Patty wake, patty wake! Christie’s to close on Flatbush Avenue

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The owner of a cheap neighborhood favorite will close his restaurant after 45 years in Park Slope and Prospect Heights, citing a landlord-tenant dispute fueled by a nearby sports arena.

Paul Haye, who runs Christie’s Jamaican Patties on Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place, says he’ll close by January, claiming his landlord — who last spring welcomed embattled sports bar Prime 6 to the neighborhood — gave him the boot in order to collect higher rent from a new tenant, now that Barclays Center is closer to completion.

Then again, he might just be deliquent on rent, as the landlord, Lina Feng, countered in court documents.

“She’s trying to kick me out,” he said. “I don’t think it’s worth the stress; it’s killing me. I’ve had so many sleepless nights.”

The dispute is the latest evidence that small businesses may have trouble staying open near the arena, where the Nets will play basketball next season (if there is a season).

Businesses owners in Fort Greene and north Park Slope also report that landlords have doubled rent, citing proximity to the arena in new real-estate ads.

Christie’s opened in 1966 across the street from its current location, offering the tasty pastries — which one online reviewer called “the best damn patties on the planet” — along with its famous coco bread to neighbors on the go.

A particularly popular item was the patty on coco bread, though there are few diets that would permit it.

In 2006, Haye reopened at its current location, then scored a write-up in the New York Times, a Manhattan newspaper, which called the patties “practically a meal in itself.”

Even today, hungry neighbors can still buy the flaky meat-filled treat for just $2.

Recently, however, business has slowed and Haye admitted to being two months late on rent. He said he tried to pay it — but the building owner then presented him with two bills totaling $20,000 for tax and late fees and then sued.

Feng — who had a high-profile battle with Royal Video several years ago — did not respond to calls seeking comment. A woman who answered her cellphone last Thursday would say only, “He owes her a lot of money” before hanging up.

Haye now says he’s considering opening elsewhere.

“I put my whole life into this place,” he said with a sigh. “But I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

dave from brooklyn says:
Among the worst patties and coco bread ever to be labeled jamaican.

Nig-nog is an extremely offensive terrm used in other parts of the world, if you didn't know that already.
Nov. 22, 2011, 7:46 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Stop playing coy:

You could be like Dave--be Real, state your opinion, state you don't like the man's patties, that maybe you don't like the venue or even the man himself, and be on with It, or you can be you--a racist piece of ——.
Nov. 22, 2011, 10:56 am
Sarah from Prospect Heights says:
Notice that Lina Feng's other property which is supposedly becoming "Prime Six" has been sitting there uncompleted for months, rotting away with some of the facade already falling off before the place has already opened. That was after she kicked out the Video Store, left the space empty for 2 years because she was trying to get 20K per month and NOW the new place seems to have run out of money and it's STILL AN EYESORE. 3 years after the video store moved out.

LINA FENG IS A SLUM LANDLORD and everyone in Park Slope knows that.
Nov. 22, 2011, 11:01 am
Niggles Noggles from Bb says:
Yo, yo Dennis be funky trippin' nig-nog!
Nov. 22, 2011, 2:35 pm
Ethan from Park Slope says:
Christies kitchen is a mess, the patties are now the worst in Brooklyn and the rest of the food is bad and has gotten worse this year. The place is dirty, that is why business is slow. I think they owe more than 5 months rent according to the landlord. He pays in $500 increments.
btw, Prime 6 is complete and waiting for the Fire Dept to sign off on his CO. They hope to open sometime in Dec. and they have continued to pay the $15K per month.
More new restaurants will continue to come into the neighborhood, some small mom and pops but no big box stores.
Nov. 22, 2011, 2:46 pm
Nancy from PS says:

Since you seem to be Lina Feng in drag, I suggest you tell Prime 6 to do something about their crumbling exterior because it looks like hell. And it hasn't even opened yet.
Nov. 22, 2011, 2:55 pm
Liz from ph says:
Christie's was named the best Jamaican patty in the city.
Nov. 22, 2011, 3:02 pm
Brooklyngirl from Park Slope says:
I know Lena Fang well and she wanted Christies to renew their lease and they did not want to renew it. They do indeed owe about $30K in back rent, in taxes, rent and water bills. They just dont have the money to pay their rent which is quite reasonable considering the neighborhood. They also refused to install hot water meters and during the time that they were in this space they never once paid a water bill.
Also, I know that the kitchen is filthy and many of the neighbors have been complaining about how bad the food is. Maybe its just time for them to move on. If they cant afford the rent, have no customers, then they should leave without putting blame on the landlord. She is a very nice lady and owns many properties in the area.
Nov. 22, 2011, 4:30 pm
Lou from prospect heights says:
I've never heard one nice thing about Lina Feng.

As the report suggests, she is now suing the owner of Christie's.

I believe she also tried to sue the owner of Royal Video when she kicked them out and then left the space vacant for 2 years.

