I find community in my life on the stage. When I tell a story to a room full of strangers, I hope to have an impact on their life and create some change in this world.
I first came to the 14th Street Y in 2011 to see a play in the Fringe Festival that a friend of mine was involved with. I walked through a basic community center—down a couple hallways, around a few corners, and into the most beautiful large black box theater the East Village had to offer. I got a show of mine in that theater within months.
My favorite memory at the 14th Street Y is actually when I got married here on the set of a play I wrote, to my husband, who was in the play. He and I had been artists in this building for four years and we exchanged our vows on that set in front of our friends and community. We chose the Theater at the 14th Street Y before I was working here, because it had provided us a home as artists for several years. We just had nothing but amazing experiences here with the community.
The East Village is the home of indie theater and the indie theater movement in NYC. I am passionate about the mission that the 14Y has, to bring diversity and social justice into this community, and that’s what theater does—that’s what our theater’s mission is. It’s amazing that I’m here with like minded people that are interested in creating a downtown Jewish community center that speaks to diverse audiences and cultures about the issues we have in our country and our world.
The East Village is a place where you can find seniors who have been in NYC and have so many stories to tell, and it’s a place where you can find burgeoning families and young people who just are attracting, like a magnet, to a place with such history. It’s an immigrant history and an immigrant story, and I think we’re maintaining that and keeping it true. That’s what the 14th Street Y is all about—continuing community, always with an edge.
The 14th Street Y gave me a home as an artist. Four years into that relationship, they gave me a job, and they made it so I could work here, as an artist, and be a working artist.
Portraits of the 14th Street Y is a photography project by Bridget Badore that tells the stories behind the many faces of the 14th Street Y community, including members, staff, teachers, trainers, artists, caregivers, families, and local business owners. Each year, the unique stories of more than 20,000 New Yorkers is woven into the fabric that makes the 14th Street Y a Downtown home for all.