The meeting took place at 180 Cabrini Blvd. #89 and got under way at about 7:20 p.m. People attending: Howard S. Aaron, Mike Augenblick, Monica Bauchwitz, Joel M. Bhuijan, Marcella Calabi, Lorraine Cooper, Mike Fitelson, Shelley Henderson, Mary Kim, Joseph Lentini, Mark Levine, Erica Lindenstraus, Danny Lu, Doreen Mangan, William J. McBurney, Jr., Wendy McClellan, Rita L. McKee, Francisco Menendez, Tina Molinari, Joe Montagna, Sarah Morgridge, Peggy Morrissey, Rosa Naparstek, Erik Ochsner, Lilliam Perez, Joanne Powell, Brenda Ramirez-Paulino, Raquel Retief, Elizabeth Ritter, Simone Yen Song, Van Stone, Scott Stringer, Valerie Volinski,
Buildings represented: 66 Overlook Terrace Corp., 120 Bennett Owners, 255 Cabrini Condominium, 350 Cabrini, 447 Ft. Washington, 720-730 Fort Washington, Bennett Condominium, Cabrini Terrace, Castle Village, Chittenden House Inc, Ft. Tryon Corp., Hudson View Gardens, Overlook Towers, Pinehurst Owners Corp., Westgate House. Guest buildings, neighborhood organizations and businesses present: 187 Pinehurst Ave., 435 Ft. Washington, 630 Ft. Washington, Berkshire Bank, Beth Am, The People’s Temple, Concerts in the Heights, Critter Outfitter, Ft. Tryon Park Trust, Simone Song Properties, SONOS Chamber Orchestra, Square Foot Realty. Elected Officials represented: Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Senator Eric Schneiderman, NYC Councilman Robert Jackson.
The Meeting Summary from the previous meeting was reviewed, no changes.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer spoke about the need for rezoning and new attention to land use in Hudson Heights, where the zoning has not been changed since 1961; he wants Hudson Heights not to be forgotten in larger planning for Manhattan. He offered to give a presentation on this matter if our community wants it. He took questions which led to a discussion of ongoing and future development in the area, which underscored the need for all stakeholders to collaborate on big-picture planning. He promised that there would be a Town Hall meeting on the subject of the development at the GWBridge Bus Terminal, and agreed that there would be a need to involve the DOT and local police to minimize the disruption that a major renovation will cause.
Roundtable: There was networking about how to find a good super.
Announcement of Events then upcoming included:
- concerts with
- MOSA (Music at Our Savior’s Atonement),
- CITH (Concerts in the Heights),
- the SONOS orchestra
- The Russian-American Cultural Center
- Events at the Hispanic Heritage Society for October as Hispanic Heritage Month
- Community Board meeting
- The Medieval Festival in Ft. Tryon Park and attendant street closures
- Uptown Treasures day
- KB Gallery opening on 181st Street at Riverside Drive
- Domestic Violence Awareness March
- Harvest Festival
- 34th Precinct (Police) open residents’ meeting
- “Book It – Getting the Most Out of NYC Schools,” an education conference sponsored by MBP Stringer
- “Go Green, East Harlem,” a conference on the future of sustainable buildings in northern Manhattan.
Among other things, this announcement list demonstrates that the cultural richness of the neighborhood is increasing by leaps and bounds.
- Marcella reported on the recent founding of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, an umbrella organization devoted to fostering the arts in our neighborhood with the support of the NYState Council on the Arts, the Northern Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and other agencies and electeds. Among other things it has a re-granting program for arts/cultural institutions, current deadline November 5th, contact Diana Caba at 212-233-8955x143.
- Monica spoke about the Concerts in the Heights to those who were unaware: it is a series that brings together some of the world-class musicians in the neighborhood to produce chamber music.
- Eric introduced SONOS, our neighborhood’s very own orchestra, which takes it place among the City’s fine ensembles by offering repertoire that is both pleasing and rarely performed.
- Wendy spoke about the Community Dialog Theater Project, a collaborative venture between a playwright and a director to use interviews with local residents as material for a theatrical expression of the neighborhood.
- People gave their e-mail addresses to be added to e-announcement lists for these groups; if you want to do the same, write firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward your address.
- Elizabeth mentioned that the Hispanic Heritage Society has a significant collection of Goyas and deserves to be better known, together with many other local museums and heritage sites –featured on the upcoming Uptown Treasures open house day. See www.uptowntreasures.org
Other guest organizations introducing themselves at this meeting were:
- Berkshire Bank, which is offering the first competition Chase has seen for many years in Hudson Heights north of 181st St. Recognizing that Chase is a much bigger bank, Berkshire’s representatives said they hope to make its niche with more customized “good old-fashioned” service. There was brainstorming about how Berkshire can introduce itself to the neighborhood, including ways it could present itself as a supporter of neighborhood organizations and events.
- Critter Outfitter, the new pet supply store at 210 Pinehurst (with an entrance also on Cabrini Blvd.), which offering grooms and care services as well as goods. A Hallowe’en Party for Kids and Pets will take place there, with prizes for such pet categories as “Tolerates Costume Best” – watch for time announcement.
- Rosa reported that there is a new program at the Nagle Avenue YM-YHA specifically customized to the generation born between 1946 and 1964, called Ventures for Baby Boomers; check it out by calling Linda Storfer at 212-569-6200x233.
The question was raised about whether a comprehensive calendar of events exists. Many organizations including HHOC have attempted this but success is a function of the public developing the habit both to inform and to consult one central source. Mike F. said that this is a project he is working on together with a number of colleagues; watch for future announcements.
On Senator Schneiderman’s behalf, Lilliam reminded all comers to apply for the STAR tax rebate and offered the assistance of the Senator’s office if necessary. See also www.nystax.gov
The following HHOC Grants were approved: $250 each to the
- Little Red Lighthouse Festival, retroactive approval
- Mother Cabrini High School Walk-a-thon
- Concerts in the Heights
- And $150 to the Harvest Festival
Follow-up on other earlier/ongoing HHOC projects:
- City Council bill re regulation of co-op admissions – the committee considering this matter needs to get together again
- Marcella reported on Mike Zamm’s behalf that he’d completed the next level of the security camera project on the upper stretches of Ft. Washington and Cabrini; Tina agreed to assist at this point.
- Elizabeth reported that, in response to HHOC’s expression of concern about the new expenses triggered in the schools by the Mayor’s new Open Schoolyards policy, we received a letter from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe reassuring us that funding is earmarked for this.
- Marcella reminded people to note and supply us with specific data points about trucks idling longer than the legal limit of 3 minutes. There is ample anecdotal evidence of excessive idling by Fresh Direct trucks in specific, but we need more detailed data to back up a complaint to the company.
- Sarah Morgridge suggested that we write a follow-up letter to Councilman Jackson about the Upper Cabrini Project that we were supporting last spring. The timing is good for projects that support that stretch of the park and street: we are coming up to the 400ths anniversary of Henry Hudson’s sail up the river, and it would mesh with Jane Shachat’s hopes as she departs her position as head of northern Manhattan parks.
- Rita noted that in spite of efforts by a significant coalition of elected officials including the Borough President, and the grassroots assistance provided by HHOC at his request, the ConEd project to rip up Broadway from Yonkers to Inwood is going to proceed. This is a significant disappointment and we can only hope that the BP will be able to carry out his promise to ameliorate disruption as far as possible.
Many kudos and thanks to Jane Shachat and good wishes for her future.
The next meeting date was set for October 22 at the Hebrew Tabernacle. The meeting adjourned at 9:30.