The Municipal Art Society of New York City (MASNYC) has put out a call for nominations to receive the Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award (YGCP). The award recognizes community leaders of grassroots organizations seeking to transform their neighborhood.
From the website:
The MAS Planning Center is once again seeking to present the YGCP award to a community planner who embodies the spirit of the work of Garcia and Nos Quedamos. The award will be presented to an individual who has demonstrated his or her ability to overcome the many obstacles to grassroots, community-based planning and has succeeded in bringing neighborhood need and vision into New York City’s planning process.
The award gives us the opportunity to ask: does Sheepshead Bay have any leaders that fit this description? And if not, why?
While I certainly believe there are a number of activists in Sheepshead Bay who are working their hearts out to make it a better place, we know many in the community believe no one gives a damn. And sometimes it’s hard to disagree. It’s disheartening to see just how apathetic most in our neighborhood are. Civic association meetings and Community Board gatherings are almost always empty except for the same old players we always see around.
Usually present are businessmen whose only interests are their pockets (and why not?) and, on the other side, oldtimers whose only advice to the world seems to be “Let’s make it like it used to be.” Yet, the vast majority of people are somewhere in the middle. People who have real interests that go beyond the weekly development quagmires. People who are worried about their children’s schools, the lack of affordable housing, loss of traditional industries, and on and on. Things that, in most neighborhoods, leaders sprout out of no where to organize people and meet the need.
Those are the people MASNYC seeks to honor. So, Sheepshead Bay, do we have any? If not – WHY?