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About NYCHA - 75th Anniversary

Resident Life - Fond NYCHA Memories

To commemorate our 75th Anniversary, the New York City Housing Authority asked our residents to share how being a part of a NYCHA community has made a positive impact on their life or the life of a family member. Here's what our residents had to say . . .

Fond NYCHA memories
Jose A. Garcia, Nilda Rodriguez' brother, standing in front of Forest Houses on the day of his first Holy Communion.
Photo provided by Nilda H. Rodriguez

Nilda H. Rodriguez
Adams Houses and Forest Houses, Bronx, NY

My name is Nilda H. Rodriguez and I now live in Florida but miss New York very much.

As a child when my father returned from the Korean War we moved to a building near Jackson Avenue. The city was tearing down and rebuilding so we were moved to Forest Houses, located at 1020 Trinity Avenue. We lived there until Adams Houses was built, then we were moved to 745 East 152nd Street, #4F, Bronx, NY. 

I went to school, graduated, got married and my mother continued to live in Adams Houses. It did not matter where I lived because I would always come home, and my home was and will always be the projects.

We loved and still love the life we had there. What we had there was unique: a family for life, a loving and caring community where everybody knew each other and all your concerns were addressed.

Thank you and congratulations on your anniversary of serving people.

Norma Iris Rosado
West Farms Road Rehabs, Bronx, NY

When I was first told that my number for the application was up, and, that I might get the apartment, I was thrilled beyond belief. Although at that time I was suffering from the loss of both my husband and my brother- one lost to a homicide and the other to a major stroke- the feeling was immensely felt. What a change it was from one apartment to the other!

The new apartment at [Murphy Consolidated-West Farms Road Rehabs] in the Bronx had freshly painted walls, a brand new floor, new windows, cabinets, new fridge, new everything! What a thrill it was to be able to take a bath without having to boil pots and pots of hot water! What a relief it was to be able to sleep without a coat and sweaters, gloves, hats and sometimes even with three or four pairs of socks! We did not have to sleep with cotton swabs over our ears and noses (to avoid the roaches from entering our bodies) [like we did in our previous Bronx apartment].

Amazing is the word that I should use. Even though once in a while our boiler here does brake down, it is not the same like many years before. My prayers were answered just as I was about to give up the search. I have been residing at this same apartment for the last 23 years. There are some ups and downs being in this residential facility, but it is all worth it at the end of the day.

Fond NYCHA memories
Maria Santana, age 4, at the Chelsea-Elliot Houses playground
Photo provided by Maria Santana

Maria Santana
Chelsea-Elliott Houses, New York, NY

I moved into the Chelsea Houses back in 1964. We came from the village where I was born. We resided in 428 West 26th street - of course a few different apartment sizes.

This neighborhood has offered us a wonderful up bringing here. Everyone knows everyone, from grandparents to parents and even grandkids today. It has definitely been a family-oriented environment.

The location is the best here. Everything is so convenient: the stores, the schools, and major offices. We are in the center of Manhattan with easy access to Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building and easy access to visit The Statue of Liberty and all other boroughs.

Fond NYCHA memories
Maria Santana, age 48, in her NYCHA kitchen
Photo provided by Maria Santana

I got married and left to go to the military at the age of 19, but six years later since my mother was still residing here, I returned with my kids that were still toddlers then. I wanted them to experience what I experienced in this neighborhood. They have moved on as adults to reside in Florida now, but me and my mother were still residents up until this past year when she passed away. But she loved Chelsea and did a good job of raising us here.

I kinda followed in her footsteps. I also worked with the Hudson Guild in the Headstart many years ago. I still know many parents that had their kids registered then, and have helped them in anything that I was capable of. This is a great family-oriented neighborhood, with respect for each other.

My son once worked with the maintenance staff here in the summer. He loved it. My daughters (the twins) also worked with the Hudson Guild as Junior Counselors in the School Bridge Program as well as receptionists. They loved it. I believe that being raised in this neighborhood in public housing has made us honest, respectable, and responsible adults. I feel honored to have had this experience and love this Project and wouldn't change anything from my life.

Ron Davis
Rangel Houses, New York, NY

Growing up as a young man, I had the opportunity to live in one of the best housing developments in New York City: The Colonial Park. Houses, now recognized as Rangel Houses. My wonderful wife Imogene and I raised two beautiful young ladies, Yvette and Pamela. Both daughters are college graduates with Maters Degrees in Education.

They are currently employed with the NYC Department of Education. Looking back for well over 25 years of occupancy, I have witnessed some of the most spectacular events in the history of all sports. If you had the opportunity as I had to be able to look from your living room window and see one of the greatest baseball players ever by the name of Willie Mayes, how much money would you give had this not been a NYC housing project? The luxury of waterfront viewing, the best of transportation. How much would you be willing to pay? A millionaire would gladly pay one-million dollars or more.

Margarita Delgado
Saint Nicholas Houses, New York, NY

I was always told scary stories about “The Projects” now known as Public Housing or NYCHA. I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia in Navy Housing and once my ex-husband got out of the Navy we had to move out so we went to Orlando, Florida and I hated it. That's when we decided to move to New York City.

In 1999 I had to take my four young children and go into a New York City homeless shelter. We stayed there for nine months and in January 2001 I got accepted into the Projects/NYCHA in Far Rockaway Queens. I took the apartment not knowing if the stories I was told as a child were true. I then realized that visiting family and friends would take me two and a half hours round trip. That's when I requested a transfer.

On August 9, 2002 I moved from Far Rockaway Queens' Redfern Houses to Saint Nicholas Houses. My apartment wasn't fully ready, but once I opened the door all I could do was cry because I could feel the love even though the apartment was empty. I told the young lady from Housing, “I'll take it!” I moved in that week. This apartment was not only big it was beautiful. The complex was full of love and just right for the kids. The schools around the area were also just right for my kids.

On October 28, 2003 I not only was PROUD to have become a Grandmother, but PROUD to bring my grandson to Saint Nicholas Houses. His name is not spelled like our complex, but he was still named Nicolas. For the past nine years I have had nothing but BLESSINGS while in Public Housing. I guess you need to be HOMELESS and have NOTHING to appreciate the littlest things in life.

If you happen to get accepted into Public Housing, then you too are BLESSED. So RESPECT where you live and remember it can all be gone in a blink of an eye. I had no choice to become homeless and now I have Public Housing. I have learned to RESPECT and APPRECIATE what I have now. I am not only truly blessed, but HONORERD to be living in Public Housing.

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