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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Putting the Small in Small Business

(reposted from December) When the Q first moved to Clarkson, you could still buy crack from this little joint next to the Bodega on Woodruff just off the Flabenue. Maybe the crack man got priced out too? Nope, says a local ne'er-do-well, or rather not-doing-well, as the drug ravages his body and soul. There are still plenty of cop spots, just a little more underground. That's why it was so great to see a tailor move in named Mohamed B. Jalloh, In the era when most folks simply buy new clothes made in Malaysia for cheap from Marshalls, the tailor is still a specialized craft that requires select skills. Like the cobbler, a good tailor is worth his weight in gold when they're needed. So please support Mohamed and his micro-tailor-y. A little backstory might just sway you his way.

Yep. It's small.
MBJ used to be on the Flat/Ocean stretch of Lincoln Road before being priced out. And while this new space may have a door that opens the wrong way (you'll see if you stop in), it's HIS shop, and he supports his family by his trade. He used to live in Flatbush, but as rents rose he hit the jackpot after years on waiting lists and got into some City housing, the sprawling houses down by the BQE btw DUMBO and Ft. Greene. The 1/3 of your income deal is pretty sweet, especially when you're caring for a disabled boy. Born without complete limbs, his son has become incredibly adept at writing using his forearms to hold a pen. He just got a new pair of space-age legs, that will have to be upsized as he grows. If ever there were a case to be made for public subsidies, this man and his family could sway a few warm hearts. Originally from West Africa, he did what countless immigrants have done before him, the Q's grandparents being no exception (from Scandinavia dontcha know. My grandmother couldn't pronounce a "J", but that didn't stop her from naming my dad James, or Yimmy as she used to say. International Falls. You think this is cold? Ha!)

So give MBJ a try. There is absolutely NO reason why Northeastern Flatbush can't support a hard-working tailor and his family, not by charity, but by good old-fashioned fee for service. A Happy New Year to you Mohamed, and may your son have a good and full life thanks to your love and care.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Help the Fire Refugees

It would appear that many people can't get back into their apartments at fire ravaged 35 Winthrop, and lots of property has been damaged and destroyed. So, some of your industrious and helpful neighbors put together a Google Doc where you can list your name and anything you have to offer. Some pretty clear-eyed folks will make sure that this list gets where it needs to go, so if you sign up you'll hear from someone if your offer is needed. How about actually real-world-useful piece of technology from your "do no evil" friends at Google.

To sign up, click your clicker.

Thanks to Craig, Jennifer, Ashleigh, Julia, Cheryl, Melinda and others for pulling this together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

More Walls Come Tumbling Down

There is something eerie about watching a house be torn down from within. Especially when you only hear the breaking glass and plaster and can't see a sign of a human, just the occasional debris thrown from an upper window by gloved, seemingly disembodied, hands.

The little church and two houses on Clarkson I in full demo mode
Plans are for a big ol' "luxury" building with all market rate units. Of course. If they ever get to work on the empty lot across the street, I figure that'll bring another 400-500 people to the block, all able to afford the going rates. That's going from five Victorian houses and a cinder block Pentecostal church to...ah hell, you know the story.

As the Q sloshed home from a meeting, a massive Fire Dept presence had taken over Winthrop and Flatbush, maybe 10 trucks in all. On closer inspection, a fire had torn through the upper floors of 35 Winthrop. Such a strange couple of images to see with a couple hours of one another.

One can only pray no one was hurt. Not feeling too hopeful, but that's when you pray, right?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Former CB9 Chair and DM Win Settlement

Word just came to the Q that pretty much all the allegations against your Borough President regarding your Community Board were, well, not defend-able, let's leave it at that. A settlement of $200K is coming to Jake Goldstein & Pearl Miles as a result of their lawsuit against Eric Adams which claimed they were forced out without due process, or even a proper vote from the Board as it was then reconfigured. Jake was told he would not be reappointed if he ran for chair again - that's just not cool. Dude had served admirably for 30+ years. Look around - some Board chairs have been there longer than that! Alvin Berk of CB14 and central Flatbush, for instance, has done quite a number of years himself.

