Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Coro


Last night I was in Red Hook to hear a presentation by a group of Coro fellows -- a dozen young public policy wonks who spent a week studying the "logic" of Red Hook. (Full disclosure: I was a Coro fellow back in the day.) I was impressed by how much they learned about the neighborhood in such a short time. But what really impressed me was the composition of the audience. Among the 50 or so people in the room were tenants of public housing, local artists, court officers, representatives of local elected officials, staff from neighborhood organizations, a member of the Ikea management team, and numerous community leaders. I think it is a rare institution that can assemble such a diverse group to have a serious, high-minded conversation about how a neighborhood works and how it can be improved. But my favorite moment of the evening was when the Coro fellows asked the audience to stand up if they felt safe walking through Red Hook at night. Unless my eyes deceived me, every single person stood up. I can guarantee you that this would never have happened when we started working in Red Hook in the 1990s. I take it as a healthy sign of how far Red Hook has come as a neighborhood -- and New York as a city.