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, September 25, 2018

Taking Them Down, Piece By Piece

The Q weepingly watched as workmen wheeled away one window and brick after another, as three beautiful old wood frame Victorians came down across the street. Years ago. The crappy fencing and empty lot remind me daily how rotten it is to live on a street with unfinished business.

I was again reminded of this fact when I saw the plans for NY Ave, down near The Junction, to tear this puppy down for a 22-apt six story building. I suspect it's too late for a community led zoning discussion down there, but who knows, maybe there's a will to fight this sort of thing.

It's not that we don't need more apartments - we do. But I've spent a fair amount of time down here, since my girls are friends with kids who live just a couple blocks away from the above house. It's a lovely neighborhood, and it seems most houses are going to developers for just this sort of thing.

More on YIMBY.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Q In the Crosshairs

I guess some folks haven't heard of the 1st Amendment. The one that allows criticism of public figures - particularly those using non-profit donations to electioneer and smear political opponents. She's sending all manner of emails to her minions and having her lawyer send me threatening letters. Why? Because I criticize her tactics, which of late have become more and more shrill and destructive to political discourse. But I need to be clear, to myself, and to her and her lawyer who clearly read the blog:

I don't for a minute dispute that Ms. Boyd has a right to express herself, no matter how loud, obnoxious, mean-spirited or nasty. In many ways, I've hoped to shed light on a strange corner of the NYC Universe, where one single-minded individual with chutzpah and anger can make a HUGE difference on the course of a neighborhood's liveability. There are still people willing to put themselves on the Community Board in good faith - they too will likely become disheartened that it has become nearly impossible to share opposing views with civility. As a result, City Officials are loathe to deal with us. In one case, staffers at an agency actually picked straws to determine who would HAVE to show up at our door.

How does this play out in the day-to-day quality of life here? Just look around. Public spaces are being neglected. Trash collection is haphazard. Relations with police become fractured. Transportation issues like speeding cars and bike lanes are ignored, not to mention traffic problems and intersection safety. Schools? Public Trans? It used to be you could pick up a phone and a problem would be addressed, if not immediately by Boyd's first victim District Manager Pearl Miles, but at least the message would get to the agency for which it's intended.

Take the lakes that form at intersections after rains. DEP is in charge, but what neighborhoods get the first attention? Not ours, and not because the district is largely black - it's because no one is advocating on our behalf. The committee chairs have been in constant flux - how could they not be with 5 Board chairs and 3 DMs in 5 years? If CB9 were its own City, we'd be bankrupt and run by the State by now.

So now Boyd's on the warpath again, with the Q as her primary target. Personally I don't give a shit - I can take it. But lately she's started demanding that her minions email my colleagues AT WORK to tell them what an ANTI-WOMAN RACIST I am. As a civil-rights loving feminist, these are hard words to hear. But they're protected by the Constitution, and there it is.

The fact is I don't hate blacks and women. I strongly dislike ONE black woman. But I also strongly dislike one white man, and he happens to be my President. So Boyd, Trump. Trump, Boyd. You get the idea..

Friends, don't fall for and of it. She and other vicious community activists (Imani of E4F I'm looking at you) want you to question your right to be here, to be involved in the neighborhood and to express your opinion, no matter how progressive or forward-thinking or (god forbid) yuppie it may be. It is racist to want blacks to suffer, to languish, to not have access to the same opportunities as whites. But it is NOT racist to want your neighborhood to be better, as long as you're not actively thwarting the needs of others. We get better when we debate ideas on their merits, and listen to all voices. We improve our communities when we decide TOGETHER and with as much input as possible. Then we use whatever political capital we can muster to express those needs to elected officials, and the media if necessary. A well-run Community Board can help that process - Boyd wants to shut it down and remove all members who run afoul of her personal vision, which is very much NIMBY, about as NIMBY as you can get in fact. (She loves to tell folks how I coined the phrase Not In My Black Yard as a post title to describe how she wants to dictate zoning based on her belief that black folks don't want it. Of course, she takes it out of context, and robs it of the crass wit. Oh well.

