Well, it’s close to 50 degrees out — the sun is shining — and mounds of snow are rapidly melting. And thus a very long week ends as a brand new year begins. Yet, some blocks are still tough to navigate — some folks have not yet gotten their mail delivered — and garbage is piling high. The NYC Council has promised hearings, and the Mayor says there will be an investigation — and it’s important that we make our voices heard — and so, if you were adversely impacted by the horrendous response to this storm, you are invited to Woodhaven’s first Town Hall Meeting of 2011, Saturday January 8th at 1 PM — 78-15 Jamaica Avenue.
But complaining about the city’s response to this past storm is one thing — I submit that it’s more important to ask: What Did We Learn and How Can We Be Better Prepared For the Next Storm?
To say that our communications were poor during this storm is an understatement. We polled residents on Facebook — on Twitter — via E-Mail — asking them to let us know if they hadn’t been plowed yet. And we passed that information along to our elected officials. But there was no way to tell when these streets were plowed & what streets still needed plowed. Furthermore, we weren’t reaching whole areas of Woodhaven.
Here’s what we’re proposing — in the old days, each block had a Block Captain, and it was part of a system that worked really well. If we had a representative, or Block Captain on each block in Woodhaven, when an emergency like this hits, we would have people on each block that we could contact and find out exactly what was going on.
Besides last week’s blizzard, there were at least two other storms this year where a communications network in Woodhaven, via Block Captains, would have proved useful —
(1) There was that spectacular storm in March that uprooted trees and destroyed vehicles.
(2) The “microburst” in September that knocked down trees and power lines.
The better we can make our communication network within Woodhaven, the better off we will be when the next storm hits, whether it be a blizzard, or a tornado, or a blackout — there are any number of instances where this would be very useful.
We are urging our fellow residents of Woodhaven to sign up to be a Block Captain. Here’s what we need — send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
(2) What stretch of Woodhaven you can “captain” — a good rule of thumb would be what you can see from your front door. For example, from my front porch, I can easily see up and down 91st Street, from Park Lane South to 86th Avenue. Anything further than that, my old eyes can’t see —
We will not share your information with others. You will be helping your friends and neighbors and fellow Woodhaven residents — and they, in turn, will help you. After all, it’s fine and dandy if you can get off your block — but if the next block hasn’t been plowed, you can be just as stuck!
Make it your New Year’s Resolution for 2011 to become more involved by taking this small step.