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 | .... | 62 | 63 | (Page 64) | 65 | 66 | .... | 77 | newer

    0 0

    Please sign this well-conceived petition and plan from your friends at TA to create a protected bike lane btw Empire and GAP, not unlike what happens on the "other" side of the park. I can already here the outrage from drivers at CB9. "Now you want we should go back to HORSE AND BUGGY!" they'll say. Progress is progress. Give us the bike lane, for safety, for sanity, for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Whatever your reason, let's go. (The Q;s hunch is that this will start a bargaining process that ends in a two-way lane on the BBG side where there's currently a sidewalk.)

    -Flatbush Avenue, between Empire Blvd and Grand Army Plaza, is a non-residential strip that is plagued by speeding vehicles because of an excessively wide roadway. This puts people at risk as they walk and bike to Prospect Park, the Prospect Park Zoo, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and more.

    --To ensure vehicles do not race above the speed limit, we are requesting traffic calming along this dangerous route by means of slightly narrowing the road with a two-way protected bicycle path.

    --For southbound cyclists who wish to ride to Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, and other neighborhoods east of the park, the only safe option currently available from Grand Army Plaza is an unnecessarily long loop through Prospect Park, which also closes late at night. Flatbush Avenue could be used to create a more direct route that brings safety to all road users.

    --Some cyclists already ride up and down Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Blvd. However, many do so using the sidewalk because the vehicular speeds pose too much danger. When cyclists are on the sidewalk, it is a safety concern for pedestrians. A two-way protected path would those who walk, those who bike, and those who drive to all have safer passage.

    --A protected bike lane was already installed on the affluent western side of Prospect Park. This change yielded reductions in speeding, fewer injuries & crashes, and drastically lowered the number of bikes riding on the sidewalk. The same should now be done for the eastern side of the park.

    0 0

    UPDATE: HOLY COW! Joe changed his mind. Thx to commenter Kimplicated, we now know that Joe asked the broker to take down the listing!

    Just got our Christmas Tree from Kings County. Sad to hear they're answering the siren call of the Development Gods. At least they'll make a ton of dough. As the Donald would say...SAD. As in actually sad, not sarcastic mean sad.

    They're Selling Both Sides of the Street - See Doug E. Lliman

    0 0

    Perhaps you know that Caton Market is to become a large apartment building of below-market apartments? In the years' single most significant effort towards ensuring a neighborhood of income diversity, this project deserves a fast greenlight and public support. I'm sure there will be dissenters. But be sure to do your homework. The City land under the well-meaning but ill-conceived closed-air market at Caton/Flatbush could both serve its current purpose AND house a bunch of people desperate for affordable housing. Want to comment? Tonight's the night.

    0 0

    Update: From reader Josh: I was in Errol's last night getting my curry chicken fix and heard they are going to court today. The landlord raised their rent which they agreed upon then changed their mind and gave them six days to vacate. Sad days.

    If true, the below speculation is moot.

    Here's what the Q knows so far about the popular Caribbean Bakery at Flatbush/Hawthorne. Their current lease is up. Owners Dorothy and Errol Miller reached out to the local Parkside/Empire merchant's group for legal help at one point to renegotiate. I have no idea whether it's simply a matter of money or if there's more to the story, but your friends at Equality 4 Flatbush have stepped in to organize an event to show community support. Hopefully by then I can get more info on what actually is the sitch. (Feel free to chime in with your intel!) Usually if you stage something like this one would hope to see more detail, but maybe that's confidential? If the Landlord is someone at fault beyond wanting market rate, then I would imagine a legal issue is at stake. I do know that Delroy Wright of the now defunct former merchant's association FEPMA made some noise about this on the local Facebook page, and subsequently reached out to Imani Henry of E4F. One would certainly hope if Errol's is doing fair business that something could be worked out. It's hard to imagine the corner without them. But then it was hard to imagine a 23-story building across the street too.

    Anyhow, E4F is an anti-gentrification group and this is their poster for the Dec 17th Show of Support event.

    0 0
  • 12/12/16--12:48: From Sneakers to Kimchi

  • That sneaker place up near Beekman? You know the one, at 556 Flatbush, with the Don't Shoot mural on the gate? Gonna be a Korean BBQ spot, so says a source close to the action whose name is being withheld because I can't remember it. He said his friend knows the owner. That's me, then him (via the internet), then his friend, then the owner. Fact check THAT, baby.

    Sounds about right to me.

    0 0

    Times are weird when brokers start quoting you prices BY THE BEDROOM, having assumed that you're more than happy to split the $3200 rent four ways. At first glance this listing on the List of Craig gave me a chuckle...til I realize that my niece would have JUMPED at this offer, she with her three roomates who ended up at a run-down walk-up in ACTUAL Bed-Stuy, as opposed to this listing which seems deeply confused (or tired from all the copy writing) about what neighborhood it's in.

    Yes, jobs and optimism keep young folks coming to the City, furthering the pressure on you know what and you know where. Coming from college, though, a 2-bath duplex sounds darn hip and comfy, til the "couple" breaks up and that "quiet girl" gets hooked on meth and has her "boyfriend""sleep over""once in a while" as in every night and he eats the leftover "pizza" and pisses on the seat, or the pizza, you're not really "sure."

    83 Winthrop for God's Sake - No Affordable Units, Natch

    From the listing (is it Bed-Stuy or Lefferts? Who cares??!!!)

    These newly renovated 4 Bedroom is amazing! Hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, massive oversized windows, open concept living room and modern kitchen with stone countertops, dishwasher, stainless steel appliances, ample closet space, 1 and 1/2 baths, sunny windows throughout, spacious bedrooms, laundry in the building, outdoor space, back yard space, and CENTRAL AC!!! 
    This building is conveniently located in prime Bed-Stuy 2 blocks from the Winthrop stop on the 2 & 5, and short walk to the Prospect Park stop on the B,Q, & S lines. Walking distance to Prospect Park and Local & Express Subway Stations. You don't want to miss an opportunity to live in one of the best up and coming neighborhoods! 
    Again, this is a room share!!! An apartment room share, as such, the advertisement you are reading is for a room in this apartment. In order to qualify applicants must have spotless credit ratings, 670+, and healthy income of 40x rent. Guarantors are welcomed. Make this beautiful 4 bedroom 2 bathroom duplex your SANCTUARY in Prospect-Lefferts TODAY!!!

    0 0

    When the Q first moved to Clarkson, you could still buy crack from this little joint next to the Bodega on Woodruff just off the Flabenue. Maybe the crack man got priced out too? Nope, says a local ne'er-do-well, or rather not-doing-well, as the drug ravages his body and soul. There are still plenty of cop spots, just a little more underground. That's why it was so great to see a tailor move in named Mohamed B. Jalloh, In the era when most folks simply buy new clothes made in Malaysia for cheap from Marshalls, the tailor is still a specialized craft that requires select skills. Like the cobbler, a good tailor is worth his weight in gold when they're needed. So please support Mohamed and his micro-tailor-y. A little backstory might just sway you his way.

    Yep. It's small.
    MBJ used to be on the Flat/Ocean stretch of Lincoln Road before being priced out. And while this new space may have a door that opens the wrong way (you'll see if you stop in), it's HIS shop, and he supports his family by his trade. He used to live in Flatbush, but as rents rose he hit the jackpot after years on waiting lists and got into some City housing, the sprawling houses down by the BQE btw DUMBO and Ft. Greene. The 1/3 of your income deal is pretty sweet, especially when you're caring for a disabled boy. Born without complete limbs, his son has become incredibly adept at writing using his forearms to hold a pen. He just got a new pair of space-age legs, that will have to be upsized as he grows. If ever there were a case to be made for public subsidies, this man and his family could sway a few warm hearts. Originally from West Africa, he did what countless immigrants have done before him, the Q's grandparents being no exception (from Scandinavia dontcha know. My grandmother couldn't pronounce a "J", but that didn't stop her from naming my dad James, or Yimmy as she used to say. International Falls. You think this is cold? Ha!)

    So give MBJ a try. There is absolutely NO reason why Northeastern Flatbush can't support a hard-working tailor and his family, not by charity, but by good old-fashioned fee for service. A Happy New Year to you Mohamed, and may your son have a good and full life thanks to your love and care.

    0 0
  • 12/15/16--08:22: And Just Like That...Gone
  • This one hurts. Such a gorgeous old building, the old Congregational Home at 123 Linden Blvd. 3 views through the ages:

    Look for the new building to be at least 20 stories high, and the old-age home to have at least a few years left of funding as a result. Last I peeked the sign for Councilman Mathieu Eugene was still up, neglected, like the way he treats our neighborhood.

    0 0

    Update: The Q's reading the application again, and on further examination, guess what? It includes 960-972, the Spice Factory. Once this thing is done, if it happens, the value of the Spice Factory goes through the roof. No one should be surprised. It's the perfect place for new housing. But this is a change of a lifetime for the area. Empire Blvd is starting to look like small potatoes...

    Perhaps you're sick of the Q's bellyaching about zoning. Well, my belly REALLY aches today and I need to tell you why before I puke on my own I-Told-You-So's.

    The ULURP committee of CB9 met on Tuesday. The Q's on the committee, but not the Board proper, so he/I can vote at the committee level but not the full B; for now. (Oh, before I forget, first up was a great presentation about the application for landmark status that is moving forward for basically the REST of Lefferts Gardens beyond the Manor and current Historic District. As in, below it. More on that in a coming post, but suffice to say that longtime local Richard Walkes is putting together solid research (even the beloved Montrose Morris is involved!) with an application that will highlight the historic nature of the neighborhood that INCLUDES, rather than ignores, the amazing post-war architecture and architects of the big six-story apartment buildings. Yours truly signed on months ago, but this is kind of the first time the effort has seen public scrutiny. Frankly, I have no idea what the potential is for a 2nd Lefferts Historic District, but what the hey, the effort to downzone inner blocks was killed by MTOPP, who, in should be noted, is ALSO against downzoning anywhere now, because they think it's a conspiracy to get to Empire Blvd.)

    Now, for the Main Course. You might be aware that the Sea Crest Linen company folded and its land is being redeveloped for a city-block-sized massive residential project just north of the Spice Factory on Franklin Ave (which itself is just north of MTOPP's treasured icon, the fast food/storage strip known absurdly as "Empire" as in Empire of Pre-Packed Hamburgers). Now we learn, as could easily happen elsewhere - including ON Empire - the developer Cornell Realty (Shifra Hager is the name of the principal) has put in its own PRIVATE application to rezone not only the aforementioned project but also ANOTHER site just north of Tivoli Towers, which itself has an owner that is engaging in barely-legal efforts to increase its profitability, in other words "get 'em out."

