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  • 05/15/15--08:33: Am I Rent Stabilized?
  • Most likely, yes. You may not know your power. You have rights. You have a lease. You are part of the much-maligned but not-to-be-dismissed system of rent regulation in NYC.

    Find out whether you're at the party or not:


    Lefferts resident Chris Henrick made that site/app. Thanks Chris!

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    All over the neighborhood you'll see the flyers. Within lies a case study in how to deceive and manipulate. Let us count the ways.

    1. Call yourself a "movement," when in fact you're a handful of people that has tried to grow from a handful of people for months without traction.
    2. Use the word "they" as if you have a specific "they" in mind, even though the target is as varied as the neighborhood itself.
    3. Use a picture that is completely fabricated to scare the hell out of you, of 16+ story buildings that have never been suggested by anyone including the Department of City Planning in its own tallest-case scenarios, that wouldn't look like this anyway because there's not enough land to go that high and wide at the same time, even with overly generous zoning.
    4. Make it sound like this issue alone is the reason that developers will make money and push you out, when dozens of projects are already happening and landlords have been trying to get people out for a few years now...and are generally succeeding.
    5. Suggest that "stop the vote" is a legitimate way of engaging the issues. In fact, a better way to get what you want would be to calmly and rationally state your position, or work on individual elected officials and community board members to come around to your viewpoint. As it is no one can hear you because you're screaming and spitting in their face.
    6. Don't mention that the only reason any of this is up for discussion is because people DON'T want skyscrapers, and are looking to have a DISCUSSION about how to limit outsized development, improve infrastructure and keep the neighborhood affordable. Basically, the same goals, unless of course your goals are actually something different.
    7. Don't mention that the only way to ensure the neighborhood is somewhat economically diverse in the future is to focus on building some affordable housing and/or addressing the massive influx of new buildings to the neighborhood, particularly in R6 and R7 designated areas or - as I've said a million times - focus on keeping people in their current homes by being a positive force and team player. Most recently, MTOPP has been denouncing the work of the Crown Heights Tenants Union, one of the few examples of REAL activism that is achieving results.

    Look for another shitshow on Tuesday. Where will the Q be? Right in the middle of course. He's been appointed for another two years on the Community Board, and he loves being cursed at.

    UPDATE: Another email goes out, with this gem, separating us all out by race/religion, just as God intended:

    Just take a look at the CB9's rezoning plan for the R2 districts
    R2 are very restrictive and protect 1 and 2 story homes

    There are three areas,
    1. Prospect Lefferts Garden (largest percentage of  Whites)
    2. Jewish community
    3. Crown Heights (Predominately Blacks) Crown St between Bedford and Rogers!
    City Planning and Community Board 9 recommendations for these zones.
    1. Prospect Lefferts Garden - no changes leave in tact (protect)
    2. Jewish Community - Create a Special District that will have specific controls of development only half a story increase!
    3. Crown Heights - Up zone adding 2 more stories!
    In the Whites they are protected, in Jewish Area, they will be protected by a special district

    but in the Black community they will be unprotected.

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  • 05/18/15--13:25: March Madness
  • pic: Emma Whitford

    Last Thursday thousands marched over the bridge to demand real affordability and an end to discrimination and intimidation. Local heroes CHTU got in the act, and the Q is happy to point out neighbor and activist Esteban Girón front and center in the photo below (holding the sign). He joined the CB9 ULURP committee this spring, and he's been very helpful to this blogger in terms of keeping up with the insanity, including commenting and giving up-to-date info. A real hero if you ask me, as are many others putting in the hard work of making noise and knocking on doors and reminding people they have rights and don't have to go quietly into the night.

    pic: Emma Whitford

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    Every once in awhile, on the internet, you just have to write a phrase that if googled in quotes will be the only result. I am quite certain that the above blog post title will stand the test of time. I'm thinking Macbeth of course.

    The Q joked here about the possibility that ghosts might inhabit the old Caledonian Hospital, now known as 123 on the Park, which has been pointed out it is a bit of a stretch, since the entrance is actually around the corner. Now comes word that...folks, the ghosts are real. Too many people died in this building (probably tens of thousands over the years, don't you think? and it had a morgue in the basement! "Room for One More, Honey!") Think we're joking? The NY Post has the spook scoop.

    photo: william farrington

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    They hurled insults. They told lies. They riled the crowd up to a frenzy so intense that some of us questioned our decision not to stand closer to a door for ease of exit. This is what happens when dialogue gets trashed for demagoguery. For all the talk of wanting to be heard, they've done no listening. And tonight the committee said what it had said 14 months ago. Let's get on with a study, and push for our agenda at every turn. Yes, let's work with the City and plan our future.

    The vote was 9 in favor, 1 against, 1 abstention. The letter requesting a Planning Study goes to the full Board next week. Expect more nonsense, and a likely yay vote.

    Who knows where it will go from here. Nowhere good, probably. Just more neighbor against neighbor shouting and name calling. Unless, by some miracle, Alicia decides to take the high road and talk rather than pretend she's fighting the battle for the right to vote. Actually, she could have taken some notes on civil disobedience from the King, because her tactics are definitely not civil and the way she behaves when arrested could damn well turn into a riot one day. Here's some footage, not for the weak of heart:

    By the way, yes, that is a child that one protester brought to the proceedings and encouraged to watch the whole thing. A member of the Board asked her if she wouldn't rather take her outside for the arrest scuffle, but she adamantly refused. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but was that necessary? The little girl couldn't have been a month past three if that. She also gets to watch the below, where about ten seconds in a woman rushes at Ben Edwards and looks like she takes a swipe at him.

     So what happened? Amidst the chaos, the Committee huddled to (barely) hear one another open the meeting, take the vote and adjourn. All that for that.

    As I noted before, MTOPP's propaganda really paid off. She brought out significantly higher numbers than usual - maybe 30. But to highlight just how much horseshit she's been feeding people, I spoke with two woman who wanted to know why I was working for the greedy Developers. When I told them I was a 12 year resident who loved my neighborhood and my neighbors, they seemed aghast. But why was I fighting to put huge luxury high rises in the neighborhood? I said that was the very thing I was hoping to prevent, and to see that any new buildings had affordable set-asides. But why was I for buildings like 626 Flatbush? At which point, I just shook my head. It's all going to be okay I muttered, half of me not believing, and half just plain shell-shocked I guess.

    There wasn't anything funny about tonight, or any of it. And I'm not the least bit happy that the right decision was made. I really think the anger on display tonight, of neighbor against neighbor, does not bode well for the next chapter, whatever that may be. And now, I fear, Alicia will claim the Board is responsible for the massive changes taking place in the neighborhood. If she's able to convince people of that, look out. Nobody's safe.

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    Things to share that the Q did not know. First, the Parthenon across from the Parade Ground is called The Peristyle. Second, it has an address - 96 Parkside Avenue. Third, it is likely part of the ghost situation at 123 on the Park, at least in the sense that ghosts go there to play croquet, since this is also apparently known as the Croquet Shelter. The wickets are likely ghosts as well, for I see no way to append them to the floor.

    Then this wonderful postcard via Montrose Morris in her piece on said Colonnade:

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    UPDATE: Yes, a quorum was reached. Since Mike Cetera was not reappointed, and four other ULURP members resigned (Diana Richardson, Dwayne Nicholson and Rosemarie Perry, Laura Imperiale) that leaves just 19 members. 12 were present.

    As I'm sure you were dying to know how the melee was officially described by the Board, below are the minutes submitted by Ben Edwards. Behind the scenes there is a call to protect Board members and in particular Pearl Miles with some sort of order of protection. We'll see where that leads. Needless to say, it is now officially impossible to conduct Board business with MTOPP present. They didn't even let us open the meeting. As noted by board member Kenya Sollas who lives at the building Crown Gardens where the community room was reserved, the crowd assembled had taken all the seats and refused to move to let the meeting begin. She did a terrific job of appealing to reason, but to no avail. The only way the committee was even able to vote was to create a scrum and shout to one another. Poor Evelyn Williams, longtime Board member and Hawthorne Street building president, suffered a cut lip.

    Alicia spent the night in the pokey, as she most clearly resisted arrest and made dangerous flailings in an attempt, I guess, to keep from being handcuffed. She's been charged with various crimes, though short of felony assault, which the cops probably could have done. They showed considerable restraint if you ask me. Those are our Community Affairs guys by the way, hardly the "bad guys." It's all so horribly wrong. Her followers, many from outside the community, believe they are fighting to keep the neighborhood black and inexpensive. A few even expressed it as such, meaning that the very real illegalities perpetrated by landlords are not even their primary focus, but rather government officials and agencies. So here, under Boyd's guidance, they are targeting a bunch of appointed volunteers trying to reign in scattershot development.

