Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog

older | 1 | .... | 52 | 53 | (Page 54) | 55 | 56 | .... | 77 | newer

    0 0

    Those of you who've walked down Clarkson Ave recently must have noticed how dang much demolition and construction is happening. 195 Clarkson was two wood-frames that are about to become this:

    195 Clarkson Rendering
    Notice anything about the people in the rendering? That's right! None of them are fat! And none of them tucked in their tops. The discrimination against thin tuckers continues.

    Oh, and once again, none of these units will be means-tested a/k/a below market/rent stabilized.

    0 0

    Okay, so maybe only the age was the same. But a dude was arrested quite near my home buying Viagara at a not-so-deep discount of $35 for 3. According to reporter Rachel Holliday-Smith they were both arrested for buying and selling prescription medications. Rachel...don't you mean one for buying and one for selling? Or were they passing it back and forth? "Jacking Up" the price as they went.

    From DNA Info

    Questions abound. Was the seller from Canada? Were the pills placebos? And if so, did they do the job anyway? Did the guys stick around, or did they come and go?  Is this the latest offering from Fresh Direct? Could you describe this as a Schwing Operation?

    A Wayne's World Fan or its inspiration?
    In honor of the bust, here's a related picture:

    0 0

    What's with all the flashing neon? Even Castillo de Jagua, soon to open where the last Dominican place was, has invested in some spectacular visuals to go with its victuals.

    Given the recent uptick in neon and flash one might assume that either a) laws governing them have become more lax or b) the price has come down to within reach of the average store owner. All I know is that I'd prefer not to have one shining in MY window when I'm trying to sleep. Thoughts?

    Last night the Q walked down the Flabenue from Empire and was blown away by the nightlife activity. The salons were crowded and lively as usual, but so were the saloons. There was a party scene happening in Bluebird Cafe, a gallery opening at Tugboat, Midwood Flats could have been a college party, there was a packed house at Burger Mexicano, Erv's was filled to the gills with jovial inebriation, Westbury Inn was getting rolling, an elegant crowd raised wine glasses to their personal pan pizzas at Parkside, Mango Seed and Zurilee were jumping...all that to say the Flabenue has come a long way in just three or four years. And unlike Franklin Ave north of Eastern Parkway, the crowd seems more comfortably diverse, by age, race and style. I've not yet felt compelled to call Flatbush FRATbush, though somebody's gotta be the first. Okay, I'll be the first. Flatbush is becoming Fratbush. Too easy...and not really true. Where IS Fratbush? Ah yes. Near Barclay's and downtown. Particularly on game nights.

    0 0
  • 01/31/16--16:01: New Winthrop Neighbors

  • 0 0

    Thx to Diane Greene Lent for taking some pictures of the carnage. Nicely collaged to boot!

    0 0
  • 02/03/16--12:22: Scrapping
  • Okay, question. Who of you knows what this is? No reading!

    When I was growing up most people had 'em. That's right, the Disposall. I always wondered why dad pronounced it so funny, but now I get it. The spelling suggests it. I never knew it looked like the above pic, though, just under the sink, usually covered by a cupboard. I just assumed there was some metal troll down there chewing up the orange and banana peels, and occasionally, a spoon. You had to run some water, and I guess people thought that was wasteful. These days the things don't take much water at all.

    Some of you young-'uns might not know it, but there was a HUGE environmental movement in the 1970's. During the OPEC oil crisis everyone started looking to save on fossil fuels. "Don't heat up the whole outdoors!" was a favorite line when you left the front door open. "Kill-a-Watt" was an ad campaign. A guy named Eul Gibbons ate a whole tree when he wasn't hawking Grape Nuts cereal. (I think he might have died from too much bark; I can't remember the true story). My grandpa was way into organic foods and jarring. Granted he'd been a farmer his whole life, but he understood there was a big difference between what you grow to eat and what you grow to sell at market - usually food meant for cattle and pigs anyway. Everyone talked about how we were destroying the planet. There were books, and movies (remember Soylent Green?) about how overpopulation was going to make us all follow the vision of that Neil Young song.

    Now everyone likes to talk compost. I compost (some). Do you compost? It's become a bit of a politically correct conversation. Smug, even, like saying "that's so easy" during a Trivial Pursuit question. So I goes over to neighbor Kendall Christensen's house (in le Manor) for coffee and a healthy fruit breakfast, and he entertains me with the story of Maple Street School's move to its Lincoln Road location about 10 years ago (he was instrumental in that difficult endeavor) and his current stewardship of the Linden Avenue extended care facility - the NY Congregational Nursing Home - you know, the site where the old building at 123 Linden is going to be taken down in exchange for 20+ story apartment building. Both those stories deserve their own posts! But then Kendall blurts forward and blows my mind with his beliefs, well-researched and documented by his core business, which is garbage, literally. Here's what he says:

    We shouldn't be focusing on composting to solve our food waste needs. It's about turning the waste into watery goo and sending it to through the sewers. The time for the Disposall's return, ladies and gentlemen, is NOW. Here's his treatise:

