Taking it to our streets

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Ah, so many figurative and literal protest marches are needed locally, to save/restore the neighborhood places that meet everyday needs — not to mention safe passage — or the lack thereof because laws are not strictly enforced. And to help the cause, Antal Kiss’s wrongful death from a fall on an icy Yorkvile sidewalk must not be in vain.

This tragic and preventable loss of life was reported briefly in the News and the Post and then in this column which so thankfully prompted a response from the victim’s friend, Sheri Miller. And we learn how this 75 year-old long-time Yorkville resident was such an active and valued member of the Lenox Hill Senior Center. His thoughtful involvement helped make it a true community. And don’t we need that.

A memorial service was held at the center “and at least 100 people attended,” wrote his friend Sheri. And they spoke of how much “Tony” had meant to them, and how his absence is so profoundly felt.

Incidentally, before hearing from Sheri, an internet search found a 2015 Toronto newspaper obituary for an Antal “Toni” Kiss, who before moving to Canada had helped save “hundreds of Hungarians from the Hungarian Revolution.” There must be a family connection and how we need Yorkville’s Antal “Tony” Kiss’s wrongful death story to at least result in strict enforcement of laws which ensure safe passage, especially, the minimally enforced kind requiring walkways’ ice and snow removal.

And how ironic, Sheri added, that after the years of Second Avenue subway construction caused precarious walking, Tony should fall after all that was finally cleared away. More than ironic is how little protest was made against those decade-long unsafe and chaotic conditions for the community at large. And while maybe city-funded senior centers can’t do protests against questionable government actions or inactions, surely individual members can — and to save what they need most in their own backyards.

But surely neighborhood social activism must get equal time with social activities in other non-city subsidized groups for elders. Except only social activities are noted in a St. Monica Church’s recently formed senior ministry group’s questionnaire. No social actions listed, not even against the Second Avenue subway caused “skyrocketing rental values,” noted by St. Monica Church’s pastor, Father Donald Baker, in the Jan. 19 Catholic New York monthly. He fears older church and community members especially will be forced out of their homes. Stores and shop fronts with longtime presences in neighborhoods have already been priced-out. They have been going and going and going, but where was — where is — the protest?

To be continued, of course, but for now please, please check this paper’s Useful Contacts column and call in your concerns to local officials listed there – and any community groups too.

Thank you, Felicia Felday, for sharing this important social action tip, And here’s to remembering “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” no-nonsense advice civic groups used to hear from then 19th Precinct community police officers.

Equal time for social action, you bet! And it can be done if enough of us try — if enough of us try.


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