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Midtown South Community Council’s January 18, 2018 Monthly Meeting  

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, February 15, 2018 — Midtown South Community Council’s January 18, 2018 Monthly Meeting

PROGRAM:

The new commanding officer, Deputy Insp. Brendan Timoney, began the meeting by introducing himself and detailing his nearly 20 years with the NYPD. Starting out as a patrolman in the Bronx’s 52nd Precinct, his assignments have included Midtown North, where he was a sergeant, the 9thPrecinct, as captain and executive officer, and the 1st and 13th precincts, as commanding officer. He was promoted to deputy inspector in August 2015. His predecessor, Russell Green, has been reassigned.

Inspector Timoney cited precinct crime statistics (crime down 6% in 2017 and 11% year-to-date) and mentioned a key burglary arrest by Lt. Marines.Grand larceny continues to drive crime in the precinct, with 70% of it involving unattended property.

John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza introduced the evening’s first speaker:

Josephine Ishmon, Recording Secretary, Community Education Council, District 2.

100,000 students living in temporary  housing in NYC.  One of the biggest crises with temporary housing is children from kindergarten-2nd grade who have no facilities to wash their clothes. The District has applied for funding through Council Member Corey Johnson’s office for laundry services. Children displaced from Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Florida by Hurricane Maria are given temporary shelter but have to move with in 30 days. This puts a strain on the education and  emotional well-being.

Second Speaker:

Craig Twiggs, DOE Fund Counselor- joined DOE Fund upon his release from prison after 27-1/2 years on 8/10/2016. He described his journey, the services and training he received, and his role as a counselor for the DOE Fund. “I am here to serve and give back”

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Midtown South Community Council’s November 16, 2017 Monthly Meeting Minutes

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, January 18, 2017 — Midtown South Community Council Monthly Meeting for November 16, 2017

PROGRAM:

John Mudd opened the meeting with a report on Council Member Corey Johnson’s meeting on budget allocation. John said that he had asked for funding for the MTS Community Council’s homeless-app development, sidewalk repair and rooftop farming projects.

Andrea Winter commented on her experience with Urban Rooftop farming on West 39th Street, reporting that more than 500 pounds of produce was grown & donated to food pantries.

MTS Community Council’s “think tank’” which includes representatives of the Council, Community Boards 4&5, 34th St Partnership, and the Garment District BID, and Council Member Corey Johnson’s office for homeless solutions, met for a second time. Other projects include: scaffolding regulations, street sheets, newspaper and magazine dispensers and garbage issues.

John Mudd introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Matt Borden, assistant commissioner of government affairs and external relations, NYC Dept. of Homeless Services.

He said his commitment to helping the homeless was inspired by his experience as a 5th grade NYC public school teacher. A number of his students were living in homeless shelters and he saw the effect that it had on them. He outlined the enormity of the homeless crisis in NYC. The current statistic: 60,000 people are homeless in NYC. He mentioned some of its causes, including the loss of 150,000 rent stabilized apartments between 1994 and 2014, the dropping in 2011 of Advantage, a voucher housing subsidy program, due to NYC & NYS budgets cuts. Among the DHS’ initiatives: increasing the number of attorneys to represent tenants in housing court, and making shelter safer, with more robust resource services.

Insp. Russell Green brought up the fact that the Hotel Chandler, 12 E31st St, would soon be converted into a homeless shelter for adult families. Since June, the Mayor’s Office has been sending DHS representatives to work with the precinct. This is a 5 day a week program, 9:00am-9:30 pm, 16 DHS representatives, team up 18 police officers and 2 sergeants.

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MSCC’s Urban Farming and Fashion High School Meeting Minutes

(MSCC) Andrea Winter, December 10, 2017 — MSCC / Inner City Farmers viewed the fashion High School for a possible roof top farm project

Meeting: Fashion High School

Subject: Roof Farm on 10th floor terrace

In Attendance: Judith Dahill, Karen Batts, Andrea Winter

To start, Karen showed me the 10th Floor roof.

