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.

Monday, September 25, 2017

And There Goes the Spice Factory

One of the lingering big, big questions for the neighborhood (and yes, I include south Crown Heights and Flatbush to, oh, Church in the Q's arbitrary catchment) has been what will become of the great Spice Factory at 960 Franklin and environs.

Well, after years and years of speculation we have an answer, a supposed half billion dollar answer. Lincoln and Continuum - two huge NYC developers - have bought up enough land to build super tall and super big. Think Ebbets Apartments scale. Right on the S train, overlooking the Garden and Park, near the Q/B and best of all near a McDonalds, Sonic, Popeyes, Wendy's, Burger King and more Storage Marts than you can shake your collection of old couches at.

Basically the deep-pocket machers cobbled together a bunch of properties before going in for the kill - the big prize being the Spice Factory itself. They're claiming it'll be 50% affordable, which would be frankly (Frankliny?) amazing. Count on some locals to be pissed that it's not affordable enough, to which the Q says if you keep coming out against everything working folks'll end up getting nothing. And at this point, anything below market is a lifesaver. I suspect the required ULURP process will get ugly, but the City will continue to have bigger priorities than the needs of the NIMBYists. I say...let it rise, and let people have a few new options - hundreds upon hundred of apartments. Let's just hope it's not TOO tall and TOO ugly, and that it takes some of the pressure off rents at Ebbets. Supply and Demand still applies, don't you know.

Shockingly, the Developers are white guys with ties

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tonight: Get Engaged, Or At Least Go Steady

Every day brings further evidence that we have a madman for a leader every bit as nuts as his Korean nemesis. I'm not saying that one meeting on a Monday night is going to turn things around. My a million meetings on Monday nights and maybe we'll all start to feel empowered. This is a good one; don't miss it. Greenlight's just a hop, skip or toddle.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's Official - The Race Is On

Folks have been asking the Q whether 2nd place finisher Brian Cunningham will attempt to unseat much-to-long incumbent Councilperson Mathieu Eugene in November, given his place on the Reform Line ballot. To which I say - does the Pope where a funny hat? Sure he does! And he makes it look good, too.

So yes, BC is ready to roll up his sleeves and do what pretty much nobody does - unseat an incumbent Democrat in the Big Apple's November election.

Let's think about it for a minute. Is it really so quixotic? Last week Brian won approx 4,000 votes. Mathieu Eugene got around 5,500. Pia Raymond got around 3,000. Jen Berkley got just under 1,000. You gotta figure every single one of those anti-Eugene votes could potentially be picked off. Why would a voter turn back to an incumbent they've shown no enthusiasm for? Put Brian & Pia's together alone and you beat the E-man.

If voter turnout for this "off year" election stays in the range of 15,000 (painfully small, I'll admit) and a rousing campaign educates voters on their actual choice in the matter, and the energy is behind the challenger...well, it's still an uphill battle. But one Brian's ready to wage, if we help him win a historic dark horse council race. So let me be the first to make it official. Vote for this guy:

1) His name is Brian Cunningham.
2) He's running on the Reform Party line.
3) He is not related to Ross Perot.
4) He could work one day a month and accomplish more than the other guy
5) Don't vote for the other guy

Monday, September 18, 2017

Italian Joint Opening on Nostrand

"Bottle of red; bottle of white; just don't fill up on that garlic bread
Bottle of white; bottle of red; that's four full bottles time to head to bed
The primi was great; the pasta was good; you didn't even leave the neighborhood
Two bottles each; despite the good meal; tomorrow you may not like the way you feel" - BJ

I think Billy was referring to more of an Italian-American place, and this will be more authentic grub from the Boot. BUT, I never miss a chance to quote the Poet Laureate of Long Island.

Camillo it's called. Opening TOMORROW, September 19, on Nostrand near Rutland (1065 on The Nose, as everyone calls it, if everyone were the Q.)

Wanna read all about it from a proper foodie journalist? Right here.

Here's the menu from a screen shot. Couldn't be bothered to go all the way over to The Nose to inquire personally. If you happen to stop in, give us a review!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Caton Flats" Just Got Bigger

There will be complaints, I'm sure. But Caton Flats, at the NW corner of Flatbush/Caton, is promising to be one of the most forward-thinking plans to address the housing crisis I've seen in a long, long time. Something similar could happen at the Bedford-Union Armory, if the financing was done right.