The claim in the lawsuit of age discrimination against Pearl was perhaps overplayed. The BP maintains that he would never discriminate against anyone over anything. I'm inclined to believe him, though many in the Jewish community would disagree at this point. The words about Pearl being "too old" were out there though, on paper, and the judge was persuaded enough evidence of foul play existed to go to trial. But Corporate Counsel for NYC chose to settle, rather than risk an award much higher than the $200K. It should be noted that Rabbi Goldstein also won the right to go public with his grievances, rather than lose 25% of the payout due to disclosures. (Bet you didn't know about that gag rule, did you?)

The BP may well be on the right side of many issues. He may be a hero for losing weight and changing his diet - publicly - to combat diabetes. He may be a man of firm convictions. But he's not above pettiness. This whole era at CB9, ever since Adams' election, has been a total shit-show. And while many CBs in the borough remained relatively unchanged after he entered office, CB9 has seen more than 32 (!) board members removed to make way for new ones more loyal to the team. This has destabilized the Board, providing zero continuity (to the point yours truly has had to inform members repeatedly of its own actions a mere two and three years ago) and even less accountability.

(first to answer correctly gets a playful nugie)
The Q has watched this unfold, and this is what he believes went down, and why.

The BP wanted District Manager Pearl Miles fired, and when 30+ year Chair of the Board Jacob Goldstein wouldn't do it, Adams refused to reappoint Jake unless he stepped down as Chair. Why not let the Board vote its own conscience? Such flagrant disregard for the community he long served as State Senator feels to the Q like a punch in the gut. Why would Adams go to such lengths to fire Miles? The Q has gone into the whole hairy saga before, but the short version is that this was score settling, all pointing back to longtime hot shot Clarence Norman, Jr., once the Kingmaker of the Kings County Machine, who fell from grace as a felon, only to help undo the very man who put him behind bars (longtime DA Charles Hynes, who lost to Norman's man Ken Thompson, r.ip.). Ultimately, after cleaning house on the Board, and two BP-approved Board chairs came and went (Dwayne Nicholson and Demetrius Lawrence), longtime "friend" of Clarence's Carmen Martinez was hired. Somehow. Despite hundreds of submitted resumes, CM became PM's replacement at DM. (I'll continue to say it - CM is a fine potential DM, but this was hardly a fair fight.)

Along the way, YOUR neighborhood has had to endure unending incompetence and inexperience at its Community Board, constant in-fighting, and miserable services delivery as top posts went unfilled. Pearl Miles didn't make a lot of friends in her time as DM, but she got shit done. Ask anyone in the City...PM was a killer DM, albeit without the BM (bedside manner) some consider a requisite for the gig.

So where are we now? Unless The People start to take an interest in their local politics, it's really hard to imagine positive change in Albany and Washington. Don't think because you're a Democrat you're getting the best representation. You're simply being told what's best for you, and your vote or lack thereof will continue to be taken for granted.

Please. Vote accordingly.

Insane Crash on Rutland II Defies Law of Physics

Never seen anything like THAT before. Word is no one was hurt but the driver took off on foot.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I Think I Can See Trump Tower From My Apartment, Ma!

It's All About the View
Lest we forget just how much a view matters to a big d Developer, the Q offers this evidence. Has Lefferts ever made a Downtown Brooklyn "Big Belly" trash bin before? I doubt it. The best way to sell the Parkline, a/k/a 626 Flatbush, or any of the other tall buildings soon to sprout north of Empire Blvd (and eventually all over the un-landmarked portion of the neighborhood) is to sell the view. Granted, many of the lower-floor apartments won't see much more than the sky and the Q train, with a frequent rumble as soundtrack.

Of course, building up is the only way to make way for growth, growth and jobs being an essential part of what makes this City so attractive in the first place. As it has for 150 years, NYC has grown around transit, from boats to bridges to subways. We're the "next stop" on an never-ending march towards the City's very finite border. Barring the occupation of Long Island, the eastern edge of the City remains the barely noticeable DMZ, with the only obvious changes being the DOT signage and alternate side parking regs.

Each day brings word of new purchases, plans and razings of 100+ year-old structures. We may, or rather we will PROBABLY, see a down-turn in the next year or so, which may once again require a radical rethink of policies and activism. The Q remains saddened by the inability of the powers-that-be and activists-that-are to recognize how we are missing the opportunity of a century to choose how and where we want to grow. The moneyed interests will continue to do the choosing, the buying of property and the influencing of politicians. And just as the billionaire oligarchs waltz into the seats of ultimate power, we seem willing to hand over whatever little negotiating rights we have. The moment has passed CB9 by...even the agencies aren't coming out to meet us anymore. We are a laughing stock. No, worse, we are being ignored. And who can blame them? We made them unwelcome and sullied their good names. And did we achieve anything for all the name-calling, race-baiting and chair-hurling?

