Articles on this Page
- 05/11/16--11:37: _Extra Extra! Echo E...
- 05/11/16--13:16: _Hell Yeah - Tonight...
- 05/14/16--06:52: _More Misery @ 60 Cl...
- 05/14/16--19:10: _Barely Know It's There
- 05/14/16--19:31: _Help! Info!
- 05/15/16--18:19: _Hilarious Comps I: ...
- 05/18/16--11:30: _Raccoon You Believe...
- 05/20/16--06:01: _House Tour Sunday -...
- 05/20/16--10:45: _Diana Richardson Go...
- 05/22/16--06:14: _Crash the Lefferts ...
- 05/23/16--12:02: _More Creative Use O...
- 05/25/16--12:26: _Sluicing Thru the F...
- 05/27/16--04:14: _Tenant Posse Seeks ...
- 05/27/16--15:23: _Gotta Say, I Ain't ...
- 05/28/16--06:06: _Misery By the Numbers
- 05/29/16--06:21: _Go Ocean
- 05/31/16--08:42: _$300,000 Profit for...
- 06/01/16--12:57: _Let the Games Begin
- 06/02/16--07:36: _#slowdownPLG
- 06/03/16--07:47: _Dorsey's - That Nei...
- 05/11/16--11:37: Extra Extra! Echo Echo!!
- 05/11/16--13:16: Hell Yeah - Tonight at Garage 284
- 05/14/16--06:52: More Misery @ 60 Clarkson
- 05/14/16--19:10: Barely Know It's There
- 05/14/16--19:31: Help! Info!
- 05/15/16--18:19: Hilarious Comps I: Get Thee To a Nunnery
- 05/18/16--11:30: Raccoon You Believe This Guy?
- 05/20/16--06:01: House Tour Sunday - Do It Before It Turns 50!
- 05/20/16--10:45: Diana Richardson Got Your Back? Stop By Tomorrow May 21 and Find Out
- 05/22/16--06:14: Crash the Lefferts Coop Today and June 5
- 05/23/16--12:02: More Creative Use Of Out-of-Date Zoning
- 05/25/16--12:26: Sluicing Thru the Flatbush Tube
- 05/27/16--04:14: Tenant Posse Seeks Justice
- 05/27/16--15:23: Gotta Say, I Ain't Surprised
- 05/28/16--06:06: Misery By the Numbers
- 05/29/16--06:21: Go Ocean
- 05/31/16--08:42: $300,000 Profit for Baseless Fear
- 06/01/16--12:57: Let the Games Begin
- 06/02/16--07:36: #slowdownPLG
Leslie Ward, that d'lovely and indefatigable Trinidadian teacher of classical piano AND steel pans, has opened a joint down Clarkson way called Garage 284. It's a hoot, and you should stop by. Maybe even sign up for some lessons. And damned if she didn't just warm this irascible blogger's heart with this plan for tonight:
The news trucks have returned. On Clarkson, that's rarely good news. (Is it EVER good news when the local news shows up on your block? Makes you think about what it takes for something to be called "news" at all.) Last night, on the 6th Floor of the most infamous building in the neighborhood - 60 Clarkson - a young woman, just 22 years old, was stabbed to death by an irate, insanely jealous, probably intoxicated, man. The woman, essentially homeless but bouncing around, had recently left the building only to return, caught up in a bad crowd, part of an extended family that long ago should have been moved from the building to provide a safer environment for the many children, younger than the victim, who are part of the household. And yes, they were there when the man broke the door down to gain entrance.
The Q learned some other tidbits best shared with the police. Imagine living in a building where an angry man busts down a door and in a fit of rage grabs a knife, and maybe someone neglects calling 911 long enough for the assailant to get away? The details will be rehashed I'm sure, but the murderer has fled, though by all accounts he won't be able to get far, since he's been identified as the assailant by many.
Once again, the Q's heart is heavy, knowing that a life was needlessly lost, and many children scarred by this tragedy, not just the misery of poverty and dysfunction and the inability of a City to shut down a monstrous landlord - Barry Hers.
