The meeting took place in office of Simone Song Properties at 241 Cabrini Blvd. and began at 7:15p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Julia Attaway, Michael Augenblick, Carolyn Brown, Kathryn Englehardt, Erica Lindenstraus, Persio Logos, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Joe Montagna, Sarah Morgridge, Peggy Morrissey, Paula O’Gorman, Anne-Marie O’Keeffe, Perry Payne, Helen Sokolsky, Simone Yen Song, Phyllis Starner, Sylvea Thomas, and Mike Zamm. The follow-ing member buildings had residents present: 143-153 Bennett O/C, 255 Cabrini Condominium, 350 Cabrini O/C, 371 Fort Washington O/C, 720 - 730 Fort Washington Avenue O/C, Cabrini Terrace O/C, Castle Village, Chittenden House Inc., and Hudson View Gardens. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) and related neighborhood groups were represented: Beth Am, Friends of Bennett Park, Friends of Ft. Tryon Park, Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program, Quality of Life Committee, Simone Song Properties, Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, William B. May. The following elected officials were represented: Councilman Robert Jackson. The following guests were present: 165 Pinehurst Ten-ants Assn.
The meeting summary from February was accepted as is.
Elizabeth shared testimony on behalf of CB12 before City Council regarding the Mayor’s proposed budget. There was discussion of advocating for increased fees, commuter income tax, and increase of real estate taxes on houses to bring them in line with rental buildings and co-ops as possible ways to generate additional revenue for the City, and eliminate some of the proposed cuts for education, youth and senior program-ming, and city services. Perry Payne shared highlights of a conversation with New York Council on Cooperatives on their priorities, including fairness of owner-occupied unit taxation, co-op/condo labor issues, stability of conversions and legislative advocacy for co-op/condo owners. She will also attend their habitat conference later this spring.
Roundtable discussion of environmentally-conscious energy techniques. While no one has gone to solar heating, some are using energy-saving lighting fixtures and bulbs.
Phyllis Starner of the 165 Pinehurst Tenants Association asked about becoming a co-operative building. The landlord is interested in selling the building; the tenants are inter-ested in buying and converting it. Several members who were residents of their buildings at the time of conversion responded. Simone Song offered legal background of co-oping is-sues based on her experience in the Heights during the 80’s conversion trend.
Membership & Dues: All members are reminded that dues for ’02 should be paid now. Since HHOC’s by-laws do not extend voting privileges to non-owner-occupied buildings, rental buildings are charged the $50 CAM fee.
Re: Fort Tryon Park, and the locking/welding of the gate just north of 360 Cabrini. The commonly used access/egress to Fort Tryon Park proper recently was deemed unsafe (and a liability risk) by the Park’s maintenance staff, due to the steep drop and uneven path. Northern Manhattan Parks Supervisor Jane Schachat did notify Friends of Fort Tryon Park, Councilman Jackson’s office and CB12, but word never filtered down to actual members of the community, and signs which Parks has posted have been removed. Sarah Morgridge shared that this area used to be under DOT’s control and had not been used as a park. Others noted that since the area is not being used legally by the community as a rustic park, it already has begun being used by miscreants and the homeless. Although there are remaining questions about the prospects for using this piece of public property for recreation which will be raised at the Community Board, there was extensive discussion of the breakdown in communication. Several solutions were proposed:
Another hot neighborhood issue is the skateboarding at 187th & Cabrini/Pinehurst. Aside from the noise and litter, this is safety hazard both from the skateboarders from cars, and for the elderly from skateboarders. (Please note enclosed flyer from Friends of the Paterno Trivium.) It was clear that this problem is the nexus of several related issues, therefore requiring several different solu-tions.
- use of e-mail lists: Parks could e-mail information to key people within several community organizations who then easily can pass this information on to their memberships. Messages also can be printed and posted in build ing lobbies and the bulletin board for the benefit of those not on-line. This is easy, fast and effective.
- Julia suggested that the Parks Department get in the habit of printing up multiple signs so that they easily can be replaced as soon as they disappear.
- An annual, semi-annual or quarterly general information meetings with Parks, to be held in the community. Several people volunteered to work with CB12 and Parks Dept. to implement these ideas. Additionally, Sarah agreed to follow up with people in the community who have experience maintaining the Appalachian trail and how to deal with renovating urban trails.
