2 Communities Say "Save Our Firehouse" 

On Sunday, June 5th 2011, the communities of Richmond Hill and Woodhaven gathered together on Jamaica Avenue, outside our local firehouse on 101st Street, and made a loud and clear statement that closing this firehouse -- closing any firehouse in NYC -- is dangerous, foolish, and unacceptable.  The residents were joined by elected officials, civic leaders, and union representatives. 

The Richmond Hill Block Association and the Woodhaven Residents Block Association came together to organize this rally, making it a true grass roots rally.  A few thousand fliers were distributed throughout the community and the word was spread through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, et al.  The local media also did a wonderful job getting the date and time of the rally out there.

People started to gather an hour before the rally, and some really neat handmade "Don't Close The Doors Of 294" signs were distributed.  Many thanks to all who took the time to attend the rally and support our local firehouse.

There were some neat signs on display -- here's one with Mayor Bloomberg as the Grim Reaper and headstones representing each firehouse slated to close.

Here are 2 more signs -- one calling for the taxation of the "rich" -- and one from a business owner explaining how his business (used books) is particularly at risk.

Here's an effective one, detailing the disastrous effect the closing of Engine 294 would have on our communities. 

Pretty soon, the crowd started getting bigger and spilling out on to Jamaica Avenue.  Eventually, traffic had to be re-routed so that the rally could be held safely.  The fire engines were moved into the street so that if there was an emergency the rally wouldn't interfere with the vehicles getting out.

The crowd was assembled and the rally was set to begin ....

Here is Wendy Bowne, President of the Richmond Hill Block Association, getting ready to deliver the opening remarks.

Here are some video highlights of the rally -- a lot of speakers making very good points. 

It was a good rally in that no single speaker spoke for too long -- everyone got up, made their point, and got off.  It kept things moving and kept the crowd involved.  In fact, watch the video and you'll see how involved the crowd was -- it was terrific!   Elizabeth Crowley, one of our representatives on the City Council, and the Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, was the MC for the rally and inspired the crowd into various chants.

The crowd was a wonderful mix of young and old, of nationalities and colors --


Sen. Joe Addabbo spoke to the crowd and suggested ways for Bloomberg to pay for the firehouses. 

And Eric Ulrich of the City Council spoke to the residents and urged them to fight.

Here is another video of the rally, this one by Mr. Woodhaven:

The rally was a terrific example of people coming together for a common cause.  It was a terrific success.

We hope that you were there.  And if you weren't -- and you are a resident of Richmond Hill or Woodhaven -- then don't complain if the worst comes to pass and Engine 294 closes its doors.  If you won't spare 1 hour to fight for the adequate fire protection then what exactly will you fight for? 

If you have any comments, or would like to suggest other projects, drop us a line at info@projectwoodhaven.com or projectwoodhaven@aol.com 

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Photos by Joey Wendell