Asphalt Green Serves the Community
typically have windowed offices with views, but Carol Tweedy,
executive director of Asphalt Green, is perhaps the only one whose
fourth-floor indoor window looks down on the magnificent specter
of a 50-meter Olympic-size swimming pool. Furthering the magic,
as the pool can be separated into sections by bulkheads and each
segment's floor raised and lowered hydraulically, she can see
three separate activities simultaneously, such as children learning
to swim in shallow water, adults performing water exercises in
deeper water, and serious swimmers doing laps. Built on the site
of a former municipal asphalt plant whose unusual parabolic arched
building had been landmarked, Asphalt Green also includes a therapeutic
warm-water pool, an indoor and outdoor track, a fitness center,
two gymnasiums, aerobics rooms, a physical therapy/health center,
an Astroturf field, arts studios, and a 100-seat theater.
return for sitting on public land, non-profit Asphalt Green must
give one third of its services free to the community. It does
this creatively and enthusiastically by developing relationships
with public and parochial schools and non-profit agencies to promote
sports and fitness as keys to lifelong health. A "water-proofing,"
or swim instruction, program for third and fourth graders begun
in l993 has been so successful that a "dry land" program
of sports was initiated this year. Schools choose a program based
on student needs, but Asphalt Green always incorporates a fitness
and health component, turning passions for sports into good lifelong
habits. Beginning next year, it will offer a program on sports,
fitness and health to teachers so they can bring that knowledge
back to their schools. A Fitness Careers Program, begun this year,
exposes teens to employment opportunities in the field and encourages
completion of education.
non-fee opportunities are: the Community Sports Leagues, co-ed
professionally-supervised programs in soccer, football, basketball,
and softball for low-income youth; a summer day camp which awards
scholarships to 175 of its 500 participants; and a gender-sensitive
health and fitness curriculum designed for the Young Women's Leadership
School in East Harlem. Art workshops are free to public school
classes, and schools can arrange for free use of the pool, gyms,
theater, art and photo studios, and Astroturf field. Scholarships
and reduced fees are offered in classes with charges. Special
programs are offered to people with disabilities.
Ms. Tweedy, whose background is in social service, emphasizes
the value of sports and fitness activities as ways to make people
strong, confident, and able to handle the exigencies of life.
She has seen it in her own history and, in fact, notes that the
best perk of her job is the ready availability to her of the wonderful
facilities just outside her office window.
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
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