    Following the Philadelphia food scrap model

    Philadelphia leaders recently amended the city's building code to require all new residences to include in-sink food waste disposers. In the wake of that action, a consultant with long-time ties to the country's largest producer of sink disposal systems offers his viewpoint on the state of residential food scrap diversion.
    January 26, 2016
    By Kendall Christiansen, principal of Gaia Strategies
    Kendall Christiansen
    The lowly garbage disposal is turning the corner to new-found respectability as an essential element in urban toolkits for managing household food scraps.
    The latest evidence: In December, Philadelphia adopted a building code requirement for in-sink disposers in all new residential construction, beginning now. The City Council’s action, followed by then-Mayor Michael Nutter’s endorsement, emerged from three years of discussion and research, including a 175-home demonstration project conducted in partnership with InSinkErator.
    Over the course of a year, moderate-income homeowners received a disposer and learned how to use it effectively; waste audits, surveys and focus groups confirmed high levels of satisfaction and use, which was not surprising, given that 60 million disposers are installed across the U.S.
    Most importantly, the project found that food waste – approximately 10 percent of Philadelphia's residential waste – was reduced by 35 percent. Similar projects in five other cities (Boston; Calgary, Alberta; Chicago; Milwaukee; and Tacoma, Wash.) confirmed or improved on those results.
    What's more, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) – recognized nationally for its innovative leadership – joined the project as it was being planned. PWD operates two state-of-the-art water resource recovery facilities that turn slurried food waste into clean water, biogas and Class A biosolids. It also confirmed findings from a dozen studies that additional water from disposer-using households is minimal.

    Multiple methods a must

    Prior to consideration of the in-sink disposer project, Philly had already resisted truck-based collection of household organics. For a host of reasons – including pest and odor management – it also has encouraged use of commercial disposers for more than 25 years.
    Ultimately, the city's decision acknowledges the need for multiple tools to tackle the challenges – and harness opportunities – associated with managing food scraps as a resource, especially in dense urban areas with high percentages of apartment dwellers. Philadelphia also supports community-based composting and is reviewing other options as part of its current solid waste management plan process.
    In addition, using food waste disposers in this manner addresses three key goals of Philadelphia's GreenWorks sustainability plan: less trash, more renewable energy, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
    Other cities – both those that participated in a demonstration project and those that did not – are considering in-sink disposers with a fresh perspective.
    The method is no longer hidden under the sink. Philadelphia's decision to embrace and embed disposers into residential buildings and infrastructure systems will help advance similar initiatives elsewhere.
    Kendall Christiansen is principal of Gaia Strategies, based in Brooklyn, NY. He formerly was senior consultant to InSinkErator, leading its public and environmental affairs work across the U.S.; he continues to support its engagement in the organics resource discussion across Canada.

    Then, in response to my question about why Disposall's were banned from many new and old apartment buildings, he had this to say:

     "This week the City Council is doing an oversight hearing on the pilot program to separately collect organic waste (food scraps and yard waste) in certain neighborhoods. One of our neighbors is intensely engaged in this issue - sharing the goal of getting food scraps out of our trash and landfills - but from the perspective of managing it as a liquid resource (which means underground pipes) rather than a solid (which means trucks). He played a small role in the city's legalization of in-sink food waste disposers (aka garbage disposals) in 1997, and has been working with cities across the U.S. and Canada for the past decade to promote their use. His home has kept virtually 100% of their food waste out of household trash for nearly 20 years.

    Yes, there remains something of what i call the "old building pipes syndrome" - which is mostly a myth, but has been sufficient to keep some buildings from installing them; esp true of rentals, where disposers can be abused and present more of a maintenance issue (or at least the perception of, for NYers generally unfamiliar with them). After city-wide legalization in 1997, Battery Park City required them in its last six apartment buildings, and NYCHA began installing them - initially as a pilot and then as a standard appliance when renovating kitchens. I've had numerous discussions w/sanitary engineers who try to advise building clients to not be concerned; common sense would suggest that pulverizing food scraps makes it LESS likely for pipes to be obstructed - when compared with NOT having a disposer and people flushing leftovers down their toilets (yes; i've heard pretty amazing stories, even from folks that should know better). A pipes video here. on a going forward basis, IF apartment buildings are given a choice between managing a food scraps collection system, or installing/using disposers, it's pretty clear to me which option most will choose.

    0 0
  • 02/04/16--11:03: Prosecution...and Defense.
  • Holy cow. Why would the Q deprive readers of the verbal pyrotechnics in advance of my trial tonight to be removed as Transportation Chair of CB9? One of the reasons I joined the Board in the first place was to share a (big) bird's eye view on the mechanism of local government. So here's Alicia's latest "poem," sent to hundreds of her minions and plenty of swiped emails, and then my response. Happy reading!

    Reminder Today!

    Dear Neighbors
    CB9’s Executive Board will be considering Tim Thomas removal off of the Transportation Committee
    on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 7 pm
    at 890 Nostrand Ave.
    This man should not only be removed from the Transportation Committee
    but from the Board.
    And it should not just be because of a fabricated vote,
    but his whole mannerism and lack of professionalism,
    his aggression and lack of respect.  His racist blog.
    He has called the black community, Nutjobs, afraid, assoholics etc...
    He called his members of his committee, “Fucking Clowns
    He referred to FOIL requests as “Bullshit
    He has an harassment charged filed against him
    Petitions have been presented against him and given to CB9
    and to Eric Adams,
    He has disrespected his fellow board members by talking about
    them in his blog post.
    He has stood up time and time again yelling at the public
    making personal attacks against members of the community.
    So please come out and let CB9 Executive Board know
    It is time for him to go!
    Also please come and see if the Chairs of CB9 now consider
    themselves apart of the Executive Board with voting power.
    In violation of our Bylaws!
    (718) 703-3086

    Wow! Ms. Boyd, even for you, this is over-the-top. Since you've stated many lies and allegations to the world, I believe I should respond. The folks you sent this email to include dozens of community members, many of whom I consider friends. You have also sent it to elected officials and members of the media. Shame on you.