Folks, this could have been easily prevented with proper security in the building. How can you have a de facto homeless shelter for families, with many of the mothers being victims of abuse, and not ensure the safety of the people inside? How much does that even cost? More than the cost of human lives apparently. That was the sick calculus that led to this young woman's death. The cops might not haul you in, Barry. But in the court of morality, you are guilty of the most heinous crimes. May you suffer torment and the pangs of a guilty conscience, if not here, at least on the other side. Feel free to go there anytime. We won't miss you.
If you like what you see there's more where that came from. Be sure to send a thank-you note to MPAV (the Movement to Protect Alicia's Views) for the finished products. All market rate - only the best for you, Lefferts! (By the way, the Parkside Playground from which these were taken, is looking terrific. The landscaping is really starting to show and the blooms are righteous. If only I could say the same for the views!)
|Quite proud of my composition on this one. Winthrop never looked so...odd. Pic taken on my $60 ASUS phone|
I thought maybe these things were gonna be super space-age tricked-out with all sorts of digi-doodles. Turns out the blue florescent light is the only cool thing about them, and once these dorky pylons get even a wee bit vandalized they'll likely become the ugliest part of your daily commute.
So how do they work? I wondered, so I pushed the mysteriously uninteresting button marked "information." Know what happened? A scratchy speaker-phone auto-call got made to a disinterested receptionist, probably from the 311 pool. So I made up a simple request. "How do I get to Coney Island from here?" Now granted, I was standing on the downtown platform at The Q at Parkside station (natch) and knew damn well if I hopped on the next train I'd be on my way. I'm not kidding now, I was put on hold twice, while the attendant tried to figure it out for me.
That the MTA spent more than a single Harriet Tubman on these things is outrageous. 99 out of 100 people these days have cell phones. What in God's name are these oversized light sabers supposed to do that a cell phone can't? And in the rare occurrence you don't have one on you, or the battery is dead, you can ask someone to make a call for you. Or for advice on how to, I dunno, stand clear of the closing doors or some-such. And with the money they spent on these glow-tubes they could have bought everyone in NYC a new phone anyway.
Hell, why not put battery-charging stations in instead? And wifi in every station? Now you'd save some lives. And allow people to tweet from inside the tunnel, which is what we really, really, really want to be doing as the world slowly burns and Beelzebub prepares for yet another record year of immigration.
From the Q's Cleveland correspondent comes word that in a homey area of "The Sixth City" called Cleveland Heights is currently on the market for about what you'd spend on a 3-bedroom coop on Winthrop Street. Knowing Midwesterners like I do, it's not clear to me how well residents of the "Metropolis of the Western Reserve" would appreciate the silliness of residing in such a home. And yet, isn't it every little girl and boy's dream to live in something like this?
The Cleveland Castle was custom built in 1910 for Joseph Randolph Nutt, president and board chairman of the Union Trust Co. treasurer of the Republican National Committee, and a personal friend of Republican President Herbert Hoover. The Cleveland Castle is in such immaculate condition because it served as convent and was maintained by the Ursuline nuns of St. Ann Church from 1948 to 1983. It is registered as a historical home under the Cleveland Heights Historical Society.For more pics and pangs of something unsettling just shy of heartburn, take a gander here. The Downside? Living in C-Town, I suppose. Working as a docent at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But on the bright side, as Sinatra's song about Cleveland goes:
If you can make it here, you can probably make it in Green Bay, it's up to you Cleve-Land, Land of Cleves.
For kicks here's a Cleveland Tourism video our correspondent sent not too long ago:
Every night we're visited by the same guy. You might be too. I hear the varmints have been spotted on fire escapes even.
This guy we've taken to calling Don Rackles. He's been totally chill with the ferals we've been feeding, but when it comes to priorities he gets to eat first. What do you think? A problem that needs addressing? Or will these guys die out on their own? Trying to think what predators they have. Like cats, I can't think of any. Maybe really mean squirrels?
Has it really been 46 years since the Q first created the PLG House Tour? I was 3 at the time, but my prescience was as sharp then as it is today. Those were good times...not exactly Good Times, but kinda like it. Me and Mayor Lindsay hatched the idea over egg creams. Seems so silly now, but we really worried that NYC would go the way of the Dodo. Such memories...
