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NYer Of The Week: Theo Dixon Keeps Community Smiling As Unofficial Mayor Of West 71st Street

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This week's New Yorker keeps a loving, watchful eye on neighbors as the unofficial mayor of his block on the Upper West Side. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.

Theo Dixon's community starts on West 71st Street between Columbus and Amsterdam.

As most of his Upper West Side neighbors will tell you, he's been the unofficial mayor around these parts since he moved in more than a decade ago.

"I try to do something every day to add something to the upbeat of my community," said Dixon.

"His presence, I see it as one of real community building, it's very neighborly, it's very warm," said Katina Ellison from the West 71st Street Block Association.

"I get worried if I don't see him in a couple of days, because he's pretty much the mayor of 71st street, but he's also our touchstone, so ever since he's been here there's been a big difference," said neighbor Susan Wands.

Born at New York Hospital in 1925, Theo served in the military during World War Two.

He never married, but he has a huge family on West 71st Street.

"This is my family here, darling, I love these people,' said Theo.

Most times, you'll find him in front of a cafe, or outside of the Hargrave House, the senior citizen residence where he lives.

He always keeps an eye out and doesn't miss a beat.

Kimberly Evans met Theo the day after she moved in.

"I was walking across the street and he said, "Darling, how are you today? You're new on the block," like he knew I was new on the block," said Evans. "He saw me walking out of my apartment and he said, "I want to know who you are. I like your energy," and that's how we just started talking, and that's how he ends up talking to everybody. He knows everything that's going on around here."

Theo turned 88 recently, and his neighbors threw their mayor a party, though it was really for his favorites on the block - the kids - who he says give him more than they know.

"That is my medication - the children, the future - and as far as I'm concerned, that's what the whole thing is about," said Theo.

"This is your block, and we love you," said a resident.

So, for keeping a watchful, loving eye on his corner of the city, Theo Dixon is our New Yorker of the Week.

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If you'd like to nominate someone to be NY1's New Yorker of the Week, send an email describing their qualifications to nyer@ny1.com or mail a letter to:

NY1 News
New Yorker of the Week
75 Ninth Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10011

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