Nope. What a world-class waste of my time were the years on the Board. I can point to not a single thing I, or we, accomplished. Except the one thing that I swore I would see before I died. The awakening of the Flatbush Trees at Empire and Flatbush. Thank you Pearl Miles, Jake Goldstein and David Eppley for helping make that corner just a little more hospitable. Oh, and Rudy and the Parkside Crew for the Plaza at my beloved Q at Parkside.

And now, off to Washington to add my fat-assed body to the resistance. I'm sure to have far more efficacy as one among 250,000 than I did as one among 50. Math, it appears, DOES lie on occasion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Maple & Flatbush - Man Busted Selling Guns Outa His Car


Busted at the Golden Crust. If allegations proven true, good riddance to Mr. Marcus Gamble. Anyone selling illegal guns in our nabe qualifies for a special low-hung rung on the Lefferts Social Registry, if you ask the Q, which you didn't.

Was strange to note the same stock image of guns used across news outlets. Clearly we're living in an age of post and repeat. And repeat.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Car Explodes Into Flames on Flatbush and Lenox

Early this afternoon. No word on injuries. Anyone?

Good Times, Good Vibes

So nice to see neighbors enjoying the MLK holiday. Local resident Carmen of Kiddie Science was there - above you can see how engaged the kids were in discovering that black is made of every color. Great experiment, great metaphor.

Carmen, by the by, just closed on a lease for a space at 509 Rogers tween Midwood and Rutland, from which she can build her Frankenstein host classes for our young Einsteins. Once the lab is up and running, longterm goal is for more youth-oriented bizzes to become part of her Mall of America Community Center for Cool Classes (or CCCC).

Carmen's great; Kiddie Science is great. For more info, you know what to do.

Also at the celebration yesterday a hilarious reading by Javaka Steptoe, another cool neighbor, whose terrific book on the young Jean-Michel Basquiat called (of course) Radiant Child. If you're looking for a perfect gift for a youngster, I highly suggest you shout at Alexa hop on over to Greenlight Bookstore at 626 Flatbush and grab a copy.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

No Better Place To Celebrate MLK Than Right Here

Always a Terrific Event - Close To Home
At a moment when the Prez-elect is slamming a true civil rights hero and icon (John Lewis), a comrade of the great Martin Luther King, Jr. himself, and calling his district (a very diverse district in fact) a hot mess and crime infested, let's take a moment to reflect on King's legacy. He was WAY more radical and powerful than even the tepid history books reflect. His presence is felt, and missed, in every important social and cultural and political battle taking place right now.

Where do we go? Besides heading to D.C. next weekend, I say we head on over to Grace Church on Monday and remember the key phrase "we the people."

This is not a test, America. I repeat, this is not a test.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lefferts Makes the Short List Of Nabes To Preserve

Lest you think that the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council isn't earning your donations, check out who just made the Six to Celebrate list from the Historic Districts Council. The info below. Will you consider donating now? Remember at the moment we're talking Ocean to Nostrand, Fenimore to Clarkson, roughly.

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
The Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council, the Parkside Avenue Block Association, and Concerned Citizens for Community Based Planning have worked to give residents a voice about current rapid development that has left this neighborhood with an unprecedented number of demolitions. With only one, small historic district and a much higher-density zoning that is ill-suited to the existing built environment, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is rapidly changing in scale, character and identity due to rowhouses and other smaller buildings being replaced by speculative, high-rise, “luxury” development. Residents have begun to document and make the case for the preservation of portions of their unprotected historic neighborhood before it disappears forever.

DOT To Take Smart Approach To Flatbush Bike Lanes

This Just In...

A trusted source says that the DOT has finished a proposal to create bike lanes on Flatbush between Empire and GAP that sidesteps controversy and elevates common sense to its proper spot atop the urban pancake like so many pats of delicious butter...

It's gonna run along the Botanic Garden side, avoiding a fight with drivers over use of those precious parking and driving lanes. The move was announced at last night's Prospect Park Community Council meeting. Remember, they still have to present to the community, so you'll have plenty of chances to bitch and moan.

