Articles on this Page
- 05/07/13--11:04: _Missing Person:Sabr...
- 05/07/13--20:21: _The Q's School Tool...
- 05/08/13--09:18: _SOS Forum Tonight i...
- 05/08/13--20:31: _Where Jackie Robins...
- 05/09/13--20:10: _You Say Tomato, I S...
- 05/10/13--19:06: _Can't Recall
- 05/12/13--19:35: _Federation of Block...
- 05/12/13--19:39: _Beast of a Car Wrec...
- 05/13/13--03:57: _Tip of the Tongue
- 05/13/13--06:50: _Who's Watching the ...
- 05/13/13--07:41: _Guns, Crack, Smack ...
- 05/13/13--11:26: _City Council Candid...
- 05/14/13--07:08: _"Cameras at Parade ...
- 05/14/13--10:00: _Flatbush Blood Driv...
- 05/15/13--10:53: _Envisioning the Nei...
- 05/15/13--19:38: _Camba Gardens - Act...
- 05/17/13--13:26: _Behind the Tip of t...
- 05/22/13--11:37: _Is the Gubba Mubba ...
- 05/22/13--13:03: _Free Prom Dresses W...
- 05/22/13--17:56: _145 Lincoln Road
- 05/07/13--11:04: Missing Person:Sabrina Malone FOUND 5/10/13
- 05/08/13--09:18: SOS Forum Tonight in Crown Heights
- 05/08/13--20:31: Where Jackie Robinson Once Reigned, A 7-11 Rises
- 05/09/13--20:10: You Say Tomato, I Say Ganja, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
- 05/10/13--19:06: Can't Recall
- 05/12/13--19:35: Federation of Block Associations
- 05/12/13--19:39: Beast of a Car Wrecks Meytex
- 05/13/13--03:57: Tip of the Tongue
- 05/13/13--06:50: Who's Watching the Cameras That Are Watching, Anyway?
- 05/13/13--07:41: Guns, Crack, Smack and a View of the Botanic Garden
- 05/13/13--11:26: City Council Candidate Number 4: John E. Grant Profiled on DPC
- 05/14/13--07:08: "Cameras at Parade Ground to Be Fixed" - Cops
- 05/14/13--10:00: Flatbush Blood Drive Today
- 05/15/13--10:53: Envisioning the Neighborhood: Part II - Come Out This Sunday!
- Community Centers
- Community Banks
- Senior Centers
- Development of Business Strips
- Strategies to Reduce Trash
- Addressing Lack of Engagement Around Economic Development
- Development of the Empire Blvd Corridor
- Creation of BIDs and Merchants Associations
- Outreach to Absentee Landlords
- Help for Startup Businesses
- Combating Discriminatory Housing Practices
- Affordable Housing Initiatives, City and State
- Senior Services and Outreach to Seniors
- Wellness Initiatives
- More beat cops
- Better lighting
- Better traffic enforcement
- Shutting down drug dealers and drug dens
- Rethinking traffic patterns and pedestrian safety
- Monitoring illegal after-hours clubs and parties
- More security cameras.
- 05/15/13--19:38: Camba Gardens - Actually Affordable Housing
- 05/17/13--13:26: Behind the Tip of the Tongue
- 05/22/13--11:37: Is the Gubba Mubba Worth All That Hubbub?
- 05/22/13--13:03: Free Prom Dresses While They Last
- 05/22/13--17:56: 145 Lincoln Road
From the 71st Precinct comes the always scary news of a missing person. She was heading to1700 Bedford, north of Empire. Please be on the lookout.
First come the middle-classers, then come the researchers. Jennifer Burns Stillman is a PhD research analyst employed by the NYC DOE in its "Office of Innovation," a term that sounds like a bit of an Orwellian oxymoron. Why not "Bureau of New Ideas" or "Department of Interdepartmental Innovation Diagnostics and Achievement Coordination?" (I mean, does anyone ever actually think about how these things sound to the outside world? At my job, once a month I have to log in to the federal governments Payment Management System, using it's acronym. Once a month. Unbelievable...)
Back to the PhD in question.
