The Charles Street Association (CSA) in the 1970s and 1980s provided a means to make beautiful the street and bring neighbors together through wholesome activities. I remember, as a boy, bowling each week with the CSA at Sheridan Square lanes. This recreational activity was enjoyed by young and old. My favorite recreational CSA activity was weekly full court basketball at the Village Community School. I enjoyed getting to know other neighbors who shared my love for these events such as the Monroe family of 59 Charles Street.
The most exciting CSA function was the block fair. The fair chairperson I remember vividly was John Rey. He harmoniously coordinated a fair that featured international food (run by the Capsis family), children’s games, beer and soda, and all kinds of interesting things for sale. The 1983 fair attracted Mayor Koch, to whom I had the pleasure of serving a beer. I was impressed that the Mayor was alone with no visible security. He mixed with all of us and enjoyed the fair. He was definitely the people’s mayor. In closing, the CSA did two great things back then. It raised money to plant trees and it turned strangers into friends and neighbors.