Notes from the Neighborhood

Written by Megan Finnegan Bungeroth on . Posted in News Our Town, Notes From the Neighborhood west side spirit.


Aziz Ansari, a cast member of the comedy Parks and Recreation, ceremonially makes the first mow of Sheep Meadow to celebrate the seasonal reopening of Central Park’s lawns.

STANLEY ISAACS RALLIES 

Parents, children and local officials gathered to protest proposed cuts to the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center’s Beacon Program on Tuesday. The mayor’s preliminary budget would defund the program entirely; the Department of Youth and Community Development has notified the Center that it would have to close the program July 1 if the cuts are enacted.

The Beacon Program provides child care after school, on weekends and during the summer. It works to prevent students from dropping out of high school through attention to academic enhancement, career-oriented training, health and fitness education as well as through a focus on arts and culture. Isaacs Center Executive Director Wanda Wooten called the Beacon Program “a critical part of the efforts of this community to provide role models and quality programming,” and said that the young people it serves would be devastated if the program ended. The budget is still being finalized in the City Council.

 

MALONEY TAKES ON GOOGLE

The National Association of Human Trafficking Victim Advocates, along with 37 other anti-trafficking organizations, applauded Upper East Side Rep. Carolyn Maloney earlier this week for her support of the investigation of Google’s role in perpetuating the trafficking of women and girls through the sale of online adult services advertisements. Many advocacy groups say these ads are barely disguised endorsements of prostitution and trafficking—they are often used to sell sex and traffic women—and are working for their removal from major publications and online companies.

Maloney, a Democrat, and fellow Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, wrote a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, urging him to seek cooperative solutions by addressing some of the company’s advertising policies. “Their letter demonstrates that this issue is not about politics,” said Phil Cenedella, executive director of the Association. “It is about victims—and corporations like Google that need to take responsibility and behave ethically.”

 

WALK IN THE PARK

The City Parks Foundation will kick off its spring season of yoga instruction and walking classes for seniors the week of April 30. The classes are free and designed for those 60 and older. In Carl Schurz Park, at East 86th Street and East End Avenue, walking classes will be held Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 a.m., while yoga takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. In John Jay Park, at East 77th Street and Cherokee Place, yoga is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. At Thomas Jefferson Park, at 112th Street and First Avenue, yoga is on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Call 718-760-6999 for more information.

 

VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR

The Vanderbilt YMCA named Andrew Curtis, a vice chair of the branch’s Board of Managers, their volunteer of the year for his work in bringing positive changes to the youth programming there. Damisha Fraser, 17, was named the youth volunteer of the year. Fraser has been involved with the Y’s early childhood, after-school and summer camp programs, as well as helping out in the administrative offices. Both honorees were recognized at a ceremony at the Marriott Marquis in March.

“We are so proud of Andrew and Damisha’s ongoing commitment to the Vanderbilt Y,” said Executive Director Anita Harvey. “Their work, their commitment, their energy, their spirit of goodwill is an inspiration to all of us.”

 

ISLAND CHERRY BLOSSOM WALK

Even in Manhattan, you can still escape to an island for a spring getaway. On Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m., the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) will be leading a 75-minute tour of the cherry trees on the island while they’re in full bloom. Judith Berdy, the society’s president, will lead the tour and lend her botanical and historical expertise to the experience. To get to Roosevelt Island, take the tram from 59th Street and Second Avenue; the group will meet at the visitor center kiosk at the tram plaza. Email rooseveltislandhistory@usa.com or call 212-688-4836 to make reservations. A $10 donation to RIHS is requested and can be made via PayPal on the website.

SECOND AVENUE BUS STOPS RESTORED

As the Second Avenue construction saga continues, Upper East Siders can begin to savor the victories of small improvements that point toward a distant but construction-free future. Claudia Wilson, the community liaison for the Second Avenue Subway project, recently announced that contractors and the MTA are now able to reinstate two major bus stops along the construction corridor thanks to the completion of work that had directly interfered with the stops. The crosstown westbound M86 bus stop has been reinstated on East 86th street between Second and Third avenues and the local southbound M15 bus stop has been reinstated on Second Avenue between East 86th and 85th streets. The express southbound M15 bus stops on Second Avenue at East 88th and 79th streets. Here’s to one more step toward a normalized Second Avenue.

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