Tuesday, November 27, 2012

North Star Community Meeting 12/13/2012

The North Star is happy to announce an up-coming community meeting on 12/13/12 at the PAL on 119th/Morningside Ave @6:30pm. Please see the above document for a full agenda and more information. And please pass along the word. We'd very much like to see a big turnout.

All the best,
North Star Steering Committee

Monday, August 20, 2012

SlowZone Rejection

In March of 2012, North Star Neighborhood Association submitted a "Slow Zone" application to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to slow traffic in our neighborhood especially on Morningside Avenue. We had broad community interest in the application as demonstrated by the eighteen letters of support from block associations and various community organizations. Unfortunately, DOT did not select our neighborhood (see above attached letter). That doesn't mean our advocacy is done, however. We plan to invite DOT to an upcoming public meeting to discuss how they can address our concerns.

North Star Neighborhood Association


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Call for Help: Those with Grant Writing Experience

In recent weeks, the North Star has been working with Reverend Vernon Williams from Perfect Peace Ministry (http://www.perfectpeaceministry.org/about.html) and a coalition of pastors from New Song Community Corporation (http://newsongharlem.com/) to create a Youth Computer Lab in New Song's building. The Lab would aim to serve all young people, particularly those without ready access to computing and internet service.

The costs of creating the Lab are, as you can imagine, significant. Reverend Williams and the folks from New Song are looking for members of our community with non-profit grant writing experience to help strategize and craft grant proposals.

From the start, the hopes of the North Star were to be able to create coalitions and partnerships with neighborhood organizations such as Perfect Peace and New Song. The effort to create a Youth Computer Lab represents just this sort of an opportunity.

If anyone has grant writing experience and is willing to volunteer their time and effort, please contact us at northstar@thenorthstarharlem.com. We will connect you to Rev Williams, New Song, and other volunteers working on this project.

North Star Neighborhood Association

Thursday, June 14, 2012

North Star Neighborhood Association Call to Action
Morningside Park Trash Initiative

Date: Sat June 23
Time: 9am
Place: 116th St. / Morningside Ave entrance to Morningside Park

In partnership with The Friends of Morningside Park, the North Star is looking for volunteers on the morning of June 23, Sat, to greet and pass out extra garbage bags to picnic and bbq-ers.

Meet at 9am at the 116th St /Morningside Ave entrance to Morningside Park. Volunteers will receive training on how to pass out bags. Also, volunteers will receive Friends of Morningside Park t-shirts.

This is a great opportunity to make a difference in our park. We hope to see lots of community come out and support this effort.

The North Star Neighborhood Association

Monday, June 4, 2012

North Star and Dirt-Bikers Start Dialogue

Members of the "public safety" committee of the North Star met with two leading Harlem dirt-bikers. Our hope was to begin a relationship with the bikers and start a discussion about safety measures, including discouraging riding on sidewalks and running red lights. See link below. 


Letter to Commish Benepe to fix 116th St. Playground

Below is the letter the North Star has submitted to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe urging him to fix the playground at 116th St. in Morningside Park. We encourage everyone to call 311 about the playground and register your own complaint.


The North Star Neighborhood Association
Harlem, NY

“I would unite with anybody to do right and
 with nobody to do wrong” – Frederick Douglass

June 1, 2012

Dear Commissioner Benepe,

On behalf of the North Star Neighborhood Association, I write to you to urge the Department of Parks and Recreation to fix the flooring in the playground at 116th St in Morningside Park immediately. Over the last year the flooring has rapidly deteriorated. The tiles have separated such that there gaps several inches wide. These gaps are not only a tripping hazard, but children’s feet and ankles are getting caught in them. We fear a child’s serious injury is imminent.

The state of the playground is a cause for much concern in our community. The North Star Neighborhood Association recently collected over 150 signatures petitioning the Parks Department to fix the situation promptly. Many in the community commented on how important this newly constructed playground is to our neighborhood in Harlem. It has been such a wonderful community asset and everyone wants to make sure it is properly maintained and enjoyed safely by all for years to come.

We understand that Parks has been aware of this flooring situation for over a year.  We know that Friends of Morningside Park has been urging Parks to fix this problem, and we support their hard work. We also understand that Parks are in talks with the manufacturer about how much of the cost they will cover. While we sympathize with the city's desire to hold the manufacturer responsible, we see this as an urgent situation that needs to be addressed immediately before a child gets seriously hurt.

We look forward to a swift and satisfactory resolution as the summer season is upon us.

