Before Wards Island

Before Wards Island and the infamous M35 bus, Camp LaGuardia, north of the city near Chester, NY, was New York City’s homeless facility.

Camp LaGuardia begin in 1918 as a prison for women, but in 1934 it became a work camp for homeless men. Men at the camp were trained under a scheme of “rehabilitative work” and it was hoped that they would find employment at the many nearby resorts in the Catskills.

By the 1990s, Camp LaGuardia’s homeless population had grown to consist more of young, drug addicted and/or mentally ill males who were allowed the leeway to leave the grounds. The residents of Chester were on edge after incidents of lewdness and public urination. As part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s five-year plan to reduce homelessness in New York City and allocation of Camp LaGuardia’s $19 million budget on more long-term solutions such as subsidized housing, city officials announced the closing of the camp in November 2006.

New York City sold the Camp LaGuardia to Orange County in 2007 for $8.5 million.

Lead with Brown Bike Girl

Everyone is invited to attend another round of group ride leader training with The Brown Bike Girl

The purpose of this training is to build local cycling leadership and provide safe, local opportunities to ride outside. Participants will receive free training and promotional items, and are expected to lead at least 1 group bike ride in East Harlem in 2021. Details about this year’s training cycle are included below. Please let us know if you have any questions, and share this opportunity with your communities!


  • Applications close March 26th
  • Interested participants must apply through the link provided
  • Applicants will be notified by March 31st if they have been accepted. Preference will be given to Harlem and East Harlem residents.

Training Schedule

Applicants must be available and willing to attend all sessions to participate in this year’s training