COMMUNITY BOARD MEETING BY CAITLIN BUTLER
On April 15,2010 I went to the Community Board 5 meeting. It was located on 27street between 6th and 7th avenue. The meeting started at 6pm. I am guess that the meeting was held here because it is safe, clean, protected, monitored, and easy to get to. Midtown is surrounded by major transportation areas, such as Grand Central, Penn Station and Port Authority. Without these places, people would have a very hard time getting around. It is a business area as well as a tourist area, great for sightseeing such as the empire state building, the observation, and radio city music hall.
The Community Board 5 main goal is to address issues such as: homelessness, security, new developments, noise, traffic, zoning, school and library funding. This community board exists because it’s a way for regular folks to get involved in their own local communities and address what issues that they may have. The Community Board’s boundaries are from 3rd to 8th avenues from 14th street to 59th street. At the meeting, it was mostly white men, but there were also women there. The men were dressed all in business suites, which I guess would make sense since they probably all, came from work. There were men of all ages there, but it was mostly older men in their 40’s and higher. The meeting began with the public having two minutes each to address their concerns about their neighborhood. At first this wasn’t going so well, because not everyone followed the two-minute rule. It was getting a little out of hand. Then the woman who was in charge had to warn the people to really take only two minutes because of so many speakers that still had to speak out. The layout of the place was there was a big round table that wrapped around and that was for the committee group only. Then you had behind them all other chairs for the public to sit at. It was very crowded. Some people even had to stand and wait there turn to speak. If you had to speak, you had to sign up your name before you came inside. There was this one particular police officer to spoke out at the meeting about the Times Square shooting which occurred on Easter Sunday. He said that 250 cops were working that day. There was 50 adults and 10 juvenile arrested. 2 of them were affiliated with a gang. It is terrible how anyone can do street fighting to the point of death. It is quite shocking to me.
The second thing mentioned at this meeting was the building of a tall building about 1,200 feet wide by Vornado. They want to build this at 15 Penn Plaza. A lot of people was in favor for this happening, because they said it would increase for jobs, it would make a easier for people to travel in Penn Station, and it would bring business around the areas, during these tough economic times. The main purpose for this is transit improvement for the commuters going to and from work. This one Chinese man names Jim spoke and said that this would be a great thing to do because he is frustrated at the fact that there is not enough space on the sidewalk for him to go to Penn Station. Building this tall building would make an easy access to Penn Station for him and others he said. It would also clean up the streets if this building were built, according to some. The Land Use and Zoning Committee apposed to having this building built. They said that it was insufficient to clearing out the big crowds at Penn Station. Also they had a problem with this because they said the building is just too tall to be built. It would be considered the second largest building after the Empire State Building, which honestly in my opinion, do we need another tall building like that? I personally do not need another tall building blocking the sunlight from my day. I spoke to this one woman asking her why she attended the meeting today? She said she attended the meeting because she doesn’t want the official to shut down Hotel Penn, because of its beautifulness. She wants to see what will happen to this building. I then asked her, how did she find out about this particular board meeting and she said they had pamphlets in the hotel. This was her first community board meeting that she has gone to. Her name is Mekala and she lives in Queens. She was very funny I must say. Throughout the meeting she was making face gestures, and noises at some of the people who were speaking. She couldn’t believe at what some of the people there were saying. She was overall very friendly though. I thought parts of this meeting were confusing, and some people repeated things over and over. I am not going to lie; the meeting was kind of long and boring. But still interesting to actually experience a community board meeting and see what was bothering some people. Now I can say that I have been to a Community Board meeting before!