Community-building project provides a safe, accessible space for residents of all ages to enjoy
Murals and asphalt art speak to the community’s vision of equity, inclusion and belonging
New York, NY –The Public Housing Community Fund (Fund), in collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and genEquality, is thrilled to announce a transformative open space project at NYCHA’s Harborview Terrace Houses in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. The project, generously funded by a $250,000 grant from the Pershing Square Foundation to the Fund, was executed in partnership with nonprofit genEquality and their innovative Nudge Art program that engaged artists, Harborview residents and volunteers. This project marks a significant enhancement to the community’s recreational landscape and access to active outdoor spaces to improve community health, quality of life and safety.
The transformation includes a 20,000 square foot playspace featuring vibrant wall murals and asphalt art inspired by the voices and ideas of Harborview Terrace residents. The collaborative design process was led by genEquality and a stakeholder group of residents ensuring that the space reflects the community’s spirit. “You Belong,” the central slogan of the art installations, proudly stands out in more than 20 languages, including Braille, symbolizing the inclusive ethos of the community. A community chalkboard was also installed to allow resident leave messages important to them. Harborview residents selected and incorporated some of genEquality’s Shades of Equality in the design to signify various themes around equality, justice and inclusion.
Beginning this summer, the genEquality team led Nudge Art workshops with a stakeholder group of Harborview residents. These workshops culminated with a series of design sessions that were open to the entire Harborview community. Through this collaborative process, Bronx-based genEquality Teaching Artist Laura Alvarez created the final rendering of this multifaceted Nudge Art installation. This work of Nudge Art was brought to life through the participation of Harborview residents, as well as more than 100 volunteers from 16 other neighboring buildings, companies, and local organizations.
Notable additions to the playspace include two new basketball backboards and hoops, comfortable benches and seating areas, more than 20 planter boxes, a refurbished ping pong table, and the introduction of a pickleball court. NYCHA contributed to the project by installing controlled access and improved lighting to enhance safety and security.
In the coming weeks, the Fund will further promote accessibility by adding a new ramp and installing new tables, ensuring that the playspace is welcoming to all residents. Next spring, the Fund will partner with a CBO to facilitate a senior pickleball clinic in the playspace, engaging older adults living at Harborview in the popular sport.
“NYCHA is ecstatic about the 20,000 square foot open space revitalization at Harborview Terrace,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Decorated by wall murals and asphalt art promoting inclusivity and equality, this space will now embody the spirit of New York City, and serve as a proper gathering space for NYCHA residents and members of the surrounding community. We extend our sincere appreciation to Harborview Terrace’s residents and volunteers, the Public Housing Community Fund, the Pershing Square Foundation, and genEquality for putting this generous donation to work and creating such a valuable addition to the landscape of Hell’s Kitchen.”
“It is truly gratifying to see Harborview Terrace residents and the Hell’s Kitchen community come together to revitalize this open space,” said NYCHA Chief Operating Officer Eva Trimble. “We value our partners including the residents who took the lead, ensuring the design reflected the community’s vision.”
“This project will positively impact the over 600 public housing residents that call Harborview Terrace home and stands a symbol of pride and belonging in an evolving neighborhood. Working directly with Harborview Terrace residents and leadership, the project supported community building and is about fostering community ties, health, and wellbeing. The Public Housing Community Fund is investing millions of dollars in NYCHA’s open spaces across the city and this project is a testament to how public-private partnership can work for NYCHA residents and lead to positive change,” said Public Housing Community Fund Executive Director Alex Zablocki. “We are excited to see how this project enhances the quality of life for all residents and visitors for years to come.”
“This was a labor of love for the Harborview Terrace community, and we came together to redesign and transform this important playspace. For years to come, countless residents will enjoy this space, allowing us to be more active and build a stronger, healthier community. This is what our community does, and we look forward to supporting more projects like this for our residents,” said President of the Harborview Terrace Houses Resident Association Maria Guzman. “Thank you to all of the volunteers, partners and funders who made this project possible for the residents of Harborview Terrace Houses.”
“Working with the Harborview Terrace community has been deeply meaningful. Through our Nudge Art workshops, facilitated discussions, and design sessions, we were able to draw out the residents’ vision for their community space. The residents’ commitment to fostering belonging and inclusion clearly comes through, “said genEquality Executive Director Sherry Hakimi. “With the help of more than 100 volunteers who put in nearly 300 unique volunteer shifts, we were able to realize the community’s vision for this 20,000 square foot area that encourages play, sport, connection, inclusion, and belonging. We know this co-created Nudge Art installation and transformation will yield numerous positive dividends for the community, and can’t wait to see its impact continue to grow.”
“Play—per Piaget—is the work of childhood. We strongly believe that having access to active, playful, and beautiful outdoor spaces improves community health, safety, and quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Pershing Square Foundation Co-Trustee Neri Oxman. “This park is central to the community and now it is a space that our neighbors and the residents of Harborview Terrace can enjoy for generations to come. We were thrilled to be a part of this project and hope that it inspires others to invest in, and work with their communities to create meaningful and beautiful, shared spaces and spaces for sharing.”
This project is expected to have a far-reaching impact on over 600 public-housing resident community members, a majority older adults, by transforming their open space access and improving social resiliency. It is an embodiment of the award-winning Connected Communities methodology, advocating for direct positive change in public housing communities. The project is also part of a larger, multi-year strategy led by the Fund in partnership with NYCHA to forge partnerships with philanthropic organizations and invest in NYCHA’s opens spaces in all five boroughs with the goal of improving community health, quality of life and accessibility.
The Harborview Terrace development, established in 1977 is a home to a diverse group of residents that celebrate their community’s character and support their wellbeing in an ever-changing neighborhood. This project is a step towards ensuring that every member of the NYCHA family has access to safe, functional, and inspiring open spaces.
About Public Housing Community Fund
Public Housing Community Fund is a nonprofit that forges partnerships to power transformative programs that enhance the lives of over 500,000 residents across NYCHA communities. Our goal is to engage people and partners to build a stronger, more equitable New York City by investing in public housing communities. We invest in programs focused on leadership development, financial empowerment, community health, and workforce training for residents of the NYCHA community. www.communityfund.nyc
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to 1 in 17 New Yorkers, providing affordable housing to 528,105 authorized residents through public housing and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) programs as well as Section 8 housing. NYCHA has 177,569 apartments in 2,411 buildings across 335 conventional public housing and PACT developments. In addition, NYCHA connects residents to critical programs and services from external and internal partners, with a focus on economic opportunity, youth, seniors, and social services. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.
genEquality is a 501(c)3 social enterprise on a mission to creatively activate equality and inclusion. Through its Nudge Art programming, genEquality engages, educates, and empowers leaders and changemakers who want to make a difference in their classrooms and communities. Each Nudge Art program is unique because no two classrooms or communities are exactly alike, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for equality and inclusion. genEquality also developed the Shades of Equality, which are data-informed colors that each tell a story about equality. The Shades of Equality are incorporated into Nudge Art murals, which can be found in public schools and NYCHA communities in all five boroughs of New York City, as well as around the U.S. and in Canada. In 2022, the organization’s programs and initiatives reached nearly 4 million people. Learn more at www.genEquality.org.
About The Pershing Square Foundation
The Pershing Square Foundation (PSF) is a family foundation established in 2006 to support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable global impact. PSF has committed more than $600 million in grants and social investments in target areas including health and medicine, education, economic development and social justice. Bill Ackman and Neri Oxman are co-trustees of the Foundation. For more information visit: www.pershingsquarefoundation.org.