A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 17, 2005
Covenant House and Nineline (800-999-9999)
Covenant House was founded in 1969 as a refuge for runaways by Father Bruce Ritter, who died in 1999. It quickly became an international success. It established itself in the Times Square area, and then, in the late 1980s, it purchased the large, iconic National Maritime Union building on Ninth Avenue and 16th Street. The famous Covenant House logo shows a dove and a helping hand.

Father Ritter resigned amid financial and sex scandals in 1990. The Maritime building was sold and has been opened recently as the Maritime Hotel. (I couldn't find a convenient nickname for the building such as "lollipop" or "lipstick.") Covenant House still exists, but with a much lower profile than it had in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, when it was widely praised.

The Nineline (800-999-9999) helpline began in 1987. Don't use 212 and then dial all numbers, or you're liable to get a limo service to JFK airport.

http://www.covenanthouseny.org/our_history.asp
Origins
Covenant House began in 1969 when a Franciscan priest provided a night of shelter from a snow storm for six young runaways in his small apartment on the lower east side of Manhattan. From this modest beginning, Covenant House has grown into the largest shelter program for homeless youth in the Americas. In 1990, Fr. Ritter resigned and the Board of Directors appointed Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C., President of Covenant House. Sister Mary Rose came to the agency from her position as Associate Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. Her professional career in human services and caring for homeless and disturbed children and their families spans some forty years.

Mission and Services
Acknowledging the core values of love, respect, service, advocacy and family, Covenant House's Mission Statement commits the agency "to serve the suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children...with absolute respect and unconditional love."

In addition to food, shelter, clothing and crisis care, Covenant House New York offers a variety of services to homeless and at-risk youth including health care, educational and vocational assistance, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, legal services, recreation, pastoral care, mother/child programs, transitional living programs, community resource centers, mental health day programs, and assistance in finding long-term living accommodations and aftercare.

The hallmark of Covenant House is its policy of 'Open Intake' whereby no child or teenager is turned away on the first visit, but rather is accepted on a 'no questions asked' basis. Only serious misconduct or refusal to make use of proffered services limits repeat visits.

In 1999, Covenant House New York provided residential and non-residential to over 8,600 youth. More than 4,500 came into the Crisis Center and Rights of Passage program and another 3,700 received help in our community resource centers or in aftercare or prevention programs. Outreach workers served an additional 275 youth on the street.

In 1999 Covenant Houses across the Americas provided residential and non-residential services to over 61,000 youth in six countries. Over 13,000 young people came into Covenant House Crisis Shelters and Rights of Passage Programs and another 23,000 received help in Community Service Centers or in aftercare and prevention programs. Outreach workers served nearly 24,000 youth on the street and the Covenant House Nineline (1-800-999-9999) received over 63,000 crisis calls from youngsters all over the country who needed immediate help and had nowhere else to turn.


Incorporated in 1972, Covenant House grew from its quarters in the East Village to a group home program in three of New York City's boroughs to its first Crisis Center in Times Square in 1977. In December 1979, the Crisis Center moved to its present location at 41st Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan.

In 1977, a Faith Community was begun This is a group of full time volunteers who give a year of service to young people, pray together every day and live a simple community life based on the example of St. Francis. In 2000, the Faith Community numbered approximately 25 members.

Covenant House New York was incorporated as Under 21, Inc. in September 1982. In the 1980's, the complexity and diversity of the program grew with the needs of our young clients. In 1986, a transitional living program known as Rights of Passage (ROP) began. In addition to shelter for 12-18 months, the ROP program provides education, employment and counseling services, and a volunteer, one-to-one mentoring program.

Outreach programs began at many of the agency's locations to work with the kids on the street and to encourage them to come into the Crisis Center. Covenant House's blue vans are familiar sights in places where kids congregate on the street.

In the 1980's, special programs for young mothers and their children launched at several locations to help these young women face the difficult challenge of caring for their children as single parents.

The Nineline (1-800-999-9999), a toll-free twenty-four hour crisis line was launched in October 1987, to offer immediate assistance to kids and their parents who need advice, counseling, and referral to an agency close to them. The service is available to anyone in the United States and its territories.

25 December 1972, Los Angeles Times, pg. SF5:
People and cultures of the world, and nutrition are 9:30 a.m. classes at the Westlake Covenant House with minority group politics-women's liberation at 1 p.m.

16 August 1974, New York Times, "Directors Protest Drug-Clinic Cutoffs," pg. 36:
...Covenant House, 40 West 12th Street.

18 January 1977, New York Times, pg. 23:
Father Ritter's Covenant House headquarters is around the corner at 260 West 44th Street, and anyone with a year's time to live ascetically or part of a quarter-million dollars to give should line up at that address.

