Vice President Debra Jeffreys-Glass Talk at the Close of University Settlement’s ROAR Festival

Worth a read – every bit of it.

Debra Jeffreys-Glass creator, organizer, collaboration builder of  M’Finda Kalunga Garden’s Juneteenth. The longest running Juneteenth on the Lower East Side. And winner of Downtown Arts and FABnyc 2022 Hero Awards

Hi everyone, I’m Debra Glass, Vice President of the Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition.

I’m a proud partner of K Webster, who many of you know as a tireless advocate for this park and the local and greater communities that it serves. She’s not able to be here with us today but she’ll be soon, back doing what she does – bringing us all together to do good things.

First, I’d like to thank University Settlement and Myles, and her tremendous staff for pouring your hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and energy into this neighborhood and park’s well-being.

We deeply appreciate how for this entire summer; this park has been filled with a mighty and glorious ROAR. Aside from it being a powerful sound of strength and power, ROAR – set this community up all summer long to Rejoice! Organize! Activate! Reclaim! – this amazing park resource. Every Saturday and Sunday, even on those hot and muggy afternoons, ROAR! provided over 200 hours of FREE programming – yes, “free-99”, and accessible to anyone and everyone, week after week: Playground activities, programs and classes for ALL AGES from dozens of community partners in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Thank you so much.

ROAR is a shining example of the kinds of anchors of safety we all need in this park – making them spaces that are alive and active with positive community use. Our children, our grownups, our elders, our teens, our visitors, we all deserve this kind of life affirming community building – not only as a summer long festival, but as a permanent feature of this park.

As K wrote, “We, and our community and partners, remain determined to have a park where all people are greeted as an opportunity for friendship and caring across every divide. We will continue to advocate for all resources we know are necessary to create a safe, beautiful, resilient, joyous, and welcoming neighborhood park – a park of peaceful coexistence in our complex city. We have worked hard for many generations here to have the community we would all wish to live in, and it is the only kind of community we will accept.”

What K wrote is not an abstract concept or a hope. There is a well-defined roadmap to creating permanent anchors and resources that would make this neighborhood park safer.

First and foremost, returning the Stanton building to the community would allow us to ROAR like this all year long. It would make this kind of active community use a regular and ongoing feature of this park — and this neighborhood. We know that multi-generational and cross-cultural opportunities to meet and share experiences with others – are essential to building connections – and creating, as well as sustaining, community.

Other areas of the park need resources and attention for us to reclaim them for community use. South of Delancey, the Hua Mei bird sanctuary needs new fencing – this would allow these long-time residents of our community to safely share what they love with the larger community.

Both Grand /Delancey streets need safe, accessible entryways into the park so that coming inside feels welcoming and open.

A couple of days ago, one of my colleagues encouraged the group of educators in the meeting to think about our work together – not from the perspective of “what’s wrong”, but approach with the question “what’s possible”. We know what’s possible in this park. We’ve done it before, and we’re going to do it again. It is possible for this park to be a glorious example how our collective community might and energy can reclaim this park as a safe and vital neighborhood resource for us all.

Bob – I had intended to recognize Bob’s impact on our neighborhood and park. I want to acknowledge that so much of what we do is as a result of his efforts – from riding around on a bike patrol chasing drug dealers out of the park, to offering the chance to contribute labor to the upkeep of the park…Many of us are here because of Bob’s understanding of the importance of the invitation, “Can you help me with something?” That it gives us all a chance to be a part of making our community a better place.

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New York Voters Pass Historic 2022 Environmental Bond Act!!!

Environmental Defense Fund statement from Kate Boicourt

(NEW YORK — Nov. 9, 2022) Yesterday was a big win for New York State’s nature and communities with the overwhelming passage by voters of the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. As the largest environmental bond act in state history at $4.2 billion and the largest on any ballot anywhere in the nation in 2022, the measure will support environmental improvements that preserve, enhance and restore New York’s natural resources and create more than 84,000 local jobs. …

read on…

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New Yorkers for Parks: Play Fair Rally for Capital Project Reform

Play Fair Coalition from New Yorkers for Parks:

We joined the Play Fair Rally for Capital Reform at City Hall held on December 6th at City Hall, followed by:

NYC Council Oversight Hearing: Improving the Efficiency of Parks Capital Projects

Council members heard testimony on 3 capital reform/parks construction bill proposals. Sara RPCC advocated for these as members of the PlayFair Coalition.

Our Council Member Chris Marte supported these bills!

NYC Council Oversight Hearing: Improving the Efficiency of Parks Capital Projects

BILLS ON THE AGENDA:

T2022-2417 — NY4P has been working with Council Member Shekar Krishnan on this bill, which would require the parks department to create a strategic blueprint to reduce the average duration of capital projects by at least 25%. It will be followed by a second bill that requires all reporting agencies to deliver the same type of plan.

Intro 174 – Requires NYC Parks to add more detailed information on its capital tracker on the website, including the reasons for delays, the dates projects were fully funded, the total number of projects in its portfolio, projected and actual cost overruns, individual sources of funding and the length of time it took to complete each project.

