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    At 186 Lenox they were going to build this back in 2008:


    Now comes this pic from an eagle-eyed reader:


    Coming Winter 2015. That's pretty dang ambitious, unless they really mean Winter 2016. Which begs the question...doesn't winter straddle two years anyway? Most of it's in the latter year...

    Anyhoo, whad'y'all think? I'm over there a fair bit, near Rogers. Seems like a reasonable place and height...and what's with the creepy guys up on the roof?

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    Parents...start your engines.

    Rachel Holliday Smith interviewed new District 17 Superintendent Clarence Ellis. If you're at all interested in improving the schools around here, please reach out to him and voice your concerns.


    And a brawl has broken out over at Jackie Robinson PS375, wherein the new principal wants to shake things up and hold teachers accountable but the old guard is fighting back, trying to get the old mediocre principal reinstated. Word is that there's a bit of an African-American/Caribbean-American divide among the parent body over the issue. Seems that's been an issue for some time...stay tuned.


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  • 10/30/14--11:56: Made with Love?
  • I'm sitting here reading how Alicia Boyd wants you to write in her name for State Senate. And I'm eating some Mary's Gone Crackers, which are organic, gluten-free, wheat-free, non-gmo, whole-grain. vegan, kosher, no trans-fat and peanut/nut free. The tag line is "conscious eating." They taste...well, let's just say it ain't Doritos Cool Ranch...

    Then, after all that zeitgeist jargon it says "Made With Love." I've eaten a number of products lately that claim to be "Made With Love." This got me thinking...who's regulating this whole love ingredient thing?

    What kind of love? Spousal? Familial? Carnal? Digestive? And more to the point...what percentage of my daily USDA recommended requirements for love are packed into each serving?

    I'm sure in Europe they have this sort of packaging issue worked out. We need to get Congress to hold hearings on the love labeling thing. I ate a whole package of these tasteless crackers and I'm STILL feeling lonely.



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    Thanks David Colon for his always spot on reporting in Brokelyn. The below is his.

    146 Fenimore Street
    Do you live here? Sorry. via Google Street View
    Real estate speculation! Sometimes it takes the form of horrible arson. Oftentimes, it takes much more banal, but somehow more unappealing-sounding forms, like this article in Real Estate Weekly about Pittsburgh-based HLC Equity buying a building in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Why are they doing it, and what’s their plan? Funny you should ask!
    Farber said he saw 146 Fenimore Street as the ideal first investment in Brooklyn because of its proximity to several subway lines and the neighborhood’s untapped, fast-growing potential…convincing Farber that Prospect Lefferts Gardens is on the cusp of a major influx of white-collar residents.
    Most of the building’s units are rent-stabilized, and HLC plans to slowly renovate the entire building.
    “We could probably sell it at a profit right now,” Farber said. “But we want to hold on to it.”
    Well, sucks to be you, rent-stabilized residents who we’re sure won’t be harassed in any way by your out-of-town landlords betting on “more white-collar residents.” Just to be sure though, don’t forget that you’ve got rights when it comes to improvements, and your rent in general.

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    272 Hawthorne
    From Rebecca and Brownstoner comes news that a developer has purchased an old wood-frame house with a wide lot and is planning on building two side-by-side row houses in its place - presumably two-family townhouses.

    Yet another standalone Victorian in Prospect Lefferts Gardens is going to bite the dust, but instead of the usual multi-family apartment building, two new townhouses will rise in its place. Demolition applications were filed in early August to knock down the existing house, a two-and-a-half story single family wood frame with a turret at 272 Hawthorne Street.
    The Q finds this fascinating, even bewildering. Why? Well...in the rush to build apartment buildings, it would seem that someone has done the math and determined they can make as much or more money building smaller dwellings that could be presumably be owned rather than rented.

