Google, Gaga, Groundbreaking: The ‘G’-Whiz Week That Was |

Google, Gaga, Groundbreaking: The ‘G’-Whiz Week That Was

Hammering away at a good idea: Electeds joined NYCHA and Hudson Guild reps on Nov. 2, to begin the Fulton Center’s ambitions renovation project. Photo courtesy NYCHA.

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | It was a very good two-day period indeed for those with an affinity for hard hats, project design renderings, and our nation’s seemingly robust novelty gold hammer manufacturing industry.

On Thurs., Nov. 2, a groundbreaking ceremony put the business end of those shiny hammers to an equally symbolic plank of wood. If that action was for show, there was no doubting the real work about to take place. For the first time since its opening in the 1960s, the Robert Fulton Houses’ Fulton Center (119 Ninth Ave., btw. W. 17th & 18th Sts.) will undergo a substantial renovation.

Touting the groundbreaking, a press release from Hudson Guild (which runs all of the programs at Fulton Center, where NYCHA is the landlord) noted that, upon completion, the work will see restoration ofa critical anchor to the Chelsea neighborhood,” providing “seniors with social services, education programs, daily meals, and activities. It will also offer our community a modern, inviting space for meetings, celebrations, and youth activities.” All of the Center’s bathrooms will become compliant with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), the kitchen will be modernized, and a “teaching” kitchen for kids and seniors will be added. The art gallery, currently located in the back, will face the street to entice passersby. Staff offices and meeting spaces are also getting an upgrade, as is the building’s exterior, lobby, and all-important Fulton Auditorium (frequent host to Community Board 4’s full board meetings).

A rendering shows what the revamped Fulton Auditorium will look like. Courtesy Hudson Guild via Render 3DQuickly.

In addition to Hudson Guild and NYCHA representatives, the electeds in attendance included Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, and Councilmember Corey Johnson — all of whom can be seen in the accompanying photo wielding those much-ballyhooed (at least by this publication) golden hammers. The project is expected to wrap up in fall 2019.

One day after the Fulton Center groundbreaking, on Nov. 3, representatives from nearby neighbor Google attended PS 11’s Family Friday event to speak with parents, kids, and community members about playground renovation plans. Senator Hoylman, who also attended, noted, “We have an obligation to ensure quality education is always attainable in New York City, and Google’s ongoing collaboration with PS 11 is no doubt a component of that effort. It was a pleasure attending today, and I look forward to seeing the progress PS 11 makes down the road.”

Google employees did the brick and mortar thing, stopping by PS 11 to share designs for the upgraded playground. Photo courtesy Google.

The school, located on W. 21st St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves., received a $47,000 Beautification Grant from Google. Volunteers from the ubiquitous Internet company have been pitching in lately to improve various brick and mortar aspects of the school. Later this month, that same team will return to assist in the installation of a Gaga Ball Pit on PS 11’s rooftop play area. Not sure what a Gaga Ball Pit is? Google it. You’ll wish you were a kid again.

L to R: Carrie Beth Wood (PS 11 parent, Google employee), Rachael Keller (Google employee leading Gaga Pit project), Carley Graham Garcia (Head of External Affairs, Google NYC), and NYS Senator Brad Hoylman. Photo courtesy Google.