Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Love Franklin Ave's Readers

And now, it's time for the ultimate act of self-reference in the self-referential world of blogging: the comment review! Ego-stroking aside, 2010 has been a very fruitful year of keyboard-tapping for I Love Franklin Ave: readership is up, and comments are on the rise as well. I'm always psyched that people read the blog, but when soliloquy turns into dialogue, it's a special thrill. So, without further ado, here's a round-up of some of my favorite responses, many from individuals who would be far more qualified to write a Franklin Avenue blog than yours truly.

- A whopping 14 people jumped in to comment on a terse, awkward posting about a drug bust and the minefield of racial and class tensions simmering in the gathered crowd. Some posters were glad that "the police are taking drug activity seriously" while others worried that "law abiding "old timers" could not tolerate this behavior also . . . so why does it only seem that NOW Police action is being taken on a serious level?" Nostrand Park offered their take as well.

- An recap of a neighborhood clean-up on MLK day drew the eloquent ire of anonymous local, who argued that "it might be more appropriate in memory of MLK to examine how the rapid change in prospect heights has effected our Black / African American neighbors, and to find a way to serve their struggle with racial and economic justice," and noted that "Police aggression is common when you aren't white, and you should not take it as evidence that someone has done something wrong." This critique (it got a little nastier) drew a reponse from the event organizer, who simply said "This clean up was to show some respect for our home, our neighborhood, and you, our neighbors."

- My long-winded reply to both controversies comments from two longtime locals. Mitch , whose father opened Maiman's Pharmacy when Crown Heights was still a Jewish-Italian nabe, observed that "Brooklyn neighborhoods, especially Crown Heights, have been in a constant state of transition. In reality, nobody can claim permanent ownership of the neighborhood," and urged residents to embrace change, "no matter how unsettling." Offering a counterpoint, Roni said "I'm not concerned about different ethnicities moving in" but that "Change is unsettling when your elderly family members are forced to move into shelters" because they can't afford rising rents and cost of living.

- A post about the pending transformation of the Bedford-Atlantic Armory (an intake center? a rec center? both?!) drew two enlightening comments, including one from State Senator Velmanette Montgomery's office reporting on a meeting concerning the Armory's fate:

At this meeting Commissioner Hess said that plans to turn the Armory into the major processing unit for men entering the shelter system had been permanently scrapped. The major entry processing center will remain in Manhattan. However, since over 30% of shelter residents come from Brooklyn the Armory is planned to serve as a much smaller, secondary processing center to serve the homeless of Brookyn.

Nostrand Park jumped in with their own thoughts and poll of local residents.

- Notes on the upcoming demolition of NYCHA's Prospect Plaza brought thoughtful insights from local commentor-in-chief nat and author Roberta Brandes Gratz, who has served on several mayoral planning committees.

Thanks to everyone who offered their take in the past month, and please, keep the comments coming!


  1. You know, of course, that I'm a big fan of your blog. I frequent almost just as religiously as I brush my teeth.

    It's great to see that you have garnered the interest of a such varied cross-section of commentors. In a neighborhood like ours, which lacks community spaces and lacks a local newspaper, it's great that we still have this type of outlet to connect to.

    I wish you continued success!

    Also, as an aside, I have to say that I completely agree about nat being the "local commentor-in-chief." If nat's the same person who posts on our blog, I always look forward to reading his/her commentary.

  2. Aww shucks. Thanks to both Nick and Laurel for your kind words. I really appreciate the work that you folks have been doing with this blog and on Nostrand Park. I am indeed the same person who comments as nat on both sites.

    These blogs offer me a place to scratch that writing itch. I am easily distracted from my day job particularly by thinking about news and (cultural) history.

    I probably don't have the editorial follow through to host a blog as interesting as either of yours, but I appreciate the opportunity to ride your coat tails and contribute to the great discussions you start.

  3. Aww, thanks guys! Laurel, I'm an equally avid reader of NostrandPark, of course, and I'm particularly excited about the way you're building the site into a community organization. The "Virtual Town Square" says it all--you've become a really great forum for our neighborhood and a one-stop shop all things CH.

    Nat, keep 'em coming (today's post about the MTA was particularly enlightening)! If you've ever got a great story to share that I've missed, let me know, because I'd gladly hand a guest post (or several) over to you.