Ever wonder what the eggheads are saying about the process of gentrification in schools? Stillman wrote "Gentrification and Schools: The Process of Integration When Whites Reverse Flight." I'm linking to her book on Amazon so I'll feel better about reprinting the piece she offered up to GothamSchools.org. By all means, buy the book! But, if you're as lazy as I am, what you'll get from the below, if I may paraphrase, is basically the same reasoning that any yuppie-esque (not quite yuppie, but not quite not) parent looking at public schools in Brooklyn can pretty much recognize without the advanced degree. Still, it's helpful to have the ideas laid out by someone who's put time into the analysis. Along with Lance Freeman's book "There Goes the Hood," which she name checks, it's nice to see a rational assessment of the plusses and pitfalls of neighborhood integration. I'm sure there are those who see only the positive or only the negative, but there are rational cases to be made for a more nuanced view. Here's Dr. Stillman's:
I researched the process of school integration in gentrifying neighborhoods because I think school integration remains an important societal goal, despite the dismantling of racial integration programs across the nation. Gentrifying neighborhoods seem full of potential.
I wanted to figure out how a school without any white, middle-class families goes through the process of integration. What does it take to attract the first white families to a school in a gentrifying neighborhood? And the next wave? And the next? Why do these families stay or go? Is there a point at which we can say the school has successfully integrated? My research question was one of process, not outcomes, relying on existing literature that links integration with positive effects. I am a “gentry parent” myself (which I define as white, middle and upper-middle class, highly educated parents who are gentrifying a neighborhood with their presence and wealth), and I understand why neighborhood gentrification is controversial.
Long-time neighborhood residents might be displaced as rents increase, and the neighborhood might lose whatever was considered its authentic character. But I think there is a lot of possibility wrapped up in the demographic mixing happening in these neighborhoods, if only the people living in these neighborhoods could figure out how to engage in some sort of meaningful social mixing. My hope is that if the schools in gentrifying neighborhoods integrate along with the neighborhood, some common ground can be found between the opponents and proponents of gentrification.
How did you conduct your research?
I decided to allow the racial aspects of gentrification guide my research, even though gentrification is primarily an issue of class. Lance Freeman, author of “There Goes the Hood,” argues that while middle-class black and Hispanic families can be — and usually are — part of the gentrification process, it is the entrance of white families into a neighborhood that overtly signals a neighborhood’s gentrification, and causes the non-gentry residents to take note and react. I decided the same reasoning would apply to schools.
I interviewed more than 50 white, middle-class “gentry parents” in three different New York City gentrifying neighborhoods about their elementary school choice process — those who were utilizing their neighborhood school, those who were sending their children elsewhere, and those who had tried their neighborhood school and left. Because these families typically have the ability to choose something other than their zone school, I hypothesized that school integration in a gentrifying neighborhood must happen through the collective choices of the more privileged group.
What were your major discoveries?
School integration in gentrifying neighborhoods does happen, but rarely. It happens through a chain of actions and reactions of different types of gentry parents, each with a different threshold for tolerating their own minority status, each with a different idea about whether they can and should try to change a school to better match their preferences.
The first gentry parents who enroll their children in a segregated school usually find some sort of enclave program where they can concentrate their presence, like a Gifted and Talented, Dual Language, or preschool program. If this first group of gentry parents feels welcomed by the principal, and if the principal can successfully bridge the “gentry/non-gentry culture gap” that exists between the new type of parents who are coming in and the existing parent community, this first wave of gentry parents will keep their children enrolled in the school, and they will work to attract the next wave of gentry families with a flurry of activity and outreach, primarily through staging impressive school tours, all of which will give the school the label “changing” in the gentry neighborhood network.
“Changing” schools are difficult to move to the final stage of integration. Many gentry parents enter a “changing” school because it appears to have already changed enough to match their most important school preferences — diversity and progressive pedagogy. Often, however, they discover it actually hasn’t changed enough for them to feel comfortable. The school feels too traditional, too authoritarian in tone, and these less tolerant gentry parents take their children out, looking for a school that can give them what they want. If this skeptical group does stay, the final wave of gentry families will soon arrive, and the school successfully tips and becomes integrated, or “diverse,” as the gentry would say.