    In case you were wondering what other criminal charges were or weren't filed, there's this line from Alicia's follow up email upon her release:

    You can see right there in the film.
    One of the white board members grinning and smiling
    who has been pushing to up zone our community.
    This man has called people names at meeting
    and even has an harassment complaint filed against him
    because of his behavior and yet he has been empowered

    to make decisions for us.

    FYI that white man accused of smiling is Warren Berke. I don't think I broke into a smile the entire meeting. Felony "Smile 2" charges against Berke are likely to be knocked down to "Smirk 1" after plea bargaining.

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    For the pdf just click. Read on, those who are house-curious.

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  • 05/25/15--08:01: Happy Memorial Day
  • Just spoke with a neighbor who lives at 60 Clarkson Avenue, you know, THE 60 Clarkson. She has six kids, she's juggling nursing school. The oldest ones are now in middle school and handle themselves nicely. Lots of help they are, really. Grown up real fast. They're doing okay. Living in a de facto homeless shelter. Doing okay, for now.

    But she just told me a new family moved in Friday night. Mom, two kids, 4 and 6. She's a domestic abuse case, so she's not in the "system" yet to get her W.I.C. card. She came from intake in the Bronx with nothing. Nothing. As in nothing. Other homeless families in the building are sharing with her what they can. No sheets. No towels. No food.

    Nothing. It might as well be a refugee camp somewhere on the other side of the world.

    We're going to the grocery to pick up a few basics and drop them off. The system will kick in a couple days, one hopes. This story gets played out a thousand times a week in this, the richest City on the planet. And on this, a block with houses north of $1.5 million, the difference between haves vs have-nots could not be more stark.

    Note to the fallen heroes who fought for the nation:

    We're still working on it.

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  • 05/26/15--06:47: Come On Down!
  • Used to be the dullest show in town. Then we added a new cast of characters and ratings soared! Copy of draft below. The letter passed the ULURP committee with a vote of 10 for, 1 against, 1 abstention. In business session the Board will finally vote. And yes, there has been public comment. A whole year and a half actually.

    One item not to miss in the shuffle: Erv's, the cocktail bar on Beekman, wants to put a few tables out on the sidewalk. Longterm it would seem they want to move into the laundry space as well, lite fare, bigger joint. Could be good for biz, could be tough on neighbors. What think?

    See you tonight!

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    Despite yet another last minute effort by CB9 member Fred Baptiste to table the motion, we actually after long, long last got to vote on whether to send the letter to the Department of City Planning asking them (mind you they still have to say yes!) to begin (just begin!) a study of our neighborhood in the wake of unprecedented change and an influx of big, big $ and buildings sprouting like grass over a septic tank.

    Fred, you may recall, has been at the heart of the effort to derail this process ever since his motion to send the issue back to committee failed in March of 2014. With a little help from the Sultan of Sterling, he managed to blindsided the board with a motion to rescind the previous year's decision to start the process, caving to MTOPP at their first over-the-top showing in September. He also shut me down when I tried to get a vote back in December. I've also seen him getting chummy with Alicia, so despite the appearance of him being a "process oriented dude," his insistence that we follow HIS idea of process actually meant that developers have had more than a year to plan their takeover the neighborhood. Which, let's get honest, was going to happen anyway. I'm just pointing out that any good that comes from a study is now going to happen much later than we'd hoped. And I'm not going to hold any of this against Mr. Baptiste. He seems very much the Dudley Do-right character, and I appreciate that he has principles. Can't say that about some other folks in the room.

    So how did "we the people" vote? It wasn't even close. I recall the tally being 24 yays, 6 nays and a handful of abstentions. Not too far off from the original vote over a year ago. Blah blah blah. The Q ain't taking any victory laps. This whole thing has been a massive drain on what should have been a community coming together to work with the City to strengthen its future. And there was Boyd, muttering "Uncle Tom" under her breath as the meeting came to a close, presumably referencing temporary chair Demetrius Lawrence. Who won the election to be the official chair for one month, even though we have to vote AGAIN in June for the official official chair for 2015-16. Process, people! Process!!

