Meet Two of Eight, New to CB4


BY SCOTT STIFFLER  | Long hours, no pay and a constantly expanding, complex universe of land use, transportation, landmark, license, permit, housing and quality of life issues that will impact urban living for decades to come — this is just the tip of what you’re in for when you sign up to serve on Community Board 4 (CB4). Literally. You have to sign up — by visiting the website of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, then downloading an application, then going through an interview process during which you make your case to make an endless amount of lasting, strictly voluntary contributions to improve conditions on the street where you live. Eight enthusiastic locals recently got the BP’s thumbs up, and are now members of CB4. Over the next few issues of Chelsea Now, you’ll meet them and hear, in their own words, why they wanted to serve and what they hope to accomplish.

Photo by Stephen Greco Eric Latzky, on the High Line (at 18th St.).  
Photo by Stephen Greco
Eric Latzky, on the High Line (at 18th St.).

ERIC LATZKY   | Currently serving on the Chelsea Land Use and the Landmarks committees

I’m a native New Yorker, born in Manhattan. I grew up in Riverdale and moved back into Manhattan when I was 15 years old. I’ve lived in West Chelsea for about four years now and prior to that, Downtown in various locations.

This particular part of Manhattan has been a part of my life since childhood. My grandfather was a wholesale butcher who worked out of the Meat Market for 55 years (when I was growing up, it was called the Meat Market). I would go to work with him as boy, which was a special treat. The High Line was still operating as a freight rail. This part of Manhattan was a very different place — undeveloped and largely industrial…although by the 70s and 80s, a good deal of it was derelict or certainly underused. Years later, in the early 90s, I worked at The Kitchen, a performing arts center on 19th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. At that point, it was still very desolate, although the art world was beginning to migrate to this part of Manhattan.

Today, it’s very vibrant, having experienced an incredible renaissance over the last 10 to 15 years, perhaps a little longer. It’s wonderful to live here and be a part of that, but it also raises questions about further development of the area — and I think in the coming years, the final shape and disposition of this part of Manhattan will be determined. That’s why I became interested in joining CB4.

I’ve just joined. So right now, I’m attending meetings, listening and spending my time learning about the state of development in the neighborhood. I’m particularly interested in historic preservation, in the context of progress.

Photo by Jeremy Darty   Third generation Chelsea resident Ambur Nicosia.
Photo by Jeremy Darty  
Third generation Chelsea resident Ambur Nicosia.

AMBUR NICOSIA  | Currently serving on the Chelsea Land Use and the Quality of Life: ACES committees

I am a native of Chelsea, third generation. Our granddaughter will be fourth generation (I have two daughters). I was raised in a family where advocacy is very important. As a tenant in Penn South, I’m a strong advocate of affordable housing. I’m involved with the LGBT organization we’ve started at Penn South, and I’m also on the parents committee.

For me, CB4 is a meaningful way to remain active in the community. As a parent, making sure the neighborhood continues to be safe, stable and interesting becomes a powerful motivating factor, I want this to be a community my children are proud to inherit. We have an incredibly diverse population in this district, and that is our greatest strength.

There’s a great deal of development happening in District 4 right now — and along with it, a really exciting opportunity to shape that development so we’re improving the quality of life for the residents, balanced with the long-term economic benefits.

The Special West Chelsea District is a perfect example where the community board is trying to maintain some of the unique characteristics of the neighborhood, while supporting growth. I had read about that prior to applying, and I think they’ve done a great job with that balance.

The Quality of Life Committee is something that’s near and dear to me. I’m interested in working on behalf of CB4 to see more partnerships between the local schools and the cultural institutions in the community. There’s a real opportunity there to build these sorts of channels. The issues being handled by the Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee are also of interest to me.

As a Chelsea native, I remember what those areas were like 10, 20, 30 years ago — and I think the community board, and locals, have done an absolutely amazing job of developing those areas, so they’re being utilized by the neighborhood. Who knew the piers would be family-friendly one day?