Schools that have the easiest time integrating seem to have the following two characteristics: First, a school with a diverse non-gentry composition appears to be more welcoming of gentry families, as there is not a single, dominant culture that already exists in the school beyond the school culture. The principal is already skilled in managing a diverse constituency, and adding the gentry to the mix is not jarring in the way it is when a school is primarily one ethnic/racial group. Second, a school that is in a neighborhood much further along in the gentrification process has a surrounding community much more accepting of school change, which gives the principal political room to adjust the school’s culture to better match the preferences of the gentry.
What can policy makers learn from your work?
Enclaves are an important tool for gentry parents who need to concentrate their presence to feel comfortable in a school. But, those enclaves that screen children, such as G&T programs, risk alienating the existing school community and usually fail to achieve socio-economic integration. To facilitate enclaves without screening, I propose the creation of Urban Education Cooperatives (UECs). As conceived, UECs would be groups of parents, formally organized by a school district (in the case of New York City, the Community Education Council would likely be the organizing force), who are committed to public education, but who don’t feel comfortable with their zone school, and are willing to enter a district school that is underutilized by zone families if they are guaranteed two things: 1) That their children will be in the same kindergarten classroom with other members of the UEC, and 2) That they get to decide, as a group, which school they would like to attend after meeting with the principals and parent leaders of each school in the district that is identified as an option.
An alternative to UECs would be to target new charter schools in gentrifying neighborhoods, with the intentional goal of recruiting a diverse student body from day one. If the goal is integration, changing a school is much more difficult than starting a new one, especially when the new school is not restricted by zone lines and can cast a wider net for students. In New York City, there is a nonprofit organization that has recently been formed to achieve this goal, the Tapestry Project. It is currently recruiting school leaders to found racially and socio-economically diverse charter schools, and I am hopeful about its potential to foster a new crop of diverse schools in gentrifying neighborhoods.
I was going to leave her analysis alone to fend for itself, but I gotta point out that I'm not crazy about her use of the word gentry. As far as I'm concerned, neighborhoods like ours already HAVE gentry. It's not like no one was here before Brownstoner.com discovered the neighborhood! If "gentry" is to have any useful meaning in the non-British-coat-of-arms-nobility sort of way, I think it has to refer to leadership and commitment to the civic betterment of a neighborhood or place. And there have always been people who match that description, regardless of their background orwealth. I understand the use of the word of gentrification in all its glory, but if the word "gentry" is going to be used to describe anyone, it's the people who have held positions of stable esteem for decades, not newcomers. (Also, someone able to buy a house for $150,000 back in 1980 probably WAS wealthier than most people around them! I remember when $150,000 seemed like a fortune to me. When I was making $19,000 a year anyway, and interest rates were way higher, there's no way I could have afforded a $150,000 house! And I certainly didn't consider myself "poor" back then. Oh Einstein, with your damn relativity! Can't thou just let me be?)
Also, I continue to be amazed how supposed liberals have completely given up on the idea of subsidized or controlled rental schemes. We now just take it for granted that capitalism will do its thing, that there's nothing to be done about it, so why even bother. There was a time when people banded together to create things like rent control and stabilization and public housing and Medicaid and Medicare and folks, it wasn't that long ago. A lot of people who led those fights are still with us. Maybe some of them are the current "gentry" of our very neighborhood. Rather than fight, we're all just looking for a good cup of coffee and nice sit down restaurant. Sound harsh? It's meant to!In fact, most "liberals" I know have firm arguments in hand for dismantling unions (teachers, other City workers) and laissez faire housing strategies, like the elimination of rent stabilization. What a long strange trip it's been, indeed.
By the way, I'm not even sure where I stand myself on any of it anymore. The propaganda is so deep on all sides I can hardly think straight.
All that chatter aside, I like the fact the Skillman calls it like she sees it. She's looking at the "gentry" from their perspective, which happens to be her own, and she's describing the view very well. Now, for the other view...perhaps someone wants to take it from here? If you want to write it as a full blown essay, write me here and I'll create a separate post out of it.
I'm awed by the extraordinary mission of Save Our Streets (SOS) Crown Heights and strongly encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the causes and real community based solutions to street violence to attend. The flyer is below, and a website to SOS is here.
Highly, highly recommended.