Intro 680 — Requires DOT, DEP and DPR to survey dead end streets to assess if those areas are suitable for tree plantings and vegetation.

TALKING POINTS:

T2022-2417

  • The Preconsidered Intro bill would require the Parks Department to deliver a blueprint for reducing parks capital project timelines by 25% — an average of 2 years.
  • The Preconsidered Intro bill is focused on the parks department as a first step. But a similar bill should be passed that requires the same blueprint from all capital agencies.
  • We need our parks repaired and built more quickly and inexpensively so New Yorkers have access to these critical spaces.
  • We need our parks project to cost less to put that saved money towards badly needed operations and maintenance.
  • NYC’s parks system has been underfunded and inequitably funded for 40 years.
  • The mayor can start to fix that now by delivering on his promise to dedicate 1% of the budget to NYC Parks

Intro 174

  • Adding more detailed information to the parks capital tracker will make it a more accessible and useful tool for the parks department and park stewards to fully understand the delays associated with projects.
  • This additional detail will ensure NYC Parks capital expenditures reporting is updated in real time with sufficient detail for the agency and its partners to evaluate pain points and progress toward a more efficient system.

Below: CM Marte, SRPCC member Sandy Pliego, Union members, CM Krishnan addressing the rally.

 

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The Hua Mei Bird Sanctuary: Photos and Story

The Hua Mei Bird Sanctuary: (see photos and read Brian Dubé’s full story on his website)

New York Daily Photo

Stories of the ordinary, the extraordinary, the classic, the unexpected and the hidden gems
by a long time resident who shares his love of New York City.

Excerpt from a post on 9/8/2009 by Brian Dubé:

“…In 1995, three men, a Chinese banker and two former waiters, approached Anna Magenta, who, with Federico Sabini, had started the Forsyth Street Garden Conservancy in 1994 to improve the park. With her help, they petitioned the Parks Department, and in 1995, the Hua Mei Bird Garden was hatched. Bird gardens are common in China, and there are even restaurants that cater to patrons with their birds in tow.

Every morning, a group of Chinese men gather with their songbirds, finches, sparrows, and blue jays among them. But the raison d’être of this garden is the Hua Mei with its songs. On weekends, the population of men and birds reaches its zenith, with dozens of cages along the walkway and hanging from lines. Most of the birds’ owners are retired Chinese men.

The Hua Mei is a fighting song thrush – in the company of other males, it fights, and for females, it sings. The distinguishing physical feature is a white line that circles the eye and extends towards the back of the head. The birds are kept in ornate handmade bamboo cages, frequently with a white cloth covering the cage to shield them from the impact of the city. The birds are imported from China and Vietnam – they are quite costly, requiring quarantine before being brought into a domestic environment.

The gathering is a social one for both the owners and the birds. The Hua Mei needs exercise, and the owners take the opportunity to introduce the birds to each other while bird talk dominates the conversation…”

 

PHOTO Here by Lee Elson

The Hua Mei Bird Sanctuary
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SCIENTIST AT WORK – Dr. Felton Earls; On Crime As Science (A Neighbor At a Time)

NYTimes:

”What we are discovering around collective efficacy was not terribly obvious before we started to measure it with some precision.”

Getty images:

“…the study planned and conducted by Dr. Earls and colleagues to unravel the social, familial, educational and personal threads that weave together into lives of crime and violence.”

“Dr. Earls and his colleagues argue that the most important influence on a neighborhood’s crime rate is neighbors’ willingness to act, when needed, for one another’s benefit, and particularly for the benefit of one another’s children. And they present compelling evidence to back up their argument.”

“His study, based in Chicago, has challenged an immensely popular competing theory about the roots of crime. ”Broken windows,” as it is known, holds that physical and social disorder in a neighborhood lead to increased crime, that if one broken window or aggressive squeegee man is allowed to remain in a neighborhood, bigger acts of disorderly behavior will follow.”

The American Journal of Sociology, Dr. Earls reported that most major crimes were linked not to ”broken windows” but to two other neighborhood variables: concentrated poverty and what he calls, with an unfortunate instinct for the dry and off-putting language of social science, collective efficacy.”

“Will a group of local teenagers hanging out on the corner be allowed to intimidate passers-by, or will they be dispersed and their parents called? Will a vacant lot become a breeding ground for rats and drug dealers, or will it be transformed into a community garden?”

“Such decisions, Dr. Earls has shown, exert a power over a neighborhood’s crime rate strong enough to overcome the far better known influences of race, income, family and individual temperament.

”If you got a crew to clean up the mess,” Dr. Earls said, ”it would last for two weeks and go back to where it was. The point of intervention is not to clean up the neighborhood, but to work on its collective efficacy. If you organized a community meeting in a local church or school, it’s a chance for people to meet and solve problems.”

”If one of the ideas that comes out of the meeting is for them to clean up the graffiti in the neighborhood, the benefit will be much longer lasting, and will probably impact the development of kids in that area. But it would be based on this community action — not on a work crew coming in from the outside.”

