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Manhattan Plaza Project


FREE - Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

This event marks the launch of the web site that documents the history of the social work programs at Manhattan Plaza, which have been shaping and supporting residents’ lives for four decades. The site’s four video segments and text showcase the groundbreaking program of social supports that has been part of Manhattan Plaza since its debut as a residence for performing artists and community residents in the early 1980s.

SWMP website screenshotSWMP website screenshotWhen developers Irving Fischer and Richard Ravitch hired Rodney Kirk as General Manager, Manhattan Plaza embarked on a mission to make the 1689 unit development a pioneer in the creation of an urban living environment that would meet the needs of its residents throughout their lives. The social work programs have provided support and care for its aging population, and played a significant role in the care of many resident and non-resident patients during the HIV/AIDs epidemic.
During the program the web site is introduced by Richard Hunnings, General Manager of Manhattan Plaza; Pyser Edelsack, LMSW, Consultant to Manhattan Plaza, and site creators Nick Egleson and Annie Egleson.

The Manhattan Plaza Foundation commissioned this project to document the significant contributions the social work programs have made to the lives of residents during the last 35 years. The videos focus first on the programs for senior residents and then on the AIDS project that began in the early years of the epidemic. In their own words the staff, former staff, volunteers, AIDs survivors, Actor’s Fund staff, and MP leadership tell the story of this undertaking. The work was created by Nick and Annie Egleson and filmed by Adam Teninbaum. The video and accompanying text forms the core of the web site of the Rodney Kirk Center.

Richard Hunnings is the General Manager of Manhattan Plaza. He and his partner, Rodney Kirk, came to the Manhattan Plaza in 1976. Together they established the social work programs. At Mr. Kirk's death in 2001, Mr. Hunnings followed him as president of the Manhattan Plaza Foundation, which they established in 1969. The foundation provided financial support for the social programs, particularly at the time of the AIDS crisis.

Pyser Edelsack is the Director of Field Education at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education (SBE). He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charles B Wang Community Health Center. Pyser's background is in Public Health, Community Oriented Primary Care and Community Organizing.

Nick Egleson is an IT consultant and programmer who wrote the software used to track the Manhattan Plaza social work services at the Rodney Kirk Center, the Stay Well Center, and the AIDs project. He works extensively with community health centers and other social service organizations to provide technology guidance and data solutions. He is also a maker of documentaries for film and radio.

Annie Egleson is an artist, designer and editor. She runs her own business, Anna Daria Design, which takes on a wide range of projects in the arts. She did her graduate work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has a background in textile, graphic design and editing.