I'm not terribly surprised of course. Empire has become a bit midwestern in character anyhow, sort of resembling a typical cow-town frontage road, with its fast food and self-storage and auto-parts and beloved Firestone and such. It's a shame I suppose that it couldn't be more grand, and maybe one day it will be. Ultimately I blame Phat Albert's for letting its grand old bread factory building fall into disrepair, lending the whole boulevard a sense of desperation. With no civic leadership to speak of, there's also been no effort to develop the area, meaning, as it does elsewhere in the city, a sort of lowest common denominator hodgepodge of nondescription. As I've noted here before, I've always felt that this area would be great for mid-rise affordable apartment buildings, retaining ground-floor retail of course. I mean, right near the Park and Garden! Oh well. No one asked me and I doubt they will. Check out this picture though:
On the subject of convenience stores, I was excited to see that one of the very first, some say THE first, was a joint called UToteM from the southwest U.S. They were eventually bought out by the wildly popular Circle K franchise in the early '80s. I suspect the play on an "Indian" word didn't always meet with approval. Heck, I recall eating at a Sambo's restaurant when I was a kid, and thankfully you certainly don't see THOSE anymore. Trust me, despite the offensive name, the food wasn't worth saving either.
Over the years, and in my travels, I've never ceased to be amazed by the sheer number of these git-n-go style stores and the slight variations between them. In Iowa growing up, we had a lot of the aforementioned (and cringe-worthily named) Kum n Go's, but also both Quik Trip:
Casey's General store was another. But here are some of the other popular brands of Co-sto's I've noted and, yes, purchased oversized fountain drinks from:
Anyone from metro Philly has undoubtedly sated their munchies by walking into a Wawa and muttering "Gottahava Wawa."
Hilarious story of a Lefferts Avenue mix-up in today's NY Daily News. Seems neither the Super nor the Cops could tell whether a bunch of tomato plants left on a roof were actually Mary Jane sprouts, Zombie Weed, Muggie, Wacky Terbacky or any of 500 other slang terms for Marijuana.
|Todd Maisel, photo|
I had something to tell y'all about something I saw today up on Lincoln Road, something very very cool looking, but danged if I can't remember...wait...argh...it's on the Tip of the Tounge...little help here?
Marty Markowitz, in his year of victory laps, hereby promotes the annual assembly of The Federation of Brooklyn Block Associations. If you are a member of a block association or looking to form one, this is a great place to learn best practices and figure out how best to organize around issues beyond simple - but absolutely important to unity and mutual - block parties. That reminds me, I best get that Street Activity Permit application in pronto. Want to get a block party rolling for this year? Best do the same! (click that link for the SAP office, which works out to SAPO, when you add the "office" part). $25 and you get to close down your street. Just organize, e-apply, then contact your District Manager at the Community Board for the next steps. You'll need signatures and lots of goofy or serious activities, but it's a chance to befriend your neighbors in a way that mere howdies cannot.
The Q just happened upon a gnarly scene this eve at Meytex, the Ghanian restaurant at 543 Flatbush. From what I saw and concurring descriptions from witnesses, an SUV was attempting to park or leave a parking spot when he stepped on the gas hard in reverse, smashing through the window of the Meytex dining area. One woman was placed in an ambulance, and was conscious but understandably shaken. I saw the vehicle, and indeed the vehicle won the war with Meytex - just some bumps and scrapes. The driver looked bummed out, but not messed up in the noggin'. Somewhat surprisingly, the always friendly and chattering crowd inside continued to revel despite the massive and sudden change in the decor.
Admittedly this is an unseemly time to review the place, but what they hey. This place will not conform to any of your Euro-American expectations, but if you (and I'm assuming for the moment that you are not from, nor well-traveled in, West Africa) let down your inhibitions and let the patrons feed you, you will undoubtedly be back for me. Ask for recommendations, and be prepared that "spicy" means "explosive." So says everyone. Except one reviewer, a person known to the Q, who explains her displeasure with great flair on the Yelp. If you want to know more about Ghanian chop bars, check it out here.
|Stephen Brown photo|
It WAS on the Tip of the Tongue! What I meant to say a few posts ago was that a reliable source tells the Q that ToT (a nickname that might just stick?), the new take-away and coffee and more place, will open next week to limited hours while they work out the kinks, and once said kinks our outworked, will open for the morning rush as well.
From an eagle-eyed reader comes the Craiglist post looking for baristas, below. This place is clearly on point with zeitgeist java protocols.