    First: I love my neighborhood. I love the black community, and I prize the black culture of my home borough. Many of the readers of my blog are black, and continue to appreciate my frank essays on race. Some disagree - white, black, other. But I am always respectful, clear, and pointed in my criticism of ongoing racism and injustice. I look at issues in the face. Sometimes I don't like what I see coming from white folks and I call them out on their bull. Sometimes the hypocrites are people of color. I am proud of every statement I've made and stand by it. I don't think you have read much of what I've written, or you would never call me out for racism. I will never know what it is to be a person of color in this society, and I don't pretend to. I speak from the heart. BUT none of that has anything to do with my work on the Community Board - I merely express myself as you do, under the full protection of the First Amendment. I will continue to exercise that right.

    Second: You are indeed a menace to civil discourse and I will continue to call you out, and certain members of your group, for your hateful, disruptive and menacing behavior. I've seen you go off on me and other members of the Board. Were I the Chair, frankly I would have you barred from meetings for at least a year. There is precedence, and I will continue to advocate for your prompt removal from meetings you disrupt. That is my right, though clearly not all the Board is inclined to agree with me. Unlike you, I respect the majority opinion.

    Third: What I said about the addition of Karen Fleming to my committee was not meant for anyone's ears but the person with whom I was speaking. And I apologized to the person who felt she was lumped in with her, and you. Karen Fleming had already logged numerous complaints about me before the Board, and it's my belief she should never have been added to a committee that I chair. She can join other committees as the Chair sees fit, but her addition actually broke the Chair's commitment to not add more Community members than Board members to a committee. I'll ask that she and others be removed. Again, it's the Chair's call.

    Four: You should try running a meeting with openly hostile participants. It ain't easy! I've been fair, but I've been firm. I will listen, but I won't be bullied.

    Five: I have never called the Black Community "nutjobs or ass-a-holics." I have called you and two other members of your scrum that. In honor of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., I have judged you on the content of your character. One of your pals likes to point a finger in my face and call me "KKK." Nice. You have a nasty habit of calling people who don't agree with you "Uncle Toms." Again, nice. You have no moral authority to call me out on anything.

    Six: I did call your FOIL request "bullshit." Why? Because you need only have asked us the question. Your constant threats of legal action only underscore just how unable you are to play nicely, as a team. 

    Seven: I have never fabricated ANYTHING. I repeat, I have never fabricated ANYTHING. I have already been through this with the Board. The minutes from the meeting in question will be voted on at the next Transportation Committee meeting. There were occasional mistakes made, but never, I repeat NEVER have a lied about anything in public. EVER.

    You speak a lot about "community" Alicia Boyd. It's high time you exercise the idea in your own life and in your activism. We are not your enemy - we are your neighbors.


    0 0

    Perhaps you've heard the racket coming out of a basement on Lefferts. Babe the blue OX, once a fixture of Lower East Side dens of iniquity, plays a show at the Dad-Rock friendly hour of 3:30 pm sharp (3pm doors) on Saturday Feb 6 at the Owl Music Parlor right here in Lefferts at 497 Rogers. Some of you Daddy and Mommy rockers may know Elizabeth Mitchell, who's child-friendly records for Smithsonian Folkways make excellent entries into the American folk canon. She'll be playing with her sweet singing band IDA. With appearances by Karla and Matt Schickele (of "K" and Beekeeper fame - Karla also runs the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.), and Chris Rael& Tom Kotik. Should be a great time. The sets are short, the whole shebang will be over by 6, in time for some late afternoon pie at Pels or sammiches at Gratitude Cafe.

    $10 at the door, all proceeds benefit the kids of beloved lost brother Jan Kotik, a gem of a musician and artist who will be missed til the day we die. He moved to Prague a dozen years ago, married, had two adorable boys, and died at a tender age.

    0 0

    It is with both surprise and relief that the Q is here to tell you just how disappointed and oddly elated he is. I am. I've been removed as Chair of Transportation, after enduring an evening of blatant lies about my character. I was particular struck by LMA President Ben Edwards' harsh words. He barely every speaks at all, and apparently he holds me in extremely low regard. Perhaps his miserable work as ULURP Committee Chair last year plays into it? To date, I've not knocked any members of the Board personally, and I'll continue to try as best I can to take the high road. Ben blew me off when I looked for LMA to weigh in on the Empire Reconstruction Project. As in he didn't say "no." He just never responded.

    I'm not feeling anything yet. BUT, I did send the below to anyone and everyone. I joined the Board in part to shed some light onto its inner workings. Why stop now? 

    Chair Demetrius Lawrence:

    Okay. This is very disappointing. I believe that the members last night have internalized all the nasty things that Alicia Boyd and Karen Fleming and their group have been saying about me. They are false, and personal. No one who knows me, or has read extensively of my writings, could conceivably call me a racist. I take great offense, and will continue to call out people who take quotes out of context to skewer me.

