Welcome to The West 45th St. Block Association!
Since 1976 we've been working with our neighbors to improve the safety and quality of life in our community, and beautify the block. If you live on 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues and have a question, a suggestion, an issue you'd like to work on, or just want to meet some great neighbors, we invite you to come to an event, or drop us a note and say hello.
Come Out and Join Us!
Our members help shape the future of our community and improve the quality of life for everyone living on 45th street. Send us an email if you'd like to get involved, receive news alerts about local events, and stay up to date on neighborhood happenings.
Here's a link to a recent article in Chelsea Now, detailing some of the problems we have faced at the Aladdin:
These problems included:* a man slashed open from his hip to his collarbone in a street brawl in broad daylight (one takeaway: don't bring a "Don't litter" garden sign to a knife fight)
* a flourishing drug trade in and around the Aladdin shelter
* neighboring businesses broken into to get at stored booze
* neighbors, pedestrians, and business employees intimidated, harassed and chased down the sidewalk* tricks turned in the parking lot--blow job in plain sight of the sidewalk
* litter, food, empty liquor bottles dumped into our tree beds
* public urination and exposure to small children (one proud owner boasting to a little girl and her mom, "I'll bet you've never seen one that big!")
As we reflect on the year that was on W 45th St between 8th and 9th Ave, and our efforts as a block association, we remember the words of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, fifth Earl of Ickenham (with thanks to Wodehouse): "I look about me, even in a foul hole like Mitching Hill, and I ask myself--How can I leave this foul hole a better and happier foul hole than I found it?"
To all Friends and Neighbors of the W 45th St. Block Association (8/9th Ave),
Attached is our annual report for 2015.
Thanks to everyone who helped this year and please get in touch if you'd like to help next year. Together we can make a difference and improve our community!
Wishing you and yours a very happy holidays,
West 45th Street Block Association
Serving our community since 1976
Tom was a fixture on this block and lived and played his flute outside 360 W 45th St. You saw him there day in and day out, spring, summer and fall, and wherever you were on the block you heard his flute and his exuberant shout of "Hey!" punctuating the breaks. Tom was an accomplished musician--saxophone and flute--and in earlier days played gigs at the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, other clubs both big and small, and even Carnegie Hall. He was a kind soul, always had a good word and a ready joke, and held court on his stoop, being sociable with his many friends, neighbors and passersby. Hopefully you said hello, stopped to chat, or dropped him an occasional dollar. He was kind to children, learned their names and played songs for them spontaneously or by request. He was a big presence on this block. Rest in peace Tom--you will be missed.
This spring/summer the NYC Parks Dept showed some love to our block. In May they surveyed and pruned our trees, removing dead branches and plastic bags stuck in trees up and down the block. Then last week they returned to cut down two trees that had died--a honey locust in front of 330 W and one of the two beautiful zelcovas in front of 305W. We called these zelcovas the "King" and "Queen" of the block because they were two of the most beautiful street trees anywhere in NYC. Both trees have been dying, we think because the ConEdison dig three years ago disturbed and cut their roots (Parks Dept confirms that many trees die after such digs). The Queen is dead, long live the King! (but he's in bad shape too). We will work with the Parks Dept to get some new trees planted in those spots--stay tuned!
On Sept 15, 2015 block residents Randy L., Katherine C, and Megan H., Tim T. and business owners/managers Ray R.(Iron Bar) and Peter M. (Beer Culture) took time out of their evening to attend the Midtown North precinct community meeting. They spoke calmly, factually, passionately and persuasively about the rise in crime this summer centering around the Aladdin homeless shelter on our block, including the recent stabbing, fights, breaking and entering, knocking down pedestrians, chasing women down the sidewalk, menacing business employees and patrons, menacing and intimidating passersby on the sidewalk, drug sales in the Aladdin (including reports from Aladdin security officers themselves), drug and alcohol use right outside the Aladdin (with the knowledge and even participation of Aladdin security), public urination and indecent exposure, and littering on the sidewalks and flower beds. The testimony of these residents and business managers, individually and collectively, was incredibly powerful--you could see there were a lot of concerned community leaders and cops in that room, from the Commanding Officer (Inspector Hart) on down to the various Lieutenants, Detectives, Community Officers and patrol officers.
After the meeting we were approached by the civilian leadership of the Community Council--they are influential neighborhood leaders and were very sympathetic to our situation and wanted to learn more. The secretary of these monthly meetings said that in all the years he has been taking notes he's never heard anything so alarming as what he heard that night about the Aladdin. Inspector Hart pledged to devote more police resources to our block and a couple high-ranking police officers in attendance personally pledged to solve these problems.
To the Midtown North Precinct, the Community Council for providing the forum, and to those who served their community by coming out and speaking up--THANK YOU!!! It's amazing how much can be accomplished when you speak to the right people in the right places. It's been a rough summer and while we're not going to solve these problems overnight, things are already better and will continue to get better.
On the morning of Friday Aug 14 a ConEd manhole exploded on our block, just outside of Schmackary's. The manhole cover, weighing upwards of 200 lbs., shot 150 ft into the air, landing across 9th Avenue near Southern Hospitality. Amazingly enough, no one was killed or injured. ConEd crews worked through the rest of the day and night to repair the damage, and Beer Bar (halfway down the block) reported a strong burnt smell in their basement throughout the day. One of our friends at Broadway Dance Center noticed the smoking manhole, took out their phone and was able to capture the explosion on this dramatic video:
We applaud Comptroller Scott Stringer for calling further attention to safety concerns at the Aladdin shelter, and pressuring the city to do something about it.
We also applaud Mayor de Blasio for creating shelter "SWAT Teams," composed of workers from five city agencies — the FDNY and the departments of homeless services, housing, health and buildings -- to inspect and remedy problem shelters such as the Aladdin.
It's nice to know someone in city government finally agrees with us, and cares enough to do something about it.
Citing a NY Dept of Investigation report, released in March, that highlighted unacceptable living conditions in certain city shelters, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer today REJECTED a permanent shelter contract for the Aladdin, located at 317 W 45th St. The Aladdin was one of only two shelters city-wide that were rejected--a dubious distinction for us here in the heart of the greatest city in the richest nation in the history of humankind.
The proposed contract has been sent back to the administration of Mayor de Blasio "for further review."
Here's a link to the full press release:
Special thanks to Schmackary's for supplying scrumptious cookies and coffee, and to Phil and everyone else at Chelsea Gardening Center for helping us pick the plants and flowers and giving us a great deal! You guys Rock!
Some pictures are attached below. The complete photo album can be seen (and photos downloaded) here.
When we started planning our first community gardening day of 2015, we hoped for nice weather and a decent turnout. What we got was a glorious Spring day, an amazing turnout of friends and neighbors, and a day filled with digging, planting, watering and a shovel full of fun!
Turns out we we have a block full of burgeoning gardeners with real landscaping creativity! Throughout the day passersby commented time and again how wonderful the tree beds looked. "Beautiful!" "Thank you!" "What gorgeous tree beds!" and perhaps the best... "45th street gardeners rock!!"
We totally agree.
And who are these talented planters of gorgeous flowers and plants? They are: Chelsea, Dexter, Arielle, Sharon, Susan, Lloyd, Bonnie, Jake, Lola, Lennon, Andreas and David. And together they planted more than 200 plants and flowers up and down the block.
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