“You’ve got to bring it to the papers, especially your community paper!” And this anxious talker must at least say this at every civic meeting so the problems so desperately aired there to electeds and other policy-makers will get some more action. East 79th St. Neighborhood Association President Betty Cooper Wallerstein agrees that the group leader must stress this, and will also always distribute media and elected official contact information handouts.
And indeed, this powerhouse community leader should keep telling these policy makers how she almost didn’t make the October meeting due to a red light-running food delivery biker nearly mowing her down as she crossed 2nd Avenue and 79th – of course, with her light. And say, this is the usual near-miss threat, not the exception, and the usual fear raised at meetings for decades.
Related was the East Sixties Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting’s “panel of experts addressing pressing neighborhood problems - traffic and public safety.” Ah, and here’s to this group’s president and community board eight member, Barry Schneider, often recalling how he was a victim of a motorist’s failure to yield - the most dangerous crime of traffic.
And, it was good for me to again experience the horrendous traffic volume coming off the Queensboro Bridge with really scary pedestrian crossings about which infinitely more needs to be said. Subsequent traffic tie-ups have drivers blasting their horns at all hours and affected neighbors shouting “Shuddup!” out their windows. Fortunately, these honking laments aired at the meeting were picked up by a DNAinfo reporter whose piece also sparked Fox News and CBS TV coverage. And how these threats to public safety and health need to get and stay out there! “So bring it to Our Town, especially,” I said, and hopefully this group, formed in 1991 will do just that.
But there’s so much traffic in general, and on the sidewalks now, a California-based New Yorker said after the E. 79th group meeting. This very able-bodied person is shocked by the increase seen on his tri-monthly visits. The reasons? “Well, bike and bus lanes surely, but mainly it’s construction, construction, construction,” he said. Zoning has long been an E. 79th Street Neighborhood Assn. active concern to protect the side streets but also against “unlimited growth” on the avenues. But when there’s no major ongoing protest, we will keep losing the small businesses that meet everyday needs – and affordable homes which make for neighborly and livable communities.
Among Councilmember Ban Kallos’s efforts brought to the E. 79th group meeting is his war against the superscraper building plan in his E. 60s district. He also asked for building names which deserve landmark status, and yes, why not even call about the now-sold stately 1906 vintage 40 East End Avenue with its invaluable Gristedes market and East End Kitchen restaurant? Someone at the meeting feared the 81st and York building housing Gracie’s Café had been sold. Although this paper lists Ben Kallos’s number, it’s 212-860-1950. And if all concerned would just call, well, at least we’ve tried.
Above all, the big picture has got to get out there – the environmental impact of over-building. including medical, educational and museum buildings’ expansions, which also rob park space. And what about the literally years of noise pollution exacted by each demolition and high rise construction? Incidentally, the one thing needing a bit of sound is the city bicycle!
So you concerned multitudes, above all, “bring it to the paper.” And, yes. civic grouips need your help, and on the way there or anywhere, do blow the whistle, literally, at traffic law-breakers. And here’s to more able bodied members helping those unable to travel alone get to the meetings. Indeed, this group often has considerable time to contact media and the electeds about all the above. There’s also a great will to preserve a livable city for any adult children and grandchildren.
And so the truly amazin’ ones are all those who keep trying. They deserve a little recognition on All Saints Day Sunday, too, especially those still trying to reopen the churches the city-at-large can not afford to lose.