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.

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


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 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