Henry Street Settlement opens doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social services, arts, and health care programs.
This timeline provides an overview for the first 122 years of the Henry Street Settlement’s history.
Lillian Wald “settles in” on the Lower East Side to care for the poor. Wald’s philosophy establishes Henry Street as a national leader in service to children, families, and the poor.
Wald moves to 265 Henry Street during the summer. The building is a gift from Jacob Schiff, who purchased the property earlier that spring and arranged for its repair and furnishing.
The Settlement adds buildings at 299, 301, and 303 Henry Street, which includes a gymnasium.
The Settlement opens one of New York City’s earliest playgrounds in Henry Street’s backyard to provide a safe environment for children forced to play in crowded and unsafe city streets.
The salary for the first public school nurse in New York City is paid by Henry Street. Her success prompts the Board of Education to appoint nurses in schools.
The Settlement opens its first summer camps: Camp Henry for boys and Echo Hill Farm for girls.
The Lewisohn sisters build The Neighborhood Playhouse, one of the first “Little Theaters” in New York City. Between 1915 and 1927, the theater presents plays by Shaw, Joyce, and Dunsany. Now called the Harry De Jur Playhouse, the theater continues to showcase many Settlement arts programs.
The Henry Street Music School opens. Through the years it has hosted and produced hundreds of concerts and operas and trained thousands of musicians.
Lillian Wald retires and becomes Director Emeritus of Henry Street Settlement.
Helen Hall, former Director of the University Settlement in Philadelphia, succeeds Lillian Wald as Director.
To combat the loan shark racket, Settlement members start the Credit Union. Over the years, neighborhood residents received over $3 million in loans.
The Homeplanning Workshop is founded to help residents of the newly built Vladeck Housing projects and other community members repair furniture and appliances, make clothes, and mend shoes. One of the earliest programs in a public housing facility in New York City, the Workshop continues to serve the neighborhood today.
The Visiting Nurse Service of the Settlement separates from Henry Street to become the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
Now called the Community Consultation Center (CCC), Henry Street’s Mental Hygiene Clinic, one of the first of its kind in the country, is founded to bring psychiatric help to the community. The CCC currently serves more than 500 people each year.
Henry Street alumni create the Good Companions Senior Program in order to provide companionship and activities for the elderly. In 1967, the program becomes a Federal Government pilot project to determine the effectiveness of multipurpose senior centers. As a result of the project, federal legislation is passed to fund nutrition centers for the elderly throughout the country.
On May 30, a 23-year-old choreographer presented the first public performance of his choreography at Henry Street, a dance called Jack and the Beanstalk. That choreographer was Paul Taylor, the youngest member of the pantheon that created American modern dance, and one of history’s most celebrated artists.
Henry Street helps create the experimental Mobilization for Youth, which brings together Lower East Side resources to attack juvenile delinquency. It provides the foundation for future federal poverty programs during the 1960s.
Operation Athlete is founded. The program helps young men and women enter college through academic preparation and access to athletic scholarships. Since its inception, more than 1,000 young people have participated in the program.
In order to learn about urban issues, United Parcel Service (UPS) managers from across the country begin to live and work at the Settlement through the UPS Community Internship Program. The Program celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1992.
Bertram Beck succeeds Helen Hall as Director of Henry Street Settlement.
Henry Street Settlement’s Day Care Center opens to serve the culturally diverse families of the Lower East Side with learning and enrichment for very young children.
The alumni group of the Settlement, the Henry Street Oldtimers, celebrates its 30th anniversary by honoring songwriter Sammy Cahn (a former Settlement participant) in a dinner at the Hilton Hotel. Jack Benny acts as master of ceremonies in an evening featuring such guests as Red Buttons, Johnny Carson, Warren Beatty, Julie Stein and Senator Jacob Javits.
The Pioneer Counselor in Training Program is founded at Camp Henry, an all boys camp. Leadership, community service, and job skills are taught as part of a year-round comprehensive youth development program.
The Settlement’s Housekeeping Service is established to assist the frail elderly and disabled in maintaining their independence. In 1991, the program will expand to serve people with HIV/AIDS.
Henry Street receives its first housekeeping contract from the New York City Department of Social Services, allowing the Settlement to provide homemaker assistance to Medicaid clients who are homebound, infirm, and handicapped in the borough of Manhattan.
The New Federal Theatre is founded by Woodie King, Jr., originally funded by the Henry Street Settlement along with a small grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. The theatre’s first season is launched in the basement of St. Augustine’s Church on Henry Street, where its administrative offices remain today.
The Urban Family Center, one of the first transitional housing facilities for homeless families, is founded. To date, it has helped more than 5,000 families to move into permanent housing.
