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    Some really gorgeous photographs happening at Tugboat, opening May 9, from Yoshiko Mori. Arty yes, but dang these would look good hung in just the right nook. Bring your checkbook ('member those?) Check out the festive opening, Friday May 9. See you there!

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    As promised, Shelley Kramer and the Q bring you the Lefferts Kindergarten Summit 2014. So many questions, fears, concerns and boogeymen out there, as parents choose schools and back-door strategies. So...why not get together and divulge our wisdom and anxiety?

    MAY 14, 7PM, Play Kids, Flatbush and Westbury Court.

    All welcome. Share the love. Share the misery!

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    I gotta say the Community Board has been ramping it up lately. The Board is full of great longtime members, but attrition and some letting go of the least committed board members has led to a flood of great new people fully charged to make CB9 more responsive to the community's needs. One such member, Lefferts resident Laura Imperiale, is chairing the Housing Committee. Talk about issues galore on THAT one!

    So the Housing Committee has organized a long overdue workshop on the nitty gritty of zoning. It was zoning that allowed a giant tower at 626 to come to life. And zoning in your neck of the woods might well allow for some out of context and out-of-character buildings that you will greatly affect your quality of life, and those of the neighborhood as a whole.

    Wednesday May 14 is the date. Kings County Hospital's T Building is the place (that's at the corner closest to Lefferts). Flyer below.

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    Dear Friends of Parkside,
    This Saturday we're hosting our first ever spring planting on Parkside.  We've got a whole bunch of new tree pits out there; come help us fill them with green!
    WHEN:    Saturday, May 3, 10am to 12pm
    WHERE:  Parkside
    WHAT:     Digging soil, planting flowers, raking mulch, celebrating spring.
    WHO:      You, your kids, your neighbors, everyone.

    We hope, twelve months from now, to have a full-fledged plaza built.  We're eager to hear your thoughts on what kind of events the plaza should be hosting next year.  Come by on Saturday, and tell us what you think.

    Also, as many of you know, there is talk of a farmer's market on the plaza beginning this summer.  If you are interested in learning more or helping out with that, stop by, introduce yourself, and we'll fill you in.
    for the Parkside Committee

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  • 05/02/14--13:03: Leffets Crime Blotter
  • Dynamic Duo Fabri and Martinos are back with another spine tingling account of crime and punishment. Note that the $10 stolen at 713 Flatbush was from ParksideZ deli. Some of my "faves" hang out there night and day. Otherwise, things have been quiet compared to this time last year. Let's hope it STAYS quiet.

    Crime Report
    March 28 – May 1, 2014
    March 28th, 4:30PM. 15 Ocean Ave. Cell phone snatched.
    March 30th, 11:00PM. Bedford & Fennimore. Car-jacking (stole a car from a person)
    April 4th, 9PM. 390 Parkside. Simulated handgun, demanded money. Two arrests were made.
    April 8th, 12:15PM. 240 Winthrop. Cell phone taken at gunpoint.
    April 9th, 4PM. 217 Ocean Ave. Went through victims pockets by force. Wanted cell phone, brief struggle, fled without cell.
    April 10th, 12:30AM. 713 Flatbush Ave. Commercial store, stole $10.
    April 10th, 4:30PM. Flatbush & Clarkson. Cell phone snatched.
    April 15th, 5:30PM. 85 Clarkson. Cell phone snatched.
    April 16th 5:30PM. Bedford and Maple. Cell phone snatched.
    April 14th, 2:30PM. 1030 Nostrand Avenue. At bodega, shoplifter got into a physical altercation with the owner of the store. No arrest.
    April 21st, 8PM. 258 Maple. Cell phone snatched. Arrest was made.
    April 22nd, 2:30PM. Lefferts & Nostrand. Money taken at gunpoint.
    Felony Assaults
    March 31st, 11:30PM. 105 Winthrop. Person hit with bottle. Arrest was made.
    April 3rd, 3:30PM. 655 Parkside Ave. Assault, person put hands around someone’s neck. Arrest was made.
    April 14th, 2AM. 539 Rogers. Person was shot in the right leg. Walked themselves to the hospital. Was intoxicated.
    April 7th, 3AM. 249 Lefferts. Perp put their hands around someone’s neck. Arrest was made.
    Burglaries (when the police have entrance as front door, without noting that it was forced entry, this can indicate that a person known to the location, who would have access, is the perpetrator)
    April 9th, 9AM. 78 Hawthorne. Came through rear window and took electronics.
    March 28th, 11:30PM. 1154 Nostrand Avenue. Came through window and took electronics.
    April 18th, 3:00PM. 1154 Nostrand Ave. Rear window of house was broken, not sure what they took.
    April 24th, 11:30AM. 1216 Nostrand. Commercial truck was broken into, took checks and $1500 cash.
    Grand Larceny (No physical force between victim and perp)
    March 27th, 7:30. Clarkson and Rogers. Pickpocketer took cash and credit cards.
    April 27th, 6Pm. 660 Rogers. Cell phone taken, arrest was made.
    April 12th, 5:30AM. Nostrand & Sterling. Cell taken from person.
    April 21st, 12PM. Perp stole store owner bank account information, and created a check in that store’s name, from the store to the perp in the amount of $6000. The check was made out to the perp, who went to the bank and tried to deposit the check. Banks will usually release a portion of the check amount on the same day prior to the check fully clearing. Perp was arrested because his name was on the check.
    Grand Larceny Auto
    April 14th, 6AM. 215 Winthrop. 2002 Black Toyota Sequoia stolen.
    April 14th, 6AM. 215 Lefferts. 2006 Gray Volkswagen Jetta.
    April 11th, Winthrop street. Perp approached victim from behind, attempted to push her into a building. Person watching from a window, yelled, called the police. Another pedestrian heard the person yelling, grabbed the perp and held him until the police arrived. Perp has a prior clear record, never been arrested before, but may have some psychological issues. Perp did not know the victim.