    Thinking like this can burn you of course, if things head south. By paying more than a million bucks for the house and property, then paying to have it demolished, then paying to have houses rise in its place, you're counting on selling the finished homes for...well, a lot. Unless you build super-duper cheap (which I wouldn't put it past someone), you'd have to sell these for close to $2 million to clean up. Help me out real estate experts...ain't I right? At LEAST $1.5...

    Needless to say, it ain't affordable housing. I suspect this home will go from housing many low-income tenants to housing fewer super high-income tenants. Or, more accurately, super high-net-worth tenants. And so it goes.



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  • 10/31/14--19:12: New Biz Alert
  • That joint next to the Subway that used to be Purple Berry for a minute? Gonna be a taqueria, run by owners who run some other taco joints in hot-to-trot nabes of BK. This from a full-grown man in Halloween garb who was most likely trick-or-treating for himself (claimed to have a pail for his "child"), but I know him to be an honest chap just the same. Hopefully they'll serve my favorite - Chihuahua Tacos.


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  • 11/03/14--20:00: Flowers On Ocean
  • No, the Q's not gone poetic, and that's not the name of an indie-rock band from the Twin Cities (Portland/Bushwick). Flowers on Ocean, with supporting act the Parkside Plaza, is all about daffodils. And love. Love for Ocean. Love for Parkside. Love for thy neighbor. Love. Love. Lovely love.

    Neighborhood Hero Amy Musick is at it again (she's actually a public school music teacher, I kid you not.) She and her merry band of mirth makers will be cleaning and winterizing the gazillion tree pits along Ocean and Parkside. With help from the Parkside Committee, expect lots of love. Tree love. Pit love. And mulch, mulch human love to go around too. Oh, and probably one of those gallon jugs of coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.

    To repeat, the latest release from Flower on Ocean, limited edition hand painted cassettes only, available from Rough Trade. If you have to ask where that is, well, then, clearly you just don't "get it." Man.


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    Rare opportunity alert. District 17's CEC give you a chance to meet the two most important people in your child's education. After the teacher. And the principal. And the lunch supervisor.



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  • 11/04/14--12:43: Vote Wavny
  • She's qualified. She's your neighbor on Hawthorne Street. She's smart. She's fair. For all these reasons, don't forget to vote for our homegrown justice, Wavny Toussaint.



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    I don't know about you, but there's something about Election Day that brings out the worst of my self-righteousness. I start thinking about all the people all over the world that can't exercise their right to vote because they basically don't get to vote. Not just not have the right to vote, but, not have the right to eat or practice their religion or...live. And then I think of all those lazy-ass Americans who can't be bothered, on a Federal holiday no less, to go drop a piece of paper in a very suspicious looking scanner. I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that what other people do or don't do is none of my damn business, and a flawed democracy like ours takes all comers. And then of course, you actually walk in and see the smiles and hellos of all your neighbors and you're reminded what a pleasure it is to live in a society where we can disagree strongly and still manage not to slit each others' throats. Very often.

    That any sick mind could actively try to deny someone the right to vote, with all the carnage and depravity in the world, and the twisted history of the vote in our own country, that worries me more than who wins the Senate. Because anyway in two years everything will be (sort of) different again and who knows, maybe we get a woman president and trans representatives and a few actual liberals to boot. Could happen. Would they have guessed a black president just 50 years ago? Heck they were having trouble voting for a Catholic back then. Now we've got one in Albany suiting up for the big show. Does that guy make you wrinkle your nose too, like someone just cut the cheese?

    So I walks into the cafeteria at PS92 and I note how almost no one is young. Is it because I'm voting at 7pm? Or do people not vote until they're 35, the way they don't marry or have kids til later either these days? You see so many older black women, dressed to the nines, some barely able to get around, and it's a reminder how much this voting thing really means to some people. Should mean to all of us. You get teary, or I do anyway, until you remember that there's basically nothing on the ballot worth getting excited about. Except Wavny of course...

