Neighbors plead with co-op: ‘Tear down this barricade’
By Sarina Trangle
Barbara Connolly asked for a few hours of access.
Ms. Connolly said the seniors at the Riverdale Gardens co-op complex, where she serves as tenants’ association president, are not able to endure the circuitous route to the supermarket now that a locked gate stands between Netherland Gardens and the Skyview Shopping Center.
If the gate was open for a few hours daily, she argued, more elderly people could make it to the nearby A & P by trekking from one bench to the next and resting until they had the strength to reach the shopping strip along Riverdale Avenue near West 259th Street.
North Riverdalians have grumbled since Netherland Gardens installed the gate last October and posted a sign describing it as a security measure.
For years, residents of other nearby buildings, including Skyview and Riverdale Gardens, walked past a “Private property, No Trespassing” sign and strolled through the walkway to shorten their commute to A & P, the pharmacy and other shops in Skyview.
Though Netherland Gardens has given its residents fobs that unlock the gate, some have begun speaking out against the black, metal barrier.
Chris Gregory, a retired police officer, collected signatures on a petition in his building over the summer. About 15 people in a residence with approximately 45 units signed a request to keep the gate open during daylight hours, he said.
“It’s not very neighborly,” Mr. Gregory said, noting that the board would not give a fob to a priest who lived up the hill. “Seniors, they don’t come here anymore because they can’t. They have to walk all the way down the hill and go around. And this was their shortcut for 40 years.”
Mr. Gregory said more people criticized the gate, but did not feel comfortable signing the petitions, which noted the safety measure took many residents by surprise because the Board of Directors did not announce it beforehand.
The board sent Mr. Gregory a Sept. 26 reply indicating it had previously considered unlocking the gate, but decided against it due to security concerns.