The question the Q must answer is...validate her nonsense by addressing it publicly? I won't deny that it's a bummer to get called an anti-woman racist. Those are kinda the worst things you can call a white dude these days, so I know why she's doing it. She knows I've seen through her shit, and now wants to inflict maximum damage. The personal bait I won't take; I know what's in my heart. My Struggle, indeed!

But today she sent out an email asking her followers to email MY COWORKERS demanding that I be held accountable. job? What the hell does that have to do with my personal political life? Next to nothing, I'd say. Ah yes. She's looking to inflict more damage! Maybe get me fired? Now THAT would be grounds for a lawsuit! Monetary damages...maybe retirement isn't as far off as I thought!

I mean look at this shit below - k-r-a-z-y k-a-t. In the actual email she rips off work logos, prints emails of coworkers and practically begs them to reprimand me. As if they're my parents, and I deserve a spanking. It would be pathetic, if it weren't so damn...dare I say, cruel? Truly if anyone deserved a countersuit, this would be the lady. And so...I'm retaining counsel. But I'm never going to take back musings in the past that are clearly my opinions only - taken out of context her to paint a picture of a monster. Because that's the heart of the 1st Amendment, and while the President thinks otherwise, I have a tremendous appreciation for what it's done for the Republic generally.

Now I ask you...would YOU put up with something like the below sent to hundreds of your neighbors? I'll tell you something that might surprise you. I'm fine with it all - she can say whatever she wants - but I'm not fine when she draws in perfectly unsuspecting and uninvolved people from outside the neighborhood with whom I work every day. This is harassment - they don't deserve it.

So Boyd, if you're reading - attack me as you will, but leave my work friends and colleagues alone. It's one step over a line you really shouldn't cross. And if you hadn't noticed, there is one person to whom all of your statements purporting anti-woman racism reflect - you. My feelings aren't general at all. I simply don't like you, your organization, or your litigious ways. Any other reading of my blog is FALSE, and therefore qualifies as exactly the sort of defamation you accuse me of.

And check it out! She's STILL using her non-profit to raise money for MTOPP. Like I said, chutzpah.

Stop Racist and Anti-woman Actions!

The Development Director, Tim Thomas, of XXX, a non-profit cultural Arts organization in Brooklyn has for the last four years spread hate and racism on his blog to support major real estate development in our community.  Now he is focusing his hate and slanderous lies to dwarf our efforts at protecting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
For the past four years Tim Thomas, who is the primary fundraiser for XXXXX, has a blog called the Q @Parkside.  He is a former Community Board 9 member who was removed off of his committee and eventually off the board because of his hateful, divisive, anti-women and anti-black sentiments that he has widely and gladly displayed.

His main bone of contention has been the fact that the community residents, who are predominately Black have been able to stop a massive rezoning and who are now attempting to stop a rezonng that will have detrimental effects upon the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Community.

He has come out publically, both at the hearings and on his blog for the support of the 17.5 - 22 story buildings that are being planned in the 6/7 height limited zone along the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Tim Thomas' Actions

1. Coin the Phrase “Not In My Black Yard, when Black residents were fighting against a massive rezoning on the scale as Inwood, East New York, Bushwich, East Harlem, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn etc: Q-note: THIS REFERS TO MTOPP

2. Described Black Residents:
Powerlessfearful, marginalized, angry, rebels without a cause, looking for somewhere to place their anger, nutjobs (Blog posts 8/30/14, 9/27/14) Q-note: THIS REFERS TO MTOPP AND BOYD

3. Called Black Activists Leaders: 
Assholics, who will die frighten and alone, frauds, fear soaked hate, border line personality, raving lunatic, (Blog posts 9/23/14, 2/5/15). Q-note: THIS REFERS TO MTOPP AND BOYD

4. Wished harm onto a Black woman leader
“Maybe we will get lucky and [she} will break her jaw while gardening at her townhouse” (Blog post 3/20/15) Q-note: THIS REFERS TO BOYD, and is in poor taste

5. Called women members of his committee on Community Board 9 in public 
Fucking Clowns”. (Stated at public meeting).Q-note: THIS REFERS TO MTOPP AND BOYD