I've heard from people who live in her buildings that she is a slum landlord as someone else here has mentioned.
Nov. 22, 2011, 4:35 pm
jj from brooklyn says:
i don't know anything about lina feng. what i know is that the flatbush ave strip is going to change because of barclay's center, and there's nothing anyone in Park Slope or Prospect Heights can do to stop it from changing. landlords are entitled to charge what they can get — if the strip went downhill and the market collapsed, they'd have to live with that too.

for those unhappy about this, the time to act was BEFORE the arena was approved. but the lazy asses in PS and PH choose not to really fight, thinking that somehow their paradise would not be affected. well, get used to it because everything will change once the arena opens.

oh, dear beloved spoiled Park Slopers, the impact will not stop with flatbush avenue,
Nov. 22, 2011, 7:16 pm
David from Prospect Heights says:
The only thing I've noticed on Flatbush Avenue since the announcement of the arena is fewer vacant storefronts, increased quality new restaurants and retail and an announcement that all of Flatbush between Atlantic and Grand Army plaza is going to be beautified.

Park Slope (and Brooklyn) have been through many ups and downs. We live in a city. Things change. We will survive a small arena with 40 games of basketball a year and some concerts. They manage okay in every major city in the world where the arrival of an arena and dollars and people are considered GOOD THINGS.

People like JJ will be left in the dust as he clearly already has due to his lack of knowledge on a variety of topics.
Nov. 22, 2011, 9:25 pm
51 cent from fort greene says:
hey, money's money. even if these patties were off the hook, you have to pay rent.
Nov. 22, 2011, 9:35 pm
Ronald from Brooklyn says:
Everyone knows the best patties are in McDonalds.
Nov. 22, 2011, 9:42 pm
anywho says:
Double yuck!
Nov. 22, 2011, 9:54 pm
Rena from ParkSlope says:
How long did the business need to last to have not made a statement about gentrification? the place was open for 45 freaking years! The dude is getting older and can't keep it up like he used to. That doesn't mean that Prospect Heights is over and it doesn't mean that the arena is the next bubonic plague like many of you seem to claim. it means that the dude is over it after 45 great years and now it's time to move on. What is the freaking big deal about it? He may have hung out a little longer, but had he lasted 47 years, would that have meant something less than the mountain you all are making it out to be??
Nov. 22, 2011, 10:05 pm
jj from brooklyn says:
i'm not saying the arena will be terrible; time will tell. only that those nearby who are in hysterics should have thought about this earlier.

as to david's point about the impact of arenas elsewhere, the issue is not exactly comparable. most (tho not all) cities that built arenas did so in areas that cried out of improvement. that could hardly have been said of park slope and prospect heights.
Nov. 22, 2011, 10:16 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The claim that professional sports facilities are a tax revenue has been nothing but a fairy tale. If you don't take my word for it, then please read Field of Schemes by Neil de Mause, because he has repeatedly proven his statement on how they are nothing but net money losers. If anything, they actually take away from other businesses, which is why this person has to close his. I won't be surprised if a corporation or chain will take over that spot, because they will probably be the only ones that could afford it when the rents or property tax goes up. Let's not forget that a lot long time local businesses near MTC had to eventually leave once that complex came there, especially Gage & Tollners, which finally closed in 2004 after being around for over a century.
Nov. 22, 2011, 10:29 pm
izzy from ft. greene says:
So JJ, midtown Manhattan was a dump before Madison Square Garden was built? Really? Care to do a little research on that?

And Tal Barzilai, you are one of those NIMBY freaks who are suggesting that this man hasn't paid over 30K of rent for years but is closing because of a yet opened arena a 1/2 mile away?

did you ever think it's because no one in park slope wants really unhealthy fatty jamaican patties anymore? no, it couldn't be that, it MUST be THE ARENA coming in 10 months.

You are so delusional. As is JJ. I could list dozens of cities which built arenas in established areas. There are more lies on this thread than Fox News.

As for your threat of a chain coming in, so what? Five guys came in further down and they are doing great and people seem to love them. Across the street someone said a farm to table restaurant is taking over the corner. Is that a chain? What about BKLYN larder cheese shop. Is that a chain? How about 67 Burger with one other location in fT. greene? I guess that's a big bad chain now that they have two locations. What about the brand new clothing store that opened right near the arena, vinnie's? Is that a chain? I see GAP didn't take that spot. How about the independent skate shop that opened right next door? Is that a chain? The new restaurant opening where Royal Video called Prime 6? Never heard of that chain before. Oh wait, but it's a bar and they might have some arena clientele I forgot so even if they aren't a chain I'm sure you hate them. Yea, I see no new tax dollars here, no new jobs at all with the 25 new businesses. But I guess all you will notice is the new Bank of America and scream that the neighborhood is now ruined because of the arena. Which again...hasn't even opened yet. And won't for another year.
Nov. 22, 2011, 10:46 pm
Lynn from PH says:
Some people like Tal Barzilai think that businesses should go on forever and that even if the owner wants to retire or worse, dies that the business in question went under because of an arena or an office building. It has nothing to do with our capitalist free market society and no matter what...every mom and pop must live on for eternity because he said so.

