Articles on this Page
- 11/25/14--07:47: _Bumper Stickers For...
- 11/25/14--20:41: _Taking the Bulb By ...
- 11/28/14--08:23: _MTOPP Shifts To the...
- 11/30/14--19:13: _Time To Give To Par...
- 12/02/14--08:15: _Has MTOPP Decided T...
- 12/02/14--20:05: _On My Soap Box - Ab...
- 11/11/14--20:35: _Classic Eugene
- 12/04/14--09:19: _Eric Garner R.I.P.
- 12/04/14--09:30: _274-280 Hawthorne
- 12/05/14--12:29: _Councilman or Monst...
- 12/06/14--19:39: _Toy Drive at MangoSeed
- 12/07/14--06:18: _Please Support the ...
- 12/08/14--06:43: _Revised Resolution
- 12/09/14--13:32: _Why It Matters
- 12/09/14--19:31: _You Win Some...
- 12/10/14--08:33: _C'mon Y'all! Show A...
- 12/10/14--19:20: _Shop Local This Wee...
- 12/11/14--08:29: _Shop Local Part Deu...
- 12/12/14--09:42: _Interactive Theater...
- 12/12/14--10:09: _Up, Up and Away
- 11/25/14--07:47: Bumper Stickers For a Dimmer Future
- 11/25/14--20:41: Taking the Bulb By the Horns
- 11/28/14--08:23: MTOPP Shifts To the Real Battle
- 11/30/14--19:13: Time To Give To Parkside Plaza
- 12/02/14--08:15: Has MTOPP Decided To Play Ball?
- 12/02/14--20:05: On My Soap Box - About Soap
- 11/11/14--20:35: Classic Eugene
- 12/04/14--09:19: Eric Garner R.I.P.
- 12/04/14--09:30: 274-280 Hawthorne
- 12/05/14--12:29: Councilman or Monster.com?
- 12/06/14--19:39: Toy Drive at MangoSeed
- 12/07/14--06:18: Please Support the Flatbush Tenant Coalition
- 12/08/14--06:43: Revised Resolution
- 12/09/14--13:32: Why It Matters
- 12/09/14--19:31: You Win Some...
- 12/10/14--08:33: C'mon Y'all! Show A Little Love For Kwenci!
- 12/10/14--19:20: Shop Local This Weekend
- Free Hot Chocolate
- Free Refreshments
- Shop Local store listings
- Shop Local punch cards
- Volunteers to answer questions/encourage local shopping
- Free Hot Chocolate
- Free Refreshments
- Shop Local store listings
- Shop Local punch cards
- Volunteers to answer questions/encourage local shopping
- 12/11/14--08:29: Shop Local Part Deux: The Discounts
- 12/12/14--09:42: Interactive Theater Event - Sunday at The Inkwell
- 12/12/14--10:09: Up, Up and Away
|Is that poo wearing glasses?|
Courtesy of Paul G, get your bumper stickers here.
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|
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.
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.
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.
The video alone is here:
Parkside Paradise from Thorsten Thielow on Vimeo.
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 everyonewho reads your blogs sees it and it seems that someonehasn't liked your position or your intention to do your bestto 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 harmthe people of this community.My message is clear,no residential on Empire BlvdDownzone Empire Blvd.
“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.
It's easy to SAY Shop Local. We all get it...support 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 all...it 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
As to the issue of imbibing, they add:
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.
- Address the need for adequate schools
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?
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. Folks...it'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.
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!
Come to think of it, if you take 20% off lingerie, you're pretty much naked.
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:
Have a drink, immerse yourself in your neighborhood. Get out of the house at an early hour. What could be better?
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: