The meeting took place at 110 Cabrini Blvd. and got under way at about 7:25p.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Jennifer Arroyo, Michael Augenblick, W. Leigh Bowman, Karen Burnham, Marcella Calabi, Anthony Fountain, Geri and Tom Hopkins, Doreen Mangan, Sarah Morgridge, Perry Payne, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Simone Yen Song, and Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 120 Bennett Owners Corporation, 255 Cabrini Condominium, 371 Fort Washington Owners Corporation, 720-730 Fort Washington Avenue Owners Corp., Castle Village Owners Corporation, Chittenden House Inc., and Fort Tryon Corp. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs), guest buildings, and other neighborhood groups were represented: 105 Pinehurst, Beth Am The People's Temple, Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program, Simone Song Properties, Stein-Perry Real Estate, the YM+YWHA of Washington Heights. The following elected officials had a representative present: Councilman Robert Jackson and Senator Eric Schneiderman.
The meeting summary from October was agreed to.
There was a roundtable discussion about smoking in common areas in cooperatives – whether/how NYC and house rules intersect on this matter, and how they apply to rent-controlled tenants living in a coop. Counsel should be sought.
Karen Burnham gave a presentation about the wide range of services available for local seniors through the Nagle Avenue Y including among others, low-cost hourly homebound services for seniors who wish to stay independent – i.e., shopping, bill-paying, and handyman services, as well as free installation of handrails, lightbulb changes and smoke detector upkeep, and other supports designed to keep seniors safe in their homes. YMHA also offers services to seniors who have been victims of crime as well as the register of recreational programming, health club and support offered at the YMHA center on Nagle Avenue. The YMHA services Washington Heights and has traveled as far south as 176th Street. For information Ms. Burnham can be reached at 212-569-6200, ext. 251. (Liz Ritter added that Community Board 12 is a clearinghouse for senior services and can be contacted as well. She suggested that the YMHA could network with the Community Board to get the word out further to neighborhood seniors.)
Mike Zamm asked for more responses to the A-train service survey discussed previously.
Marcella touched on other open topics from previous meetings, including:
- position paper on parking and related quality-of-life issues
- possible relationship with a local developer to support projects mutually beneficial to the neighborhood and to the developer.
Announcements and short topics included:
- the sign-posting campaign concerning good-neighbor behaviors identified last spring, waiting for volunteers
- Pied Piper production of Romeo and Juliet in December
- The Henry Hudson Parkway Task Force’s symposium on Scenic Byways was a huge success attended by major agencies. This is a grassroots project which is gathering tremendous support at local, state, and even federal levels.
- Uptown Arts Stroll, a great idea to show art in multiple locations throughout the neighborhood, Open-House style. [Sec’t’y’s note: This too turned out very well. It will be even bigger and better next year, watch for it next fall.]
- Positive press coverage of the neighborhood in the City Section of the NYTimes
- Then-upcoming meetings, petitions, and protest action organized by our neighbors under the name Elevate the Heights – citizen action to prevent the MTA from cutting back elevator-operator service (supposedly "throughout the borough," but all the elevators in the borough are actually in our neighborhood).
Marcella reported that Mrs. Alexion’s florist shop on 187th Street is closing, and concerns were expressed on her behalf, with discussion about support services available to her. Marcella then solicited input on desired neighborhood merchants / services for 187th Street. Leigh Bowman proposed her business idea of a wine/coffee bar with a piano/music that would serve some in the neighborhood whom she feels are not being served – i.e., would rather go downtown than stay in the neighborhood for lack of a quiet place to meet and talk. Mike Augenblick expressed that the condo Board which owns the exterior envelope of the subject storefront is hesitant to approve any dining/drinking establishment that would require a ventilated kitchen. Ms. Bowman explained that there would be no kitchen or ventilation changes, that the establishment would have a tavern license to serve beer and wine, coffee and teas, with cold plates only.
- Free flu shots available for seniors
Marcella asked for other ideas of desired services and the usual suggestions were made for a bookstore, Italian restaurant, and financial advisor. None of these generated the enthusiasm that the wine bar did.
There was an update on the maintenance of the 187th Street steps. Nancy Bruning and Nora Jupiter, of Friends of the Steps, had a fruitful meeting with Sarah Morgridge of Robert Jackson’s office, Gregoria Feliciano of Community Board 12, and others including representatives of the Sanitation Department. Progress included the exchange of useful information and the establishment of a working relationship with Sanitation over this issue. Sanitation made a commitment to inspect the steps daily not only from the top looking down but also from the bottom up. It was noted that the Sanitation Dept has only two trucks for pickup of all street-corner baskets north of 155th Street. Friends of the Steps is working towards beautification of the sort exemplified by the 181st Street Steps, because a more beautiful location also tends to be treated better by the populace.
Elizabeth asked if HHOC was interested in sponsoring an appearance by the voter-education group Vote Smart and got a qualified yes, instructing her to look into it more closely at the same time as expressing our interest.
The next meeting was set for Monday January 12 at 7:15 p.m., location TBA.
[Sec’t’y’s note: Thanks to Perry Payne for draft notes.]