“It all started with a Halloween party,” Anderson recalls. “A group of friends and I got together and decided we would work with some local tweens to throw a costume party for the neighborhood children, but then a few days before our party, the tweens found another, cooler party and bailed on us. We decided to throw our party anyway, even though we didn’t think anyone was going to come.”
But they did come.
“There were 35 kids lined up in costume outside the event a half-hour early, and over 100 kids attended that night,” said Anderson. “That really highlighted the need in the community for these kinds of events.”
Since that first night, Town Square has grown to become a neighborhood staple, providing fun seasonal activities such as the McGolrick Park Easter Egg Hunt, where 4,500 eggs were hidden this year. The annual Halloween party has also become a parade, with thousands marching from Java Street down to Driggs and back on Manhattan Ave.
Anderson tries to stay away from advocacy with Town Square, instead focusing on community building and edutainment, but that is not to say that the organization is devoid of progressive programming. Coming soon on the calendar are the Green Cycle Swap on May 3 at Ascencion Church and the GoGreen Greenpoint! Sustainability Fair, scheduled for June 7 at McCarren Park.
She admits that her reasons for starting Town Square are somewhat selfish, much like J.K. Rowling, she just wanted to find a way that she could participate in the development of her own children. As a result, she says, the programming matures with her son.
Moving forward, Anderson’s next goal is to further develop and cultivate the digital presence of Town Square so as to provide a local-only digital forum for discussions and events in Greenpoint.
“It would be nice to have one calendar that shows every single event that’s happening in Greenpoint on any given day,” says Anderson. “Right now, that doesn’t exist.”