Park Slope is Dead, God Save Park Slope!

The New Yorker recently had a story called “Park Slope is Dead,” which consists mostly of the co-owner of Southpaw, Matt Roff, bitching about how the neighborhood has changed. He is closing his 5th Avenue club Southpaw not for financial reasons but  because Park Slope isn’t what it used to be, yet somehow he neglects to mention the other thriving music venues in the neighborhood (The Bell House, Union Hall, Littlefield.)

Matt says, “My folks came (to Park Slope) in the seventies and it was rough, dude. Just bodegas and stuff, and this wave of ex-hippies buying houses for twenty thousand dollars.” He is just keepin’ it real. Except that it was his parents who were the gentrifiers, at least in the eyes of the people they were pushing out.

Park Slope has become the punchline of jokes about yuppie parents, and overprotected children on a diet of pastured free range chicken and organic kale. The common wisdom among the blogs is that that yuppie families have killed Brooklyn, or at least Park Slope. In the last few years they have forced out the minorities and are destroying the fabric of this neighborhood with their gourmet coffee and cookies, and the neighborhood is now overrun with breeders and their double-wide strollers!

This is, of course, nonsense! Sure, gentrification is going on in Park Slope, but it started in the late ’60s when the middle class were being priced out of Manhattan, and they found they could afford brownstones in the blue collar Park Slope.

The Brooklyn lifers thought the people moving in were nuts, ”I couldn’t understand why a nice couple like that would buy into a neighborhood like this,” said a long time resident when the first “pioneers” moved in in the late ’60s.

But by the early 80’s the “post-pioneers” were complaining about new interlopers moving in and driving up the price of real estate.  They had to create an “other” to blame their problems on,  “lawyers from Manhattan,” ”People don’t know their neighbors. It isn’t families coming in any more.”

Can you believe that, people were complaining that there were not ENOUGH families in Park Slope?  They even had a name for them, “DINKs,” dual income, no kids.

Of course, people who moved in the 80’s complained about the people who were moving in in the ’90s and so on.  The moral of this is unless you were neighbors of Gil Hodges, you should probably not complain about gentrification.

POST SCRIPT- I’d like to correct one misconception in the newyorker article about Park Slope not being cool anymore. It is impossible for Park Slope to not be cool anymore, because PARK SLOPE WAS NEVER COOL!  It was always a bedroom community with a few nice restaurants and bars.  It was never the “It” neighborhood that Williamsburg, Dumbo, and Brooklyn Heights were. It was always the also-ran where you moved because you weren’t cool enough to live in “Greenpoint”.

Advertisements

The Parking-Savant on Residential Parking Permits

Have you ever complained about how cold it was only to be rebuffed by a friend from the mid-west or upstate who would say something like, “This is nothing, 20 degrees is a warm spring day in St Paul”?  Well, when it came to finding a parking in spot in Park Slope, I was the guy from St. Paul.

After college I lived in Hoboken for a few of years, and I can say with complete honesty, finding a parking spot in Park Slope is a piece of cake compared to getting a legal spot in Hoboken.  The average search time there was 45 minutes, and that wasn’t just looking for the “dream spot” in front of your building, your search radius had to be at least 10 blocks if you realistically wanted to find a space. Circling for 90 minutes was not unusual in the Mile Square City.

I don’t bring this up to say that The Slope has it easy on the parking front, we don’t. Parking here bites.  But I mention it because of recent talk about Brooklyn getting residential parking permits.  Parking has always been bad here but this is being discussed now because people are concerned about the influx of cars to the new Barclay’s Center. With residential parking permits, local residents would pay a yearly fee, and parking spaces would be allotted as resident parking only.

It looks good on paper, but Hoboken had residential parking, and it didn’t help at all.

I’m not entirely opposed to a residential parking permits, but I doubt they will be a panacea for the parking problem in Park Slope. The truth is there are more cars than there are spots, so there is now magic bullet to fix the problem.  But since I consider myself a parking-savant, I’ll propose my ideas on what could be done, long-term and short-term, to ease the parking burden.

More to come.

Brooklyn Bolsheviks Are Tough SOBs

I finally caved. Seeing the positives of the Park Slope Food Coop, I decided I’d like to join. Which is easier said than done. You need to attend an orientation before you can join, and you can only register for an orientation online, but every time I went to the site, all the orientation slots were filled and I was told to keep trying.  It felt like Marxist Mean Girls! But like a good proletariat, I persisted, and eventually got a slot for 4PM August 28th. “He who does not work shall not eat!”

While preparing my notebook (made from salvaged recycled paper) to take notes at the orientation, something caught my ear on NPR.  They said hurricane Irene was going to hit New York City around 4PM August 28th! Mayor Bloomberg was telling certain neighborhoods to evacuate, and the subways were shutting down at noon on Saturday. Surely my orientation would be canceled?  I called the Food Coop just to check.  Apparently my orientation is still scheduled for 4PM this Sunday.

Maybe I can canoe home with some organic kale?

18% of Kindergarteners at PS 107 Brooklyn Will Be Twins?!

One of the lucky ones accepted to PS 107 kindergarten

UPDATE:(see below)

Everyone in Park Slope is freaking out about the kindergarten waiting list fiasco. The NY Times says that nearly 1000 more students were wait-listed this year than last year.

But the part of the NY Times story that amazed me was this quote, “(PS 107 principal) Cynthia Holton, said that among the 100 kindergarten applicants who have been accepted are nine sets of twins.”

18% of 2011 PS 107 kindergarten class will be twins!!

Either there is Clomid in the South Slope’s water supply, or Brooklyn fertility docs were working overtime in 2006.

UPDATE: NY Times City Room must have read my post, but the 18% of the entering class didn’t catch their eye in their original story.

17 Prospect Park West Manision Renovation Finished!

The Park Slope Patch has heavily staged pics of the much hoopla-ed renovation of the 17 Prospect Park West Victorian mansion.  Formerly the abode of movie stars Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, it was bought in 2009 by a Google engineer, and locals and the blogerati were worried that the new owners would gut the “old world charm.” I’ve always admired this beautiful limestone townhouse, and when I saw scaffolding surrounding the place for a year, I thought they would do a down-to-the-studs renovation.  But it looks like they kept a lot of the original detail (and stuffed it with a lot of velvet furniture, even in the children’s room!  Maybe “Google-raised” kids aren’t constantly covered in jam and syrup like my kids.)  It really does look beautiful, but why do modern refurbs feel compelled to make bathrooms look like they are in a nightclub?

Parlor

Dining area

Perfect for the kids to bust out the magic markers on a play-date

Kitchen

Who doesn’t keep a wide array of melons and gourds splayed on their kitchen table?

Family room

I know its hard to take your eyes off the Danish/caveman club chair, but notice the high-chair?
Adult furniture from the future, children’s furniture from Amish country.

Child's room

The boots and blocks say, “we have a toddler.” The pink velvet chair says, “we can afford to have it re-upholstered”

Kitchen-level bath

I can practically hear “In Da Club” blastin’!

Cheeburger Cheeburger in Park Slope – Now 4 Restaurants in 4 Block Radius with “Burger” in Their Name

The chain restaurant Cheeburger Cheeburger is opening at the former Miracle Grill space on 7th Avenue and 3rd St. in Brooklyn.  I know that the Brooklyn Paper says there is a hamburger renaissance going on in Brooklyn, but Cheeburger Cheeburger? Did we really need that?  Cheeburger Cheeburger completes a Park Slope mediocre burger super-fecta. Now with Brooklyn BurgerFlipsters, 5 Guys, Corner Burger and Cheeburger Cheeburger, you won’t wave to walk for that 3 blocks to get a crappy burger.  I guess the bright side is with the Slope becoming so enamored by alt-burger chains, maybe we’ll get an In-N-Out Burger!

In other news Pfizer opens their first Lipitor store in Park Slope!