West Side Spirit Thanks These Neighborhood Heroes

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Many people know Scott Stringer as Manhattan’s borough president and a likely mayoral candidate in 2013, but it is less well know that Stringer cut his political teeth on the Upper West Side. We caught up with him near his neighborhood home in about what he is doing now and about receiving a WESTY for West Sider of the Year.

The WESTY—West Side Spirit Thanks You—award is our way of honoring the often unsung neighborhood heroes who make the Upper West Side a better place to live. Nominations for WESTYs are submitted by readers, community and political leaders, and award winners are selected by West Side Spirit editors.

This year, we created a new WESTY category: Neighborhood Association. Over the years, many block association presidents have won Community Builder awards, but we felt it was time to give these leaders their own category. We can think of no better inaugural honorees than Melissa Elstein and Dee Rieber, who together are uniting block associations from Hell’s Kitchen to Harlem.

The spirit of neighborhood shops remains alive—this year we are honoring Ivan Jourdain and the Stark family for continuing this great neighborhood tradition at Ivan’s Pharmacy and Beacon’s Paint and Hardware.

One last tidbit: This year, two of our 20 honorees, Noah Gotbaum and Phyllis Gunther both said they have drawn inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Lower Manhattan.


For all profiles, please go to:

Roots on the West Side, Eyes on City Hall
It’s Fun to Be and Work on the West Side
Working to Make the Neighborhood More Livable
In His Element Battling for the Environment
Public Housing Tenant Helps Others Like Him
Uniting Communities on the Western Front
Saving the World, One Real Estate Deal at a Time
Providing Comfort to NYC and Asia
Caring About Those Who Give Care
Always Ready to ‘Occupy’ for Justice
Friendly, Neighborhood Pharmacy in the 21st Century 
Hardware Store Has a Soft Spot for the Neighborhood
Fighting for Upper West Side Schools
Always a Warm Greeting for Students and Homeless
Aiding the Mind, Spirit and Body at Museum
Committed to Better Treatment for Addicts
Sentimental Doctor Helps Elderly Recover from Surgery
Lincoln Center Chef Battles Against Hunger
Patrolling Safer Upper West Side Streets

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