    And what does this current and well-prepared document portend? You can read the overview yourself, which pretty much says it all:

    If you want to see the full app, just shoot me an email. It's all public at this point.
    You shouldn't need a rendering to imagine this, but basically once this stretch from Carroll to Crown long the western side of Franklin is rezoned, we will immediately see one massive 16-story complex (four towers still, I'd assume, or one giant slab) and another medium-sized 16 story building on Carroll, across from the Transit Cops station house, which will be, it should be noted, ALSO rezoned and could then be sold by the government to a private developer to build (one would hope at least) even more affordable housing. The ULURP application, excerpted above, takes advantage of the new MIH and the ZQA text amendments to maximize height in return for adding below-market rent-stabilized apartments, more than 100 in all. And while I applaud the creation of new affordable housing, this deal shows just how valuable is our neighborhood's land, land that just a few years ago would not have supported such top dollar to develop. The City is growing, and much of that growth is "up." Especially along transit lines.

    Here's the predicament in a nutshell. Because we refused to sit down with City Planning on OUR TERMS (the Q's white whale #2), we will see more and more of these types of "spot rezonings," and as long as our elected leaders hold firm to their emphasis on creating affordable housing, these applications will sail through the process, despite what will surely be a lot of loud and disruptive hemming and hawing throughout. The Community Boards advise in the process, but the City Council and Borough President have the real authority, as the rest of the Council usually sides with the Council Member. So the project is basically in Laurie Cumbo and Eric Adams' hands. And we know how much they L-O-V-E Alicia and co. Look for more lawsuits from the pro bono legal beagles at MTOPP. Actually, legal pitbulls is more apt.

    So there you are. Everyone has their price, even the Golombecks who control the spice complex. We could soon see a whole bunch of 16-story buildings standing in the shadow of Tivoli and Ebbets. Whether that's a good thing, given the creation of affordable housing, depends on your NIMBY-ism or politics. Because surely, to a working family in desperate need of an affordable housing, the decision should be obvious. Beverly Newsome of the Ebbets Field tenants association said on Tuesday that "when people lose their lease at Ebbets they have to move out of Brooklyn. That's the reality." Unless they win a lottery for affordable housing. And who are these people being priced out? Your predominantly hard-working and super lovely neighbors who contribute to the economic and cultural health of the City. That's who.

    The irony? 25 years ago, CB9 under Jake Goldstein fought with the BBG to protect the area from any more tall buildings after Tivoli. And won. This application would nullify the height restrictions, ones that we could have easily fought for AS A RULE throughout the neighborhood, had Empire Blvd been on the table.

    I spoke with Jake today and he felt pretty sick about the turn of events happening without his involvement. He says that it was the President of the Botanic Garden who led the effort, citing shadows that would hinder plant growth, and CB9 at the time was only to glad to help. This radically decreased the value of the land of Sea Crest and the Spice Factory, and their owners were none too happy. But now Golembeck has the chance of a lifetime to reinstate his former wealth. Watching this play out will surely be the event of the Spring. Oh, along with the constant attempts to de-legitimize and impeach the President of these here United States.

    Question: does the proposed limit of 16 stories, which would be the case after the MIH, mean the end of life as we know it? Hardly. The long run would probably only heighten the health of the neighborhood. That stretch is just as much of dead zone as Empire. But in the short run, you can bet that homeowners will do their utmost to kill the deal.  The Q has mixed feelings. How about you?

    0 0

    In blatant disregard for campaign finance laws, elected officials in Flatbush continue to "buy" future votes with cheap trinkets, sugary treats and lavish girts. While most politicians refuse to RECEIVE girts in exchange for their votes, it appears that the use of girts is still prevalent in the less scrutinized world of so-called GIRTS FOR VOTES going the other direction, especially in the case of vulnerable and impressionable children. Case in point:

    A spokesperson for State Senator Kevin Parker claims his boss was FRAMED, and provided this diagram in his defense. 

    0 0

    It's notoriously difficult to see one's historical moment in real time. When I see my own life and times in hindsight, I recognize a pattern. I've over or under appreciated the significance of personal and world events to such a degree that I find the process of self and cultural examination to be as much a sham as stock-picking or gourmet salt. Mostly, my experience has shown me that History is easier to understand with hindsight, no?

    Ah but for a few votes here and there the anxiety of America's educated class could have been lessened ever-so-slightly for at least another couple years. The Presidency is, alas, Winner-Take-All. Or, as in this case, Take-No-Prisoners. From ten years, twenty years, a hundred years hence, it will all come flying into focus and they'll wonder why we couldn't see it at the time. The rise of the internet, then 9/11, then the War on Terror and its War on Us, the Depression of '08 and the Arab Spring through Charleston and #BLM, the election of a truly decent man who happened to be black followed by the election of a simian Oligarch who could not have been anything but white. Come to think of it, it all kinda relates to the Internet, which will rival the printing press and the wheel when the disembodied Brains discuss their ancestors in whatever way brains talk to one another when they have no bodies.

    Humans are notoriously bad at predicting the future. We always see sunnier or gloomier outcomes, and that may be part of the human condition. We predict. And so we plan, we worry, we create industries called Insurance. At the risk of stepping into a very, very crowded field of Trumpian Inquiry, let me state that I am not capable of predicting any outcome for the next couple years, but I do know that the VERY FACT of uncertainty is the most troubling and anxiety-producing aspect of all.

    You see...

    It was always quite likely that a Republican would win the White House. That's what happens - one party, then the other, with uncanny frequency. It's easy to assume that Trump is something entirely other - and in certain ways he's not OF a party so much as OF the resistance to evolving mainstream orthodoxy, which is, in the end, what much of the far right and the not-even-all-that-far right have ALWAYS been. They're slow to causes like civil rights, and to global warming and kale salad. The far and not-so-far right are an enormous part of the coalition that makes up the rightward half of our two party dynamic. And while much of the country and its mainstream media has tended to reside somewhere between what we call "the Fars" the 10% on either end have always held considerable sway by the sheer passion of their causes and their devotion to "shaking things up."

    Think about what happened this year. Bernie Sanders, the Old Cranky Socialist Jew from the Northeast, fired up the hard Left and nearly took the mantle from the standard bearer. The far right, not to be outdone, showered all its Tea Party zeal onto a true and bonafide (and let's admit it now, charismatic in his way) outsider, someone just as politically incorrect and racially unhinged as they. The middle 50% or so - those who generally championed the likes of Hilary and Jebichio - were horrified. But it's ALL played out so many countless times before, and yet we react as if its the first time that the D & R coalitions were defined and decried by and for a lack of respect for the mainstream. But then...that's the whole point. Whether you create your coalition AFTER the election (as with a Parliamentary system) or BEFORE (our weird Republic), it IS a coalition. Until it breaks down, which is inevitable over the course of 4 or 8 years. A coalition only sees eye to eye while its fighting a common foe.

    And so, as happens after major upswings and downswings, a true 25 percenter gets elected. That is, not someone who falls along the Republocrat fault line. Obama was a 25 percenter (I dare you to disagree, though he was just over the line). Nixon was a 25 percenter. Reagan and Clinton and the Bushes and Johnson were Republocrats. FDR and Lincoln and Jackson and Teddy were 25 percenters. Ike and Truman were Republocrats, and so on and so on.

    Until the mainstream Ds and Rs come together and recognize their common cause, the 25 percenters will continue to shake things up. And is that always so bad? Right now, it seems insurmountably horrible. The end of the Republic. The souring of the dream. The beginning of the end.

    Or is it...just another symptom of a truly phenomenal document called the Constitution, whose tattered edges have yet to show a tear? No one promised the Civil War wouldn't happen again, that much is true. But neither did anyone say the election of Trump can't and won't produce a next generation of leaders more capable and talented and compassionate than any we've ever seen. I'm counting on the latter, and will joyously revisit this Post when it comes to pass.

    In the meantime, just keep fighting. We might even find common cause again.

    0 0

    The Q spends loves to identify the failings in some and champion others. I don't know why I do this. It's the way I think I suppose, and the whole purpose of this blog is to better understand WHY I think this way, and to better hone my understanding of the world around me. I can't say that it's working, but for whatever reason I can't stop, at least not yet.

    If you spend anytime reading the Q, whether to become infuriated or check for spelling and grammatical errors (I know, but I write so quickly with very little time to edit), or perhaps occasionally you find something herein worth sharing or ruminating on or better yet commenting in the wee box below, or if you've ever wondered why the Q's sentences run on and on with seemingly no end in sight, wondering if in fact he ever DID learn the basics of written communication or if he thinks, perhaps, that long sentences give him the air of some sort of important essayist rather than a lowly blogger who, just this year, was taken down a peg with a pesky call from one of his heroes Ta'Nehisi Coates, whom it should be noted I still think way overreacted about a house he bought in the neighborhood, thinking that knowledge of his whereabouts would somehow lead to an unsafe life for him and his family when in fact anyone can find anyone at anytime with a few strokes of the keypad, and anyway if someone wants to do him harm it's not like he travels with a security team, and frankly few people know him from Adam anyhow outside black intellectuals and wanna-be leftists with subscriptions to the Atlantic, but still I appreciate that he picked up the telephone to call me and blame me for something someone else would have done anyway, and besides I was just repeating what some douchbag realtor had been saying anyway, and I suppose it sounds like I'm making excuses but you can't undo the past and frankly I wish it had been another of my heroes calling to say "hey man I really dig your whole vibe" but that's cool I'm 50 years old and can't expect much beyond the occasional warm fuzzy from my adorable daughters and lovely spouse. Um...what was I saying?

    Oh yes, if you've ever enjoyed anything on this blog I'd be grateful if you'd consider a donation to one of the few organizations that's actually doing something about the plight of those for whom gentrification has put their very homes in jeopardy. Landlords are looking to get the most vulnerable tenants out so they can take advantage of the neighborhoods' outrageous market rates, and The Flatbush Tenants Coalition puts feet on the ground and tools in the hands of people who have every right to stay in their homes due to the progressive, albeit flawed, rent laws of this state and city.

    Here's their pitch below. Please consider a gift? Feel free to note the Q sent you, or not. I need no credit, just the knowledge that someone, somewhere, actually cares that this Holiday Season some are feeling insecurity and hopelessness. Go FTC.

    Earlier this month, more than 80 of our tenant leaders gathered for an amazing post-election convening to discuss the new political landscape and what it means for our fight to build tenant power.  Our key take-aways:   fighting repression and injustice across the country means fighting locally, and … WE WERE BUILT for this fight!   Help us power up the fight today by making a generous year-end donation to the Flatbush Tenant Coalition!

    Over the last five years, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition has built up an army of skilled & dedicated tenant leaders spreading the word about tenant rights and spearheading campaigns for safe, decent, affordable housing across the city. 

    In 2016, we:
    ·         Grew our base to more than 65 active tenant associations collectively representing more than 20,000 tenants winning thousands of repairs and tens of thousands of dollars in rent reductions

    ·         Supported our member associations to challenge rent increases and illegal rents, including filing a court case – together with the amazing Brooklyn Legal Services – to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent overcharges

    ·         Spearheaded Brooklyn Tenants United to win the first-ever Brooklyn Housing Court Taskforce so tenants have a real voice in how the court works (shortly after winning $100 million in the city budget for a new Brooklyn Housing Court building!)

    ·         With other NYC tenant groups, made history again by winning NYC’s second-ever rent freeze!

