Fast feud: Brownstone nabes have beef with new McDonald’s

The Brooklyn Paper
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Boerum Hill and Park Slope residents are outraged that a shuttered Fourth Avenue KFC that’s slated to become a McDonald’s has become a garbage-filled eyesore, saying the world’s biggest burger chain must clean the site and make the drive-thru fancier before they’ll consider lovin’ it.

The Brownstone Brooklyn residents added that when the outpost for the world’s largest burger seller gets built, it better look more like DuMont Burger than the standard golden arches.

“They need to realize what this neighborhood is,” said Boerum Hill resident Grace Freedman. “It’s not appropriate for a highway McDonald’s. We’d like to make it as nice as possible and even do landscaping.”

McDonald’s spokeswoman Cheryll Forsatz wouldn’t say whether the burger giant would let neighbors vet the design — or do the landscaping. But she promised the eatery’s traditional bright reds and yellows will be subdued with muted colors at the new location at Baltic Street, and said its interior would feature wooden tables, Wi-Fi and other contemporary flourishes that will make it look more upscale.

“If you look at Manhattan, you’ll find newer chic designs,” said Forsatz, whose company already has locations just six blocks away at Atlantic Terminal and nine blocks away on Fourth Avenue and First Street — and eyed moving into the Triangle Sports building at Flatbush and Fifth avenues, but didn’t make an offer.

“It will be not what people think when they think of McDonald’s restaurants,” Forsatz said.

But no matter how much the Golden Arches glisten when the burger joint opens next May, neighbors say they want the fast food giant to clean up its dilipidated lot — and fast.

McDonald’s bought the former chicken chain last fall, and beer bottles and other refuse have littered the sidewalks ever since, according to neighbors.

“We always thought, ‘Well, it couldn’t be worse than a KFC,’” said Cathleen Bell.

“But right now, this is definitely is worse.”

Critics have called and e-mailed McDonald’s to demand an end to the grimy Mac Attack, which they claim is sullying a busy stretch of Fourth Avenue between Park Slope and Boerum Hill that local pols and community groups have rallied to beautify in recent years.

“This is absolutely disgraceful,” said Ralph Sanchez, a neighbor who sweeps trash in front of the site at least once a week. “If you buy a piece of property, you can’t let it turn into a dump!”

In October, the city’s Department of Buildings slapped the chain with $4,000 in fines and several violations for a fallen construction fence facing Fourth Avenue.

Locals were shocked on Saturday when McDonald’s finally sent a contractor to sweep up the trash — saying that the corporation hasn’t responded to their phone calls and e-mails.

The cleaning man, who declined to give his name, griped that neighbors should take care of the sidewalks.

“The same people who are complaining are the same people who are making it dirty,” he said. “It’s their neighborhood. They should clean it up.”

Critics say the trash-strewn lot sends a foreboding message about the burger joint’s plans.

“What the corporation has shown so far,” Freed added, “is a complete lack of respect.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Dan from Boerum Hill says:
I don't want McDonald's in my neighborhood period. Disgusting food, poor labor practices, horrible farm conditions for animals, bad environmental record, the list goes on and on.
Feb. 2, 2012, 6:29 am
G from 4th says:
Rather than clean it up yourselves, I encourage neighbors to call 311 and report trash violations to the Dept. of Sanitation. The only way the property owners will respond is if they are being fined. If you're cleaning up for them, what incentive do they have to do it themselves?

This lot is a disgrace. I've seen people hanging out and drinking inside the empty building, smashing bottles in the parking lot, and urinating behind the fence.

If the owner won't do anything, the city needs to fine him into the poorhouse.

Please, everyone. Call 311 and keep your complaints going.
Feb. 2, 2012, 8:58 am
boof from brooklyn says:
A drive thru? What is this, New Jersey?
Feb. 2, 2012, 9:30 am
4ther from Gowanus says:
When the KFC was here, the drive thru was a real hazard. People speed off of 4th Ave onto the sidewalk with no regard for pedestrians.