    But then word comes into my inbox that Voter Suppression is happening RIGHT HERE in Central Brooklyn. Insidious. Appalling. At the Flatbush branch of BPL, the elevator was out! No way to get up the steps!

    The eagle eyed reader who sent this picture wants you to know that she saw at least one cane-using old lady working her way up the steps, one teetering step at a time. I suppose some folks will need to be carried. And I'm sure some self-righteous dude like me is gonna feel pretty good tonight for having done the carrying. You go Mr. Muscles! Carry those wheelchairs for capital D Democracy! (find out who they're voting for first though before you bring them up).

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    Were you there? No? Here's what you missed, in a poem:

    We met at SUNY Downstate
    We were told not to stay there too late
    Only from seven to nine
    So we tried to start right on time

    No one knew ol' Robert's Rules
    So we started to all seem like fools
    The Rabbi he wanted no Slow Zone
    The Committee Chair wanted to Postpone

    (Who the hell doesn't want speed humps?
    They're not hard on cars like the speed bumps
    More than all other neighborhoods
    Ours cares more for cars than their fellows' broods)

    (Okay, I know that's a reach
    But Byron himself I beseech
    His rhymes
    They did sucketh
    Too sometimes)

    Ne'ertheless came the new liquor licenses
    Some claim there's just too many vices and
    I don't buy that line of thinking
    Since liquor stores cause more excess drinking

    (I can handle some drunk outdoor loitering
    but I don't care for that curbside toiletring)

    The budget requests were approved
    And we looked at the clock and so moved
    To create a new subcommittee
    Because our old bylaws are shitty

    We ran out of time, agitator
    You will have to wait until later
    To spew out your threats of more lawsuit
    Over stuff that most folks couldn't give a hoot

    Ms. Boyd wasted our time
    At the last two meetings, that's fine
    But now she must wait her turn
    Patience she just needs to learn

    I wish Dwayne had issued apology
    But I think there's a gap in his knowledge he
    Seems to need coaching in leadership
    Thus the Q bids farewell to his readership

    Occupy Crown Street? Thx Ernie Ern for the photo




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  • 11/05/14--07:00: Lost Dog Needs Owner
  • From those who found him:


    This very scared little guy was caught on Clarkson and Flatbush. He's pretty filthy, and we're guessing he's been outside for a while, but we actually have no idea.We're calling him Toto.

    He doesn't have any identifying info, but he's a total sweetheart. We've got him crated in our basement and neighbors are taking turns walking him, but we need to either find his home or find him a new home

    Contact: amanda@brooklynlocal.info .



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    I know it seems like the Q is always asking you to give $$ to one thing or another. But sometimes, a little cash is warranted. As in artist Kwenci Jones' modest request for support as he looks to finish the remarkable restoration of his iconic jungle mural at the Prospect Park train station on Flatbush near Ocean.

    Click here to help out. What with Dave Eppley's work on the Flatbush Trees, and longterm plans to reclaim that plaza from the selfish MTA, we might one day have a plaza worth crowing about.

    Thx Kwenci, and Richard Greene from Crown Heights Youth Collective. Which, by extension, means thanking Cheryl Sealey (she of PPEN and also Chair at the Collective). Which, by extension, means thanking every single person who reaches out to the kids of the neighborhood, with as little as a smile and a word of encouragement now and then.

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  • 11/06/14--19:42: MTOPP Over the Top
  • Wow.  The last 72 hours have seen a lot of zaniness on the escalating Alicia Boyd vs. CB9 front. Basically she nearly had an aneurism after Monday's reconvened CB mtg because there was supposed to be a community input session that was canceled because SUNY Downstate kicked us out. I for one was prepared to listen to another set of diatribes, but it wasn't to be.

