An Interview with the Chair of NYLESA & a UN Spouses Event

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As every transplant knows, moving to New York City can be tough–moving to New York from another country can be overwhelming. We spoke with Olivier Caudron, Chair of The New York Local Expatriate Spouse Association, an organization created by UN spouses for UN spouses, about how they help international families settle into new lives and careers in NYC.

2014 NYLESA Steering Committee. Chair, Olivier Caudron, back right.
2014 NYLESA Steering Committee. Chair, Olivier Caudron, back right.

Q: We have a large international community at Waterside so we’ve seen firsthand the challenges of moving your family to a new country. Can you speak to some of these challenges, and tell us how NYLESA helps UN families settle into New York?

A: One of the first challenges newcomers have is to find an apartment. In New York, this means expect an expensive price, understand the rent policies and often pay broker’s fees. Other challenges are, starting a new life; find new friends, figure out how the city runs, look for a new job. Even if there are many facilities, each step is a new challenge and may be lived stressfully.

To this end NYLESA has created a Welcome Pack, accessible on our website (nylesa.org), with plenty of relevant information and tips. We also organize twice a month gathering events, the Coffee Gathering and the Cocktail Gathering. These events allow UN spouses to meet other UN spouses, to get information and advice, to share concerns and get support.

Q: We here at Waterside remember when your organization was founded! You’ve grown so rapidly in a few years. Can you tell us about some of the milestones NYLESA has achieved? 

A: The biggest achievement of NYLESA is having gathered a strong community of members deeply involved, and making the association each day stronger and hopefully recognized by the whole UN System soon.

Another achievement is the involvement of our colleagues inside the UN, our focal points. They are really engaged and do their best to facilitate the recognition of the UN spouses. Another huge achievement is career support. Thanks to the energy of the Career Support Working Group, NYLESA is now able to offer workshops, meetings, networking events, advice and support in career transition.

Q: Tell us about your involvement with NYLESA. As Chair, do you have any particular aims for your organization?

A: I joined NYLESA three years ago. It was still the beginning of the association. After few months, I became coordinator of the Welcome Working Group and then Chair since March 2013. NYLESA helped me and gave me the opportunity to meet people and to feel useful while I was struggling with the creation of my own business.

As Chair, my aims for NYLESA are to encourage members to get involved in the association’s management in order to improve their professional skills; to reinforce contact with other LESAs around the world in order to share ideas and facilitate the relocation; and also, to get the awareness of high positions in the UN about the importance of supporting spouses in settling in and in career transition. The more we will raise awareness about NYLESA, the more we will be able to help other UN Spouses and make the relocation easier for everyone.

Q: Can you tell us how spouses/partners of UN employees at Waterside can get in touch with your organization? 

A: The easiest way to contact us is via email at reachus@nylesa.org and to get more information about the association’s purpose, services and activities, go to nylesa.org.

Q: We were happy to learn that our friends on the south end of the Waterside Plaza complex, The British International School of NY, will be hosting an event with you on Tuesday, September 30th. Can you tell us about this event?

A: The British International School generously offered us to set up an Open House, 6-8 PM, to encourage the meeting between our two organizations. The event will start with a reception, and then the presentation of the educational opportunities of the school and possible collaborations. We look forward to many more opportunities to engage with the international community here.

To learn more about the private, independent school for children ages 3-14, The British International School, visit bis-ny.org. To learn more about the international community at residential complex, Waterside Plaza, visit watersideplaza.com.

Be A “Park Angel” – Volunteer Day at Stuyvesant Cove Park!

Waterside Plaza viewed from Stuyvesant Cove Park
Waterside Plaza viewed from Stuyvesant Cove Park. Source: http://instagram.com/p/rwwTKyAT3L

We can’t grant you wings but you’ll start your weekend off feeling like an angel–a “Park Angel” to be exact–if you lend a hand this Saturday, September 27, 9AM-12PM, for Stuyvesant Cove Park Volunteer Day.  Tasks include weeding, maintaining plant beds, and generally keeping the park looking its best. If interested, please reach out to the Park Manager at the awesome Park Green Center Solar One, Daisy Hoyt at daisy@solar1.org, or just show up ready to get dirty–extra hands are always needed! “Thank you” pizza lunch for volunteers to follow!

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Sun-dappled corner of Stuyvesant Cove Park

Those of us who live and work in the Gramercy Park neighborhood need no introduction to Stuyvesant Cove Park, the lush, green haven nestled between 18th and 23rd Streets along the East River. Many of us have lunched in some quiet corner of the Park, jogged along the breezy path by the river, or just sat on a bench and watched the sky change colors in the evening. What many people don’t know is this little green alcove was hard-won. Stuyvesant Cove used to be a concrete factory, then an industrial lot, and only became a Park with an environmental education center after a lengthy community stuggle.

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Stuyvesant Cove Park blooms along the path to Waterside

One of the rare victories in New York City community land battles, today, Stuyvesant Cove not only offers a much-needed green escape in our concrete jungle, but a summer-long calendar of Arts & Events at Solar One’s solar-powered facility, including activities like ice cream making using Park berries, and Family Demonstrations focusing on local fauna and flora. Stuyvesant Cove Park is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, including many varieties of birds and even the occasional harbor seal! So come out on Saturday morning to help preserve this little community gem and then enjoy the rest of the weekend in good conscience!

Xia Spa September Specials

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Summer’s not over yet! Get your feet ready the start of a busy fall with Xia Spa’s September specials!

Xia Spa is located at 25 Waterside Plaza, and is open Tues-Sat 10AM-8PM, Sun 10AM-7PM. Visit the website and contact the spa at (212) 689 0691 or xialeder@gmail.com for appointments.

Xia Spa August 2014 Specials

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There are only so many summer days left to show off your mani/pedis to the fullest so flaunt them while you can with Xia Spa’s August Manicure & Pedicure Specials!

Xia Spa is located at 25 Waterside Plaza, and is open Tues-Sat 10AM-8PM, Sun 10AM-7PM. Visit the website and contact the spa at (212) 689 0691 or xialeder@gmail.com for appointments.

Waterside Plaza Free Monday Night Movies Present: Moneyball

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Tonight, August 18, 8PM, Waterside Plaza presents the critically-acclaimed sports drama, Moneyball (2011). Based on Michael Lewis’ bestselling nonfiction book of the same name, Moneyball follows the general manager of the Oakland Athletics Baseball Team, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant GM, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) as they put together a competitive team for the 2002 season. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.