SUMMARY OF HHOC MEETING
The meeting took place at Stein-Perry Realty on 187th Street and got under way at about 7:25.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Mike Augenblick, Marcella Calabi, Mary Kim, Caroline King, Gwen Kingsberry, Joe Montagna, Gus Perry, Louis Pulice, Sonia Reynoso, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Debbie Shaked, Peter Simoes, and Henry Stern. The following member buildings had residents present: 255 Cabrini Condominium, 360 Cabrini Owners Corpoeration, Castle Village Owners Corp., Chittenden House Inc., and Hudson View Gardens. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs), guest buildings, and other neighborhood groups were represented: 250 Cabrini; 340 Cabrini; Beth Am, The People's Temple; Hudson Cliffs Theatre Arts Program; Simone Song Properties; and Stein-Perry Realty.
Special Upcoming Event: Drums Along the Hudson, a "Native American Festival and Shad Fest" Sunday May 1, 11am-6pm at Inwood Hill Park, 218th St. 3 blocks west of Broadway. Free. Featuring performances of Native American dance and song, drummers and dancers from around the world, native elders, storytelling, food, art, handicrafts, shad tasting and Hudson River Fish exhibits. Special events honoring Dr. Elizabeth Sackler and The Hudson River Foundation, with guest Winona LaDuke. Also, this event could use volunteers. For more info, see www.lotusarts.com, call 212-627-1076 x16 (call 311 or visit www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/upcoming_events/events.php?id=21640.)
Other Announcements of then-upcoming events included:
- Events impacting traffic flow and/or parking, including filmings of Law & Order/SVU and the construction of a cell phone tower on one of our member building roofs
- Pied Piper Children’s Theater production of Into the Woods
- The opening of the P.O. Michael Buczek Little League season, with a parade and a blood-and-bone-marrow drive for a recipient in need.
- "Bridging the Gap to Homeownership Fair" sponsored by the North Manhattan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Chase Home Finance, and GENWORTH Financial.
To Note, Past and Present:
- Pay attention to the Manhattan Times section on Tuesdays called "Eats & Entertainment" for a monthly event highlighting a new eatery in the neighborhood. The variety and number of options for an evening out in our part of town have skyrocketed.
- The Coogan’s Race was not only a success for participants and onlookers but also a feat of organization and preparedness by the Police Department. After seven years of fine-tuning there were no complaints.
Roundtable query: Two participants independently requested networking and suggestions about new co-op management companies. This prompted a discussion about how to pick, what to watch out for, and what expectations are realistic. It does seem that some Boards make life impossible for their managers by hiding behind management, letting the employees take the heat for unpopular or ill-thought-out policies. Anything Boards and/or committees can do to educate residents about how the structure of the co-op really works could help streamline the co-op’s functioning and reduce tension. Management needs depend of course on the size of the co-op and the type of projects that the manager would have to oversee in addition to day-to-day operations, but all co-ops need expertise in matters like taxes and city regulations. A key criterion by which to measure management companies is responsiveness, i.e. the speed and reliability with which they return calls. Some specific recommendations were aired, contact secretary for more details.
The existence and function of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, which came up at the previous meeting, was further elucidated. This is something our members should be more aware of, and HHOC should discuss appropriate ways of utilizing this information. Perhaps connecting with these resources could turn out to be HHOC’s key to impacting such issues as traffic calming on our more problematic streets or the level of bus service. According to one of our participants, The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) works on these things among others [notes provided by Mary and edited by Marcella]:
- Coordinates the money flowing into the region from Washington, for our mass transit and highways. These are huge pots of money and each contain within them set-asides for such interesting projects as: the Greenway: traffic calming; Cleaner Air Act compliance; research and training (coordinated with the universities in their transportation-related research); ADA compliance; "intermodalism." which is the initiative that resulted from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act (ISTEA) in the early 1990s in an effort to get all our different modes of transportation to work in conjunction with each other.
- Researches and implements "Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems" and "Intelligent Transit Systems" (IVHS and ITS), i.e. high-tech solutions to weaknesses in traffic systems. One example of a project that was realized was the EZPass.
- Pursues "technical transfer" of research, i.e. getting academic research out into the real world of transportation agency civil engineering and, as a result, funding university research institutes nationwide including one at the CCNY campus of CUNY called The Institute for Transportation Systems at CUNY’s CCNY campus.
- Pursues public participation – ISTEAthe Intermodal Surface Transportation Act said quite explicitly that agencies have to demonstrate that they have included public input into their planning process in order to be funded.
Security issues: as promised last month, Mike Z. asked Inspector Kehoe of the 34th Precinct about the level of police presence in the neighborhood. He reported a 19% drop in crime in the precinct; we have two officers assigned to full-time patrol throughout the neighborhood and one officer focusing on the parks full-time. The upshot: as expected, coverage has dropped since the upswing that resulted from the Mayor’s Town Meeting in the neighborhood, but it is better than it was before that meeting.
Ft. Tryon Park Heather Garden Fundraiser: follow-up to last month’s discussion about this event both (1) focused on the need to expand fundraising and awareness of the Heather Garden to high-end donors outside the neighborhood and (2) reiterated our interest in more local events and more affordable ways to support the park. It was agreed that HHOC will donate enough funds to register on the program of the downtown event and communicate with the Parks Dept. about this matter. Elizabeth to follow up.
- We should consider sponsoring a PAL event or team. Louis to be our contact on this.
- Website community calendar – we need a new volunteer to look after this.
- Our webmaster is altering the format of posted meeting summaries to prevent spamming software from getting email addresses from them.
- Agreed to post meeting summaries sooner and to create links from our email messages to the posted summaries, to act as "newsletters" somewhat in the way our previous snail-mailings did.
- Dues are mostly paid up through 2004; about 1/3 of our members have also paid 2005.
Next meeting: Monday April 25, 7:15 p.m. Castle Village Community Room, 110 Cabrini Blvd. Enter through the cast iron gates – use the intercom if it’s locked. (The following meeting also has been scheduled, for Monday May 23 at Bleu Evolution, look for confirmation next month.)