Tip of The Tongue is looking to hire new baristas for its Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn location right next to Prospect Park and the B/Q/S subway stop. We will be working closely with and serving Forty Weight Coffee. We are looking for somebody with experience, a positive attitude, and a strong work ethic. We pride ourselves on excellent service, a deep connection with our customer base, and a strong knowledge for cutting-edge coffee.
- Must have genuine passion for coffee and the ability to pull great shots consistently (you must have pulled a shot within the last 3 months)
- Should be familiar with current trends in the specialty coffee industry, i.e. origin profiles, coffee processing methods, single origin espresso
- Our espresso is made on a La Marzocco GB/5.
- All of our coffee is brewed using a Fetco brewer and the pour-over method
- We make Japanese iced coffee as well as Toddy cold brew
- Basic latte art is preferred, but not required. (We can show you a thing or two without attitude)
- Experience with pourover extraction a plus
- Food Handler's License is a plus
- Flexible schedule
Always vigilant Elizabeth C. noted a couple weeks ago that the security cameras at the Parade Grounds, the ones local residents fought hard to have installed after multiple violent incidents, have been neglected and may be more unplugged than an aging grunge band.
One of the locals who led the charge to get the cameras went out and checked on them, and that started a cascade of questions. Like...who's looking at these things anyway? Are they just meant as deterrents, and if so, how much of a deterrent are they? Does anyone check up on their functioning? Is there a feed, or are they just storing video for AFTER the crime?
Anyhoo, Nora at Ditmas Park Corner picked up on the story, and you can read about it here:
Speaking of "unplugged," how about checking out this Flatbushian Jeffrey Stirewalt who gives tours of the area under the moniker Brooklyn Unplugged. At the Q, segues are always on our menu!
Thanks to all the Caledonians keeping a lookout for trouble and/or joy in the dense Flatbush to Parade Place, Parkside to Caton micro-nabe that has yet to grab a proper name for itself. (C'mon y'all, get cracking!) The area is rich in pre-war buildings with big apartments, and will soon find itself host to a new giant neighbor in 123 on the Park, the massive apartment complex currently (slowly) being developed from the skeleton of the old Caledonian Hospital. And yes folks, it was very much a working hospital, not so long ago.
Out of respect for the old hospital and its importance to the neighborhood, developer Joseph Chetrit has vowed to create an artisinal shoppe on the ground floor, a place to get 20 varieties of extra-virgins (olive oil, that is) 24-hours a day. It will lovingly be called "The Emergency Room," a one-top shoppe for after-hours gourmands.
From the 71st came this description of police action across from BBG:
A bueno bust if ever I heard of one. Kudos to the gentlemen below:Thursday May 9, 2013 the 71 Precinct executed a search warrant at 915 Washington Ave. Four guns,a 1/2 kilo of heroin and 11 ounces of crack were seized. One male occupying the apartment was taken into custody.
A quartet to choose from!
The 40th Council District, the one that most all of you reside in, the one that you MUST be registered as a Democrat to vote for IN SEPTEMBER"s primary, since the Republican sacrificial lamb hasn't a chance in Hades - has turned into a bit of a crowded field. The frontrunner must be assumed to be the incumbent Mathieu Eugene, but Saundra Thomas is nipping at his heels, with newcomers John Grant and Sylvia Kinard yapping from the cheap seats. For now...anything can happen of course.
Get to know John in the ongoing Ditmas Park Corner series, right here:
My main questions remain unanswered, but word is:
70th precinct has confirmed that the disabled camera will be repaired within the next ten days. Thx to Ed Powell, Officers Scotto and Bourne at the 70th, and the Parks DeptKeep an eye out, and let the Q know if they actually look like they're working.
Got some blood? Of course you do! You wouldn't be reading this if you're dry to the bone!