    The content of last night's meeting was clear. The Board is unable to contain a virus that has spread through the membership. It is poisonous, and it is vicious. Rather than stand up to it, and support your fellow Board member, you decided to capitulate.

    I do not agree at all that members of the Community Board cannot be activist members of society in general. The Board's assertion that we must somehow remain silent and passive while people in the community hijack our meetings is offensive to the hundreds of people who have signed petitions to the contrary. Look around you - on other Community Boards you will find countless members and officers and chairs who could easily be called activists and outspoken critics of politics. This is not a fault - it's a plus! If anything I fault board members for NOT taking stronger positions against housing injustice, City planning, greedy landlords and developers, and broken City agencies.

    Today you did a great disservice to the community. By once again caving to the outrageous behavior of MTOPP, you have shown that you do not have the resolve to stand up to Ms. Boyd.

    Mr. Chairman, I think you are trying to be all things to all people. That is NOT leadership. You have alienated a giant segment of our neighborhood in order to appease a few.

    And I will not be silent as CB9 continues to mock the very idea of community by removing hard working, caring and passionate members of that community. To remove someone for breaking a rule or law - that's one thing. Today, you cut me loose because a few members of the community don't agree with me and set out to "destroy me," in the worlds of Alicia Boyd.

    With respect to you personally, but not to your actions today,


    P.S. I will not remain on the ULURP committee. Chair Liburd has done a tremendous job trying to run the meetings in the face of MTOPP's behavior. But the meetings themselves have become a farce. After twice voting for a Planning Study, the Board continues to drag its feet. 

    On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Demetrius Lawrence <> wrote:

    Good morning. 

    I want to first Thank you for attending last night’s special executive committee meeting. 

    We appreciate and Thank you for your service as Chair of the Transportation committee, however at this time as Chairman of this Community Board 9 and in accordance with our by laws; Article VII sec. 8.2 (The committee chairpersons shall be appointed members, shall be appointed annually by the Chairperson of the Board and shall serve at the pleasure of the Chairperson of the Board), I will remove you as Chair of the Transportation committee effective immediately.

    Myself or another executive committee member will be chairing next weeks transportation committee meeting. Please share with Terri and myself any additional information for the February 10th Transportation committee meeting.

    Tim as you offer a wealth of knowledge and information to this board, we would like for you to remain as a member of our ULURP committee.


    Demetrius Lawrence
    Chairman - CB9 

    0 0

    The Q had always wondered where all the talk of my racist blog started. I combed old posts for things I might have written that could be misconstrued. I guess I figured my sense of humor was such that sarcasm could get me in trouble. I blame David Letterman. I was a pretty sincere kid, then I caught the irony bug. It's really hard to wash it out in the tub.

    A couple years ago I came across a guy named Imani Henry. His group "Equality for Flatbush" sounded great on the surface. The anti-gentrification thing seemed a tough sell, but he'd been priced out of various neighborhoods (who hasn't?) and felt that black Brooklyn was being colonized. Basically, I agreed, and we spoke on the phone about his efforts to film cops doing bad stuff. Cop Watch. I think it's become a lot tougher for police to go all Rodney King knowing they'll be filmed, but clearly it hasn't stopped the insanity. I never imagined what would happen next. He went crazy on me at a CB9 meeting after I called out Alicia Boyd as a jerk. This was, in his mind, paramount of treason.

    When Imani hooked up with Alicia and MTOPP they saw that they were birds of a feather. They were willing to go to any length to achieve their objectives...actually, I still don't fully understand what their objectives are. Clearly there's a power thing there, the ability to say you're leading a movement, that you have substance, that your thoughts and values have worth in society. (Wait...why does that sound so familiar?)

    Last year a petition was put out asking for my removal from CB9. I wasn't surprised to hear that MTOPP was pushing it. The racism cry was painful but I kinda got it. Nobody likes a big white guy yelling at you. Nobody. Except maybe at a football game. My bad.

    So who was behind the petition? Who was pushing it and making it such a big deal? I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to learn it was Imani Henry. "Equality" for Flatbush indeed. What a sad excuse for an activist, sinking to lying about people and skulking behind the scenes. Oh, he'd deny it of course. But this time Mr. Henry, you've been caught red-handed. The Q has unearthed the following email, and clearly Mr. Henry did NOT want to go one the record as having written and promoted the petition. As a local blogger I guess this as close as I'm going to get to the Pentagon Papers.

    0 0

    Whoa, Nelly! Time to step back into the light of love, joy and stand-up comedy. Right in the P.L. of G. Designed to coincide with everyone's least favorite holiday...even those in love stress out about it. Amiright?

    0 0

    Depending on the size of the gash in the tire, the air leaks fast or slow, and last night, the squeak was audible as the fierce rhetoric of the past few months came down to a simple, maybe even simplistic, presentation. The Empire Study Group, which lists Alicia Boyd as one of its principals, presented its Plan for Empire Boulevard last night. The strip of commercially zoned properties from Flatbush to Bedford is hardly magisterial in its current incarnation, but it has taken on an outsized role in the battle for the future of the neighborhood.

