This past Tuesday morning, LW! President Arlene Simon and summer intern Ingrid joined with our local Council member Gale Brewer, leadership from Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), leaders from the New York City Housing Authority (or NYCHA), the Macquarie Group, and a host of residents and friends to celebrate a new media room at Amsterdam Houses.
Cutting the ribbon to the Amsterdam Houses media room!
For a full listing of those pictured, scroll to bottom of post.

Amsterdam Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (or NYCHA) development and LW! designation “Wish List” item, is a diverse community located between West End and Amsterdam Avenues, between West 61st and 64th Streets. 

Since 2007, Residents Association President  Margarita Curet (a 2011 LW! “Unsung Hero” award winner!), has advocated for the residents of Amsterdam Houses.  On the goal of technology access for her fellow tenants, Margarita’s efforts were matched by those of local Council member Gale Brewer.  As former chair of the City Council’s Committee on Technology, improved access to technology for constituents of all ages is one of Council member Brewer’s core objectives.

Victor Gonzalez (center, standing) speaks to Amsterdam Houses residents eager
to learn about the features of the new media room.

The Amsterdam Houses media room is a wonderful example of public-private partnership:
NYCHA donated the building space, outfitted with computers from the Macquarie Group, and OATS will provide instructional classes for residents from throughout the NYCHA developments, with priority for seniors from the local Amsterdam Houses and Amsterdam Addition.

For her third contribution to the blog (here’s her second!), LW! intern Ingrid reports back on the wonderful sense of accomplishment and excitement to learn new media skills at the ribbon cutting ceremony:

Everybody at the event was so thrilled. As the President of the Amsterdam Houses Residents Association, nothing has stopped Margarita Curet from achieving the goal of getting computers set up in the Amsterdam Houses community room, so that seniors can not only learn to use them but also move forward and learn new technology.

But she couldn’t do it by herself, so Margarita got in contact with other people. After working for several months with NYCHA and local elected officials like Gale Brewer, who I met for the first time, their hard work has paid off.  Amsterdam Houses now has a computer lab, but they’re not stopping there. I hope more equipment will come for the great people at Amsterdam Houses. 

I got to meet some of the seniors that will be learning to use computers, and I think that the whole project is a great way to bring the community closer together.  After all, everybody should have a chance to connect with other people on the internet.

LW! congratulates the collaborative efforts of all who supported this project and helped it to become a reality!  And we look forward to continuing our close relationship with Margarita Curet and her Amsterdam Houses “family”.  Next on the calendar: the annual Family Day celebration, on Sunday, August 3rd.  Come by and discover this spirited community and this landmark-worthy architecture for yourself (details to follow via email)!

PHOTO (from left to right):
Council member Gale Brewer; Melanie Schmidt, Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center; Thomas Kamber, OATS; a representative from the Macquarie Group; Victor Gonzalez, Resident Association President of Wise Towers and NYCHA’s first Resident Board Member; Doris McDonald, Vice-President of Amsterdam Houses Resident Association; Margarita Curet, President of Amsterdam Houses Resident Association.  Back row, between Doris McDonald and Margarita Curet: Clarence Gordon, Amsterdam Houses Resident Manager.

Photo credit: Office of Council member Gale Brewer.

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