Chronicle Exclusive: Community Leaders Meet With Allerton Coops, Parkside Houses Residents Saturday


(l. to r.) Vitaliano, Torres, Gjonaj and Thompson.

“If we do nothing, nothing will change,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres speaking to constituents at a community meeting on Saturday afternoon at the Senior Center at Parkside Houses in Allerton.   ” You have to be part of the solution…We have no choice but to try.  We might fail, but we have no choice but to try.”

IMG_20140322_141936At the meeting, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and the Councilman met with residents of the Allerton Coops, located at the corner of Allerton Avenue and Bronx Park East, and residents of Parkside Houses.  They were joined by Community Board District Manager Jeremy Werneke, Community Board District Manager Anthony Vitaliano, and 49th Precinct Community Affairs officer Vic DiPierro, as well as Bronx Park East Community Association President Raphael Schweizer (photo^^) and other active community members.

Photo c/o

The main issues raised by community residents involved drug dealing within the Coops, which has an interior courtyard (see photo>>) which makes it difficult for law enforcement to see what is going on outside from the street.  Other issues raised were the lack of consideration by management during snowstorms to properly maintain safe walkways, leading a local resident to tearup explaining she feared for her mother’s safety.


When asked about the possibility of the Coops having an NYPD  “eye in the sky” installed in the area (photo >>) to better monitor the criminal activities, Community Affairs Officer Vic di Pierro (see photo<<) said, ” Unfortunately theres only so many available… We only get them temporarily.  I understand when we had it have it here, it was for a particular reason.”

White Plains Road BID director and 49th Pct. Council President spoke (above–sorry about the loud air conditioner sound, folks) about the need to put faith in new elected officials like Councilman Torres and Assemblyman Gjonaj, whose performance since taking office has been a great improvement over prior incumbents. (“We have two strong people here.”)(The Assemblyman’s predecessor was defeated amid scandal and the Parkside Houses were formerly in the district of conviced felon Larry Seabrook.)  

Assemblyman Gjonaj (above) and Councilman Torres (below)closed the meeting reitierating Thompson’s call to keep up a dialogue with neighbors, calling for residents to stay vigilant and affirming their support for efforts to eradicate crime in the area.  Pointing to Torres, the Assemblyman said, “This man cares and I know we’re going to make a big difference in your homes and in your community.”

IMG_20140322_145819After the meeting, Councilman Torres and his staff met with Community Board member and Parkside Tenant Council member Arlene Drayton about the conditions of the Parkside Senior Center, where the meeting was held, regarding a plastered wall that the Housing Authority has balked at painting, as well as a unreplaced light (see photo>>) that leaves an area of the development near Adee Avenue unlit at night.

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