    This did not sit well with Ms. Boyd, who began jumping up and down and screaming "police state," was one of the last to finally leave the building. The dozen or so cops didn't help...if anything it just fed her fury. But they were suitably restrained, mostly just looking the part. I commend Inspector Fitzgibbon for remaining in observation mode. One pissed MTOPPer actually threatened and pushed the a table into CB9 first vice-chair Laura Imperiale, as if she were about to lay down and brawl. Notably the assailant was yet another of Alicia's borrowed goons, who come from out of district to raise trouble.

    It's a lot of effort to go through to try to take down an all-volunteer board of decent and respected members of the community. As I've noted it can get a bit Keystone Cops on occasion, but a Community Board is hardly "the Man." It became clearer on Monday that these folks cut their teeth at Occupy Wall Street. Their tactics are better suited to taking on Corporate America than a bunch of retired teachers, middle class professionals, clergy and the like. It's really just bewildering to us, and the back and forth on the ol' email between board members basically adds up to a big WTF?

    In two parts, I'll share with you the latest. First the most recent missive, sent to everyone who will listen, explaining why this war is being waged...it's incredibly specific in betraying the very personal NIMBYism at the core of her battle. While she's won (and lost) a lot of followers by claiming to be champion of the little guy, you realize just how much her antics are in service to desires of the current gentry - the town house owning folks whose backyards abut Empire Boulevard. The Manor? I doubt they're as concerned about a few apartment buildings, given their neighborhood is protected from development. She claims, somewhat late in her diatribe, that Flatbush Avenue is somehow in peril too. Really? You don't say? Well sound the alarms! Someone should get on that...maybe if we put our heads together we could come up with a plan to DOWNzone it! Wouldn't that be splendid? I wonder where we could find some folks willing to put the time in on that. Oh and at minimum there will 40K-50K new people coming to the neighborhood. Minimum. Does she realize how outlandish is that number?

    The email is addressed to YOU, PLG and Manor, so you better give it a good read. I'll give you a copy of the lawsuit she just served the Board this afternoon in the next post. Taken together, you get the picture of a true original.

    From:"The Movement To Protect The People"<info@mtopp.org>
    Date: November 6, 2014 at 10:05:16 AM EST
    To:<"Undisclosed-Recipient:;"@gateway07.websitewelcome.com>
    Subject:Letter to PLG and Manor
    Dear PLG and The Manor:

    Have we forgotten that when 626 Flatbush was up for State Funding
    Eric Adams was the State Senator.

    Have we forgotten he is responsible for the current
    financial incentive of building in our community
    via the 421a tax breaks, that gave nothing back to the community!

    Have we forgotten that just before he became Borough President
    he was under investigation,
    he had no opponent despite this weakness
    and his loyalty is not to the people
    but to whomevereliminated his competition.

    And now he comes wanting us to support
    his campaign promises he made to those who placed him in office.

    Have we forgotten that just a few months ago
    he was outright lying about his ability to keep the heights to six stories
    or his statements of wanting  our residential community
    turned into a tourist one.

    Have we forgotten that 626 Flatbush Ave
    isn’t an affordable housing complex, it is a Luxury one,
    with a small component of  “affordable”,
    paid with complete tax paper’s money
    and that the current policy is still of this model!

    Have we forgotten that when we asked him to support
    our efforts to reduce 626 Flatbush Ave. height
    he hid behind the “as of right”,
    whereas other communities such as Windsor Terrace
    and Washington heights have had their representatives
    be successful at reducingas or rightheights.

    Now he comes to the same community wanting support,
    wanting you to disregard your neighbors’ homes,
    their investment, their community?

    Put yourself in Sullivan Place shoes. 
    People who have lived here all their lives,
    some born and raised,
    where their home is their only investment,
    now picture this beautifully sunny block forever in the shadows
    12 hours of sunlight gone!

    What about all the other homes boarding on Empire Blvd
    and who sit a few hundred feet away.
    The constant construction on Empire Blvd, pounding
    at these 100 year old homes, causing leaks, cracks,
    foundation issues, flooding,decreasing the value of their homes,
    setting them up for lawsuits that would be years in the making.