Sincerely yours,

Jonathon Kahn
North Star Neighborhood Association

Cc:            Council Member Inez Dickens
                  Borough Commissioner William Castro, NYC Parks
                  Borough President Scott M. Stringer
                  State Senator Bill Perkins
                  Assemblyman Keith Wright
                  Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell
 Jacquie Connors, President, Friends of Morningside Park
                  Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, Chair, Community Board 9

Monday, May 28, 2012

Free IT training for young adults

NPower Technology Service Corps, a free 22 week IT training program for young adults, ages 18-25 years old, with High School Diplomas or GEDS is currently recruiting for the next cycle, which starts in mid-July.
NPower Technology Service Corps provides 17 weeks of IT training, covering topics such as troubleshooting, PC configuration, hardware, software applications, network administration and security. After completion of the 17 weeks, students are linked with paid, 5 week internships at non-profit or corporate companies. They also provide students with the opportunity to take the CompTIA A+ certification exam for free. In addition to IT training and internships, they have guest speakers that conduct professional workshops related to job readiness, networking, professional development, and self-marketing. Students also go on site visits to corporations such as Avaya, UBS, and Accenture. Many students who complete the program obtain employment in entry level IT positions.
NPower Technology Service Corps has two locations: one in Harlem and one in downtown Brooklyn. Applicants can choose to apply for the 9AM-1PM or the 2 PM-6PM class schedules.
If you know anyone who would be interested, they can contact me at 212-235-2008 ext. 400 or via email at Josephine.lew@npower.org.
NPower NY-Technology Service Corps Harlem
240 E 123rd street 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10035
212-235-2008 ext. 400

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


North Star Neighborhood Association
Community Meeting Agenda
May 15, 2012, 7:30-9pm
Police Athletic League (PAL) 119th St/ Manhattan Ave

  1. Community activism
·      Discussion w/ Citizens Committee for NYC on how to organize your building, block or neighborhood and be effective
  1. Call for Block Partners
·      Partner with North Star & activate your block
  1. Review community interests & concerns
·      Greening
·      Youth
·      Trash
·      Public safety
  1. Discuss action plans
·      Greening; on your block, in the park
·      Youth; summer programs / 116th st. playground
·      Trash; keeping Morningside Park clean during the summer
·      Public safety; addressing dirt bikes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DOT will be presenting a proposed safety plan for Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard at tomorrow evening's Parks, Recreation and Transportation Committee meeting at 6:30 PM.  

Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Community Board 10, 215 West 125th Street, 4th Floor
(btw Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd and Frederick Douglass)
Contact: Nina Haiman at NYCDOT, 212-839-6244 or nhaiman@dot.nyc.gov
Project involves:
Improved safety for both pedestrians and drivers. 
Safer pedestrian crossings.
Increased pedestrian space. 
Safer left turns.

Friday, May 4, 2012

North Star Neighborhood Association
Community Meeting Agenda
May 15, 2012, 7:30-9pm
Police Athletic League (PAL) 119th St/ Manhattan Ave

  1. Community activism
Discussion w/ Citizens Committee for NYC on how to organize your building, block or neighborhood and be effective

  1. Call for Block Partners
Partner with North Star & activate your block

  1. Review community interests & concerns
-       Greening
-       Youth
-       Trash
-       Public safety

  1. Discuss action plans
-       Greening; on your block, in the park
-       Youth; summer programs
-       Trash; keeping Morningside Park clean during the summer
-       Public safety; addressing dirt bikes

Morningside Park Update

Melissa Chu attends the Operations meetings as a part of Harlem4Kids. There are her notes.

The electricians are continuing to work on getting the waterfall operational again. All the parts are in and they expect it to be operational next week.

The company that installed the 116th st playground tiles is being pushed to replace them as quickly as possible.

Grass is being eroded next to the 116th st playground. Please try not to cut through this area or play on this area with cleats. There will be signage and a range fence put up here to help the grass heal.

Morningside's Green Acre requests were approved, allowing the welcome gardens to be upgraded.

A lot of fencing in the 110-114 area will be taken down as these areas have been established. Please continue to keep out of the flower beds to allow them to continue to flourish.

There were a large amount of volunteer groups in the park during the month of April. Columbia Outreach, Starbucks, Girl Scouts, Latter Day Saints were just some of the groups mentioned that did wonderful work bringing in volunteers to help clean up the park. This was much appreciated! Some of the projects completed by volunteers were helping to clear weed trees from the area overlooking the baseball field, painting benches, and planting around the 112th and 113th section of the park. The park is actively trying to link up with more corporations and volunteer groups. Budget cuts make staffing tight. Volunteers allow more projects to be completed in the park.

