Yup, that’s a gotcha title. “Civic Meetings to Save the Nabes” might just get a ho-hum response, because “nothing gets done - same ol, same ol...” I hope my little reproof doesn’t have you turning the page.
And while meetings can be boring, overall they do a whole lot of good, often untold, and for the nabe where we live. They create “community,” more and more missing as luxury high-rises replace affordable low-rises with their stores which meet everyday needs.
I admit my coverage of the East 79th St. Neighborhood Association meeting sometimes stresses concerns because they especially bother me. But, again, bothering the majority at the November meeting was traffic law-breaking bicycling. And Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright said her daughter was hit by a bike. The police, incidentally, were out protesting for a most deserved wage hike, so no community relations officer reported on the number of tickets issued.
Don’t get me wrong, the group and I couldn’t be more concerned with drivers’ failure to yield and speeding. And other pressing concerns were addressed like overcoming the incredible nighttime construction noise at the Marine Transfer site. Opposition to the site continues to argue how the Upper East Side has the dirtiest air in the city without legions of trash trucks making it worse.
Association president, Betty Wallerstein, told how York Avenue is again threatened with becoming a one-way avenue. If anything ever needed to be stopped it’s that, along with the conversion of sodium street lights to glaringly bright LED ones. Incidentally, Assemblymember Seawright graciously promised to read my related column.
Ah, and special kudos to Daniel Garodnick’s aide, Will Brightbill, for speaking loudly and clearly enough. With the population aging, attention must be paid to doing just that, and also how neither costly hearing aids or exorbitant dental care are covered by Medicare. Incidentally, I’ll let you know if the $119 Pocketalker I’ve ordered is a real help.
And I forgot to remind the group to “Please bring your concerns and ideas to this newspaper!” And while “out of the box,” it would be great if the notes taken by Joan, the group’s secretary, were published here.
As should the just published East 60’s Neighborhood Association’s Fall Bulletin’s account of its October annual meeting with its “bright laser light focus on the community’s Number One Public Enemy – traffic congestion and its dangers and frustrations or anti-social consequences.” I was there and heard a DOT commissioner, a safety educator and several law enforcement officers describe their respective efforts. But the community shot back with a “not good enough, nothing is happening” response. Especially about the ever more perilous and congested traffic coming off the 59th Street bridge. Consequent horn-blowing has affected residents shouting SHADDUP! out their windows.
The group was also mad-as-hell about bicyclists’ habitual disregard for the rules of the road. Thankfully, my urging them to “bring their concerns to this paper,” was also noted, and much more. (For a copy or information call 212- 713- 5836)
Hey, these two groups should join forces, at least on the two-wheeled threat, and all concerned should attend the “Making Our Neighborhoods More Livable” on Monday, Nov. 23, 2-4pm, at the Society of Ethical Culture at 2 W. 64th street. The panelists are from AARP, The Shadow Box Theatre and this paper’s editor Kyle Pope. Related to livable places, longtime Upper East Sider, Hank Blum, the subject of the current series on retirement years, is now reconsidering remaining in New York and moving to a quiet place in the country. And the partner of Senior Living columnist, Marcia Epstein, doesn’t want to give up the serenity of their lake home to live only on West Side Manhattan. And I think how the city is becoming more stressful with a notable population growth and the unprecedented surge of luxury high-rise construction replacing low-rise places with the loss of everyday places we need, even diners and grocery stores. And the population is aging.
Incidentally, community groups could sure use the involvement of people like Blum and his wife to make a more livable city.
And it’s almost Thanksgiving, and deserving of immeasurable thanks are all civic groups, and leaders like Betty Cooper Wallerstein and Barry Schneider. Ah, and thankfully, St. Stephen of Hungary can host one more “Thanksgiving dinner for the community,” as well as two masses on Sunday until St. Monica’s is made “accessible.” Ah, if only other closed churches had reprieves – permanent ones. For more livable neighborhoods.