By Lisa Kava
Between West 61st and West 64th Streets, bordered by Amsterdam and West End Avenues, are 13 residential buildings with common outdoor space and playgrounds. The Amsterdam Houses were built in 1947 by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), “the largest public housing authority in North America, created in 1935 to provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.”
Alton Johnson, a former resident, recalled his childhood in the Amsterdam Houses in a poignant piece, in which he remembers watching Lincoln Center being built outside his window.
“The chatter in the projects was that the Amsterdam Houses would also be demolished to make way for new, bigger and better things,” Johnson wrote. “That has still not happened. Once all the new construction was complete, there stood Lincoln Center in all its glory, with new housing, schools and subway stops (66th Street) bordering it. But right behind, in the middle of all this newness, still stand the Amsterdam Houses.”
To honor the 75th anniversary of the housing complex, on Saturday, July 30th, from noon until 7 PM, a celebration will take place.
There will be activities for children and a special lunch for seniors (call 929-412-5985 to RSVP for the lunch). Planned activities include: balloon art, clowns, jugglers, magicians, face painting, rock climbing, basketball games, and a free photo booth. A salsa band called Los Hacheros will play music and provide entertainment. There will be refreshments and an open “food court.” The party will take place on 64th Street between Amsterdam and West End Avenues.
According to the organizers, the celebration will be a “family affair where the Amsterdam community celebrates 75 years of shared love. It will be a day full of fun, food, music, and basketball games.”
All are welcome.