Working Families Party, which notably refused to endorse Eugene as it has in the past, has come out in favor of his opponent , one Brian Cunningham, on the mysterious yet beguiling Reform line. That's big news to followers of union politics. The WFP tends to align itself with union interests (put the word "working" in your name and you should expect as much). Will they help sway the powerful local hospital workers unions next month? One can hope so.
This is not Brian Cunningham

When people meet Brian Cunningham, they like Brian Cunningham. Not because of his polish (or because he's Polish - which he's not - he has Jamaican roots). Not because of his beard, which he now sports despite being youthfully handsome without it. (Never vote for someone based on their facial hair. That's how we got stuck with that guy to the right, 21st president Chester Arthur, who, you must remember, gave us this gem: "“If it were not for the reporters, I would tell you the truth.” Hmm. Sounds familiar. He also famously said that his private life was none of our goddam business. Speaking of important political "business," it just occurred to me that Trump might actually be heavier than William Howard Taft. Trump is famous for fudging his weight (who doesn't?), but he's taller than Taft was, and if you look at him in golf clothes he's not just chubby - he's portly. Fat, if you will. I'm thinking he may be the heaviest president on record by the end of his term. First term. Gotta stay positive!

This is Brian Cunningham. And that's his real beard.