Friday, May 26, 2017

Major East 86th Street Association Sanitation Initiative Backed and Funded By Ben Kallos

From Left: Stephen Calder (Deputy Chief DSNY), Council Member Ben Kallos, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Fine (East 86th Street Association), Ricky Cyrus (DSNY District 8 Chief).

From East86th.org, By Andrew Fine, May 26th, 2017.
We are pleased to announce that District 5 Council Member Ben Kallos has secured funding to transition all 5th District corner trash receptacles from the old wire baskets to the new, larger cans housed in green metal cases. The new cans with domed top and smaller opening increases capacity, prevents spillage and deters rats. The 284 new cans announced today is in addition to the 38 announced last June and the 13 recently lobbied for by @East86th along Lexington Avenue. 
For the past several years, the East 86th Street Association has lobbied local officials and the Department of Sanitation for larger cans and increased pick-ups in the neighborhood. We are happy that these efforts are now bearing fruit.
Council Member Kallos adds ""It is a pleasure to have partners like the East 86th Street Association, they are a true asset to the community, " Its board members have been crucial in keeping me up to speed on the cleanliness of the neighborhood and have pushed for more trash cans. Thank you to the East 86th Street Association for their support and commitment to keeping Upper East Side streets as clean as possible."
On behalf of the East 86th Street Association we extend a very well deserved thank you to the Council Member and Commissioner Garcia. We greatly appreciate your receptiveness to our common concerns and especially appreciate that you have taken decisive actions to address those concerns. Many of the new cans have already been deployed in recent weeks and the improvement in local sanitation is noticeable. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Project, East86th.org is Born!

East86th.Org

Hey folks, I know it has been a while, and I miss you all! It has been a busy year and a half, if I have the count correct. First, I had a bit of writer's block. Second, I was busy with business. That's not a bad problem to have. I have also been busy with community activism in my local neighborhood of the East 80's on the Upper East Side.

I'm not sure where to start. A Fine Blog, put me on the path to community activism. The following was immense. I've had over One Million unique viewers over the years. The blog gets attention, and I had issues that I wanted addressed. It worked. The blog drew attention to all sorts of issues from crazy rules at Chuck E Cheese's (which eventually ran the viral gauntlet all the way up to Weekend Update on SNL) to piles of garbage on the Upper East Side. The latter, and specifically local sanitation issues, is one that I am uniquely obsessed with. In any case, the blog worked. Local news media picked up my stories and drew attention to my issues and brought them into the spotlight, and forcing them to be addressed. I'll admit, as a blogger, I grew somewhat frustrated. There were several instances where my stories were big hits, but there was zero attribution to the source, A Fine Blog. There were instances where my words on grifted virtually word for word and ended up in local tabloids and claimed by the writer to be his/her own. There were news crews showing up on the same day shooting video of the precise location of a quality of life infraction that I only shot photos of earlier in the day. Again, no attribution. On the other hand, publications like Curbed, The Real Deal, and reporters with integrity, like Tom Llamas, were more than willing to share the source of a compelling story. I guess I have digressed from the story here though. All of this comes with the territory of blogging, and the greater good or purpose of drawing attention to issues was served. On balance, I will settle with this result any day!

So, I went away from the blog, but that didn't mean that I wasn't busy. Actually, I got busier. I started attending Community Board 8 meetings, City Council meetings, meetings with my local (and admirable) Councilman Ben Kallos. I started getting tangible results. I was invited to join the board of the East 86th Street Association, where I serve with pride. My interest in reviving the blog grew, but before I could tackle that project, I had one big project in mind- to completely revamp the website and social media presence of the East 86th Street Association. I started in December and it turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated. Sure, I've authored a Blogger-based blog for a decade, but I hadn't built a website from scratch since the early 90's. We are talking way back with Microsoft Front Page, before there was social media! Anyway, it was a beast of a chore, and I could only do it in my spare time. I wanted to build the best community organization website around, which made the task even tougher. I was fortunate for three things- my friend William Mallick, a coder that I hired to help, Squarespace, and a friendly bar with decent wifi and a tolerance for geeks sitting around over laptops on a regular basis.

The end result, East86th.org is alive, and thankfully finished! Well, the base site is finished, it will remain a work in progress as new content is loaded on a regular basis. Items that relate to the East 80's will also appear here. Items that don't relate to my local hood will only appear here. I have also revamped East 86th Street Association's social media platforms- Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, all easily found under the moniker @East86th. Please have a look!

So, next up, an A Fine Blog makeover and reboot. Again, this will be a work in progress, but I hope you enjoy all of the insights and content. It is great to be back!