Places for collaboration, community outreach and development, and inspiration are more important than ever. For what will be a year this coming March, the world has been wracked by the effects of a pandemic no one saw coming, and thus, one for which none of us were prepared. However, one could say the pandemic showed us quite a bit about what humans are capable of when it comes to supporting one another, and the work done at the Bushwick Generator is a perfect example of humans helping one another through trying times.
In this Wednesday’s WHSAD Makerspace session, students heard inspirational narratives from community leaders as to the work done before, during, and will continue after Covid-19. Jay Solly, Cofounder of Sustainable United Neighborhoods, Emerick Patterson, General Manager at Heritage Equity Partners, and Toby Moskovits, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Equity Partners, spoke to the WHSAD Makerspace students about the Bushwick Generator and how a building can help transform a neighborhood.
Below are today’s presentation on our school’s YouTube page and student insights as to what they learned.
In this presentation I really liked how they are able to give back to the community in such an impactful way, spreading food all around different neighborhoods, making kitchens and providing food for people during the holidays. Also, I like that they have events for people to enjoy. I don’t remember all of them, but they did mention something about a game night where they have board games and other things for people to enjoy, and I feel like they are doing a great thing for the community during these tough times.
Jordan Lewis, Junior
Today we had a presentation presented by Emerick Patterson, Jay Solly, and Toby Moskovits. They are the ones who are currently working on the project Bushwick Generator. Toby showed us a virtual site tour for Bushwick Generator and showed us the inside of the building. She explained to us how the building was being constructed and what are the components of each room. Jay presented his slides about what they did before COVID-19 and after they got impacted by the pandemic. They did several activities like having a game night, a design exploration with senior interior design students from Pratt, and, they helped and gave out about 700K food meals to help out the community for those in need of food. During the holidays, they also helped give food to families. Jay said that there are many great ideas from Bushwick residents. The residents want to ensure some kind of meaningful job pathways for their children and grandchildren.
Janet Martinez, Senior
Out of the multiple topics discussed during today’s presentation, the topic that captivated me the most was Team Sun’s work with NYCHA communities. Team Sun had food relief for low-income communities, specifically NYCHA communities, during the current pandemic. This has led to at least 40,000 households receiving food. Jay Solly, wanted to do this as he has been in the predicament that many NYCHA residents are in with their food supplies being low, especially during a time of hardship with the beginning of the pandemic. Solly stated, during the presentation, that he would rely on food banks for his meals and that on Christmas morning, he’d rely on the food banks to give him and his family “Cap’N Crunch” cereal. Solly’s own experiences with low food supplies is what led to him helping many people, who are in the position he was once in, receive food relief. Team Sun had many positive impacts on those in need, during the tumultuous year of 2020. These impacts include managing $3.5 million worth of in-kind food donations during the pandemic, receiving $50k in funding directed giving and only receiving $10,000 from the government, and providing an estimated 13k hours of volunteer service in 2020. Team Sun’s dedication to help those in need during a time when people needed help the most is what I liked most during the presentation.
Mekhi Brown, Senior
From this meeting there were countless takeaways and interesting details the speakers touched on. Personally the way something feels and what it means intrigues me more so when Toby mentioned how they used cobblestone to add detail and feeling in between the different uses of the sites my attention was grabbed. She went on to show the site and I got a sense of the feeling it holds. Toby Moskovits said the detail was to create a street effect and it was perfectly thought out just like the different uses of the space. The divisions and areas were laid out perfectly. It’s engaging for the workers, visitors, and the community. I can see why this project is so talked about and highly liked. They said how Covid affected the project in the sense that now it will take an estimated 3 years to be completed, but as they enter phase two, they are on track. Covid did not stop their movement of being a community bridge. The generosity they had while distributing food to those in need is just as motivational as their hard work on the site. Just like the Smallpox Memorial Hospital Project I’m working on , the Bushwick Generator has 3 phases as well. They have completed the first and are now looking which tenant would be a good fit and then they’ll go from there. The third phase is making the 2 small buildings the footprint. Just like my project we are going to use the existing site as a footprint for the adaptive reuse architecture. Currently they have 2 artist residents and have art galleries to help engage people , host game nights , a women empowerment group , etc., which each unite people because it means something special to them. They each see the need for their work, by hosting different things that interest people they keep everyone engaged. Toby and her fellow partner gave a life lesson on how to land a job you really like , you must do your research and background check , apply your time and energy to give a little extra push to make yourself stand out , its okay to step out the box to land a position you really like and if you know you can help and be a crucial component with the projects occurring. Overall the presentation was informative and relatable. The time and energy these projects take is evident but the outcome already seems beautiful.
-Maya Ortiz, Senior
I was highly impressed by the virtual tour towards the beginning of the presentation. Toby Moskovits was very energetic, and you can tell that she is very passionate about her work. Based on what I’ve seen, it is still a work in progress from the green scaffolding from the outside to the work being done on the inner courtyard. Toby explained that there are currently four buildings on the site and when they are finished with rezoning, two of the smaller buildings will be demolished to make way for the new building. They thought of making an inner courtyard mainly due to the fact that it opens up the property better. It’s also good to bring up the fact that they are running a local community art gallery and a food distribution center, making just over 200,000 meals. I was flabbergasted at all the activities these amazing people undertake.
-Savie Currency, Senior
Today’s presentation with Jay, Emerick and Toby was interesting. I loved hearing about the things they have done for the community. They have been able to bring meals to families all around Brooklyn. As of April 2020, they’ve delivered 205,000 meals! They’ve done a lot for the community, for instance, their Holiday Relief Coalition, virtual artwork shops, urban resilience and urban farming. It is great to see what Brooklyn Generator has done for the community because their efforts have affected me personally and helped my family and neighborhood as well.
-Hailey Brizuela, Senior
Throughout the presentation,I have learned that the Bushwick Generator project has been going on for around two and a half years but has been in planning for much longer.
Phase 1 was completed. This phase included presenting the project ideas to possible investors to see who like their proposal. Phase two is still in progress. After the investors joined the project, architects and designers as well as engineers of all kinds are being brought into the mix. These are the people that are helping the idea become a reality. Phase 3 is the actual execution of their plan. This is the phase where everyone works together to get the project done.
William Cordova, Junior