Editor’s note — Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been highlighting the fight to save Park Church Co-op from being torn down by real estate developers. Park Church Co-op has served as more than just a religious institution in our neighborhood — it was a space where the community could come together and dance, volunteer, listen to music and enjoy each other’s company. You can read a community member’s recent op-ed here, and get caught up on the long-standing fight to save the church here and here.
Locals have shared some of their favorite Park Church Co-op memories with us. Below, a local parent shares memories of a French after-school program.
La Pomme Verte was a low-cost French and art after-school program, created, run, and taught by local Frenchies Emeline Rouvre and myself (I am actually Swiss….).
We were looking for a space to run our program and someone suggested we reach out to Pastor Amy. Along with Cottonwood School and Teacup Music, I believe we were the first people to use the space for after-school programs. Others followed afterward.
It was a really fun large space which allowed us a ton of room for play. On warm days, we would spend most of the class outside in McGolrick Park, but when it was raining or cold, it was great to have that entire big downstairs room to run about in. We could really stretch out, dance, and do fun art projects, like full-body tracing and large scale drawings and paintings. The kids were always thrilled to play among the big velvet curtains that hung at the back of the space. We also had use of the kitchen for our snack time and where we also occasionally baked crêpes.
Because this was still in the early days of the French Dual Language at PS110 (across the park from the Church), there weren’t nearly as many French families and French support programs in the neighborhood as there are now, so it was great to just have a place for kids to come and be able to be together and strengthen their French learning through play and art. Pastor Amy kept it really affordable, so we were able to keep the cost of our classes low—I know a lot of parents liked that part of our program!
It is a shame that the church can’t be preserved for the community. There are so few large spaces in Greenpoint that aren’t behind some sort of big-money firewall, I honestly don’t think we could have done our program anywhere else. Plus, without the low-cost aspect, this kind of programming becomes much too costly to be sustainable for anyone without a big income. And that is a real shame, because all kids need space to play and parents need affordable care programs.
Sandra Nydegger is a local photographer, entrepreneur, a French tutor and mom living in Greenpoint for over 20 years.