20 Years on Amsterdam

What has the JCC, in this building, meant to the community over the past 20 years?

The JCC's Samuel Priest Rose Building opened in September 2001, welcoming nursery school students into our beautiful space. The rest of this 14-story vertical village opened in January 2002. We gathered testimonials, stories, and memories from our community, to find out: How has this building impacted you? The neighborhood? What is your favorite memory or activity in the center? We received numerous testimonials and tributes, and while all were heartfelt and beautifully put, we wanted to spotlight some of our favorites here:


Home Away from Home | Ayala Usdin

The JCC has been our “home away from home” since we moved to the Upper Westside 16 years ago. We got our lucky ticket when our eldest daughter was accepted into the nursery school in 2011, and our lives were forever changed. We met friends who are like family. To this day, these friendships and connections help guide us along our parenting journey....

 

Locker Room Memories | Barbara Fleck-Paladino

It was 2013. Joe, my husband of thirty-seven years, had died. I was coping as best I could. At the JCC, the swims helped; sympathy from fellow locker room friends consoled. ...

 


My Second Home | Charlie Manzano

For nearly 200 months now you have been my second home. You were my first school, My first camp, my first stop in discovering who I am. It’s hard not to smile when I see the faces of people inside your lobby. My Mom told me when I was a child that if I ever got lost, I could not trust any stranger who came up to me. “Except for people in the JCC," she said, "You can always trust them." ...

 


Our Aqua Therapy Ritual | Chris Heine

Sometimes a structure is just a structure, and when this semi eyesore building was being erected back in 2001, and our young family was living on West 86th street and fully preoccupied with our newly born son, we didn’t think much about it. As a Jewish family and UWS devotees we were of course glad to see it rising and curious if there would be any worthwhile programs, but we had no way to know at the time just how much our family’s life and this building would become profoundly connected. The meaning of 334 to our family is beyond heartfelt. ...

 


My Friend Sam | Robert Klein

As someone strongly allergic to religion and to ethnic labels, it took me years of walking past the Samuel Priest Rose Building before I actually set foot inside. My direct inducement was the bright and inviting swimming pool that was open during the pandemic for socially distanced laps....

 


20 Years and Counting | Francine

My first interaction with the JCC was studying beginners' Hebrew, even before the new building existed. When the building went up in 2001, around the corner from my apartment, I became a charter member. I loved the gym, the pool, and the yoga and strength training classes....

 


Feeling Fully Seen | Vivian Conan

In 1971, when I moved to the Upper West Side, there was a gas station on the SW corner of 76th and Amsterdam. As a car owner, I appreciated the convenience. The gas station closed, and for a while the lot was empty. Then the garage next door began using it for overflow parking. The cars disappeared, and the garage attendants told me a Jewish organization was going to erect a building there. I missed the gas station....

 


A Place Where I Belong | Tallulah Echtenkamp

I grew up in the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. I was in Classroom 1 and Classroom 8 and Classroom 5. I did gymnastics at the JCC for nine years, with Andrea and Anthony and the other coaches....

 


A Caring Community | Amy Rosenfeld

I have been a member of the JCC before it was on Amsterdam and 76th Street. I then joined the building when it opened, and have not left, not even during COVID. The virtual programs and my remote work made staying at the JCC possible....

 


Finding Joy | Jennifer Lee

The opening of the JCC on Amsterdam Avenue coincided with the beginning of our lives as a family on the Upper West Side. Our daughter was just shy of two years old and we immediately became founding members. Who knew that the building and the community would provide a home for our growing family for the next two decades?...

 


A Beacon on the UWS | Pamela Sandler

Thank you for being our second home, a place where our children grew into deeply connected Jewish beings, where they found independence AND community. We look to you for guidance, laughter, knowledge, friendship, and art....

 


A Center for Our Family | Frank Davidson

26 years ago, we were looking for a local place for our two year old son to meet and play with Jewish children. We joined a group who were organizing the JCC on the Upper West Side. Since then, we have participated fully in the sports programs, fitness center, cooking classes, education classes, computer courses, lectures, movies, and bridge classes....

 


Too Many Memories to Recount | Nick Bunzl

I've been involved with the JCC almost from the beginning. Too many memories to recount, but a few: Our first successful auction at Christies. Our blowout auction in the gym after 9/11. 24 hours of Israel non-stop programming, followed by an evening at Symphony Space, went off without a hitch. The day the online registration crashed from excess demand. The day I helped shepherd a goat in the lobby during a children's event. ...

 


An Amazing, Nurturing Environment | Jamie Eisen

The JCC has played a very special role in our family's life. The nursery school taught our two children Jewish traditions and values from the time they were two years old, and, even more importantly, our family became part of an amazing community of nursery school families. ...

 


Three Cheers for the JCC | Jane Gundell

Boom! Dynamite! Boom, boom, dynamite! Hold on. Wait a minute. Put some more Settoga in it! Three cheers for the JCC....

 


Breaking Boundaries at the Tikkun | Bracha Lieberman

Stay the Night (Tikkun) is definitely my favorite program of the JCC, bringing people together from all over the community. Both live and livestream, it's immersive, multifaceted, fascinating, engaging, something for everyone, boundary breaking, and gives people a chance to try something new thanks to a variety of sessions, subjects, formats, and approaches....


Changing Life on the UWS | Judy Bunzl

I told a cousin: move to the Upper West Side, the JCC building is going to be completed and it will change life for everyone living on the UWS. Little did I know how completely the JCC would change the life of myself, my family, many friends, and countless others who lived on the Upper West Side. ...


A Light-Filled Home | Lilian Stern

Happy Birthday 334 Amsterdam! Our family remembers the building rising up from the construction depths to become the modern and light-filled home for the locus of Jewish continuity, activity and engagement we have now. Yasher koach!