- ABOUT US
- OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
- EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
The block association was founded to promote the safety and general welfare and to preserve and improve the quality of life of our immediate community. We’re incorporated under the laws of the State of New York and are a 501(c)(4) organization under Federal IRC regulations.
The block association is run by a volunteer board of directors made up of block residents. The board meets on the second Tuesday of the month; block residents are welcome to attend. If you’re interested in meeting the members of the board, raising an issue for board discussion, serving on a special committee, or becoming a board member, feel free to contact a board member.
The block association was founded in 1970 in reaction to a rising tide of street crime on the block and in the belief that unified neighbors contribute importantly to the quality of life on the block. The block association collected funds from block residents to hire a security guard to patrol the block in the evenings. At the same time, the association developed block beautification and social programs. All three programs continue to this day.
Security & Safety
The block is patrolled nightly by a security guard, visible by his orange vest and flashlight, The hours may vary, according to the season, but generally he is present between 4PM and midnight. The presence of the guard is intended to act as a deterrent to unwanted and criminal activity on the street. In the event such activity occurs, the guard has been instructed to observe the incident and report it immediately via radio to the supervisor and/or police, as warranted, and in as much detail as possible. The guard is not armed and does not function in the capacity of a police officer.
In the event of a medical emergency on the street, the guard will offer any assistance he can, including calling 911. He is also available to escort you home in the evening. He carries a dedicated phone and will meet you at either West End Ave or Riverside Drive.
Security Guard Phone Number: 347-723-1517
The City awarded the block association a grant to improve block security. The money was used to heighten backyard fences, install intercoms in various buildings, make lobby doors stronger, and install alarm boxes in the outer lobby of each building.
The Block Association has representation at the 24th Precinct Community Council. The Council is held every month and neighborhood crime statistics and residents concerns are discussed. Board member, Mary Koval, is our current representative.
Since March 2006 our street has had 1890’s-style streetlights unlike most neighboring blocks which have 1950’s ‘cobra’ streetlights due to the efforts of Board member, Steve Zirinsky.
In 2002, Steve Zirinsky, a block resident and architect, had a vision of a better looking block that included replacing the 1950’s lights with replicas of the lights that were on the block when it was developed in the 1890s. As neighborhood residents and co-op boards were willing to contribute money to this beautification effort, Steve began a near two-year series of plan reviews and approvals by the City Art Commission, Community Board 7, and the Department of Transportation. Then, it was off to the foundry in Pennsylvania where the plans were molded into the shape of the slender, delicate poles you see on the street today.
The Block Association maintains the iron guards that surround the tree gardens. In 2013, in collaboration with the City Parks Department, the tree gardens were elongated to prevent soil erosion. As a result, the tree guards themselves were uniformly replaced with the assistance of a city grant, contributions from the residents and co-op boards, and the block association dues. The tree guards were installed with a border of Belgian block. As a result, we have identical tree guards surrounding the tree gardens which bring a sense of cohesiveness to our street and residents.
The block association also directs and maintains the planting of the tree gardens with the help of all our residents and building supers. Perennial plants were planted in 2013 for the first time since the tree beds were much larger. The perennials include Bleeding Heart, Hosta, and Ivy. Annual plants, such as begonias, are also added to supply contrast and color. As a result, the summer tree gardens provide a comforting respite during a walk on West 104th Street. In the fall, tulip and daffodil bulbs are planted to provide us with a sure sign of spring after a long winter.
Over the years, we planted and now maintain 26 trees. We periodically hire a professional tree care company to apply a deep root fertilizer and prune to keep the trees healthy and beautiful.
Having a park right outside your front door is a necessary luxury every New Yorker should have and residents of 104th Street are among the lucky few to actually have one. Several block residents created and maintain park gardens in the vicinity of 104th St and Riverside Drive.
A crack-free, level sidewalk not only looks better, it’s safer to walk on as well. The block association has helped landlords and owners maintain their sidewalks by identifying vendors to repair or replace them as necessary. We ask landlords and managing agents to remove graffetti as quickly as possible.
Neighborhood Quality of Life
In mid-May 2000, a resident of the block successfully negotiated a change in the Saturday morning garbage pickup schedule from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. The resident delivered a petition to the Department of Sanitation signed by other block residents who favored the change. We can all sleep a little bit later on Saturday thanks to this effort!
In 2013, Joyce Mann – a Board member, worked diligently with the Department of Transportation to install “No Idling” and “No U-Turn” Signs on are street. As a result, residents are safer and are breathing cleaner air.
The block association coordinates many social activites for our block residents. In addition to the yearly block party, which is always a big hit not only for our residents but the surrounding areas, the block association has coordinated walking tours, museum trips, and cafe gatherings.
The block association works closely with the 102nd and 103rd Street block association as well as Bloomindale Aging in Place (BAiP) to coordinate neighborhood activities.
See a timeline of architectural history of our block