This is NYC folks, it is CONSTANTLY changing. That is one of the reasons its so great. If you are still lamenting the death of Gage and Tollner (even though it closed due to a variety of factors including mismanagement and the fact that the late 90's was a terrible time for that area and crime scared people away not to mention the fact that the food went downhill bigtime) you are not meant for city life where things change faster than you can blink. You want static, go live in rural america.
Nov. 22, 2011, 11:03 pm
jj from brooklyn says:
neighborhoods change. prospect heights and northern park slope will change. for better or worse remains to be seen.

and, as i said, landlords are entitled to maximize their investments' potential. selling $2 patties in a 'hood where rents WILL go up may just no longer be a tenable proposition.

nevertheless, i do hope the area can avoid strip clubs (which won't be called strip clubs, of course) and similar establishments. but there will be at least some of that; it goes with the territory (of an area).
Nov. 23, 2011, 7:57 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Those who have slammed me for defending this business should really read again. This owner was here before most of us were even born and has been in this neighborhood durring its ups and downs. I am not saying that everything should remain static, but grow in a more organic matter. When I was talking about what would replace his site was more on corporation, because when rents become higher, they are the only ones who can pretty much afford to be there. Keep in mind that it is first and second generations that define the neighborhoods, not today's generation. Also, gentrification at a fast rate has a history of causing long time businesses like this one to eventually be priced out. Just look at how many local businesses are left in the LES and Harlem over in Manhattan when the zoning was changed. As for Ratner, he always claims to be a crusader for local and small businesses when that is clearly false, and corporations end up in his places instead when he claims they would be awarded them for helping when it was really just a bait and switch.
Nov. 23, 2011, 4:54 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Again, I can only comment on the abstractions held in common between this situation and those I have directly experienced, since I am not from the neighborhood, and have never been to this man's joint or eaten his patties. I appreciate the respectful submissions after this thread began with some awful racism, and I respectfully copy-paste my observation from another thread on Ratner since it seems we're all jumping back and forth between related threads, and Thanksgiving is afoot and family is looking to steal this laptop from me, and I have to be quick:

"...persons on [this] thread...have made observations about "the inevitability of change" or "change happens" or "the only thing that doesn't change is change." This is axiomatic and is therefore administered in argument as a bromide--it is so given it makes no sense whatsoever to make for argument. It's like saying "the sky is blue" or "water is wet." Of course change happens! The people who are arguing against Ratner are also positioning for change--their change. It's nonsense and misleading and is meant to suggest that somehow DDDB or any of the "anti-Ratner" forces are opposed to change--nonsense. They have a counter-proposal--that is change.

If you don't like the type of change proposed by a plan or plans then argue against that, but to argue as though "your side" is for "change" and is "dynamic" while the "other side" is "static" is doing nothing but making sophistry and nonsense, is really nothing more than cheap sloganeering and is not a legitimate argument.

...some observers here have argued that the developers as landowners should be allowed to "maximize their profits"--again, nonsense and not predicated on reality. Why should the maximization of profits and revenue and money in general be confined solely to developers? On what arbitrary basis are we foisting this fallacious argument on? On that same basis the argument that the unions should maximize their wages is just as legitimate. [The maximization of this particular tenant's could also be asserted to everyone's detriment, because it would be based on the same logic.] If the maximization of happiness underlies the maximization of profits, why shouldn't the anti-developers groups thus maximize their opposition?

The truth of the matter is that there is no place in the country by which large-scale developers can do whatever they want and maximize their profits. Developers are absentee entities in the geographic locations they are building upon, and there is also a large likelihood that they will not even reside in those selfsame locations they build upon. The experience of their finished work, which is the most powerful circumstance of all, is fractured, for a developer, by a balance sheet. No such fracture exists for a resident local to the area where development occurs, and it is precisely why developers "make concessions" on developments--they typically live "t/here" whereas the psychological and experiential impact is typically felt by those who live "here."

For example, up in Williamsburg, the developers who slipped into the 2005-rezoning of the waterfront were not "local entities." The community had plans in place, and it was by hook and crook that Toll Brothers eventually developed there--because of that hook and crook, because of their alienness, because of the environmental and aesthetic and historical impact of their work, they make concessions. The idea that developers live in this fanciful laissez-faire state is pernicious, and the idea that laissez-faire economics works was disputed by Alan Greenspan himself."

As to all this personal stuff about somebody being a slumlord or somebody being a nightmare tenant--maybe those are personal matters best kept private. Neither side helps their case with such ugly accusations and revelations of personal details that are more consequential in court than here.
Nov. 24, 2011, 9:28 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
In sum, community groups AND developers should seek the best and best-made projects, not the best-profitting projects. The latter is not equal to the former in quality-of-life, and it is a long-held canard, since the beginnings of capitalism, that such an equation is even made. WILLIAMSBURG IS PROOF--nowhere can you find in the present day a location whose developments most compromise and negate Its creative and social potential.
Nov. 24, 2011, 9:35 am
triebensee from park slope says:
Maybe he should buy a truck.
Jan. 31, 2012, 5:56 am

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