    Richard Bearak, the Borough President's head of Land Use, presented first, followed by an update on the exciting plans for the Bedford-Union Armory. Then Professor Tom Angotti, much in need of a lozenge, shared summation of his numerous encounters with the Empire Study Group by suggesting that the current C8-2 zoning already invites creative commercial uses, even if none of them have been hitherto attempted. Suggestions were plentiful and myriad. Museums, pharmacies, bistros, community centers, creative streetscapes, a roller rink (I know, I know) or re-purposing of bulky storage marts…the list goes on. Best part, says Angotti, you don't have to rezone and give up ANYthing. Just take residential development off the table. In fact, the vast majority of attendees and committee members at last night's ULURP committee meeting seem to favor taking Empire Blvd completely off the Planning Study request to the City. Without the presence of Alicia Boyd (did she too have a cold?) I must say the whole proceedings were anxious but civil. As I've noted many times before, the disagreements are really not so severe as to deserve Ms. Boyd's vitriol, vendetta and insistent character assassination. It's a discussion, a disagreement even, but it's not nor should it ever be all out war.

    But here's the thing. City Planning officials have already told us, in public and private, that they are not going to invest oodles of resources for a net result of no new housing. Because in the heart of a housing crisis, for homes at ALL income levels, it simply doesn't make sense to create less opportunities for growth, and less opportunities for affordable housing. They maintain that our neighborhood has precious little space available for new apartments that DON'T involve teardowns.  Empire Blvd is perfect for new construction, and developers will be keen to build decently and pay for amenities and infrastructure and even 20 or 30 percent affordable set-asides because, well, people will WANT to live near the Park and Garden and plentiful transit. For that, they'd look at "soft spots" throughout the proposed area from NY Ave to the Park and E.P. to Clarkson, to help us fend off unnecessary and out-sized apartment buildings. 

    And that leaves us at an impasse. Much of the neighborhood would desperately like new protections against teardowns and overdevelopment. But those near Empire are unwilling to cede their commercial frontier to new residents. We have what they might call a humdinger of a conundrum.
    But then we always knew this. There were no surprises last night, and thankfully no bloodshed. Just a restatement of the problem. And while visions of a commercially enticing, walkable couple of blocks leading up to the Park might sound alluring, we do not own the land, nor does the City. Private hands will make private decisions based on how best to grow their investments. Richard seems to think a likely scenario would be some sort of mixed-use medical facility, as Obamacare makes the CityMDs more viable economically. Look for 10 to 12 story buildings of SOMEthing, he says, even hotels. But it remains highly unlikely that landowners will poor millions into amenities like the ones of the Empire Study Group plan. Another scenario? Economic downturn. And...nothing. No changes, no residential, no new commercial...but plenty of burgers!

    For those just joining the conversation, the Q enjoys restating the obvious:

    To recap…

    1) Your Community Board #9, yours truly in cahoots, conducted a series of meetings and forums in 2013-14 to determine how best to respond to aggressive development in the area, particularly in response to the giant tower at 626 Flatbush.

    2) The Board voted overwhelmingly in Spring 2014 to send City Planning a letter requesting that a Planning Study be jointly undertaken, to determine how best to plan for growth, affordability and infrastructure while protecting the context, economics and history of the neighborhood.

    3) Alicia Boyd formed a resistance group to prevent such a Planning Study to commence, lest the City place ITS priorities over those of surrounding community residents, most notably, herself.

    4) In Fall of 2014, Ms. Boyd managed to so disrupt Community Board meetings and change the dynamics to such a degree that the Board reversed itself, rescinded the letter and offer to work with Planning, and began to scheme a better use for Empire Blvd than residential. MTOPP claimed that huge towers were planned that would destroy the neighborhood and lead to unchecked gentrification; elected officials said no, 10-14 stories were more likely in a contextual rezoning, and only that tall if they included substantial set-asides for affordable apartments at (roughly) 60% of Area Media Income, or families of 4 making up to $50,000. (It should be noted that the housing market continued to froth, and gentrification continued unabated even as the standoff wore on.) The City's retorts were ridiculed as lies and MTOPP attacked anyone who dared contradict that conclusion. This led to the resignation of CB9's newly elected board chair, its secretary, and the filing of numerous lawsuits aimed to rid the CB of corruption. The Q took aim and fired at MTOPP frequently and without mercy, citing Ms. Boyd's seeming inability to listen, compromise and play nice. Ms. Boyd devised a counterattack that included not just the Q but all elected officials and district manager Pearl Miles, among many others. Mr. Imani Henry of "Equality for Flatbush" orchestrated a petition for Tim Thomas's ouster based on his supposed racist hatred of the entire black community, of which he, Alicia Boyd, Karen Fleming and Mathieu Eugene are apparently the sole members. 

    5) Amidst Ms. Boyd's relentless attacks, DM Miles was canned in October of 2015. There was much rejoicing, but there was also a $20 million lawsuit and a lot of paper back up her claims, all of which she took with her on her way out the door. Ms. Miles has pledged to do everything in her power to see that her enemies meet justice, both financial and otherwise. Oh, and she wants her job back. What an odd scene that would be, should it come to pass. Welcome back to hell, Pearl! Especially since she'd probably retire soon after.