6. Described Black Community Board 9 Board Members
Gutless, lunatics, fools, embarrassments, crazy (Blog post 9/23/14, 11/5/14, 1/1/15, 2/4/15) Q-note: THIS REFERS TO MTOPP AND BOYD

7. Described God as the “Big Ugly Guy” (Blog post 1/27/15) HUH? COME AGAIN?


Descriptions of Tim Thomas' Behavior

The Black former Community Board 9 chairman Demetrius Lawrencedescribed Tim Thomas’s behavior before he removed him as the Chairman of the Transportation Committee;  “combative, rude, inappropriate language, lack of decorum, lack of proper behavioral boundaries and [he] behaved totally irrational”.

Members of his committee stated "He's rude and disrespectful."
Community Activists; "He stood up time and time again yelling at the public, making personal attacks against members of the community."

Online Petition and Paper Petition Against Tim Thomas
Tim Thomas anti-woman and racist attacks were so offensive to residents that a group of white people in the community created an online petition demanding that he be removed off the Community Board.Q-note: THIS REFERS TO AN EFFORT BY MTOPP AND BOYD, PLUS A DISINGENUOUS PETITION EFFORT W/ PAL IMANI HENRY
How You Can Help?
Please copy and paste and email the the below letter addressed to XXXX as a concerned resident.


I am appalled at the conduct of your Development Director, Tim Thomas, especially in light of the hate filled anti-woman and anti-Black sentiments that are now on the National scene. To have such a prominent person in your non-profit organization using his blog to divide a community and to support the destruction of our green spaces is a concern for me.

I am aware that freedom of speech is a protected first amendment right and I am in no way want to stop anyone from exercising that right, but it is clear that Tim Thomas’ behavior is divisive, racist and anti-woman which is something that the public should not have to tolerate from an organization that is suppose to be supporting the arts from an integrative cultural and ethnic perspective.

I am also aware that you may not know of his behavior but now that you do, I hope you will address the concerns of the community activists who are fighting to protect our community and our public green spaces.


Please send the email to 
Executive Director - XXX
Program Manager - XXX XXX
Press Contact - XXX

Please cc us at -
Make a Donation
Please consider making a tax deductible a donation to our cause, as we continue to fight for the protection of our community and its green spaces! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Earthquakes and Subtle Shifts

As Hurricane Florence crashes the beaches of North Cackalacky, a tropical political storm hit locally, as Jesse Hamilton lost to insurgent Zellnor Myrie for State Senate. Even IDC founder Jeffrey Klein lost his Dem Party line. Congrats Zell - wishing you well in November.

Seems Ms. Alicia Boyd of MTOPP was none to happy with this piece in Politico, knocking her tactics fighting for Jesse and against Zell. In fact, she was so mad she had lawyer pen a cease and retract note to the Q for calling out her misuse of her non-profit "New Directions For Healing." Who knows who's been giving her money...she doesn't follow basic rules for 501c3's, like not electioneering, or having a functioning Board of Trustees and filing annual reports. So how does she respond? By threatening to sue a lowly blogger (moi) for calling out her corruption. I suspect I haven't heard the last of her calling me out as a racist, publishing untrue stories about my ties to developers (whom, I wonder?) - essentially for disagreeing with her politically. Very Trumpian if you ask me.

In the end does any of it matter? The neighborhood continues its swift though roundabout march towards wholesale change, despite the rhetoric. A great example this:

146 Linden Blvd

A sterling example of what's becoming to skinny lots as a result of NOT engaging in neighborwide rezoning to protect inner blocks. Whatever. I'll just start calling these Boyd Buildings.

This is what it was. Coming to your block if it hasn't already.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

80 Flatbush - Maybe It's Time To Concede The Reality

From Curbed, architect Alexandra Lange argues:

Brooklyn needs new housing on major arteries near transit. Brooklyn needs new schools. Subsidized apartments cannot all be located in remote locations. And New York is in the midst of a major economic boom, the likes of which haven’t been seen in 70 years. Those who can should share the wealth.

It's great that NYC has Historic Districts - like Lefferts Manor, Greenwich Village, Boerum Hill. But that means new housing has to happen elsewhere. And when you grow, there's nowhere in this city to grow but up. 