Goals: Specific to the HS—We discussed our “farm” which produced 500 pounds of produce and donated most of it. The farm proposed at the HS will have food to distribute as well as a green space to use. The school can do the same by giving food to a shelter or pantry or come up with plan as to what is best use of the produce (how best to help the community). I explained to Karen and Judith that one of the main purposes or our plan (MSCC and Inner City farmer) is to donate food.  However, we can also grow flowers, which help with pollination (attract bees), can also be donated or sold to help defray costs as well as being pleasant to look at. If the terrace is used by the school as a space for learning and gathering, students can sketch them. They also attract all kinds of insect, butterflies and bees. (Are bees insects?) as well as birds.  Karen suggested growing milkweed, which attracts and help monarch butterflies. We have had quite a few monarchs that enjoy our roof garden especially the zinnias in addition to praying mantis, lovely small birds, bees, etc.  The roof also serves to “green” NYC turning Co2 caused by fumes which abounds in NYC into oxygen as well as having an insulating quality.

Composting is another goal. All the food substances are gold for composting. This turns the problem of waste into an asset. Most of  the balance of the compost will come from the gardens when plants are trimmed and then cut down in late fall. I will send Judith the link for rotating composter. I think the school can start with one or two and get more if needed. We also discussed that natural fabric such as muslin can be composted. FIT donates theirs to Governor Island farm.

Educational goals include: Learning how plants grow. We hope to be able to make a “nursery” for seedling on the premises. Judith and Karen will look into a space where grow lights can be hooked up and shelving put up for trays of seedling. The students can plant the seeds, water and watch them grow. We discussed how this could work.  These seedlings would be used on the 10th floor “farm” and some can go home with students along with a small fabric pot and some soil.

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Midtown South Community Council’s October 19, 2017 Monthly Meeting Minutes

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, November 18, 2017 — Midtown South Community Council’s October 19, 2017 Monthly Meeting Minutes

PROGRAM:

Insp. Green opens meeting by reporting that there were no significant crimes or incidents since the previous meeting. He will be attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade meeting on Oct.20th.

Noting that grand larceny is the major crime in MTS, which usually involves unattended property, he said people come to NYC this time of year just to lift unattended property.

Insp. Green said that American Beauty, nightclub, 251 W30th St, had been visited 3 times and passed noise tests. He said the two sides could meet with police following the meeting to discuss the issue.

Gabriel Lewenstein, Deputy Dir., Outreach, in Public Advocate Letitia James’s office, outlined the initiatives it is taking.

  1. On October 31, 2017, the salary vetting ban will take effect. Employers cannot no longer ask perspective employee their salary from previous jobs
  2. Push against forced arbitration, which limits workers rights.
  3. A plan to absorb refugees from Puerto Rico. Be ready with assistance with schools. government benefits, housing and employment

Twilla Duncan from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office announced:

  1. Community Board Leadership Training Series session on October 23&24 on conflict of interest and Freedom of Information Law, One Centre Street. 19th Flr S.
  2. On 3 Tuesdays (Oct 24, Nov21, Dec12) 2:00-5:00pm at Gale Brewer’s Northern Manhattan office 431 W125th St, NYC 10027, there will be a rent freeze housing registration event for seniors & people with disabilities.

John Mudd gave updates on a number of Council initiatives:

Newspaper dispensers, rooftop gardens, bike racks, sidewalk repair from 35th to 40th Streets on

8th Ave. tree care along 40th St w/ Port Authority and the cleanup effort including removing derelict bikes.

John Mudd spoke of creating a Think Tank on homeless issues, which would include representatives

Of the Council, Community Boards 4&5, 34th St Partnership, and the Garment District BID, and Council Member Corey Johnson’s office and would meet once a month.

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Midtown South Community Council’s September 21, 2017 Monthly Meeting Minutes

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, October 19, 2017, Midtown South Community Council’s September 21, 2017 Monthly Meeting

 PROGRAM:

John Mudd opens meeting with an update of Council projects including: homeless issues, garbage dumping at several sites, magazine dispensers, bike cleanup with DOS and assistance from Community Court, plan to meet with DOB about long term scaffolding, rooftop garden proposals, bike racks proposal, tree care program with Port Authority, working on homeless APP, sidewalk program,

request funds for MTC CC projects through City Council’s participatory budget process,

John introduced Lt. Louis Marines who welcomed everyone back after 2 month of for summer holiday. He mentioned that Inspector Russell Green was covering the United Nations demonstrations.

