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.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Proud To Be...An American?

The Q's not a religious man. And yet, with all the braying going on in D.C. and with 45's basket of deplorables, I got a bit choked up when I saw the below sign. God bless NYC and the promise of a better America. Time to get busy. Just over a year and we can send 45 back home. Oh, right. Home's NYC for him. A minor inconvenience, at least til he's tossed in the can by Tish James. Don't mess with Texas? Hah. Don't mess with Tish, mofos.



And as the Clarkson Avenue block party was in full swing, we got a visit from the power team of State Senator Zell Myrie and Assemblyperson Diana Richardson. What they accomlished this term! Just read this whole list and tell me we can't be on the wrong and the right path simultaneously in this country, til the roads converge in 2020.

Get busy!

on the block on Saturday - the Q's fave power couple D & Z

Clarkson on Saturday. Hot but Bouncy.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Gee, Officer Krupke - Krup YOU!

For residents of a certain block in Lefferts Gardens/PLG/Flatbush/Central Brooklyn, June of 2019 will be remembered for the day that Hollywood came calling. Steven Spielberg's update of West Side Story is shooting right here right now. Want proof? A neighbor shot these pics just this morning. And yes, Officer Krupke gets his own dressing room. Are they shooting that most deliriously delightful of songs? Head on out and don't forget to send the Q pictures!



And if you've never seen this hilarious episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, you can watch the highlights reel here.

 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Honoring Lamuel Stanislaus (and Hell, Zell way to CRUSH it!)

It's not that I don't THINK about blog-posting every day. I do, I do. And yet, at this busy time of the work and school year, I find myself feeling guilty for indulging my hobby. For instance, so much to say about the changing of rent regulations. Like, watching our newly elected State Senator absolutely crush it...I mean, taking the lead after only days in office, to help sponsor and deliver some of the most important tenant protections in decades. Big, big stuff. Hope you've been following. More on Zell Myrie when I finally get a chance to sit down with him. Thank the Lord we chose the right candidate in that race.

In the meantime, how cool is it to learn about a guy who you probably never met, who did so much for Flatbush and the Grenadian specifically and Caribbean community generally, getting a street named after him and all that? Thx be to Liat Weinstein at the ever-amazing BKLYNR for this delightful and informative read.


Photo and story by Liat Weinstein in BKLYNR


Lamuel used to lay awake at night wondering whether he could pay a $99 a month mortgage for a brick row house situated on Rutland Rd. between Flatbush and Bedford Avenues, his son Eugene Stanislaus remembered.

On Saturday, June 15, 65 years after Lamuel A. Stanislaus purchased the home that kept him up at night, the corner of Flatbush Ave. and Rutland Rd. in Prospect Lefferts was renamed in honor of his contributions to the Caribbean-American community of central Brooklyn. The renaming ceremony brought together family, community members and elected officials to celebrate Stanislaus’ career as a Grenadian diplomat and dentist and featured speeches by those close to him.

Stanislaus’ legacy remains scattered across Brooklyn— through his work on the West Indian Day Parade, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture that draws more than two million participants to Eastern Parkway, and Brooklyn Heights Dental, a family practice he founded in 1956. Yet Stanislaus is most often remembered as an emissary of Grenadian culture in his role as Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations, a position he held from 1985-1990 and again from 1996-2004.

“We grew up on this block, this is where we were raised, with just a terrific father and a terrific mother, always emphasized family and giving all the glory to God was also part of his mantra,” Eugene Stanislaus said. “He was always very active in Caribbean-American politics and he was one of the original founders of the West Indian Day Carnival […] He was involved from the very beginning, organizing the police to come and oversee and the event, and was the first one to attract the politicians to come to the event.”

And as Paul Harvey might say, here's THE REST OF THE STORY.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Two Ears In the 'Bush Is Worth One In Manhattan

You can roll out of bed for this one. Music all over the hood. A festival for the rest of us, if by rest of us you mean homebody.

PLG Arts presents the third annual PLG Arts Music Festival 2019, a weeklong event June 15-22. The schedule features over 50 prominent and upcoming New York musicians in 12 locations throughout Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, a Brooklyn neighborhood that is home to many artists. Performances and events include Dawn Drake & ZapOte at Parkside Plaza; Axiom Addicts at Maple Street Block Party; Rho & the Nomads at Toast; Gabe Globus-Hoenich holding a drum workshop for children at Greenlight Bookstore; Sivan Arbel at Salem’s Hour; Pointless Forest and the Curtis/Sperazza/Garabedian trio at The Owl Music Parlor; Monday night jazz jam at Erv’s; Rafael Rosa at Drink Wine & Spirits; Kazemde George at Salem’s Hour jam session; Dayeon Seok Group at Bar Bayeux; Noah Garabedian at The Nest jam session at Bluebird; Improvisers Pool at Soup and Sound; Tavche Gravche and Reggie Chapman at Bar Bayeux; Choiroke karaoke and People of Earth Salsa Band at Brooklyn Commons; Shelly Thomas Duo at a landmark private home; and Aaron Burnett and the Big Machine at Toast.







Friday, June 7, 2019

Big Night Out On the Flabenue - Next Wednesday the 12th

TIX HERE

Parkside Empire EAT, DRINK and BE GIVING | Fundraising Event

TASTE & SIP the vibrant culture of Flatbush Avenue!

MIX AND MINGLE under the Brooklyn sky.

DISCOVER what makes Prospect Lefferts Garden one of Brooklyn's hottest neighborhoods

Your purchase comes with unlimited food and drinks provided by local vendors.

PLUS Enter to win raffle prizes generously provided by shops and restaurants along Flatbush Avenue.

Flavors of Flatbush participating stores and partners are: Bluebird Brooklyn, JusFishy Restaurant, Scoops, Brooklyn Perks, Errol's Bakery & Catering, J & J Delicious Cakes, Cinnamon Girl Bakery, Ix Restaurant NYC, Taqueria El Patron Mexican Grill, King Of Tandoor, Hype Kitchen, Trixies Pet Food, Pumpkin, Tafari Tribe, Tracie with Style Hair Studio, IGoFix, Awesome Brooklyn, Les' Blooms Floral, Bonafini Restaurant, DR Cuts,The Parkside Plaza, PLGNA Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association, Drink PLG Wine & Spirits, Brooklyn Beer & Soda, Erv's, First Class Liquors Inc.,

The Parkside Empire | Flatbush Avenue Merchants Association beautifies, organizes, and promotes small businesses along the Flatbush Avenue commercial corridor between Parkside Avenue and Empire Boulevard. Money raised will go toward Parkside Empire Annual Street Festival, the avenue’s yearly holiday street lighting, small business support and marketing, local shopping guides, and more.

SPECIAL THANKS to our sponsors: IMPACCT Brooklyn, Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, Council Member Mathieu Eugene, The Parkline, and BKLYN Commons.

FAQs

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

All Attendees must be over the age of 21.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Take the B, Q, or Shuttle Train to the Prospect Park stop, the event is directly across the street. Street parking is also available.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please call 347.236.0981 or email parksideempire@gmail.com for additional information.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

PLG Arts - Stuff-a-Plenty In June

Wish I wasn't so busy at work...I could say something cute or annoying about all these great events. But you know what? Screw that. Support these fun thangs and check out the poster for the PLG Music Festival. You heard right.

Wednesday, June 5 - 5-8pm @ New Bridges Elementary/PS 532Live Here, Learn Here: Friends of District 17 Community Night Out
Details here! If you can't make it, but believe we as a community need to invest in our local District 17 public schools, consider donating here.
*
Saturday, June 8 - 11am-2pm @ The Nethermead/Prospect Park
Trail Blazers & PLGNA's Family Picnic!
RSVP/More details here and here.
Bubbles, s'mores, crafts, relay races, and much much more!
(Want to relive your summer camps days but don't have kids? Please consider volunteering - sign up here or shoot us an email! It's a light, but very fun, lift!)*
Wednesday, June 12 - 7-10pm @ BKLYN Commons
Flavors of FlatbushJoin the Parkside Empire - Flatbush Avenue Merchants Association and support and celebrate our local businesses! Unlimited food and drink and raffle prizes provided by Flatbush Avenue vendors.


Buy your tickets here.

Speaking of local businesses, please sign and share our petition as a show of support for Scoops! Negotiations are ongoing, but our fingers are crossed that Tony can stay in his current spot on Flatbush for years to come!

We look forward to seeing you at any or all of these upcoming events! 
Stay tuned for more! 