    6) The Community Board continued to deliberate the arcane details of Zoning Regulations amidst a citywide effort to address, in its eyes, the obstacles preventing the production of better and more affordable housing.  CBs, often known for their reactionary NIMBYism, responded in character, overwhelmingly disapproving ANY increases in density at the hands of the City. Economists note that this is not the first city-wide construction boom, nor should we expect it to last indefinitely. Choices, both made and unmade, may bear consequences for decades to come. That is, it's not often that the City is in a position to dictate (mandate) affordable housing be built and manage to keep a seat at REBNY's bountiful table.

    7) We wait. And wait. And wait. While the Board rearranges the deck chairs on the Titanic. Like so much of what I've seen come before the Board, there is no consensus in the making. Only reiterations of the same tired positions.

    Perhaps, as with the Congress of this great nation, this is how democracy is supposed to work. Sometimes it's designed to ensure that we do nothing at all, while we bitterly dig ourselves deeper into our own rigid positions.

    0 0
  • 02/12/16--09:45: Scumbags Harassing Gardeners
  • Nice guys, these Makhani Brothers. So incensed are they that someone might challenge their allegedly faked deed to the land under the Maple Street Garden that they've taken to harassing the gardeners with all manner of legal mumbo jumbo. Story from Nathan Tempey at Gothamist. What was that Public Enemy song? Bring the Lawyers?

    The Q's loving this pic! I like pretending they're watching an environmentally friendly mime promoting composting.

    0 0

    Rebecca Baird-Remba from NY Yimby shows just how much my block will change thx to the unfriendly zoning of R7-1. No more Pentecostal crooning, I guess. The folks who lived in one of these houses were among the sweetest on the street. Sigh. And no affordable units in the new building.

    Brookland Capital is taking Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush by storm. Yesterday the Bed-Stuy-based developer filed plans for an eight-story building at 88 Clarkson Avenue, which will be its fifth new project in the area.
    The 75-foot-tall building will rise only two and a half blocks from Prospect Park, between Flatbush and Bedford avenues. The Parkside Avenue Q stop is close by, and so is the Winthrop Street stop on the 2 and 5 trains.
    The development will hold 46 apartments and 31,750 square feet of residential space. Apartments will average just 690 square feet, signaling lots of studios and one-bedrooms and possibly rentals.
    The ground floor will be devoted to recreation space, parking, and a lobby. Each of the upper floors will host six to seven units. The parking garage on the first floor will include 14 spots – the minimum required to satisfy zoning.
    The 8,500-square-foot development site is currently home to a squat single-story church and two wood frame houses clad in vinyl siding. Demolition permits have not yet been filed to knock down the old structures.

    0 0

    (back from Mexico City and ready to rumble like a Lucha Libre warrior! Just call me El Q-sadilla. )

    Now that yours truly has been dumped fom the Transportation Committee, I can sit back and enjoy the show once more without fear of walking into booby traps. Actually, there's a suit that's been filed to have me, Warren Berke, Michael Liburd and Chair Demetrius Lawrence removed for the board for being, um, active and involved? Men? Not sure precisely. That's coming from MTOPP, so look for a judge to dismiss it as fast as a cowboy Dollar Van rips up the Flabenue.

    Tonight, after nearly two years of braying and naying, the good folks at MTOPP and their more politically palatable Empire Study Group (their Sinn Fein?) have an opportunity to present their plan for the two blocks of Empire Blvd currently zoned for commercial uses only. Having heard the yarn already, wanna know the secret? They'd like to keep it that way, but encourage festive uses of the low rise variety.

    Other agenda items and their flyer below. See y'all there! (Oh, and if you're curious about the history of "The Bridge" agenda item, here's some background. And if you'd like a copy of CB9's draft budget requests to the City, just shoot me an email and I'll send it to you. It's 31 pages long, but an easy read. And it needs a LOT of review.)

    0 0
  • 02/24/16--07:28: Last Night's CB9 Meeting
  • The Q gets it. You have better things to do with your time than have Cabia Doily's spit get spat on your pate. So here's the deal in a nutshell.

    MTOPP/Empire Study Group presented their hopes for Empire, as I've noted previously. Professor Tom Angotti continued his spurious claims that only his version of "planning" is actual planning. He's tussled with NYC City Planning for years about his distaste for new housing, so there's no surprise there that he thinks Planning does not actually plan. Actually, I think he's a bit out of touch, locked in his Ivory tower, having long ago left the NYC agency. In a private aside, he told me that demanding affordable housing from developers is a terrible idea. While I'd agree that the City should do more to build deeply affordable subsidized housing on its own, I hardly see why it's a problem to get some lower-income working-folks housing built during boom times. I guess, as they say, we can agree to disagree? Actually, no, that's not the MTOPP way. There shall be no disagreeing; just shouting and demanding utter allegiance, and there was plenty of THAT last night.

    The Brooklyn Flea founder Jonathan Butler was there. The Board voted lopsidedly to support his request for a full liquor license for his Smorgasbord thingy in Prospect Park on summer Sundays. It proved successful last year, though the Q doesn't particularly care for all the new fangled sliders and Korean Tacos and veggie things that really shouldn't be veggie, OR $10. To each his own. I've decided to support any new business, so long as its not run by felons, felon accomplices, or ne'er-do-wells more generally. (see comments for disclaimers on that.)

    Blessings got full support for wine and beer license, as did Castillo de Jagua. Both joints are near each other in Lower Flabenue. Lakeside will add outdoor liquor space.

