Think about it—a city block in New York can have a larger population than a small town in Kansas, and problems can start right at your door.
Yesterday, as I walked up Charles Street to West 4th Street, I discovered to my disgust that somebody had painted his name in comic book script across a newly painted wall—and very big, like eight feet of balloon script.
Or consider my widowed neighbor who discovered that her real estate tax had jumped to a crushing $51,000.
Your block—your street—is your living room and it can look as bad or as good as neighbors collectively want to make it look, as we did on Charles Street. We planted 110 trees and covered ugly massive concrete blocks (set out by the police department to prevent officers from parking their private cars in front of the bomb squad exit door) with handsome wood planters.
If you don’t have a block association I can guarantee that you know very few of your neighbors. That’s the New York culture—we don’t impose on the guy who lives next door.
We started a block association on Charles Street 40 years ago when the city offered to dig a hole if a block association would buy a tree. And then we had block parties, Christmas parties, summer rooftop parties, and meetings to discuss garbage pickup and spring planting. And a funny thing happened: we got to know some of our neighbors who are still our friends after 40 years.
George Capsis is the publisher of WestView News. (westviewnews.org.)