By now, most people who live or work in Red Hook know that Coffey Park, which CB 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman has called an important village square, has been closed to the public since the middle of April. Fenced off for an announced renovation, the park has remained quiet, with no renovation work apparent except for some tree pruning. Hammerman explained that the contractor has a year to do the renovation, and what part of the year they choose to work is up to them (see related article in the June edition of the Star-Revue).
Many who attended last night’s Civic Association meeting expressed displeasure with what is going on, and people spoke of possible tactics to inform the Park’s Department of the community’s unhappiness at the lack of information and involvement given to us. At this point, only peaceful measures were discussed. John McGettrick, looking over the crowd and seeing political representatives from the State Assembly and Senate, suggested reaching out to NY State. The representative from State Senator Montgomery explained that this was a matter for the City Council. Unfortunately, nobody from the City Council was present at the Civic Association meeting.
At last night’s meeting, I took notes, I participated and I snapped a few photos. In addition, I left my keys there in the Beacon room. I only realized this after a beer with some neighborhood friends at Bait and Tackle. I went back to retreive them, but by then only the janitor was left. I told him my story, and he said that Mel from Beacon mentioned something about a set of keys. Mel was gone for the day, and I looked around the principal’s office, but didn’t see any keys.
So this morning I hiked over to the school, worried that the good folks at the 76th would ticket me for leaving a car past 7 am in front of a school. Along the way I walked the perimeter of the park, and noticed some parks department cars inside. As I passed Visitation, walking on Richards Street, I noticed a gaggle of people inside the park, deep in conversation. I walked over to see if I could get some information. The group, which included someone in a DOT vest, a couple of men with Parks Dept Capital shirts, and some young men and women, some holding what looked like rolled up blueprints, looked over at me, looked at themselves, and walked deeper into the park.
I kept waiting for their meeting to break up so I could ask a question – namely, what everyone wants to know – What’s going on? It was a good wait, as I got to talk to Tony Schloss of RHI, who happened to be biking through.
Finally they were done, and I walked closer to ask my question, identifying myself as with the local newspaper. First they ignored me, then one of the men from Parks glared at me and said that if needed to know anything, call 311. I told him that I had heard Marty Mahr’s presentation at CB 6, thinking that might give me some credibility, but instead he yelled back at me to then go ask Mahr, and then he stormed off.
Leaving me wondering why, in this new age of Progressivism in city government, such arrogance is tolerated.
PS – the rest of the morning was charmed, as I got my keys and didn’t get a ticket! Thank you PS 15!