    What if that were your home? Your street?
    What would you be willing to do to stop it?

    Would you want your neighbor to say,
     it is okay to build 25-35 story building right up against your property
    lines in your backyard,
    Would you want them to do that to you?

    And what are you getting in return,
    promises from Politicians, developers! 
    Did they keep those promisesbefore?
     All those secret dealings that were suppose to produce results!
     What about all those promises made in public (stadium)
     did they keep those! No they did not!

    And what could they promise you that
    would allow you to turn your back on your neighbor,
     to turn this community into high-rises,
    crowded streets, traffic backed up for days,
    no parking, increase health risk for all!
    For the children for the elders. 

    We are talking about another 40-50 thousand people
    (and this is a modest estimate).
     What will you get in return?
    We all use the same trains, the same sewage,
     the same bus lines, the same streets. 

    City Planning doesn’t plan for that,
    they just plan for buildings. 
    They say, there is a train station one block away,
    this is a great place to build! 
    There is a bus line on this block,
    this is a great place to build! 
    This is right up against the park, the garden
    This is great place to build.

    And what about the Park, the Garden
    what about our unobstructed views
    that will forever be gone. 
    A whole Ave of 626 Flatbushs all up and down
    Washington Ave, Flatbush Ave. 

    Yes they can do it even there
    because when our Lawyer looked further
    Flatbush Ave corridor is not safe. 
    Check it out if you don’t believe me.

    Do we now trust our politicians
    who have never been there for us? 
    Do we now trust Developers?
    Do we now trust City Planning?
    Do we now turn our backs on our neighbors? 
    That is the question?
     
    Rescind the Resolution!
    No Residential on Empire Blvd!
     
    Alicia,
    www.mtopp.org
    (718) 703-3086

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  • 11/06/14--19:58: The Lawsuit
  • The below pretty much speaks for itself. I would add that CB9 will be represented by NYC Corporate Counsel, and while I'd like to say the lawsuit is a mere distraction, it's upped the stress level quite a bit, for Pearl and everyone else. I'm cautiously amused, but the real drag is that each allegation has an answer that could have been easily comprehended, if not appreciated, without the legalese and the wast of everyone's time and goodwill.

    Oh, and this 501c3 non-profit she's been using to raise legal fees? It's actually just her, an organization with a curiously non-MTOPP mission. It's called New Directions in Healing, and it's basically Ms. Boyd's show. Meaning she has sole discretion of how those tax-deductible funds are allocated. And then she has the huevos to serve the Board a lawsuit for impropriety. Using that money. Holy mackerel. From weird to weirderer.












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    Now that 123 on the Park is occupied, a strange war has brewed with the Post Office. It appears that they're not recognizing 123 Parkside as an actual address. Letter carriers are refusing to deliver mail if they're not addressed to 10 St. Paul's Court, the original address for the Caledonian Hospital. The poor folks (well, not THAT poor) living there must endure the worst possible humiliation - walking over to the Church Avenue post office at Bedford, which I can attest is just as annoying as the Empire Blvd station for 11225. On the other hand, they'll get a chance to see more of the neighborhood on their daily walk!

    The poltergeist of Caledonia lives on...

    I would also suggest that management at 123 stop using the below mailbox, positioned right next to the show-horse field.




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  • 11/07/14--09:02: Blog Training
  • People often ask how the Q does it. Blogging, fighting ignorance, channeling his inner child all the while shopping at the Gem and raising children, in that order. It takes discipline, and strength. That's why I make sure to take time out of every day for 100 reps of what I like to call Head Squats. Here's a picture of the Q just this morning at 5am:



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  • 11/08/14--05:13: Worth a Close Reading
  • The good folks at PPEN have provided a summary document of their goals for a Zoning Study. It could serve as a nice anecdote to some of the screech we've been hearing from other quarters. It's been warmly received at the Community Board as an example of another perspective from the resolution passed last March. It would therefore be entered into the discussion post-resolution that we should in fact be having right now. Since the Board has heard the concerns of MTOPP, and heard them, and heard them, safe to say we're glad to have something constructive to contemplate.

