The meeting took place at the Castle Village Community Room, 110 Cabrini Blvd., and got under way at about 7:25.m. In attendance were the following individuals: Julia Attaway, Marcella Calabi, Gail Chern-Thompson, Laura Hembree, Erica Lindenstraus, William J. McBurney, Jr., Sarah Morgridge, Peggy Morrissey, Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, and Mike Zamm. The following member buildings had residents present: 350 Cabrini Owners Corporation, 720-730 Fort Washington Avenue Owners Corp., Cabrini Terrace Owners Corp., Castle Village Owners Corporation, Chittenden House Inc., and Hudson View Gardens. The following Community Associate Members (CAMs) and other neighborhood groups were represented: Beth Am, The People's Temple, Friends of Bennett Park, Friends of Fort Tryon Park. The following elected official had a representative present: Councilman Robert Jackson.
Elizabeth refreshed our memory concerning a topic discussed in June: that of auxiliary police who work several shifts a month on patrols and special events as a supplement to existing police officers. People should understand this program, and appreciate the role played and the sacrifices made by these volunteers. Two ideas for spreading the word that came up were (1) suggesting to the Manhattan Times that it do an article on making the neighborhood safer, which could include information about auxiliary police and 2) a table at the Harvest Festival disseminating info about this resource.
There was discussion of the Harvest Festival in Bennett Park, scheduled for Oct 22nd. The Festival has grown incredibly to become a major community event. It started with four volunteers just a few years ago; 100 volunteers and 700 attendees are expected this year. The next day 10/23 has a special "put Bennett Park to sleep for the winter" event scheduled to help residents, especially families with children, adapt to the winter limits on park usage. HHOC agreed to support the Festival with a $250 donation.
It was reported that HHOC has been asked to hold $8000 in pass-through funds for Councilman Robert Jackson’s office. These are monies to be used to support such local causes as the Harvest Festival (for which $500 was earmarked). The Councilman’s office cannot manage and track such small donations so it asked HHOC to disburse these contributions on Councilman’s behalf to recipients of his choosing. HHOC will receive a small percentage to cover necessary related administrative expenses.
Another HHOC contribution discussed and agreed to was $250 to Mother Cabrini High School’s Walkathon scheduled for early October. The school is a great contributor to our neighborhood, with a tremendous community service curriculum. It serves girls the majority of whom come from low-income families and inspires and empowers all or almost all of to go on to college. It is not a Diocesan school and therefore relies on independent sources of funds.
Previous recipients of HHOC donations sent various letters of thanks, including the local Girl and Boy Scout troops respectively, and the Heather Garden Endowment Fund at Fort Tryon Park.
Marcella reported that HHOC had received a query about increased and perhaps excessive ticketing of such behaviors as live double-parking in front of one’s own residence while waiting to pick up a family member or drop off a package. It appears
that Traffic Enforcement has a new head, under whose direction these types of on-the-
books violations are being enforced more aggressively. Sarah M. said that Councilman Jackson’s office has found itself assisting residents in fighting what seemed to be unreasonable tickets but at best the fines were reduced, not dismissed. Be aware that double-parking during street cleaning remains technically illegal, with so-called "relaxed enforcement" on blocks where certain conditions are met (e.g. no schools or churches, not two-way, etc.); and that the new head has different ideas about defining the extent of those conditions. The system can seem arbitrary, capricious, and hard to do right in: for example, if you double-park appropriately within the allowed conditions but a car near you on the other side fails to move for street-cleaning, you may be ticketed together with the other car because emergency vehicles cannot get through between the two of you. There does not seem to be much the citizenry can do about this.
Three resources were noted:
- An article in the New York American Automobile Association magazine about transportation alternatives for seniors who should not be driving listed one such alternative in Manhattan located right in our neighborhood, ARC Ft. Washington. There is also the Access-A-Ride system we see around the city.
- Check out www.freecycle.org which is an internet-based communication system throughout the country with a large NYC following. The goal is to prevent waste and unnecessary dumping in our landfills. If you have something you don’t want any more, instead of throwing it away, you can post it and someone who wants it will arrange to take it away.
- A more local bulletin board can be accessed through the yahoo group ParentAndMe1, which grew out of a mom’s email group and has become a powerful tool for networking locally, especially among families with small children.
Other then-upcoming events noted were the Medieval Festival 10/2, Uptown Treasures 10/16.
There was a discussion about bus congestion around 179th Street due to the fact that there is no practicable bus turnaround area west of Broadway. The Community Board’s Traffic & Transpor-tation committee has tried to work on this with the MTA, which has taken little action to alleviate the problem, arguing that all of the many Bronx-based routes must use 181st Street in Manhattan as a turn-around. The Manhattan Borough President’s office did commission a traffic engineering study, some of which recommendations have been implemented, but the problem persists.
Elizabeth reported on a query that HHOC had received from an organization called Angie’s List, which is an internet rating system for contractors and other services. It simply collects public participants’ comments about services they have received in their neighborhood for viewing by others who may be looking for such services. Angie’s List is looking to expand in Manhattan and had asked HHOC if it wanted to encourage participation by obtaining a membership discount for HHOC-identified participants. This generated a great deal of discussion leading to a general reluctance to get involved in what is essentially a commercial venture outside our purview. It was agreed that if Angie’s List gets under way in the area and attracts sufficient participation to be providing useful data then we will be happy to help spread the word, but not more.
Marcella started a discussion about a possible restructuring of how HHOC itself communicates: whether we should be meeting less often, what to do about the admittedly slow turnaround on Meeting Summaries like this one, whether we should be using the internet more or differently. She asked that people think about this and begin to collect ideas for the next meeting. It was agreed to lengthen the time to the next meeting, partly in response to the multiple holidays in October and partly as an experiment in not meeting every third Monday.
Next meeting: Monday 11/7, 7:15 p.m., Castle Village Community Room, 110 Cabrini Blvd.