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    The gist: Please sign this petition to help Maple Street School convince the MTA to extend its lease at 29 Lincoln Road.

    The story: Whether you're a parent or not, you've probably noticed the cute nursery school next the Lincoln Road entrance to the Prospect Park station. It's called Maple Street School, and it couldn't be in a better location for working parents AND for its next door access to Prospect Park for the kiddies. It's a "coop school," which means parents provide a ton of support for the school to try to keep costs reasonably low (still more than daycare though) and are involved in all decision-making. Oh, and logging lots of hours on committees. Not unlike the Park Slope Food Coop, bless its soul.

    The school started in a parent's house 30 years ago, and after a number of moves it landed in the unused western chunk of the subway station, in 2001. The school did all the necessary renovations in exchange for an enviable lease arrangement, and while it's quite small, it's a great space for little ones and a cheery home for families. A vid about the school and its need for signatures:

    Later this year, an RFP will go out from the MTA to potential new lease-holders for the space as Maple Street's lease expires. Needless to say, the school very much wants to stay put. The fear is that a for-profit enterprise could bid higher, and Maple Street would be out. And while the MTA is obliged to favor top offers, there is a stipulation that extra weight be given to groups with special benefits to the community. This isn't to say Maple Street can't pay its way - it will put in a bid alright, and parents will chip in whatever extra is needed to make that happen. It's a coop after all, and you do what you got to do to keep the ball rolling.

    It would be a sad day indeed if MSS had to vacate its space. Won't you please consider signing the petition? Your name will join others going to elected officials and the MTA decision makers.

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    It's my white whale.

    Dang I hate the trash at 713 Flatbush, the NE Corner of the Flabenue and Parkside, ParsideZ Deli. Heck I can't stand that whole eastern block from Flat to Win and the half dozen "chums" who help make it one of the most criminal blocks in the neighborhood (charts show an unusually high number of crimes take place there, with a bunch of notorious apartments, one that was raided by the narcs just recently). I've repeatedly told Martinos and Fitzgibbon of the 71st just how much a problem this area is, and they assure me they're "on it." Would be nice to see cop out there once in awhile.

    But the trash. Man. Here's some pics from yesterday.

    I, Clarkson FlatBed, hereby pledge to do something about it, so help me Allah. The deli has been warned - I told 'em I'm ready to throw the book at them (yeah, like I have any real authority) if they don't clean up their act. They're not responsible for the trash, but they are legally responsible to keep it clean to 18 inches into the road. They benefit from "location location location," so they need to step it up.

    Please join me by politely reminding them, for the sake of the whole neighborhood, to keep the garbage in check. Until we get a BID around here, no paid employee is going to go around picking up after us. And y'all who throw your household trash int that bin? There's a special receptacle in Hell awaiting you!

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    You've undoubtedly seen it. The tallest building to break the skyline in this part of town is not Patio Gardens or even Ebbets Field houses. It's Tivoli Towers, at Crown and Franklin. For many Leffertsians, the building is a mystery. It's always been intended as affordable housing, first as part of the legendary Mitchell Lama program (yes, you really can get into one if you're willing to be patient and vigilant). The building has become "private" via the purchase by developer Laurence Gluck in 2010, who intends to take it all market, though older tenants have been given increased Section 8 voucher payments to stay in their apartments. (Note: new Section 8 is almost gone. No program has taken its place, so at this point the vouchers are part of a dying program).

    Honestly now, the whole point of Gluck's purchase was not to be some sort of loss leader. No, the point was to buy the building for a relative song (under $10 million in 2010) at the nadir of the housing market. Such good timing will undoubtedly pay off. And as apartments leave the various programs, Gluck will continue to make improvements that will eventually ensure market rate apartments cost just that.

    Right now, Tivoli is part of a City-wide initiative to move subsidized housing residents into smaller apartments, if they are "over housed." I encourage you to read the DNA Info piece, which highlights how the determination has been made. Essentially, if you're getting subsidies, you can't hang on to an apartment that's bigger than you need. So you're being moved. (Not kicked out, as some folks claim. But still it's extremely disruptive).

    I encourage you to read the following articles to get a better sense of what's going on there. And if you live in Tivoli or have experience there, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.

    Rachel Holliday Smith's DNA Info piece.

    Tivoli Towers from NY Times in 2010

    A teaser from Rachel's article:

    Federally-subsidized tenants at a Crown Heights high rise are fighting a plan to force them to move into smaller units, enlisting help from elected officials who are trying to convince the city to let them stay where they are.

    Tenants receiving enhanced Section 8 housing subsidies at Tivoli Towers, a 300-unit building on Crown Street and Franklin Avenue, began receiving letters from the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development at the beginning of the year warning them that they were “over-housed” — or living in apartments that were considered too large for their needs under a new set of guidelines released last year. The letters gave the tenants 30 days to appeal the order, or prepare to move.

    And finally, if you want to know what developer Laurence Gluck looks and sounds like when he's talking shop, here he is:


    It occurs to me that plenty of you haven't experienced David Kramer of Hudson (developer of 626 Flatbush) talk about his past (quite interesting actually, given his current projects). I encourage everyone to give a listen. I hear a lot of demonizing about these guys, but truth be told they're people, and they play in a different universe than you and me, where their decisions are often made on simple rational market analyses. I'm done trying to convince you one way or another whether that's appropriate when it comes to people's homes. Give a listen, so you can put a person to the issue.

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    A boutique pastry outfit will soon bring its pleasing aroma to Nostrand near Midwood, care of partners Tiffany Washington and Jo-Laine Duke-Collins. Tiffany started I.M. Pastry in 2009, naming it after her grandma Ilene Miriam. She teamed up with Duke-Collins in 2010, and they've had a great run as a catering concern. Now it's time to open a shoppe, and boy howdy are we glad they're coming to Lefferts' east end, at 1131 Nostrand Avenue. There'll be comfy seating, wi-fi and good coffee. Classes on cake decorating? Check. Teaching kids to make cake pops and cookies? Check. Carrot tartare and minced pork with wilted greens and spiced balsamic beet compote, prepared tableside? I'm thinking not. That might give this blogger a nose bleed.

    Look for an opening this summer. In keeping with the trend towards inviting community help in financing some nuts and bolts, here's their Kickstarter Campaign:

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    from DNA Info

    There goes Sea Crest Linen...

    Rachel Holliday Smith at DNA Info kicks it into high gear, reporting this time on a big new development in our midst. The Q hasn't time today to spend on this one, but from Smith's article:

    CROWN HEIGHTS — A former commercial laundry facility near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Medgar Evers College has been sold to a real estate company with experience in multimillion-dollar development projects in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

    Cornell Realty Management bought 46 Crown St. on March 27 for $14.5 million, according to public records. The lot contains three one-story buildings and a smokestack on the eastern half of a city block split by the Franklin Avenue Shuttle. 

    The buildings once housed Sea Crest Linen, a commercial laundering company also known as Central Laundry Service Corp. The 38,000-square-foot site has been used by various laundry companies since at least 1935, according to building records.

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  • 05/07/14--08:26: Phoenix Rising at Gastro Pub

  • For those hankering for a single malt, craft beer and steak frites, your wait will be over by mid-summer. The bar/restaurant at Maple/Flatbush is chiseling out windows as I write this. FYI, Chad from Tugboat is one of the partners in this venture, with Kalkin Narvilas from Franklin Ave's Cent'Anni. So we already know they can pull these things off.

