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Colin Cathcart, M. Arch., discusses the parking-space park he and his students created with a television crew from NY1.
Photo by Michael Dames

Parking Spot Turned Into Oasis of Calm at Lincoln Center Campus

Passersby near the northeast corner of 60th Street and Columbus Avenue across from Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus got to see something that even the most grizzled denizens of New York’s streets don’t see every day: a “parking” park.

The credit for that goes to architecture professor Colin Cathcart, M. Arch., and Sandra McKee, adjunct professor of architecture. They involved a number of their students in turning a parking spot across the street from Fordham into a pint-sized oasis from the hustle and bustle on Sept. 21, which happened to be National Park(ing) Day.

“We’re feeding the meter,” said Cathcart about the parking spot. “It’s a very expensive parking space. We’re paying a quarter for every seven-and-a-half minutes. So this an expensive park, but I think we did the space proud.”

Cathcart had students in his landscape architecture class work in teams of three to develop concepts for the park. The students took elements of each and created the final design, which featured wood chips on the ground, shrubbery, tables and chairs and even a bird feeder and some pumpkins.

Started by a San Francisco art collective known as REBAR in 2006, PARK(ing) Day has become an international movement involving everyone from artists and activists to ordinary citizens temporarily taking over parking spots in urban centers and transforming them into oases in a sea of asphalt and concrete, if only for a few hours.

According to REBAR, there were 25 “parks” created in New York City on Sept. 21 and scores of others from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Vilnius in Lithuania.

At 60th and Columbus, the park drew plenty of interest. “A lot of people from the neighborhood have been coming by and asking questions,” McKee said. “That’s really what the students wanted in designing the park. They really wanted the public to come into the park.”

Victor M. Inzunza

Report Details Recommendations for Improved Social Services

Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) joined with the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families to make recommendations for improving social services to Latino families in a policy forum held Sept. 25 on the Lincoln Center campus.

At the forum, Michael Phillips, D.S.W., professor of social work at GSS, presented a report, “Voices of Preventive Services: Perspectives of Clients and Workers,” that assessed how social services are delivered in New York City from the perspective of both children and families who receive the services and social workers who deliver them.

The report outlined 11 recommendations that included structuring preventivie agencies involved in health care, child welfare and other areas as neighborhood-based organizations focused on well-being and education. The report also called for offering those services to Hispanic clients by Spanish-speaking workers, and recommended training workers in culturally competent practices and developing preventive services tailored for troubled teenagers.

The forum included a panel discussion with Phillips; Carmen Jirau-Rivera, associate executive director for New York Foundling Hospital; and Peggy Ellis, associate commissioner for community-based services for the New York City Administration for Children Services.

—Janet Sassi

Members of Fordham’s Rhythm of Praise Gospel Choir sing out during Psalms in the Night at the University Church on Sept. 30.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Soaring Voices Sing Out at Psalms in the Night Event at University Church

The University Church on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus filled with gospel music as six choirs from throughout the region took part in Psalms in the Night: A Fellowship of Psalms, Hymns and Dancing on Sept. 30.

Organized by Rev. Erika D. Crawford, Fordham’s Protestant chaplain, the second annual event was billed as a “gospelfest” with choirs from the Bronx to Bridgeport, Conn., performing a collection of Christian hymns and spirituals.

The choirs were the All University Gospel Choir from New York University, the Radio Junior Choir from Holy Temple Church in the Bronx, Fordham’s Rhythm of Praise Gospel Choir, the Stony Brook University Gospel Choir, Voices of Victor and Together from the Victory Temple in Bridgeport, Conn.

The event was sponsored by Campus Ministry.

—Victor M. Inzunza

English Department Launches Writing Wednesdays Series

Three writers featured in a new crime anthology, Bronx Noir (Akashic Books, 2007), launched the Fordham University Department of English’s Writing Wednesdays lecture series on Sept. 19 by reading from and discussing their work.

The anthology features 19 stories, all of which take place in what is one of the most racially and economically diverse corners of the country.

“Our goal was to give readers the sense that if they are beamed down magically to anywhere in the [Bronx], they’d be able to say from having read the book that they’d been there before,” said editor and writer S.J. Rozan, whose story “Hothouse” takes place inside the conservatory at the Bronx Botanical Gardens. “All of the stories succeed in doing that.”

Other authors in attendance included Joanne Dobson, Ph.D., former associate professor of English at Fordham, and writer Tom Adcock. Akashic Books has published 15 of the mystery books that have featured locales from Baltimore to Wall Street.

Writing Wednesdays, which started last year, is a series of informal gatherings for Fordham’s creative writing community. Its second lecture, “Publishing Your First Book,” took place on Oct. 17 on the Lincoln Center campus.

—Janet Sassi

Ph.D. Program Enrolls First Cohort

The Fordham Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE) enrolled the first 14 students in its new Doctor of Ministry program this fall semester.

The students, which include both women and men, run the gamut from Catholic priests and Protestant ministers to lay and campus ministers. There are also students from India and Tanzania as part of the first cohort in the program, said John Elias, Ph.D., professor of religious education and social ministry and director of the fledgling program.

The state Department of Higher Education approved Fordham’s request to establish the program early this year. Fordham is the only Jesuit university in the country—and the only Catholic university in the New York City area—to confer the degree.

The program has three specializations: pastoral ministry, pastoral care and counseling, and spirituality and spiritual direction.

—Victor M. Inzuzna

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