Why not share a little. The 70th Precinct is holding is blood drive today. From the 70th:
Remember, as the missive says: THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HUMAN BLOOD. Unlike teachers, sugar or dairy products, there is no alternative. Even vegans need red blood, good old human blood, be it A, B, AB or O. Remember the Ramones tune? ABBA-O, Let's Go!Just a friendly reminder about our Blood Drive, which will be held from 12:30 pm- 6:00 pm today, May 14, 2013.There is no substitute for Human Blood. According to the New York Blood Center; One in three people will need blood sometime during their lives. Blood last only 42 days. Your donation now is critically important. We look forward to seeing you. Thank you. (154 Lawrence Ave. between E 2nd St. and Ocean Pkwy)
This Sunday, from 2-5PM at the Jewish Children's Museum, come be part of the Community Board's "plan" for the coming years. We did one of these back in November, and the feedback that CB9 got is helping to form the agenda for the future. The Board, and its committees, really do use these feedback sessions as the fuel for strategies and outreach to the City agencies and stakeholders involved.
And guess what...I'm hear to tell you that the City is listening. On one issue after another, the demands from the Community Board get attention. Do we always get what we want? Of course not. But the conversation is happening, and agencies know where we stand. And in a few areas, we've got some solid victories to point to.
So...please come out. PLUS, the Jewish Children's Museum, on Eastern Parkway at Albany, is a fantastic family day out. Enjoy free admission if you're attending the Envisioning session! They call it "Jewish," but if you ain't Jewish, it's not like it's restricted! It's still a marvelous museum full of historical games, exhibits and run-around space. All are welcome.
Last time, areas of concern that became part of the blueprint for the future included:
and in regards to Safety:
Many of these things are already being addressed, and many more will need input and help from you, the people.
enough with the rah-rah. just come!
Guitarist Vernon Reid was asked, back when he was high-flying with his rock band Living Colour, what the "New York Sound" was. He said if there was a NY Sound it was probably the sound of people looking for cheap apartments. And while there are no more "cheap" apartments to be had, at least not with bathrooms or electricity, we often hear about the crisis of affordable housing. Affordable housing. Yes, affordable housing...
Politicians are for it! (They're also for education, jobs and mothers). But what exactly is "affordable housing?" Sounds about as vague as the term "middle class." However to some non-profit developers, like CAMBA, affordable housing means something quite specific, and I doubt very much that any of you are paying anything like what CAMBA is offering for its newly constructed apartments at CAMBA Gardens, just down Clarkson Ave near Kings County Hospital. A one-bedroom for $810. A two-bedroom for $976. A three-bedroom for $1,127. Granted, you won't be living in Tribeca or Dumbo, but it ain't so bad in East Flatbush, or Wingate, or whatever you want to call Kingscounty-ville. CAMBA also built those new supportive services furnished apartments over at 97 Crooke Avenue in the micronabe the Q likes to call Caledonia, the ones for chronically homeless and seriously mentally ill tenants. CAMBA Gardens, however, has no such requirements. Thank God! It must be so hard to PROVE you're mentally ill and homeless on a housing application!! (off color joke, sorry).
If you want an application for CAMBA Gardens, see the below flyer, or go to Camba Gardens webpage. Granted the lottery will have brutal odds, but you never know. Actually, I have friends who have won these lotteries. You may have to apply for tons before you get an "affordable" apartment, but if your income falls into the guidelines it's certainly worth trying.
So why aren't there more options like this? And why does living in NYC have to rely so much on luck and timing? Whenever you hear a politician claim to be "for" affordable housing, I suggest you stick your hand up and demand exactly what they mean and how they're going to make it happen. Because anyone running for City office who doesn't know this stuff backwards and forwards is not worth voting for. And how about politicians who don't know about the many ways that tenants are harassed into leaving their longtime homes by greedy landlords? And how about politicians who don't know how city budgets work and how to leverage and influence others towards the needs of their districts? And how about politicians who...argh, don't get me started...
So, behind the tip of the tongue would be...mid-tongue? Let me take you right into the middle of the tongue then...
Today, the Q got a sneak peak inside the shoppe everyone is talking about. Okay, not EVERYONE, but an awful lot of people seem to want to know what's happening with the old Blue Roost that was K-Dog place. And I'm here to tell you that the Q, while admittedly easily impressed, was pretty overwhelmed. I'm saying that TotT is hott. As in, this place looks great, smells great (they were testing out the baking this morning), tastes great (ditto, on the croissants at least), and, yes, the coffee's quite good (well, I don't know anything about coffee except that the coffee tasted like...coffee. And an awful lot of work is going into it, including the pouring over of the coffee over the grinds, which suggests to me they know what they're doing, though I'm pretty sure Mr. Coffee has been doing that for awhile. The espresso machine looks positively Chitty Chitty Bang Bang however).
