August 5, 2016 – Last week, Connecting.nyc Inc.’s founder, Thomas Lowenhaupt, spent time on the sidewalks of Jackson Heights asking his fellow residents: What issues or opportunities do you see that JacksonHeights.nyc might address? The goal was to gather some additional supporters and information for a new neighborhood communications center that will use the JacksonHeights.nyc domain name.
Mr. Lowenhaupt set up a table in front of P.S. 69, on Diversity Plaza, on 78th Street, and at the Farmers Market and invited passers-by with: “Got a minute or two to learn about a new neighborhood project?”
To those with a minute he’d first tell them a bit about .nyc – “It’s like .com, .org, and .edu but just for New York” – and of the city’s licensing program for neighborhood domain names: Corona.nyc, Harlem.nyc, GreenwichVillage.nyc, and Ta-Dah! JacksonHeights.nyc. He’d then solicit their thoughts asking: “What are our needs, how might we better the neighborhood by using JacksonHeights.nyc?” Here’s some of what he heard.
7/25/16 In front of P.S. 69
- Garbage, especially west of 76th Street is a big problem. There are no trash cans on the street in certain areas.
- Use it to promote and celebrate the stores on Roosevelt Avenue.
- “I’ll look for it on the website.” said a woman walking by with a cell phone to her ear. (Note: the city now runs JacksonHeights.nyc without local input.)
- “How can I volunteer,” said a delightful woman from 86th Street.
- “My employer uses a .nyc address and the change to the simpler name was good for us.”
7/26/16 Day 2 in front of P.S. 69
- We should ban people smoking pot in public.
- There’s abuse and danger that arises from predators working in and around the Roosevelt Avenue bars focusing on immigrants. There’s too much alcohol sold and not enough other options for the patrons. Perhaps there could be a photo library documenting those harmed by the current situation.
- We should post a map showing local retail stores and sell advertising to raise revenue.
- A woman living on 77th Street, adjacent to Travers Park, commented that parking on 77th Street has gotten worse since 78th Street has been blocked off for park area. Why not open it for parking in the evenings?
7/29/16 Diversity Plaza
- A middle aged man, without access or capability to use a computer, said he would help out and provided a phone #.
- A college student thought we should provide a directory of resources for newly arriving Nepalese, his homeland.
- One South Asian woman thought we should address the concentration of some immigrant groups in the neighborhood, saying there was a danger to security.
7/31/16 Farmers Market @ 79th Street
- One neighbor asked “What happens to JacksonHeightsLife.com?” (I answered that the city license application (Question #15) suggests that links be provided to “EXISTING LOCALLY SPONSORED LOGS/ WEBSITES/ LISTSERVS OPERATING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD”) and we intend to provide a home page link.
- One co-op president said rats were a problem due to poorly managed compost piles.
- A resident said he had a plan for permanently cleaning up the neighborhood’s retail areas, but was having difficulty conveying the plan to his elected representatives.
Some of these observations and thoughts could effectively be addressed by JacksonHeights.nyc, others perhaps not. For example, the woman urging evening parking on 78th Street supported the current state of reduced parking when she learned of the pending improvements to the park. In this instance, perhaps a “neighborhood projects map” showing proposed and ongoing changes could better inform residents. While a concern such as the one about an excessive concentration of one immigrant group in the neighborhood might be more difficult to address.
Additional responses and analysis of them will be presented here in the coming weeks.