Volume 21, Number 46 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 27 - April 2, 2009
Club sees stars in their eyes at new center
By Candida L. Figueroa
Backpacks filled with galaxy maps covered the desks in a room where all the attention was toward a projection of the zodiac stars and planets. It was not a private NASA meeting, but the Amateur Astronomers Association’s first meeting at their new headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
The recent move led the club to Manhattan Youth’s Downtown Community Center on Warren St., a change for long-time members who were use to traveling to the Upper East Side’s Park Avenue Christian Church. Without internet access and computer accessibility, the group could not put on quality slideshow presentations, which is central to the meeting. “We may lose a few people on the East Side but gain people from Downtown and Brooklyn,” said Chairperson Rich Rosenberg.
Their first meeting in the bustling area two months ago brought in 13 members, three who were from the Downtown area. Cari Borgna, a 27-year-old tax attorney who traveled from work on Astor Place, was among the youngest in the room. “It’s much closer for me and even though I don’t know what anyone is talking about I psyched that I found something like this,” he said.
Designated for the monthly Observers Group, the two-hour session covers everything from recent sightings to observation equipment, ending with a walk towards the near-by Hudson to star gaze the night sky.
Their long time Park Avenue space was about a quarter of the D.C.C. classroom, board member Tony Hoffman said as he stretched his arms across the space.
First-timer Jane Schroeder lives near the center. “All of this so interesting to me, and I’m just one stop away so it’s great,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where this all goes.”
Rosenberg hopes the location will attract the public into night viewings for comets and other constellations.
With their newfound luxury of more space, the club rearranged chairs and tables a few times to get comfortable, took a vote on deciding which wall to project the images on, and Rosenberg made a quick Google search to find a video. “I’m very happy. The facilities are far better than what we’ve had in the past. I hope the presentations we can now put on will attract members,” he said.
The group’s next meeting will be on Tues., Mar. 31 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.