    Which brings me to the REAL story that unfolded tonight. I've always liked Demetrius, his calm and his reason, but I had no idea how he'd fare in the heat of the spotlight. You know what? I think we just witnessed a real leader being born. He had the presence and the humility to become (dare I say it?) a really great CB9 chairman. And what was particularly poetic was that this was the night that the Board honored longtime chair and 38-year military man Jake Goldstein for his exemplary service to country. As an orthodox Jew he was one of the first to get to keep his beard in the army those many years ago. And as chaplain, he's been all over the world counseling our men and women in uniform. Thanks Jake!

    And with that, the baton passes. Here's to a steady leadership under Demetrius Lawrence, whose name has never been, nor will it ever be, Tom. You will do well to remember to listen, but also to remember that she who speak loudeth is not always the righteth.

    And with thateth, I bideth you goodeth nighteth.

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  • 05/27/15--10:27: Smile! You're Now a Brochure
  • NYC is, in many respects, the capital of the world. So it should probably not shock us, even WAY out here in Central Brooklyn, to become a focus of investment in a bizarre, even unprecedented, boom in real estate. But it's still jarring to see something like the below, a marketing piece in The Real Deal designed to spur even more interest in the area. A couple things jumped out at me. Wonder if they will for you too:

    First, that picture of the new building on Hawthorne. I forgot how Fedders-esque it was to be. Given its modest nature, can you believe they to rename the neighborhood Heights Park?).

    Second, the broker talking about commercial sounds almost activist in his description of how mom and pops are being priced out and displaced. But...wait. He's a broker. Isn't this GOOD news for his business?

    Third, what's with the "white collar""blue collar" figures? They account for 100% of residents in this strange demographics section, which oddly includes no race at all - seems to be hinting at it though. Is this an income thing? Because I can assure you many plumbers and electricians are bringing home more bacon than non-profit office workers. And what do you call the artists, entrepreneurs and the (hello!) unemployed? Well, the artists might be "rainbow collar." Freelancers might be "No Ties, Ever, And We Don't Even Have To Wear Pants To Work" The entrepreneurs might be "bluetooth collar." And the unemployed might be..."no collars?"

    Fourth, the neighborhood is depicted as having been wealthy. I would argue that it was never wealthy so much as, maybe, upper middle in places but middle for sure. Professional class. If you take race out of the equation, yes, you could argue that it is returning to its previous class base.

    But then it notes that Hispanics, Asians and Carribeans moved in and made it more diverse. How is it that they name Hispanics and Asians, but not African-Americans? No offense, but there's not a lot of Spanish and Chinese spoken around here. It's as if they purposely avoided mentioning black Americans NOT of Caribbean descent. Hmm.

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    This stuff just warms the Q's cold, cold heart. Amphibian actually. Some say reptile. But flowers, and song, soothe the savage beast in me. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Pretty flower! Ahhhh. 1pm. Bring the kiddies. Saturday. Do it!

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    Over by the Q train, you're likely to count your Blessings. But over on Rogers at Midwood, you've gotta have seriousGratitude. Each time the Q and family have stopped in at Gratitude we get more impressed. Ma or Pa Gratitude are quite often working behind the counter, and the place is always full of seriously satisfied customers. Good food, coffee, baked goods? Check. Blue Marble Ice Cream? Genius. Comfortable? Darn tootin'. Kids play area to get them out of your hair for one friggin' minute? Check. Clean washroom? Sweet. What's not to like? Nothing.

    The reason I linked up in Paragraph I to Yelp reviews is not because I'm any huge fan of YELP. I do so to remark just how hard it is to get 4.5 stars after a few dozen reviews. Seriously, the neighborhood vote is in. Gratitude Cafe is a huge hit, and today they say thanks.

    So, on PLG's Unofficial Opening of Summer - PLG House Tour Day - why not stop in for a cuppa and a cone? From Richard Otto:

    Sunday, May 31st, is Gratitude Cafe's One year anniversary. Please stop by and join us between the hours of 11am -3pm. We will have activities for kids and families, including Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four, Inflatable Twister, face painting and more.
    We will also be handing out gifts to our KickStarter supporters, so stop down for your coffee mugs and T-shirts.

