Saturday, September 24, 2011

Plant Daffodils with the CHCA (and other notes from Tuesday's Meeting)

(The lady, who worked for years at a garden nursery, insists that I correctly identify the flowers in the planter box above as hostas, even though this post is about daffodils. Still, it's the best photo I've got of a CHCA planter, and I just ran daffodil photos, so I'm keeping it).

This was supposed to go up on Wednesday evening, but better late than never, right? At any rate, there's a complete rundown of the news and notes from Tuesday's Crow Hill Community Association Meeting below, but I wanted to lead with the fall planting of daffodils. If you're new to the area, Franklin Avenue blooms with daffodils every spring thanks to the efforts of the CHCA's Go Green Go Clean Committee and the Daffodil Project, a citywide initiative memorializing 9/11 through local plantings. Journalist Andie Park contributed a great piece about this ongoing project two weeks ago, for which the CHCA won an award this past year.

Daffodils bloom in the spring only if planted in the fall,and the CHCA has set aside two Sundays in October for this very purpose, October 2 and October 16. If you'd like to participate, email them at chca{at}crowhillcommunity{dot}com. 

More updates:

- Saadia Z. Adossa, the Deputy Director of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Community Relations Bureau, came out to offer support for community members and solicit help investigating crime and violence in Crown Heights. She noted that the DA's office runs a wide variety of youth and community programs aimed at prevention, substance abuse treatment, and alternative sentencing and re-entry for offenders, and that their neighborhood office at St. Gregory the Great is open to discuss these programs and community concerns from 9-5 every Thursday. She also encouraged people with information about criminal activity to be in touch  with the NYPD and the DA's office, and noted that communications can be anonymous. Contact her office at 718-250-3187 or adossas{at}brooklynda{dot}org.

- The effort to retain the Impact Zone continues, though the CHCA has not yet received word as to the NYPD's decision. A few concerned folks (including yours truly) suggested that, if the Zone is renewed, the CHCA and the NYPD should work to educate the community about the nature and intentions of the Impact Zone and "zero-tolerance" policing, and should also provide materials advising residents of their rights. There are some good materials out there already (as MikeF noted) - if you've got links, pass them along, and we'll use them as we put together materials.

- Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries made an appearance to speak to his efforts to improve the safety of the area without resorting to stop-and-frisks, of which he is an outspoken critic. Noting that gun "buy-backs" at churches around the city took more weapons off the street in a single day last year than the NYPD collected in an entire year's worth of stop-and-frisks, Jeffries pointed to the decrease in manpower and pressure on precincts to produce numbers as reasons for the increased use of the tactic. He also mentioned recent statements by NYPD spokespeople regarding the unwillingness of people in communities affected by violence over labor day to cooperate with investigations, and suggested that the humiliation associated with stop-and-frisks had poisoned the relationship between these communities and the police. As a result, he observed, these communities had become less safe, subject to "street justice" and mistrustful of police. (It will not surprise frequent readers if I add that ILFA's editorial board of one agrees with the Assemblyman's evaluation). 

- The push to extend the Franklin Avenue Bike Lane all the way to Empire Boulevard (where it hooks up with Prospect Park) continues. Sign petitions at The Candy Rush and Had Associates. You can also sign the petition via email, by sending the following to

send to:


body of email:
We, the undersigned support Crow Hill Community Association’s proposal to convert the 2 existing traffic lanes on Franklin Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway to 1 lane of vehicular traffic and 1 designated bike lane. This would make traffic conditions on Franklin Avenue safer for pedestrians as well as create a secure thoroughfare for cyclists continuing on Franklin to Crow Hill/Eastern Parkway/Prospect Park from the designated Franklin Avenue bike lane that currently exists north of Atlantic Avenue.


- The Franklin Avenue Merchants have a great-looking new flyer out and available at local stores - use it to find everything you need on Franklin and to spread the word about great local businesses to friends in the area and beyond.

- Additional events coming up include a bigger and better Halloween Festival (for kids and adults) and the start of fundraising for the Kids Day (aiming even higher this year). Keep an eye out for more information here and the CHCA site. 

- Thanks to the Gospel Tabernacle Church, a citywide Pentecostal group that's been on Franklin since 1984, for hosting us. The CHCA meets every third Tuesday of the month at 7:30. 


  1. Here's some downloadable brochures and the like on Knowing Your Rights When Stopped By The Police:

    As a result of being a poster on local message board poster for almost 6 years, I can't help but observe these same type of struggles took place back when the police were always around the Vanderbilt Ave area because of regular shootings.

