From the PSCC President

Dear Members and Friends –

I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s definitely a different feel in the air in Park Slope this autumn. Covid continues to be a concern, but 5th and 7th Avenues appear as busy as ever with pedestrians and shoppers. The sidewalk and in-street restaurant pop-ups seem busy. Merchants I speak with are more optimistic about their businesses. 

As the recently elected President of the Park Slope Civic Council, I’m working with the Executive Committee and the full Board of Trustees trying to strike the right balance between being cautious about the continuing Covid risk on the one hand and resuming our important neighborhood events and activities on the other. For now, we’ve decided to postpone our Food for Thought tasting event (which is indoors and unmasked) until next spring, probably May 18, and we’re continuing to hold our monthly meetings on Zoom.

As I hope you know, advocacy on issues of importance to the neighborhood is a key part of what we do, and we’re looking to increase our impact and visibility on policy matters. Just since Labor Day, we’ve done the following:

• On September 13th, we sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (also submitted to court) urging emergency landmarking designation for the façade of the historic Grand Prospect Hall, that a developer plans to demolish. At the moment it looks like an uphill struggle, but a courtroom battle continues.

• On the 29th, five trustees from the Livable Streets Committee joined a Zoom call with the Plaza Street Block Association and Department of Transportation Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, Keith Bray, about pedestrian, bike and vehicle safety in and around Grand Army Plaza.

• On the 30th, I testified at an MTA public hearing in favor of the most rapid possible implementation of congestion pricing.

• In the meantime, we continue to participate constructively in the Gowanus rezoning process.

Over the summer, we took advantage of a new City program, the NYC Cleanup Corps (CCC), to launch a cleanup effort on 7th Avenue, in parallel with the 5th Avenue BID’s ongoing program on their avenue. More recently, we paid tribute to Tarzian Hardware on its 100th Anniversary. Congratulations to Tarzian!!!

Speaking of congratulations, I’d like to thank and compliment my predecessor as President, Joe Rydell. He led the organization through the pandemic, with all of its challenges, and left us in a very good position to reemerge with renewed energy and engagement. It’s a tribute to his leadership.

I appreciate the opportunity that’s been offered me to lead the Civic Council for this next term. I look forward to welcoming new people into the organization and launching significant new initiatives to grow the organization and increase its impact.

Please email me at president@parkslopeciviccouncil.org with your ideas and suggestions, and let me know of your volunteer interests.

Very truly yours,

Timothy Gilles

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