The Q thinks it's past time people started thinking less about protecting their own precious version of the City, and start thinking WHERE are we going to grow - because we WILL grow. That's what happens to successful cities. Anyone who's followed the Q will tell you we were given the opportunity to work with City Planning on just that kind of future visioning, but a combination of rabid lies and apathy led to CB9 becoming a bad long-running joke. And so now we're forced to sit back and watch the neighborhood get picked over bit by bit, as longtime residents disappear, making the arguments by homeowners sound all the more hollow and shrill. 

Is any of this "tall" stuff really so bad? Read Alexandra's piece and let me know what you think. Hell, at least the downtown boom takes some pressure off Lower Flatbush, or LoFla.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Garden Shadows? Not So Much

Wow. Did you see the latest DC Palace Intrigue? It don't get much intrigue-ier. Senior Officials inside the White House calling out the President as immoral? Or amoral? Both? Like as know what that is, right? Sociopath. We already know he's a narcissist, and probably borderline personality. And a pathological liar. Why aren't we out in the streets? If ever there were a time the world needed moral leadership... What's that got to do with a meeting about Franklin avenue rezonings? Nothing. Just blogging. Back to the local beat...

Here was the Tuesday meeting at BP Adams' Borough Hall, where-at yours truly gave a tearful testimony to the need for affordable housing, as in rent-stabilized apartments less than $1,000, because working people really can't afford to live here any more. But the Q's voice was drowned out by the activists who claim the Garden will become a dust bowl due to the rezoning of a couple of plots (40 Franklin for one) to make way for hundreds of new apartments. Hundreds of which they'll build anyway, but through the City's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, we would give them a few extra stories and we get a boatload of affordable units. AND the market rate units are stabilized too. A few years ago such a bonanza would have sailed through. Not now, thanks to scare-pictures like this one:

Yep. A planned 17 1/2 story building will, after rezoning these specific spots, miraculously grow to be twice that height, brownish-orange, with no windows. Or, if you are less prone to propaganda, you might consider the following rendering:

Yep. Shorter than Ebbets. Shorter than Tivoli. Not postcard-worthy, but hardly a catastrophe of epic proportions.

The Q is damn sick and tired of these arguments, fraught with notions of how adding a few stories will lead to MORE gentrification. Jesus, like it ain't on hyper-drive already. Like we don't actually need more apartments in decent neighborhoods. Like the plan isn't already for HUNDREDS of new market rate apartments Not stabilized.

Of course no one but me and a guy from a Haitian civic org came out in support, so I might as well sneak back behind Blogger where most fear-mongering activists would prefer I stay.

Or as one guy said to me - "your opinions aren't wanted here."

That's where we're at folks. Discourse is not wanted around here, whether in Congress or at Borough Hall.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

J'Ouvert - Great Party. Don't Even Dream Of Driving

 Head to the early morning J'Ouvert and you might be greeted by a Blue Devil.
The Q recalls the first time he learned of J'Ouvert, the party beFORE the West Indian Day parade. It was 2004 on Clarkson Avenue, our first year on the block, and in the middle of the night, like maybe 3am, my lady and I were awakened to the most outrageous sounds of drumming and horns. We pulled back the temporary shades to witness wild dancing, people covered in paint and baby powder, making their joyous way down the street. I thought I must be dreaming, but Mrs. Q saw it too. I'd been to the daytime parade a dozen times without knowing about the all-night festival that proceeds it, one with deep symbolic roots wherein slaves mocked masters who had mocked them - all related, of course, to Carnival, which also has an extraordinary history throughout the African Diaspora. I mean this is some DEEP shit. So...

Ah hell. The best explanation is to go for yourself. Where it used to start around 2 am, the City's efforts to curb Labor Day violence (often not directly related to J'Ouvert, it must be stated and restated), now you can get up at the easy hour of 5:30, bike or walk (don't drive!) up to Grand Army Plaza, enter the fray or, conversely, wait for it take a left at Empire Blvd. Show up around 8am and you should get a good splash of blissful insanity. There is nothing, NOTHING, like it.

The first terrific video on the event below: