Articles on this Page
- 02/25/15--08:20: _R.I.P. Lawrence Cas...
- 02/25/15--09:19: _Free Kiddie Science...
- 02/26/15--07:48: _Concerned Citizens ...
- 02/27/15--06:21: _Cultural Appreciati...
- 02/27/15--14:02: _Eugene Shafts Us Again
- 03/02/15--14:07: _Criminy!
- 03/02/15--20:04: _Ass. Philpotts?
- 03/03/15--06:53: _Holy Cow. Are You K...
- 03/03/15--20:19: _Metal Bench Defies ...
- 03/04/15--07:24: _Diana Richardson's ...
- 03/04/15--19:14: _NYC: Shovel Your Walk!
- 03/05/15--06:59: _Come Out For Parksi...
- 03/05/15--09:12: _Parents - Cool Summ...
- 03/05/15--09:55: _Flatbush Ave Extension
- 03/05/15--13:27: _How Literary! Readi...
- 03/05/15--19:17: _And Rounding Out th...
- 03/05/15--20:21: _Sound Neighbors
- 03/07/15--13:11: _Communities Aren't ...
- 03/08/15--15:35: _The Look of Things ...
- 03/09/15--13:22: _Breaking News: Chai...
- 02/25/15--08:20: R.I.P. Lawrence Cassela
- 02/25/15--09:19: Free Kiddie Science Workshop - This Saturday
- 02/26/15--07:48: Concerned Citizens Comes Up With Counter Proposal
- 02/27/15--06:21: Cultural Appreciation Day at the Q
- 02/27/15--14:02: Eugene Shafts Us Again
- 03/02/15--14:07: Criminy!
- 03/02/15--20:04: Ass. Philpotts?
- 03/03/15--06:53: Holy Cow. Are You Kidding Me?
- 03/03/15--20:19: Metal Bench Defies Laws of Physics - Buckles Bizarrely
- 03/04/15--07:24: Diana Richardson's Cooking With Gas
- 03/04/15--19:14: NYC: Shovel Your Walk!
- 03/05/15--06:59: Come Out For Parkside Plaza Meeting
- 03/05/15--09:12: Parents - Cool Summer Camping Program, Bears Not Included
- 03/05/15--09:55: Flatbush Ave Extension
- 03/05/15--13:27: How Literary! Reading Series at Erv's
- 03/05/15--19:17: And Rounding Out the Race...
- 03/05/15--20:21: Sound Neighbors
- 03/07/15--13:11: Communities Aren't the Only Ones Who Get To Initiate Rezonings
- 03/08/15--15:35: The Look of Things To Come
- 03/09/15--13:22: Breaking News: Chair of CB9 Resigns
Rachel at DNA Info reports that Lincoln Road fixture Lawrence Cassella passed away at the tender age of 38. A battle with a rare immune system disorder caused his death. Here's the story, and a picture below. He was a dog-walker, so you may have seen him on the human end of a leash a time or two.
|Picture by Billy Clark|
Many of you may have read Concerned Citizens for Community-Based Planning's "position paper" addressed to the community. If you'd like to join their efforts, send Alan Berger an email. (I don't have permission from him to send out his private email, but he's on the Yahoo Listserv. I think they have a website. Anybody know it? I'll add it to this paragraph.)
My response is below. Then below that, the note written by CCCBP:
When the Q wakes up in the morning the last thing he thinks about is his hair. I believe this is perfectly obvious to each and every person I meet through the day. Not everyone thinks this way, but clearly by looking at most of the Caucasian gentlemen at the Park Slope Food Coop and at my job and in any of 100 coffee shops, my cheveux nonchalance is shared by many of my peers.
Just recently a friend directed me to, and I fell in love with, a tune by the sublime India.Arie that nailed a black thang that's always intrigued me - the African hair conundrum (how to wear it, what it means etc.) The oversize importance of hair is not particular to the black experience of course. But it's meaning within the context of the African diaspora (shorthand: slavery) is distinct and powerful. So...in this one song Ms. .Arie (is that how one writes her last name, with the period?) sums it all up. If you don't care for guest Akon's autotune stylings, just wait til India. drops in with her incredibly magical voice and all will be forgiven.
For the music nerds out there, I think this is one of my favorite uses I've heard of the I to flatIII to IV chord progressions I've ever heard. Note the similarity to the redneck anthem "Freebird."
Now for the Lefferts connection (though given the preponderance of hair shops in the neighborhood I think we're already there). For my black friends who wonder what's up with that slack hair attitude among whites, I give you Exhibit A. Pavement.
Pavement was a VERY popular band when I was touring the country with my exceedingly less popular band Babe the blue OX. in the '90s. Their anthem "Cut My Hair" was perhaps the song that broke them big, and their lackadaisical style and off-the-cuff vocal delivery spawned a million imitators. The difference between these two videos could not be more stark - super high-end video and audio production vs. amateurish Do-It-Yourself "authenticity." And...drum roll...one of Pavement's members lives in Lefferts Gardens. Know which one?
The larger point I'm making is probably self-explanatory, and the IQ's of Q readers (QIQ's) is off-the-charts (yes Google gives me the analytics) so I know I don't need to pound it home. But next time you see a person you don't know sporting something quirky with their cheveux, perhaps these vids will pop into mind.
I'm actually not a huge fan of the Participatory Budgeting process. When it works it works, but a lot of good ideas don't get funded because they're not "popular" enough. However, in the case of our councilman Mathieu Eugene it would be a HUGE improvement. Why should Kings County hospital get millions of dollars (every year) from Eugene when so many other capital projects go unfunded? How about gymnasiums and youth centers and park projects and you name it. The hospital is a borough-wide enterprise. Why should we foot such an enormous bill?
Oh, right. Eugene got elected by his steadfast support of the Hospital's unions. And management. Lots and lots of folks work there.
Seriously, can you imagine how much great stuff we could do for $2.8 million?
My grandmother, a Norwegian immigrant who came through Ellis Island on her way to International Falls, Minnesota, used to say "Criminy" or "Oh, heck" in place of the more New Yorky "sh#t" or "f#ck" or "Jesus Christ." I think it was actually a shortening of the word Christ. A good Lutheran wouldn't take the Lord's name in vain, after all. She also said "Pshaw" a lot, which I assume was a shortening of "piss off?"
Anyhoo, I gets an email from the good folks at Spotcrime.com, a website that's both helpful and sinister. Helpful in that it provides some context for crime nearby, and sinister in that in a dense city it makes you feel like you're surrounded by criminals. As in, don't look at a mapped database of sex offenders. You might lose a night or two of sleep.
Today's email was alarming indeed! Check the date on all these thefts, robberies and burglaries (they're different you know, t,g&b's). All on one terrifying day of crime spree - January 31, 2015 - a day that will live in infamy.
Clicking through, though, I realize that all these crimes were listed as "crime date approximate." So I guess they all got logged at the same time. And yet...if you stand about 20 yards back, the pattern looks alarmingly like a mimeograph of the Shroud of Turin. A miracle? I'll let YOU be the judge.
|Your Next Representative in Albany?|
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. While our asses weren't looking some crazy-ass shenanigans put a dumb-ass on the line for Assemblyman from the 43rd District. Yeah, OUR 43rd district. The position that Karim Camara left just weeks after winning another reelection. The Q'd been talking to buddy Diana Richardson about the scene (she plans on running on a third party line of her own making) about the process and I couldn't believe my ears. The party machine, or lack thereof, was planning on putting up the elderly (but sweet) Shirley Patterson, longtime female district leader (a job that doesn't matter until it does - like now) on the line, since she's a loyalist, and when you're building a new power hub in Central Brooklyn you need to know how your colleagues are going to vote, and that they'll support you through thick and thin. Best to put up a pal!
Does all that make any sense? Stick with me, it get way way better.
So Governor Andrew "Ugly But Fit" Cuomo calls a special election, and that set the scene for the above stuff. May 5 - put it in your calendar! No time for a primary of course! And in Brooklyn, the Democrat usually gets like 108% of the vote. So this is one of those lovely moments for democracy when a bunch of numbnuts sit in a room and choose a candidate who's a near shoo-in. Who's in that room? Well, sometimes dozens of people who have shown their loyalty to the party by, you know, being loyal to the party, and ingratiating themselves to elected officials and District Leaders (that job you were wondering what it was, but that's sort of what it is - your Assembly District's dude or dudette making decisions about poll workers and what judges appear on the line and what-not. And by showing they can win an election, even for an unpaid seat like District Leader, they can shore up backing to run in a REAL race.)
But here's the deal. While the 43rd's Democratic committee people weren't looking or adding pals to the committee, this one goofball, Guillermo Philpotts, is busy appointing people who are his friends. So once this weird scenario happens, he's actually in the remarkable position of being able to put himself on the Democratic line. Follow? The Q moderated a debate with Mr. Philpotts last fall, and I can assure you he is NOT the man for the job. Or maybe any job.
Craziest part of all to me was hearing how Clarence Norman - one of the big shots around here and former Assemblyman himself - is now out of prison and showing up at meetings and trying to reinsert his ex-con self into the proceedings. He apparently tried to convince Philpotts not to run, and to put Shirley Patterson on the bill. So instead of the insider machine-candidate, we get the outsider machine-candidate. Making everybody who has anything to do with this stuff look like a complete jackass.
Meanwhile, seriously formidable candidates like Diana Richardson don't get a chance to win your vote for the Democratic line...they have to go out and start their own dang party. Geoffrey Davis is doing it too. His party? The Love Yourself Party.
You can't, nay you SHOULDN'T, make this shit up.
In the previous latenight post I told you of the defeat of the Democratic Windmill in one Guillermo Philpotts' once quixotic attempt at elected office. Then, somehow, he failed to fill out the paperwork by the deadline (midnight Tuesday), meaning he can't run on the Dem line. In fact, NO ONE can run on the dem line. Meaning we'll be choosing our Assembly Person from three (or more?) independent candidates.
Here's the story. I could barely finish it because I spit my Yerba Matte all over my monitor:
Yerba huh, you ask? The Q? I thought he was a strictly cheeseburger and sundae man. Well, I'm on a cleanse. Blame it on our doula, from the homebirth of Little Miss Clarkson FlatBed, III. She dared me; I took the dare. Three weeks of torture and bowel movements. I wonder if placentamales are allowed? The meat's still in the freezer after three years. I think. What a very, very odd tradition. I get saving wedding cake for a year, but...
Need a doula or midwife? Shoot me an email and I'll give you the recommendation of a lifetime.
Honestly now, how does one do this?
I'm actually surprised that folks are buying the story that Guillermo Philpotts "failed" to file his paperwork to get on the Democratic party line for the 43rd Assembly District. Y'all, Philpotts is a bit of boob, but he ain't THAT booby. Clearly somebody got to him, maybe even made certain promises of _____. As in, who knows what was worth enough to him to drop out of the race. With Clarence Norman in the picture, you gotta believe that there was no outbreak of Scruples on the scene.
Meanwhile, I'd spoken to Diana Richardson just last week and she was
feeling demoralized about the whole race, seeing that the "machine" was going to try to put loyalist Shirley Patterson on the line, despite a very low profile after years of hanging around the party as district leader.
But don't count Diana out til the svelte lady sings. She managed to pick up the Working Families Line (that Tish James famously rode to the Council in the 35th) AND the Green Party. With no Democrat on the ticket, I think it's fair to say that Ms. Richardson went from outcast to front-runner in a matter of days.
Article on Diana's Juggernaut
|Don't let that sweet smile fool you. She'll go toe-to-toe with any Dude.|
I'll be sure to print an interview with her in the coming weeks to help you decide for yourself whether she's the best candidate to represent the neighborhood. Geoffrey Davis, brother of beloved slain former Councilman James Davis, after which the building I work out of was named, has started his own "Love Yourself" party. And while that name is pretty great considering how many politicians love themselves enough to run and then steal our hearts and money, I don't see him being able to rack up supporters like Una and Yvette Clarke and Kevin Parker and others who've jumped on the Diana Train. I would expect that Eric Adams and Jesse Hamilton, who previously would have supported Patterson and probably were actively or tacitly involved in getting her name on the ticket, will have to eat a bit of humble pie and come around to DR. And you know what? Every man on a power roll needs to cool their jets every now and then, and remember where they came from - us. That a strong-willed woman is making her mark should hopefully keep their ambitions in line with the people's will. And that's said with the knowledge that Eric and Jesse could do a lot of good for Brooklyn. I'm just saying...keep it real gentlemen. We're counting on you.
And congratulations Diana. You've been promoted to prime time.
(God I can't believe I'm one of those guys talking about local politics...ugh)
Amazing how you can get a ticket for not shoveling, but the City itself gets a pass. Nice article here about slick sidewalks that are basically booby traps to maim and even kill. And always at the heart of any story about Lincoln Road, there's Dynishal Gross. Amazingly NY1 got the bridge over the subway cleared of ice and snow. When 311 doesn't work, there's always the media. Video and story below.
Ice in the City
If you want to dip your feet in a feel-good bit of community involvement, you'd do much worse than to join the Parkside Plaza committee, which is nearly ready to remake Parkside Plaza in the image of the Platonic ideal of a Plaza. Lefferts-style, of course.
|When you have a great logo, you're rolling with the big boys!|
WHERE: PlayKids, at 676 Flatbush Ave
We look forward to seeing you there,
for Parkside Plaza,
a project of the Parkside Empire Flatbush Avenue Merchants Assoc.
Here's his note:
Registration has opened for PLG Trail Blazers, a Brooklyn based Day Camp, brought to you by a collaboration between Lefferts Garden Montessori School and Trail Blazers.
Ever noticed that Flatbush Avenue from the Manhattan Bridge to Grand Army Plaza is actually Flatbush Avenue Extension? If you ever wondered exactly what that means, this picture does a fabulous job of laying it out. Remember, the only bridge at this point was the Brooklyn. Williamsburg already has that domed bank building, if you're looking for where the W-burg bridge would eventually be:
Another thing that can throw you off is the fact that the clock tower in the picture is NOT the clock tower we know and love. You might think that's Atlantic at Flatbush but it ain't. You can just barely make out where Atlantic meets the to-be Flatbush Extension. The real marker is, of course, the Park. I think that's supposed to be the Museum there, but it looks more like it's where the library is now. Interesting too that there seems to be a lot more development along Greenwood Cemetary than along Prospect Park at this point. Can't be long after the bridge went up, right? Or is it a PLAN for the bridge, or something painted while it was being built? I think the picture says 1879, but the bridge didn't go up til 1883.
Another interesting point to note is that much of Park Slope and other brownstone neighborhoods were yet to come. That would be part of the HUGE development boom that followed the building of that there bridge.
Montrose Morris in the house?
HOLD ON A MINUTE! That's not the Museum OR the library. That's the Mt Prospect Park Reservoir! Where that park is now.
Love, loving loving this one.
[Beekman Place's Erv's becoming the new White Horse Tavern? Er, I guess that's just where a famous writer drank himself to death. And, when the Q first moved to NYC he spent a summer in a basement in the West Village that didn't have a bathroom, just a sprinkle shower hooked up to the slop sink. So where did he lighten his load? Upstairs at the White Horse of course! And another little spot called (I think) The Bus Stop coffee shop at Hudson and Bethune. Those were my salad days. Though I rarely ate salad back then.]
Where was I going with this?
Oh yes, starting this Sunday at 7pm come by the diminutive cocktail bar for some high-falutin' book reading. Here's the deets from the runners of said events:
Austen Leah Rosenfeld's poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Salmagundi Magazine, Indiana Review, AGNI, Gulf Coast, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, Los Angeles Review and elsewhere. She writes about fashion for Style.com and she's at work on a book of poems titled Earthquake Weather.
Ilka Pinheiro is a Brooklyn native, a graduate of Northwestern University, where she learned to be an actor, and Columbia University, where she learned to be a writer. She's written an animated series for Italian television and is currently at work on a novel and a collection of stories.
Sara Nović is the founding editor of Readeafined blog and the fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine. She has her MFA from Columbia, with dual concentrations in Fiction and Translation, and teaches writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her first novel, Girl at War, is out from Random House and Little, Brown UK this May. She lives in Queens.
Do you have an interest in reading at future events? We're always looking for new talent. Send submissions of about 15 mins of poetry or 3,000 words of fiction or non-fiction to email@example.com
So Diana Richardson gets the "Working Families" and "Green Party" lines. Geoffrey Davis wants you to "Love Yourself." And now Shirley Patterson, backed by Eric Adams and Jesse Hamilton, is on the "Putting the People First" party line (digging that use of "the"). I adore these made up parties! I'm going to create the "Let's Get Our Ducks In a Row" party. Or the "Party" party. Actually, is that one already taken? It should be. How about the "Let's" party. As in "let's get in there and do some stuff!" Oh, and legalize marijuana while we're at it. Maybe a turn-back-the-clock to a simpler dot.com era, called the "Like It's 1999" Party.
So to review. Shirley was the gimme candidate for an election that wasn't supposed to be an election - she was supposed to get the nod as the Dem and cakewalk to the Assembly. Then ol' Guillermo Philpotts finagles a boondoggle that actually works, but some backdoor shenanigans keep him from the church on time. Meaning Adams and Hamilton kinda look schmucky, so to save face they stick with their gal, even though she probably doesn't have the verve and grit of the challenger Diana Richardson. If I were them I would have told Ms. Patterson that at 71 she should kick back and hang with her grandkids. It's pretty clear from the pick how cute they are...much cuter than Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislators. The Upstate ones in particular are not too easy on the eyes.
|The "Not All Princesses Dress In Pink" Party|
A friend passed along a picture that brought up a host of questions about how best to deal with problems that arise from living basically on top of each other. This was the poster - you'll need to read it fairly carefully to follow the rest of this post:
I've used 311 many times myself. We did a couple 311 pigpile like this and they seem to help. But that's usually when you're dealing with a City Agency that isn't doing their job.
What I'd like to ask the maker of the flyer is this: did you ever consider going down there and talking to the guys themselves? Maybe they don't realize how loud it is to their neighbors, or are under the impression that since it's a commercial corridor it doesn't matter? Turns out that yes, it does matter, and we've been down this road before with other joints and parties. Too loud, too late, is a big-ass bummer.
Do I believe it when Orlando and Johnny, partners in the new Buda Lounge version of Ali's, say that no one came to talk to them before the police came? Yeah. I mean, I get it. You're pissed and you don't want a confrontation. Maybe you're in your jammies and your first impulse is to fire up the laptop. Still the hands on approach can sometimes work where quality of life cops just make the situation worse. Maybe just call them? If they tell you sod off, then maybe it's time to go strategic.
Through the '90s this problem came up a lot around rock clubs, especially as the East Village gentrified. I tend to think it's not so much cultural insensitivity as something far more psychologically entrenched. Meaning, yes anyone wanting a good night sleep would want the music turned down. But certain kinds of folks, I've found, are more likely to DO SOMETHING about it, feel a bit more entitled to the quiet, and often that leads to involving law enforcement. Others are less likely to go that route, or perhaps endure any aural nuisance in the spirit of "we're living on top of one another, and I may be doing something that annoys you too." From my many years of practicing with bands I have some fairly clear data to point to, and I won't beat around the bush. The whiter the neighborhood, the less likely folks are to be tolerant of loud music, even before the oft-cited curfew of 11pm. When I moved to Clarkson, I was worried that playing rocky rolly music in the basement would make me a pariah. Quite the opposite! People would frequently stop me in the street or even knock on the window and say how good it sounded, or how much fun it sounded, or how glad they were to hear music being made. That included my NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS! Was THAT a cultural difference? I think so. But, to be clear, I'm not calling anybody out here. Just observing. Oh, and yes my own occasional flights of volume have made me more tolerant of the occasional raucous dancehall dance party. If it happened every night, well, that's a different story. I guess you could say I've been on both sides of the V.U. meter.
I do object, however, to the unnecessary part of the poster where angry person says that Orlando and Johnny are jerks and bullies. Is that really how this went down? I mean, the place has barely been open a month, so it's not like there's been time to establish that these guys don't and won't work with their neighbors. Like most business owners, they want to stay in business, and that means limiting problems with neighbors and police. Since word of the poster got back to them, oh and I believe they've been visited by the cops more than once, I would expect them to get better soundproofing or keep the volume down after a certain hour. Though it might be nice to work on that in collaboration with the most angry neighbors. Am I expecting too much?
I also think that now that we have an active Merchant's Association that it wouldn't be a bad idea to contact THEM, since that could help set a tone and precedent for the whole nabe. Just a thought. Whether you think this is about "Cultural Insensitivity" or not, I did learn one story while (mildly) investigating this that I found a bit more troubling. And so I'll relate:
Remember how there was always a basketball hoop on Westbury Court? Kids, elementary and middle-schoolers mostly, maybe a bit older, would play hoops in the cul de sac. Sometimes, maybe too late. Sometimes, beers could be identified as such when older kids took over. A little weed smoking from time to time? Probably. One newcomer (yeah, okay, white) neighbor took the "fight" to the cops. And the police removed the basketball hoop and told people not to loiter at the end of the dead-end street like that.
Does that scenario sound the same, or different to you than the Hookah Lounge conflict?
Thx Babs for reminding me about 371 Lincoln Road. In the Q's opinion, this could be Exhibit B (626 Flatbush being exhibit A) of the kind of the thing a mostly low-rise neighborhood does NOT need:
More on the project here. This is not hyperbole, or exaggeration, or hypothesis, or scare tactics. This is a plan, a legal "as of right" structure. Elected officials are in agreement that this is not appropriate for streets of low-rise buildings. Let's start looking at the reality, not the fear-mongering, of what it means to walk away from a legitimate working relationship with the City over land use.
Can you blame him?
After months of abuse from not only Alicia Boyd and MTOPP but members of the Board itself (I prefer to call my own complaints "constructive criticism") the first new chairperson of Community Board 9 in decades has formally submitted his resignation. He will also leave the Board effective immediately.
Here's a picture of now former chair Dwayne Nicholson with the man he replaced, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein from happier times. Wait, in all honesty, there really never were any happy times. Not this year anyway.
First vice-chair Laura Imperiale, a Lefferts resident, gets the nod for the rest of the term.