    Lest you think this is merely a formal reiteration of the Q's own perspective, I have some small issues with this document that I'll enumerate at a later time. For those who take the future of the neighborhood seriously, though, I'd encourage a thorough read. Much of this may find its way into any further discussions with City Planning, if we're lucky enough to be able to move forward.

    Here goes:

     



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  • 11/09/14--19:36: Let's Push Forward
  • The Q just wrote a letter to CB9 and I'm sharing it with you all because I'm sick and tired of sending private requests and tactical suggestions to the leadership and getting no response or action. For some reason, we've completely stopped discussing the issue of rezoning at the committee level. The ULURP comittee, supposedly led by the newly appointed Ben Edwards of the Lefferts Manor Association, would be the most relevant committee. For the life of me, I can't understand the lack of movement on the single most pressing issue before the Board. 

    I'm hoping that with as much pressure from Board members and the community as possible, something will finally emerge to vote on - either a reaffirmation of the Zoning Study request that was passed and sent in March or slight revisions to better articulate the Board's position. Without it, there's no reason for City Planning to proceed. All they see is the great big mess and loud and angry voices. We need to show that we are prepared as a community to go into the next stage of community input from a place of semi-consensus about the need for the study at this time. I repeat as I have many times before: the resolution needn't be perfect or final, but if we need to take some specific language out so be it. The most good we can probably hope for is more below-market housing components and height restrictions anyway. But at the very least, we'll get a decent assessment of what our current infrastructure can handle, and some smart choices about where the new building should happen, rather than the haphazard and out of context crap we're getting right now.

    To the Board Leadership:

    I notice that once again there is no scheduled committee meeting this month to take up the issue which has dominated much of our mental energy of late - namely the resolution passed last March and nearly rescinded in September. To all the new members of the Board, I feel you are due a full appraisal and accounting of what led up to the resolution and why it's imperative that we move forward now. I also believe that we need an opportunity, as many as possible, to hear all the facts, presented without hysteria, and to make up our own minds whether we want to go to City Planning with a final statement of support authorizing them to move forward.

    We are currently at a stalemate. Even though some of us had begun meeting over the spring and summer with Planning to discuss aspects of the rezoning Planning Study, such as where the boundaries should be, all of this ground to a halt when Alicia Boyd and her group started a campaign to rescind the motion in late August and September. Their efforts, aide by activists who live OUTSIDE the district, succeeded in shutting down the September CB9 meeting. Had that not happened, it's safe to assume that we would be now entering the public comment phase of the study, while city resources would be retained to begin the study in earnest. We are losing ground to neighborhood developers with each passing day. By not working on a reasonable response to the outrageous surge of new buildings and breakneck displacement, we're satisfying no one. And I believe, we're being weak and ineffectual.

    It is unfathomable to me that once again another month is to go by without a relevant committee meeting, since it's really only from committee that we should really be discussing and voting these things on the floor of the full Board meeting. It was a terrible tactical error to set aside the entire September meeting to public comment - that should've happened in committee - but since what's done is done can we please use the proper committee to reexamine our resolution, make whatever necessary changes, and send to the Board for a vote THIS MONTH? Please?

    Bed Edwards is chair of ULURP, and I implore him to call a meeting immediately. At the very least, a vote needs to be rescheduled to reaffirm our desire to move ahead - but to do that properly we're to meet in committee, not vote on a motion from the floor. Planning is waiting for such an action, and I call on the leadership to please make that happen.

    I've been told by the Chair that there are "a lot of things happening" that the Board knows nothing about. That's unacceptable. If there's a plan, or action is taking place, we need to know it. I'm asked all the time what the Board is doing and I have had no answer. At this very moment, I do have an answer for what the Board is doing. Nothing. Nothing at all.