Flash forward 46 years and the tour is still hopping. And man, business is GOOD if your business is real estate. Folks are flocking here and paying more than $2 million for a house! Bob Marvin, longtime tour operator, bought his for (get this) $750 and a subscription to Prevention Magazine. Talk about horse thieves!
Below, find the deets. And if you see Bob, remind him about the deed restriction he and I placed on his house - to only sell to supporters of the ERA Constitutional Amendment. (You see, back then, ERA stood for Equal Rights Amendment - it wasn't a real estate broker.) He may have forgotten, since not long after he started a political club with Ayn Rand, following their whirlwind romance in Malta. Bob used to run a speakeasy there. He once said to me "of all the gin joints, of all the bars, in all the world, she walks into mine."
The point? He'd still be running that dive if it hadn't been for us chance trip on the PLG House Tour.
More hard facts:
The 46th Annual Prospect Lefferts Gardens House & Garden Tour will be held on Sunday, May 22, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
For more information see leffertsmanor.org
"The tour is so worth it." - Callia Piperides
"The house tour is very important to me. My wife and I fell in love with the neighborhood after going on the 1974 tour, stopped looking at houses ... and closed on our Midwood Street house four months later. For that reason I've worked on every annual house tour since 1975..." - Robert Marvin
You want change? You want results? You want politicians to step up to the plate and address the issues that matter to you? Then no more of this complain, complain. Get on board. You're welcome to join the parade, the fight, the dialogue. Don't like what you see over at your Community Board? Get involved elsewhere. Come on down to a new convening of neighborhood stakeholders, to meet with agencies and have your voice heard. It's called "Civic Minded" and the next meeting is May 21 at MS61 on Empire & New York Ave. Follow me on Facebook, people. Come on up to Albany for a protest. Get to know the players, and the enemies. Check out my videos. Let's get real about what's really happening, people! *
Welcome to the world of Diana Richardson. The above is an amalgam of comments she's made in person or online in her year or so in the State Assembly. If you live 'round here, she's quite likely YOUR NY State Assemblyperson. Smart, hilarious and sharp of tongue, she is exactly the right leader for the right times. She's 33. No, that is not a misprint. The way politics work in NYC she will likely be in our lives for a long, long time. So why not get to know her before she becomes, I dunno, governor or something in 2041 or some such.
|pic by Nicholas Brooks for NY Times|
Go to her Assembly site and you can see her videos and get to know her personality a bit. If you can stomach The Facebook, then check out her feed.
Feel free to disagree. But I think DR is the real deal, and we should encourage her to act in the interests of all. See something you believe needs to be changed? Let her know. Get to know her. USE her. That's why we set up this whole damn republic in the first place.
You know we have our own little food coop, right? I still can't believe they pulled this off. When they started having "meetups" to talk about it a few years ago I thought "right, good luck with that" assuming it was some people pissed about the tough rules at the Park Slope Food Coop and just letting off steam. Lesson? Do NOT underestimate the people of Lefferts!
|828 New York Avenue|
The 23 story buildings on Flatbush and Nostrand and Linden are all a result of lame zoning that pretty ignores the current size of adjoining buildings. You can see more on the City's zoning map of the area: Zoning Map . Change the 17b to 16d in the URL and you can see the rest of our neighborhood's zoning designations. The Q continues to argue that these designations, dating to 1961, are woefully inadequate towards the planning of the neighborhood, We're missing opportunities for downzoning and affordable housing at a depressing clip. Thx to one very vocal neighbor, in particular.
Notice for the above came from NYYIMBY.
|pic: Linda Rosier|
Not a done deal by any means. But what if the Q were to tell you that Bike Lanes might finally be in store for Flatbush from Empire to GAP? The Q's beside himself with joy, even if there's bound to be push back from you know who and the zealot drivers at CB9.
Eric Adams, I could kiss you. Instead, I'll just send folks to this AMNY link.
And more on the Park Perimeter Projects (Triple P) happening City-wide, from Gothamist, the paper apparently edited by Commissioner Gordon.
If it weren't for the little successes here, and the middle-sized successes there, I'm sure it would be hard to keep the faith. Organizing buildings to fight against illegally greedy and duplicitous landlords is tough. It's door-to-door. Often there are cultural and language barriers. There's a fear on the part of tenants that you, the organizer, are actually just one more wolf in sheep's clothing.
