Block association flourishes after neighbors bond over video chat

In the age of covid, neighbors who didn't necessarily know each other beforehand had to do so through Zoom and group chats.

The West 111th Block Association launched right before the start of the coronavirus pandemic and soon realized they needed one another more than ever. The group is made of residents who have volunteered to help organize numerous events safely to provide relief and stay connected. The association covers West 111th Street between Riverside Drive and Amsterdam Avenue in Morningside Heights.

"We work to keep our block clean, safe, and livable," says Dan Sweeney, who helped to launch the group. "We think that's really important because during these difficult times, we want to reinforce our community bonds and do what we can to help our neighbors."  

Events have included an open streets program that helps restaurants with additional seating, restoring a community garden, and collecting nonperishable items.

"I'm just an ordinary person. I was just living on my block," says Lisa Greenwald, who wanted to give back after her classroom went virtual. "I've met so many people through the West 111th Street Block Association. It has been really wonderful to work with everybody and to make this more of a community."

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