The PLGNA Board:
Brenda Edwards 
Cheryl Sealey 
Nelson Simon
Virginia Bechtold 
Calista DeJesus
Deborah Mutnick
Candace Edwards
Rashida Sykes
&
Bob Thomason - Board Member Emeritus

Thursday, May 30, 2019

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

Four years on and Community Board 9 is still a hot mess. Just as it looked like they were finally about to pick a new District Manager after Pearl Miles was forced out four years ago? This happened. Yelling. Walk-out. Claims of misconduct. Ugh.

Thx to Lore Croghan and the Brooklyn Eagle for sifting through the nonsense, which was apparently egged on by some of the Usual Suspects, and I don't mean disgraced actor Kevin Spacey. The saga of CB9 would be the longest, most painful Netflix television series, and I beg you not to make it.

Read Lore's article here

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Gem In Our Midst - Parkside Plaza

It wasn't always thus.

Not but 5 years ago, the NE corner of Parkside and Ocean was sprawling piece of nothing. Just an cement expanse to be traversed. With old shopping carts, broken payphones and assorted garbage. Now you can't swing a dead cat without hitting thriving plants or relaxing neighbors or even the awesome CaribBEING container. (Why you would be swinging a dead cat is beyond me.)

And now, a Community Resource Fair. Or rather a community resource fair. Who needs a capital letter when you've got the good people of FAT CATS there to bring the capitals by the word-full. Here's betting they've got a thing or two to say about that "dead cat" saying. But I don't make make 'em up folks. I just sling 'em.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Alexa, Read Me the Echo

The Lefferts Manor Association has been publishing the Echo way longer than Jeff Bezos has been hawking books, so its only by the good graces of the recently departed Ben Edwards that JB's billionaire butt wasn't sued into submission.

Or...let's just read the latest issue, shall we? 

On a day when a Kosher Beer Garden has opened in full swing where Toomey's used to was (can you even make this shit up?), chef-ed by cooking chameleon Alan Harding of one-too-many-not-bad-but-not-great restaurants fame...yeah, on a day like that. And on a day when I walked through Prospect Park to find full-on Marines combat-ready helicopters and military sea planes and even some kind of rocket launcher in the Park near Park Slope...I mean WTF? At least we know what Brooklyn neighborhood will survive the Iranian, or Long Island, invasion. This is seriously twisted, y'all. Why are they bringing killing machines to Brooklyn??? Memorial Day doesn't mean recruitment day. You should have seen all the young male-identifying young boys salivating and their liberal-arts-grad-dads trying hard to explain their actual feelings on the matter, and mostly just acquiescing to the fact that their kids are WAY more interested in the heavy artillery than they want to admit, hoping they'll grow out of it, but maybe a bit embarrassed they don't stand up for their supposed pacifist beliefs.

Twisted times. Really, really twisted times. Thank god for olde tyme classics like the Lefferts Manor House Tour!






 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Why Evict Scoops? Thriving Business, Neighborhood Treasure

It'll never make sense to me, how landlord's can look at such a unique and utterly treasured tiny takeout joint like Scoops and want them gone. What about the Vegans who live here, and the incoming Vegans, and the people who just love this delicious Ital food and dairy-free ice cream? I mean c'mon Mr. Man...have a heart. The guy's paid up on his rent. Sheesh. Time to make some noise.

Tony Fongyit Presides Over a Noble Kingdom
Get your name on this petition, pronto! And show up for the protest next Saturday by (gulp) Equality for Flatbush, the group that organized a protest against me, your humble blogger, for being a racist pro-development gentrifying machine. So you know I'm desparate to save Scoops if I link to their schizophrenic web presence!


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Malbox

photo by Trey Pentecost in the Brooklyn Paper
That's no typo. This Mailbox is monstrously malodorous, should be sued for malpractice and malfeasance, its maleficent malfunction making it the Menace at Midwood.

So, breathe in Colin Mixson's latest from Brooklyn Paper about the notorious postal bin. And similarly, take in this dandy new look from near-miss Council candidate Brian Cunningham, who to this blogger looks like he's ready for the runway, if not another run at elected office.

From Mixson's missive:

The blue mailbox at Midwood Street and Flatbush Avenue is one of the single most pilfered collection points operated by the U.S. Postal Service in the borough, according to area advocates, who’ve created a website called worstmailboxever.com that locals can use to petition the city for a more secure drop box to send out their rent checks and birthday cards.