Today the Q took his lunch hour at Ebbets Field, where a raucous protest was going down over the harassment of tenants. We learned that there are currently 43 eviction proceedings taking place right now. There were rarely more than 5 at any given time before three years ago. If you are looking for a way to vent some justifiable anger, you'd do no better than contact to the Crown Heights Tenants Union or Cea Weaver from Urban Homestead Assistance Board (UHAB), (212) 479-3300 is the office number, which is ironically located at 120 Wall Street. By all accounts, Cea has become one helluva a good leader, activist and organizer on the issues facing long-term and low-income tenants. Read an article with her from BKMag.
Lotsa people continue to believe that the giant Ebbets Apartments building is somehow public housing, but this is not the case. ABBA Realty acts as the Management, and like any other broker you can call 'em up and go see an apartment or two. Check out their slick website. Now that the word's out that this and other ABBA buildings (like Patio Gardens for instance) are perfectly fine housing and folks are being priced out all over Central Brooklyn, and because Ebbets has some big apartments to boot, the game is on. Bring in college white-educated arts farts (the word Yuppie is so Reagan-era - I prefer CWEAFs - note the "white-e ducated" part, meaning you don't necessarily have to be white per se) tenants, do some cosmetic repairs, take advantage of the 20% vacancy increases every time you get someone to leave, wipe out preferential rents, and presto-change-o, you've got yourself some "Luxury Rentals With Views." Without all the muss and fuss of actually building a building.
Look, it's never gonna shine, that Mitchell-Lama eyesore that stole the name of a legendary ball field that once stood on its terra firma. But it's built sturdy, and along with Tivoli Towers on Franklin, it's long provided affordable housing with a view, close to trains and park and garden. In essence, the kind of housing we NEED MORE OF. In part, of course, it's been affordable beCAUSE of its reputation as public housing. It's seen its fair share of crime through the years, but perhaps by virtue of its density, not so much more than other lower-cost buildings in the area. Per capita that is. And it's not like Lefferts and Flatbush generally well-attended to by landlords or free of crime. Even 13 years ago when I moved here things were more hectic. And forget about it - back in the crack days, and for awhile after the worst, it was not exactly Mayberry RFD around here. Just ask a longtimer - they'll give you the skinny. There's always a bit of pride in the telling, too. Machismo from the guys; from the grandmas it often comes from a deep place, like a soldier who's been there and seen that and lived through some rocky times. Survivors? Maybe to heavy a word. But definitely worldy-wise. Oh, and then there's the guys like my neighbor John, who came back from the horrors of Vietnam to find himself fighting racism AND the drug dealers at the same time. Funny, I just put it together. No wonder he loves old Westerns so much! He's got hundreds of 'em. On VCR of course.
Speaking of cowboys, for a modern-era John Wayne meets Jimmy Stewart, you gotta hand it to Esteban Giron, pictured here with comrade Donna Mossman, they of the Crown Heights Tenants Union. Every time I see him he seems a little more jazzed than last time about the fight against predatory landlords. Without getting into details, these folks have actually managed to get some bigtime corporate owners who paid way too much for their properties to throw up their hands and sell, simply because they're such a pain in the ass with the lawyers to back it up. The hardest part comes after you send a landlord of a single building packing, which is usually a small piece of a large portfolio, how do you sustain the effort and make sure the new boss ain't the same as the old boss? Hitherto at the "Union" they've called each building its own "Local," but now the trick is to band buildings together so that whole blocks, even neighborhoods, are "off-limits" to predatory practices. If anyone can do it, it's CHTU, UHAB, FTC and a bunch of other acronyms that have dug in their heels for the fight of their lives.
News flush. When you're old and feeble, and you look back on your life, you'll wish you'd 1) spent more time with your kids and/or 2) tried to make the world just a bit more just. That's why the Q salutes the field warriors, the cowboys and cowgirls, and even the occasional politician who shows up and then (most important) follows through. To those I saw today (Tish, Walter, Laurie) and to those who I know have their hearts in it (Hakeem, Jumaane, Diana et al), c'mon now bring home the trifecta.