Lt. Marines said it has been a good 2 months at the precinct. Crime is down in almost every category.

Department of Homeless Services with MTS officers united headed by Sgt. William Johnson check in with the homeless twice a week. There have been close to 600 contacts made.

P.O. Thomas Byrnes reported an August 30th incident in Bryant Park: an individual was arrested in for biting heads off pigeons. This individual had been arrested 34 times. He was sent to the hospital for psychiatric help, but was released.

Det. Spano reported that Sgt. Timothy Wall dislocated his shoulder in a confrontation with an emotionally disturbed person and is unable to return to duty and may have to retire.

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Midtown South Community Council’s June 15, 2017 Meeting Minutes

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, September 21, 2017 — Midtown South Community Council June 15, 2017 Monthly Meeting:

PROGRAM:

John Mudd opens meeting by a progress report on the Council projects: Rooftop Farms, bike racks cleanup, and magazine boxes.

Eugene Sinigalliano discussed the DOS “adopt a basket” program where businesses are given trash bags to empty their adopted baskets to supplement DOS’s work. Eugene described the NYC Dept of Parks “MillionTree” initiative.

Inspector Green began his remarks by explaining why he had missed the previous 2 council meetings: He was on jury duty in April and on duty for the Times Square crime scene: a car drove into pedestrians: killing one and injuring more than 20 people.

Inspector Green reported on crime in MTS. There is an increase in burglaries involving hotel room safes. He cautioned attendees to be careful about what they store in such safes, suggesting that very valuable items should be placed in the hotel’s safe. There also has been an increase in thefts from unattended commercial delivery trucks, and Inspector Green noted that such incidents are regarded as burglaries.

Inspector Green mentioned that Sgt. William Johnson has replaced Sgt. Andrew Ho as head of the precinct’s homeless outreach unit. The inspector listed statistics on contacts, shelter placements and summonses issued, noting that two tents sheltering the homeless had been removed.

He also gave statistics about heroin overdoses, noting that there is a nationwide epidemic. There was one fatal overdose in the precinct during the most recent 28-day period and four year-to-date.

Sharon introduced Kate Lee, the council’s director of arts and culture, and Susie Lang of 60 and Over, an independent photo project featuring women.

Sharon introduced the evening’s first speaker, Sherene Crawford, project director of Midtown Community Court, which sentences low-level offenders to pay back the neighborhood while offering them help with problems that often underlie criminal behavior.

The second speaker, Awinna Martinez, program director of the Community Court’s UpNext initiative, described the resources it offers to fathers who are trying to rebuild their lives following incarceration. The focus is on the family, parenting and job training, with many participants finding jobs with the Garment Center and Times Square BIDs.

The next speaker, Grace Chung, community development officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Her national organization was founded in New York in the late 1970s to serve as a non-profit bank to help finance affordable housing. The mission has expanded to include social services.

She discussed the organization’s New York Land Opportunity Program, which helps provide expertise for mission-driven non-profits that wish to develop affordable housing.
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Urban Farm Project

(MSCC) John Mudd, September 7, 2017 — Midtown Community Council Urban Farm Project

INTRODUCTION

The Midtown South Community Council was established in 1983, formed to combat the many problems facing residents in a commercialized area. The Midtown South Community Council (MSCC) is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization devoted to building better neighborhoods and stronger relationships within the midtown south neighborhood of Manhattan.

MSCC’s Urban Farming Program, one of our many developing programs, supports urban farming in New York City. On October 20, 2016, in a policy brief by CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, which not only reports the benefits of urban farming, but also “Urge(s) elected officials and city agency administrators to preferentially support garden and farm projects dedicated to social justice.”

The Institute continues to report:

Food production is only one of the many benefits of urban agriculture. As documented in the Five Borough Farm I project, many other beneficial activities take place in gardens and farms: formal and informal education, business development, community events, youth development activities, services for older adults, and many ecosystem services such as composting, rainwater harv
Midtown south community councilesting, beekeeping, and moderation of the urban heat island effect. These activities, and the outcomes, are tracked by some gardens and farms, but not most, and there is no city or non-profit project to gather and analyze such data.

