Hi <<First Name>>,
Sometimes in East Harlem it feels like we the punchline to a bad joke. About a month ago, we were overjoyed to receive news that we had been awarded a Plaza under the Metro-North Viaduct at East 125th and Park. Our hope and dream is to transform this dingy, dirty and smelly place into a vibrant community hub, where people can stop for a bite to eat, relax, and come for all sorts of community events- including a farmers market, cultural events to free zumba classes.
The good news is that this programming is moving forward: just this week we were approved to accept EBT, making our market even more accessible and we also found a zumba instructor who will teach free weekly zumba classes.
While transforming this space won't overnight solve the problems along E 125th street (there will still be a large number of treatment centers and a large transient population arriving on the M35 from Ward's Island), it is a first step in making a public space that feels safe for everyone, not just people waiting for their next methadone treatment.
But despite all the effort at organizing healthy, community friendly programming at the plaza, we have realized that the DOT is not prioritizing lighting the space adequately. According to a report from 2013, the space does not meet DOT's own standards for lighting and after numerous phone calls with DOT we feel no closer to a solution. While this issue with lighting may seem insignificant compared to the larger problems along East 125th street, it is emblematic of how city agencies dismiss concerns of East Harlem organizations and don't ensure that their programs succeed.
If you are as frustrated about the lighting at the Plaza as we are, then please help us by calling the following politicians and using the sample script provided:
Mayor Bill De Blasio- 212-788-3000
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer - 212-669-8300
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito - 212-828-9800
City Council Member Inez E Dickens - 212-678-4505
""Hi, My name is ____ and I am calling to share my excitement and concern about the recently declared DOT Plaza on East 125th and Park Avenue with __________. As a someone who ____lives/works_____ in East Harlem, I know that the Plaza will transform East 125th street, activating a derelict space and making the area feel safer for the community. However, I am deeply concerned about the current lack of adequate lighting. The area is poorly lit and feels unsafe day and night. This is not just my personal experience but is confirmed in a 2013 lighting analysis study commissioned by the EDC which found that the current lighting does not meet the DOT’s own standards. I am asking that __(Name of person you are calling)____ immediately remedy this situation by reaching out to DOT to ensure the area is fully lit 24 hours a day. Thank you so much."
Thanks so much for taking action with us!
Together, we can transform East 125th street into a safe and pleasant place!
Until next week,
Your friends at NHEMA
P.S. Have questions about the Plaza? Want to host an event there when it opens? Angry about something NHEMA is doing? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us!