I have no pictures of the project, but I did receive some good news, first reported by Breitbart, about the new Food Truck coming to the recently announced joint venture between British Petroleum and Borough President Eric Adams at the triangle of Flatbush/Washington/Lefforts to be unveiled and rebranded as the BP Plaza: Rendering of said food truck below (Balloon Rides to be provided by Phat Albert, with hot air provided by soon-to-be-outgoing Council Member Mathieu Eugene):

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Time To Act Was Then

It may still be a longshot, but you can't pretend that the effort isn't long overdue. Watch this video, share the video, and give to this effort.  

If after you see the video you have questions, or require more detail, I ask that you consider sending me an email and will let you in on the activities of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council. There are reasons not to be too specific about properties, personnel and logistics, since to a certain extent this is a race against time to beat back the efforts of developers to manipulate our miserably out-dated zoning regulations and their near constant attempts to take advantage of current homeowners. This is an effort best handled face to face and house by house, building by building, block association by block assocation, so we can all recognize our common ground and need to protect certain aspects of the community we call home. Change is good, change is inevitable. But some kinds of change are unbearable and frankly unnecessary.

The nutshell argument is this:

The Prospect Lefferts Gardens Historic District (roughly Fenimore to Lefferts/Sterling) has been extremely successful in maintaining the character of PART of the neighborhood. But its designation in 1979 left out huge chunks of the nabe that have equally historic value. Surprising to some, the same architects and vision were applied to the "other" parts of the neighborhood, even if the Victorian rowhouses of Midwood and Maple are what most people think of when they think of "preservation." Even the pre-war apartment buildings are now nearly 100 years old, with some famous and notorious architects and developers embedded in the history. I'll leave it to Richard Walkes and the rest of the Heritage Council to make their case - they're currently raising money to finish the applications for inclusion on the National Historic Registry and to the City's Landmarks agency. A great deal of research is being done by talented folks. If you join the effort we'll be sure to take you along for the ride, and some of it is just plain fun.

Due in part to the current PLG Historic District, pressure towards new development has been shifted to blocks north and south and east and southwest (like Caledonia), areas with too-high zoning, and to the avenues, without ANY protections or obligation to build affordable (i.e. below market) housing to help preserve the neighborhood's diversity, both income-wise and cultural. It's big stuff, and as I've complained many, many times before here on ye olde blogge, there are some in the community who prefer to do NOTHING rather than plan, landmark and dialogue. Others feel obliged to slow us to a crawl. In a word, it's excruciating to behold.

It may all be too late; it might not work. But it's worth a try. If you have the capacity, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to the non-profit that has been created specifically to address these issues, as they build an all-out multi-block strategy to landmark. At the very least, this new organization will provide a home for the contemplation and discussion of these issues OUTSIDE the older and more well-established Lefferts Manor Association. To a certain extent, these issues are ours - those of us who live on the south side of Fenimore and below. To date, too many decisions and activist actions have been focused to "the north."

Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council, INC from PLGHC on Vimeo.

Been Away Too Long, Sir Flatbushed

What he lacks in quantity she makes up with quality. Flatbushed is back. On "The Dugout" of Flatbush and Empire, from the Dodgers days, comes a story to good to miss. The Q's let it go for awhile, but just think of the possibilities of reactivating the space and buildings at the northern entrance of the Prospect Park Station. They use to be private businesses, and maybe now should be public, open and useful. That parking lot is yet another blight on the nabe. For now, enjoy a good yarn well told:

480 Flatbush, Just North of the Pros Park Entrance Now Owned by NYCTA

Friday, January 6, 2017

On Race Part 2017: The Sickening Successes of Dylann Roof

Domestic Terrorism has a specific definition, outlined in the much-maligned Patriot Act, and the wording is meant to make clearer the difference between a lone act of malice and an act that is intended to provoke a response in the greater population. The word "domestic" is pretty much absurd, since, say, an American who takes lives in the U.S. but in the name of the Islamic State would NOT be branded Domestic Terrorism, when in fact it meets every bit of the definition:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
Since no one's asking, I'll go out on a limb and say straight up - terrorism is terrorism. You've got a political goal in mind when you do your damage, you're a terrorist. You intend your targets to suffer IN THE NAME of a "higher" goal, you're a terrorist. In fact, WHO the terrorist destroys is less important than what they and/or the act REPRESENTS. Follow? For some reason I find it very difficult to find media commentators who rely on this definition of terrorism when they broadly try to make sense of the modern world. Dylan Roof is a terrorist. Unlike other mass shootings, this guy wants to provoke a greater "race war." The act is not the end that justifies the means; it's the beginning that justifies the means. He is not insane in the classic sense. He is a warrior.

