Julie: Portraits of the 14th Street Y


I feel comfortable here. I’ve had so many different jobs and experiences, but at this one I feel like I can be myself, express myself, and grow. The 14th Street Y gives us a chance to express and explore different sides of ourselves; the parts that we’re excited about. I think that’s really special. I feel loved and recognized, safe and comfortable. I feel like I have permission to be curious.

My passions have changed over the years. I’ve been passionate about dance and choreography, and I’ve had the chance to do that here. LABA really worked for me because I was a choreographer and I have a dance company, Avodah Dance, that has a Jewish background. I was already working here when LABA started and I was looking for a place for Avodah Dance to have a home, so being a LABA fellow was a natural fit.

The deep dive into text and linking that with choreography–that I enjoyed incredibly. I got to study text, I got to do choreography, I got to be in an intergenerational dance experience–the Y allowed me to do that. I did this incredible project called the Body Project, which was an intergenerational dance project involving women ages 23 to 83. We looked at the text in Genesis about being created in G-d’s image and connected that with how we felt about our own bodies.

I’ve been passionate about teaching, and I still am, and I get to do that here as well. I also did LABA kids in the beginning and that was incredible. I would collaborate with Jake, our storyteller, and I would create dance classes based on Jewish stories–creation, the manna falling from the sky–and it was all connected. We really danced those stories.

Relationships, family, school, education, kids… I’ve gotten to have my family here! I just feel like, because of the life cycle of the place, that I’ve gotten to really “dig-in” to each phase of my life here. I came here to start as a teacher, starting in the pool and with pilates. Now I’m the Director of Member Experience. I think it’s really amazing that I get to progress and grow as a professional, and as a teacher, and as a human being here. The 14th Street Y has really provided for me–I feel like I can keep growing, and this place provides the resources for me to keep growing. There’s such a loving feeling here at the 14th Street Y. There’s nothing like this.

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.

Learn more about this exciting photography series here. You can also follow along and support the Downtown Stories on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Join us for eight days of Hanukkah celebrations here at the 14th Street Y! 

We’re also honoring the Jewish tradition of Tzedakah, which in Judaism is simply an act of justice and righteousness–the act of giving back to our community and those in need because it is the right thing to do.

We urge you to join us for 8 Days of Giving as we aim to raise $18,000 by December 31!

Your generous support helps us provide programs at reduced rates to those in need. No matter what holiday you celebrate, we hope you’ll join us in the spirit of giving this year to help us keep our doors open to everyone in our beloved Downtown community.



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