Anyway, I'm no fan of too-tall buildings crowding the skyline. But you can't "not build" your way out of a housing shortage. If all goes according to plan, this is what you'll be looking at where now is the colorful non-housing of the Caton Market. Thx Nathan for the heads up.

Homemade Ice Cream on Nostrand

I don't get ALL THE WAY OVER to Nostrand very often, but every time I do I'm surprised by something new. Like Creme and Cocoa at 1067 Nostrand (btw Lincoln and Lefferts). You can get your homemade ice cream courtesy of longtime locals Omar and Astrid Thorpe. So unless you're the sort who says no to deliciousness for religious reasons or obesity (or both) then come on down and support your local creamery. Tell 'em the Q sent you and get a free plastic spoon with every order.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Douchebag Wins Democratic Nod - Again

How does he do it? Are we living in some sort of upside-down inverse of reality where incompetence and ignorance puts Democracy to shame? Guess so. If the Orangeneck can do it...

Look, with three challengers to the 40th Council seat in the field it was going to be damn near impossible to beat him. But he basically lost the total votes 6 votes to 4. Think about that. No other incumbent comes even close to those kind of shitty numbers. Cumbo beat back a strong challenger with ease, for instance, and she has plenty of detractors (I do not count myself among them, btw, and I get pretty tired of the nonsensical insults hurled at her, but hey, dem's the games. I happen to think she may be too smart for politics, frankly. After this term, maybe she'll get the deserved turn at helming Spelman College she's always wanted.)

Brian Cunningham's on the ballot in November, on the Reform Line, his ace in the hole sensing this turn of events. Forget about Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan. Ralph Nader also ran as a Reform candidate. BC had the good sense not to run as a Republican. Um, it's not really their time right now.

Go get 'em slugger. But remember, there's something truly remarkably Forest Gump about this guy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

It's Simple. Vote for Brian Cunningham.

Good man, good beard, good heart, terrific listener, lifelong resident, worked in the council, knows the issues, gets how government and politics work. Is he perfect? Is anyone? I say give him a shot - he's the Q's favorite candidate for Council and I don't think he'll let us down. As for the incumbent, if the vote splits and we get him back for another 4, kiss leadership and representation goodbye til Bill de Blasé is off to serve as Sanders' Housing Secretary. (If his health holds out...Bill's, not Bernie's, who'll be here til they remove his brain and put it in a young, hunky cadaver, sometime in the mid 1920s. There'll be a constitutional crises over whether Bernie is technically in his 80's or 20's, since you need to be old enough to be President, but Justice Barack Obama will cast the deciding vote in favor of splitting the age difference. Justice Hannity will write the dissenting opinion.)

Sure Brian will be on the Reform line in November, so he'll get a second chance. But it's hard to knock off a Democrat in this town. Unless, like Jesse Hamilton, you run as one then change parties. But that's another story...

Need more reason to vote for him? Check this out:

Need more? Check this one out with his fierce wife Stephanie wearing a fetching optical illusion.

Just vote for crying out loud. Oh, and I like Eric G. for D.A. - met him, seems sincere, and he was really into Ken Thompson's reforms - plus Ken didn't fire him when he took over from Hynes - a good sign I think. 

In the other races just choose the women and people of color. You'll feel better about yourself, as if you're somehow striking back at the Bread Basket and Deep South and Big Sky Country and Rust Belt and everywhere else that prep-school redneck (orange-neck?) won the popular vote. Oh yeah, and the Republics of Texas and Northern Arizona. Geez that's a lot of places - and some of them are even in the U.S.A. God surely hasn't been blessing us much lately has she?

You Want Landmarking? Get Busy. This Thursday!

Don't miss this one, if you're interested in slowing down the speed of development outside the Historic District. Cute church too. Oh, and ever read articles by historian "Montrose Morris?" That's her nom de web. She's Suzanne Spellen, who's speaking, and don't no one know more about Brooklyn's architectural history.