To the connoisseurs and belly-minded, the deets are these: Forty Weight will be your coffee and comes with its own sommelier, so there was Matt Marks from the company busy readying the industrial machinery to make the coffee brew-ready. I know some people really geek out on this stuff, so at the bottom of this post I cut and pasted an orientation on their articulation of the java creation vis a vis the pouring of the hot water over the coffee to make the coffee into coffee. (In case you're salivating, they're not opening til just after Memorial Day. Sorry!)
Fresh euro-style breads have been missing from the neighborhood - and fresh baguettes and the like they will serve. The pastries are all designed by co-owner Eric McIntyre who is a proper pastry chef with credentials from Eleven Madison Park, which is someone named Daniel Humm's restaurant. I'm reveling in the fact that I know nothing about any of this stuff - but it's exciting to see how excited are the partners, their partners, and their partner's partners. Seems like a class act start to finish. Here's the folks I met this morning, and their roles:
I had a double-d delightful time talking to the fellas. Scott's a born and bred multi-generational New Yorker, with interestingly enough Caribbean roots on his mother's side. Who knew there was a centuries-old community of immigrant Jews on St. Thomas? Well, Scott did. And now I do too. Look it up! After a high-tech stint in San Fran during the go-go late '90s, he met his future husband Eric, and after the tech boom up-belly-ed, they both enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in Manhattan, and soon after founded their successful catering business "Tip of the Tongue." Thankfully, despite their pedigrees, they don't come off as food snobs in the least. They seem passionate about food and business and the neighborhood they call home, which the Q calls Lefferts. They live on Winthrop between Flatbush and Bedford and their toddler son will matriculate at Maple Street School next year.
What else? Oh, the decor is very considered. I noted the cool decorative walls made of moulding from old houses:
The nifty arbor inspired wall paper:
And of course, my favorite word of the decade, the sconces, which I'm betting go very nicely with scones:
Good luck gentlemen! Look for a soft launch just after Memorial Day, meaning shorter hours, while they fine-tune things. Please, save your reviews til they've been up and running for a few days.
God bless America, and God bless good croissants.
Appendix on the coffee:
In some ways, the furor over the Great Googa Mooga, the last day of which was canceled due to rain, shows how far Prospect Park and Brooklyn generally have come since their nadirs. 20, even 10, years ago few people even knew where the Nethermead was let alone waxed rhapsodic about its delicate infrastructure and crucial spiritual significance to the soul of the borough. They used to VERY occasionally have opera out there in the 1970s, but it was wicked weird to do it. They held full-bore equestrian events out there - you know, horse shows. And festivals of one kind or another have been common - often fenced-in ones - through the time that even the Q has lived here (that goes back 25 years now...oy). So before we all get our collected panties all bunched up we might be served to remember that the Giggy Miggy did not invent the idea of a festival in the park. In fact, urban parks throughout the country and world do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. Often in the grassy parts. Yes. In the grassy parts.
Does that mean the Greek Geeky Meeky is a good idea? Probably not. But the reasons why it is not a great idea, in my opinion, which I'll elaborate for those who care, have nothing to do with the mission of "a" park or "this" park, or the Prospect Park Alliance, or the NYC Parks Department or any other nonsensical statements I've heard or read. Parks are what we want them to be. If enough of us don't want the Googa to come back, it probably won't. Last year the complaints were out there, but it was hardly an uproar. But given the dire state of funding for the park, and the fact that the Alliance administers the park and is always looking for new earned revenue and ways to bring in new members and ways to be creative with its extraordinary resources - generally in the interest of making the park better, stronger and more fun - I said and still believe that it was worth giving them a couple years to experiment with a generally well-respected outfit like Superfly (the Googs and Bonaroo's organizer) and see how the vendors, attendees, and most important the lawn, reacts.
And what's the verdict, after two years of the Grape Gaple Maple? Last year ended in a hung jury. After this year, every last participant seemed to have been hanged and is still swinging in the breeze. Vendors got stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars of unsold food. Superfly didn't make it's dough. The park didn't get the public relations bounce it was hoping for (see the nasty NY Times diss). The Sunday bands like De la Soul and Kool & the Gang didn't get to play. And tens of thousands of ticket holders didn't get to go at all, many waiting in line for a couple hours being teased by the organizers into thinking the show must go on.
