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, July 8, 2021

Affordable to WHOM

 Geez Louise. The copy on this ad below is kinda bonkers. So you wonder why the Q threw such a fit about people complaining about affordability? The typical rates for housing lotteries currently taking place (and there are dozens) have prices significantly below these prices ($2500 to start for 1 bed). And this, following the pandemic that was going to crush NYC?

So to all the NIMBY-ists and "progressives" who decry developer built mandatory affordable housing in all their projects I say...what did you get for your tantrums? Shit. You didn't get shit. And the towers and the luxury unaffordable un-stabilized housing will continue to turn Flatbush and Crown Heights into dreamscapes for the young tech-employed and trust funders.

Believe it or not, I like all kinds of people. Even those techies, though their bars irk me. And I like that all kinds of people live in our neighborhood, at least for the moment they do. But for the life of me I can't understand why lefties seem to think if they hold out for the revolution "the man" is going to come around to your way of thinking. Meanwhile, working people get shafted, in the name of your worker's revolution. And you, young Lefty in the 'hood, will have moved on to the more nuanced phase of your life. Most likely somewhere else. Maybe even the "cool" suburbs, like Montclair, NJ? It's "diverse!" It's "arty!" "Good schools!"

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Rezoning Done Right

Some have asked the Q - "where did you go?" Been making music! Three records. Having a ball. Raising kids, avoiding COVID, delivering groceries. If you need proof of activity A, it's all on the online at or just search Timothy James Thomas on Spotify or whatevs. Ask your smartspeaker. Lots of poppy music with quirks. That's m'thing, and apparently, at 50+ that's been m'thing for 40 years and you can't teach an old cat to bark.

So about rezonings. That was the Q's obsession pre-Trump, and then all hell broke loose regarding a south Crown Heights Empire Boulevard zoning proposal, initiated by the Community Board to ward off the excesses of individual developers. Back then, some of us on CB9 were naive enough to believe there was energy to rezone smartly - limiting the height of buildings while improving the stock of below-market rent stabilized housing. Believe it or not, that's STILL the progressive vision for cities. But it's become tough to enact, because NIMBY is strong, both in affluent and poorer neighborhoods. And while we're using capital letters, there's always the gaslighting MTOPP (Movement to Protect Alicia Boyd's Perspective), convincing many-a-would-be lefty that NOT BUILDING is the best way to make the City affordable. Whatevs. I lost, gave up, moved on. Hell I don't really think of shitty Empire Blvd as my neighborhood anyway. And my own block has built a shit-ton of new apartments, ALL market rate by the way. 

Over in Gowanus a truly progressive, inclusive and reasonable approach passed the CB6 ULURP committee. By engaging with the City, the neighborhood gets many improvements and 6,000 new units of "affordable" housing. Now, that word "affordable" is often attacked, but let's say that at this point ANY new housing that serves up leases at below market and adheres to rent stabilization is much needed - for teachers, for professionals at non-profits, for two-income lower wage families. (True affordable housing should be matched to income, but not many private developers can make a profit on that. That's called public housing, and we need a ton more of that too!)

You can read all about the Gowanus rezoning, and what the community expects in return. It remains to be seen if all of it comes to pass - but it's City Planning at its best. Kudos to the department for seeing the process through and being willing to see it from all sides.

Oh, and a homemade videos from my new record "The Year of Living Safely."

The Echo (Echo Echo) Is Here

 Just in time f. or you to jump in your time machine and go back to Tuesday, the Echo is here with a rundown of City Council candidates. I'm impressed they got an issue out at all frankly. God bless the Echo.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Bus Tragedy at Bedford and Lincoln

 Good lord. Just now, this is truly insane. Thx Eddie for the picture. Hope no one was in the living room at that moment...

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Caton Market to Return Thanks God

In case you don't subscribe to the Haitian Times, the Q thought you might like to know what's up with the vendors who were displaced by the building of the huge affordable housing complex at Caton and Flatbush, once home to the brightly colored airplane hangar full of emerging businesses, like the barber I used many a time before it occurred to me that shaving ones own head was both economical and oddly soothing to the soul.

Read all about the new Caton Market here.

A great pic of Minnie Stapleton of Minnie's Collection from the article, taking by Sam Bojarski.

The "Caton Flats" building is almost done. How does it stack up to the rendering? Will the vendors really get such nifty looking nooks? Here's hoping.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

14 Years Is a Long Time To Have a Shitty Councilperson

Tonight. Forum. Sign up for the Zoom meeting. Like, now.

OMG it's City elections season already. And a bevy of potential council people to choose from in the 40th. Please, please don't elect current deadbeat Mathieu Eugene's brother, who oddly didn't make this Forum, but will likely earn a ton of votes on name alone. Time to get busy Flatbush. Nine batters on deck tonight...

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

In with the old, in with the new

 I feel like I've known Bob Marvin for a long time, but I've never been inside his digs, so this is a real treat. Plus the story of old PLG Lefferts that he and Elaine tell. Look, the Q is super busy these days with kids, live-streaming music at the Bang on a Can and trying to keep up with grocery deliveries to vulnerable elders and families. It's not that I don't love blogging - I do. It just fell down the priority list a bit, including writing a bunch of new songs which ain't half bad.

So here's a pic from the Brownstoner article about Bob and Elaine's house, and a link to the story, which a lot of you house-porn lovers will appreciate. I mean, c'mon they went ALL OUT y'all. Is that a friggin' Victrola?

photo: Lesley Unruh - lots more here

But if NEW is more your thing, my block has been under construction for years thanks to lax zoning laws and the proximity to the park that led so many of us to the neighborhood, which now boasts something like 83 coffee joints.

The amenities read like a "Gentrifier Magazine" joke, but what they hey, and I'll go out on a limb and say the one-bed price is not all that out of the local market price. So what if they did structural damage to the building next door? All in the name of progress, right? Hurrrummmphph.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

(I smell) Smoke 'n' Candy Here

Always nice to pick up a hookah, tobacco and candy on the way home from school. Conveniently located across from the Q at Parkside! Note - BIGMOE parked out front.