1) No more automatic 20% vacancy increases
2) No more arbitrary caps on stabilization to incentivize the rush to increase rents
3) No more sudden removal of preferential rents
Oh, and while you're at it, rezone Empire to maximize affordability and livability, downzone inner blocks throughout the district, and buy me a Mr. Softy chocolate with chocolate dip.
Some have tried to deny that MTOPP founder Alicia Boyd is capable of violence, but a piece in the popular Lubavitcher blog CrownHeights.Info begs to differ.
Racist Rabble Rouser Allegedly Assaults City Worker
She's a powder keg that one. Once at a CB9 meeting she came at me with such froth I thought I was going to drown in M-SPIT. Good thing I wasn't carrying a weed wacker at the time - those things make her go berserk, apparently. Though I got to say the haircut I just got looks like I had a run in with said City Employee myself. And I think I came out on the losing end of that battle, just like I've lost every point I've tried to make with CB9 for, oh, the better part of two years. No matter. It's just "nice to be appreciated."
Maybe she was still sore about the outcome of the Nominations for Officers at Tuesday's CB9 general meeting. Chair Demetrius Lawrence finds himself with a challenger just one year into his tenure, in Hector Robertson, a man with whom Demetrius had words after the first process to hire a new District Manager failed to please the Executive Committee. That hiring committee, chaired by Robertson, has since been replaced, and the new team seems confident they'll have solid DM candidates to look at by next month - from resumes which are now many months old. Obviously, Hector was none too pleased to be dismissed. Meanwhile, the District Office has been staffed by volunteers (Board members, notably longtime Adams and Clarence Norman, Jr. pal Carmen Martinez, and others) for more than six months. I mention CM not to disparage her work - she's pretty great at everything she does at the Board - but because her name comes up often as the preferred pick for DM by people like Norman, the disgraced ex-felon Assemblyman who sort of "made" most of the politicians of Central Brooklyn. Interesting sidebar - when Chair Lawrence was calling out the names of elected officials and their reps he gave Norman a shout-out, despite the fact that he supposedly gave up politics years ago after going to jail for corruption. Slip of tongue? Maybe just being friendly. But it's a clear indication that Norman is back, right in the thick of things.
Oh, and the outcome of the Nominations. Turns out that many positions will change hands. Warren Berke was the sole nomination for Treasurer. Francesca Leopold will go up against Fred Baptiste for 1st Vice Chair. Pat Moses is the sole nominee for 2nd Vice Chair, after she was begged to run against moi by Pat Baker, who clearly holds me in the highest esteem, as she seemed desperate to find someone to keep me from the job. And the members-at-large? I forget. Evelyn Williams for sure, and...oh well. At least I'm not Secretary yet, because I didn't bother to take notes. But yeah, at the very last minute I took my name off for 2nd VC and put my name in for Secretary, after no one would take it, because I knew Alicia and frenemy Karen Fleming would throw a fit. And of course, they did. They got me removed as Transportation Chair after all, and created a petition for my ouster from the Board entirely. This is what happens when you disagree with the The Almighty Boyd.
It's a bittersweet feeling of course. I have no great desire to be screamed at for another year, this time in my duties as Secretary, and I certainly hope the new Board member Scott will continue taking notes, because clearly my skills in that department are lacking. Who can enjoy the "show" while taking notes? Not I, said the Q. Not I.
Some folks need to see reality in hard facts. This chart of "threatened neighbors" syncs with common knowledge. It's hard out there for a renter. Real hard. Employment and median income stats also tell the tale of two Brooklyns (three, four, five?). This wouldn't be nearly as apparent to us if we weren't living right on top of each other. I appreciate the distillation of data. There is really just one issue that Trumps (sick) all others.
Ocean Ave that is. Along le Park. The outrageously undeterred Amy Musick and group FLOWERS on OCEAN once again ask for your support next Sunday as they beautify the Ocean. Since some words in the poster are off-center and in color, you KNOW it's gonna be fun!
After talking to him on the phone, and hearing his side of things, I still think his fears are absurd. Good luck finding a place more welcoming, lovely and respectful, and where no one can find you. You're not going to be targeted for assassination - there are plenty of more powerful targets. Like church prayer groups in South Carolina. I wonder whether any of those unfortunate souls ever wrote for the Atlantic. Such a weird, tragic world we live in.