Whole Story Here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Edie Jo's Opening, like, Real Soon

Who among you hasn't cast your gaze upon the open storefront next to Greenlight Bookstore and thought...are they going to serve cheeseburgers? The long-done battle over the mammoth 626 Flatbush has given way to shrugs of resignation, and the existence of a truly good bookstore and the 2nd-floor Maple Street School has ensured that the shorter "community use" building at 626 is now fully ensconced along the Flabenue.

So yes, the corner space is rented and nearly complete. It's going to be a neighborhood hang kinda restaurant, comfort food it would appear, locally owned, and best of all? There Will Be Booth (the original title of the Paul Thomas Anderson film, before he realized that the history of restaurant booth seating provided less than the ideal level of narrative thrust for a film starring Daniel Day Lewis and was scrapped for the oft-favored film favorite - Blood. (Think Blood Simple, Blood Wedding, In Cold Blood, Blood Diamond, My Bloody Valentine, Rambo: First Blood, Blood River, Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell and any number of movies with the simple name "Blood.") Frankly I'm more interested in the history of Booths, and I'm linking a fascinating article about just that here. Both Prohibition and Prostitution factor heavily, I kid you not.

So soon, folks. Soon. Edie Jo's. Soon


Friday, May 3, 2019

Alicia Boyd: Bully In Chief

Wow, y'all. It's pretty serious when the City Council member feels the need to respond in detail about an incident that happens at a public meeting. In this case, a CB9 meeting at Medgar Evers College included a melee that led to the arrest of an MTOPP member who Laurie Cumbo of the 35th District claims (Bed-Stuy, Ft Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights) was sent on a suicide mission by Alicia Boyd to create the perfect photo op. Boyd's description of the events is 180 degrees from Laurie's.

The video Boyd posted shows just how her antics are designed to incite. If you have a moment, listen to the way she engages the Medgar Cop (Officer Chan) to convince him not to remove her. She's good, man, she's very good. By the 10 minute mark she's convinced Chan to take her side. Damn.

But MTOPP members should be on notice. If you charge an elected official, you will get arrested. Whether that's your civil disobedience plan or not, that's just how it goes. There's plenty of history of electeds getting hurt or killed, and that's why they often travel with protection. Taking on an average Joe like me may have limited consequences. And she's charged me plenty of times. Do it to Cumbo, and expect to be thrown out or handcuffed. It's just that simple.

Laurie has a lot of info in this message, so I'm including it in full. There's much to be done in the community, and like or loathe Cumbo's decisions, she's doing what she thinks is best for her community, black, brown, tan, pink, albino or yarmulked. Seriously, it's like that. She was born here, she's dedicated to civil rights, and she's a smart and dedicated leader, and that's why she's the party leader of the Council. Word.

Dear Neighbors,

The needs of the 35th Council District are considerable, ranging from lead paint poisoning and a lack of heat and hot water in our NYCHA developments, to residents facing eminent evictions and forcible removals from Third Party Transfers. What makes this district so incredible is that we are home to many passionate beings and often I hear from my constituents in a myriad of ways.

Unfortunately, now in my second term, there continues to be the same reoccurring characters that are consistently ANTI everything, but you would never be able to point to anything that they have accomplished or delivered for the community.

As such, I feel the need to take time away from important budget negotiations, the fight for pay parity for our day care workers, summer camp opportunities for middle school students, putting a plan in place in regards to the recent shooting in the newly renovated Elijah Stroud Playground, and the current fight to prevent our rent laws from expiring, to address the unfortunate circumstances that occurred last night at Medgar Evers College on April 30th, orchestrated by an organization known as The Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP).

MTOPP is a not-for-profit organization that utilizes its funds to support or oppose political candidates (operated through a market rate Air B&B). Over the last six years, MTOPP has consistently disrupted any meaningful conversations or plans to address the housing crisis in Crown Heights. The organization has blocked every attempt to build any affordable housing in the community. This does not help the housing crisis, but rather exacerbates the rates of gentrification as more people continue to move into a community with limited housing.

Tuesday night, while seated at a Community Board 9 meeting, a student charged at me, out of the blue, yelling at the top of her lungs in my face, that I had not done anything for Medgar Evers College students. I stood up in order to defend myself, not knowing if she was preparing to assault me. I always carry myself with the knowledge that my predecessor James E. Davis was shot and killed in City Hall. That is why this new form of protest that involves physical confrontation alongside disrespectfully yelling or screaming, has no place in our democracy, particularly at a time when mosques, synagogues and churches are experiencing mass shootings.