    Congratulations Gratitude. One Year Is a Big Deal In the World of Small Business. Nicely Done.

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  • 06/01/15--08:19: Wanted
  • The Q takes no pleasure in posting Wanted Posters, and generally lets 'em slip by. He makes exceptions in case of sexual predators and missing kids. If you've seen this guy follow the instructions. Ugh.

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    Some more Monday Morning analysis from the Q, that is one Monday later. The much watched and much linked "police action" at a ULURP meeting from a week and a half ago is below. Remember, last week the vote was finally held to begin a study. By an overwhelming margin of (I think) 24 to 6. At THAT meeting, the chant from protesters was "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," a reference to, I must say, a much more serious issue than disrupting community meetings. Some of the Concerned Citizens joined in. The below video is from the week prior's committee meeting. THAT arrest has been characterized by Alicia Boyd as police brutality. The cops weren't happy about that, as they were doing their best to take her out of the meeting without incident. Remember, the 71st was asking after CB9 committee chair Ben Edwards asked them to remove her so the Board could vote, which she was preventing by claiming, ironically, that she and others had not been "heard."All very surreal.

    MTOPP clearly found the fuel for its engine. The anger is out there. It's real. But it's misplaced. Targeting the majority black, liberal community board means creating an enemy, but in my view, it's an enemy that doesn't exist. To fight them AND the all-black locally elected leadership (Adams, Hamilton, Richardson, Clarke, Cumbo, Eugene) you have to, apparently, paint them as Uncle Toms. To fight the Jewish Community's leadership (religious Chabad Jews make up a significant minority of CB9) you need to paint them as in-cahoots with the above, or worse, as having created secret deals to protect themselves. I was told by one protester, for instance, that I was "siding" with the Jews. And to fight the most-often white gentrifiers you must paint them as White with a capital "W" so that it includes everyone who has more money than you - even if they don't have more money than you because they're renting while you own a million-dollar home. Ignore the newcomers' politics, their story, the fact that they got priced out somewhere too. Forget that they purchased property legally from its rightful owner, or signed a lease in good faith. Ignore that it's the landlords, laughing their way to the bank while you fight CB9, who are the ones flouting the law. Forget that you personally have banked hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity as you fight those who helped buoy your house price. Forget creating unity or harmony or coalitions. This is about creating a tenor of anger and fear that assures you get whatever you want. Which is, apparently, nothing. Because by shutting down process and making enemies at every turn, it's unlikely you, MTOPP and allies, will get anything more than a pair of handcuffs and a legal nightmare. So much for goals.

    There might come a day when these posts by the Q on race and class and wealth will become quaint, remembered as letters in an old drawer. Pull them out and reminisce about simpler, more - ahem - "assertive" days. But one thing will always strike me, remembering this time when the nation convulses with horror-anger-fear over its decades-long treatment of African-Americans post-King. Why in 2015, in this neighborhood, did it seem so vital to some to maintain blackness, a black neighborhood in name and deed, where even two generations ago it wasn't, where two generations from now it may not be? I ask this not to suggest the question is inherently wrong, but to try to answer the NEED for black neighborhoods, as opposed to them coming about by the natural racist order of things. Okay, now I'm being cynical. But seriously what IS a black neighborhood in an ever-changing City? If such neighborhoods were a consequence of people choosing NOT to live around blacks, then why is it wrong to have whites move back in? This question is rhetorical mind you, not intended to be quoted out of context. We all know this about money, and ultimately, money IS imbued with the predominant ideology. Which, as discussed before ad nauseum is...

    And when I say Black Neighborhood, I mean Majority black. Significantly so. To some, such a place is space where black can be black, a black neighborhood, a REAL black neighborhood, a deserved or undeserved reputation in a borough of reputations and shifting demarcations, where even blackness comes in shades and attitude. Jazz or funk or rap. Martin or Malcolm or Louis. Baptist or Pentecostal or Christmas-only. Dirt poor or Bourgie or even, dare we say it, black and flat-out wealthy. In other words, even the protagonist is diverse. And if you're going to create a common enemy, you need to paint them sufficiently mean, organized and racist to warrant a coordinated broad-based attack. In other words, you need to L.I.E. (not the expressway - I mean you must concoct a narrative that isn't true). And that narrative goes like this: White People Are Taking Over Our Neighborhood. It's simple, it's clear, and the proof is all around us. The fact is...white people are MOVING to the neighborhood, and they're bringing with them their whiteness, their white money, and they're white ways. It's a fascinating thing to watch, really. All the pet dogs. The shorts and flip-flops on the men. The lines for brunch. The, god forbid, BLOGS!!