McDonald's must do something about the design to make it impossible for people to take the turn onto its property at such high speeds.
Feb. 2, 2012, 9:55 am
prillis says:
if you dont' want a mcdonald's there, buy the property. otherwise, give it a rest. bunch of whiners.
Feb. 2, 2012, 10:54 am
Lisa from BK says:
Wait it's opening NEXT May or this May? That's a big difference.
Feb. 2, 2012, 11:15 am
Malembi from BK says:
Oh shut the —— up.
Feb. 2, 2012, 11:25 am
Greg from FT Greene says:
Is the McDonald's on 4th at Garfield still open? Do they really need another one 8 blocks away? Or is it because Baltic is much closer to the projects? I really do think that has something to do with it.
Feb. 2, 2012, 11:55 am
Betty from BH says:
It's closer to the Arena, Greg. Don't be racist.
Feb. 2, 2012, 12:03 pm
Gr from Gowanus says:
I think it's because for a very long time 4th Avenue was primarily a highway-like thoroughfare with little in the way of foot traffic or walk-in stores. It's still not exactly Main St, USA, but there are far more people living in big buildings on both sides of the avenue and more foot traffic than ever.

Drive thrus had their place on 4th a long time ago. Not anymore.
Feb. 2, 2012, 12:11 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I'm not from the area, so naturally have to defer to people who are, but I support Dan from Boerum Hill's position, and also add to his list: diabetes. My sister, RIP, passed away from diabetes complications at 39--earlier in her life she was a little McDonald's chomper and soda guzzler, like me. She learned later than me how to eat good wholesome food and to restrain herself, but not until after she had ballooned up to 300lbs and developed significant clotting in her legs. Eventually one traveled to her lungs and killed her--sigh. I don't blame McDonald's, or anyone else for that matter, for the choices we make/made, but I do blame them for their misleading marketing. One of the things that repulsed me and swore me off fast food altogether, and eventually repulsed her and got her to do the same [too late], was in finding out exactly what is in McDonald's food items and how they are processed.

It's been a couple of years since I've recommended this book, but I highly suggest Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlossler and also highly recommend the movie with the same name.

Maybe if copies of the film and/or the book could be distributed in the area, or at least highlights of salient points, will help to inform the community with respect to its support or opposition?
Feb. 2, 2012, 2:21 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Here's a useful wiki:
Feb. 2, 2012, 2:29 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
I read this week McDonald's is considering adding insect protein to their hamburgers (officially, that is). It's an excellent idea whose time has come. After all, protein is protein so who cares where it comes from? With the price of beef going through the roof, why not replace it with meal worms? Enjoy, McDonald's fans.
Feb. 2, 2012, 5:07 pm
Len from BH says:
During and after the last snow storm, the sidewalks around this site were not cleaned and were sufficiently dangerous because of the ice and snow that people walked in the street (4th Ave. and Warren) instead.
Feb. 2, 2012, 5:17 pm
fatimah from Cobble Hill says:
Welcome to the economic polarization of Brooklyn! Tell me, what kind of neighborhood is it in? Oh yeah, a White one. Whites who pushed out long-time, lower and middle-income residents. Now those residents will be working at the McDonalds. Hey, Ralph Sanchez and Grace Freedman, clean it up yourselves!
Feb. 3, 2012, 6:10 am
Malembi from BK says:
How lame
Feb. 3, 2012, 3:26 pm
SLiM from Cobble Gardens says:
OK, BP, please knock it off with these posed photos! They actually detract from the story.
Feb. 4, 2012, 1:23 am
Times Reader from Brooklyn says:

Yeah, nobody sets up shots. Stuff like this just happens, especially for the Grey Lady:

Posed photos are a part of journalism. Live with it.
Feb. 5, 2012, 10:31 am

Comments closed.

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