How Nice is Your Neighborhood?

Ever wonder why neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Park Slope are so darn nice with their tree lined streets, little shops, clean new playgrounds and expensive housing? Why crappy areas seem to suddenly become nice ones overnight? Envious of your Brooklynite friends who seem to have all of the amenities? Well we are going to let you in on a few keys to neighborhood success and how to help make your hood as nice as you want it to be.

So what makes a nice neighborhood anyway? Here are a few of the top characteristics of a “nice” neighborhood.

  • Clean & Pretty Streets
  • Gardens & Trees
  • Well Maintained Houses and Condos
  • A clean new playpark
  • A Good Elementary School
  • Families
  • Small Shops and Restaurants

The simple key to neighborhood improvement in this: community associations and involvement. Weather you rent or own your place shouldn’t matter, it is still important to GET INVOLVED by cleaning, grooming, and advocating for niceties within your community. Here are a few simple things that you can do TODAY to make your neighborhood a nicer place to live.

Maintain Your Local Park – On May 19th 2012 hundreds of city parks and playgrounds are asking for your help for Its My Park Day. You can gather up your family and friends for a few hours of painting, gardening, and park clean up that you can ten enjoy all Summer long.
Save the Queens Library in 30 Seconds or Less The Queens Library is suffering. It is at risk of losing most of its financing if you the people of this fine borough don’t open your computers and help. They have a petition that you can sign here. Sign it and spread it around like a stomach virus.. keep your local story time going.
Vote in the Partners in Preservation NYC – Partners in Preservation is in New York City in 2012 and certainly one of the 40 sites are near to you. Partners in Preservation is a community-based program which provides preservation grants for local historic places. All you have to do is vote every day until the end of May 2012.
Meet Your Neighbors – One of the best ways to encourage community involvement and nicety is to know your neighbors. The more community members you know and socialize with, the more invested everyone is in their block. Host an outdoor BBQ so that everyone can get to know one another.
Support Small Businesses – DON’T SKIP OVER THIS – I know, I know, you shop at local stores all day long, buy your diapers at CVS, milk at Key Food, clothing at the local Mall but here is the thing….. none of those are local businesses. If the owner of the store you shop at lives in your area then it is a small business. When you buy diapers at your locally owned pharmacy, that money gets put directly back into your neighborhood by paying employees, eating at restaurants, activities etc. When you shop at a corporate chain, most of your cash goes out of the community and straight to a corporate headquarters. So buy your morning coffee at the local bagel joint, milk at the health food store, and diapers at the pharmacy closest to you. Think of the few extra bucks it may cost, as in investment in your neighborhood.

More Involved Ways to Improve your Hood

Organize Small Community Efforts –Websites like Meetup and Facebook can assist you in organizing neighborhood picnics, events, and Reach out to the Girl Scouts and Local Schools for volunteering projects like park clean up,
Host a Block Party Fundraiser – You will need to obtain a street permit from the city and organize your neighbors but block parties are wonderfully fun and a great way to raise money for your block. Use the funds raised to do house painting, street planting, fence painting etc.
Bring a Greenmarket to your Area – Encourage organic produce and shopping by putting together
A great example of neighborhood unity in Queens is Jackson Heights – Travers Park, 78th Street Play Street, The Jackson Heights Beautification Group,