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  • 11/10/14--11:57: A Tale Of Two Restaurants
  • Hard to believe just two years ago you couldn't get a decent cup of coffee, glass of wine or bistro burger around here. Now, you can spend ALL of your discretionary bourgie dollars right here in Lefferts!

    PLGourmand comes up with yet another upbeat review of the two newest entries in the entree department. I'm so glad it's you Debra Kirschner and not me doing these reviews. I'm way too sarcastic and snarky, even though both these jointz are A Okay in my book. And by the way, the Q's "book" is primarily written in pink scribble scrabble by my two little girls, so it's not like I get out a lot at night anyway. Take it away Debra!




    Spotlight on Bluebird Food and Spirits

    This terrific addition to the neighborhood, brought to you by the owners
    of Lincoln Park Tavern, specializes in comfort food in a comfy atmosphere. In one fickle fall week, I experienced dinner on a cold rainy night by the fireplace and brunch on a warm, sunny day in the spacious backyard.
    Too Pool for School

    Bar, Bar, Baby

    Backyard, Baby
    Bluebird is way bigger than it looks. First, you walk into what feels like the most awesome rec room in somebody’s tricked out lakehouse – with a pool table and TV’s and benches and firewood stacked against the wall. Next, walk through this room to get to a cozy dining area with a warm fireplace and romantic lighting where you can sit on comfy banquets by candlelight. Alongside is a full bar that somehow feels vintage, clean and modern all at once. Through the dining room is a spacious backyard adjacent to the B/Q tracks, much prettier than that description makes it sound. And speaking of sound – the train noises are surprisingly not distracting. What little you do hear kind of adds to the cool.

    Brisket, Baby
     The seasonal dinner menu includes Chicken Pot Pie, Brisket Sandwich with Cole Slaw, Pineapple Chicken Wings, Pork and Shrimp Dumplings, Picnic Burger and more. I enjoyed the Brisket Sandwich, which is topped with banana mustard and fresh pickles – on a delicious soft roll, which soaks in all of these wonderful flavors perfectly. I absolutely loved every bite and I’m mentally calculating my next free evening so I can go get it again! I also tried the chicken wings, which were juicy and fresh and easy to eat with a nice Asian flavor. Bluebird serves home made desserts that include a pie of the day. I am looking forward to this as a late night dessert venue – something this neighborhood has so far been lacking, as all the delicious bakery/cafes around here seem to be closed by 8pm or earlier. After rushing around in the rain, dinner here made us feel warm and welcome – almost too comfy like we never wanted to leave.

    Brunch, Brunch, Baby
    The following Saturday, brunch outside in the warm sun was energizing as we ran into smiling neighbors who all had the same idea. The brunch menu was fun to read… beginning with Brioche French Toast and including a Five Herb Omelet, Roasted Asparagus with Eggs and Truffle Oil and Fancy Grilled Cheese. I have to admit, I love the word fancy. Somehow it always seems ironic to me. I always want to say it in either a cockney accent or a Marisa-Tomei-in-My-Cousin-Vinny cadence… That said – the description did make it sound special – including apples and relish – and when I saw it delivered on the table next to us it looked stunning – with bread tilted sideways like a cheeky beret. I opted for the Brioche French Toast because no matter how wonderful the other offerings sounded I couldn’t get my mind off Brioche French Toast – which is how I knew it was The One. On the bottom of the brunch menu, it says, “No toast. Really, no toast.” I’m not sure what point that’s trying to make but for some reason it made me defensive. But I got over it when my Brioche French Toast arrived (a type of toast, no?) and was tender and sweet and flavorful and warm and perfect. Dreaming about getting back there to order that again too… plus try other things. There are fresh breakfast meats to order on the side – including a homemade sausage my husband loved.

