Pat Moore goes from meeting to meeting to meeting.
As a member of Manhattan Community Board 1 for 12 years, and the chair of its Quaility of Life Committee for the past 6 years, she’s worked on a host of local issues. They include sanitation, rodent control and noise from construction and road work — and each one means she’s off to another meeting.
She’s advised local public officials how to identify locations where tour buses can lay over, without idling, while passengers visit the 9/11 Memorial. She’s worked with the Port Authority in an advisory capacity, discussing the plans and designs for the new Liberty Park. Early in her tenure as a board member, she worked with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office regarding city emergency notifications, (including Amber, senior alerts) something that grew out of 9/11.
“Some of us said we needed the ability to notify early, for the city’s notifications system,” Moore says.
The neighborhood has seen unprecedented growth. According to community board stats, the number of people in the downtown area has tripled since 9/11. “We’re dealing with the success of the neighborhood,” Moore says.
That means 90 active construction projects, and all the accompanying sanitation issues, unannounced street closures, and excessive variances that allow work to continue when residents are trying to sleep, live, and work.
It’s hard to imagine that Moore wasn’t always a community activist. A professional sweater and jewelry designer, Moore and her husband, the late artist Andy Jurinko, originally moved downtown as young artists, in 1977. They found a large space to live and work. Many creatives were settling in Tribeca, but the more pioneering among them headed further downtown. Moore even recalls the marshes, docks, and piers when the West Side elevated highway was still up. Now it’s Battery Park City.
It was 9/11 that propelled Moore into awareness of how city government works, or often doesn’t work, and how to make it do a better job. She and her husband, along with their neighbors, were faced with losing their 25 loft apartments in the 150-year-old building that was once commercial but that had sat vacant for 5 years before they had all moved in.
On 9/11, Moore and her husband and a close-knit community of neighbors were among thousands who ran for their lives as the towers came down around them. They lost two cats and years of their lives (accumulated equipment and personal work), including irreplaceable knitting machines and jewelry-making equipment. Images of the aftermath show the apartment filled with mountainous piles of debris, and even computers that blew in from the WTC through their windows.
It takes years to develop a community. They weren’t about to let that go. After the two-month rescue and recovery period was over, they realized that the city had other ideas for their building. Because their building was in the “hot zone,” when it came time to reclaim their home and belongings, government agencies didn’t make it easy to gain access. They tussled with police, and even the National Guard. It was finally then-Speaker Sheldon Silver who got them access.
At that time Councilman Alan Gerson recognized Moore’s abilities as a community activist, and put her name forward for Community Board 1. Her work there continues to be a major part of her life.
“I enjoy being of service,” she says, “being able to recognize a problem, and then seeing that I and members of the board can effect changes and make our community a better place to live.” Then she adds: “That’s why so many people want to live here.”