By Lee Thatcher
Many of you come on Tuesday to pick up your CSA share and leave ASAP, while others take their time and slowly select the perfect produce. Some of you may even take a class or two in the yoga studio on other days of the week.
What many of you may have noticed are a few familiar faces around Sixth Street.
Here is one of them:
Name: Alfred Robertson
Occupation: Maintenance Director at Sixth Street & Freelance Carpenter
What are the day to day details of your job at Sixth Street?
I keep things clean and do all the construction and maintenance work in the building from basement to third floor. I also handle the receiving of the agricultural deliveries from Hepworth Farm and set up for distribution.
How long have you been working for Sixth Street?
Since 2001 - 15 years.
What is your favorite thing about Sixth Street?
Everything, everything is my favorite thing about Sixth Street.
We have some awesome after school and summer programs for kids. The one hosted on the third floor is called City Sculpting run by Vanessa Solomon.
Another program hosted on the first floor called the Sixth Street Youth Program is run by Jen Chantrtanapichate and Libby Mislan, for kids ages 8-13.
We also have many different yoga instructors here teaching classes at various times and days.
I really admire the opportunities Sixth Street offers various non-profits looking to share the space and connect with the community.
Is there a memory from Sixth Street, good or bad, that you can share with us?
Well the only bad memory I have from Sixth Street is the time when Hurricane Sandy hit. All the people, thousands in the neighborhood, were without food and clean water. No power or heat. The damage that Sixth Street received from the water in our basement was just devastating. But what I am most proud of was the help that we got from all over the neighborhood, from other organizations coming together with ours. Sixth Street became a center for people to come to help and get help. So many volunteers, not to mention the people who were helped by those volunteers.
What are you doing when you are not at Sixth Street?
Loving my family, enjoying time with my children and wife. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face. One, because I am alive and two for the lovely family that I have. That is what is great for me. Positivity is key and I feel like we share that at Sixth Street too.
How did you find Sixth Street?
Actually I didn’t find Sixth Street - they found me. Annette Averette, Sixth Street’s Business Director, knew me for a long time.
I was one of the worst little kids you could find in the street and she became a mother to about 50 of us and I was one of the kids who took positively to her mentorship. After years of friendship she invited me down to Sixth Street to do some carpentry and restoration work and the rest is history.
I am a licensed carpenter, and my love for carpentry may outweigh my love for Sixth Street. I rebuilt the entire first floor and rebuilt and restored the front vestibule. The tile work is all original to the building and we were able to save and repurpose the marble in the front entrance. My work on those projects was the catalyst for my being at Sixth Street more frequently. Additionally me and my freelance team can be contracted to do all kinds of work outside Sixth street. We do kitchens and bathrooms and pretty much any kind of carpentry you need done. If you need it I can do it.
What is your favorite vegetable and how do you like to eat it?
That is funny because when I first came to Sixth Street I was a carnivore. Strictly....maybe a baked potato...but mostly meat. But since I have been at Sixth Street and been exposed to the CSA I have been leaning more towards a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I don’t eat as much meat and I feel a whole lot better.
But my favorite vegetable is the green snap pea, they are so sweet and I will eat them raw. I almost ate a quarter of a box the other day, they are so good.
What about your kids, I know you bring them stuff; what do they go crazy for?
Ohh they love the fruit....they attack it. The blueberries, strawberries, apples. They love it all.
Your wife is from the islands? What is the one thing you bring home and she knocks it out the park with her island flavors?
The eggplant, ohh man, she cooks it up. She loves the squash, she is also a fruit and vegetable lover. She loves cooking and she loves cooking healthy for me and the family.
I mean the whole CSA has really changed us and the way we raise the kids and how we eat. It’s changed us in a positive way.
What is your favorite person, place or thing about the East Village?
My corner deli. I love those guys, I have an account there. They really are some great guys. The people in the East Village are some of the most wonderful people I have encountered in my whole life. It’s a different world from some of the other boroughs that I have visited. Sometimes you get overwhelmed by the kindness of some of the people you meet down here. All in all I have never had a bad experience in the East Village.
Thank you Alfred Robertson for spending time with us and letting us get to know you.
For those of you who are interested in contracting Alfred or getting an estimate for carpentry work you can reach him at:
cell: 347-393-1961 (between the hours of 9-5)
mail correspondence: 2749 8th Avenue, Suite 6A, New York NY 10039
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Sixth Street Community Center
638 E 6th Street between Aves B & C • (212)-677-1863
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