    We’re ready for what’s ahead.  Support the fight!!

    0 0

    The Q is quite certain the world's political realignment will continue to dwarf local issues in the public's mind as we head into the strangest and most volatile period of national politics since Nixon's 2nd term. Think global, act local, shop local, eat global. Sound like a plan?

    Some highlights from the year that did NOT involve Donald Trump:

    • Loogey Hawkers have long plagued civilized society, but the mucous came to roost right here in Lefferts City when the Sinister Serial Spitter ramped up his assault on unsuspecting upstanding citizens. This also wins the coveted "Oddest Oral Incident Award" for 2016.
    • House of Juice opened on Rogers and quickly became a mainstay of the community with clever marketing and fresh, healthy food and events.
    • Local artist Luna Soul burst onto the scene with a serious of happenings and shows dedicated to documenting the fabric of Leffertsonian life.
    • Lifestyle and Community Actionators BlackMarketWares brought resources and attention to the needs of local kids of color looking to navigate and change an often daunting world. Look for their Youth Summit at headquarters at Compound Cowork on February 11, 2017. 
    • A group of A-list longtime residents opened a terrific pop-up shop in the mysterious Tafari Cafe space next to Tafari Tribe. Last I noticed, they were still going at it in December for the Holiday Shopping Season (HSS).
    • A local powerhouse plopped a shipping container on the plaza at the Caton Market and called it CaribBEING house. It's been dropping sweet programming ever since.
    • Alicia Boyd's MTOPP Empire Study Group presented a lame-ass proposal for Empire Blvd that pretty much entirely left out the need for new affordable (and regular ol') housing, while borrowing all the best ideas for the improvements to traffic and bicycle lanes already suggested by others. Non-Macarthur-Fellowship-Winning Urban Planning Professor (NMFWUPP) Tom Angotti helped draft it.  A backgrounder thru February here.
    • As a result of the Q's continued resistance to "doing nada" and race-baiting as the neighborhood gets remade brick by brick in real time, an activist named Imani Henry anonymously and fiendishly built a "movement" against yours truly with a campaign to oust me from CB9. An email from Henry showed how he used social media to create the impression that dozens of people who've never even met me or read this blog are united in their belief that I'm the white devil out to remake the nabe in my image (and what a handsome neighborhood it would be!) Disappointing is a term that hardly does the effort justice, since Justice is precisely what Imani claims he's after. This is the sort of in-fighting and name-calling that keeps Central Brooklyn locked in an endless cycle of hand-wringing over gentrification, rather than accepting the new realities and recognizing that we have much to offer each another and the City generally. Sadly, it's when economic times are good that we find more ways than ever to cut each others' throats. White and Black and Brown, we have way more in common than divides us. But you wouldn't believe it, to hear the rhetoric.
    • Okay, this isn't really a bullet point item, but I'm within the formatting so forgive me. Let me just say, without reservation, that achieving near universal employment, even when it's stacked towards whites, is a tremendous step forward for our fair City. Yes, rents rise. Yes housing prices go through the clouds. But people have hope and opportunities - this is a "problem" we begged for just a decade ago. So what should you do? You build more housing, you build BELOW MARKET housing, and you don't turn inward and selfish. Ah hell, that would be too simple, common sensical, and practical and economical and just plain smart.
    • It really was (and is) big, big news, though most recent movers to Central Brooklyn won't have any idea just HOW big. Clarence Norman, Jr., the disgraced former Big Macher of the neighborhood as head of Kings County's Democratic Political Machine, has made a roaring comeback, mostly from behind the scenes. If such things interest you, read on.
    • It seemed innocent enough to be one of the first to note that celebrated author Ta-Nehesi Coates bought a house in the nabe. Would that it had been so simple. My humble post from March here
    • Silver Rice opened, bringing idiosyncratic and delicious sushi cups to the Flabenue, and the Q's tuna intake jumped six-fold.
    • Erv's, the little bar with big fans, decided to expand into the former laundry next door, ensuring that ever more Leffertsians can get their buzz on, soon with elbow room to spare.
    • Yet another new 71st Precinct Commander with a rockin' name - Norman Grandstaff.
    • With the help of a brilliant neighbor, the Q confronts the double standard of young men being young men, black and white.
    • Bagels came to Lincoln Road, and you'd have thought they were gold nuggets the way Sunday noshers flocked to Nagle's to pan for lox. The Q still hasn't been, and doesn't feel obliged to visit. I've had more good bagels in this town than Carter had liver pills.
    • Mediocre photographer Clarkson FlatBed Jr. produced a remarkable essay in pixels to the Great Boulevard of Empire
    • Once bereft of decent wine stores, Lefferts City is now lousy with them, with a classy joint on every avenue. Drink and Little Mo and Vyne Yard jumped in on what was once only 65 Fen turf. And remember, 65 Fen ain't that old either. Oh, and a hip new Record Store right next to 65, which, I believe, is no longer at 65, because that's where the used vinyl shop is.
    • Great new place opened up that offers therapy for young folks, particularly of the sensory and occupational variety - Sensory Street. Run by Bea, the place is alive with fun and learning.
    • The Q got whiff of tenant agitation up at the Ebbets Apartments via the Crown Heights Tenants Union and took his lunch hour joining the crowd. You wouldn't believe what the management is asking now for a two-bedroom, and you can guess the longtime lower paying tenants are no longer favored by the owner. Thus...
    • Brand new Assemblywoman Diana Richardson hit the tarmac screeching with her Q-translated five point program H.E.A.V.Y., an acronym for Health, Empowerment, Activism, Violence and Youth. She never used my suggested acronym, perhaps because the V for violence should really be anti-violence? Dunno. I thought it was pretty clever.
    • The new look for non-landmark-designated Lefferts could best be encapsulated with this new building on Winthrop, across from the Parkside Playground. It's actually one of the nicer ones, though I already miss the Victorians.
    • Brooklyn Commons is remaking the image of the old Bond Bread building that became known as the Phat Alberts building, thx to the vision of the son of owner Al Srour, known as Jack, or to his friends, "Whiskey" Srour. (okay that's not true, but were I his friend I would DEF call him that.
    • Local ex-big cum new-big Clarence Norman, Jr. finally settled his score against some in the neighborhood by getting his longtime "friend" Carmen Martinez named as replacement for ousted CB9 District Manager Pearl Miles. For the benefit of the neighborhood or for personal vendetta? Put your money on the latter, but we could do far worse than to have Carmen at the helm. Much, much, much worse, believe you me.
    • Born and raised a cat's throw from the Q, Brian Cunningham quietly entered the race for Councilman from the 40th and the Q caught up with him in May, more than a year out from the primary of 2017.
    • In yet another plea for truly liberal urban planning, the kind where considerations are made for the most good for the most people, the Q looks for sympathy from his neighbors to can the bald-faced NIMBYism and start embracing smart growth because, let's face it, only homeowners win when you limit the production of housing across the board, affordable or otherwise. The Q doesn't mind that some favor landmarking and downzoning, as long as they recognize the trade-off is higher rents and fewer working people of all income levels finding a place to live. I'm not giving up, and neither should you.
    • Blue Sky Bakery opens on rip roaring Rogers
    • The Q confesses the REAL reason that Garrison Keilor makes him want to wretch. Later for you, Prairie Home Companion.
    • Lefferts City gets its own cops
    • A small French bistro is coming to Flatbush near JJ's and Parkside Pizza. Yes, you read correctement.
    • In which the Q helps readers remember not to carry their marijuana on their person in giant jars especially onto the MTA
    • A photo essay that makes the case you won't recognize this neighborhood in two years. 
    • A fab new Cafe Ix takes the place of Tip of the Tongue on Lincoln Road
    • More proof of a wildly changing 'hood
    • The south side of Fenimore is gunning for a Downzone
    • He's calling his new bistro Risbo. Hope the food is better than the name
    • There is perhaps no more welcome newcomer to the Flabenue than Greenlight Bookstore. It's socially conscious, uber smart, full of life and readings. Go go go.
    • The only TRUE affordable housing is the kind everyone likes to knock - public housing. Take another look folks; it ain't perfect, and it could be vastly improved, but it's still among NYC's greatest achievements
    There's a lot more of course. But the single biggest story of the year came at the very end, when yours truly finally saw what's coming down the pike just north of Empire Blvd. A whole slew of new housing, plus more to come if the Spice Factory is upzoned. This will be the battle of the year, along with more from the Bedford/Union Armory. And lest you think that isn't YOUR neighborhood, I predict that once the new housing and commercial development fully takes shape on and around Empire Blvd, you'll begin to think of Southern Crown Heights and Lefferts as part of a piece. How and when it happens, that's what's in store for 2017. Oh, and the most unpredictable presidency in our lifetimes.