The student was removed in order to regain control of the meeting and NOT ARRESTED as was falsely reported by MTOPP.

The goal of Alicia Boyd was to have the woman approach me so aggressively that she would have to be forcibly removed and to then capture it on video and send out an email that I had a “Student Leader Arrested”.

But here I was, a Black woman squaring off with another Black woman, while two Jewish Rabbi's, along with other individuals had to intervene to de-escalate the situation. With all the work that is being done by so many women around the world to demonstrate what women can accomplish when working together, it was mortifying to have landed in this position.

The harmful reality was that Alicia Boyd, the founder of MTOPP, had influenced this young woman as a publicity stunt for her next social media post. After the incident, MTOPP circulated a baseless and inflammatory email from Boyd advancing her false storyline and further hurting the people of our community. Here’s what MTOPP did not want this young student leader to know:

1) As a member of the Higher Education Committee, I fought to bring back $14,924,669 for the Peter Vallone Scholarship that grants all CUNY and FIT students with a B average a scholarship to go towards reducing their tuition costs.

2) As a new Mom who understands the importance of Child Care, I fought for $600,000 for the remodeling and reopening of day care facilities throughout CUNY.

3) In 2014, I supported Medgar Evers College President, Dr. Rudy Crew's plan to utilize allocated capital resources to expand the college and create a campus for students. Dr. Crew eventually had to terminate the plan because of community opposition, which prevented the college from expanding and the students lost this opportunity to have a campus-like setting similar to Brooklyn College.

4) The Bedford Union Armory was originally designed to create 25,000 square feet of classroom space for Medgar Evers College in order to take the student body out of the trailers and into a world class facility. Moreover, taking the students out of the trailers would have freed up space for Medgar Evers Preparatory High School that is busting at the seams to expand and accommodate more students. However, Dr. Crew had to terminate that plan because of opposition to the Bedford Union Armory project, leaving the student body in trailers. 

5) In the very auditorium that the meeting was held in, I fought to obtain $2,250,000 for the remodeling of the new Founder’s Auditorium in last year's budget. In total, I have secured $7,250,000 in capital dollars for the college and have allocated over $927,000 dollars towards the pipeline program for the college that prepares students from k - 12 to make sure our students are prepared for college. Moreover, I have consistently provided resources for the Center for Black Literature, the Center for Law and Social Justice and the Caribbean Research Center. 

Much of the progress of the college has been stopped by a few individuals who I believe relish in the attention of social media and utilize any progress that a community is attempting to make in order to expand their personal profile and relevance.

I would also like to use this teachable moment to address both the affordable housing and affordable recreation center at the Bedford Union Armory. I have heard the community claim time and time again that the affordable units are not actually affordable. Our federally-implemented housing lottery system is extremely flawed, and that is exactly why I fought tooth and nail to ensure that the units at the Armory are affordable for existing Crown Heights residents as well as those who have been displaced from the community.

I fought to keep luxury condo units out of the project and to keep the property entirely in public ownership. I also fought to increase the total number of affordable units and lower the levels of affordability. The more than 400 homes in the project will now be rental units with much deeper levels of affordability than the original proposal, which included just 67 affordable homes below 60% AMI – that’s a family of four making $57,000 a year or less. The project now includes approximately 250 homes that will be affordable below 60% AMI, including 10% set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families, with the following breakdown:

·        25 units set aside for formerly homeless (not based on income)
·        25 units at 30% AMI
·        24 units at 40% AMI
·        24 units at 50% AMI
·        152 units at 60% AMI

This means that a family of three making $28,830 a year (30% AMI) will pay $588 for a two-bedroom apartment; a family of three making $38,440 a year (40% AMI) will pay $828 for a two-bedroom apartment; a family of three making $48,050 a year (50% AMI) will pay $1,069 for a two-bedroom apartment; and a family of three making $57,660 a year (60% AMI) will pay $1,309 for a two-bedroom apartment. Please note: the median income for all cities across the country is defined each year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The 2019 AMI for the New York City region is $96,100 for a three-person family (100% AMI).

In regards to the Armory’s Carey Gabay historic Drill Shed, I believe it is important to create a holistic community and we don’t need to limit ourselves to either housing or a recreational facility. It is not an either/or but rather an also/too. Our children deserve a world class community facility that will be converted into a center with three full-size basketball courts, multipurpose court space for activities like indoor soccer, a six-lane 25-meter indoor swimming pool, and fitness room with cardio and strength-training. I was able to secure several requirements to ensure the state-of-the-art recreation center will be truly affordable and accessible to Crown Heights families.

At least 50% of memberships will be reserved for community members at discounted rates of just $10 a month for adults and $8 for a child under 16 compared to $60 a month for an adult at the Bed Stuy YMCA. In addition to the reduced membership rates, benefits include discounted space rentals, discounted classes, and discounted rents for non-profit organizations. The non-profit space will be available to tenants at $6 per square foot as opposed to $30 per square foot; and rent increases will be capped at 3% annually.
 
Further, the developer has committed to a 25% M/WBE goal for construction, has entered a union agreement with 32BJ for building service jobs, and has committed an additional 20,000 square feet of community facility space for Brooklyn Medical Plaza for much-needed healthcare services. A community advisory committee is in formation to help plan programming for the recreation center, to hold the developer accountable throughout the construction and operational phases, and most importantly, to ensure the needs of the local community are met throughout the life of the project. If you or someone you know might be interested in applying to be on the community advisory committee, please complete this application and submit it by May 15th.
 
Below are a listing of the not-for-profit organizations that will have a permanent home and below market rent:

·        West Indian Day Carnival Association
·        Carey Gabay Foundation
·        James E. Davis Foundation
·        Digital Girl, Inc.
·        Ifetayo
·        Brooklyn Community Pride Center
·        New Heights Youth (Basketball)
·        Team First (Multi-sport afterschool program)
·        Imagine Swimming
·        Magnus Makuro Foundation
·        Global Sports (negotiating soccer contract)
·        Kings County Tennis League
·        CAMBA
·        Eatery (TBD)
·        Flatbush Youth Association (Basketball)
·        Ice Tea Youth Development (Basketball)

In today's society, fame can come so easily through an attack tweet, email or post, versus the time it takes to actually role up your sleeves and do the heavy lifting of trying to get something done so current and future generations can be better equipped to meet and overcome challenges. With an extreme housing shortage and very little land left and private developers having the freedom to build what they want on private property, we are left with having to make extremely difficult decisions in an impossible situation.

I will continue to seek open and respectful dialogue with the community, around the critical issues we face. I will not be able to respond to every fake news MTOPP email or social media posts that other groups will send out. It is my hope however, that we can remain focused on the work and getting things done for the betterment of the community for generations to come.

The 35th District deserves to be heard respectfully, and I am proud to be your advocate. 

Yours Truly,

Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo

Thursday, April 25, 2019

High Flyers

GIVE BLOOD! GIVE BLOOD! GIVE BLOOD!
BUY PLANTS! BUY PLANTS! BUY PLANTS!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Shirley Chisholm To Keep an Eye on The Q at Parkside

Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have been chosen as the designers of the Shirley Chisholm memorial to be constructed at our (yes OUR) entrance to the Park. I've written a lot of micro-stories over the years, and let me tell you, this ain't one of them. Big. Transformative. I mean, imagine all the tourists who will eat at OUR McDonalds?

Seriously this is great news, and of the five finalists this was the clear best choice. Read all about it in the Old Gray Lady.




Amanda Williams

Olalekan Jeyifous

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Poor Barry Hers, Landlord. So Misunderstood.

Barry Hers, poor guy, just can't catch a break.

After milking the City for years running a piss-poor excuse for a homeless shelter for desparate families, and treating his longtime rent-stabilized tenants with disdain, he's now decided to issue a press release designed to portray him as an honest slumlord, sorry landlord, trying his best to help the good people of 60 Clarkson and others of his shoddy buildings. All of which he is working diligently to harass everyone out of so he can up rents to market rate.

Read the whole story up to 2015 here from Nathan Tempey. And recent updates to evict tenants here from Patch's Kathleen Culliton.

Below, you can read his (obviously self-penned) press release. Can't make this shit up. Or apparently, you CAN make this shit up.

Real estate professional Barry Hers reveals details of his multi-million dollar renovation project in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens area of Flatbush, Brooklyn.
New York, NY, USA (PRUnderground) February 11th, 2019
With decades of real estate experience in New York City, Barry Hers reveals the story behind the building at 60 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a residential neighborhood in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, which the property expert renovated and entered into New York’s Emergency Assistance Rental Program in response to concerns surrounding growing homelessness in the city.

“In 1995 I purchased the building at 60 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a residential neighborhood in the Flatbush area of the borough of Brooklyn, explains Hers, whose office is located on 52nd Street in Borough Park, in the southwestern part of the same New York City borough.
At the time, the property was run down and subject to over 1,500 Department of Housing Preservation and Development violations, plus a further 100 or more general building code breaches, according to Hers.

Under New York City’s Housing Maintenance Code, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development issues such violations when conditions in rental properties are deemed to violate the appropriate maintenance codes or multiple dwelling laws. “Violations are readily issued but only closed again once any and all problems have been rectified, as observed and verified by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development,” Hers reveals.

Accordingly, having purchased the building, Hers and his firm worked tirelessly, and at significant expense, to clear the outstanding violations, renovating the property and transforming it into what he refers to as ‘an appealing, working-class environment’ in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. “My firm and I transformed 60 Clarkson Avenue from a building full of crime and drugs into an appealing, working-class environment in Flatbush’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens,” says the real estate professional.

Barry Hers estimates that he poured in excess of 10 million dollars into renovations and maintenance at the address. “Shortly after that, New York City found itself in the throes of a shortage of shelters for the homeless,” he points out, adding that since the beginning of his decades-long career in real estate, he’s continuously maintained a desire to help the homeless and less fortunate wherever possible.

“I offered to help and dedicated the building, which I’d put my own money, blood, and sweat into renovating, to the cause, known as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” Hers reveals.
The program, initiated by Rudy Giuliani and favored by then-mayor Michael Bloomberg, saw properties such as Hers’ building at 60 Clarkson Avenue become so-called ‘cluster sites,’ a form of shelter for homeless and less fortunate families and individuals living in New York City.

Years later, however, when a newly-appointed subsequent administration took over the city and its programs, huge cuts were made surrounding funding for the homeless and disadvantaged. “This made it almost impossible for me to continue my efforts at 60 Clarkson Avenue,” explains Hers, “and it soon came to a point where my firm and I were being choked, having housed hundreds of families for over three years, and losing millions of dollars in the process for simply wanting to help the city. ” Despite the city initially agreeing to new, aggressively cut rates, even these vastly reduced sums remained unpaid, according to Hers, leaving him, he says, unable to continue working with the authorities.

“The city,” he adds, “was technically making everyone at 60 Clarkson Avenue homeless once again, which as a family man, I simply couldn’t bear the thought of, while simultaneously painting a picture to the media whereby which I was evicting innocent homeless people, when in reality that was not true at all.”
Instead, says Barry Hers, it was the city and its new administration which were putting countless families and individuals at risk of homelessness by refusing to pay for vital shelter ,expecting Mr. Hers and his firm to continue their efforts at a significant, multi-million dollar loss, borrowing from banks to cover heat, property taxes, maintenance and water.”

“After legal proceedings were brought against me by the legal aids, ” he explains, “the court was able to see through this and ruled in my favor by granting me the right to house new tenants. As such, and with the ruling in my favor,” he adds, wrapping up, “I’ve been forced to reevaluate the rent-stabilized nature of operations at 60 Clarkson Avenue in order to begin recouping my losses.”

As of today, the city still owes him 19 million dollars in unpaid expenses, which he is currently counter claiming, having housed over 350 homeless families at the address since 2015 despite receiving no financial compensation throughout this period, not to mention the toll this has taken on Mr. Hers emotionally.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Finally A T-Shirt For Those For Whom the Q Is Their Hometrain

Guess who has two thumbs and LOVES this shirt?

Neighborhood do-gooder Seth Kaplan has outdone himself. With these t-shirts (the first of many, he says) our fair corner of the City will have its own line of fashion.

AND HERE'S THE KICKER. PROCEEDS FROM THESE SHIRTS SUPPORT YOUR VERY OWN NEIGHBOR-CREATED-AND-RUN Parkside Plaza!!

How do you get one? Send an email request to: 

shirtsplg@gmail.com

Sizes S-XXL for Men and Women ($20) and XS-XL for children ($20).

Of course, my personal favorite is the one above. But if you use the Prospect Park station never fear. You can have one of your own, sporting not just one but THREE lines.


And last but not leash, the cat lover in your life deserves a Catbush shirt, with this clever artwork:



Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Rats In the Fridge? For Real??

Jesus some landlords don't know the meaning of subtlety when it comes to tenant harassment.

