Nyack Center more than a community building, a place for building community through...events by Dr. Lori Martin
Nyack Center more than a community building, a place for building community through...events, which create opportunities for residents to share proud traditions and shape the future. Nyack Center is the site where people historically pushed to the margins are welcomed and celebrated. Nyack Center embodies many of the qualities that make Nyack a community that people far and wide always consider home. It is fitting that Nyack Center is located in the heart of our beloved community because Nyack Center represents the soul of the community.
Dr. Lori Martin
Associate Professor at LSU
Bench by the Road 2015
Dr. Lori Martin is the author of "The Ex-Slave's Fortune: The Story of Cynthia D. Hesdra." It was the story of Cynthia Hesdra that inspired Nyack's Bench by the Road project.
The Nyack bench is 15 in a series of benches throughout the United States. The Toni Morrison Society's "Bench by the Road" project was inspired by comments the writer made about the lack of recognition for the history of enslaved Africans. "There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves," Morrison told The World magazine. "There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath, or wall, or park, or skyscraper lobby. There's no 300-foot tower, there's no small bench by the road. ... And because such a place doesn't exist ... the book had to." Nyack's Bench by the Road was dedicated to Cynthia Hesdra last May 2015.
Link to lohud video of the dedication day-http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/05/18/toni-morrison-speaks-at-bench-dedication/27562767/
Who Was Cynthia Hesdra?-reprinted fom Nyack Sketch Log
Cynthia Hesdra was born a slave in Tappan, New York in 1808 to John and Jane Moore. Cynthia’s father, one of the wealthiest men of his time, owned and operated a mill in Sparkill. He also constructed mill wheels that were said to have produced blankets for soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
She eventually met and married a man by Edward Hesdra, the son of a white Virginia planter and a free black woman from Haiti. After their marriage, the couple purchased Cynthia’s freedom. The two settled on Amity Street in New York City. Cynthia operated a successful laundry business in New York City and she owned several properties there.
Eventually, she took her trade to Nyack, NY, where she also accumulated property and operated a business. Among the many properties owned by Cynthia and Edward, was a house located near the intersection of Route 9W and Main Street in Nyack that was part of the Historic Underground Railroad. The Hesdras were rumored to have been in charge of the station between Jersey City, NJ and Newburgh, NY. The house was destroyed during the period of Urban Renewal in the 1970s.
When Cynthia Hesdra died on February 9, 1879, she was reportedly worth $100,000, the equivalent of 3 million in contemporary dollars. In 2010, Piermont Ave. between Hudson and Depew was renamed Cynthia Hesdra Way.
Artist and Event Organizer, Bill Batson pictured with Dr. Toni Morrison.
When we first moved here in 2007 I enrolled my daughter Nancy in African Drum lessons after school. We needed something for her to do after school, and this looked really unique. She loved it! Not long after that, we attended Monster Mash, and felt we'd really landed in the perfect town.
The next year in 2008 I volunteered to run figure drawing sessions through Hopper House for a few years. Hopper House was a great space, but was renovating and we could no longer be housed there.
Nyack Center has given us the perfect space for us to continue our sessions. We've been able to flourish as a non-profit collective, and provide a place for young and old to grow their creative selves, as well as high-schoolers who need to develop their portfolios for college applications in the creative fields.
Drum lessons, films, dancing, tutoring, concerts, winter indoor farmer's markets.. it all happens in Nyack Center. Such a versatile, giving place-aptly in the heart and IS the heart, of our community.
Thank you, Nyack Center.
Artist and past Nyack Center Board Member
June 5th Save the Date!!!!!
Nyack Center more than a community building, a place for building community through...Caring and Vision
While working with Nyack Center through Please Pick Project, I have had the pleasure of watching everyone on the Nyack Center staff take sincere joy in the positive experiences of the students that thrive there. The best kind of community is built at Nyack Center—one founded on love, caring, creativity and vision. Nyack Center has the caring and vision to do what’s good for kids, families and neighbors; thus, they cultivate the greatest good in our kids, families and neighborhoods. I’m proud to be part of the community that they are building.
Please Pick Project
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Click link button below to see Suzanne's Ted Talk
From Please PIck Project-Getting ready to start some cool organic gardening workshops at The Nyack Center after-school program! Plus, we're very excited to introduce a garden-to-table Please Pick culinary program for summer campers at Nyack Center. Thanks to our friend Maria and several local chefs, including Brian from O'D's Tavern, campers will visit the gardens in our edible town and learn how to create healthy, restaurant quality food!
Thank you to everyone who rowed, donated and cheered on our rowers at Rowathon 2016 this weekend! We are grateful to event sponsors and partners Rockland Rowing for making the event such a success!
Huge shout out to our mulchers Glenn Meyerson, Nick Howard, Jill Lobo and Jen Smith! Mulch was delivered last weekend and will continue this week. We couldn't do it without the amazing team of our Corporate Sponsor Superior Waste & Carting!
Men Cooking-June 5, Save the Date
Nyack Center staff & community members submit posts highlighting our community.