Friday, September 8, 2017

More Big Buildings For the Neighborhood

So, how much do you think it costs to build that thing at 2415 Church Ave btw Bedford and Rogers that the developer wants you to believe is in Lefferts? If you guessed $20 million, well, you must be in the trade, because I probably would have guessed way lower, like $5-10 million, because I don't know jack about the trade. You could say I'm not a jack of all trades, or rather I'm not a jack of the construction trade. I am however a jack of some other trades, like the blogging trade for instance. I've been plying this blogging trade for some town, while not plying the plywood trade, meaning I'm a jack of a couple trades that have nothing to do with building buildings or putting down flooring. I suppose you could say I'm a jack-of-few-trades, but I don't want to sell myself short - these days, very few of us can rise to the level of Charles Ingalls of Little House, who really was a jack-of-most-trades, though I'm pretty sure he wasn't a blogger. A logger, sure. Are there logger bloggers? Let me go's a compendium of logging articles in Canada but that's more of an aggregator, as opposed to an aggravator, which this post most certainly is. We aggravators share many of the same traits as bloggers, though the subtle differences are known only to those who are jacks of those trades. And that's the fact Jack.

Looking Good, Risbo

Is the Q wrong, or has Risbo been taking, like, forever to open? And in a quintillion years I never would have guessed that this stretch of Flatbush on the east side Parkside to Winthrop would sport not one but two bistro type spots. But by the look and sound of things, Risbo will have that casual sophistication typically reserved for 2000s Bushwick. Or 2010s Bed-Stuy. I hear Chef Boris will have plenty of French roto-chicken on the menu, but I'd wait til the grand opening, sometime before Halloween, to get a gander at the poultry menu. Get it? Gander. Poultry. Ah forget it. Happy to see he's opening soon so we can just get on with the raves or pans.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Flatbush Market - You'll Always Be Suzie Farm To Me

If you, like me, love love love Suzie Farm on Flatbush near Woodruff, it's with sadness that I report its change of name and ownership. Yet, says Sunny, the longtime affable and charismatic cashier, all the workers have been retained. Why mess with a well-oiled machine? To a man/woman everyone who works here is terrific, helpful and warm. Who was Suzie? Sounds like even Sunny doesn't know for sure, but she says EVERYone thought it was her. And thankfully, the proud immigrant mother of a successful daughter, a graduate of the Air Force Academy now stationed in Japan - Sunny is staying put. Flatbush Market is a dull name, but they still have 10 kinds of honey, organic milk 24 hours a day, and the most amazing selection of things most Americans have never heard of, from saltfish to Ting. Rock on, Suzie, whoever you were.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Lefferts Echo Ready For Perusal

It's here! The Echo, America's greatest two or four page hyperlocal actually printed newspaper is out, just in time for the crucial election for City Council. That the incumbent has even a chance shows the power of incumbency...the guy hasn't a clue after 10 years, and a win by him is yet another eff you to the entire community. Get out the vote!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Talk About Overtime and Overkill

This is sort of heart breaking. An event of love and community spirit, and freedom from oppression, gets reduced to a bunch of blue uniforms, blinding lights and helicopters. We get it. You've got the firepower and the badges. But will all this stop some idiot from seeing red and trying to kill somebody? "You know I was going to grab that gun/knife and shoot/stab that motherfucker, but then I saw those bright lights and decided to give peace a chance." I don't know what to root for anymore. Safety, yeah, but this is ridiculous. Thx Kieran for the photos.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Flatbush Zombie House Opening

The secret is out. And of course, J'ouvert is the perfect time to open. The neon sign is ready to light up, and a full-on Tiki Bar is opening on Flatbush btw Parkside and Woodruff, two down from Peppa's famous jerk chicken.

They're having a "secret" party this weekend pre-grand-opening, but if you're chill and sincere I'm sure they'll let you in. On the Facebook invite they mention they'll have wine and "dutty wine," which is something you really need to know about if you live in the nabe. What is Dutty Wine you may ask? 

Ever seen those super-provocative dancing videos that Jamaican and Trinidadian (and others!) places sometimes show, or even on the Dollar Vans? That's usually "dutty" as in "dirty" and wine meaning gyrations. Before adapting the dance style into your own routine (Bob Marvin I'm looking at YOU!) be sure to consult a doctor and stretch before Dutty Wining. It's been known to cause serious neck injury.

I fell in love with a Dancehall song called Wining Queen when I was buying a cell phone last year, and the tune was playing. It's absolutely irresistible, if maybe a bit inappropriate to your prudish side. "Stick it, stick it, stick it" is not exactly subtle, unless you're talking post-it notes.

I highly recommend this music video - and "stick" with it, as it takes awhile to kick in.

CaribBeing Founder in the News

Nicole Craine for NY Times

If you've ever wondered about the shipping container at the Caton Market (at Flatbush) don't miss this article on Shelley Vidia Worrell its founder and creator.