The Q at Parkside
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, November 27, 2018
Steak House on Jean-Jacques Dessalines?
Patrick Steak House. That's what it says on the Community Board Agenda for tonight - a new restaurant looking for a liquor license. 227 Rogers cum Jean-Jacques Dessalines Blvd. Ironies and Worcesteshires abound.
JJD, btw, is a fascinating historical character, the first Emperor of Haiti, and a figure who struck fear in the hearts of Confederate-Americans for his massacre of a few thousand whites after taking power in 1803. His exploits became the stuff of legend, often helping to swing potential swing-voters on abolition into the "hell no" column. Such is the power of well-timed propaganda, no?
The City Council co-named Rogers Ave Jean-Jacques Dessalines Blvd just last year. And while some articles mention controversy around the rebranding, the Q hasn't heard a whit of controversy beyond the occasional question about what and who gets a co-naming in the first place. Sure the guy slaughtered a bunch of people, but hey, who didn't? In fact, "greatness" was pretty much defined by slaughter back then. If anything, I'm not sure Dessalines slaughtered ENOUGH people to join the pantheon, but given his remarkable achievements pushing back the very French who'd enslaved him, it's worth giving it up for his Excellency. As an Emperor, maybe he should have gotten part of Empire Blvd too. Strange that Rogers AVENUE becomes Dessalines BOULEVARD. I guess Blvd is more impressive sounding.
There's more backstory too. This particularly Haitian rebranding was taking place simultaneous to efforts to rebrand our area Little Caribbean by some locals, in particular Shelley Worrell of CaribBEING. Shelley was making short work of the process, astounding all with her organizational savvy, bringing in Caribbean orgs and BP Eric Adams to support her effort, and all was looking like smooth sailing on the high Caribbean seas.
But fracas soon clogged the email lanes, as elected officials like Assemblyperson Rodneyse Bichotte said absolutement non to the Little Caribbean idea, because she and others had apparently been working for years on the distinction of Little Haiti under the umbrella Little Haiti BK,
So which is it? Little Haiti, or Little Caribbean?
The Q has no cheval in this race, but in looking at the maps of the two districts I noticed an oddness worth noting. Where Haiti would strike one as the smaller, less inclusive distinction, Haiti being but one island among many in the Caribbean, Little Haiti is actually a LARGER area than Little Caribbean, as far as these "official" maps are concerned. The only opinion I will share? Little Haiti is DAMN big. That is all. Maybe Big Haiti makes more sense.