A New Coalition on the Upper West Side

  Last modified on May 14th, 2021

The following is a press release we’ve received from the newly formed Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations and Community Groups, LTD. (“UWS Coalition.”)

A group of block and neighborhood organization leaders have founded the UPPER WEST SIDE COALITION OF BLOCK ASSOCIATIONS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS, LTD. (“UWS Coalition”) and is eager to expand membership throughout the Community Board 7 District. The newly formed network is a nonprofit community organization that seeks to revitalize the historical legacy of block associations as sources of civic strength and resilience in New York City. The founding members represent block and neighborhood associations that share a commitment to promoting the common good and general welfare of the community.

The UWS Coalition’s initial focus has been to adopt a set of By-Laws articulating its purpose, mission and design for a governance model that builds trust and credibility.  The group recognizes that our community benefits from diverse and inclusive neighborhoods and is committed to creating an open and welcoming environment for all members of our community. To this end, a guiding purpose of the UWS Coalition is to help existing block associations thrive and support the creation of new block associations by offering guidance and mentoring to neighbors who may feel daunted by the process.

Early efforts have also focused on raising awareness of the Coalition’s formation with local elected officials and police precincts that has garnered very positive feedback (see quotes below). Many have expressed an eagerness to engage in programming and events, as well, including upcoming forums for the Manhattan Borough President (MBP) and District Council 6 (DC6) candidates to be hosted by the Coalition. The online forums will be held on May 18 (DC6) and May 25 (MBP) and are each scheduled from 6:00-7:30 PM.

Contacts:

  • Chris Giordano (W64-67th St Block Association), President, Upper West Side Coalition
  • Steve Anderson (TRPNA/ W81st St), Chair, Board of Directors, Upper West Side Coalition

Founding members include:

  • West 64-67th Street Block Association
  • West 69th Street Block Association
  • West 70th Street Block Association
  • West 71stStreet Block Association
  • West 75th Street Block Association
  • West 78th Street Block Association
  • West 79th Street Block Association
  • West 81st Street Block Association
  • Theodore Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association/West 81st Street
  • West 83rd Street Block Association
  • West 80s Neighborhood Association

Board of Directors

  • Chris Giordano, w64-67, President
  • Dale Brown, w79, Vice President
  • Gary Pelton, w70, Treasurer
  • Eileen Vazquez, w69, Director of Community Organizing
  • Aron Berlinger, w83, Vice Treasurer
  • Steve Anderson, TRPNA/w81, Chair, Board of Directors

Civic Leaders Offer Support

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: “I am delighted to support the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations and Community Groups because our neighborhood needs an organization that brings community groups and individuals together to create and support local initiatives that address the West Side’s diverse concerns. Our city was devastated by the pandemic, but I saw the volunteers who stepped up day after day to help their neighbors and their community. Such efforts took place here on the UWS. The Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations can mobilize everyone committed to restoring our neighborhood’s vitality, spirit of cooperation, and diversity.”

US Congress Member Jerry Nadler: “New York City’s strength lies in its diverse communities, its eclectic neighborhoods that ripple with vibrant energy and warm inclusivity—and the community groups that tie it all together.  Block associations afford New Yorkers an opportunity to have a voice in their city and to make New York more welcoming and livable.”

NYC Council Member Helen Rosenthal: “My sincere congratulations to the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations on its formation. I encourage block associations across my district to join the coalition and work with their neighbors for the betterment of our community. Together, we are stronger!”

NYC Council Member Mark Levine: “Our block associations form the very root of civic and community engagement in our city and are a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our neighborhoods. The formation of the Upper West Side Coalition brings together an amazing fourteen block associations to use the power of collective experience to enhance their ability to improve the quality of life for residents of the Upper West Side. I look forward to working with Upper West Side Coalition and I hope their model of collaborations can inspire others.”

Captain Neil W. Zuber, Commanding Officer, NYPD 20th Precinct: “I think the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations is a wonderful idea and I’d like to assist in any way I can.”

Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi, Commanding Officer, NYPD 24th Precinct: “The 24th Precinct appreciates the efforts of all block associations and their efforts to bring the community together, raise awareness of issues and concerns and work towards making the Upper West Side a better neighborhood for all.  Civic engagement is so important today and we thank the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations for their time and dedication to their community.”

New York State Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal: “Block associations are the backbone of communities on the West Side and the rest of the city. They act as our eyes and ears on the ground and provide elected officials with meaningful input. Every day, they volunteer to look after our streets and tree pits, connect neighbors to each other, fight for better public transportation and advocate for affordable grocery stores and services. Block associations exemplify civic engagement, and I know that together, the West Side’s many dedicated association leaders will continue to make a difference in our neighborhoods.”

New York State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried:  “It’s great news that so many West Siders are uniting to form the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations and Community Groups. As the proverb says, ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’  As a longtime West Sider, I look forward to working together with the new Coalition to improve and preserve our community far into the future.”

New York State Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell: “While the coronavirus pandemic has halted in-person gatherings for over a year, it hasn’t stopped our community from finding new ways to create connections, share information, and support one another. From banging pots at 7pm to ‘community cleans’ to helping neighbors get food and PPE – throughout the pandemic, our community has stepped up and stayed strong. That is why I am so pleased to welcome the Upper West Side Coalition to the fabric of our district. I have worked with many of these devoted community leaders individually, and know that together, we can do even more good for our neighbors. I look forward to working with the Upper West Side Coalition to support our neighborhood and ensure a full recovery after this difficult year.”

New York State Senator Jose Serrano: “Block Associations make our city stronger by keeping our communities civically engaged and fostering connection and communication between neighbors. I’m pleased to see the Upper West Side Coalition coming together to create a welcoming environment and to collaborate on issues of critical importance to the neighborhood.”

New York State Senator Brian Benjamin: “Community Groups are so vital to promoting and preserving our city’s diverse neighborhoods. Representing the people at the grassroots level, they are a place for members of the community to be heard and provide a vehicle to organize for great causes. The Upper West Side Coalition will be an important addition to our community, and I look forward not only to representing their members in the State Senate, but also working with them on important community matters in the future. Together we can ensure that the Upper West Side remains a thriving community.”

New York State Senator Robert Jackson: “I am glad to see the Upper West Side Coalition form. As a long-time activist and organizer, I believe it’s so important for people to come together around the shared goal of building a strong, safe, and welcoming community. Especially in light of the many tensions that have arisen among Upper West Siders during the pandemic, I look forward to seeing how the Upper West Side Coalition can have a positive impact on the neighborhood at large.”

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman: “Civic engagement at the local level is exactly what New York City needs as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s wonderful to see so many local organizations and activists join forces to form the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations and Community Groups. This consortium will strengthen and empower the voices of our community to better serve all the residents of the Upper West Side. I appreciate their commitment to openness, transparency, diversity, and inclusion. I look forward to working alongside the dedicated members of the Coalition to address our community’s most pressing issues.”

Community Board 7 Chair Steven Brown: “CB7 and I are excited about the new coalition.  We have appreciated the past commitments by all to help the community and the Upper West Side and we look forward to working together hand in hand in the future.”

Community Board 7 Former Chair Mark Diller: “The Upper West Side Coalition is a huge step forward in ensuring that we are one community.  The ability to share information and experiences and recognize trends throughout the District in real time will empower all of us.”




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