    Happy New Year everyone.

      0 0

      That makes two vying for Mathieu Eugene's gig - Pia and Brian Cunningham. The question remains - will they just split the vote and hand the primary, and therefore the seat, to Eugene? Or will one of them run on a third party line, heading straight for the General Election? Oooh. The intrigue! It may be that the Working Families line is the one to get. Got my (so far) private feelings about that, but I'll save it for another day. Pia is lovely, and like Brian, deserves a solid look.


      January 2, 2017- Brooklyn, New York- Pia Raymond, community activist, business development advocate and fifth generation Brooklynite, announced her run for New York City Council’s 40th District, encompassing Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Kensington, Ditmas Park, parts of Crown Heights, Flatbush and East Flatbush.
      The input of citizens is fundamental to the democratic process and Raymond wants to see more of it.  “True leadership is about community empowerment.  When people feel disconnected from the political process they disengage, don’t exercise their right to vote and go unheard.  I am committed to facilitating an open dialogue and working collaboratively with residents and businesses to create solutions and address the needs of our district.”  
      Raymond’s extensive leadership experience in grassroots organizations has given Raymond a birds eye view of the district’s concerns. “Seeing my involvement and commitment over the years has allowed people to trust me with their needs. I have already been serving this community at large and when elected I can do even more.” Raymond is Vice President of the Lefferts Manor Association, Vice President of the Nostrand Avenue Merchants Association and Chairperson of the Community Board 9 Economic Development Committee.
      A licensed social worker and graduate of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Neighborhood Leadership Institute, in 2013 Raymond founded the nonprofit organization, Creating Legacies, which engages area families in multicultural and multigenerational activities. An advocate for the diversity and strength of immigrant communities, Raymond lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Jean and children Sage and Maple.
      For more information, visit

      0 0

      The Q's certain you were as shocked as he to see that Tafari Tribe's longtime home on the Flabenue has shuttered. Here's the Q talking to and about Sandra, owner of the Tribe, a few years back.

      Turns out she's moving next door to the space she built out and called Tafari Cafe, though it never actually opened as a cafe. It WAS used for many private events, and of course the wonderful pop-up shop that I profiled awhile back. Inside intel says the move was prompted, in part, by the landlord, though it's clear that without an unlimited bankroll it's simply not possible to maintain a 2nd shop with nearly 0 cash flow! It's a shame about the cafe...there was a lot of excitement there for a world-themed coffee house.

