SUMMARY OF HHOC MEETING FEBRUARY 29, 2000


The meeting took place at 720 Fort Washington Avenue and was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Elizabeth Lorris Ritter. In attendance were the following individuals: Julia Attaway, Michael Augenblick, Caroline Brown, Howard Dillon, Mary Dopler, Martha Ellington, Marcella Forte, Suwineetha Gunaskera, Michael Klein, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Alicia Lukachlo, Carolyn Mapes, Christina Molinari, Rosa Naparstek, Glenn Newkirk, Anne-Marie OÕKeeffe, Gus Perry, Dawn Plyley, Adria Qui­ones, Peter Simoes, Luis Solís, Simone Song, Henry Stern, Roger Tashjian, Regina Tetins, Nina Weinstein, Michael Zamm, and Helen Zokolsky. The following member buildings had residents present: 66 Overlook Terrace Corp.; 255 Cabrini Condominium; 350 Cabrini O/C, 360 Cabrini O/C, 720 - 730 Fort Washington Avenue O/C, Cabrini Terrace O/C, Castle Village O/C, Chittenden House Inc., Fort Tryon Corp., Hudson View Gardens Inc., Overlook Towers Corp., and Pinehurst O/C. The following Commercial Associate Members (CAMs) were represented: Beth Am, The PeopleÕs Temple; Friends of Fort Tryon Park; Simone Song Properties; Stein Perry; and Wm. B. May. Also attending were the following invited guests: Police Officer Gagen, 34th Precinct; Captain John McGrath, Department of Sanitation's Enforcement Division; Luis Hernandez, Deputy Chief of Staff for Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra; Dennis Reyes, Mayor's Community Assistance Unit (CAU); Steve Simon for Councilman Stanley E. Michels; Kate Podniesinski for Sen. Eric Schneiderman; PO Trinidad, 34th Precinct; and Peter Walsh of CooganÕs Restaurant. Other Organizations represented were: Bennett Park Dog Owners' Group.

To accommodate various invited guests, the meeting began with sanitation issues. Elizabeth introduced Captain McGrath. She highlighted local sanitation issues in the neighborhood, including: dog excrement, food litter, overflowing trash baskets and paucity of baskets. It was requested that DSNY replace baskets where they find them when emptying them, rather than grouping several at one location. A discussion of overflowing baskets ensued. Contributing factors are: people emptying household trash in baskets as well as infrequent emptying. Capt. McGrath stated that the DSNY is short-staffed. With specific regard to dog excrement, several problem areas throughout Community Board 12 were noted Ð in general, any long stretch of sidewalk without residential frontage, adjacent to fencing, lots, or backs of buildings Ð along with attempted solutions. Sanitation has issued 5,012 summonses citywide for failure to clean up after dogs for the FY ended 6/30/99, an average of 85 summonses citations per CB, of which there are 59. The problem is that the violator must produce ID in order to be summonsed; most DSNY employees are unarmed peace officers, and cannot force a person to identify him/herself. Officer Trinidad noted that, in theory, the Police could take the person to the precinct until s/he produces ID, though he conceded that this is not actually done in practice. Capt. McGrath reviewed the recent efforts by the Department of Sanitation to enforce canine waste, canine leash, littering and illegal flier posting laws. He reported that during a 5-day patrol of this area by a non-uniformed sanitation officer in an unmarked car, DSNY issued 21 summonses: 12 for canine waste, 5 for unleashed dogs and 4 for littering. Littering and illegal posting are arrestable offenses. Luis proposed a month-long inter-agency campaign (DSNY, NYPD, PEP) on dog clean-up and leash awareness.
Representatives of the Mayor's CAU and Deputy Mayor Segarra's office pledged their help in facilitating inter-agency collaboration. There was much discussion to the end that that increased enforcement of sanitation laws, along with getting out the message that violations pose serious public health hazards, would improve the situation. This applies to canine waste and human trash. A question was raised as to whether or not warnings could be effective as summonses; the general opinion was no. Peer pressure was also suggested. Suwineetha reported on the sanitation issues on Overlook Terrace, mentioning specifically the 187th Street steps and the empty lot behind 620/630 FWA. That building superintendent is trying to keep the area clean, but there is dumping by unknown person(s). Suwineetha also mentioned a cracked sidewalk. Elizabeth explained that this is the responsibility of the DOT, and advised that the repair request be called into CB12 office.

There were also quality of life issues regarding the area at the foot of the steps near 55 Overlook Terrace. The superintendent was spoken to and promised to help with regard to radio playing, loud noise and trash. Capt. McGrath said he'd have someone patrol that area for a while, and issue summonses if appropriate. Van, Tina, and Suwineetha left with Capt McGrath for a tour of the areas under discussion, and agreed to write follow-up letters to DSNY Ass't Cmmr Maria Termini.

