FSG Member and president of First Street Block Association receives Lower East Side Hero award! The award was presented by FSG Co-Director Silva Ajemian.
“First of all I want to thank LES history month coordinators for their thoughtfulness to create this opportunity to recognize the efforts of deserving individuals. I am always amazed by individuals like Robert Graf. Individuals who have great capacity to give freely of themselves, their time, have the will and desire to better a neighborhood, a community or a street for all of us to enjoy. Robert has been a resident of First Street for over 30 years. He has a wealth of knowledge and history of the lower east side and a keen eye that has observed and documented the neighborhood through many photographs over the years. As president of the first street block association, Robert played a key role in the transformation of the then abandoned lot at the corner of 1st street and 1st avenue into a children’s playground. Every year he organizes the youths living on the street to plant trees and tend to the various plants around the park. He has also spearheaded the first street block party that takes place every year in September. When I first got involved with the residents of First Street regarding the derelict lot at 33 east First Street, his stories gave me much insight regarding the people who have lived on first street and continue to do so. As co director and on behalf of first street green I want to thank Robert for always being there to help us with our efforts to transform 33 east first street pocket park from a rat park into a cultural park. You have been invaluable to us.”