The Columbia Waterfront District’s Tiffany Place, recently in the news for their fight against a landlord, held a block party notable for it’s difference from past years.
In addition to a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, a table with games and books for kids, a solar powered merry go round, music and a lemonade stand, they were visited by State Senator Andrew Gounardes, and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.
There was a back to school supply giveaway on a table close to Degraw Street, which was organized by John Leyva, who is the lead tenant organizer for 63 Tiffany Place.
He wanted to have this giveaway since some people really are in need and he wanted to do this as a way of thanking the community for their support.
“The community has been so good to us, we just wanted to give something back and thank everybody for their support,” Leyva said. “People have just been really supportive of everything we are doing.”
There were not many kids from 63 Tiffany Place getting supplies from the giveaway since there are not really young kids in that building any more.
There were many young kids about 30 years ago when he moved in but they are adults now. He has gotten to see the kids in the building grow up.
He had a son who was one when he moved into the building and is 30 now. The 52-year-old’s three younger children also grew up in the building.
Not many people move out of the building since people like living there.
“Most of the people have been in this building for close to 30 years like me“ Leyva said. “We are like family here. We have watched each others kids grow up. We looked out for each other.”
He added how it is a shame that some might have to leave.
The residents of 63 Tiffany Place, a low income building, are now, because of the landlord, at risk of being forced to pay outrageous rent increases that they can’t afford.
The building was profiled when they moved in 30 years ago as an example of tax programs that allowed low income New Yorkers to live in a building like this. However, these tax credit programs are set to expire the end of the year.
Leyva said the landlord, who had been silent despite all the publicity, recently finally answered back and put out a statement.
“We have awoken the beast since he was ignoring us for a long time,” Leyva said. “He is paying more attention now.”
The Carroll Gardens Association has been helpint 63 Tiffany Place for the past six years.
The bounce house and rock climbing wall were operated by the Party Jam company. On the other side, there were families playing corn hole and hula hooping. There was a station where with face painting, stickers and temporary tattoos.
In previous years, there was not much in terms of activities or giveaways on the 63 Tiffany Place side of the block, so Leyva decided that he wanted to change that for this year.
He decided to amp it up by having the hula hoops and he connected with Street Labs, which is a local non-profit that does pop ups and bring equipment to events.
Their studio is on Degraw Street a few blocks way. They go to NYC Open Streets and various events around the city and bring their equipment to enhance the activities.
He had a foam machine that he was going to set up later in the afternoon. He added that he was just trying to create happiness for the kids.
Source: Red Hook Star-Revue