Rooftop gardens are rooted (pun intended) in culture since the beginning of recorded history, and the interest is fervently growing (to pun further). Roof gardens have been used as extensions of living and communal spaces, and symbols of status. Pragmatically, they’re used as insulation, a means of flood control, and a way to grow food in a dense city with otherwise scarce resources for planting. We’re slowly rediscovering the astonishing benefits of vegetated roofs.

Midtown South Community Council with midtown Urban Farmers, wish to grow various vegetable, herbs, and fruit on the rooftop of the Midtown South Police Precinct. The Precinct’s rooftop would allow us to produce a sizable production for distribution to the precinct, shelters, and public.

 

 

THE SITE(S)

GENERAL
The minimum space needed for our farm development is 1,500 square feet. An engineer is hired to study and test the prospective site for its ability to support our farm development’s load.

MSCC is partnering with Inner City Farmers, who have an active rooftop garden with 1,200 square feet, at 205 West 39th Street. Built in 1900 for garment manufacturing, this building functions extremely well with a rooftop farm and commercial business. The Calvin Klein Corporate office is located within this building. The farmers use 34 fabric pots ranging in size from 65 gallons to 200 gallons, and 25 x 3 foot diameter plastic kiddie pools. They will transition to fabric only pots in the future, which are considerably deeper and do not repel the plants roots, so more can grow in each pot.

Locations Under Consideration

Rooftop farming is suitable and even prudent for various partnerships:

  • Local precincts
  • Hospitals
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Municipal buildings

Descriptions

Criteria for our rooftop garden includes:

  • A minimum of 1,500 square feet of useable space for gardening
  • Water supply and ample sunlight
  • Supports the minimum load requirements

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

OBJECTIVE
Our program supports urban farmers, to bring locally grown produce using rooftops and available space, not only in Midtown but elsewhere. Our mission is to build urban food production, distribution, sustainable living, and education for our community.

MSCC and its network will source funds and expertise, and with our rooftop, we’ll produce fresh food to strengthen communities through food security.

Urban Farm Project Proposal
Midtown South Community Council Urban Farming Program
Prepared by: John Mudd, President; Sharon Jasprizza, Community Services Director
May 2, 2017

THIS IS A CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM intended solely for your own limited use. If you wish a copy of Midtown South Community Council’s Roof Top Gardening plans, please contact: John Mudd or Sharon Jasprizza

Advisory Board / Key Personnel
John Mudd, President; Sharon Jasprizza, Community Service Director; Andrea Winter, Urban Farming Director.

 

MSCC’s July 6, 2017 Port Authority Tree Assessment and Tree Care Report

(MSCC) July 6, 2017 — MSCC’S PORT AUTHORITY TREE ASSESSMENT AND COMMUNITY’S TREE CARE REPORT

Eugene Sinigalliano, Midtown South Community Council’s Beautification Director, has completed a tree audit for our community. His report assesses the conditions and needs of the Port Authority’s trees independently from the condition, needs, and the actions taken to improve the health of the NYC trees within midtown south. Eugene is budgeting midtown’s tree care and Port Authority’s tree care for the next 12 months.

We are planning a number of care actions and would appreciate your help and support. Please contribute membership fees and extra additional funding.

The following outlines the locations, conditions, and actions taken.

PORT AUTHORITY’S TREE ASSESSMENT

The following report includes Port Authority’s trees, tree pit condition, and care needed. The photos are viewable on our Instagram (@midtownsouthny).

Report filed this 6th day of July, 2017 by Eugene Sinigalliano MSCC’s Beautification Director, licensed tree pruner.

OVERVIEW

I have done my survey and documentation photos on the current situation of the Port Authority’s trees and tree beds—below you will find detailed documentation of the trees including ones that are highly at risk and in dire need of care to survive. You will also find photos and details of the empty tree bed where trees have died.

There is a very high percentage of dead trees and empty tree beds, which means that the trees were not good choices, were not planted correctly, were not cared for properly after planting, and/or the tree beds were compacted. Planting new trees is a substantial investment of time and money so I strongly advise that the Port Authority select the correct trees for their tree pits and include a budget for their care, for at least the first three years, until they become established. There also needs to be water bags installed on the stakes for each new tree planted like there are on the newly planted trees on the east side of 9th Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets—this is very important.

