When I was a kid, there were three pictures on the walls of our dining room: John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Pope. So it’s fair to say that I grew up in a union-friendly culture.
I believe that’s why I was drawn to getting involved in civics. The idea of our residents uniting, forming alliances that benefit our entire community; that’s something that appeals to me. It’s something that should appeal to all residents of Woodhaven.
It’s the way things were done years ago, when neighborhood issues were tackled by hundreds of people, rather than dozens, or just a handful. It’s the way things were done when Woodhaven was a better place to live. And if we want our community to be a better place, to be a safer place, for our children, for our parents, for all our friends and neighbors, then we have to get back to that mindset.
The good news is that we’ve got a good foundation with the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. We’ve got a few hundred residents who are engaged in the community through meetings, e-mail, Facebook, etc.
The not-so-good news is that many of them aren’t engaged enough. In other words, if all you’re doing is “liking” a status update on Facebook or complaining online, do you really think that you are doing enough?
Another bit of not-so-good news is that most people are really only interested in getting involved when something is happening on their block. Only when something directly impacts them do they want to get involved. That’s not how a union works.
The way this all needs to work is that when something is happening on 75th Street, the people of 98th Street should be just as concerned as if it was happening in their backyards. And if something is happening on 75th Street, the people on 98th Street – and all the residents in between – should be just as concerned.
Because we all live on every block.
Next week, there are two opportunities to come out and get involved and help your fellow residents, one is a group on 98th Street, the other group lives in the vicinity of 75th Street and Rockaway Boulevard.
On Monday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m. there will be a public forum on the future of the inactive railroad just east of 98th Street. Some people want a public greenway, others want to reactivate the railroad; the residents of 98th Street are upset that plans seem to be moving along without them getting their say.
All residents of Woodhaven are invited to come on Monday and share their opinion at Emanuel United Church of Christ at 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. At the very least, support your neighbors by coming out to hear what they have to say.
On Tuesday, December 10, at 7:45 p.m. there will be a meeting of Community Board 9 at the New Trump Pavilion/Jamaica Hospital at 89-40 135th Street in Richmond Hill. There, a group of residents who live near 75th and Rockaway will speak about a liquor license being applied for by a pool hall that is being built.
Those of you who remember the troubles in that vicinity caused by a previous tenant may also share their concerns. Come out and support them.
For those of you who come to meetings, who have been involved, I’m preaching to the choir. You’re already involved.
But if you are reading this and you’ve not been coming out and engaging your neighbors, if you’ve been sitting at home and just complaining about your neighborhood on Facebook, then this entire article has been directed at you. We look forward to seeing you at a future meeting.