By Richard Eric Weigle
Honking horns, loud drunks and diners on our streets, litterers, car alarms, trucks beeping when backing up, roaming musicians, residents who do not move their cars for the street cleaners, and people who allow their dogs to relieve themselves in our tree-wells killing our plants and trees. It’s enough to drive one crazy.
What to do? That is the question.
Do we yell out of our window and add to the noise that is already there? Do we remind people politely to pick up after their dogs and not to let them kill our plants and flowers? Should we have to? Really?
Yoga has helped me and having an understanding husband with whom I can vent once in a while is important. I have also found that the key for me is to be aware and concerned, but not to hold on to the anger.
Let’s face it, one of the challenges of getting older is to not become a grouchy, negative, and angry senior who only talks about the good old days. Very few people, especially younger ones, want to hear that.
Being President of The Grove St. Block Association for over 20 years and living on Grove St. for 48 years, I have seen it all, the good the bad and the ugly. Yes, there were nice things about the past when we could afford to shop on Bleecker St. and there were inexpensive and moderately priced restaurants in abundance, but we must be able to adapt to our current reality or we will surely be the complaining, always negative people we fear becoming.
I am not a therapist, nor would I presume to tell anyone else how to live their lives, but maybe I can point out a few positive things about the present for which we can all be grateful.
Trees, gorgeous trees, more than ever before, tree-wells planted beautifully with iron wickets put in place to protect them, Bishop Crooks Lampposts, bike paths and promenades along the waterfront with lovely piers and park areas in which to relax, brownstones restored to their former glory and parks such as Abingdon Square, Christopher Park and Jackson Square looking better than ever. These are just a few of the improvements over the years that make Greenwich Village still such a desirable place to visit and live.
Maybe we can’t change the whole city, but we can make a difference on our own blocks. Here are a few things that each of us can do to be a better citizen and neighbor.
Call 311 to make a legitimate complaint. You can request a new tree or alert the city to dangerous tree branches, or streetlights that may be out. There are a whole host of services available to us. There should be no litter on Village Streets. If you don’t want to pick up litter on your block, at least kick it to the curb so the street sweepers can remove it.
Since so many people purchase items online, tear down your boxes to help your building supers so they can be put out neatly for pick up.
Businesses and residents should take responsibility for keeping the sidewalks in front of their property neat and clean. It’s a sad reflection on a business or residence to have dirty sidewalks and garbage in front. Even if it is not yours, you are responsible for it. Know which days are garbage pick-up days on your block and which night is appropriate to leave large pieces of furniture out for next day pick up. Join your block association. If your block does not have one, start one. Change, whether we like it or not, is inevitable. You can choose to live in the past or accept the present and try to enjoy it the best you can. Many people in the world would give anything to live here.Greenwich Village is still one of the most tolerant, creative and liberal places on earth with movie theaters, Off Broadway and Off Off-Broadway Theaters, concert and jazz venues, some of the best restaurants and cafes in the world and a waterfront where we can watch the sunset whenever we choose. It ain’t all bad, my friends, it ain’t all bad.