By Patricia Adams
Howard Beach saw the debut of its newest community organization at the first meeting of the Lindenwood Alliance on Monday evening. The meeting was held by the co-leaders of the organization, Christina Gold and Joann Ariola, who explained the origin of the group and how they intend to serve the community.
More than two dozen residents were joined by representatives from the offices of local elected officials including Congressman Anthony Weiner and Senator Shirley Huntley. Councilman Eric Ulrich was on hand to offer support and to praise the organizers for their innovative approach to forming the group, and encouraged those present to spread the word and join the Alliance.
Gold led the discussion by informing those present that the Alliance was conceptualized by her and Ariola after the two first met at a meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council several months ago and had a subsequent discussion about the problems facing their community.
The women, both Lindenwood residents, decided that they would take action to beef up neighborhood security after a sudden spike in crimes involving vandalism and auto theft. Gold further explained that her interest was sparked after a group of teens threw a bottle into her backyard during a family party. “The bottle landed a couple of feet away from a 2-month-old baby that was sleeping in her carriage,” Gold said. “After that I knew something had to be done.”
The Alliance will not function as a typical civic organization and instead will focus on the integration of community, elected officials and local police. “Our objective is to get everyone involved,” said Ariola, a life-long Howard Beach resident and activist. “The problems we are having here in Lindenwood are much like those around the city. The difference here is that we intend to do something about them.” Ariola went on to say that the expected success of the Alliance will come from the dedication of the residents and the cooperation of elected officials and the police.
Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives from Phoenix Security, the company that has been retained by the community since 2002 and offers a neighborhood patrol service. Debbie Velez of Phoenix and Pam Goldstein of Neighborhood Crime Prevention detailed their respective operations and how they serve to protect Lindenwood residents. The company has two patrol cars, one marked and one unmarked, patrol’s the area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are hoping the formation of the Alliance will help to encourage residents who live in the areas private homes to participate in their program by agreeing to pay a fee to join. Inquiries can be made by calling 718.641.0100.
The Alliance will continue to meet on the 2nd Monday of every month at the Rockwood Park Jewish Center at 7:30 p.m. All are encouraged to attend and questions can be directed to Christina Gold by phone at 718.844.4743 or e-mail at email@example.com or Joann Ariola at 347.233.4382