    The contentious liquor license app-of-the-eve came from a new restaurant/bar tentatively and poorly monikered Crow Bar. You might recall the gay bar of the same name in Manhattan, but that's not why I say poorly named. If anything we could use a gay bar around here. The Crow Hill area of Crown Heights was named, many say, for the prison that stood there, and was a derogatory reference to black folks. Others contend a less racial derivation, though I'm inclined to side with the story that exposes the worst of human nature. The vote on that one - at 820 Franklin at Union - was 17 yes, 12 no, 5 abstentions. That means there wasn't a majority in favor, so the app did not pass. Or DID it?

    Chanina Sperlin contends his vote wasn't counted!

    Chanina Sperlin: Did he, or didn't he?

    Mr. Sperlin, it must be noted, has a habit of getting up and walking out of the room to take or place phone calls. What to do about the dispute? His name is strikingly similar to Rabbi Spellman's! Was that the cause of confusion? Or was he, as Chair Lawrence contended, out of the room at the time of the vote? Well...there's tons of video tape going on these days. More intrigue...will the video-makers allow the use of their film for this purpose, as it would potentially contradict their desire to see the application rejected?

    Oh, the suspense. As Jonathan Butler, who is also the Founder of, said to me - "I've never seen anything like this, anywhere." Well said. The Greatest Show On Earth continues to wow and amaze. No need for elephants or tigers or PETA protests.

    0 0

    Sad to hear the Chancellor has plans to close the local Lefferts Gardens Charter School. It opened with such optimism 6 years ago, but staff and board issues made the early days anything but smooth sailing, and some say it struggled to gain its footing. Still, my impression that principal Michael Windram had put things on a strong course in the past couple years. If you'd like to see LGCS remain as an option in the 'hood, please sign the petition!

    In brighter news, right down on the corner, at Rogers and Parkside, the terrific Gratitude Cafe has opened a second location. Please stop in and join the chorus of congrats to Richard Otto & Annalisa Riordan. They've been nothing but sweet and gracious boosters of everything Lefferts since they opened up at Midwood/Rogers. Their food is delicious and homemade, the space welcoming, and the smiles genuine. Feeling certain this new location will hit all the right chords. Good luck R&A!

    0 0
  • 02/25/16--07:07: The Substance
  • Beyond the outrageous rhetoric, MTOPP and the Empire Study Group that it spawned have pretty much controlled the discussion of what should happen to the two blocks leading up to Prospect Park. They have invested considerable time in preempting any City-led Planning Study for the ENTIRE western portion of the district (New York Ave to the Park, Empire Blvd to Clarkson). It's hard to believe, but what started as a desire on the part of many of us to plan the growth strategy for the neighborhood became class and race warfare over that tiny chunk of real estate. Yet, there it is.

    The Q would hate to disqualify their ideas outright as woefully impractical, so I'm publishing their entire Power Point presentation without comment - except this. All of the safety, bike lane, and landscaping improvements would be part of a City plan too, one that would include market rate and affordable housing capped at around 12-14 stories (not the ludicrous 25 stories that ESG insists). I think it would be disingenuous to suggest this the most universally embraced ideas come from MTOPP. Many of them are, in fact, already on the table, study or not. That said...

    0 0
  • 02/26/16--09:49: To Being Or Not To Being
  • photo by Sarah Crean and DPC

    What a terrific piece from Sarah Crean at Ditmas Park Corner on the CaribBEING House. Don't tell me you weren't curious when you saw the "box car" on the plaza at the Caton Market. Not just for lovable hobos anymore, these old rail and truck containers are being repurposed for every kind of use from housing to small business storefronts. I won't give away the myriad purposes of this colorful spot...please read Sarah's piece. But I'll risk ridicule by placing right here my submission for best neighborhood artist's name, as referenced in the article, the first artist in residence at the CaribBEING House: Shakespeare Guirand of Haiti.

    Forgive me if I "borrow" another of Sarah's photos to tease with you what's inside the metallic barrier:

    photo by Sarah Crean for Ditmas Park Blog

    0 0
  • 02/26/16--11:19: The Sensational Seven

  • Were you to wander one shoppe north of Tafari Tribe on the Flabenue, with the frustratingly tantalizing name Tafari Cafe (where's the Ethiopian coffee we were promised?) above the entrance, you might peer in at a wildly eclectic collection of handmade crafts, jewelry and clothing and wonder what it's all about. Well I'm here to tell you - this is a store you simply must experience, because the breadth of goods and gifts is staggering. It's a (hopefully) longterm Pop-Up shop known as Brooklyn Flair and it deserves your patronage.

    Why you ask? Because the shop shares the wares of six wholly unique and experienced female entrepreneurs. Zenobia Marion, Enkunish Hailu, Saidah Haye, Naeemah Senghor, Sequoia David and Brenda Edwards-Gueye, with the marketing panache of their charismatic impresario, design consultant Blane Charles. The wonders within? Nu Ade Nourishing Hair Oils, exquisite artisinal African molded silver jewelry, hand crocheted items, handmade soaps and outlandish used clothing...if you've ever searched for a gift or special treat for yourself or home, this is a must visit. With the brilliant Tafari Tribe next door, you could spend hours and hundreds of dollars without leaving your neighborhood. I know that sounds like it might be a BAD thing, but in this case, BAD most definitely means good.