Dedication of the Arts for Living Center (now called the Louis Abrons Arts Center.) First Lady Betty Ford, Mayor Abraham Beame, former Mayor Robert F. Wagner, and the National Endowment for the Arts Chair Nancy Hanks attend. The Center is one of the first arts facilities in the nation designed for a predominantly low-income population.
263-265-267 Henry Street, the Settlement’s original buildings, are declared national historic landmarks.
One of the first publicly funded battered women’s shelters in New York City opens under the auspices of the Urban Family Center.
The Shelter Management Training program (now the Center for Training) opens to bring the Urban Family Center’s experience with current and formerly homeless families to workers in shelters. In 1991, the program expands to serve managers of public housing facilities.
Henry Street is designated the official provider of AIDS Mental Health Services for the Lower East Side by New York City’s Department of Mental Health.
The Urban Family Center is singled out by Diana, Princess of Wales, when she visits New York City, as one of the most effective programs for homeless families. Her visit brings international attention to Henry Street.
On July 13, Governor Bill Clinton visits Henry Street. He mentions his visit to the Settlement on national television later that week as he accepts the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination at Madison Square Garden.
The Housekeeping program expands to Brooklyn, where it begins providing housekeeping services to Russian-speaking clients. Russian-speaking administrative staff are hired, and about 200 Russian-speaking home care workers are hired to serve about 400 Russian-speaking clients.
Child Health Plus is introduced in the state of New York. Henry Street is one of the sub-contractors of the Children Aid’s Society, enabling the Settlement to assist clients in the enrollment of health insurance for children ages 1 to 19.
The Community Consultation Center receives the William Charet Award from the New York City Department of Mental Health for its excellence and leadership in the field of mental health.
Larraine Ahto, CCC clinic director, receives the New York State Office of Mental Health Lifetime Achievement Award.
Arts in Education coordinators receive the Coming Taller Award from the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities in Washington, D.C., for Abrons Arts Center’s Architecture and Design/Community Arts Project.
Henry Street officially opens the Workforce Development Center at 99 Essex Street. The state-of-the-art facility offers a one-stop location for comprehensive employment services and adult basic education. It features a conference room, classrooms with audio-visual tools, a career resource center with research resources and tools for client job searches, a 12-station computer lab, and a video studio.
Henry Street Settlement’s walk-in service, the Neighborhood Resource Center, opens at the Community Consultation Center to serve clients impacted by 9/11 and to offer accessible and concrete housing; financial, legal, and crisis counseling; and advocacy services.
The Arts in Education director is invited to serve throughout 2003 and 2004 on the committee that developed the New York City Department of Education’s “Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts,” which has become the citywide standard.
“9/11: The Great Equalizer,” an essay by NRC Director Vita Iacovone is featured in On the Ground after September 11: Mental Health Responses and Practical Knowledge Gained, released in September as part of the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Harlem Legal Services and Legal Services of New York on September 20, 2005, names the Community Consultation Center as an “outstanding community partner” for its work in the Lower East Side through the Neighborhood Resource Center.
The Settlement’s first ever Strategic Plan is initially implemented. The five-year plan is designed to strengthen and improve the agency’s infrastructure, increase investment in staff and consolidate and streamline services.
Henry Street reorganizes and consolidates its services, offering all programs under the umbrella of four clusters: Health and Wellness, Youth and Workforce Development, Transitional and Supportive Housing, and Visual and Performing Arts (Abrons Arts Center).
The first season of the reinvigorated Abrons Arts Center features such performers as Debra Winger, hosts entries from the New York Fringe Festival, and presents a series of concerts in collaboration with Tonic and Danspace Project, Performance Space 122, Franklin Furnace and the Public Art Fund.
Henry Street opens a new supported permanent housing residence at 290 East Third Street. The newly constructed building has 52 efficiency apartments for single adults, 43 of which are occupied by individuals with a long history of homelessness and mental health issues, many of whom have never before lived on their own. (Nine are occupied by low-income neighborhood residents).
Henry Street receives a new contract enabling its housekeeping services to hire a new staff of registered nurses to visit clients to assess their needs and help connect them to needed services.
The Art Show, an essential fundraiser for the Settlement, celebrates its 20th birthday and brings in more than $1.5 million to support Henry Street programs. The show, organized by the Art Dealers Association, is held at the Park Avenue Armory in February.
Henry Street and its founder Lillian Wald are featured in The Jewish Americans, a documentary that airs on PBS. In addition to historical coverage, the film includes present-day footage of Settlement programs.
All of the nearly 100 high school seniors served by Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons program are admitted to college – many to their first-choice schools and with generous financial aid packages.
Henry Street receives more than 500 pairs of new shoes, courtesy of Malaak Compton-Rock, Erica Reid, and Liz Claiborne, Inc. The distribution of the shoes to Henry Street clients appears on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Henry Street is awarded the home-delivered meals contract for Manhattan Community Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Beginning in January 2009, Henry Street will be preparing and delivering 1,000 meals per day to the homebound elderly.
Some 71 college students – the most in a single year – receive college scholarships ranging from $100 to $1,100 at the seventh annual Youth Scholarship Awards Ceremony.
The Fashion Institute of Technology presents Ruth Taube, home planning workshop director, with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor has been bestowed only on four other people: Anna Wintour, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, and Oscar de la Renta.
The health care team from Henry Street’s Community Consultation Center begins providing services to the residents at Henry Street’s East Third Street Women’s Shelter, making health care more accessible to this medically vulnerable population.
Verona Middleton-Jeter, executive director of Henry Street since 2002, announces that she will retire on June 30, 2010, after 38 years at the Settlement, seven of them as executive director.
The New Yorker names two Abrons Arts Center productions – Justin Bond’s Christmas Spells and Banana Bag & Bodice’s Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage – to its best theater of 2009 list.
David Garza, chief administrator of Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center, was named the new executive director of the Settlement. He takes office on July 1, 2010.
The annual Art Show brings in 22 percent more revenue than in the previous year. The newly formed Young Collectors Committee of Henry Street Settlement holds its first event to support the agency’s Art Show benefit.
The Abrons Arts Center hosts a historic three-day festival honoring Alwin Nikolais, one of the pioneers of modern dance and former director of Henry Street’s Playhouse. The celebration, which marks the 100 anniversary of Nikolais’s birth, is held April 30, May 1 and 2.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) visits the agency in June, tours the senior center, and vows to help bring federal dollars to the Lower East Side.
Henry Street hosts its first ever Community Day in October at the Abrons Arts Center, welcoming more than 500 community residents.
For the first time, Henry Street opens its doors as part of Open House New York. Nearly 130 individuals take tours of the agency’s historic headquarters at 265 Henry Street.
With more that 12,000 attendees, the 23rd Annual Art Show raises $1.2 million for Henry Street Settlement.
The Harry De Jur Playhouse, for 87 years the home of Henry Street Settlement’s cutting-edge performing arts programming, is designated a New York City landmark by a unanimous vote of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The New York Times crowns the Abrons Arts Center a “contemporary performance hotbed.”
Henry Street’s sold-out 2011 Spring Dinner Dance honors Richard S. Abrons, president of the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation and vice chairman of the Henry Street board; Ursula M. Burns, chair and CEO of Xerox Corporation; and Lauren Bush, co-founder and CEO of Feed Projects. Ms. Burns announces a Xerox Foundation $250,000 grant to Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons College Prep Program.
Expanded Horizons helps nearly 100 students receive college acceptances to schools including Cornell University, New York University, the University of Chicago, American University, and University of Southern California. Through the Abrons/Aranow Scholarship Fund, each student receives a scholarship ranging from $500 to $1,000.
Henry Street has the highest private fundraising year ever.
The 2012 Spring Dinner Dance, held on April 3 at Gotham Hall, is one of the most successful in the Settlement’s history. The event honors Michael Tiedemann, chief investment officer of Tiedemann Wealth Management and chief executive officer of TIG Advisors LLC, and Adriana Cisneros, vice chairman and director of strategy of The Cisneros Group of Companies. Microsoft receives the Corporate Leadership Award.
The Settlement plays an important role ensuring the restoration of funds after New York’s mayor and City Council announce proposed cuts that would have eliminated some Henry Street programs.
Henry Street and its founder, Lillian Wald, are featured in Activist New York, an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York about the ways ordinary New Yorkers have exercised their power to shape the city and the nation.
Henry Street’s Urban Family Center, America’s first family shelter, marks its 40th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year.
A new Geriatric Care Program, made possible by a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, is established, allowing Henry Street’s Senior Services and Primary & Behavioral Health divisions to collaborate in offering comprehensive care for seniors.
Hurricane Sandy hits New York, leaving the Lower East Side without power and heat and flooding buildings. The Settlement’s Urban Family Center is hit hard by the storm; some 108 families are evacuated until power is restored to the building, and Henry Street employees continue working with families at their evacuation shelter. Henry Street distributes more than 20,000 meals and thousands of bottles of water and blankets to neighbors in need, opens our Good Companions Senior Center as a designated city warming center, and more. After the storm, Henry Street provides crisis counseling, educational information, and resource linkage to those affected and provides 355 area families with $25,495 in food vouchers and assistance with utility bills, through funds given by the Robin Hood Foundation.
