501 See Streets

We are thrilled to feature Noah Sheroff of 501 See Streets as our guest blogger. We had the privilege of working with Noah on a project with the 110th NYPD Precinct. Noah is an awesome dude and we couldn't be happier to feature him. 501 see streets

During the summer of 2013, I took part in three street art walking tours in the NYC neighborhoods of Bushwick and Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There was something particularly captivating about the pieces… the way the community interacted, reacted… the businesses around them… the outdoor museum feel… the sight of artwork on otherwise bare walls. I was hooked. Coincidentally, I had become involved in the civics of the western Long Island community of Elmont (where Belmont Racetrack is located) and in the well-being of Long Island, in general. Statistics showed that young people were leaving. Empty storefronts dotted the landscape of Elmont and my hometown at the time, Franklin Square (just east). Local election turnout was mediocre at best. What could we do to revitalize the neighborhoods? I presented the idea before a local chamber of commerce and civic association. There was some pushback but mostly approval with similar results across the county. Eventually, I would notice much more interest in the five boroughs of NYC, particularly the Bronx.

Fast forward to autumn of 2013. I was nearly finished with my Master’s of Public Administration at NYU yet decided to extend my stay for one more semester. So, there I am in Gara Lamarche’s class: Leading Values-Based Culture in Nonprofit Organizations. We were tasked with an assignment (I forget the details) to come up with a set of values for a fictional nonprofit. I knew exactly what I would write about… an organization called 501 See Streets—a play on the nonprofit tax designation 501(c)(3) and a call for civic engagement (“See Streets” = pay attention to your neighborhood).

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