      Here's hoping that all's well that ends well.

      0 0
    • 01/05/17--07:02: Take a Bite Outa Greenlight
    • Greenlight looks NOTHING like this
      It takes some getting used to, this idea that right here and now we've got our own little intellectual clubhouse for ideas, right there in the shadow of the Flabenue's tallest structure. Greenlight Bookstore has a slew of readings and book clubs and parties happening this month...don't miss this Saturday's Grand Opening Party at 7:30 pm. There's even a special Family Party happening earlier at 1:30pm. I mean, c'mon, come on out and show some love.

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens:
      632 Flatbush Avenue (at Fenimore)
      Brooklyn, NY 11225

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
      Saturday, January 7, 7:30 PM
      Bookstore Grand Opening Party!
      Music, Refreshments & Special Guests
      Now that the rush of the holidays are behind us, we’re officially celebrating the opening of Greenlight Bookstore’s second location in Prospect Lefferts Gardens!  We’re inviting our neighborhood and the literary community to a party, Greenlight-style, with music, wine, and appearances by illustrious local residents, community movers and shakers, and literary celebrities. Start off the New Year with a celebration of a new space for stories, ideas, and conversations in one of Brooklyn’s greatest neighborhoods!  (Families are also welcome to attend our children’s party event at 1:30 PM.)

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
      Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 PM
      Greenlight Nonfiction Group (PLG) discusses Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work
      Led by PLG store manager Geo, our nonfiction book group in PLG reads and discusses the most fascinating topics in nonfiction, both classic and contemporary, with seasonal themes covering a variety of genres. For January, the book group reads Create Dangerously,  a New York Times Notable Book and a Miami HeraldBest Book of the Year by the  celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat.  In this deeply personal book, Danticat reflects on art and exile. Inspired by Albert Camus and adapted from her own lectures for Princeton University’s Toni Morrison Lecture Series, Danticat tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands. Combining memoir and essay, these moving and eloquent pieces examine what it means to be an artist from a country in crisis.

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
      Wednesday, January 18, 7:30 PM
      Greenlight Fiction Book Group (PLG) discusses Faces in the Crowd
      Led by Greenlight general manager Alexis, our fiction book group in Fort Greene discusses paperback fiction, reading broadly in contemporary fiction with the occasional diversion into classics.  For January, the group discusses Faces in the Crowd, the highly acclaimed 2014 debut novel by Valeria Luiselli.  In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
      Monday, January 23, 7:30 PM
      Book Launch: Ottessa Moshfegh presents Homesick for Another World
      In conversation with Michele Filgate
      Wine reception to follow
      Greenlight is delighted to welcome Ottessa Moshfegh to launch her highly anticipated new story collection as the first author event in our new store!  Moshfegh’s stories have been awarded the Plimpton Prize and her novel Eileenwon the PEN Hemingway prize for debut fiction and was  nominated for both a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize.  Her first collection of short stories, Homesick for Another World, confirms she is truly a master of the short form with stories that are eerily unsettling, almost dangerous, while also being delightful and even laugh-out-loud funny. Moshfegh discusses her work with Brooklyn author and editor Michele Filgate, followed by a wine reception to celebrate the book’s launch.

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens store:
      Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 PM
      Greenlight Young Readers Book Group (PLG) discusses The War That Saved My Life
      Led by Greenlight receiving manager Grace, our young readers book group in Prospect Lefferts Gardens is geared toward kids ages 9 to 12, and reads great contemporary and classic chapter books. Parents are welcome (but not required) to attend, and pizza is served.  For January, the group discusses the New York Times bestseller and 2016 Newbery Honor book The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada's twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute – she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

      0 0

      Domestic Terrorism has a specific definition, outlined in the much-maligned Patriot Act, and the wording is meant to make clearer the difference between a lone act of malice and an act that is intended to provoke a response in the greater population. The word "domestic" is pretty much absurd, since, say, an American who takes lives in the U.S. but in the name of the Islamic State would NOT be branded Domestic Terrorism, when in fact it meets every bit of the definition:

      • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
      • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
      • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
      Since no one's asking, I'll go out on a limb and say straight up - terrorism is terrorism. You've got a political goal in mind when you do your damage, you're a terrorist. You intend your targets to suffer IN THE NAME of a "higher" goal, you're a terrorist. In fact, WHO the terrorist destroys is less important than what they and/or the act REPRESENTS. Follow? For some reason I find it very difficult to find media commentators who rely on this definition of terrorism when they broadly try to make sense of the modern world. Dylan Roof is a terrorist. Unlike other mass shootings, this guy wants to provoke a greater "race war." The act is not the end that justifies the means; it's the beginning that justifies the means. He is not insane in the classic sense. He is a warrior.

      Roof shows no remorse. He claims soundness of mind. He's no different than the jihadists in Istanbul or France. He just has a different agenda. And that agenda - the intimidation and subjugation and even expulsion and destruction of black people - has a long and bloody history. Were he on the "right" side of history, he might even be a hero, brave and stoic, attacking the "enemy" with fierce abandon, knowing full well that his own life is in peril.  

      The kind of racism that Roof practices is one of the reasons that gentile white folks don't like allowing themselves to be seen as racist. Surely there's a difference, we say, between the clueless daily indignities offered up by white bosses and colleagues and even friends - the unplanned and unINTENTIONAL racism - and the in-your-face run-for-cover kind? The Roof story - and now the inflammatory Facebook Torture story - are perfectly timed and matched to create the illusion of widespread racial unrest and violence. So just watch the nation pivot from rational conversation about state sponsored terrorism against black people (mass incarceration, police violence, profiling) right back to using the very most extreme actions to illustrate the bigger problem. You know the one - that black and white can't get along, that segregation is merely a common sense way to deal with a massive cultural divide.

