The meeting took place in the lobby alcove of 720 Ft. Washington Avenue and began at 7:20 p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Julia Attaway, Michael Augenblick, Caroline Brown, Marcella Calabi, Ron Diorlo, Howard Dillon, Mary Dopler, Kathryn Eaker, Martha Ellington, Suwineetha Gunasekera, Frank Hess, Suzanne Kizis, Michael Klein, Erika Lindenstraus, William J. McBurney Jr., Sarah Morgridge, Peggy Morrissey, Rosa Naparstek, Anne-Marie O’Keeffe, Perry Payne, Gus Perry, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Sonia Reynoso, Helen Sokolsky, Silvea Thomas, and Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 66 Overlook Terrace Corporation, 255 Cabrini Condominium, 350 Cabrini Owners Corporation, 371 Fort Washington Owners Corporation, 720 - 730 Fort Washington Avenue Owners Corp., 854 West 181 Corp., Bennett Ave. Owners Corp., Cabrini Terrace Owners Corp., Castle Village Owners Corporation, Chittenden House Inc., Fort Tryon Corp., and Hudson View Gardens. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) and related neighborhood groups were represented: Beth Am The People's Temple, Friends of Bennett Park, Friends of Ft. Tryon Park, Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program, Quality of Life Committee, Stein Perry Real Estate, Inc., Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, William B. May. The following guests were present: Mimi Koren and Kathy Fink of the Isabella Geriatric Center. The following elected officials were represented: Assemblyman Denny Farrell, Councilman Robert Jackson.
Mimi Koren and Kathy Fink of the Isabella Geriatric Center (212-342-9200, www.isabella.org) gave an in-depth presentation about the resources available to the community through their organization, including some that younger and healthier adults than might typically think of the Center should be aware of: for example, educational child day care; Health Career Partnerships; low vision library and resource center for all ages; the 50+ Club offering educational and social events; the Isabella Institute for Older Adults which offers among other things a walking program. The Center offers not only long-term, short-term, rehabilitive, and home care but also counseling, health-care-affiliated housing, coordination of services with other senior programs, and a host of other services. These programs have space available, or short waiting lists. HHOC participants spoke up to add that the Isabella is also a vital contributing participant in the community-at-large in numerous ways: by offering its stage/hall for public meetings and performances, by hiring from the neighborhood and offering internships and volunteer opportunities for youngsters, etc. Children’s groups are always welcome and the doors are open to involvement by all interested parties. HHOC agreed to include a flier in its next mailing (see enclosed).
A brief discussion of NORCs was sparked by the Isabella presentation: Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. Many HHOC member buildings and others in the neighborhood have high concentrations of senior citizens and could be described this way. HHOC suggests to its member buildings that Boards or committees consider bringing social services into their NORCs. Isabella can assist with the development of such programs. If approximately ten seniors from a building or nearby buildings sign up for an Isabella program, there is the possibility of van service to the Center. The "Y" on Nagle Avenue also has a senior center (212-569-6200).
The meeting summary from November was reviewed and approved.
Rosa reported that the first meeting of Artists Unite, a collective of creative and performing artists in the community, was attended by over 150 persons (with over 60 additional calls from people who couldn’t make the scheduled time) interested in pulling together a broadbased and culturally diverse arts community in the neighborhood. Next meeting scheduled for February 12th.
Rosa reported for the Quality of Life Committee on the success to date of the elevator poster project. The goal is to beautify the subway station elevators with artwork that is modate. The MTA has agreed to a pilot project allowing a poster slot at the 184th & 190th Street Stations to be occupied by collages of images of the community. If you have images to contribute (scenes; no people or pets) contact Rosa:212-740-9378.
Elizabeth reported on correspondence, announcements, HHOC business:
Mike K. nudged Marcella and Mike A. on next steps re graffitti removal on 187th Street.
- Thanks from Cornerstone Chorale for our contribution.
- Thanks from the Parks Department for our role in meeting the Rhodebeck Challenge Grant for the Heather Garden Endowment Fund.
- HHOC’s revised Certificate of Incorporation has been filed.
- The West 181st St. Beautification Project requested that $250 HHOC donated for last fall’s cancelled Little Red Lighthouse Festival be held by them as seed money for next year. This was approved.
- Community Board 12 is increasingly focused on the health of the neighborhood‘s housing stock. Watch for Housing Clinics and other information educating tenants about their rights and co-opers about home ownership in an urban environment.
Re: Police and Security: Mike Zamm reported on the meeting held in December between the Security Committee and the 34th Precinct including Inspector Monahan himself as well as Officers Trinidad and Griffin. Inspector Monahan promised to target the trouble spots identified by the Committee and that the "scooter cop" between Bennett and Fort Tryon Parks would be present year-round. Elizabeth will follow up on this. Perry is working to build a relationship between HHOC and the 33rd Precinct as well. Some frustrating stories about non-responsiveness by the police to "quality of life" violations were told. Participants are reminded to report vandalism, get a receipt with a report number, and do not accept a brush-off by the precinct. It is in violation of policy for officers to refuse to take a report. The precinct cannot police itself without specifics, so if a police officer refuses to accept a report, get the officer’s name.
Anne Marie reported on positive developments coming out of collaboration between Friends of Bennett Park and other organizatons:
Others raised the issues of quality-of-life problems and vandalism, including destruction of the plantings on the southern slope and the Children’s Garden by teenagers and adults, at Bennett Park. This led to a discussion of the promises that the Parks Department has yet to fulfill and speculation as to how those two topics are related. It was suggested to Frank and Sarah to involve Farrell’s and Jackson’s offices in this matter. Mary reminded us of the need for practical ways to accommodate all constituencies; for example other cities have had success with special small areas for dogs to scratch the dirt without harming surrounding gardens.
- Friends of Bennett Park is working to develop activities for the 14-17-year-old set; Officer Trinidad has offered two nights per week to work with kids at PS/IS 187; volunteers and suggestions are needed; HHOC is offering an email hub: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Artists Unite has agreed to manage the summer series of Concerts in the Park.
- Artists Unite is working on obtaining an education grant to bring a 3-year arts program into a local middle or high school. Contact Rosa: 212-740-9378.
- Ft.Tryon DOG, Friends of Bennett Park, and Friends of Ft. Tryon Park are working on a leaflet/flier to promote better interactions between dogs and non-dog-owning humans.
As agreed last meeting, Marcella suggested edits to the HHOC vision statement. These were discussed and changes made; possible final copy to be reviewed next meeting.
The next meeting will be held on MONDAY FEBRUARY 25th at the same location, 720 Ft. Washington lobby. The meeting ended at 9:45 pm.