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Is This the First NYC Community Board Meeting Held in a Public Plaza?

I can't say with certainty that this is the first NYC community board meeting held in a public plaza, but it certainly is the first I've heard of in my 22 years in New York City. On Thursday, Queens Community Board 3 held their monthly meeting amid the hustle and bustle of Jackson Heights' Diversity Plaza on 37th Road between 73rd and 74th Streets.

By my count the meeting began with at least 150 people seated or standing. Plenty of on-lookers stopped by and admired the proceedings. The plaza was quite crowded.

City Council Member Danny Dromm (to the right of the mic), an early and vocal supporter of the plaza, spoke to the crowd. Without his steadfast leadership, there's a good chance this meeting space wouldn't exist.

I certainly hope this becomes a trend as more public plazas are installed throughout the city. After all, plazas are about democracy in action, meeting places to exchange ideas.

And although there will always be issues with some background noise in meeting outside, I'd be much more inclined to attend an outdoor event than being stuck in a hot auditorium or office space. Maybe Queens Community Board 3 just showed the other 50-some-odd NYC community boards a better way to make their meetings more accessible to the public.

11 Comments
  • ADN

    Please forward this to all of the obnoxious media outlets and reporters who were putting down this project after it launched.

  • Starfish

    Nice!

  • Guest

    This is one good way to make sure no one can say that they didn't hear about a community board meeting.

  • JK

    Thanks Q CB3 and Danny Dromm for doing this simple, but heartening thing. It's great to see a community board trying something new and interesting, and so fundamentally inclusive. It affirms that public spaces are a source of community strength and vitality. Other councilmembers and borough presidents should encourage their community boards to meet outside in September and October and late Spring.

  • Komanoff

    Amazing!

    JK (great comment) / Clarence / Sblog editors: whichever of you has a pipeline to Times' arts/culture corresondent Michael Kimmelman should fwd this to him asap. As you know, he has been championing public plazas as not just vital amenities but also cradles of democracy, most recently on June 2: http://nyti.ms/11R6Cy5.

    Meanwhile, this is a great post to hark back to whenever change seems (and is) too slow.

  • BBnet3000

    Thats also good because passerby may even stop for the meeting, vs the normal ones in a wierd room that most people who arent involved dont hear about.

  • AL

    This is great! All those claims that people weren't informed about proposed changes to their neighborhoods would have much less weight in their (already weak) arguments if the meetings where those propositions were made happened in the most transparent way imaginable: outside in the public space.

  • Daniel Latorre

    There is a global re-awaking of using our public spaces for more than gentrified sandwich eating and hedge trimming appreciation. From Egypt, to Spain, Madison, Tunisia, Athens, NYC, Istanbul, Brazil, Bulgaria, and on people are waking up to the changing urban places they live in, seeking common ground and common shared benefits. Residents around Turkey are doing similar things as the bold folks in Queens CB3 are trying out. It's the return of the agora, something the planners of our parks and plazas needs to recognize. http://roarmag.org/2013/06/assemblies-emerging-in-turkey-a-lesson-in-democracy/

  • HamTech87

    Why doesn't the NY Times ever publish "We were wrong" stories?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/nyregion/traffic-free-plaza-roils-little-india-in-queens.html

  • Clarence

    Will do. I have higher resolution photos for anyone who wishes.

  • Lucia

    Hope Gezi Park, Michael Kimmelman, and now this Queens Community Board bring NYC plazas the respect they've earned. Here the locals went after us with their fly swatters. We survived. And perhaps now, we will thrive. I'm sending this write up to my local cb in Brooklyn.