The champion sailor Gary Jobson began his tour of the New York Yacht Club last night in front of the 45-ton fireplace in the model room.
In the library he stood near a 1650 model of a British Second Rate, donated by Club Commodore J.P. Morgan shortly after the club opened in 1901. (Morgan put up the land for the club and chose the architect Whitney Warren to design it.)
There were silver trophies to admire and magazines for yachtsmen to skim. It all seemed glamorous, unless you happened upon the “State of Sea” card posted near the librarian’s desk, depicting harsh conditions one can encounter at sea.
Guests on the tour also put things in perspective: They had gathered to attend a fundraiser for Rocking the Boat, which teaches boat building to high-school students living in the Bronx, and involves them in cleaning up the East River.
“By building a boat, you learn problem solving and teamwork,” said Frosty Montgomery, a Rocking the Boat board member and a senior vice president at real-estate brokerage firm Brown Harris Stevens. “It teaches a craft and shows you can do something out of the box.’”
Back in the model room, the organization’s founder and executive director, Adam Green, pointed to a beautiful wood boat on display. It was a Rangeley Lake boat, designed to handle storms in northern Maine, and it was built by teenagers from Hunts Point and environs.
Nearby Greg Erlikhman, a high-school senior enrolled in Rocking the Boat’s after-school program, held an iPad with photographs of the boat-building process: “That’s chiseling,” he said, “and here we are bending strips of wood for the boat’s frame.”
Later Erlikhman explained his fascination with putting things together.
“I was interested in Legos as a kid,” he said. “For a career, I want to do civil engineering -- buildings, bridges, roller coasters. And,” he added, “I’d like to build a boat for myself one day and go sailing.”
“Not-for-profit, that’s right,” said the organization’s founder and president, Warren J. Sinsheimer, at Brasserie last night. “We don’t just use volunteers, we have a staff of paid attorneys.”
The occasion was a cocktail party organized by his granddaughters, Jamie and Susan Moser, to recruit young professional supporters for the organization, which helps disadvantaged New York City children gain access to special- education services and Social Security disability benefits.
Natalie Diaz, 15, was able to enroll at Winston Preparatory School with the help of the Partnership. At her former school, she would get so stressed she pulled her hair out.
Now her day includes smaller classes and a one-on-one session with a teacher.
“My life has changed a lot,” Diaz said. “Now I get the help I need.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @amandagordon.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at email@example.com.