    Brooklynian is the predecessor of site called Dailyheights, where -beginning in 2003- lots of long term residents complained about how they were suddenly being ticketed and arrested for things they could previously do without concern: possess weed, not pay tickets, ride their bikes on the sidewalk, litter, open alc container, etc.

    It should be interesting to see over the next five years whether Franklin Ave becomes a version of the current Vanderbilt, or whether the economy and other factors cause it to change in the other direction.

    I think only one thing is certain: 5 years from now, Franklin Ave won't look like it does today.

  2. Long time reader, first time commenter. I apologize in advance for what ended up becoming a rather long comment. I've lived on Franklin for around a decade now and your blog has been a welcome addition to the online blogs detailing the neighborhood, particularly given how much it's changed during the period you've been maintaining it. I’ve refrained from commenting to this point on recent events in the neighborhood as we have a tendency to blame first and ask questions later. Insofar as people are more intent on taking sides and assigning blame, we almost inevitably undermine constructive debate. That said, I will say that the ongoing issues of violence and the relationship between the police and the community are troubling, as are many people's perceptions of the problem, which are often overly simplistic and entirely based in either pointing the finger in one direction or the other.

    In the context of the all the violence witnessed over the last several months, I will say that the least troubling aspect of that relationship was the officers dancing, shall we say, perhaps a bit over enthusiastically during the parade. Given the historic hostility between these groups, I actually found it refreshing. Regarding Assemblyman Jeffries statement, I have to say that it's a bit of an oversimplification to say that lack of cooperation with police stems from stop-and-frisks, as there's a long, long history of mistrust of the police within the black community. That's not to say that those misgivings aren't justified, but to say that something instituted so recently is responsible for an attitude that existed long before those policies went into effect is a bit disingenuous. That said, to try to explain the entire evolution of that dynamic doesn't make for a quick conversation, much less press statement, so it's understandable. I will say that those who act as if the police are simply intent on persecuting members of this community have to realize that the police allocate their resources to the areas where crimes are being committed and tend to be more vigilant towards members of that community. Like it or not, this is the way every police department on earth goes about its business. To do otherwise would be downright naive and a misuse of limited police resources. Of course, there's a way to do that respectfully and tactfully, and as you've pointed out before, in a way that effectively engages the community and fosters cooperation. But too often I see reflexive knee-jerk accusations that the police are simply intent on abusing/mistreating people when this completely ignores the reality that crime is very much clustered within particular communities within this city. An explanation for why this is the case obviously involves our educational system, criminal justice system, limited economic opportunities, etc., but there's a very real reason why the police are here, and I for one, remember how things were 10 years ago when I'd see people being shot left and right all the time....(continued)....

  3. ....(Continued)....I'm happy to no longer live in a place quite so violent and the increased police presence has obviously played a role in that. The last several months have been unsettling insofar as it felt like a return to that period and hopefully it was just a coincidence that so many shooting took place in such a brief period of time. Like I said, these are complicated issues full of shifting dynamics and many nuances. We all need to be mindful of that and resist the urge to jump to conclusions, and particularly to automatically assume skin color is at the heart of every explanation for every event. It's no better when one community does it than another and it's often needlessly divisive, pushing people away who could be potential allies in the drive towards living in a peaceful, just, and harmonious neighborhood. The reality is that solutions require asking hard, often uncomfortable questions. Questions like, is there a culture of violence in particular communities that make shootings more likely? If so, what can be done to address that? To those who would attribute violence strictly to poverty and lack of economic opportunity there’s the question of why other communities, similarly impoverished and lacking in economic opportunity, are not so inclined towards violence. Like I said, these aren’t comfortable questions. We’ve been conditioned not to ask them, in large part, because simply asking them will lead to the charge of racism, when that isn’t the case. It's absurd to attribute violence to skin color, but it’s equally absurd to refuse to ask these questions for fear that simply asking them equates to racism or laying the entirety of blame at the feet of one community. A full explanation requires a willingness to look at all of these factors and to fight our almost inherent inclination to pick a side and defend it whole-heartedly, often to the point of irrationality. When our political system is permeated with this attitude, when parents are quicker to blame teachers for their children’s failures than they are to look in the mirror, when terrorists are simply evil and no attempt is made to discuss, let alone address, the underlying issues that foster extremism and terrorism, it’s little wonder that we here fall into the same dynamic. I wanted to take the time to write this in the hopes that we can all be more mindful of the complexities of what we’re discussing, and hopefully that will lead to a more honest and fruitful debate than the ones we too frequently witness, both within this blog’s comments section, and within our society more generally. Like I said, excessively long comment, though it'd take quite a bit more to fully flesh out my thoughts on the subject. Thanks again for maintaining the blog. It’s a great asset to the community and always a good read.