By Jeffrey McNerney
Tuesday night’s Community Board 7 meeting was quite busy but relatively uncontroversial as the board tackled resolutions on street sweeping and mental health, and heard numerous updates from public officials — and a moving tribute.
Leading the evening, Battalion Chief Stephen Spall of the FDNY reported on a fatal fire in a NYCHA apartment at 80 Amsterdam (63rd), similar to another fatality in October. In both cases, there was no smoke detector found in the room and BC Spall urged everyone to install smoke detectors, noting there is a program that distributes and installs them for all New Yorkers for free.
From the NYPD, Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi updated the board on crimes over the last month, highlighting the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts, and payment scams often by scammers pretending to be from Con Edison or other utility companies. Prompted by a question regarding the decrease in traffic citations, DI Yaguchi referenced the recent WSR article on the subject.
In the business portion, much of the discussion centered on two resolutions from the Transportation Committee: a no stopping zone outside the 108th St. WSFSSH residential entrance, and stricter enforcement of alternate side street parking for street sweeping purposes.
Both resolutions enjoyed broad support, but there was disagreement on the proper scope of the latter. Several board members suggested language calling for more frequency and consistency from the sanitation department, but Committee Chair Howard Yaruss recommended a narrow approach directed at the NYPD and enforcement, and the original resolution passed 33-5-1.
One of the more touching moments of the evening came during a presentation by the Preservation Committee. A co-op at 325 Riverside Drive, intending to rename itself The Sherwood and applying for lettering in the limestone above the lintel, explained that the change is intended to honor a longtime building resident and leader.
The late James Sherwood, who served as tenant advocate before the building’s conversion, then as co-op president for 40 years, drew praise from board members for his service and the appropriateness of the tribute. “This is a person who clearly deserves to be honored…and what a great way to do it by naming the building after him,” said Committee Member Mark Diller.
Resolutions from the Health and Human Services Committee and the Education Committee centered on mental health at different stages of life. The board expressed strong, unanimous support for the resolution endorsing the proposals of newly elected Council Member Erik Bottcher to treat and care for vulnerable community and family members with mental health issues, also covered in the Rag. A resolution passed asking for additional resources and transparency for special education and special needs students in early education.
The remaining time was devoted to comments and reports from numerous public officials and a few community members, ranging widely from support for immigrant communities affected by the recent Ukraine invasion, to education and sanitation programs aimed at rat prevention and a program led by the five borough presidents to plant trees.
There was some concern about Chair Steven M. Brown’s news that the COVID exception to the State’s Open Meetings Law would be expiring in mid-March (meaning that the next CB7 meeting would be conducted in person) but for this month at least you can view the entire proceedings here.