- What else is there for young people to do? Anne Marie O’Keefe reported that Officer Tony Trinidad is willing to set up a PAL program for 13-16 year-olds, one or two nights a week. She proposed that monthly community service could be the "admission ticket" to such a program. She, Erica Lindenstraus, and Giovani Espinal (of Geomart) and Gus Perry (of Stein Perry) are willing to work on this to get something in place by Fall.
- Where else is there to skateboard? Bennett Park already has a lot going on, but there was discussion of constructing an area in the wide sidewalk space at the eastern portion of Margaret Corbin Circle, or, as a very long-term capital project, the area of Fort Tryon Park west of the now-welded fence.
- How do youth feel invested in the community? Julia proposed developing a civics cur-riculum unit with PS/IS187 on the construction of the Trivium as a way to understand and appreciate that public space, and to use the construction of a skateboarding space as com-munity service/civics project. Involving skateboarding youth in planting/maintaining the trivium was also discussed as a way of turning involvement into investment.
Mike A. noted that parts of the neighborhood are now covered by a wireless network. This is a public-access network, enabling internet connection without "plugging in" or "dialing up." (It uses wireless communication instead 802.11b.) You can surf the ‘net or send/receive e-mails from your laptop or PDA in places previously not available ? a coffee shop, park, or the Trivium, for example. Each node is maintained by a volunteer. This one, located at 190th & Fort Washington Avenue, extends three blocks in either direction. For technical specs, to find out how to hook into the network, or to develop another node to extend the neighborhood’s wireless network, please e-mail email@example.com.
* There is a new commander at the 34th precinct: Capt. James Kehoe. Elizabeth to write a letter of welcome.
* New restaurant, Hispaniola, has opened @ 181st & Cabrini to favorable local reviews: excellent food; beautiful decor. It was proposed that HHOC participants check it out as a welcome and show of support.
* ARKA lounge was mentioned as a nice new place in the neighborhood for mu-sic/entertainment. Latin jazz on Wednesday evenings. (Coincidentally, ARKA is owned by the same family that opened Hispaniola.)
* Performance of Pacific Opera on 4/7, and distribution of flyers for posting.
* There is a new dance studio on Pinehurst near 187th Street.
* The subway elevator at the 184th Street entrance re-opened on Saturday, two days ahead of schedule. Kudos to MTA for keeping their word.
* Flyer enclosed for Friends of Ft. Tryon Park Earth Day celebration.
* Gruenbaum’s on 181st Street has opened a café in the back of their bakery.
Follow-up issues/Old Business:
Sarah reported on her conversation with Jane Schachat regarding the nighttime closing of Parks Department facilities. Nightime parks closures are not uncommon: there are 59 such closures in Manhattan, including several small parks in residential areas (Stuyvesant Park and Madison, Tompkins, Wallenburg and Washington Squares), and all playgrounds and parks in CB11 are fenced and locked at night. There are the same issues of noise and dogs as with Bennett Park. Suc-cess of any program to close a park depends on support of community and the local precinct. Parks closures clearly cut down on noise, but they also cut down on access. While it was agreed that the quiet would be nice, there was no support in the room for closing Bennett Park at night.
Regarding fire hydrants: The 34th and 33rd precincts now have special wrenches to close hy-drants; open hydrants exacerbate drought and low water-pressure conditions.
Discussion of the Coogans 5K Race, an excellent community event which also continues to raise sanitation and traffic concerns. Peggy Morrissey and Don Meyers (a resident of 720-730 Fort Washington Ave. and member of Ft. Tryon DOG) are willing to be on a planning committee for next year.
Re graffiti removal on 187th Street: Mike A. is working with the super on the north side of the street to have the job completed. As to the south side, it seemed easier to do it ourselves; Marcella has obtained the name of the paint and will purchase a small amount from Geo. Tina and Julia of-fered to help do the job.
Persio Logos reported that Ft. Tryon DOG has received a grant for public education flyers both to educate the public about dogs, and to educate dog owners about parks stewardship. The organiza-tion also is willing to work with the CB12 group-in-formation on parks conservancy efforts.
The next meeting will be held on MONDAY APRIL 22nd in the community room at 143 Bennett Avenue.