(the new) Presidents’ Letter


Gilly Youner
Gilly Youner
Judith Lief
Judith Lief

The Civic Council has been active in Park Slope for almost 120 years, and now it’s our turn to shake it up a bit, starting with having two presidents instead of one…to share tasks, expand our network, and welcome an even wider range of community memberships.

Gilly, an architect working with a Soho firm on a wide variety of projects all over the city, has lived in Brooklyn on and off since 1962. Her father was raised here and shared stories of Ebbets Field, Coney Island and the old trolleys that imbued her childhood with a strong sense of our town’s history.

Judith, a thirty-year resident of Park Slope, has been extraordinarily fortunate to work in the neighborhood for most of that time, first as an art director and editor of two national architectural magazines and then in residential real estate.

Our prime motivation for stepping up: We both deeply love Park Slope. With many decades between us of living, working and raising families here, we have seen the neighborhood change, and we greatly appreciate its virtues – and want to make it better still. We have both worked with the PSCC as Trustees on various committees and events, and we are so proud of the Civic Council’s achievements over the years.

We have tremendous respect for our Historic District Committee, which has now helped Park Slope become the largest historic district in New York City. The work goes on; they have another phase in process and another still in development.

We are excited to present the first annual Ortner Awards, to recognize owners who have demonstrated sensitivity in facade restoration, completed smart adaptive reuse or in some other way, contributed to the richness of our built environment.

We love hosting and marching in the annual Park Slope Halloween Parade, which brings out all the silliness and creativity of our neighbors, young and old. This year’s theme: “Monster Mash!”

We look forward to Civic Sweep, where twice a year, neighbors and kids, volunteer groups and Food Co-op members help sweep, eliminate graffiti and plant daffodils. We look forward to engaging more block associations, schools and youth groups.

We love our proactive and energetic Forth on Fourth Committee, which helps bring awareness to and make improvements upon the beauty and safety of the thoroughfare. It will continue its mission of improving aesthetics and street-level activity and also engage with our neighbors in Gowanus and Boerum Hill.

At our annual May House Tour, owners who have either restored brownstones to Victorian splendor or brought imaginative solutions to modern living in century-old structures invite us to peek at their beautiful homes. Each year, busloads of visitors come to view our houses and listen to expert lecturers on history and architecture.

We support and value our Scholarship Committee, which identifies graduating seniors who participate in community service and rewards them with an academic scholarship to help with college. Our Food for Thought tasting event, showcasing samplings from a variety of our favorite local restaurants and wine shops, funds these critical scholarships.

We love that there’s a Veterans’ museum and archives from many decades of Civic Council activities and events at the Armory, that is recruiting volunteers to conduct tours and allow more visitors to enjoy the artifacts.

Our advocacy will continue with projects for Livable Streets and Sustainability; commitments to city-wide changes like safer streets and composting, and keeping our eyes on zoning changes, lack of affordable housing and development issues that affect Park Slope. We will continue to work with elected officials, city agencies and other advocacy groups.

Our upcoming initiatives include: Arts Festival 2016, a rejuvenated Civic News, a Small Business forum and more coordination with and cooperation among adjoining neighborhoods.

We appreciate the trust and confidence our fellow Trustees have shown by appointing us. We intend to be an ever-stronger voice for the community. And now we want to hear YOUR voice. So join us. Let us know what matters to you. And welcome!