Speaker: It’s just going to be running the whole time. And it’s really picking up the sound if you’re on the mike, so . . .
Rebecca Gordon: So, when I finish asking the questions, and I . . .
Speaker: Yeah, exactly.
Rebecca Gordon: Okay.
Patricia Ryan: Do we say our names?
Speaker: Yeah, that would be great. You start by just saying like, introduce yourself a little bit, saying how long you’ve lived in Amsterdam Houses. Anything that you want to say about yourself. That’s a great way to start so that we can – when I hear the audio later, I’ll know who’s speaking, you know? Yeah. [break in recording]
Patricia Ryan: I want to make sure . . . my name is Patricia. The last name is Ryan – R-Y-A-N, as in Nancy. And I have been living in Amsterdam Houses for 50-some-plus years. And now, me and Miss Rebecca is working together. She lives in Amsterdam Addition, and she’ll be asking the questions. No, she’ll be reading the questions and I’ll be answering them. Okay. Thank you. Here goes Miss Rebecca.
Rebecca Gordon: My first question is – “What has changed the most since you have lived in Amsterdam Houses? And what has stayed the same?
Patricia Ryan: What have changed the most – is the respect, it’s the maintenance, the people. And what has stayed the same is the flagpole out there on 62nd Street and Amsterdam.
Rebecca Gordon: “What does this community mean to you?” Patricia Ryan: Well, Amsterdam community means to me, or the community – period – means a lot. I was raised down here, and like I said earlier, the changes that have been made, and no changes have been made . . . but most of all . .
Rebecca Gordon: . . . we played dodge ball.
Patricia Ryan: I didn’t play that.
Rebecca Gordon: You didn’t play that?
Patricia Ryan: No, I played Double Dutch.
Rebecca Gordon: Double Dutch, yes.
Patricia Ryan: Hopscotch.
Rebecca Gordon: Yes.
Patricia Ryan: I played with the boys. (laughs) My mama didn’t know. Okay, those are some of the activities I’ve done. And before Lincoln Center arrived . . .
Speaker: (inaudible) sit with you, because I wanted to monitor this?
Patricia Ryan: Not at all.
Speaker: Okay great. I’m worried that some of it might have gotten cut off . . .
Patricia Ryan: Oh, my God. So . . . no, no, not at all. So those was the things that changed. Now, those are the things that we did, I did, in the community before Lincoln Center arrived.
Rebecca Gordon: “What was your first impression of Lincoln Center? What did you hope for and what did you fear about what it would mean for the neighborhood?”
Patricia Ryan: Okay. Well, my fear . . . let me do this here . . . I thought it was something nice that was coming. And We used to go up on the top and play, in Lincoln Center. But then my fear became when you had to pay money to get in. People in the community didn’t have the money to get in, so I personally felt like, as being not . . . being poor, let me put it in that respect.
Being poor – they would let us come in and see all the great things that they was having up there. But they did not do that. And then, they first had a walk-in for us, that are welcome, they showed, welcome to us. And then, they blocked all that off, blocked it all off so we couldn’t come in.
So, you know, and they still do right now . . . I can, let me . . . okay, I’m just going to tell my story. My personal story, and some of the community people. We thought that, because we lived in the community and it was told to us that they were going to build this place called Lincoln Center, and we were being invited to the free operas. To come here and, if we needed to use the facilities here, that we will be, that they would do so.
And I’m personally upset about that because there’s a lot of places that go up and they say, they come into the community – like Lincoln Center now, as I speak – come in. They want to know – what about, what do I feel about Lincoln Center? What do I feel about Amsterdam Houses, where I grew up at? What’s the changes?
And we sit down and we tell and they’re going to do this thing – and they never do anything. And I’m talking about Lincoln Center. Not per se, the people in here, who we are working with, you know. And the problem still exists right now. So, I just hope that they can just really, truly look at us as people, and not as – I call it “numbers” in Amsterdam Houses. Thank you so much. Finished.
Speaker: Do you mind re-doing some of the stuff from the beginning; I’m just worried that some of them might have gotten cut off. So if you don’t mind just repeating a couple of the ones from the beginning, and also just . . . introduce yourselves again. I just want to make sure that – because I don’t know what, I know some part of it got cut off, but I don’t now what part.
[break in recording]
Rebecca Gordon: Go from the beginning?
Speaker: Yeah, and did you answer the questions too, or were you just . . . did you interview each other?
Patricia Ryan: No. I did because . . .
Rebecca Gordon: She’s here longer than me.
Speaker: Okay, yeah, but we want everyone’s story. I think you . . .
Patricia Ryan: Okay, because you know what it was, what it was at . . . she didn’t live in Amsterdam Houses. But I was telling her that she can also speak as a, you know, about her experience because we’s next door and Amsterdam Addition is here now, which I didn’t even speak about. So, we’ll go again. All this, you’re going to delete anyway.
Okay, all right . . .
Rebecca Gordon: It doesn’t have to be in the same order.
Speaker: No, it can be . . . (inaudible)
Rebecca Gordon: That’s good. Go through the ones that we could have lost.
Patricia Ryan: It doesn’t matter.
Rebecca Gordon: It doesn’t matter?
Patricia Ryan: No. Let us introduce ourselves, again, she said. My name is Patricia. The last name is Ryan. R-Y-A-N, as in Nancy – who lived in Amsterdam Houses for 50 years. Grew up there. And I’m not at the Addition.
Rebecca Gordon: My name is Rebecca Gordon. I have been a tenant of Amsterdam Housing, Amsterdam Addition since 2002. And I will be interviewing Pat Ryan today. Okay? My first question is: “What do you need to improve this community?”
Patricia Ryan: People sticking together can make this a better place. And the surrounding community can help out too. Everybody working together. And the community can get improved in a matter of minutes, if we all work together, as one. Not as “some.”
Rebecca Gordon: “Why is public housing important to you?”
Patricia Ryan: Okay, public housing is important to me because I was raised here – that’s Number One. And also, there was a place where my parents came because they was poor. And housing was cheap for them. And it was a good place for myself, growing up here. So, public housing is very important and I can elaborate some more about what it is now.
But it just needs to come back, as everybody working together, as a team. And then, it can be better. It can be better.
Rebecca Gordon: Do you want to answer this one? Okay, “What has changed the most since you have lived in Amsterdam Houses? And what has stayed the same?” (inaudible)
Patricia Ryan: The flagpole stayed the same.
Rebecca Gordon: Okay, I’m just going over them because we don’t know if they . . . remember, if they were recorded or not?
Patricia Ryan: Okay, let me . . . the flagpole stayed the same. Shit, that’s the only thing. What has changed? Everything. We got buildings around us, we got Lincoln Center that came. We just got buildings and buildings and more buildings. That has changed. And what else has changed? There’s no communication.
Rebecca Gordon: “What does this community mean to you?”
Patricia Ryan: Well, now, this is my last one. What does the community mean to me? And you can answer that too – what does the community mean to you too? You don’t want to answer? Okay, the community means to me is – a goldmine for me. And when I say that, I’m not speaking of money. I’m just speaking of the times that I have been here, spent here.
And seen the different people and nationality of people moving in, moving out. Buildings being built. Stores. You know, from when I grew up here, but . . . I love my community and I just, my bottom line, like I keep saying, let us all work together. And Lincoln Center – let’s work together, you know. We need to rent out a little room here and there, work with us. Okay? I can elaborate so much more . . . but I’m not. You know, you have to (inaudible). We’re finished. Hello!
Speaker: Thank you.