    Read more about the joint here.

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    Pronounce it De Avenue and you'll be even hipper than you are now. From Sammy Be and Rafie Mama - all bets are off this Sunday. It's gonna be good and you're gonna be there. Will the Q be there? Sundays lately have been reserved for repeat viewings of certain key scenes from Disney's blockbuster "Frozen," replete with serious choreography by a 5 year old. I'm not sick of "Let It Go" yet, but I'm getting close. Here's to my daughter and I tiring of it at the same time.

    Housewarming Sundays at D Avenue
    673 Flatbush Ave b/t Hawthorne & Winthrop St., BK
    Sunday, May 11, 2014
    8PM - 12AM
    DJs: Sammy Be & Rafie Mama

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    Thanks to Alex Ely's persistence, we now know that DOT is going to get back out there and repaint the travel lanes that disappeared soon after they started working. A rendering of the intended outcome below. Note that swift lane changes will be discouraged, and all drivers with long hair MUST wear caps. Please shower before entering your vehicle. And pedestrians - absolutely NO RUNNING.

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  • 05/07/14--12:40: Leaving Keys In Car - Bad
  • From Vinnie:

    The 71 Precinct in the last few weeks has seen vehicles stolen on a few occasions by a very easy method. Residents are leaving their keys in their cars as they either unpack or walk people to their doors. Thieves are jumping in taking off with the car. Please remove your keys and take them with you whenever you leave your car no matter how quick you are going to be.

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    For those of you still up in the air about public schools for your young 'uns, please join me and Pam Wheaton, managing editor from for a discussion about options, choices, frustrations and strategies. Some of you may have read my series of posts (google "q's school tool") on District 17 schools. And yeah, it's pretty slim pickings. Most parents I've met choose to find other schools in other districts than their zoned school around here, usually Jackie Robinson, which has yet to show an interest in joining the current century. My oldest has been at PS705 for pre-K, which is in our district, so I know that school fairly well from the inside and am happy to share. If you have a kid at a school you like, PLEASE join us and tell us about it. In fact, anyone with knowledge or interest please feel free to come and we promise a lively evening.

    Shelley is once again being super-sweet for offering to host at Play Kids, 676 Flatbush. (It's actually hard to imagine what we did before her and Carl set up shoppe). So:

    Lefferts Pre-K/Kindergarten Summit
    676 Flatbush (at Westbury Court)

    Feel free to email me with questions or topics to cover.

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  • 05/07/14--13:02: Hot Enough For Ya?
  • Til May 15th, you have a chance to buy a month of yoga for $50. At the new Bikram in the Beer Supply building on Lefferts at Washington/Flatbush. Beer and Bikram - perfect together?

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    The Flabenue needs your support as it seeks to organize and better meet your needs. Take a moment to fill out their survey? It takes but a few moments, but its results could last a lifetime.


    The full name of the merchant's association, which just started last year btw after years of inept leadership as something called FEPMA, is now PARKSIDE EMPIRE | FLATBUSH AVENUE MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION. No need for an acronym. P.E.F.A.M.A. isn't any better than FEPMA, which before that was called FECMA, since at one time it went down to Clarkson. Flatbush up to Parkside from Beverly is and has been a BID for many, many years, and that's why it's so much cleaner. The BID hires a dude to clean, and there's a greater sense of unity and pride. One can hope that one day our "main street" gives us pride, and that we can think of it more as all of ours. Desmond and Shelley and crew are doing their best to create trust and comradery. Kudos for their ongoing efforts.

    Now. About that vertical line that's used in the name - EMPIRE | FLATBUSH. You have have always known this, but I only just learned that you can get a vertical line by pressing shift and then the forward slash key on the QWERTY keyboard. There it is. Right in front of me the whole time.