    In racially de facto segregated America there can be no misinterpreting the color of a neighborhood. It is rare to have a truly diverse mix of races living together in relatively equal numbers - so exceedingly rare in fact that it is frequently remarked upon, right here in the Flat Bush. "I live in the most wonderfully diverse neighborhood" one might say at a social gathering. "What I love about my town is that it is truly diverse," said someone recently about Maplewood, NJ. But truth be told, at 55 % white and 35% black, Maplewood skews white in a big way, and it's getting whiter and richer. The most telling fact is that the median family income in M-wood is over $120,000 a year there. Even the exemplary racially diverse suburban town is not so economically diverse. Meaning, it's a lot less scary to the whites. Meaning, it's not what the Q experiences. Which is a block that spans from homeless to millionaire, Section 8 to Capital Gains.

    Because the truly unusual thing about Central Brooklyn is the current 2015 demographics of racial AND economic diversity. We all know it, and can feel the tension and possibility inherent in it. It's not until brazen voices come right out and say it plain as day that it seems truly unsettling, because we live it every day and do our best to live in it gracefully and with dignity. All of us. Let's face it, some things about decrying the evils of the new colonialism don't really stand up to scrutiny. Because when you try to define diversity in terms of race AND wealth AND class at the same time, you run into a seemingly endless number of variables that confound categorization. And add to that a 4th distinction - renter/owner - and now your analysis is down for the count. Wait, how about a 5th? Rent-Stabilized-Renter/Market-Rate-Renter. Or a 6th. Coop-Condo-Owner/House-Owner. Earned money or inherited? Native New Yorker or Transplant? Advanced Education or High School? Professional, artist, entrepreneur, student, craftsperson, seeker, agnostic, devout follower, foreigner, new-gentrifier/old-gentrifier, Carribean, bi-racial, multi-racial, Section 8, househusband, unemployed, immigrant, single-mom, D.I.N.K., yuppy, Asian, undocumented, Latino, mixed-marriage, Jewish-Religious/Jewish-Secular, bald, fat, ugly...and anyway, who wants to know?

    Then, as if raised like Golem from light brown clay, along comes a self-described activist ready to pigeonhole us all, neatly, us against them, All-Black vs. All-White, All-Rich vs. All-Poor, All-Jew vs. Not-Jew. Southern-Crown-Heights vs. Lefferts-Gardens vs. The Jewish Quarter. It's all a bit pat, a little unnerving don't you think? God forbid there be any miscegenation, any unassigned friendships, any latte-loving-blacks or Jerk-loving-whites. All of this from the mouth of someone entrenched in the zeitgeist, who contradicting herself wrote lovingly of the new bars and cafes on Airbnb, and who (at least on her internet profile) embraces the diversity as a child does her teddy.

    Bullshit. Again I call bullshit.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Laws are being broken. Civil rights are being denied. Albany is laughing at us. People are hurting.

    But if we learned anything from this nation's gravest and most tragic mistakes, it's that you don't succumb to bigotry even when it seems only fair, and historically called for. Eye for an eye. But listen up MTOPP. You don't get to take the moral high ground and race-bait. You don't get to save certain streets for certain people with certain characteristics. Just like we don't get to tell people who to sell our houses to, or how to raise their kids, or how to worship, or how to think or with whom to associate. Because when you do, you're as bad as the demons you're fighting, and the truth can't will out, and your message will crumble with each dissembling crusade.

    But I digress. Nothing new there! The point here somewhere. Got it. It's a slippery one, definitely full of traps. Gotta be careful lest I articulate it a way that paints me insensitive. Wait, did I think that or write that?

    Simply put, Boyd claims to speak for the black neighborhood that she imagines...not the one that exists. Clearly there are tons of black folk who want nothing to do with her, who don't relate to her, or frankly don't even care. Is she speaking for them? Clearly not. One might say that she's speaking now for everyone who WISHES they could speak up louder and angrier about whichever resentment gets them worked up.

