"Old School Party" rocks Harts Hill Inn
December 2nd 2011 · 1 Comment
BY CASSANDRA HARRIS-LOCKWOOD
Back in the day, a group of girls grew up together in Utica. The year they all turned forty they realized that they had indeed, all grown up.
They figured out that they had done just what they were supposed to do; had gotten their educations, worked hard, served their communities, raised families, lived lives, and they were all still together.
Though they recognized that Washington Courts and Goldbas Apartments, known collectively as ‘Brick City,’ the Cosmopolitan Center and many other things from their collective past were gone forever, they still had each other. They decided to mark their coming of age as ‘Ole Folks’ with a celebration. That was 6 years ago.
This event has morphed into an annual celebration of a shared experience, time and space they call the “Old School Party.” It is has been held every year since on the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving at Harts Hill Inn.
Driven by social media networking on Facebook, under Goldbas and Washington Courts, Utica, NY, the “Old School Party” invites and allures those from around the country to come back to Utica to dance, dine and remember when.
November 26th was the date this year for the celebration. A decorated ballroom adorned with clusters of white Christmas trees with twinkling white lights, a full buffet and a D.J. Bryson Collins, D.J. Big B, greeted festive party goers dressed in their holiday best apparel.
Dances like the ‘Cupid Shuffle,’ the ‘Electric Slide’ and a new to the scene, ‘The Wobble’ packed the dance floor with happy faces and equally happy feet.
The original committee that works throughout the year to make the party happen has been expanded to include others. It currently consists of Tyra McKinsey, sister Geniene Harvey, Frances Frasier, Anne Holmes, Sabrina Brown Ingram, Felicia Green, Serena Northern, Anne Lacey, Vivian Turner, and Darlene Mack-Brown.
The size of this year’s celebration of 75 party goers was said to have been much smaller than in previous years. The diminished attendance was attributed to the sluggish economy with fewer people able to make it home and locals without the means to pay the nominal cost.
Organizers keep none of the monies collected but direct all proceeds to the actual cost of the event and donate the proceeds of the 50/50 raffle to a community member. This year the funds were donated to Mr. Bart Harvey, Sr. who has been ill for a period of time.
Newcomer to town and first time “Old School” partier, Jatuan Pool, originally from her own “Brick City” in Chicago, says she loves many things about her new home in Utica. “It’s a much better place to raise your children, but the economy is not as good. It’s not as fast here. There’s not as much trouble in the street. They think they have gangs here. But they have no idea… We go to St. Matthew’s Temple. My kids go to the College Prep and Junior Frontiers. It’s good here. And I’m having a great time at this party!”
Plans are in the making for a “Brick City” Family Reunion this coming July 4th weekend. Stay tuned to Facebook and the Utica Phoenix for future details.
By Mark Ziobro