The parks department will be doing a sweep through the entire park for any dead trees or dead tree limbs to be tagged for removal by forestry. FYI- If you are ever aware of any trees or branches that need to be
removed, please call 311 and report it. You can also email me and I will send the info to the park's manager for you.

The water fountain at 116th is now working.

There was a discussion about the famous hawk couple that are now in fledgling season in the park and the use of rat poison to control rats in the park. The Commissioner will ask the Health Department who have experts in this area to advise the park about the situation. To control the rats currently, they are emphasizing getting the garbage out of the park every day (not allowing it to sit overnight) and using low secondary kill bait (the use of this bait will be scaled back during the hawk's fledgling season). Unfortunately many people living outside the park use rat bait that is not low secondary kill which can effect the hawks.

Park Enforcement are gearing up for more visitors in the park as the weather turns warmer and will increase their presence on major weekends.

Please don't use golf clubs in the park. This is against park regulations and tears up the grass.

The lighting for the dog run is expected to be fixed this month.

Police Report for the park

There were three reported robberies in the park. These are the first crimes reported this year in the park. Tuesday, March 20th a 60 year old man was robbed around the 119th area. The man implied that he had a gun and robbed him of his possessions.

Sunday April 22nd near 120th and Morningside Dr. another person was also robbed of their cell phone by someone who put their hand in their pocket and simulated that they had a gun. Monday April 30th a couple was approached by 5 men. One produced a gun and demanded their property. This last incident is part of a citywide pattern. There have been incidents like this last one in several areas of the city in various precincts. (I was trying to take notes as fast as I could during this portion of the meeting, but I couldn't write down all the details that the officer provided. I may not have gotten all the details down correctly.)

What is being done to help prevent crime in the park?

-The police will continue to maintain a strong presence in and around the park. They will be coordinating with the Park Enforcement Officers. -Please let them know about any crime you see in the park (including drug use). You can call call Officer Harper directly at 212-678-1301. Give him the time, date and description of the incident.
-The new security camera donated by Friends of Morningside has been installed near the 116th playground. The settings are still being tweaked, but it will cover the stairs and most of the playground. Hopefully this
will help to deter crime.
-Please stay out of the park after park hours. The police are trying to deter crime at night and will give you a summons if you enter the park after hours.

The 123rd st playground renovation expects that construction will begin by July or August if everything continues on schedule.

May 25th Ride the Challenge will be beginning their cross-country bicycle ride starting from Morningside Park.

The Farmer's Market is due to start Memorial Day weekend and will include a fish vendor.

Twenty heritage rose bushes are being donated to the park through the Borough Presidents initiative. They are expected to arrive soon.

May 19th will be It's My Park Day in Morningside Park. Four truckloads of wood chips will be delivered to the dog run. Dottie from the dog run is looking for volunteers that day to help with the chips.

Concerns I brought up for moms from Harlem4Kids

Shading at the 116th playground- A big tree was lost in this area which was meant to provide shade. The Commissioner will look into the issue further.

Broken Tiles- The company has agreed to replace them. The parks department is pushing them to do this quickly.

Bar over the slide at the 110st playground- They are looking into whether the bar can be padded.

Any renovations planned for the 110th or 113th playground. - A new safety surface will be put on the 110th playground, but no plans are scheduled beyond that.

Scooters on the ramp inside the 116th playground - It is against park policy that scooters be used inside the playground.

Restrooms near 117th playground never seem to be opened.- The new park's manager will make an effort to open them from 7AM to 5:30 PM when the last grounds person leaves. They will try to keep the restrooms open later (until 7:30PM) as summer approaches.

Litter from water balloons- They will be doing passes on the warmer days in summer to keep up with removal. If you see remnants of water balloons, please pick them up as they can be a choking hazard for our little ones.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

North Stars for Morningside Park

We are looking to assemble a crew  of volunteers willing to work in Morningside Park for a few hours on Saturday mornings over the next five weeks. The park needs our help, especially in spring. If you have a strong back, gardening experience or just want to give back to a park that we all enjoy, please sign up here.

We will be meeting at the TOP of the 113 stairs, just south of the pond, and will work from 10-1. If you can only give a little less time, that's okay too. We need YOU!