But then again, if he gets asking price, he'll make a cool $300K for his second thoughts. Not bad. Enough to buy an alarm system and a big dog for his next house. So long, Mr. Coates. We hardly knew ye. I did learn, however, how to correctly pronounce one of my favorite writers names.
NY Post on Ta-Nehesi Coates House For Sale
Mathieu Eugene, your days are numbered. (In politics of course. I mean no ill will personally).
With your help, we'll unseat multi-term do-nothing Council Member Mathieu Eugene next year. Never too early to spread the news. As reported by the Q last December, a solid challenger has emerged. And he's early to the party, so he has a better chance of extending a formidable fundraising and marketing apparatus.
A good guy, so say many, Brian Cunningham's hat is officially in the ring. The Q will do his best to get up close and personal. And this year, one would hope that the Powers That Be won't pile on support for Eugene as in years past. It's time to send him packing.
More from our good friends at Ditmas Park Corner, who will likely wade into this one with a bit more oomph than in elections past:
DPC on M.E.
|Mathieu "Inside the Flag" Eugene, of the 40th Council District|
They've been called a "terrorist organization" by a member of YOUR Community Board. That's right, the ISIS of Brooklyn has come to try to make life (gasp) safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, encourage improvements to Mass Transportation, advocate for the environment and the creation of a new Carless Caliphate. To date, they have not beheaded anyone for their beliefs. They themselves often where helmets. Perhaps as a precaution?
Come out and hear what they have to say, before your neighbors again lash out at them for promoting common sense.
Doreey's. Ever wandered by the gallery at 553 Rogers and wondered what was happening inside? Now you have the perfect excuse to find out. I mean the street it's on got co-named Dorsey's for God's sake, and that ain't getting undone anytime soon.
More on Dorsey's:
Lawrence Peter Dorsey, "High Priest of the Arts," master framer, patron of the arts extraordinaire, ardent collector and devoted mentor and friend to several generations of African-American artists and collectors, died on October 7, 2007 in Brooklyn New York's Methodist Hospital. He was 88.
In the late 1960's, Dorsey met the elderly owner of an art framing store. He became fascinated by the framing business. This fascination lead him to work with and learn all that the shopkeeper could teach him about the framing business. Then, in October of 1970, something happened that would change Dorsey's life and that of so many countless others. The shopkeeper sold the entire business to Dorsey! This was the humble beginnings of the historic Dorsey's Picture Frame and Art Gallery. The Dorsey Art Gallery is now the oldest, continuously active, black owned art gallery in New York City.
Dorsey became a master picture framer whose work rivaled that of any gallery or museum in the world. While Dorsey's profession was art framing, his passion was developing, mentoring and promoting African American artists and their works. He was equally passionate about educating, encouraging and developing those who were interested in art, into avid collectors. Literally, hundreds of collectors all over the country got their start at the Dorsey Art Gallery. The shop/gallery was well known for its magnificent art exhibitions, which packed the gallery with visitors who came for the art, the company, the music and the food. It became a haven for artists and collectors from the New York metropolitan area and beyond. Among the regulars were Ernest Crichlow, Tom Feelings, Elizabeth Catlett, Art Coppedge, Bob Blackborn, Otto Neals, James Denmark, Jacob Lawrence, Ann Tanksley, Christopher Gonzales, Emmett Wigglesworth, James Brown, and others to numerous to name.
On any given day, Brooklyn's art community knew that they could always find comfort, conversation, food, drink, an art education, art framing and even watch a game of golf at Dorsey's, at least until they heard those familiar words," you don't gotta go home but you gotta get the heck outta here!
In 2003, Mr. Dorsey's health began to fail and he could no longer run his business. With the consent and help of both Mr. Dorsey and his daughter Laurette, friends rallied around his family in their time of need. This support gave birth to the Dorsey Art Club, the forerunner of LPD Brooklyn Arts. Through their efforts; exhibitions, special events and classes continue to be held at the gallery. Mr. Dorsey left behind a magnificent legacy. His love of art and support of those who create it, was only equaled by the love and support he gave to children. LPD Brooklyn Arts is committed to the continued support of the legacies and traditions that he held so dear.