The meeting took place at the community center in J.Hood Wright Park and got underway at 7:25 p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Lisa Anderson, Michael Augenblick, Jennifer Bristol, Marcella Calabi, Howard Dillon, Tina Molinari, Ira Reyes, Sonia Reynoso, Henry Stern, Regina Tetens and Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 255 Cabrini Condominium, 360 Cabrini Owners Corporation, 720-730 Fort Washington Avenue Owners Corp., 854 West 181 Corp., Cabrini Terrace Owners Corp., Castle Village Owners Corp. and Overlook Towers Corp. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) were represented: Fort Tryon DOG, Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program, Stein-Perry Real Estate.
The meeting summary from June was agreed to. There were no roundtable topics. Announcements were made about:
- upcoming Community meeting with elected and City officials, rescheduled for October 23, at the Ft. Tryon Jewish Center
- DogFest, a community celebration on October 26 from 12-4 for kids and adults, with or without dogs, at the Sir William Dog Run in Fort Tryon Park, hosted by Ft. Tryon DOG. There will be a costume parade for both kids and dogs, and much other fun. For more information see www.ftdog.org or call 877-512-989
- Exhibit of Historic Photographs of Washington Heights and Inwood at the Ft. Washington Branch Library , 535 West 179th between St. Nicholas and Audubon Aves., ongoing this month, 927-3533. This exhibit was organized by our own Community District 12 Historian James Renner. Mr. Renner is a resource for information about our neighborhood, and numerous of his written articles can be seen at the HHOC website
- Upcoming 350th Anniversary of the City Charter of New York, actual date 2/2/03. Our city historians are encouraging groups such as HHOC to think about ways to celebrate.
- Native American Festival at Inwood Park (scheduled for 9/28)
- Fundraiser for the Paterno Trivium (scheduled for 9/24)
- Meeting concerning the Henry Hudson Parkway (scheduled for 9/30)
- Harvest Festival in Bennett Park (scheduled for 10/12, since then rescheduled for 10/19)
Marcella alerted participants to the existence, mission, and efforts to date of the Henry Hudson Parkway Task Force. The Task Force is working to achieve a designation for the HHP as a Scenic Parkway, thus securing increased and enhanced attention to issues of design, maintenance, etc. for the parkway. Related issues are drag racing, NYSDOT’s plans for renovation/alteration of the highway currently under discussion, etc. Anyone interested in more information should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be put in touch.
- Kudos to Artists Unite for accomplishing the "Hot Nights/Cool Sounds" concert series in Bennett Park
The major topic of the evening turned out to be security and the apparent upswing in recent crime. In this context Marcella reported, on Sarah Morgridge’s behalf (Councilman Robert Jackson’s representative), that a meeting was planned for the next day among the District Manager, our Councilman, our Assemblyman, and our Precinct Commander, for the purpose of examining the events and patterns of events and devising appropriate strategy in response to the facts. An extended discussion yielded the following points, the first three of which were reported by Marcella to Sarah by email in time for them to be communicated to Mr. Jackson before the meeting.
1. HHOC wants to hear back as to what the statistics really are ? are we in fact seeing an upswing in crime in our neighborhood, and how does it compare to the rest of the city? (In this context, Mike A pointed out that a .pdf file of crime statistics, citywide or by precinct, is available from NYC’s website. Go to www.nyc.gov; click on ‘Police Dept.’ under ‘Public Safety,’ and enter desired precinct under ‘search’ at page bottom.)
2. We are grateful that the "scooter cop" between Bennett and Ft. Tryon Parks is in fact in place ? actually, two officers, all the better ? but would like attention to be paid to the fact that some of the high-risk hours are not covered by their shifts.
3. We are aware that the active citizenship involved in (a) reporting crime (b) insisting that the reports be taken seriously and (c) being willing to testify are important pieces of the puzzle. Many victims of crime, (for example ? this from a CB12 meeting attended by one of the HHOC meeting participants ? food delivery men are apparently a frequent [and, it appears, increasingly victimized] target, but tend to be unwilling to come forward with reports). One participant suggested that the DA's office might have programs encouraging active citizen participation in collaboration with the justice system (including police), by disseminating reassuring information about such matters as whether or not (and at what point in the process) one has to give one's name, show an ID, etc. We are interested to know whether such programs might be available for our neighborhood.
4. Several HHOC buildings have obtained the services of private security companies. The topic of a potential collaboration, sharing such services to cover a larger area and more hours at joint expense, was revived and interest may have reached "critical mass"; participants from key buildings agreed to discuss this further. It costs only about $30k to have one security guard on patrol from midnight-7am, five days a week. If your building wishes to engage in this collective effort contact email@example.com to be put in touch.
5. The topic of closing the Ft. Tryon Park road at night was revisited. Two participants were in favor, however most had the strong feeling that closing the park addresses neither the problem of crime in the park nor the security of the general neighborhood. Some added that the absence of traffic through the park may actually worsen the situation.
6. There are several actions that citizens can be taking to look after the condition of the neighborhood in ways that directly affect security. These include:
There was also a discussion about the skateboarding at and around the Paterno Trivium, 187th & Cabrini/Pinehurst. Prior to the HHOC meeting, Sarah Morgridge had alerted Marcella to plans on this subject as well, so Marcella reported on her behalf. Over the summer Sarah invited the kids, on numerous occasions, to contact her if they were willing to collaborate with the Councilman's office and the Parks Department in creating an enticing alternative to skateboarding in this dangerous area. None having responded to the invitation, the Councilman's office has decided to contact the skateboarder’s parents, asking them to nudge their children in this direction and to participate themselves in devising a way to help keep their kids safe. Since most of the kids are known in the neighborhood it is possible to reach their parents, but if anyone has contact information, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clean up and paint over graffiti, since there is a correlation between the presence of graffiti and the "atmosphere of permission" in which vandalism can spiral upward.
- Make use of the Quality of Life Hotline for all such matters that need attention without requiring 911 assistance. When you call, police operators log the complaint, keep statistics, and send a patrol car as long as there is not violent crime elsewhere in our neighborhood. Call statistics alert police to matters of which we need them to be aware. The toll free number is: 1-888-677-5433.
- Call DOT or ? more efficient ? use the City’s website to notify them of broken streetlights, etc. Neighbors recently have gotten some impressive responses this way.
The meeting ended at about 9:15 p.m. The next meeting will be held on Monday October 21st at Simone Song Properties (241 Cabrini Blvd.) @ 7:15pm