Executive Director David Garza receives a Downtowner of the Year award from Manhattan Media on December 13 for efforts in the Hurricane Sandy recovery.
DECENTER, an exhibit celebrating the legacy of the 1913 Armory Show, opens at Abrons Arts Center. The exhibit highlights Henry Street’s sponsorship of the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Armory Show in 1963, at which the construction of what is today known as the Abrons Center is announced.
Henry Street’s annual Gala Dinner Dance, held on April 4 at the Plaza Hotel, honors Reed Krakoff, President and Executive Creative Director of Reed Krakoff and Coach; Alexandra Lebenthal, president and chief executive officer of Lebenthal & Company LLC; and Carolina Gonzales-Bunster, co-founder of the Walkabout Foundation.
Nearly 200 individuals gather at Abrons Arts Center on May 21 for the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Urban Family Center.
Famous Lower East Side eatery Katz Deli celebrated its 125th anniversary weekend on May 31 with a Shabbat dinner to benefit Henry Street Settlement. Executive Director David Garza is honored at 35th anniversary celebration of the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) neighborhood housing and preservation organization on June 20.
Three employees of Henry Street’s Meals on Wheels program are recognized for their outstanding service in October at the CityMeals STAR awards ceremony.
Betsy Smith, Director of Vladeck Cares/NORC, receives an award from the National Association of Social Workers to recognize her exemplary leadership and unique commitment to the improvement of social and human conditions.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announcs his appointment of Gladys Carrión as commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services in a press conference held in Henry Street Settlement’s youth building. “Henry Street Settlement really epitomizes so much of the challenge we face today, but this challenge has been met by the Henry Street Settlement since, literally, since 1893,” de Blasio says. “This is one of the historic sites in the fight to make sure that the needs of children and families were met, that the needs of low income people were met.”
Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN) – an organization co-founded by Henry Street Settlement in collaboration with Community Board 3 – begins working to ensure that priority is given to local residents when new jobs and opportunities become available in new major developments in the Lower East Side.
The Abrons Arts Center wins a prestigious Obie Award . The awards, given annually by the Village Voice, recognize excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater. The Abrons receives the Ross Wetzsteon Award, presented to a theater that nurtures innovative new plays and artists.
Henry Street hosts the first Dunk & Donate basketball tournament to support youth programs, at Boys & Girls Republic, in January. In April, a new Learning Center is launched there with a ribbon cutting attended by more than 50 students and Henry Street staff, many of whom dress as literary characters.
Henry Street hosts the 26th Annual Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory in March. The honorary chair of the event is Agnes Gund, and co-chairs are Bunty Armstrong, Janine and J. Tomilson Hill, Alexandra Lebenthal and Byron and Anita Volz Wien.
Some 28 students graduate from the first ever Bicycle Mechanic Skills Academy at a ceremony held in March at Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center.
Henry Street hosts more than 200 members of the Lower East Side community at the first-ever Town Hall meeting. Several local elected officials participate, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmembers Margaret Chin,and Rosie Mendez, and representatives from the offices of State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
The 2014 Gala Dinner dance honors Amandine and Stephen Freidheim, Fir Tree Partners, and Alexis Stoudemire.
Kelly Lennon-Martucci, LCSW, Director of School Based Mental Health Clinics at Henry Street, is honored at the annual National Association of Social Workers, where she is named as an Emerging Leader in social work.
Ruth Taube, director of the Home Planning Workshop, becomes a television star, profiled on NY1 as a “New Yorker of the Week” and is the subject of an episode of the hit Cooking Channel Show My Grandmother’s Ravioli where she teaches host Mo Rocca how to make Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, Farfel Pudding, and Hesta’s Brisket.
The Abrons Arts Center kicks off the 100th anniversary of its Playhouse with a Centennial Birthday Bash in February, featuring celebrated artists who have been a part of the Playhouse’s rich history.
The Arts Center wins its second Obie Award, for Lippy, co-presented by the Abrons and the Irish Arts Center. Lippy opens at the Abrons Playhouse in the fall to critical acclaim after sold-out runs in Dublin and Edinburgh.
The Art Show and its Gala Preview held in March raise nearly $1.2 million to support programs. The Art Show—one of the foremost art fairs in the nation—is organized by the Art Dealers Association of America.
The 2015 Dinner Dance held at the Plaza Hotel honors Henry Street Board Vice President Michael Steinberg, Ennead Architects, and Beespace founder Marissa Sackler. The night features performances by clients and a showing of Three Lives Transformed, a video showcasing the inspiring stories of Henry Street clients. Executive Director David Garza announces a $2 million gift to the Abrons Arts Center made by Steinberg in honor of his parents, Harold and Mimi Steinberg.