To the event itself: I went Saturday afternoon-eve, and the rain had kept it to under 20,000 attendees. It was great. Geeky, but great. (I think the wilder, zanier, druggier more "Burning Man" kids were at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Queens). It was a lot of fun, good clean fun, this Guggly Muggly. The concert on Friday was apparently a blast. This was just the sort of urban festive good time I've come to love about NY summers. The biggest problem, as has oft been noted, was that the location is a grassy respite, not a big dirt box or parking lot, which is really the right location for something like this. I agree that common sense dictates that (see picture at the bottom). State Fairs, which the Gaggy Maggy most resembles, are never held on grassy meadows intended for grassy meadow style recreation. They're held on dirt-bag drag-race mud-pits.
Some interesting random thoughts I picked up off the inter-wires included Ryan Sutton's piece on why it's not a very interesting idea in the first place to have a bunch of restaurants showing off their wares outside. As in, this sort of things happens at places like the Brooklyn Flea's Smorgasburg (now, gulp, in Manhattan too!) already every weekend. And we've got food trucks, and you can even get some of these upwardly priced wares at Nets games and Rat-Center events. So the whole specialness of the thing, which seemed so provocative even just a year ago, is kinda Goot Moot when you think about it. Then there's the mildly entertaining aspect of reading contemporaneous tweetage.
But the big point I want to make is this. It's not like the event was created by Monsanto and featured live beatings of baby seals to the sounds of neo-nazi skinhead music. It was a well-intentioned event created by a beloved music festival featuring dozens of local restaurants and well-regarded bands, many local, and beer and wine makers, many local, that was so popular they had to limit the FREE tickets to a lottery so as not to overtax the once-underused Nethermead. Even 10 years ago, the NY Times was talking (unfairly, and quite elitist-ly if you ask me) about the nastiness of our side of the park, starting at, yes, the Nethermead.
But lastly I must ask, to all of you who feel so passionately that this park must remain pure and untouched and fully sodded and uncommercialized...now that the City has handed over control and an expectation that we will raise a certain amount of money towards the Park's upkeep...are you prepared to kick in some dough to make that happen? Because Prospect Park ain't gonna maintain itself. And let's be honest, here. We ain't exactly the cleanest park patrons either. Folks who frequent our side of the park are known to litter and leave whole truckloads of trash behind after picnics. The Parthenon over by the Parade Ground sometimes looks like Fresh Kills. Even the Nethermead gets trashed, even on non-Googa weekends. We could all do our part.
Lakeside, the big brilliant soon-to-open skating and lake-reclamation project is soon to be the pride of the east side. We've got our lovely Lincoln Road and Imagination playgrounds. We've got the Boathouse and the Nethermead and the Carousel and Lefferts House and Zoo. We have the lake, the Drummer's Grove, the other drummer's circle down by the lake, the Oriental Pavillion, ,concert grove, lovely paths etc. etc. That dude who wrote that NY Times piece claiming we got the short end of the stick was high, high, high when he wrote it, or rather, things have definitely taken a turn for the better. Given all that, I think we could all stand to cut the Alliance a break, and recognize that they're looking for new models to cut their deficit, because they're not getting the sort of private support that Central Park gets. And that's a shame, because there's PLENTY of money in Brooklyn right now. But that money hasn't deemed it worthy to walk its green presidential legs on over to the jewel of the borough. Let's hope that begins to change, Giggy Miggy or not.
Alas, it does look like the 'Mead took it pretty hard. Gothamist took this shot and many others.
I've heard of politicians kissing babies. I've heard of them shaking hands. I've even heard of politicians giving a few quid for some pro quos. But this one is new to me:
Frankly, I think it's awesome to think of recycling prom dresses, and not breaking parents' banks for a one-night affair, so please don't think I'm Mr. Snark over here. Well, maybe a baby snark, not a Great White Snark.
Don't Miss This One - a classic post from the historian who goes by the alias Montrose Morris, this particular subject is 145 Lincoln Road. She's the bomb, y'all. A true hometown treasure. And yes, that's her picture, and her real name is Suzanne Spellen. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag, but sheesh she deserves the accolades, not some long-dead architect named Montrose!