The NYJL will revitalize St. Nicholas Park during April and May 2021!

The New York Junior League’s Playground Improvement Project (PIP) is excited to announce that we will revitalize St. Nicholas Park in Harlem, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation!

Every year since 1992, New York Junior League (NYJL) volunteers, as part of the Playground Improvement Project, have designed, planned, funded, and completed a playground or park renovation. Initially focused on local school playgrounds, the NYJL eventually forged a partnership with the NYC Parks Department to revitalize public parks. Many Manhattan parks lack funding or staff to make general improvements to gardens, benches, and playground equipment. The NYJL helps meet these needs by contributing supplies and dedicated volunteer time.

A “ribbon park” bordering Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville, and Harlem, St. Nicholas Park was created in 1895 when the City acquired the land after the close of the Croton Aqueduct. The patron saint of Amsterdam, St. Nicholas contributes his name to two of the park’s surrounding streets, commemorating the Dutch farmers who settled northern Manhattan in the late seventeenth century.

Now, St. Nicholas Park brings together Harlem neighbors for festivals and other community events. It features basketball and handball courts, playgrounds, a dog park, and barbecue areas. Operated by the National Parks Service, Alexander Hamilton’s historic home also resides in the park. Residents visit the park to host neighborhood gatherings and barbecues, play catch, observe park activities from park benches, read, and exercise in the park.

In 1995, Harlem community members and City College formed the initiative “Take Back St. Nicholas Park” and renovated the park. In 2010, the New York Junior League beautified the park and is excited to return for another round of renovations this spring.

Due to COVID-19, the NYJL is only allowing current NYJL volunteers to help restore St. Nicholas Park during specific weekends in April and May. NYJL volunteers may sign up on the NYJL calendar

If you have questions, please contact playground@nyjl.org for more details.

Life Through Another Lens: Contessa Officer

“Life Through Another Lens” brings the stories of our members, in their own words, shedding light on how we experience the world and the NYJL through different lenses, informed by our individual cultural identities.

This article has been lightly edited for clarity.

What prompted you to become a member of the New York Junior League and how long have you been a member? As an active member of my church and a long time member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., I have a strong commitment to community service. When I started looking into the Junior League of the City of New York, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to serve on one of the many wonderful committees, expand my network and gain new skills. I’ve been a member since 2012 and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
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Life Through Another Lens: Kathleen Adams

This is the first of a new series that highlights the stories of our members, in their own words. This series aims to shed light on how our volunteers experience the world , their volunteer service, and the NYJL through different lenses, informed by our individual cultural identities. For our first installment, in honor of Black History Month, we feature NYJL volunteer Kathleen Adams. We are grateful to Kathleen for being the first!

This article has been lightly edited for clarity.

What prompted you to become a member of the New York Junior League and how long have you been a member? I joined the New York Junior League when I was in college. I moved to New York City and attended Fordham University for both undergrad and grad school. I wanted to meet other women outside of just campus life, and I wanted to volunteer, so I decided to join. I’ve been a member since 2008. (more…)

The NYJL Goes On: Volunteer Development Strives and Thrives

By Rachel Geringer-Dunn, NYJL New Membership committee co-chair

Prospective volunteers attend a New Member Orientation to learn more about the NYJL.

COVID-19 has impacted every part of our lives. We never could have imagined that nearly a year into the pandemic, face masks and social distancing would still be a way of life. Despite the challenging mandate of staying home and away from one another, New York Junior League (NYJL) volunteers pivoted quickly and creatively to meet the needs of both our community partners and our volunteers. (more…)

Keeping connections with Senior Friends

By Lauren Junge, NYJL Senior Friends committee co-chair  

   

The elderly population is the largest growing demographic in the United States, making volunteer services in the community a critical need. NYJL’s Senior Friends volunteers serve the senior community at the New Jewish Home by forming and maintaining relationships with the residents, who enjoy making new “friends” with our volunteers.  (more…)