Gardening experience is not required. You can also bring your children, but be aware that we are working with sharp tools and moving heavy objects. Please wear long pants or tall socks and full shoes or sneakers. Bring water. We will provide gloves.


Or email us at northstar@thenorthstarharlem.com.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Article from Columbia Spectator about the North Star


North Star Neighborhood Association Meeting Notes

North Star Neighborhood Association
Inaugural Meeting, March 27, 2012

·      On March 27, 2012, about 55 people attended the inaugural meeting the North Star Neighborhood Association.

·      The North Star announced that its next meeting will be on May 15. Agenda TBA.

·      The meeting began with two founding members of the North Star--Charles Harkless and Aissatou Bey-Grecia—giving an account of the genesis of the group and its mission. Harkless and Bey-Grecia emphasized the North Star's goal of bringing diverse members of this community together to work on projects that serve the common good. The hopes of the North Star are that it becomes an association in which citizens feel empowered to envision and effect change for the good.

·      Featured speakers that evening were NYPD Captain Kevin Williams of the 28th Precinct and Reverend Vernon Williams of the Perfect Peace Ministry (http://www.perfectpeaceministry.org/).

Ø  Captain Williams addressed a number of issues.

1) Dirt-bikes on Harlem's streets: Capt Williams told the group that due to public safety concerns he does not allow his officers to give chase to dirt-bikes. However, he did say that he has had some recent success in seizing dirt bikes--including 8 in the last weeks--and taking them off the streets. Some of this success was due to citizens coming forth and providing his department information on where the dirt-bikes are stored. He encouraged citizens to send him information that would help take the dirt-bikes off the street.

2) iPhone snatchings: A great deal of crime in the 28th precinct involves iPhone snatchings. Capt Williams encouraged people to try to keep their phones in their pockets and to not walk down the street and text at the same time. Also, he advised that people with iPhones turn on the Where is My Phone function.

3) Capt Williams fielded a number of questions and concerns about the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" policy. Capt. Williams said that as long as the NYPD has this policy in place, his officers are going to enforce it, however, he insists that his officers adhere to the exact policy, procedure and the law. He also emphasized that if people wanted this policy changed, then they need to lobby their law-makers and elected officials.

Ø  Reverend Williams spoke about his work to "interrupt" violence among young gangs in Harlem. He encouraged the community to get involved with his work. He hoped that the North Star would be an organization that could help out not just with the work of "interrupting" but also providing services--such as tutoring or employment--for at risk youth.

Before Reverend Williams, a member of our community who was struck in Dec 2011 by a stray bullet on FDB spoke. She gave a moving statement thanking everyone who supported her during her recovery. She also made a plea to stop the gun violence and to come up with productive alternative activities for young people in the community.

Other News and Notes:

·      A representative from the Frederick Douglass Business Association spoke of the work they have done to beautify and energize the corridor. 

·      The North Star has submitted an application to the DOT's pilot "SlowZone" program. The application included 18 letters of support from various members of the community including the Police Athletic League and various block associations. There is no update as of now on the status of the application.

·      The Police Athletic League is looking for volunteers to tutor one hour a week especially in science, math, English, history. Please contact contact: Mr Bobby Ferazi 212-477-9450.

·      The Wadleigh School (212-749-5800) is seeking summer employment opportunities for its students. Please contact guidance counselor Juliandra Garcia (jgarcia33@schools.nyc.gov). No job is too small.

·      Friends of Morningside Park (http://morningsidepark.org/) announced that there are several days for clean-up and planting in Morningside Park. April 15 is the first upcoming scheduled clean-up day.

·      Corbin Hill Farm Share (http://corbinhillfarm.com/) registration opens on April 5th. Contact neighborhood coordinator Carey King at carey@corbinhillfarm.com or 828-713-5179 for details.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Public Meeting: March 27 at 7:30 PAL/119 Manhattan

Join us for our inaugural meeting! 
Tuesday March 27, 2012 @ 7:30
PAL 2nd Floor Manhattan Ave and 119th St
Bring ideas!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DOT Requests to Resurface Blocks

The Department of Transportation is currently accepting street resurfacing requests. If you know of any street(s) that needs another layer of asphalt due to general erosion or potholes, please email Paimaan Lohdi at Community Board 10 and he will forward the request to DOT. In submitting your requests, please be specific about the location, e.g. West 120th Street, between Manhattan and Morningside Avenue. Feel free to send in a photo with your request.

District Manager, Manhattan Community Board 10