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    Is that poo wearing glasses?

    Courtesy of Paul G, get your bumper stickers here.

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  • 11/25/14--20:41: Taking the Bulb By the Horns
  • Sunday was spectacular along the X/Y axes, X being Parkside and Y being Ocean. Two of the neighborhood's biggest stars of beautification - Rudy Delson and Amy Musick - led throngs of sweaty masses through the process of bulb planting. And to sweeten the pot, the Parkside Committee set up a model plaza to show off what might soon be, once In Cho's design with DOT takes off next Spring. Oh, and a library too, right out there on the Plaza? Believe it.

    Musick on Ocean

    Bulbs Don't Plant Themselves, Now Do They?
    How Nutty To See Actual Hanging Out Happening Here
    The Pop-Up Library Caught Many By Surprise
    By the way to find out more about the Uni Reading Room project, here's the jump. And there's still a bit of time to donate to the Parkside Paradise Plaza Project.

    Lastly, I believe I'd mentioned that Rudy managed to raise some discretionary money from Mathieu "Can Do" Eugene. $4,000 I think. Thing was, it had to be given to a 501c3 non-profit. No problem! Mathieu was comfortable giving it to the fledgling Friends of CB9 group that I thought I was a part of; heck I even payed $50 to keep it afloat right when it got off the ground. Seems the current CB9 leadership doesn't want me involved, so I'm outa there, and the door didn't hit me as I left, letting them know my displeasure. Shame, because in yet another realm they have no idea what they're doing and need to ask for assistance. I tried to make the case not to have the Board of the 501c3 be the same as the elected Executive Committee of the Board, since those positions can change every year and you want some consistency on the TOTALLY SEPARATE entity that's set up to raise money for community projects. Did it bother the Q that his advice, after years in non-profit management, and his offer to volunteer his time were brushed aside? Oh yeah. When it comes to people being petty and stubborn about losing their control over their tiny fiefdoms I have no tolerance. Poor Rudy, I left him to fend for himself, but he's a lawyer and clearly knows how to get stuff done. But see, heroes like Delson don't let this stuff get to them. They doggedly pursue their goals, and never betray any frustration. That's the mark of a true leader. Me, all I can do it huff, puff, blog and sigh. Maybe there's a reason for it all, but I can't yet see it. The hitch is that Friends Of needs nearly $2,000 to get the insurance that will allow them to accept the City's money. Good luck guys. You're gonna need it.

    Those tidbits matter not in the big picture. One day, we'll look back and note that 2014 was the year that the neighborhood started to look prettier, even while right under the surface the waters roiled and the sharks swarmed. As Amy noted, maybe best to focus on the things we can all enjoy. Even the wee ones can enjoy a good bulb planting now and then.

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    While poor Pearl Miles continues to bear the brunt of Alicia Boyd's malice, MTOPP is turning some of its legal energy to the real bear...scandalously unscrupulous landlords. Let's hope this is the beginning of MTOPP's alliance with the Flatbush Tenants Coalition and the Crown Heights Tenants Union, two groups who have actually hit the road with the rubber to bring real justice to real people.

    If they have success helping even one unfairly targeted family stay in their homes, they will have been heroes in the Q's book (of heroes, I guess, which I'll be publishing right here, and probably won't actually look like a book, but whatever.) The other lawsuits they've leveled against the Community Board are frivolous and dangerous to the notion of community involvement in zoning. Let's hope the pivot becomes more than a passing fancy. Racist landlords are the real enemy, not your neighbors who just happen to disagree with you on how best to address the already-coming development with a bit more restraint and intelligence.

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    From Rudy and In and Duane and Sonya and Blaise and...actually the list is much too long to write in the 2 minutes I have between bedtimes, but here's a note from Rudy, asking for a little gift in the run-up to "Giving Tuesday," a particularly galling answer to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Please Just Get It Over With And Kill Me Now Sunday.

    Hi, everyone,
    On Tuesday night, we'll be calling a close to our fundraiser.  If there is anyone who you have asked to give, and who you've been meaning to remind, now is the time!  The link is here:

    The video alone is here:

    Parkside Paradise from Thorsten Thielow on Vimeo.

    If anyone has any doubts about how great the plaza will look next spring, you can send them photos form our daffodil planting:
    But, as of now, we've raised $6000.  I know there are a few thousand more dollars out there for the asking, and I know we're going to need the money once the plaza gets built.  So make those last asks, and let's see how much more we can raise:

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    As I was reading the recent Brownstoner post on MTOPP, I couldn't help digging up a personal email Alicia Boyd - the founder, leader and "heart" and soul of the movement - sent to me back in August. In it she wrote, in her strange verse stylings:

    Again (Tim) your racism shows loud and clear and everyone
    who reads your blogs sees it and it seems that someone
    hasn't liked your position or your intention to do your best
    to remove the people of color out of our community.
    Let it be clear, we will protect Empire Blvd.
    We will continue to expose those who's intentions are to harm
    the people of this community.
    My message is clear,
    no residential on Empire Blvd
    Downzone Empire Blvd.
    Maybe just the hysterical rhetoric of the moment? Hardly. Alicia has repeated often and loudly that the rezoning study requested by CB9 - hardly an inflammatory document in and of itself - was corrupt, racist, illegal and pro-gentrification. I've maintained here that it was none of those, crafted as it was in cooperation with the community. (Download Docs from CB9's homepage.) At one share session, it was suggested that residential along Empire Blvd would be good for the neighborhood. I believe I even added that it would help end the "dividing line" aspect of Empire, making the Medgar Evers part of the 'hood feel more like "ours" too. Crown-Lefferts! As a result of this, and what we'd learned about the Mayor's affordable housing goals, and the CB's longstanding requests for more affordable housing, we hoped to start a dialogue about encouraging the development of 80/20, 70/30 or 50/30/20 housing - which in turn meant increased density (read: more people, maybe a couple thousand tops).Remember, this was just to start the conversation. The resolution was essentially a starting point, and we fully expected many changes and discussions along the way towards an actual rezoning. None of the MTOPP folks came to any of those early meetings, or if they did, they were silent. Only after the resolution passed did they start to agitate.
    And agitate they did. CB9 did itself no favors by flubbing a vote to rescind the resolution, on a motion that came out of the blue by board member Fred Baptiste. In the end...who cares besides the lawyers? We're still where we were a year ago. No study is being conducted, and the threat of more 626 Flatbush 23-story buildings persists. A massive hotel could go up on or near Empire Blvd. And persistent development during this particular edition of Brooklyn Real Estate Madness means whatever happens now is what we have to live with for...I dunno, another 50 years at least? If I'm lucky, I'll live for 30 of that. In fact, looking at that number I'm starting to wonder if I should care at all. About anything other than my colon!
    The lawsuits against CB9 and its district manager Pearl Miles continue to distract. Pearl ain't going anywhere til she decides to retire, and anyone who knows her knows she's one tough cookie. NYC corporate counsel doesn't seem to think the lawsuits are anything but frivolous, not LEAST because the role of the Community Board is advisory. In other words, if we work WITH City Planning we can have a role. But if we fight them, it's not likely we'll end up with anything more than bruised knuckles.
    And Eric Adams, the Devil Incarnate according to Boyd? He said, for the umpteenth time at a Washington Ave Block Association meeting that he is for five or six story buildings ONLY. He's not for towers on Empire. Where did that crap start anyway? He wants new businesses and apartments, some affordable according to the current AMI, probably topping out at 60% AMI. So yeah, affordable. Not to the super poor, but affordable to families making $30K to $50K. It's a drop in the bucket, we all know. But the real fight for affordability has nothing to do with zoning. It's about fighting unscrupulous landlords.
    Here's what Brownstoner learned from its interview with MTOPP. Note that even the mighty B-Stoner's Cate Corcoran has trouble sorting out fact from fiction:
    “The resolution called for increased residential and retail density on commercial and transit corridors, putting 101 blocks of the study area (half of our district) on the table for upzoning,” MTOPP member Elizabeth Mackin told us. “Our community has repeatedly called for contextual zoning and downzoning. This was not reflected in the resolution at all.”
    In fact, the resolution did call for zoning to preserve the “existing character of the neighborhood,” specifically to “prevent/limit of context i.e. high-rise development in the R7-1 zoned areas of the district.” But, as Mackin said, it also called for increased density and “contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corridors, including Empire Boulevard.” (You can read the whole thing on Community Board 9′s website.) In the past, MTOPP’s Alicia Boyd told us MTOPP opposes any rezoning of Empire Boulevard. The street, pictured above, is zoned for commercial only, so land values and development so far have not become heated as they have in other parts of the borough.

    “MTOPP maintains that a large scale upzoning of our community will invite rapid development of luxury residential housing that will, in turn, cause massive direct and indirect displacement, as we have seen in Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn and Park Slope’s 4th Avenue,” Mackin continued.

    She added, “MTOPP is also not anti-development or anti-gentrification,” which confused us — we thought they were anti-gentrification. “MTOPP is fighting to preserve the affordable rental housing in Community District 9, almost 94 percent of which is rent-stabilized or otherwise subsidized,” she said.

    Meanwhile, the group is allegedly considering a lawsuit to remove current members of Community Board 9 on the grounds of fraud or incompetence concerning the miscount of the vote to rescind the resolution calling for a zoning study, according to published reports. We asked, but MTOPP did not say anything about its plans.
    Not Anti-Development? Not Anti-Gentrification? Really? So this is just a dialogue over the removal of the words"increased density along transit corridors?"
    Okay. I guess that's a start. Remove those words from the resolution and you stop disrupting the process? Fair enough. I don't think we'd have a problem with that in committee. date, there's been no ULURP committee meeting scheduled, for fear of another disaster I guess. After months of pleading by yours truly, we still don't have a way forward. And maybe in the end that's what Alicia and company REALLY want. Elizabeth Mackin, who's clearly become something of the kinder-gentler spokesperson, just bought her (now) million dollar home last year for $840K according to the Google. She's been here for...that's right...ONE year. I find it telling that so many of the people leading the MTOPP fight are single family home owners. While claiming the fight of low-income renters, they just so happen to be protecting their perceived quality-of-life, which they believe (perhaps yes, perhaps no) would take a turn for the worse with a residential rezoning of Empire. Please...just be honest here folks.
    I guess the one thing I've learned from the whole thing is that when white and black folks disagree, it's tantalizingly easy to grab the term "racist" to claim the moral high ground. I'm not naive enough to be surprised, but I'm pretty saddened that discourse can't happen about how best to move forward via a consensus without the ugly rhetoric.
    In it for the long haul,

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  • 12/02/14--20:05: On My Soap Box - About Soap
  • It's easy to SAY Shop Local. We all get local businesses. But I recently got an email from a local entrepreneur that made me realize just how much creative energy people put into their businesses, and how worthy it is to support them...especially when they're our neighbors. More on her in a minute...

    The Q will do one of his Shop Local posts soon and remind you just how many extraordinary options there are around here to buy gifts. Like the homemade hats and scarfs at Final Toush Accessories at 1129 Washington (tween Lefferts and Lincoln). Or the outrageous collection of worldwide goodies at Tafari Tribe. And everytime the Q grabs a gift at Play Kids I feel good that in a small way I'm helping to support Shelley and Carl's lovely family. And yes, it really does help to see and touch the things you're buying. Amazon is convenient...but it's cold. And the more you read about them, the more you may concede that it's just Wal Mart with "free" two-day shipping (with Prime, which when you think about it is not such an amazing deal after gets you to buy EVERYthing from them). Shopping local means creating a vibrant neighborhood, with cleaner streets and less crime. Strong businesses mean stronger merchant's associations, which in turn create greater civic involvement and coordination between the City, the Community Board and the citizenry. Oh, and the people. So many of them live right here or nearby. It's about supporting real people, not just behemoth bottom lines. And much of that profit lines the pockets of those with the most. But let's not get into that tit for tat on the merits of capitalism.

    And so I'm more than happy to suggest this simple and elegant gift for a loved one.

    That's right, folks. Natural handmade soap, crafted by a Lefferts neighbor named Shiuan Butler. The Taiwan native moved to the U.S. at the tender age of 6, and is now captivating thin-skinned Brooklynites with her skin-loving Savo Soap. Just check out the ingredients and fragrances here and you'll be ordering a gift set before the first night of Hanukkah. (Why the second K? Because you Kare.)

    If you're an entrepreneur or shopkeep who'd like a plug on this humble blog, just shoot me a note like Shiuan did. I found out a lot about her as well...her tough start in life, a detour to Honolulu, and her new life in Brooklyn as a soap-making feminist. That's right. She wears the term proudly, just like most of the ladies I went to college with. It never seemed odd to me then, but I rarely hear the term anymore. I thought I'd share that and the fact that she wrote a book called Manifesto For Young Asian Women. Beat THAT, white dude.

    From Simone de Beauvoir to Soap for le Salle de Bain, you can get it all from neighbor Shiuan Butler. All you gots to do is click. Though I'm pretty sure she doesn't offer two-day shipping, you could probably just go pick it up.

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  • 11/11/14--20:35: Classic Eugene

  • Before heading to bed, the Q flipped over to the Ditmas Park Corner Blog and read the notes from the Community Board 14 meeting as presented by the Corner's Anna Gustafson. The following paragraph is such classic Mathieu "Inside the Flag" Eugene that I burst out sob/laughing. Oh, if you didn't already know, he's YOUR councilman too if you're south of Empire Blvd.

    Neighbors encouraged Councilman Mathieu Eugene  to become involved in the city’s participatory budgeting process, which allows constituents to directly vote on projects they’d like to see funded in their area. Residents Johanna Clearfield and William Cerf spoke to Eugene following his formal presentation during the meeting and encouraged him to get involved in participatory budgeting, which such area lawmakers as Councilman Jumaane Williams and Councilman Brad Lander have done but Eugene has not. Johanna reported that during the discussion with the legislator, he asked her if she knew how many city Council members there are and then pointed out that, of the 51 members, only about 20 are participating. “But, that doesn’t answer my question,” Johanna told Eugene. “I am asking if we can have it in our district.” The lawmaker said, according to Johanna, that having participatory budgeting in the district wouldn’t make a difference, saying that “we are all the same. We all work together. I save hospitals from closing down.” The neighbor reported Eugene went on to say that whether there is participatory budgeting or not, anyone can look into how he is spending tax dollars. “Again, I tried to explain the difference between ‘transparency’ (which is certainly important) vs. a constituent being able to impact where and how the money is allocated,” Johanna wrote to us. We have also reached out to Eugene about participatory budgeting.

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  • 12/04/14--09:19: Eric Garner R.I.P.
  • The Q has a lot of pent-up things to say about the manner in which the State is apparently well within its rights to take human life - the ultimate authority to kill someone who has not been convicted of ANYthing. A firefighter is expected to save people equally, and generally they do the heroic task, putting their own life behind others. A police officer must go into every situation with the primary objective of preserving human life and dignity with just the same perspective. No one wants to see a police officer shot or killed. But at the same time, when they put on that uniform, they should be expected to take every precaution not to play the role of judge, jury and executioner. Like with firefighters, the age, race, gender, orientation, religion should NEVER, EVER be a factor. Or we've failed to adequately prepare them for the gig. Or, more to the point, we've failed to recognize just how pathetic is our progress towards racial and cultural understanding. That this happened in NYC, albeit Statentucky, makes it all the more sad. Eric Garner posed no risk to anyone. He's dead. Who's next?

    Jon Stewart said it all better than I ever could. Here's his piece:

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  • 12/04/14--09:30: 274-280 Hawthorne
  • So. This. Is. Nuts.

    Those Feddersy buildings that went up on Hawthorne, near Nostrand, for more than $1.5 million? The Q wrote about them less than a month ago.

    They're all in contract. That's right. Sold.

    They couldn't sell those Fedders townhouses on Parkside at Bedford for $550K just five years ago. Now this? If this doesn't embolden developers to tear down every wood-frame house in the nabe, my name ain't Clarkson FlatBed.

    When will the madness end? For those who think "zoning" is the battle for the soul of the neighborhood, I give you Exhibit A-Z. We have entered the Twilight Zone, and from here, there is no map. Not even on the Google.


    I don't know the actual facts, ma'am. But all over Brooklyn foreign investors are buying up townhomes. Why? Simple. It's considered an excellent place to park money, as it's hard to find decent returns in other markets (well, other than insane stock markets like ours). So, buy a bunch of houses in a hot market like Brooklyn, then rent them out at the sky high rents that people are getting. You'll pay the crazy low property taxes in a couple months, and the rest is pure cash flow. Use that to buy more stuff. If you paid cash, then you can get out at anytime by selling, hopefully at a significant profit. See where this is going?

    If a scare happens...and there are many scenarios that qualify...everyone tries to get out at once. The rest, as they say, is history. Or rather, historical.

    Then again, it's always possible that there is a seemingly endless supply of families able to pay upwards of $2 million dollars for a home, and are willing to live in less-that-snazzy neighborhoods. My considerable gut says otherwise.

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  • 12/05/14--12:29: Councilman or
  • Maybe the Q is just being pissy...but I've been getting these big deal press releases from our Councilman about single jobs available at the renovated Kings Loews down on Flatbush. I get that he wants to take credit for the renovation, that was really Marty Markowitz's baby that he happened to allocate money to. But now he wants to seem like a job creator by postings for individual positions. The last one was for an administrative assistant. Now this:

    With so much going on in this City, I'm honestly disheartened to be represented so poorly in NYC's legislative body. As I've said many times, I bear no grudge against the man personally. But wow, talk about fitting the cheap suit and that's about all.

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  • 12/06/14--19:39: Toy Drive at MangoSeed
  • When MangoSeed opened a few years ago, the ma & pa Q checked it out for brunch. Little could we have known that the humble sit-down eatery would become such a mainstay of Flabenue dine 'n' drinkdom.

    One way you can know that they've "arrived" is that they're getting down to the business of giving back. This year they're running a toy drive, and it's not just the regulars who are being asked to give. I've gotten to know some of the kids who'll be receiving gifts this year, since many of the recipients will be from a homeless shelter just around the corner from the restaurant. 

    From the 'Seed:

    "This holiday season, MangoSeed Restaurant will be hosting a toy drive to benefit children living in homeless shelters in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens & Flatbush Brooklyn. We are asking for contributions of new, unwrapped toys to distribute to children of all ages. The holidays can be difficult for our neighbors living in shelters, especially those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy. One gift can mean the world to a child who would otherwise do without. Help us help those less fortunate.

    Receive 5% off of your entire bill at MangoSeed Restaurant with each donation!

    Support local Business! You can find some great gifts right in the neighborhood at PlayKids, an awesome toy & book store, located on the corner of Flatbush ave & Westbury Ct.

    Drop Off Location:
    MangoSeed Restaurant
    Tuesday – Sunday
    During Open Hours of Operation

    As to the issue of imbibing, they add:

    We also have just launched a new 2-4-1 happy hour and a new seasonal cocktail list using house made syrups from seasonal fruits and herbs. 

    Our happy hour is Tuesday-Thursday 4pm-7pm& 10pm-12am, Fridays 4-7pm, and Saturdays 2pm-5pm....

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     As the Q has oft said, the real work of keeping Brooklyn affordable is being played out in the trenches - one building at a time - organizing tenants to know their rights and use the system to fight greedy, unscrupulous landlords. Around here, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, led by Aga Trojniak, is one of the groups leading the charge. Support them today in Ditmas, or if your Sunday is booked, please donate here.
    Join Seth Borgos, Steve Kest, Bertha Lewis, and Matt Ryan for a drink at Bar Chord this Sunday to support the Flatbush Tenant Coalition and help preserve affordable housing in south Brooklyn!  

    Sunday, Dec. 7th
    3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
    Bar Chord
    1008 Cortelyou Rd (between Stratford Rd. & Coney Island Ave.)
    Brooklyn, NY
    (Take the Q train to Cortelyou Station, walk 4 blocks west)

    Reply to this email to RSVP.  If you can't make it, donate here

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  • 12/08/14--06:43: Revised Resolution
  • Since the Chair of CB9 is unwilling to call a committee meeting to discuss the (now) rescinded resolution to City Planning, I took another look at it and realized that with a few tweaks it should be good to go. It's not a legally binding document, nor is it the end of the process. As I've said all along, it's big ol' red herring, or rather albatross hanging around our necks. To take it back to committee is an insult to the good work that was done to get it overwhelmingly passed at last year's CB9 mtg in March. Now that the new members of the Board have been able to digest what it's about, they should not hesitate to support it. We shall see!

    Why present it as a motion? Because every Board member will (or rather should) be there, and we can hash it out right there. If people have a problem with it, they can let me know and I'll consider a friendly amendment. Anything reasonable will be accepted. Specific demands about specific blocks or zoning categories will not - this document is best left open. Committee meetings tend to have severely lower attendance, and an issue this important should be considered with as many folks as possible. Thus, the motion.

    That's my story. I'm sticking to it. MTOPP is once again planning on being a disruptive force. Alicia's asked her supporters to speak at the meeting, but the rule is that you can only speak to an agenda item in the public session. The agenda items aren't on zoning. The motion I'll present will happen in the business session, which the public may attend, but speaking on the floor is limited to CB9 members.

    Here 'tis:

    Community Board 9
    890 Nostrand Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11225

    Resolution from Community Board 9
    Calling Upon the NYC Dept of City Planning
    To Immediately Begin A Study of Community District 9, Brooklyn
    Focusing on the Specific Issues Raised at the Listening Forum Held On March 17th 2014

    Whereas Community District 9 is comprised of the distinct neighborhoods of South Crown Heights, northern parts of Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Wingate, and is bordered by the historic landmarks of Prospect Park and Eastern Parkway; and

    Whereas Community District 9 boasts such prestigious cultural institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Public Library; and such notable medical institutions as Kings County Hospital Center, a number one Trauma Center; SUNY Health Science Center, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center; and the educational institution Medgar Evers College of the State University of NY; and

    Whereas Community District 9 is a uniqyue blend of people of American, AFRICAN, Caribbean, European, Asian and Hispanic descent; and families have thrived in Community District 9 for generations living along our tree lined streets and enjoying the beauty and nuances of the neighborhoods; and

    Whereas the existing zoning designations and prevailing land uses does not provide nor address all of the needs of the community; and

    Whereas Community Board 9 held a forum at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Monday, March 17th 2014 and in subsequent meetings in the community where residents of the community expressed various concerns; a summary of which is as follows:

    1) Preserve the existing character of the neighborhood
                  - Prevent/limit out of context (i.e. high-rise) development in the R7-1 zonedALLareas of the district
                  - Make provision for incremental expansion of homes in R2 and R4 districts

    2) Adjust current zoning designations to conform to prevailing uses and densities
                  - Residential zoning designations mapped in Community District 9 often do not match the type of housing that exists

    3) Create opportunities for affordable housing development
                  - Make every provision to protect residents from displacement (e.g. anti-harassment areas/measures

    4) Increase residential and retail density along transit and commercial corridors
                  - Allow contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corrdiors including Empire Boulevard

    4) Consider the appropriate blocks and lots on which modest increased residential density can be accommodated, provided that adequate restrictions on height are observed - six stories or 70 feet should be the maximum - and all efforts are made to maximize affordable housing options while staying within the above contextual height limits.

    5) Ensure that new development does not overwhelm existing infrastructure
                  - Address parking shortages in congested areas
                  - Address the need for improved sewer and water capacity
                  - Address the need for adequate schools
                  - Address the need for adequate transportation, both public transit and vehicular traffic

    Be it Therefore Resolvedthat NYC community Board 9, Brooklyn, calls upon the NYC Department of City Planning to immediately begin a study of this district to address the issues raised in the foregoing summary; and

    Be It Further Resolved that Community Board 9 calls on the Department of City Planning to implement a text change for the institution of special height and setback regulations in R701 areas in Community District 9, pursuant to the Quality Housing Program; and

    Be It Further Resolved that Community Board 9 stands ready to work with the Department of City Planning to spearhead public hearings to gather additional input from the community as we seek to address the critical concerns express by the constituency.

    Adopted this 9th day of December, 2014
    Community Board 9, Brooklyn

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  • 12/09/14--13:32: Why It Matters
  • Mike over at Brooklynian sent me the following advert, showing how you can buy up two modest houses and turn them into a slender Rapunzel building. And it's why we need to move quickly to help stem the madness. It might already be too late to change R7-1 areas in time, but hey, you gotta try, right?

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  • 12/09/14--19:31: You Win Some...
  • Chairman Dwayne Nicholson put on his fighting gloves tonight! There he was screaming at us all to behave...or else! Then out of nowhere, once again, it's Fred Baptiste, stage left, bounding to the podium to move that the Q's motion be disallowed! The officials huddled, and the Q pleaded, but to no avail. The forces that would prefer to wait til 2015 to decide whether to move forward won out. Citing "process," a dubious consideration given that no action has taken place in months, the Board decided it would prefer to deliberate in committee, where, I'm quite certain, it will come to basically the same resolution it could have debated and voted on tonight.'s even going to be the SAME people at the committee meeting! Us!!! What are you waiting for? Sheesh.

    But let's be clear. The Q is not particularly well liked by the Board. And tonight I was even threatened publicly with removal for even daring to question the wisdom of the Chair by presenting a motion at all. Apparently I'll be called before a tribunal and they, with the Borough President, will remove me. Come and get me ye rascals!

    It's crazy y'all. Were any of you involved in student government? It's kind of like that. But rather than soap in the dispensers and when to hold the Prom we're discussing issues of substance, like what our neighborhood will look like as the entire borough goes through the greatest upheaval since the era of Robert Moses.

    But I'm not a sore loser. I actually quite like that the Chair said on record that he would hold both a training and a ULURP meeting in January. I'll believe it when I see it. Hey even Ben Edwards (where you been all these months Ben?) claimed he'll hold the meeting in January.

    Not like anyone's gonna be watching to keep y'all honest, winky wink.

    Score yet another victory for the spoilsports MTOPP. They've really done a number on everyone.

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    It's really not a lot of dough. Barely more than $2,000, and Kwenci Jones can complete and protect the beautiful jungle mural at the Q/B/S Prospect Park station on Flatbush.

    Kwenci came before the Community Board last night and asked if there was something wrong with the mural that people don't want to give. It broke my heart, because pretty much every kid in the neighborhood loves this mural. Heck I love it. Do any of you remember what an ugly disaster that wall was before his work? This thing is iconic!

    In the spirit of the season, please consider a gift of any size. It'll mean a lot to this artist, a former Marine who has dedicated much of his life to guiding young folks in the right direction, in collaboration with Richard Greene from the Crown Heights Youth Collective.

    Thx in advance for giving!


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  • 12/10/14--19:20: Shop Local This Weekend
  • Before you fall into a shame spiral on the eve of Dec. 24 while shopping at the Barnes & Noble in whatever town you're in for Christmas because you were too lazy to walk a couple blocks from your house and pick out something unique (wait, am I writing that to you or to me?), why not get your flatboosh out the door and up the block to the first ever Shop Local campaign on our very own Main Street. And while Thornton Wilder probably didn't have the Flabenue in mind while conjuring Grover's Corners, it is, after all, Our Town. The following phun thangs are happening, like note the trolley going from Nostrand and back, I kid you not.

    Event Hours 7pm - 9pm
    Brooklyn Reed Saxophone Quartet at the Inkwell

    Event Hours 12pm - 8:30pm
    Flatbush Ave Welcome/Event Table, in front of Play Kids
    • Free Hot Chocolate
    • Free Refreshments
    • Shop Local store listings
    • Shop Local punch cards
    • Volunteers to answer questions/encourage local shopping
    3:30pm - 5:30pm Free face painting (location TBD)
    5:30pm Trolley arrives at Play Kids
    5:30pm - 8:30pm Free Trolley Rides from Flatbush to Nostrand (vice-versa)
    5:45pm Press Conference 

    Event Hours 12pm - 5pm
    Flatbush Ave Welcome/Event Table, in front of Play Kids
    • Free Hot Chocolate
    • Free Refreshments
    • Shop Local store listings
    • Shop Local punch cards
    • Volunteers to answer questions/encourage local shopping
    1pm Trolley Arrives
    1pm - 4pm Free Trolley Rides
    2pm - 4pm Free Face Painting (location TBD)
    7pm Intersections (performance/conversation) at the Inkwell

    And Play Kids itself has all kind of free stuff happening all week long for you and the wee ones:

    10am Creative Movement with Shirel, ages 2 - 5 years, FREE
    11am Mom & Baby Yoga. All Ages & Skill Levels welcome, $10/adult. email to RSVP.
    12pm Author, Melanie Hope Greenberg will be here to read her book "Mermaids on Parade". Autographed books will be for sale.
    1:30pm - 3:30pm Paper Wreath Making with Danielle from Brooklyn Doodles. FREE. All Ages. 

    1pm - 2pm Christmas Crafts with Ms. Jennifer. Ages 3 - 10 years. $10/child. RSVP to

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    Not only can you shop local, you can get deep discounts and assorted goodies. Hot chocolate? Tea? 50% off fabric? 20% off lingerie?

    Come to think of it, if you take 20% off lingerie, you're pretty much naked.

    Special Offers:
    Blessings Herbs & Coffee - 663 Flatbush Ave
    Free herbal tea w/any purchase between 2pm-7pm

    Bikram Yoga Park Slope - 507 Flatbush Ave
    One hour special on a series of postures adjustment and Q & A

    Delroy’s Café & Wine Bar - 65-67A Fenimore St
    10% off your dining experience

    Dr. Cuts - 612 Flatbush Ave
    $5 off full service hair cuts

    Elegant Woolen & Silk - 685 Flatbush Ave
    50% off the entire store

    Pillow Talk Lingerie Boutique - 696C Flatbush Ave
    20% off all in-store purchases

    Play Kids - 676 Flatbush Ave
    Free family friendly activities

    Smile - 581 Flatbush Ave
    20% Discount on in-store purchases

    Struggs - 675 Flatbush Ave
    25% off your in-store purchase

    Tafari Tribe - 593 Flatbush Ave
    20% off entire store with a minimum purchase of
    $20.00 (Sale items not included)

    Tip of the Tongue - 43 Lincoln Rd
    Free Hot Chocolate

    Styles by Lisa Mulzac - 606 Flatbush Ave
    One free hot oil treatment w/payment of any priced hairstyles

    M&M Jewelry & Cell Phone - 674 Flatbush Ave
    50-60% off everything

    Scoops & Plates – 624 Flatbush Ave
    Ice Cream--Buy one Get one half off

    Marcia’s Divas Boutique - 670 Flatbush Ave
    20% off entire store

    Errol’s Bakery – 661 Flatbush Ave
    Beef Pattie--Buy one Get one half off

    Golden Crust – 568 Flatbush Ave
    $5.00 Fish & Chips

    Al’s Roti Shop – 589 Flatbush Ave
    Free soda w/$20 purchase

    Mike & Tony’s Pizza – 599 Flatbush Ave
    “See store for discount”

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     Even after reading the poster, you may wonder as did the Q, what IS this exactly? So I went to one of the creators Rebecca Martinez, and she had this to say:

    What this event is, is a different type of theater event.  It is created using interviews from a variety of people in the neighborhood, to get impressions of the neighborhood and its changes from people who have been here for many years, as well as people who have just moved in.

    The interviews (all anonymous) are performed lived by actors, some will be a composite of several interviews that perhaps touched on the same issues and some will be pretty close to how we got them. The hope is to represent multiple perspectives in the room and to not push an agenda or take a side, but to create a space where people can meet and speak to each other, hear what's on the minds of their neighbors, and to invite the audience to share their perspectives.

    The event will be performative and will invite the audience to participate, but not in a "come up on stage" kind of way - rather in a way that will feature structure.

    Have a drink, immerse yourself in your neighborhood. Get out of the house at an early hour. What could be better?

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  • 12/12/14--10:09: Up, Up and Away
  • The buying and selling rampage continues. This time, an old wood-frame house, in pretty good condition, will make a nice tall something-or-other. A finger building. Middle finger, that is.

    Take a look at the zoning - R7-1. That's the zoning that made 626 Flatbush possible. Granted the below is not technically in Lefferts, but it's a good indication of the crunch of the building boom that's finally reached us. While the Community Board is busy arguing over process and how to deal with Ms. Boyd, the developers are laughing all the way to the bank. Good or bad or indifferent, them's the facts Jax. Take a look to your left, and the right. All the wood-frame houses are just winter's kindling.

    This one lot can have more than 20,000 buildable square feet. That's pretty swell at today's rents for a cool $1.7 million.

    And since a commenter mentioned that these are Archie Bunker houses, Bob Marvin was nice enough to point us in the direction of Archie Bunker's actual house. That is, were he not a television character created by Norman Lear. His house on the show, however:

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