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TBA Annual Meeting A Great Success

"The entire city would have a collective hangover if this (Trump) building goes up," Councilman Gifford Miller announced as opening speaker at the annual Turtle Bay Association (TBA) meeting held on November 9. "I still believe the law is on our side and we will ultimately win." He also praised the extraordinary public space the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park has become and noted the sad contrast with the Trump building. He reiterated his standing offer to support Donald Trump for President if he will shave 45 stories off "that" building.

Eva Moskowitz, newly-elected City Council representative, also applauded TBA's achievements and pledged her support in the future. Regarding the Trump building, she said "It's not over 'til it's over."

In other comments TBA President Bill Curtis told the audience that one lawyer had said the battle over the Trump building promised to be the "land use battle of the century" and noted perhaps he should have said "the battle of two centuries."

Eli Markenson from John Ravitz's Assembly office registered disgust that Trump construction workers have caused damage in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park. His office has filed a complaint with the Trump office and has been assured Trump will pay for the damages.

Markenson also announced a meeting regarding the 931 First Avenue site (see update p. 4) to be held in mid-December. Those interested can telephone the TBA office for details (TBA office number is listed in the banner at the bottom of page 1.) Assemblyman Ravitz's office is also working with the Department of Traffic to get the redundant traffic light at 47th Street and First Avenue removed.

Captain John Wallace, executive officer at the 17th Precinct, noted five crimes areas (burglary, robbery, felonious assault, grand larceny and grand larceny auto) that have seen decreases in the last six years. There has been, over the past six years, an increase in rape. There has been no change in the seventh crime area that the 17th tracks, which is murder. It would be impossible to show improvement in that statistic: there have been no murders in the 17th in the past six years. (see story, p. 6.)

He did, however, warn that there has been a recent "spike" in grand larceny, most notably pickpocketing on buses, and urged residents to stay alert.

On burglary: the method of entry into apartments during the last summer was often through open windows from fire escapes. To prevent burglars from entering through doors, he advised installing a metal plate over the tumbler keylock so that only the keyhole is seen.

The meeting moved on to business at hand: the election of officers and directors. Blair Clark, nominating committee chair, presented the slate, approved by the board, and they were duly elected: president: Bill Curtis; vice presidents: Millie Margiotta, Dolores Marsh, and Bruce Silberblatt; secretary: Marie-Louise Handal; treasurer: Francine Mohink; directors, class of 2001: Jed Abrams, Susan Branagan, Barbara Connolly, Artie Del Negro, Pauline Evans, Bill Huxley, Richard Irwin, Patricia McDougald, Carol Rinzler, Bruce Silberblatt, Tina Theodorou. All of the directors had been serving in the same capacities. There were no nominations from the floor.

Treasurer Francine Mohink defined the two main TBA sources of revenue: membership dues and the street fair. Income for 1998, as of December 31, was $73,399 and expenses were $52,710. The net gain was held in reserve for 1999 and the future. In 1999 the main expenses were the newsletter, trees, membership solicitation, and the website. There was also a $15,000 grant from the Ford Foundation for Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park, which is held in a separate fund to be used exclusively for the park.

Committee chairs then made their reports.
Bruce Silberblatt chronicled land use in Turtle Bay. Trump: It is not surprising that the Coalition for Responsible Development (CRD) appeal was lost at the Board of Standards and Appeals. That board is not a court, but an in-house appeals agency (in-house to the Department of Buildings, who gave the original flawed permit) and staffed by mayoral appointees. Although the Trump World Tower is being billed as 90 stories, it is actually 70 construction floors (this sleight-of-hand is done by designing higher ceilings). The undesirable weekend work continues (see story, p. 1.)

The site of the Murray Hill Con Edison plant is in line for development and could pose six times the problem potential of the Trump building. (See story, p. 8.)

The good news is the new development at 931 First Avenue, if built as planned, will be entirely in scale (see update, p. 4).

Barbara Connolly's Special Events Committee has been busy hosting in 1999: the Valentine party, a June trip to Amish country, the July street fair, and an October trip to Foxwood Casino. A fifth event, the toy/gift drive, is planned for December 12 (see story this page).

Pauline Evans, co-chair of the Turtle Bay Business Associates, is actively seeking new members. They have quarterly meetings at the Turtle Bay Grill & Lounge.

The Grants Committee committed the following funds in 1999: $2,500 to the Vanderbilt YMCA; $2,000 to the Turtle Bay Tree Fund; $2,000 to the Doe Fund; $2,000 to the United Neighbors of East Midtown, Inc.; $2,000 to the Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park; $4,409 to the Turtle Bay Association Tree Program Project.

Parks Committee Chair Marie-Louise Handal, remarked on how gratifying it is to see both wheelchairs and baby carriages in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park. At MacArthur Playground 300 small children have attended special events like Theater in the Park (supplied by the Parks Department). Planting and beautifying continues in Peter Detmold Park.

The Turtle Bay Tree Program, chaired by Bill Huxley, reported that over the summer we lost three trees because of the drought, but they have been replaced by the Parks Department. We continue to maintain the tree beds.

Anne Saxon-Hersh, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park, explained that a Friends organization is needed because the Parks Department does not have the budget to maintain all the parks in the city. (Only 1/2 of 1% of Parks' budget goes for maintenance.) Funds are needed to maintain and clean the fountains and the plaza. In order to provide more park color, hanging baskets on the lampposts are being investigated.

The Newsletter Committee plans to produce more, mostly four-page, issues in the year 2000.

TBA now has more than 1,700 member households. They didn't all attend, but those who did enjoyed the wine and cheese generously provided after the meeting by Grey Advertising.

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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

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