Park Slope, Manhattan Beach Fight to Keep Out Poor People, Black People

03/01/2011 12:48 PM |

Protesters at a Park Slope community board meeting last night
  • Protesters at a Park Slope community board meeting last night

The residents of two salubrious Brooklyn neighborhoods are engaged in fresh fights to keep outsiders…well, out. In both cases, reasonable municipal matters are complicated by barely obscured feelings about race and class. On the Park Slope-Prospect Heights border, it’s about the prospective customers of a new nightclub; crowds of residents attended the local community board last night to protest its liquor license. In Manhattan Beach, residents near Brooklyn’s community college, Kingsborough, have voiced anew their long-running complaints against disrespectful students. As one community leader was quoted on a local blog, “they can’t spell, they can’t read and they certainly can’t drive…that’s the dirt we have to deal with in Manhattan Beach.”

For Park Slope, it’s a running storyline: in January, the owners of a South Slope banquet hall pricked gentrifiers’ secret anxieties with threats of inviting an unwelcome element to the area if plans to expand weren’t approved; meanwhile, officials at a high school on the neighborhood’s north end considered introducing a separate school for elite students, effectively segregating the children.

Now, tempers are high over a planned nightclub that plans to open near where the Barclays Center will be. Prime 6, a multi-story restaurant and lounge at Sixth and Flatbush avenues, concerns neighbors because it could attract an unwanted element. “To have a restaurant for the Atlantic Yards crowd is different than to have a restaurant for this community,” a representative for Councilmeber Stephen Levin said at last night’s community board meeting, the Park Slope Patch reported. Critics’ central complaint seems to be noise: the planned late hours, combined with outdoor seating areas. Of course, as usual with these kinds of issues, racial tensions simmer below the surface.

Fucked in Park Slope puts it all in perspective:

The Brooklyn Paper says:

“…Residents believe that the bar will target a hoops and hip-hop crowd that will be raucous before and after games…” I read that as: poor [insert favorite minority group here] ppl will be playing loud music and probably stealing shit from us as we walk by from the Bergen Street subway stop.

[...]

More from the Brooklyn Paper:
“On the bar’s Facebook page, where the Prime 6 logo is in the shape of a basketball, many of the “friends” are musicians and DJs. The webpage also includes a link to the “Prime 6 mixed CD,” which was created by hip hop artist DJ Big Jeff, who has songs titled, “Motha F—ka, I’m Ill” and “New Money.”

I read that as: Let us reiterate: PRIME 6 NYC IS GONNA BE BLASTING RAP MUSIC ALL DAY-N-NIGHT, MOTHERFUCKAS! They are friends with DJ’s and musicians and shit!? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS??? WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT IT MEANS: YOU WILL PROBS BE MURDERED THERE.

The Park Slope Patch also notes that “on the MySpace page, many of Prime 6’s 300 friends are sultry women in suggestive poses.”

Meanwhile, down in southern Brooklyn, near where angry residents have been fighting the construction of a new mosque (which has nothing to do with anti-Islam sentiment, of course), Manhattan Beachers are angry about the kids commuting here for school: they park illegally, and don’t respond politely to harried residents who yell at them. But, again, a matter of adhering to parking regulations seems to hide something more sinister below its surface. As a boardmember of the Manhattan Beach Community Group wrote in an e-mail, published by Sheepshead Bites, about the students giving her agita: “they can’t spell, they can’t read and they certainly can’t drive…that’s the dirt we have to deal with in Manhattan Beach.”

A commenter called “JR” takes this lady to task:

to say they cannot read and spell is just plain wrong. Yes the people going to Kingsborough are not the smartest lot but not everyone there is a complete idiot. Just because this lady owns a million dollar home (or close to it) does not mean she is right and they are wrong…she could just move technically lol no one told her to buy a house next to a Community College…

“RS” backs up this commenter: “Thank you JR! Just because her house costs more then college education for ALL of KCC’s students does not mean she is better then the rest.”

One Comment

  • Amazing reporting there Henry. rather than get off your lazy a$$ and show up at the meeting to observe, you report what blog posters wrote. You do not even know if THEY were there. I was there. No one at the meeting expressed concern about the patrons of Prime 6, other than increased car traffic, foot traffic at 4am, and people leaving a large bar that late at night. More importantly, it is a very racially diverse community and the people opposing Prime 6 were of many races, ages, economic classes and genders. Prime 6 is bad for everyone that lives in the area, regardless of who they are. Not a single person from the community spoke in support of the place and even their Landlady (who presumably collects tons of rent from them) didn’t have a positive thing to say!