by Bill Batson
The only thing not central about the Nyack Center is their location. At the corner of Depew Avenue and South Broadway, their address is too southeast to claim the geographic middle of the village. But in all the measurements that matter, Nyack Center sets the civic standard.
It is a place where children find safety, support and a space to study and adults gather to experience art and culture and discuss public policy. The premises, with a distinguished historic pedigree, shelters small businesses creating an indoor market place.
The schedule of events for the next five days offers a window into the value that the Nyack Center adds to the community and provides several opportunities for you to support their important work.
Almost Two Centuries of Service
Nyack Center operates from the oldest surviving house of worship in our village, the First Presbyterian Church. The original sand stone building that stood on this spot was erected on land deeded by Peter Depew in 1816. It was torn down and replaced by today’s familiar wooden edifice in 1839.
If not for an enlightened congregation and a dynamic woman, this building would have been demolished in 1990. Jane Sherman knew that a dwindling number of congregants could no longer sustain the church. As a Presbyterian elder and the head of Nyack’s Park and Recreation committee, Sherman was also acutely aware of the need for space for young people in the community. Finding herself at the intersection of need and opportunity, Sherman was able to convince the Presbytery of New York to confer the church property to a non-profit for $1.
In response to Sherman’s bold leadership, the community stepped forward to help secure this legacy by donating funds and volunteering labor. People like Jo and Peter Baer made substantial contributions to help transform a 19th century church into a 21st century community center. The task of continuing the epic tradition of good works is now in the skilled hands of Nyack Center Executive Director Kim Cross.
Nyack Center serves the Nyacks and the larger community of Rockland County, with programs, facilities, and opportunities for service. Nyack Center administers breakfast and after-school programs, classes and camps nurture children, teens and families and provides space for others with similar goals.
Cultural tenants at the Nyack Center include Rivertown Film, who have offices and screens films and Associated Press courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, who organizes a weekly figure drawing class on Thursday evenings from 7:30-10p.
In this year’s annual appeal letter, Kim Cross quotes author Wes Strafford:
I have become convinced that the more wealth a country accumulates the more isolated and lonely its people become. The loneliest are usually the children and the elderly. Children learn what they live, and isolation in the ‘village’ is one of the most destructive messages we daily write on the tablets of their hearts.
A donor has committed to match up to $25,000 of donations to the Nyack Center.
To contribute, contact the Nyack Center at nyackcenter.org. or you can send a check to the Nyack Center, PO Box 764, Nyack, NY 10960
Wednesday, December 4, 6-9p
Maria Luisa & ML Gifts Shopping Extravaganza
An evening of friends, wine, hors d’oeuvres and shopping. There is a 10% discount off all purchases and an additional 10% will be donated to the programs of the Nyack Center. Food for this evening of shopping and giving has been donated by Art Cafe.
Thursday December 5, 8a-2p
Nyack Farmers’ Indoor Winter Market Opens with Special performance by Sam Waymon
The Nyack Farmers’ Indoor Winter Market starts their second indoor season on Thurs., Dec. 5 at the Nyack Center with a performance by Jazz/Blues legend, Sam Waymon. Waymon will play two sets; one at 11:30am and another at 12:30pm.
For years, locals who love fresh produce and family farm products had to go cold turkey when Nyack Farmers’ Market vendors packed up their tents each November. Now, veggies and other farm fresh goods are available year round in Nyack. The indoor Famers’ Market will be open every Thurs. from 8a-2p through April when the open air market reopens.
The timing and location of Waymon’s performance is very special. In 1973, Waymon was the lead actor in a scene from the cult classic Ganja & Hess, that was shot on the same stage where he will play on Thursday. Soon, you will be able to hear Sam’s music as the score for Spike Lee’s remake of the film that will be released shortly.
Friday, December 6, 6:15p
Winterfest with Sukey Molloy & Friends
Presented by The Nyack Center, Nyack Art Collective, organizers of First Friday, and PlayMove&Sing Inc. Enjoy a multicultural holiday concert for families and children (age birth to 7).
Sunday, December 8, 7p
Readings and Music in the Holiday Spirit
Get in the season’s spirit at the Nyack Center’s 18th annual holiday festival. The extravaganza of readings and music is co-produced & co-hosted by Broadway’s Kevin Pariseau& Elliott Forrest of WQXR/WNYC. The evening will be ushered in with Irish Rocker Sean Fleming, the sweet singing sounds of Annika with Sonya and Charlotte from Still Safire, saxophonist James Kimak with guitarist Jeff Doctorow and vocalist Lorena Mann — and a special reading by the best selling writer Alyssa Capucilli (author of the “Biscuit” series of children’s books).
The event benefits Nyack Center’s community and youth programs and is sponsored by The Hindin Center-Whole Health Dentistry. Adult tickets are $20, Children, $7. For more information call (845) 358-2600 or go to nyackcenter.org