      The pictures that have dominated coverage are striking:

      In both pictures, the subjects are looking at YOU. Which side are you on, they beg?

      Good Lord, this could be a picture of an indie DJ collective for chrisakes
      Dylann Roof succeeds in his mission in so many ways.

      1) He convinces us that there is a difference in his kind of terror, not just terrorism worthy of the name.

      2) He breathes fear and insecurity into the perceived safety of a House of Worship, where spiritual people have often tried to extend an open door policy of Love and Acceptance and Welcome. (L.A.W.)

      3) He gives "average" racists cover, ensuring that yet another generation of run-of-the-mill white supremacists and separatists can claim a moral "out."
      4) He feeds a narrative of distrust and fear that suggests law-abiding white AND black folks need an authoritarian state to combat "natural" forces.

      5) He offers the media a dream-story, so outrageous and historically significant as to dwarf #BLM activism

      The media, without coercion or necessarily malice, force us to confront the above images simultaneously, and to imagine that Picture A is pitted against Picture B. Thus, the WAR is on. Roof wins.

      God help us all. If the Nation is gullible enough to fall for a thin-skinned bullshit salesman, it's certainly capable of being sold the Dylan Roof as martyr story. In a sense, there is no ending where the other begins.

      0 0

      What he lacks in quantity she makes up with quality. Flatbushed is back. On "The Dugout" of Flatbush and Empire, from the Dodgers days, comes a story to good to miss. The Q's let it go for awhile, but just think of the possibilities of reactivating the space and buildings at the northern entrance of the Prospect Park Station. They use to be private businesses, and maybe now should be public, open and useful. That parking lot is yet another blight on the nabe. For now, enjoy a good yarn well told:

      480 Flatbush, Just North of the Pros Park Entrance Now Owned by NYCTA

      0 0
    • 01/08/17--13:19: The Time To Act Was Then
    • It may still be a longshot, but you can't pretend that the effort isn't long overdue. Watch this video, share the video, and give to this effort.  

      If after you see the video you have questions, or require more detail, I ask that you consider sending me an email and will let you in on the activities of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council. There are reasons not to be too specific about properties, personnel and logistics, since to a certain extent this is a race against time to beat back the efforts of developers to manipulate our miserably out-dated zoning regulations and their near constant attempts to take advantage of current homeowners. This is an effort best handled face to face and house by house, building by building, block association by block assocation, so we can all recognize our common ground and need to protect certain aspects of the community we call home. Change is good, change is inevitable. But some kinds of change are unbearable and frankly unnecessary.

      The nutshell argument is this:

      The Prospect Lefferts Gardens Historic District (roughly Fenimore to Lefferts/Sterling) has been extremely successful in maintaining the character of PART of the neighborhood. But its designation in 1979 left out huge chunks of the nabe that have equally historic value. Surprising to some, the same architects and vision were applied to the "other" parts of the neighborhood, even if the Victorian rowhouses of Midwood and Maple are what most people think of when they think of "preservation." Even the pre-war apartment buildings are now nearly 100 years old, with some famous and notorious architects and developers embedded in the history. I'll leave it to Richard Walkes and the rest of the Heritage Council to make their case - they're currently raising money to finish the applications for inclusion on the National Historic Registry and to the City's Landmarks agency. A great deal of research is being done by talented folks. If you join the effort we'll be sure to take you along for the ride, and some of it is just plain fun.

      Due in part to the current PLG Historic District, pressure towards new development has been shifted to blocks north and south and east and southwest (like Caledonia), areas with too-high zoning, and to the avenues, without ANY protections or obligation to build affordable (i.e. below market) housing to help preserve the neighborhood's diversity, both income-wise and cultural. It's big stuff, and as I've complained many, many times before here on ye olde blogge, there are some in the community who prefer to do NOTHING rather than plan, landmark and dialogue. Others feel obliged to slow us to a crawl. In a word, it's excruciating to behold.

      It may all be too late; it might not work. But it's worth a try. If you have the capacity, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to the non-profit that has been created specifically to address these issues, as they build an all-out multi-block strategy to landmark. At the very least, this new organization will provide a home for the contemplation and discussion of these issues OUTSIDE the older and more well-established Lefferts Manor Association. To a certain extent, these issues are ours - those of us who live on the south side of Fenimore and below. To date, too many decisions and activist actions have been focused to "the north."

      Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council, INC from PLGHC on Vimeo.

      0 0

      This Just In...

      A trusted source says that the DOT has finished a proposal to create bike lanes on Flatbush between Empire and GAP that sidesteps controversy and elevates common sense to its proper spot atop the urban pancake like so many pats of delicious butter...

      It's gonna run along the Botanic Garden side, avoiding a fight with drivers over use of those precious parking and driving lanes. The move was announced at last night's Prospect Park Community Council meeting. Remember, they still have to present to the community, so you'll have plenty of chances to bitch and moan.

      I have no pictures of the project, but I did receive some good news, first reported by Breitbart, about the new Food Truck coming to the recently announced joint venture between British Petroleum and Borough President Eric Adams at the triangle of Flatbush/Washington/Lefforts to be unveiled and rebranded as the BP Plaza: Rendering of said food truck below (Balloon Rides to be provided by Phat Albert, with hot air provided by soon-to-be-outgoing Council Member Mathieu Eugene):

    older | 1 | .... | 62 | 63 | (Page 64) | 65 | 66 | .... | 77 | newer