Over the next few days I will work on a yearly budget to cover materials and supplies for MSCC volunteers, interns, and any assigned community service workers to care for the new trees Port Authority needs to plant.

I will also supply the number of tree guards for the Port Authority’s tree pits. Installing high quality tree guards for each tree pit is a substantial investment but it will pay significant dividends, as it protects the trees from damage and the tree bed from being walked on, which causes soil compaction that kills trees.

The NYC Parks Department also strongly recommends installing Tree Guards, “Tree guards are fences around the perimeter of a tree pit that provide a physical barrier between a tree and our sometimes harsh urban environment. These tree guards reduce soil compaction, shield the trunk from physical damage, and prevent pet waste from entering the tree pit. Tree guards have been proven to extend the longevity of trees, reduce mortality rates, and can also provide a small protected planting bed for gardening.”

The Port Authority should seriously consider having NYC approved tree guards installed considering the very large percentage of new trees that died there the last time they planted without them.

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Midtown South Community Council’s May 18, 2017 Meeting Minutes   

(MSCC) Eileen Miller and Frank Kelly, June 15, 2017 — Midtown South Community Council May 18, 2017 Monthly Meeting

PROGRAM:

John Mudd opens meeting by greeting those in attendance and introducing Lt. Marines.

Lt. Marines acknowledged 8 Police Academy recruits who are receiving 2 weeks of training at MTS.

Lt. Marines presented the crime statistics for MTS: Lowest incidence in the 7 major crime categories year to date. Grand larceny auto up year to date.

#WATCHYOUSTUFF campaign from Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance’s office will launch on May 30th to remind people to be vigilant about their surroundings and personal property.

Lt. Marines reinforced MTS dedication for a solution to the garbage situation at the precinct with a meeting with DOS and the MTS Community Council. He followed up on the commuter bus stops on W31st St. MTS officers continue to issue summonses to the bus operators. He also followed up with information on the MTS commitment to work with the homeless.

Sharon introduced the evening’s first guest speaker: Rev. Brian Ellis-Gibbs, Pastor, Queens Baptist Church and Faith-based Community Engagement Coordinator, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA). His church is one of almost 200 human services and faith-based organizations that are members of FPWA. FPWA reaches close to 1.5 million low income New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicities, and denominations. Website: www.fpwa.org, bellis-gibbs@fpwa.org, 212 777 4800, 40 Broad St, NY, NY 10004.

John introduced the meeting’s 2nd guest speaker: Beth Hofmeister, Staff Attorney, Homeless Rights Project, Civil Practice, 199 Water St, NY, NY 10038, 212 577 3496, bchofmeister@legal-aid.org

Ms. Hofmeister noted that the Dept. of Homeless Services states that of about 58,000 people in city shelters, half are children. Noting that New York is a right-to-shelter state, she outlined her project’s activities:

* Legislation and bringing class action suits

* Working with teens and families

* Advising those in drop-in shelters

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Midtown South Community Council’s April 20, 2017 Meeting Minutes

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, May 18, 2017 — Midtown South Community Council April 20 2017 Meeting Minutes

 

PROGRAM: 

John Mudd opened the meeting by announcing that Inspector Russell Green was on jury duty in Westchester and thus unavailable.

Capt. Spataro gave an overview of crime in the precinct: Serious felonies were down 10% year-to-date and 12% for the 28-day period; robberies were down 37%.

He described the March 20 incident in which a 60-year-old man collecting cans was stabbed by a man from Baltimore. The victim went into the precinct where officers tried in vain to save his life. The alleged attacker turned himself in.

Capt. Spataro mentioned that people have been using fake credit cards to extract cash from ATMs in the precinct; two individuals were caught in the act.

Capt. Spataro mentioned that the police department is trying to get an injunction through the Department of Transportation against operators of the 31st Street buses.

Elizabeth Moehle discussed the NYPD’s immigration policy:

  • NYPD does not ask complainants about their immigration status.
  • A New York City ID is a valid form of identification.
  • NYPD does not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • It does not honor administrative warrants.
  • NYPD officers are not deputized and thus cannot act to enforce immigration policy.

Capt. Spataro described grand larcenies perpetrated by individuals who grab phones of passersby from their bikes. They have curved handlebars, one is green, one red.

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