    So my two autumnal experiences were quite different but equally terrific and I cannot wait to keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to try Bluebird when it first opened, but heard tell of summer style barbecue in the backyard. This will surely be a place to visit in all four seasons – day and night – with a full bar that includes a nice beer and wine selection.

    Bluebird Wine and Spirits is located at 504 Flatbush Ave at Lefferts (between Lincoln and Ocean near the subway). They are open noon-11pm on weekends, 5pm-11pm on weekdays. I highly recommend checking this place out – rain or shine!
     



    Spotlight on Midwood Flats

    It’s here – our first official Gastropub!  This trend of casual bars that serve high-end imaginative cuisine alongside varieties of craft beers and select local whiskeys has hit PLG in the form of Midwood Flats.

    It felt like the neighborhood buzzed about Midwood Flats for months before it opened. As we watched the gorgeous dark wood corner pub with old school signage (calling the neighborhood Flatbush, Brooklyn, USA) and large windows (which some of us repeatedly peeked into…) being built, all we knew was that it was being opened by restaurateur Kal Narvilas who had huge recent success with Cent’Anni in Crown Heights and that it was going to serve lobster rolls.

    Open a little more than a month, the happily non-hipster vibe seems to draw in a diverse crowd and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. And, as promised, they serve two varieties of lobster rolls, a traditional New England style Lobster Roll, in their signature aioli on a potato roll, as well as their “Lobster Roll Nouveaux,” with avocado and Japanese togarashi pepper on a pretzel roll. I opted for the “Nouveaux” and it was delicious, light and flavorful with enough spice to keep it interesting. The waitress warned me that pepper was super hot – I found it tasty but not alarmingly hot at all – so I say don’t let them scare you! And the pretzel roll compliments these flavors perfectly.
    Potato Skins served with a side of Plate Space (snark by Q)

    The menu also includes Short Rib Sliders, Duck Torta, Pressed Chicken and a Seasonal Vegetable Sandwich with quinoa falafel – which shows that they are open to feedback because an early criticism of this joint was no vegetarian options… and now there are at least three (counting appetizers). While everything I tasted was delicious, for me the superstar was their incredibly delicious burger… so juicy the bun barely holds together, made from fresh angus beef with savory onion frites on top. While there are no traditional sides here – no French fries takes getting used to, at least for me – their “share” section includes fun appetizers like stuffed artichoke, loaded potato croquettes and a chip and dip plate – where the chips are actually baked slices of their yummy pretzel rolls and the dips include hummus and a balsamic tapenade… wonderfully crunchy and creamy mix of textures. If you prefer more of a restaurant atmosphere than a bar – come early. Around 7pm everyone in there is eating, even at the bar, with liquor on the side. Later in the evening, it is all about the drinking… and the delicious food is secondary for sure.

    Bistro Burger, Baby
    There’s a crowd every night. The bar boasts locally distilled scotches and whiskeys, a giant list of bourbons, an impressive craft beer list, and a non-traditional selection of delicious wines. They have a full bar and will make any cocktail you can think of – though there is no specialty cocktail menu yet. You can opt for their “Midwood Flight” deal and taste any three whiskeys for half price, 1 oz pours. And there are happy hour specials between 5pm and 7pm.

    Despite the casual atmosphere, every dish tastes extravagant! Nothing is that expensive, but it is one of those places where you can easily keep ordering small plates and drinks without noticing your tab going up, up, up so be careful!
    Lobster Roll, Baby

    As to whether Midwood Flats represents the old Brooklyn of Flatbush, USA as is carved over the bar, or the new trendy so-called “Brownstone Brooklyn” as is reflected by all things artisanal and locally grown –I’d say its more of the latter… Even so, Midwood Flats is friendly and unpretentious and the food is delicious so I say give it a shot. Or order a shot…

    Midwood Flats is located (appropriately) at the corner of Midwood and Flatbush, at 577 Flatbush Ave. They are open every day from 5pm until some wee hour of the evening, long after I’m asleep.

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