The meeting took place at 241 Cabrini Boulevard and began at 7:15 p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Michael Augenblick, Jim Berlin, Caroline Brown, Errika Kalomiris Burke, Marcella Calabi, Julie Gillis, Robert Kleinbardt, Erica Lindenstraus, Taina Matos-Alayo, Tina Molinari, Joe Montagna, Peggy Morrissey, Thomas Navin, Anne-Marie O'Keeffe, Sonia Reynoso, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Simone Yen Song and Roger Tashjian. The following member buildings had residents present: 255 Cabrini Condominium, , 359 Fort Washington Owners Corp., 854 West 181 Corp., Cabrini Terrace Owners Corp., Castle Village Owners Corp., Hudson View Gardens, Overlook Towers Corp., and Pinehurst Owners Corp. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) and related neighborhood groups were represented: Beth Am the People's Temple, Fenwick-Keats North Realty, Friends of Bennett Park; Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Center; Simone Song Properties, Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, and William B. May Co. The following guests were present: P.O. Colin Hennessey of the 34th Precinct and Zamira Setaro of ConEdison
The meeting began with a free-floating discussion with Police Officer Colin Hennessey, who is assigned to our neighborhood specifically to patrol Bennett and Fort Tryon Parks and to travel between the two parks. HHOC welcomes him to the neighborhood. Specific topics that were prominent in people's minds included graffitti and other acts of vandalism by local youth. The presence or absence of "gangs" was also discussed: there is little sign of serious formal gang activity in this area although some loose groups are inventing "tags" by which to identify themselves. Everything being relative, this neighborhood is a low-crime area; this has the downside that calls to the police about matters such as graffitti unfortunately are likely to have a slow response time while more urgent matters are going on elsewhere. (It does, however, continue to be useful for citizens to be vigilant and proactive, for example calling in with accurate descriptions of time, place, and person.) HHOC's messages to Officer Hennessey were these: the neighborhood cares about security and about quality of life issues and needs his help in these regards; although there are disagreements in the neighborhood about such matters as leash laws or parks usage, there are not clear-cut "factions"; that HHOC is not collectively pro- or anti- on any of these topics and does not support anyone who foments a sense of divisiveness about them in the community. [Sect'y's note: There was consensus that we are grateful to our police officers for crime-prevention and for the enforcement of parks regulations that have a real impact on quality of life, and that that's what we need them for. Something I personally took from this discussion was that we can help as individuals by getting a bit of perspective: about what's important, and also about what agencies to address for which topics. It strikes me as a waste of much-needed resources when citizens buttonhole police officers for absurdly petty stuff like "failing" to make a toddler walk his tricycle in the no-bike zone and for things completely outside of their jurisdiction such as the flight patterns of aircraft passing overhead.]
Ms. Setaro, a representative of ConEd, gave a brief presentation about the differences between energy deregulation in the states of California and New York, and on the steps that ConEd has taken (and is taking) to prevent energy-related problems in our area. According to her, ConEd is keeping pace with demand and also concentrating attention on areas of particular need, including Washington Heights and Inwood. In addition to working to prevent a power shortage, ConEd is working on contingency plans, to be better prepared to assist the community in the event that a power outage does occur. She also pointed out that ConEd is no longer in the business of generating power but only in the business of delivering it; ConEd has actually been lowering its rates, but this is not obvious to consumers while power suppliers raise theirs. She answered questions about conservation and preparedness. A brochure is enclosed in the mailing with the draft of this summary. All are encouraged to go to www.ConEd.com for more information.
Thomas Navin, architect of the Paterno Trivium, i.e., the vest pocket park at 187th and Cabrini/Pinehurst, gave an update on that topic, including the fundraising efforts to replace/upgrade the fence and to provide a maintainance endowment. Thanks to Seroy Contracting for in-kind support. There was also discussion about the vacant lot on Cabrini north of the Castle Village Lane which it appears the owner is having difficulty selling and brainstorming about possible uses for the lot.
On the commercial front, it has been confirmed that the restaurant 107 West will be moving into a vacancy on 187th Street. In the context of discussing other possible locations for restaurants, it was articulated that HHOC is very much in favor of restaurants in the neighborhood (and has actively worked to support an increase in their numbers). At the same time it is our opinion that a kitchen/delivery/garbage door should not be permitted on any purely residential street.
Progress was made on the planning for the HHOC-sponsored City Council Candidates' Forum. A draft of HHOC's questions for candidates was passed out for comments.
The April meeting summary was also handed out; no comments coming back, it is agreed to by acquiescence.
Bennett Park Concerts will take place on June 14th, 21st, and 28th. Watch for signs. The decision as to whether or not the audience will be allowed to sit on the lawn is in the hands of the Parks Department, not Friends of Bennett Park or any member of the community. Grants were approved as follows: $250 to the Northern Manhattan Community Artists and $100 to Gorilla Reperatory Theatre Company. The former is responsible for the Bennett Park Concerts; the latter for the production of MacBeth in Fort Tryon Park. Elizabeth gave the production a very favorable review and encourages all who have enjoyed it to let the Parks Department know it's a plus in the neighborhood, to help counter the few persons that have complained. Check out www.gorillarep.org.
Tina distributed a handout on Public Planning Workshops about Transportation and Traffic Congestion being held by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. The Upper Manhattan meeting is June 25th from 7-9.
The next meeting will be held on MONDAY June 18th at 7:15pm, in the offices of Simone Song Properties (241 Cabrini Blvd.) The meeting ended at 9:30 p.m.