“As for policy implications, Dr. Earls said that rather than focusing on arresting squeegee men and graffiti scrawlers, local governments should support the development of cooperative efforts in low-income neighborhoods by encouraging neighbors to meet and work together. Indeed, cities that sow community gardens, he said, may reap a harvest of not only kale and tomatoes, but safer neighborhoods and healthier children.”

And…we knew this…

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Build – A – Block Meeting with 5th Precinct

Nov 16 – 5th Precinct’s Build a Block Meeting Sector B*

Led by Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) Dhundup and Smith (NCO Mia was at a training) gave detailed reports. All the Officers including Connor and Lee, whose hours are 5:30pm-2:30am [approximately], answered many questions from the neighborhood. Contact info below.

Thank you to all the officers for their work in this community.

Thanks to Senator Kavanagh‘s liaison, Pat Olan, for taking notes and asking questions some of these notes are a combination of what we could gather.

*The notes below are NOT confirmed so please reach out to the officers to ensure accuracy.

Police Report:

-A Task Force is patrolling in unmarked vehicles,

-K2 /heroin dealing in the park.

-There is now a Patrol from 5:30pm-2:30am [approximately]. Officers were hearing lots of criminal activity during that time. Using “Pattern staffing”

-Some DOT issues

-Smoke Shops are areas of drug activity: 99 Allen, 42 Rivington, 61 Delancey issues (one other didn’t get name).

-The police have thin staffing, now deployed to transit too.

– Sector B has a new Sgt.

 

Crime is down but this is what has been happening:

-30-40 summons written multiple drug sales – crack in front of BRC.

-Assaults, homeless sleeping in park, drug dealers in front of BRC – (dealers have moved from south Delancey area).

-One sexual assault reported [?].

-14 total narcotics arrests. Allegedly the DA let them out next day.

-Burglary 10 Chrystie side: 3 arrests

-Rivington/Broome/Allen: A lot of drug dealing.

-36 Grand Larceny arrests: Grand Larceny -anything more than $1000 is grand larceny.

-Phone snatches, 2 or 3: which is an immediate Grand Larceny charge.

(If anything is taken from someone’s body, it is automatically Grand Larceny: headphones etc)

-Vehicle break-ins Rivington 2 perps arrested

Freeman’s Alley?

 

Police Requests

Signage with Parks rules and regulations posted North and South of Delancey and north of Grand (the former signs are gone).

Cameras in the Grand Street subway station: funding for CCTV Cameras? Coalition has directly asked MTA to install.

 

Complaints at the Meeting:

 -167 Bowery at Broome/Delancey, abetted by the scaffolding, an increase in drug dealing and a homeless encampment. Doesn’t appear to be stoppable. Some resident would like the WiFi Link kiosk removed. Officers stated that the Public Safety Team will be informed

-Residents would like Rivington (all) playground signs with clarity: “no adults without children (and no dogs!)” The signage has been requested and is on order by Jamil Philips Project Manager who said it arrives soon.

-174 Forsyth: MTA’s workers are allegedly parking in a “No Parking” zone. – PO said to let the officers know asap and they will ticket.

Requests for signage or to repaint the curb go to DOT and/or contact MTA construction company/elected officials.

Rivington Park pathway has become a racetrack for motor bikes & cars.

Speed bumps? Bollards? Closing the streetway, putting blocking planters to direct and/or slow vehicle traffic, painted lines for bikes/signs that say “SLO Children Crossing”?

Parks Department issue: It’s inside the park on Rivington ‘streetway’. The playground is across from the M’Finda Garden – children go back and forth across the Rivington ‘streetway’.

-(Many) noise complaints about Ray’s Bar on Rivington for this venue. Constant complaints. Blocked sidewalk passage for people who are disabled. Illegal trash dumping – allegedly putting trash in front of other buildings or in the city trash collection (should have their own pick-up?) Call 311, get the complaint number and report it to CB3 District Office. Or send to Pat Olan and she will send to Dept of Sanitation.

 

Information:

-MTA construction Forsyth at Rivington: 2 more years/ arbitrary street closures

-School Construction scaffolding at Forsyth/ Stanton

-Mount Sinai – construction termination – early 2023

Wellington Chan/ChinatownBID non-profit asked for the hot spots in Sara Roosevelt Park They donate CCTV cameras for different storefronts.

Lighting needed throughout the park DOWNWARD facing so they don’t affect birds/wildlife and keeps it focused on the pedestrian areas. Particularly in front of BRC, 30 Delancey and Broome Street/Delancey/Grand area.

Parks Manager and Forestry has worked on pruning for visibility.

Again, these notes are NOT confirmed so please reach out to the officers to ensure accuracy.

 

5th Pct Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) Sector B

PO Dhundup NCO  Cell: 917-742-2409 Email: tsering.dhundup@nypd.org

PO Mia NCO  Cell: 917-515-6308  Email: JASIM.MIA@nypd.org

LT Mckeefrey Special Operation Lieutenant Email: daniel.mckeefrey@nypd.org

SGT Mottola NCO Sergeant Email: joel.mottola@nypd.org

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