    And that's why it's dangerous. Standing in the room the other nights (last Tuesday and the one before it) as Boyd worked the room, I couldn't help but notice the sheer BREADTH of what she was trying to tap into. It wasn't just "sky-risers," a term that she seems to have coined for the "switch" of the bait-and-switch of a Planning Study with DCP. It was the anger of those whose apartments feel insecure, whose politics feel marginalized by the progressive City administration, whose Socialism feels energized by the current distress, or whose feminism feels disrespected by the men with the microphone - from Eric Adams and Bill de B to Jake Goldstein and yours truly and more.

    Yes the neighborhood is getting whiter. It's also getting wealthier. It's also, and here's the irony, becoming MORE diverse. And while the fear of course is that we're headed towards a white nabe, there's precious little reason to believe it'll all happen tomorrow. It will take time, perhaps not a lot, but the Great City of NY will chip away at the neighborhood's current identity until it looks not only unlike what MTOPP wants, but unlike what LOTS of us want. Want now. Today. With 2015 economy, 2015 desires, 2015 trends. We may not recognize ourselves, but...if we don't take steps to retain our ECONOMIC diversity, we'll miss out on the one option we have to truly retain the livable NYC.

    Not everyone subscribes to such black and white thinking. 

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  • 06/01/15--19:27: Tangled Up In Blue

  • Images like the above are likely to be a much more common occurrence with the coming of new beat cops. Two recent develops will affect those of us in the northern reaches of Flatbush, which came from the most recent 70th Precinct Council meeting:
    • The precinct has assigned two Parade Ground posts, which means there will be four cops working there “pretty much from morning to night,” Executive Officer Sanseverino said, noting that’s “something we’ve never been able to afford.”
    • Flatbush Avenue, from Parkside Avenue to the Junction, has been added to the precinct’s Impact Program — meaning there will be additional police presence in the area during the day, Sanseverino said.

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    A little bird tells the Q that his little olde wine shoppe is opening on Nostrand, not on southern Flabenue as previously reported. That's not to say that the OTHER wine shoppe up by Bluebird Cafe isn't still on. But these things take time, what with the NY State Liquor Authority and everything. But the little bird referenced in the first sentence, who isn't related to Bluebird or the wine shopppe opening near it, is opening on the same block as the world famous Alan's bakery. What along with IM Pastry and Deserts by Michael Allen and a rumored Farm to Market grocery store, Nostrand is shaping up to be the sort of place you can healthy, fat and drunk all in one fell swoop. And express yourself in ceramics with the wonderful Lindiwe Kamau. 

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    Coming to Linden, between Bedford and Rogers:

    Yimby tells the story. What did Billy Joel say about Glass Houses?

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  • 06/04/15--06:57: Crime Blotter
  • Local crime-tracking duo Nicole Fabri and Vinnie Martinos once again put on their forensic gloves to create a geographically specific (it's called Sector C, or Charlie, for Lefferts) portion of the 71st Precinct. Feel free to add anything you know of that didn't get reported in this exercise, which involves going through the reports one by one to determine which are Leffertsian. I'm curious why we don't see all incidents of shooting. I'll ask. I suspect it's because someone must be hit in order to end up in Felony Assaults?

    Crime Report
    April 1 - May 31, 2015

    April 9th, 4:00PM. 308 Sterling street. Cell phone and clothes (shoes) taken physical force.

    April 23rd, 2:30PM. 697 Flatbush. Bike taken by simulation of firearm.

    April 24th, 6:00PM. 49 Clarkson. Victim punched in face. Bag taken containing electronics (Ipad Air.)

    April 24th, 12:00PM. Clarkson and Nostrand Ave. Cell phone taken physical force.

    May 1st, 6:00PM. 537 Flatbush Ave. Commercial store held up at gunpoint. $2000 in cash taken.

    May 4th, 11:00AM. 135 Clarkson Ave. Cell phone taken physical force.

    May 4th, midnight. 214 Lincoln Rd. Cell phone taken physical force. Two females, 20 and 18 yrs old arrested.

    May 8th, 4:30. Nostrand and Winthrop in subway station. Jewelry taken by force.

    May 9th, 7:00PM. 9 Clarkson Ave. Cell phone taken by force, arrested 16 yr old male.

    May 11th, 12:30AM. 25 Lefferts Ave. At gunpoint in hallway of apartment building, $700 in cash and cell phone taken.