2 April 1977, New York Times, pg. 38:
An Oasis for Runaway Teen-Agers
Appears in a Ponographic Desert
By E. J. DIONNE Jr.
(...)
Yesterday, he stood by as Terence Cardinal Cooke, Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, dedicated Under 21, a brightly decorated haven for teenagers at 692 Eighth Avenue, between 42d and 44th Streets, the heart of the Time Square area's pornography belt.

Under 21 is a project of Covenant House, a child-care agency that began rather informally on Father Ritter's Lower East Side doorstep after the Franciscan priest had left teaching.

16 October 1988, New York Times, pg. .A0:
Ms. Adams said the referral messages would include a toll-free telephone number for the Covenant House, which operates a hot line with trained counselors, (800) 999-9999.

19 November 1988, New York Times, The Editorial Notebook by Mary Cantwell, "For Covenant House, A New Building And a New Challenge," pg. 26:
The building was put up by the National Maritime Union in 1966 for the training of young seamen. Seldom have so few been housed so extravagantly. There's a 900-seat auditorium, a library, a gym with a swimmingpool, a clutch of classrooms, an enormous kitchen and a hiring hall - now a recreation area - that's about three times the size and reminiscent of the first-class saloon of an old Cunard liner. Each of the many bedrooms has a porthole-shaped window and its own bath. Soon these quarters will be home for 300 of what Father Ritter calls "my kids."

7 February 1990, New York Times, pg. A1:
Father of Covenant House
Steps Aside in Church Inquiry

8 February 1990, New York Times, pg. A28:
Covenant House, Beyond Father Ritter

12 October 1999, New York Times, pg. B12:
The Rev. Bruce Ritter, who founded a shelter for runaways in 1969 and then resigned under pressure as its president in 1990 after being accused of financial and sexual improprieties, died Thursday at his farmhouse near Decatur, N.Y. He was 72.

12 August 2001, New York Times, pg. RE1:
The 11-story building at 88 Ninth Avenue at 17th Street has housed a nightclub, the National Maritime Union, Covenant House and a residence for visiting Chinese students. But by this time next year it is expected to be a hotel with about 120 rooms.

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/CHE/CHE025-NationalMaritmeUnion.htm
National Maritime Union, Joseph Curran Annex.
architect
Albert C. Ledner
location
100 Ninth Ave, bet. W 16th and W 17th Streets.
date
1966

Guest rooms built for members of a sailors' union - each with windows shaped like portholes - and later used by runaway teenagers and then by visitors from China are now occupied by hip visitors to New York in what is now the Maritime Hotel.

The hotel is the latest incarnation of the white-tile 12-story structure that occupies the blockfront on the east side of Ninth Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets.

http://www.themaritimehotel.com/directions.html
The Maritime Hotel, at 16th Street and 9th Avenue, is located in Chelsea, two blocks north of the Meat Packing District.

(Trademark)
Word Mark COVENANT HOUSE
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100. G & S: Charitable Social Services. FIRST USE: 19721100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19721100
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73294464
Filing Date January 26, 1981
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition June 29, 1982
Registration Number 1210101
Registration Date September 21, 1982
Owner (REGISTRANT) Covenant House CORPORATION NEW YORK 346 WEST 17TH STREET New York NEW YORK 10011-500
Attorney of Record PAUL W. KRUSE
Disclaimer Applicant disclaims the word "House" apart from the mark as shown without waiving any of applicant's common law rights to the mark as a whole.
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20021013.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20021013
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark NINELINE
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 038. US 104. G & S: TELEPHONE HELPLINE. FIRST USE: 19870520. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19870520
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73664375
Filing Date June 3, 1987
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) COVENANT HOUSE CORPORATION NEW YORK 460 WEST 41ST STREET NEW YORK NEW YORK 10036
Attorney of Record SUSAN T. BROWN
Prior Registrations 1210101;1213602;AND OTHERS
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date October 8, 1987

(Trademark)
Word Mark NINELINE
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100. G & S: TELEPHONE HELP LINE SERVICES FOR TROUBLED YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES. FIRST USE: 19870930. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19870930
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73688784
Filing Date October 9, 1987
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition February 7, 1989
Registration Number 1537750
Registration Date May 2, 1989
Owner (REGISTRANT) COVENANT HOUSE CORPORATION NEW YORK 346 WEST 17TH ST. NEW YORK NEW YORK 10011
Attorney of Record RICHARD L. KIRKPATRICK
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
Names/Phrases • (0) Comments • Tuesday, May 17, 2005 • Permalink