What makes a community
by Ed Wendell
Aug 22, 2012 | 2007 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We recently spotted a blog post written by a former resident bemoaning the lack of a "sense of community" in their former home. It's amazing - if you ever want to know what's wrong with Woodhaven, be sure to ask someone who doesn't live here anymore. They're experts.  

But it got us thinking. The dictionary definition of "community" goes something like this: "A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality and share government." I suppose that's technically accurate, but it misses the true flavor of what makes a community special.

A special community is made up of people who care for one another and who care about their surroundings - the type of people that turn out to help one another. People such as those I have just described came out last Friday for the benefit to fight Alzheimer’s at the Forest Park Carousel.

A couple of hundred people visited Forest Park that evening, riding the carousel, buying raffle tickets, or just making small donations to the cause. New York Carousel Entertainment generously donated all proceeds from the evening to the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

It’s a great feeling that never gets old, watching the Forest Park Carousel spinning again after nearly four years of inactivity. And if you haven’t seen it at night yet, let me tell you something, it looks absolutely glorious. Children lined up to take the ride time and time again, sometimes dragging their parents with them.  

In total, close to $2,000 was raised. More importantly, the event (and the publicity in the weeks leading up to it) helped raise awareness about this awful disease, as well as the help and assistance that is available through the Association. Queens resident Carol Lacks, who came up with the idea for the fundraiser, said she was grateful to everyone who came out and showed that they care.

This event was barely over before Carol began working to publicize the next fundraiser, the “Queens Walk to End Alzheimer's” on September 30th from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Flushing Meadows Corona Park (111th Street and 55th Avenue). You can join Carol’s team (Team Rose), or you can start your own team or walk as an individual.  

And here’s the carousel connection: New York Carousel Entertainment also runs the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Carousel.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s a real treat. (Something to keep an eye on – the entire roof spins as well as the carousel.)  And anyone wearing a wristband issued by the Alzheimer’s Association gets a free ride.  Email CarolLacks@aol.com or Google “Queens Walk to End Alzheimer's” for more information.

It was great to see so many people coming out to show that they care, but it wasn’t something we haven’t seen before here in Woodhaven.  In fact, it’s something we see over and over here in our special little community in the city. We see people coming forward to support our Little League teams.  We see people coming out to clean up the neighborhood. We see people reaching out to help one another.  

In short, we see people caring about each other.  

Now, there are residents of Woodhaven who will read this and wonder what neighborhood I am writing about; residents who do not view our community the same way. It’s quite simple. You aren’t going to find a caring community sitting in your living room.  You need to make that leap of faith and reach out to your community. Get involved.

Looking for a place to start? Try the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. Visit our website at woodhaven-nyc.org and read up on the things we care about. Reach out to us and you will find people who care. And you’ll find yourself caring about your community just a little bit more.

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