    May 12th, 8:30PM. 534 Flatbush Ave. Commercial bodega, removed merchandise from store. Worker tried to stop him, was punched in face. Male 24 yrs old arrest.

    May 13th, 9:00PM. 1026 Nostrand Ave. Commercial restaurant. Physical force used, $120 was taken.

    May 25th, 5:30PM. Flatbush and Winthrop. Cellphone taken by force. 25 yr old male arrested.

    May 25th, 4:00PM. 397 Fennimore. Cell phone taken physical force.

    May 25, 2:00PM. 280 Hawthorne Street. Jewelry taken by force.

    May 29th, 4PM. Flatbush and Ocean Ave in subway station. Cell phone taken.

    Felony Assaults
    April 23rd, 3:00PM. 279 Clarkson Avenue. Perp attempted to shoot victim with firearm. Missed, and was arrested.

    May 24th, 75 Hawthorne St. Person hit with chair. Arrest was made.

    Burglaries (when the police have entrance as front door, without noting that it was forced entry, this can indicate that a person known to the location, who would have access, is the perpetrator)

    March 29, midnight. 1980 Bedford Ave, apartment. Through front door, electronics taken.

    April 5th, 10:00PM 184 Maple Street private house. Took electronics and jewelry. Unknown point of entry.

    April 8th, 9:00PM. 1022 Nostrand Ave. Took $120 and cell phone came in through front door.

    April 9th, 1:00AM. 279 Nostrand Ave. Broke bottom door of bodega. Nothing taken.

    May 2nd, 9:00AM. 225 Parkside Ave. Came in through fire escape. Removed property and 26 y old male was arrested at the scene and is in custody.

    May 18th, 4:30AM. 469 Flatbush Ave. Wendy's restuarnt, no property taken, just damaged front door.

    May 23rd, 4:00AM. 654 Flatbush Ave. Front door damaged, took $100 cash and cell phone.

    May 27th, 10:30PM. 429 Lincoln Rd, apartment Came in through rear door took electronics.

    Grand Larceny (No physical force between victim and perp)

    April 2nd, 7:00PM. 586 New York Avenue, commercial location. Person put wallet down on counter and unknown person took it.

    April 3rd, 5:00PM. 225 Parkside Ave. Perp took tools. 34 yr old male arrested.

    April 5th, 1:00AM. Nostrand and Winthrop. Cell phone taken from person.

    April 27th 7:00PM. (Address?)Took hammer and broke window and took jewelry off shelf.

    May 1st, 1:30AM. Lincoln Rd and Bedford Ave. Front window broken. Credit cards removed from car.

    May 7th 6PM. Sterling and Nostrand. Cell phone taken and arrest was made

    May 9th, 12:00PM. 2400 Beekman. Perp took credit card and cell phone from woman's stroller.

    May 19th, 257 Lefferts Ave. $1400 taken out of private house by unknown means.

    May 24th, 9:00PM. Maple and Flatbush Ave. Perp pick pocketed credit and debit card.

    May 27th, 12:30PM. 565 Flatbush Ave. Pickpocket credit and debit cards.

    Month of April. 187 Lefferts Ave, apartment building. Property manager was collecting rent from tenants without authority and not remitting it to building owner, from January to April 2015, totaling $24,000.

    From April 1 - May 31, 2015, 14 cases of identity theft were reported in our area. Victims were in PLG, the perps were anywhere in the world. 71st Precinct made 3 arrests in the past month and found an ATM skimmer on a bank at Utica and Easter, as well as East New York and Lefferts, and did a warrant on Clarkson where a skimmer was recovered from someone's apartment. Warrant was originally for narcotics but a skimmer was recovered. These are mobile skimmers that can be used by workers in restaurants or anyone else who handles credit cards.

    Grand Larceny Auto
    April 4th, 9:00PM. 576 Parkside Ave. 2001 Tan Chrysler Town and Country stolen.

    April 7th, 7:00AM. 105 Winthrop St. 1998 Gray Lexus stolen.

    April 16th, 8:00PM. 96 Sterling St.1996 Green Acura stolen.

    May 11, 8:00PM. 44 Empire Blvd. 2009 Gray Ford stolen.

    May 26th, 9:30PM. 268 Lincoln Rd. 2014 Blue Yamaha motorcycle stolen.


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