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ANDY FISHER - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


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ANDY FISHER

In NoHo, a Neighborhood Watchdog Forges a Team of Power Brokers


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Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 5.13.50 PMRay Lemoine

She’s been called “NYC’s biggest killjoy,” and now she’s looming larger than ever. Last Tuesday at Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing meeting, longtime activist Zella Jones publicly unveiled the NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders, a group of heavy-hitters that will act as a united front in helping to determine the course of the historic neighborhood – with Ms. Jones as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Two years in the works and modeled after similar organizations in Baltimore and San Francisco, the non-profit 501(4)c consists of 250 paying members, including residents of NoHo, local real estate and business owners, and non-profits such as the Merchant’s House Museum and La MaMa.

At Community Board 2 meetings, where Ms. Jones and her loose coalition of concerned neighbors were once the neighborhood’s scrappy watchdogs, they’ll now be part of what Ms. Jones likens to “A Team of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about President Lincoln’s cabinet.

“We have some really powerful people – some of whom traditionally have squared off against each other for a variety of reasons, from out-of-scale development to landmarking to nightlife proliferation – all involved for the benefit of NoHo,” she said, adding that the group’s members range from “purist” property owners who began their NoHo careers in artist-in-residence lofts to the more recent arrivals living in the sleek new properties on Bond Street. Read more…