Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Shoot Hoops, Not Guns": the transformation of Flatbush begins

Call it a sign of the times. On the south side of Flatbush Avenue just north of Bergen Street, where a dignified but none-too-special coffee shop called The Silver Spoon operated since 1980, the successor in that space is more brash, bringing orange neon--quite bright at night--and pointing to change in a neighborhood-y retail stretch.

With its nod to basketball, High Stakes Cheese Steaks, which opens on Friday (according to a sign I saw last night) may seem early, but the owners can't be the first to consider the advantages of being situated both on the border of a dense row-house neighborhood (Park Slope), and half a block from the planned Atlantic Yards site.

A couple of health clinics occupying street frontage just north on Flatbush, even closer to the arena block. Those clinics, well-situated for access via public transit, may have long-term rental deals arranged when that stretch of Flatbush was moribund.

But it's likely that someone will make them an offer they can't refuse, and that their valuable space will go to an establishment that aims to capitalize, at least in part, on the planned arena and the towers around it. See that Mobil sign? That's where one tower would begin. One arena entrance would be just around the corner.

The sign chosen by the cheese steak purveyors may have seemed premature, especially when it went up a week or two ago, but maybe the sign makers knew something about the vote yesterday in favor of Atlantic Yards by the Public Authorities Control Board.

The "Shoot Hoops, Not Guns" sign seems a little bit in-your-face for that stretch of Flatbush right now. Guns are a far smaller problem than traffic--and that might prove true if the arena opens in 2009 as planned. (Then again, it's just a slogan, right?) But the "high stakes" level of neon likely isn't the first, years before Atlantic Yards, even on schedule, becomes a reality.

4 comments:

  1. Brilliant marketing.

    Now I want a cheesesteak, thanks to all the attention this is getting.

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  2. Just around the corner from my house. I have to admit, when I first saw the sign, I thought "Mmmmm . . . cheesesteaks . . ."

    But I couldn't figure out what the hell "Shoot Hoops Not Guns" was about.

    Anyway, no fear. Eventually it'll be a Starbucks or a Dunkin' Donuts. As will everything else on the block.

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  3. Darn, I want a "Carl's Cheesesteaks" in Brooklyn.

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  4. I was a huge fan of Silver Spoon's corned beef hash. Shoot me now.

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