    Skip right to the pictures below, or stop on in and meet these ladies in person, rather than read on as the Q muses about just why such a shop is a local treasure, and the people behind it deserve the true title Local Gentry.

    Something happened when the world went digital that is hard to express, and a writer with much greater facility than the Q has certainly given it a go. Oh, I could find and read such an essay, but I have time only to write, not read, so here goes. 

    In the past, most humans lived their lives in relative obscurity to everyone but family and friends and co-workers and tribe, until, oh, about 1995, at which time we started showing up in search engines, engaged in the business of life and the life of business, doing things both boring and silly and cute and perverse. Once your lifestyle involved any dot-coms, even for hobby or sex, your every public (and sometimes NON public) activity was part of the permanent record we call The Cloud, or Web, or some other equally inadequate metaphor, since clouds and webs aren't nearly so categorized, stored and sorted by ones and zeroes.

    Something I found when I started working with older-generation folks in our neighborhood was that it wasn't so easy to "google" their accomplishments and affiliations. Was this because of race and culture? Sort of. But have you ever tried to google your own mom or grandpa, and found nary a trace? Unless of course they had some sort of celebrity - say an artist or politician or captain of industry. The history of the world up until 1995 was primarily told by newspapers and historians, who were always waxing subjective about their subjects. And their subjects were rarely middle managers, aspiring this-or-thats, teachers, community leaders, clergy etc.

    It is clear to anyone who walks into Brooklyn Flair that the six vivacious figures selling their wares are the sorts of women who really should have their own Wikipedia entries with lots of footnotes. (Have you ever googled someone and thought "well she seems to be very accomplished" and then realized you've merely seen a bunch of reiterations of the same tired copy that accompanies their website or press release? As in, it doesn't take much to "appear accomplished" on the latenight web search. And the aforementioned Sir Charles aside, beware the word "consultant." It might more accurately be phrased "under-employed." Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. Many of my best friends could thusly be described.)

    The Q stopped in on the coldest day of the year just to shoot a picture and determine what PLGNA's Brenda Edwards-Gueye had latched herself onto. What I found was a bunch of long-time residents with stories to tell and histories to recount, about a neighborhood often called "in-transition," but in-transition from what exactly? The newcomers tend to come with google-able attributes and careers. The older generation not so much. But their stories would bore a hole in your noggin.

    Brenda was telling me that despite being a schoolteacher herself, she like many others in the '70s, sent their kids to private cooperative schools with names you've likely never heard of. While white hippies were inventing any number of counter-cultural education options, Afro-centric Americans were also dropping out of the mainstream to re-contextualize the American experience outside the typical canon of "white men, their wars, language and art." Whole academies and schools of thought and fashion and music and art and literature grew from the minds of newly radicalized imaginations. Much of that idea is familiar to middle class-and-up whites, the stories told by their older generation or memorialized in books, movies and memorabilia. But another story existed right alongside, a black world, a black neighborhood, a black REALITY. And as is also true of contemporary Brooklyn, it existed right alongside the other realities, rarely crossing the others in any meaningful ways, except on the subway or at the bodega.

    Perhaps the one place where the Q's lily-white world collided with this black consciousness was in music. Once I discovered (in high school in Ames, IA at the public library) Funkadelic, Miles Davis, the Ohio Players and later the early rap of Grandmaster Five and the beatbox music of Afrika Bambaataa and his Zulu Nation, the books Malcolm X and Roots by Alex Haley, poetry-essays-art then in college, it became clear that two very distinct versions of America were being expressed and explored.

    Sometimes the two WOULD connect - the younger of you will probably never fully appreciate what a nation-wide moment was the telecast of Roots. (Actually, the idea of a "telecast" is probably meaningless to begin with. This is before videotape and DVDs, or even Cable TV). With Roots, for the first time (perhaps not the BEST time), the story of slavery was told from the black point of view. It was required viewing. As in REQUIRED. Our history teacher made us write and report on each episode. Nearly 40 million people tuned in to Roots' final episode on ABC. This at a time when the population of the country was around 200 million. And yet, soon after its airing, the "conversation" turned to the hostages in Iran. Remember that? The revolution that's still burning? From that came Nightline with Ted Koppel, and soon the downfall of Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan arrived. Coincidence that America's black consciousness seemed to ebb thereafter? By 1982 the Reagan Revolution had essentially declared war on the inner cities and its lawlessness and drugs. Any gains in race relations were, in my view, set back a generation. By the late '80s, Crack and Black were synonymous. The Central Park Rape case, that horrible twisted modern lynching, took control of the tabloids. Riots in Crown Heights, in Los Angeles. The rise of Gangsta Rap, much more a response than a cause, gave rise to even uglier depictions of young black men as being unreachable, unrepentant and unemployable. We were suckered into believing that the great hope of MLK had been a mirage, except for the reality of fully assimilated black folks, one of whom would one day become President. And even as we celebrated MLK's legacy, we ignored its deepest messages, that the deepest legacy of slavery itslef was not in the character of the freed blacks and their grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren. The deepest legacy was in the hearts and minds of the descendants of slave owners, still in power, but unable to escape the prison of their own minds and fears.

    Back to the real business of America though...SHOPPING!!! Pictures below...

older | 1 | .... | 52 | 53 | (Page 54) | 55 | 56 | .... | 77 | newer