The meeting took place at J. Hood Wright Park Recreational Center, and was called to order at 7:20 p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Julia Attaway, Michael Augenblick, Lee Ann Beauchamp, Lt. Com. Clarke, Gwen Kingsberry-Villanueva, Mike Klein, Christina Molinari, Tom Navin, Anne Marie O’Keefe, David Purdy, Sonia Reynoso, Dave Seroy, Alyson Spindell, Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 854 W. 181 St., Hudson View Gardens, Castle Village, 255 Cabrini Condominium, 350 Cabrini, 720/730 Ft. Washington, 100 Overlook, 17 Chittenden Ave., 371 Ft. Washington. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) were represented: Friends of Bennett Park. Also represented were: the 34th precinct, Friends of the Paterno Trivium, and Senator Eric Schneiderman’s office.
The meeting summary from May was agreed to.
Lieutenant Clarke discussed a range of quality of life issues including loud radios, people, cars, etc. He encouraged that complaints be directed to the Quality of Life hotline, 888-677-5433. Consistent reporting of such incidents can help the precinct to identify persistent problems and allocate the resources necessary to address them. For noisy behavior that is suspected of being related to drug use or dealing, Lt. Clarke suggested to look out for patterns of suspicious behavior and, if such patterns persist, to call the precinct directly (212-927-2640). He noted that year-to-date the precinct has issued four times the number of sound-related summonses compared with the previous year. He also mentioned a recent motorcycle drag racing-related accident that resulted in one participant severing a leg, and revisited the difficulties in improving the situation e.g., the police’s inability to engage in high speed chases, the racers’ ability to disperse rapidly, etc.
Lt. Clarke was asked what citizens could do to ensure that budget resources are not inappropriately reduced for the police, and what citizens could do to help keep the neighborhood safe. Various pros and cons of neighborhood watch vs. neighborhood patrol were discussed, though both efforts require a tremendous amount of work to start up and maintain. Lt. Clarke noted that, notwithstanding an unusual number of burglaries on Seaman Avenue in the previous week, crime had not risen appreciably this year vs. last. He did recommend that the best defense against crimes is for citizens to be aware and follow common sense precautions such as keeping windows locked, not letting people into a building behind you, etc. For especially high-crime buildings, however, he described the District Attorney’s Trespass Affidavit program, which enables landlords to grant the police access to the building for patrols. (Contact ADA Juan Ramierez for more information: 212-335-9589 or 212-335-9082.)
Tom Navin of the Friends of the Paterno Trivium reported an enormously successful planting day at the Trivium, including eight 11- to 14-year olds. He mentioned that some adult neighbors confronted him with their complaints about the kids, even while ignoring the fact that they were standing right there. Discussion followed about ways to educate the community about the kids’ participation in working on the Trivium. (Issues regarding skateboarding were revisited without generating any further specific suggestions.) Julia Attaway suggested that flyers be created with pictures of the kids at work. Tom thanked Bosano Landscaping for their donations of plants, and the continuing support of the Paterno family. Lee Ann Beauchamp reported that the Friends of the Paterno Trivium is planning a fundraiser on September 24, 2002 at the New Leaf Café. They are looking to raise $20,000 to fund future work on the Trivium. HHOC offered the one-time use of our mailing list for invitations to the event. (Tom to follow up with Marcella.)
Mike Klein raised two issues. Regarding unsightly news boxes littered throughout the neighborhood, he asked if anyone knew anything about the City’s periodic attempts to legislate the use and placement of "street furniture" (including signage, bus stop shelters, news boxes, etc.); no one did. He also noted that the lights in the park space below the 190th street A-train exit on Ft. Washington have been out for more than two years despite repeated complaints to the Department of Transportation. Alyson Spindell of Senator Schneiderman’s office agreed to help. (Others noted that such requests often take a long time for DOT to respond.)
The issue of overflowing trashcans on street corners was discussed. Julia Attaway reported that she had called the Department of Sanitation, which suggested the problem was a result of people putting their personal garbage in the cans. This is illegal; Sanitation Enforcement can issue $100 summonses. (Call 646-796-9107 to report.) She sought input on a draft flyer to raise awareness of the issue. After a few suggestions, it was agreed to include the flyer in the next mailing so that members can post them in their buildings. (See enclosed.) David Purdy reported that seven of eight of the trashcans have disappeared from around 371 Ft. Washington Avenue over the last few months. A discussion followed suggesting a number of appropriate steps to take, including the ‘adoption’ or outright purchase of a trashcan.
Sarah Morgridge arrived at about 8:55pm, having come straight from a New Yorkers for Parks symposium, which she reported was very worthwhile, having been attended by many groups throughout the city. She distributed pamphlets reporting on the City’s current draught situation.
Parking tickets at 689 Ft Washington were discussed. Sarah noted that they’ve had some success at getting the fines waived for summonses issued for parking in the curb cuts for the now-defunct hospital driveway. Restoration of the curb was also discussed. Mike Z. says the building is working towards this.
Concerns about the many dumpsters around the neighborhood were raised. Companies generally will respond to legitimate complaints; call the number posted on the dumpster.
Anne Marie reported FYI will be painting a mural on the Javits playground side of Mother Cabrini High School’s wall.
The next HHOC meeting is scheduled for September 17th at 7:15pm at the J. Hood Wright Park Recreational Center.