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  • 05/12/14--11:50: Crackin Down
  • I've seen more cop-stops of cars and Dollar Vans in the last month than I've seen in 10 years. There is absolutely a major directive going on right now, coming from de Blasio and Bratton. I've even heard reports of citizens getting jaywalking tickets. No joke! DOT is going to repaint the new line markers in June.'s the official advice:

    And let me just add that I LOVE NYC crossing guards. They're amazing, and most are super friendly. Every day that I ride my bike past Prospect Heights High School to drop off my kid at pre-K, that wonderful lady keeps an eye out for traffic and gives both of us big smile and good morning. The crossing guard at our school is equally charming. (I recall Albert Brooks once being a glum crossing guard in a movie where he and the Mrs. "drop out" of the rat race and buy an RV and set out on adventure. Soon into their trek, his wife lost their whole nest egg gambling, and he went into an employment office and asked for a job in the six-figure range. Or something like that. I think the movie was called "The Guy Who Dropped Out Of The Rat Race and Bought an RV and Then His Wife Lost Their Money Because She Had a Gambling Problem That She Didn't Know About Because She'd Never Gambled Before")

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  • 05/13/14--06:56: News From the North
  • Just the other side of Empire Boulevard, things are hopping. You've heard of the takeover of Tivoli Towers. You've heard the coming of Walgreens taking over for the old laundromat. You've seen the raucous opening of Checkers. You've noted the coming of the TD Bank on Bedford. You heard how the Feds busted up the infamous gang Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation of the Ebbets Apartments (NOT a housing project, we're reminded repeatedly).  You've heard of the battle for the restoration of the Bedford-Union Armory. You saw the Sea Crest Linen site get sold for residential development. You've smelled the Spice Factory on lower Franklin, and heard about the coming the spiritual holistic health restaurant Mountain coming to the old Chinese Food place next to the Associated on same. You've seen a new developer tear down a century-old church (St. Ignatius) on Rogers at Carroll to make way for a new apartment building. Stuff is coming to the southside of EP and Bedford, and Bedford at Empire. Breath is baited.

    What more you ask? Just last night I met a guy named Chris Buckley who's opening up a Tavern at Rogers and Union to be called "The Branch Office." 225 Rogers to be exact (see site below - not Bambi, the place next door). I like the name Bambi, though one hopes the end of the movie is not a harbinger. Such a poetic thing that ending!

    Buckley owns another newcomer friendly joint in the Stuy

    Probably a good business move, this Branch Office, seeing the dearth of such joints south of Eastern Parkway. The church wouldn't have brought a lot of biz but the new apartment building a block away undoubtedly will. Though I do recall an article about alcoholism and priests. I suspect, however, that kind of drinking happens in the rectory, alone, late at night. Poetic, yes?

    And that long moribund apartment building near the Jackie Robinson elementary school, stalled since 2008ish, has sprung back to life. On Sullivan I believe. Not really very poetic, but serviceable.

    Clearly they waited til just the right time to get this one open

    What else. Oh yeah, riding by it the TD Bank (a Canadian corp don't ya know, eh?) went up so quickly once they started I'd say they have it down to a science. The sign's up. I bet they're operational by Fall. Folks say we needed a financial institution near North Lefferts. And God said, Let There Be Bank!

    TD Bank. Say it three times fast, and it sounds like a strip joint.

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  • 05/13/14--08:51: Great G-word Article
  • Super fascinating read about the G-word. Some of you have expressed being sick of the topic, though given the importance of people's dwellings to their sense of security and well-being, I find this to be the most important Human-American story of our times - how to welcome change and economic vitality while not losing our Human-American-ness. Note the mention of the phrase "Lefferts Gardens" near the end. That helps qualify the piece for inclusion on the Q.

     Gothamist Piece by Tyler Kelly

    Rent Stabilization has a somewhat checkered history in this City. No element of the system is more bizarre than the "buying out" of longtime renters. Say you're renting a two-bedroom for $600 a month, and the law is gonna keep rent low for a long time to come. Seemingly out of nowhere someone offers you $10,000, or more, in cash, to vamoose. Do you take it? The smart money says No Effin Way, Jose. But what if you're on a sinking ship, financially? Maybe you need that money for a family member's emergency. Maybe you got fired and the unemployment or disability checks aren't enough. Maybe you're not sophisticated in such matters, or think it's easy to find another rent stabilized place. At a certain point, a landlord can make it so crappy for you that you just give up, depressed and disheartened. We've seen it again and again...a building hits the "tipping point," and in a couple years goes from affordable to unaffordable. One man's bargain is another's fortune.

    Last time this City went through such an intense period of demand outstripping supply, prices outstripping incomes, the City took up the call. Housing projects. Rent laws. Then we started begging people to stay, with coop conversions and Mitchell Lama and more. And now, it's de Blasio's turn to bat. Will he strike out or hit a double? History will judge.

    Oh. And Coop City of 1966! I used to have nightmares about that place. Such a fascinating town along the Hutch. A killer documentary could be made about it. Has it been?

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