Roof shows no remorse. He claims soundness of mind. He's no different than the jihadists in Istanbul or France. He just has a different agenda. And that agenda - the intimidation and subjugation and even expulsion and destruction of black people - has a long and bloody history. Were he on the "right" side of history, he might even be a hero, brave and stoic, attacking the "enemy" with fierce abandon, knowing full well that his own life is in peril.  

The kind of racism that Roof practices is one of the reasons that gentile white folks don't like allowing themselves to be seen as racist. Surely there's a difference, we say, between the clueless daily indignities offered up by white bosses and colleagues and even friends - the unplanned and unINTENTIONAL racism - and the in-your-face run-for-cover kind? The Roof story - and now the inflammatory Facebook Torture story - are perfectly timed and matched to create the illusion of widespread racial unrest and violence. So just watch the nation pivot from rational conversation about state sponsored terrorism against black people (mass incarceration, police violence, profiling) right back to using the very most extreme actions to illustrate the bigger problem. You know the one - that black and white can't get along, that segregation is merely a common sense way to deal with a massive cultural divide.

The pictures that have dominated coverage are striking:

In both pictures, the subjects are looking at YOU. Which side are you on, they beg?

Good Lord, this could be a picture of an indie DJ collective for chrisakes
Dylann Roof succeeds in his mission in so many ways.

1) He convinces us that there is a difference in his kind of terror, not just terrorism worthy of the name.

2) He breathes fear and insecurity into the perceived safety of a House of Worship, where spiritual people have often tried to extend an open door policy of Love and Acceptance and Welcome. (L.A.W.)

3) He gives "average" racists cover, ensuring that yet another generation of run-of-the-mill white supremacists and separatists can claim a moral "out."
4) He feeds a narrative of distrust and fear that suggests law-abiding white AND black folks need an authoritarian state to combat "natural" forces.

5) He offers the media a dream-story, so outrageous and historically significant as to dwarf #BLM activism

The media, without coercion or necessarily malice, force us to confront the above images simultaneously, and to imagine that Picture A is pitted against Picture B. Thus, the WAR is on. Roof wins.

God help us all. If the Nation is gullible enough to fall for a thin-skinned bullshit salesman, it's certainly capable of being sold the Dylan Roof as martyr story. In a sense, there is no ending where the other begins.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Take a Bite Outa Greenlight

Greenlight looks NOTHING like this
It takes some getting used to, this idea that right here and now we've got our own little intellectual clubhouse for ideas, right there in the shadow of the Flabenue's tallest structure. Greenlight Bookstore has a slew of readings and book clubs and parties happening this month...don't miss this Saturday's Grand Opening Party at 7:30 pm. There's even a special Family Party happening earlier at 1:30pm. I mean, c'mon, come on out and show some love.

Prospect Lefferts Gardens:
632 Flatbush Avenue (at Fenimore)
Brooklyn, NY 11225

Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
Saturday, January 7, 7:30 PM
Bookstore Grand Opening Party!
Music, Refreshments & Special Guests
Now that the rush of the holidays are behind us, we’re officially celebrating the opening of Greenlight Bookstore’s second location in Prospect Lefferts Gardens!  We’re inviting our neighborhood and the literary community to a party, Greenlight-style, with music, wine, and appearances by illustrious local residents, community movers and shakers, and literary celebrities. Start off the New Year with a celebration of a new space for stories, ideas, and conversations in one of Brooklyn’s greatest neighborhoods!  (Families are also welcome to attend our children’s party event at 1:30 PM.)

Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 PM
Greenlight Nonfiction Group (PLG) discusses Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work
Led by PLG store manager Geo, our nonfiction book group in PLG reads and discusses the most fascinating topics in nonfiction, both classic and contemporary, with seasonal themes covering a variety of genres. For January, the book group reads Create Dangerously,  a New York Times Notable Book and a Miami HeraldBest Book of the Year by the  celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat.  In this deeply personal book, Danticat reflects on art and exile. Inspired by Albert Camus and adapted from her own lectures for Princeton University’s Toni Morrison Lecture Series, Danticat tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands. Combining memoir and essay, these moving and eloquent pieces examine what it means to be an artist from a country in crisis.

Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
Wednesday, January 18, 7:30 PM
Greenlight Fiction Book Group (PLG) discusses Faces in the Crowd
Led by Greenlight general manager Alexis, our fiction book group in Fort Greene discusses paperback fiction, reading broadly in contemporary fiction with the occasional diversion into classics.  For January, the group discusses Faces in the Crowd, the highly acclaimed 2014 debut novel by Valeria Luiselli.  In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
Monday, January 23, 7:30 PM
Book Launch: Ottessa Moshfegh presents Homesick for Another World
In conversation with Michele Filgate
Wine reception to follow
Greenlight is delighted to welcome Ottessa Moshfegh to launch her highly anticipated new story collection as the first author event in our new store!  Moshfegh’s stories have been awarded the Plimpton Prize and her novel Eileenwon the PEN Hemingway prize for debut fiction and was  nominated for both a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize.  Her first collection of short stories, Homesick for Another World, confirms she is truly a master of the short form with stories that are eerily unsettling, almost dangerous, while also being delightful and even laugh-out-loud funny. Moshfegh discusses her work with Brooklyn author and editor Michele Filgate, followed by a wine reception to celebrate the book’s launch.

Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 PM
Greenlight Young Readers Book Group (PLG) discusses The War That Saved My Life
Led by Greenlight receiving manager Grace, our young readers book group in Prospect Lefferts Gardens is geared toward kids ages 9 to 12, and reads great contemporary and classic chapter books. Parents are welcome (but not required) to attend, and pizza is served.  For January, the group discusses the New York Times bestseller and 2016 Newbery Honor book The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada's twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute – she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tafari Tribe Moving Next Door

The Q's certain you were as shocked as he to see that Tafari Tribe's longtime home on the Flabenue has shuttered. Here's the Q talking to and about Sandra, owner of the Tribe, a few years back.

Turns out she's moving next door to the space she built out and called Tafari Cafe, though it never actually opened as a cafe. It WAS used for many private events, and of course the wonderful pop-up shop that I profiled awhile back. Inside intel says the move was prompted, in part, by the landlord, though it's clear that without an unlimited bankroll it's simply not possible to maintain a 2nd shop with nearly 0 cash flow! It's a shame about the cafe...there was a lot of excitement there for a world-themed coffee house.

Here's hoping that all's well that ends well.

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Official: Pia Raymond Joins Race for Council

That makes two vying for Mathieu Eugene's gig - Pia and Brian Cunningham. The question remains - will they just split the vote and hand the primary, and therefore the seat, to Eugene? Or will one of them run on a third party line, heading straight for the General Election? Oooh. The intrigue! It may be that the Working Families line is the one to get. Got my (so far) private feelings about that, but I'll save it for another day. Pia is lovely, and like Brian, deserves a solid look.

January 2, 2017- Brooklyn, New York- Pia Raymond, community activist, business development advocate and fifth generation Brooklynite, announced her run for New York City Council’s 40th District, encompassing Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Kensington, Ditmas Park, parts of Crown Heights, Flatbush and East Flatbush.
The input of citizens is fundamental to the democratic process and Raymond wants to see more of it.  “True leadership is about community empowerment.  When people feel disconnected from the political process they disengage, don’t exercise their right to vote and go unheard.  I am committed to facilitating an open dialogue and working collaboratively with residents and businesses to create solutions and address the needs of our district.”  
Raymond’s extensive leadership experience in grassroots organizations has given Raymond a birds eye view of the district’s concerns. “Seeing my involvement and commitment over the years has allowed people to trust me with their needs. I have already been serving this community at large and when elected I can do even more.” Raymond is Vice President of the Lefferts Manor Association, Vice President of the Nostrand Avenue Merchants Association and Chairperson of the Community Board 9 Economic Development Committee.
A licensed social worker and graduate of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Neighborhood Leadership Institute, in 2013 Raymond founded the nonprofit organization, Creating Legacies, which engages area families in multicultural and multigenerational activities. An advocate for the diversity and strength of immigrant communities, Raymond lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Jean and children Sage and Maple.
For more information, visit