You know you've seen those bright-eyed travellers walking with rolling suitcases, looking a little confused and bleary from a night out in the Big Apple. AirBnBers. They're everywhere. Our neighborhood is chock full of relatively inexpensive hostels, many of them quite nice and spacious if I do say so myself.

But despite the relative bargains, it's still more lucrative for a landlord to rent out a place for $100 a night than to service rent-regulated tenants, folks and families who have every right to demand a decent apartment at whatever rate is allowed, many for less than $1000 a month with little threat of a substantial rent increase. Rats in the fridge, for christ's sake. What next...horse's heads in beds?


And so today we join the Gothamist's Elizabeth Kim in shaming the Miram Shasho's of the world, who create a living hell for current tenants at 599, 607 and 611 Flatbush, while advertising fabulous "paradise" apartments to travellers.

Regardless of what you think of AirBnb, the whole idea is for people to rent our THEIR houses and THEIR apartments to make some extra cash. Making a business practice out of it for multi-dwelling apartment owners deprives New Yorkers of a place to live.

We should all be on the lookout for this stuff and call it in. It's illegal, and it's degrading.

Call 311. It's easy, and the City ain't into this any more than the Q is.



Sunday, April 14, 2019

Flatbush: It's Your Turn To Get Schooled

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. It's quite possible you've seen more of her work than any other artist than Shepard Fairey. You've seen these all around NYC, but now they're here. Truly remarkable. Get to know the artist at the terrific profile below.


Clear as glass.



Friday, April 12, 2019

Echo: Rest In Peace, Ben

The man who was always there. Always. Seriously. A man who dressed well, wore a hat well, and always offered his hand. Special edition of the Echo, for you and yours.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Empanada City's Manifest Destiny

A closed edge fried sandwich? You bet.
Who among you has yet to visit Empanada City? Co-mayors Jessica and Brian Almonte have grown tourism to the festive Puerto Rican meets Dominican to the point that they've sent envoys to the Wick of Bush to found an outpost.

Since it's always good news when local merchants do well, the Q salutes the fair City of Empanada and wishes it well as it charters a new town in the Northwest Territory.

Full story from The Bushwick Daily's Rachel Baron to read more on the brilliant municipality at 363 Lincoln Road. And yes, they do deliver.



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Klosings and Korners - And A New Veterinarian

As the neighborhood's transformation continues in stride, changes abound that once would have garnered speculation and concern. Now, they seem inevitable, unsurprising, a near-constant churn of economic reality.

Take the closing of Bargain Hunters at the SE corner of Flatbush/Clarkson. Is anyone really surprised by this one? This has always been my go-to for household goods, though I'm now enamoured of the ma & pa discount store across the street next to the Tower Appliance store, another surprise hit for those of you willing to shop local for everything from refrigerators to laptops. Folks have been speculating about residential tower at the below site, but the workers told neighbors it'll be a grocery store. Before you guess Union Market or some such, consider that the green-grocer at the other end of the block (Flatbush/Lenox) just closed after 20-30 years.

BUT WAIT. Just today, up goes a sign with that familiar jingle jingle price of 99 cents. (So much for those $10 artisinal organic chocolate bars with so much salt you can't taste the goddam sugar!)

Ah. The soothing sounds of the very phrase - ninety nine cents.


Sad news for fans of African-origin religious curios and icons and candles and spells, as the quintessential NYC Botanica Ferreile at the corner of Chester and the Flabenue is soon to shutter. Stores like this service serious and casual practitioners of such religions as Voudun and Santeria, the remarkable mixtures of anima spiritual traditions and the idolatry of Catholicism forced upon slaves by missionaries. That these religions survived is a testament to the power of magic (my word) in the lives of billions around the world. I loved looking in, but I'll admit my stubborn agnosticism kept me from wandering inside, because despite my disbelief, I'm still a bit spooked by this stuff. I'm a boringly modern human, which means I'm a post-Hegelian mess, forever doomed to be a walking talking contradiction of non-belief and superstition.






And then of course there's THIS korner. Who amongst you has not gasped in horror? Granted, no one will die because of this hideous tumor atop this grand old korner apartment building, but damn, this is perhaps the worst job of building enlargement I have ever seen. A too-small helmet on an old centurion. Sheesh.


Oh. And a new veterinarian. There is no logical tie-in here...just noting a place to bring your pets for a tune-up. Flatbush below Woodruff.