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Tenants at the 59-building, rent-stabalized, East Flatbush housing complex called Flatbush Gardens (previously Vanderveer Estates) claim that the owner, Clipper Equity, is neglecting repairs in order to drive out tenants and drive up rents. “You call, but they never come to fix anything,” one tenant of 25 years told the Daily News. Needed repairs include flooring in disrepair and exposed or non-functioning outlets. Tenants also claim that Clipper began charging $30 air-conditioner fees as part of its intimidation tactics, and raised rents in stabalized apartments beyond what is legally permissible. The owners will renovate an apartment as soon as tenants vacate, tenants say, but ignore maintenance requests for occupied units. Finally, the tenants point to television and subway ads for the complex as more evidence that the owners are trying to attract new money. A Clipper spokesperson said that the owner works through all maintenance requests, and highlights $10 million in upgrades such as new elevators, intercom systems, and playgrounds. Tenants say these are simply cosmetic upgrades, and a lawyer representing them told the News, “It’s clear the landlord wants to bring in new business.” GMAP P*Shark
Landlords Letting Flatbush Gardens Rot to Flush Us Out [Daily News]
Rent Wars: Flatbush Gardens Achieves Stuy Town Dream [Curbed]
Image by Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

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We biked past this three-sided, free-standing mural on the corner of Parkside and Ocean in Flatbush the other day and snapped a picture along the way. The mural has storefronts like Woolworth’s, Sears, and Bill’s Discount as well as what looks like older homes and local citizens. Specter, the artist who created the paintings, also known as Gabriel Reese, writes on her site that the mural illustrates “stories and memories from senior citizens in Flatbush,” and it looks like she received either cooperation or funding from the Department of Transportation and the International Studio & Curatorial Program. It’s definitely a nice addition to the wide swath of sidewalk outside the Q train station, and worth a look if you’re in the area. GMAP

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A $4.7 million project to replace 500 working streetlamps in Flatbush with antique bishop’s crook lamps has met with local resistance, reports the Daily News. Some residents do not understand the utility of spending $10,000 per lamp (standard streetlamps cost $4,000 each) when the current fixtures work just fine and when the neighborhood could spend the money elsewhere, such as streets and sidewalks in disrepair. “It’s ridiculous,” Kent Thomas, 24, told the News. “The lights we have work fine. There are hungry people in this neighborhood who need help; we need shelters and soup kitchens.” The project, which is half complete, received funding from the borough president’s 2007 capital budget. In contrast, Brooklyn Heights has launched a similar, $2.7 million campaign to install bishop’s crook streetlamps, with support from the Brooklyn Heights Association. Whereas opponents of both projects decry the waste of funds, the BHA defended the new street lights, saying they are beautiful, they enhance the neighborhood, and they are historically significant.
Flatbush Street Lamp Replacement a Dud [NY Daily News]
Brooklyn Heights’ Lights
[Brownstoner]

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Though a little off the beaten track from most of the houses we tend to profile, 333 Winthrop Street grabbed our attention because it had a low price tag (of $419,000) and appeared to have some nice old bones. When we started digging a little deeper, however, we discovered the real bummer about the two-family house: The block it’s on is dominated by a stretch of unattractive newish townhouses that look like they were built as affordable housing a couple of decades ago. So while we still think the house itself has promise, the whole deal’s looking a lot less interesting to us now.
333 Winthrop Street [Century 21] GMAP P*Shark


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Three and a half months after certifying the Flatbush Rezoning Plan for the public review process, the City Planning Commission gave its official seal of approval to the ne set of contextual building rules for the 180-block area that encompasses, among others, Caton Park, Beverley Square West and East, Ditmas Park West, and South Midwood. All that’s left before this baby becomes law is sign-off from the City Council, which is likely to happen in late July. For details on the rezoning, check out the City Planning website.
CPC approves Flatbush Rezoning Proposal [Flatbush Gardener]
City Planning OK’s Flatbush Rezoning Plan for ULURP [Brownstoner]
Flatbush Rezoning in the Works [Brownstoner]

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The 60-day ULURP period for the Flatbush Rezoning plan concludes this week with a hearing at City Planning on Wednesday night. Unfortunately the downzoning, which affects approximately 180 blocks and has particular impact on the historic areas of Victorian Flatbush did not come soon enough to save this place at 248 Stratford Road in Ditmas Park, notes the Ditmas Park Blog. We shudder to think what its replacement will look like. McMansion anyone?

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The Beat has all the info on a new tourism initiative launched by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. Nine in ‘09 encourages residents to “explore nine highlighted, culturally-diverse neighborhoods across the five boroughs with distinct cultural, retail, dining and entertainment offerings.” Don’t have the cash to go on a vacation this summer? Nine in ’09 outlines the perfect staycation. You can view sample itineraries with neighborhood information here. For that staycation in Brooklyn, find out what Brighton Beach and Flatbush have to offer (like a visit to the Flatbush Caton Market).
Photo by Ana Rose.

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One of seven documents Community Board 14 has assembled in anticipation of its hearing on the Flatbush Rezoning proposal now working its way through ULURP (and approved recently by City Planning) is a map of all the landmarked structures in the area. We cropped the area most densely populated by historic structures, but you can click here to see the full, large version. The CB14 hearing on the matter is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 2 at PS 249 at Caton Avenue and Marlborough Road.
City Planning OK’s Flatbush Rezoning Plan for ULURP [Brownstoner]
Public Hearing Scheduled for April 2nd [CB14]

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Photo by Brewing the Perfect Beer
Sixpoint and Frankies to Partner Up?
Eater shares an “unsubstantiated and somewhat far fetched rumor” that “the Franks (of the Frankies Spuntinos and Prime Meats) are working in conjunction with Shane Welch of Sixpoint Craft Ales to open a cafe on Court Street and (yes and) a Frankies beer garden in the vicinity of—or perhaps even in—the current space of the Sixpoint Brewery.” Eater also notes that neither Welch nor anyone at Frankies will confirm this rumor, “but it’s something to watch out for. ”

A Closer Look at Glass Shop
Last week, we reported on the new Crown Heights coffee house, Glass Shop. According to Grub Street, they’re open and serving “Australian-style espressos ($2.50) and lattes ($3 for 8 oz.). No drip for now, but there’s also a selection of PG Tips teas and simple sandwiches (ham and egg, sardine) as well as egg specials in the morning… and in warmer weather there’ll be a 600-square-foot garden in the back.” Has anybody been in yet?

Where to Wet Your Whistle
The bar at Prime Meats is officially open, and Time Out New York posted their “wallet-friendly” cocktail menu — but TONY also reviews the well-crafted cocktails at the less-hyped Jack the Horse Tavern in Brooklyn Heights: “the Robbie Robbie, a cockle-warming spin on the Scotch-based Rob Roy, which enlists Luxardo’s cinnamon-flavored bitter, Amaro Abano, to spicy effect. The Dos Amentes (tequila, mescal, Cherry Heering, dry vermouth, lime juice and cognac-almond syrup) is a rich tequila drink that allows the spirit’s aromatic, vegetal character to shine through.”

After the jump: Eating out in Clinton Hill, CSA news, beloved butcher closes up shop in Coney Island, Dom DeMarco hits up the Pizza Hall of Fame, and the Brooklyn Inn adds more seating…