The meeting took place in the Resource Room at J. Hood Wright Park, 351 Ft. Washington Avenue and began at 7:20 p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Julia Attaway, Michael Augenblick, Marcella Calabi, Mary Dopler, Kathryn Engelhardt, Geri Hopkins, Michael Klein, Tina Molinari, Perry Payne, David Purdy, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Kristin Warbasse, and Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 255 Cabrini Condominium, 350 Cabrini Owners Corporation, 371 Fort Washington Owners Corporation, 720-730 Fort Washington Avenue Owners Corp., 736 West 186th St. Owners Corporation, Castle Village Owners Corporation, Chittenden House Inc., Fort Tryon Corp., and Overlook Towers. The following guests were present: George Robinson of NurtureArt Non-Profit, Inc. and Carlos Rodriguez of the Manhattan Borough President's Office. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) and related neighborhood groups were represented: Beth Am The People's Temple, Friends of Ft. Tryon Park, Friends of Bennett Park, Ft. Tryon Dog Owners Group, Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, and Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program.
George Robinson gave a presentation about NURTUREArt, which mounts juried exhibitions of fine art, four out of five of which in the last season were up in this neighborhood. The current show runs until 11/30 at The Rio Gallery, Ten Ft. Washington Ave. See www.nurtureart.org or call 795-5566 for information.
There was a brief discussion of the Support Network founded at the previous meeting. The idea is a simple grassroots concept that was developed in reaction to the upsurge in biased behavior particularly against Arabic store-owners in the aftermath of 9/11 but applies equally to all bias: individuals sign up to be on the support network by giving Marcella their e-mail address; anyone who learns about an individual or store that has been the object of bias-based harassment or boycotting should notify Marcella, who will pass that information to the network. The people in the network have pledged to respond to the situation with an offer of personal support: visit the store, offer words of solidarity, bring friends along, etc. If you would like to participate in the network or if you have information about someone who could benefit from the support please contact email@example.com. It was agreed that the best way to publicize the existence of the network would be by word-of-mouth. Elizabeth pledged to inform the Community Board. Please let your community leaders, religious leaders, et al. know about it.
Carlos Rodriguez of C. Virginia Fields' office informed us that the Borough President and the Small Business Association have created two relief centers for small businesses that have been impacted by the 9/11 events. The centers can provide assistance of various kinds including loans. One is in central Harlem, the other at 119th Street and Amsterdam Ave., 212-531-1609.
Other post-9/11 business included the question of when would be appropriate for the Security Task Force to move forward with engaging the police in a renewed dialog about neighborhood issues. Elizabeth reported that C.O. Monahan of the 34th Precinct responded favorably to the idea of a meeting; the next step is to arrange a date. There was discussion of the best way to coordinate HHOC's communication with the 34th and 33rd Precincts and it was agreed that this particular meeting addresses matters within the purview of the 34th only but that further efforts should be made to work with the 33rd as well. There was discussion of the extraordinary stress that the Police Department has undergone and Julia and Perry agreed to bake brownies or cookies as a gesture of thanks to the officers of the two precincts.
Mary gave an update on the activities of Ft. Tryon DOG. She showed us the draft rules and invited comment. There was a discussion about working with the Parks Department. The group could have a major positive impact on the neighborhood, including in the area of security: dog owners are out at all hours with their animals. The area of the new dog park in Ft. Tryon Park has been a prime hangout for illegal activity in the past, and its new use could represent a real turnaround. Carlos Rodriguez promised to report to the Borough President's Office about this, and to lend the office's support to the repair of the vandalized lighting in that area. [Lighting has in fact been restored very shortly since.]
HHOC thanked Carlos for attending and also put him on friendly notice that the next issue we will be asking for help about is trash baskets: we've struggled for years to get the City to place more of them and empty them more often.
Update: At the last meeting it was mentioned that one can report potholes and similar matters on the NYCity website, but currently the City is too occupied by post-9/11 matters to respond.
Community Events: Friends of Bennett Park and Ft. Tryon Dog Owners' Group have events coming up. See enclosed fliers. Cornerstone Chorale has a concert on Sun. 12/2 at 2p.m., $10, info: 795-5738. Pied Piper Children's Theatre is giving "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" on Sats 12/15 & 12/22 at 3 & 7 p.m., Suns 12/16 & 12/23 at 3 p.m. $3/$6, info: 567-2329.
There was a follow-up to last month's discussion about graffiti. Elizabeth agreed to buy graffiti remover (a.k.a. nailpolish remover) in bulk. Marcella agreed to look into obtaining the right color paint for the walls next to Kismat and next to Fivo's.
Donations were approved to NURTUREArt, Pied Piper Children's Theatre, Cornerstone Chorale. Marcella brought up an idea that had come up at the summer Security Task Force meeting in response to the sense that the youth of the neighborhood need support and positive activities: it's beyond our scope to found new youth organizations but we can support the ones that already exist. A number of individuals have offered time, expertise, and fund-raising assistance. The next step is to get a better sense of what youth organizations do operate in our neighborhood -- Perry agreed to work on a list.
HHOC business: here was discussion of the organization's status and mission. Several actions were taken. First, Tina provided copies of a draft of new HHOC incorporation papers, written for us by a member of Legal Aid Society. This was read and discussed, and approved as revised; Elizabeth and Tina will followup with the lawyer. Second, the HHOC Vision Statement was reviewed; Marcella will incorporate suggestions and bring a proposed revision to the next meeting. Third, there was discussion of officers. It was agreed that the organization would: retain the legally required positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer; not incorporate specifically named Vice Presidencies into the charter; but leave open the possibility of electing vice presidents to annual terms when appropriate or necessary. Fourth, there was discussion about candidates for office. None of the calls put out in the last few months have yielded new candidates. Marcella expressed reservations about the combination of the Secretary's duties with management of the mailings, and several volunteers came forward to help with that. Fifth, an election of officers was accomplished, as follows.
371 Ft. Washington Owners Corp nominated the slate: Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, President; Marcella Calabi, Secretary; Michael Augenblick, Treasurer. 720-730 Ft. Washington seconded. There were nine member buildings present, plus Hudson View Gardens which participated by telephone, making a quorum of 10 votes out of 19 members. The vote was unanimous. (Of the 22 members on the letterhead, three are not in good standing on account of unpaid dues [360 Cabrini, 854 West 181 Corp., and Westgate House.]) The election was thus concluded.
The next meeting will be held on Monday November 19th at 7:15pm, at the J. Hood Wright Park Recreation Center. The meeting ended at 9:50 p.m.