Upcoming Community Events & Neighborhood Announcements: Second Annual Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k Run. Race begins Sunday, March 5th at 8:45 am. Proceeds to benefit the Armory Track and Field Center. FWA from 169th Street to MC Circle will be closed to traffic from 8:45am -10am. This was a problem last year Ð particularly north of 181st Street, where all but two blocks are one-way streets, leading to FWA Ð due to lack of notification and inability to cross FWA. Peter Walsh, an event organizer, indicated that he would relate logistical issues to police at roll call the morning of the race to accommodate crossing traffic without endangering runners' safety. He also noted that thousands of fliers are being distributed so that people are aware of street closures in advance. HHOC volunteers took more fliers to post. Elizabeth suggested this topic be revisited at the next meeting, after the event has taken place.

Friends of Fort Tryon Park, Inc. issued their Park Clean up Schedule Ð 2000 that included events for their April 30th Earth Day celebration. Fliers were provided to promote Singfest 2000 on Sunday, April 2nd at 7:00 pm at Mother Cabrini High School. There is currently an opening on the school board due to the resignation of Victor Morrisete.

Discussion of Additional Project List Items Youth Initiatives: Anne Marie O'Keeffe discussed "Art on the Edge," a proposed youth art project in conjunction with Parks Department's restoration of Bennett Park. Working with School District 6, "Art on the Edge" would decorate temporary fencing, which will be installed to protect the newly planted lawn, with laminated youth art, poetry, and prose. HHOC was asked for a letter of support. This was agreed to with the clear stipulation that the project relates to temporary fencing only, and that HHOC takes no position with regard to any other fencing. Future plans of "Art on the Edge" are to continue to link youth education/creativity with involvement in parks, and possibility a mural on the field house.

Membership & Dues: Annual dues are being paid; no apparent objection to dues increase.

New CAM: Hudson Cliffs Theater Arts Center, an after-school program at PS/IS 187.
A request by Mother Cabrini HS to join was discussed and approved unanimously, as was changing the name of this membership category from "Commercial Associate" to "Community Associate". Julia will contact other area schools to gauge membership interest.

Northern Security Task Force research. There was much discussion of recent string of muggings and car break-ins in/around both A-train stations and along Cabrini Blvd. Officer Trinidad reported that a suspect connected to at least two of the muggings was apprehended the previous evening (2/28). The Security Task Force will reconvene to discuss specific costs/issues of hiring a security guard for upper Cabrini/FWA, and which buildings might be interested in helping to fund that effort. Mike Z. noted that the guard in front of 720/730 FWA has been very effective. Howard, recently arrived from a Cabrini Terrace board meeting, relayed that building's interest in contributing funds. Nina suggested a neighborhood watch. There was brainstorming on this subject, with the general consensus that this is a worthwhile project, though time-consuming to start, and difficult to keep going. Nina agreed to do preliminary research, including contacting the Inwood Patrol.

Website. Will discuss at next month's meeting whether and in what form the minutes should be posted on the Internet. One major concern is that people's names and where they live are part of the minutes.

Insufficient street lighting on several northern streets. 34th Precinct has not responded to a request for crime statistics, which will help in a request to Department of Transportation for additional street lights. Officer Trinidad said he would have to look into whether or not these reports were available to the general public. MTA (A train) issues Ð express; timing; station. Mike Z. reported on a 2/3/00 meeting he attended with MTA representative Steve Strauss, Sen. Schneiderman representative Kate Podniesinski, Elizabeth, and area resident Mark Green. Mike reported that the MTA has committed to repainting the 190th Street Station and repairing the corroded structural beams. Steve Simon of Councilman Michels' office stated that recent MTA discussions included talks about fixing up the 181st Street and Dyckman Street stations as well. With regard to HHOC's request for scheduling improvements, the MTA claimed that extended A express service would be too expensive, and that ridership does not support it. Mike K., suggested a passenger count similar to the one HHOC conducted several years ago. No one was immediately available to organize this effort. There was general disagreement with the MTA's claim that local trains run every 12 minutes after 11pm. Mike Z. noted a "Straphangers Poll" which voted "A" train service next to last in the city. There was brainstorming about working with the MTA and Metropolitan Museum to improve the 190th Street station, much as the Museum of Natural History has beautified the 79th/81st Street station.

Fort Tryon Park: There is an ongoing issue regarding lack of clean-ups in the section of the Park to the west of Cabrini Blvd. Henry agreed to write to Cmmr Stern; Regina agreed to work with Northern Manhattan Parks Director, Jane Schachat.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20pm. The next meeting was scheduled for Monday, March 27th.


 


© 2000 HHOC. All Rights Reserved.