By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Summer programming is in full swing in the neighborhood parks and plazas, and while for some that means watching a movie outdoors or taking a free fitness class, for residents and workers in the Flatiron District it also means learning different tech skills.
General Assembly, the educational institution that has offices in the Flatiron District and which offers classes on coding, digital marketing and other topics, has been working with the Flatiron Partnership for the last four summers to bring some of their individual classes to the public. Flatiron BID/Partnership executive director Jennifer Brown said that all of the courses made available are all courses that General Assembly offers, but the BID works with GA to figure out what will be best for public programming.
“We talk with them about what would make sense for the broader community and what would make most sense for the broadest audience,” she said. “Digital marketing is something people in different industries can use, and the class on freelancers and startups can appeal to lots of different individuals and freelancers.”
The choices seem to work, as the classes have generally been well attended.
Jenny Odegard, an attorney who often works with freelancers and entrepreneurs, taught the most recent class on Tuesday, “How to ask for Money: Skills for Freelancers and Startups.” Odegard has been teaching the class at GA since January and said she was expecting a crowd of about 20 to 30 people. She wound up being right, getting around two dozen. Odegard wasn’t sure what to expect considering it was her first time teaching the class outdoors, but she didn’t seem fazed.
“I’ll just have to talk louder and over the sirens,” she said.
She added that she usually ends the class with a workshop because the skills she teaches are tactical, but she felt the outdoor environment might be too chaotic for a group activity.
The uncertainty of the weather plays a part in the scheduling, as it usually does during outdoor events, and Brown said that they generally have to play it by ear on whether or not an event will be cancelled, and if it will be rescheduled or moved to an indoor venue. Just last week, the GA class was almost cancelled due to a torrential downpour mid-day, with organizers worried it would carry into the evening, but Brown said that that class, as well as the others scheduled for this month, have been able to run without a hitch.
The last class in the series for this summer will be on Tuesday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. on the south plaza, called “Cold Outreach: How to Generate New Leads” and will be taught by Sean Daly.
Like the Union Square Partnership, the Flatiron BID has been taking advantage of the numerous fitness studios in the area and also offers free fitness classes on Wednesdays during July and August.
The Flatiron BID is also utilizing its proximity to the Peoples Improv Theater and started showing performances on the north plaza during the summer last year, but this year various board games have also been offered in an effort to appeal to the office lunch crowd on Thursdays from 1 to 7 p.m.