Former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams runs a 10-week basketball clinic at Henry Street’s Youth Center gymnasium for more than a dozen Henry Street teens who attend schools participating in Henry Street’s after-school programs.
First Lady of New York City and Chair of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Chirlane McCray visits Henry Street twice: In July, she tours the Settlement’s historic headquarters and Workforce Development Center; in December she visits the School for International Studies, where Henry Street operates a School Based Mental Health Program there.
Henry Street Settlement launches the Community Advisory Board (CAB) to respond to the expressed needs of program participants and Lower East Side residents. Regular CAB meetings offer a forum for Henry Street to hear directly from those in our community and opportunity for members to serve as Henry Street ambassadors in their communities. Nearly 300 people voice their thoughts and concerns about jobs, gentrification, housing, education, public safety, and more at Henry Street’s second Town Hall meeting.
Henry Street’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Community receives funding to expand nursing services to its clients.
The Settlement’s Shelter-Based Employment Program receives a 2015 Opportunity Award from the New York City Employment and Training Coalition for “Serving Special Populations.”
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development awards Henry Street $646,500 grant for aftercare services to residents who move into permanent housing after living in one in Henry Street’s transitional and supportive housing shelters.
Six teams hit the court at BGR in September for Henry Street’s 2015 Dunk & Donate basketball tournament, raising over $18,500 for youth programs at the site.
Abrons Arts Center celebrates the Playhouse’s centennial, with awards given to Woodie King, Jr., founder of the New Federal Theater; Phyllis Lamhut, choreographer, educator, and principal dancer with the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater; and Paul Taylor, whose celebrated company was born on the Abrons Playhouse stage in 1954. Presenters and performers include playwright Ntozake Shange, actress Jan Maxwell, dancer Robert La Fosse, musician Phyllis Chen, choreographer Jack Ferver, dancer James Whiteside, and actor and playwright Nilaja Sun. The emcee is Mo Rocca.
Students from Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons College Success program join with hundreds of other youth advocates in Albany to lobby for youth employment funding.
The Art Show and its Gala Preview held in March raise over $1 million to support programs. One of the foremost art fairs in the nation, The Art Show is organized by the Art Dealers Association of America.
The Settlement hosts the first annual Lillian Wald Symposium, where community members, city officials, academics, and service providers gatherto answer the question, “Can We End Homelessness?” On the panel are Steven Banks, commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services; Stephen Levin, New York City councilmember; Christine Quinn, president and CEO of Women in Need; and Ethan Sribnick, PhD, coauthor of The Poor Among Us: A History of Family Poverty and Homelessness in New York City.
At the third annual Town Hall meeting, hundreds of Lower East Side residents gather to address housing, gentrification, jobs, education, public safety and policing, and more. Public Advocate Tish James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh briefly address the crows.
The Parent Center opens a satellite office at PS 142 in October, staffed by social workers fluent in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
Henry Street’s uptown gala moves downtown in October, when the Settlement partners with local art-house cinema Metrograph to host the inaugural CINEMAtheque Party.
The Settlement is a Charity Partner of the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, with nine Team Henry members raising over $20,000 to benefit Henry Street programs.
Henry Street and Executive Director David Garza are featured in Treasures of New York: Settlement Houses, a documentary that premieres on WLIW and WNET in November.
Dunk & Donate 2017 raises $20,000 for youth programs at Boys & Girls Republic, with teams from Arthur Gallagher, Safra Bank, Nutrabolt, UPS, and the Park Slope Boys battling it out on the court.
The Settlement receives $8.4 million from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., to create a Youth Opportunity Hub on the Lower East Side. The money is from the DA’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, which redistributes criminal forfeiture funds obtained through settlements with international banks. The Hub will link neighborhood service providers to offer comprehensive support for at-risk children, teens, and young adults to prevent them from becoming involved with the criminal justice system.
The Art Show 2017 raises over $1 million for Henry Street’s programs.
The Settlement makes history in April when it is awarded a competitive $360,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support The House on Henry Street, a multi-platform project, including a permanent exhibition, exploring social activism, urban poverty, and public health through the lens of Henry Street’s history.
Henry Street takes possession of the vacant firehouse at 269 Henry Street, adjacent to its historic headquarters. The three-story firehouse, former home of Engine Company No. 15, had been empty since November 2001, when the FDNY relocated the company to Pitt Street. The new building, to be named the Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center, will be home to the Parent Center and Resource Center.