Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > New Info

Renaissance or Renaissance Project - Ellenville, NY

<< < (3/3)

hey  StillStanding -

I was at Renaissance in 1992-1994. I came there from East Ridge (if you know the FFS, then you know of East Ridge)

I think Renaissance has chilled out some over the years - they still shaved heads, did stocking caps, signs, etc, but it, at least to me, seemed therapeutic. Some of the best camaraderie i had there was when i was in spare parts with 2 signs and a bald head sleeping on floor in hallway  (for kicking open the COD's door when I was the BO coordinator and calling the other  coordinators a bunch of "no belly hypocritical motherfuckin' punks" with a lobby full of folks standing for a haircuts, storming back out and then sitting on "the chair" in protest  :P - and frankly they deserved it)

The very next month when Job assignments came out I was Guru :) Seems some staff took heart of my complaints.... I think Jim Colerel (spelling? Jeez how many times did i have to write that name as a expediter, yet now i forget how to spell it?) was one who went to bat for me. He got mad when I did not request my signs off :)

Anyhow, while there i met two different teens that had come there from FFS, and they told me Renaissance was *much* easier to deal with than FFS had been. And having come from East Ridge myself, i felt Renaissance was easier to deal with than East Ridge.

Ya, they still did blow aways, haircuts, signs, costumes, shaved heads, etc etc, still got our asses woken up at 4am for GM's, but things followed a certain logic and consistent rules that seemed to be lacking at East Ridge and FFS. Haircuts, blowaways, etc could no longer be done on "general principal" as I hear they had been in the past.

For most the environment would seem abusive. From where *I* had come from, it was a freakin' vacation.

They discouraged teenagers from coming there, but would still take pretty much anyone who "sat on the chair" and screamed for help loud enough in their interview :) So there were maybe 3-4 teenagers out of 100 or so folks when i was there. Not one of the teens graduated when I was there - all left before phasing out.

It is definitely a New York only program. Westchester mostly really. Some folks there from the Bronx, manhattan, brooklyn, but most were Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers folks. They still have their storefronts in those cities, and the adminsitrative offices are still on center street in new rochelle.


--- Quote from: newsgirl on February 22, 2011, 02:57:11 AM ---I was at Renaissance with you, I think. I wish I knew who you are! I came around Nov 1980 and left in Jan 1982. I was a bit older than you, 20. I was an unusual resident because I didn't really have a drug problem just a really bad behavior problem. My mom was a psychologist who believed i tough love and she convinced me to go. All these years later, the whole thing seems like a bad dream. For me, it managed to act as a wake call on some positive levels, but it was also profoundly unsophisticated and caused plenty of damage. The counselors were ham-fisted and completely out of their depth. They didn't have a clue what I was about and because I came from a fancy family, the mocked me like a bunch of street-y nuckleheads. The place gave me a way to start over, to reassess all the horrible choices I'd made in late adolescence, to reconnect with my family, but no one there had any real training and their intimidation and sleep-deprivation techniques often bordered on the dangerous. I remember watching them rank out a teenager who tried to come out as gay. It was really awful and I had to step in, though I had no standing and they tried to drown me out. I was sad to hear Collerell had died; what of? He was weird but well intentioned. I came in at the same time as he. I am still friendly with a guy named Nick Miele who became a counselor in the late 1980s. He now lives in South Beach.
For what it's worth, my life has turned out very well. I don't look back on Renaissance with fondness but as I said, it was the beginning of me turning my life around.

--- End quote ---

Is this Suzanne? I kind of forget years. I went through the house twice. The first time the only thing I remember is that the Son of Sam Kiler was loose one Summer that I was there. That was 1977. I went back for a 2nd time, but I dont remember the year. I remember a cool little blond chick who was like every bodies little sister named Suzanne. I dont think she had a drug problem so it sounds like you. I actually remember going through the house with Jimmy Colorell (sp). We were on the softball team together that played against Daytop, Samaritan etc.


--- Quote from: StillStanding on January 28, 2011, 03:54:16 PM ---I keep hearing about Synanon off-shoots, and here in NY, there seem to be 2 main ones associated with it – Phoenix House and Daytop (both of which still operate, albeit with much tamer regiments).

But I’ve never heard of anyone talk about Renaissance (or the Renaissance Project) in Ellenville, NY (not far from Daytop’s Swan Lake facility, tho I don’t know if that's still there).

I was there as a teenager for 2 yrs from 1981-1983.  It was primarily an adult facility – approx 65 adults and about 15 teenagers.  This place, while small, was a direct descendant of Synanon’s.

When I got there, they still shaved heads (men only; they stopped shaving women’s and made them wear stocking caps instead; I was told they changed this after a woman killed herself).  They still gave people costumes: bum outfits, baby outfits (complete with diapers, pacifiers, bibs, etc).  I wore signs, stocking caps, and scrubbed toilets with toothbrushes.  Dishpan, spare parts….we shoveled snow out of the pool in the winter, and “moved” the lake with a tablespoon in the summer.  GI’ed rooms for hours. Attitude runs on the lawn, bent over picking up invisible “attitudes” for hours. Chopping ice on the pathways until 3am.  General meetings called at 4am, dragging us out of bed to scream at us and shave heads, etc.

I was 16 when I was sent there; 18 when I left.  I’m 45 yrs old now and my life has never been the same.

I recently started researching Renaissance and found out they’re still open.  I doubt they have teenagers there anymore, but I read that an addict from there killed a security guard and stabbed a nurse in Oct 2010.  When I googled it, I saw it was still the same buildings on the same property.

Because Renaissance is small, and I don’t think there are any chapters outside of NY, I’ve never heard anything about it.  A recent facebook search turned up 2 people I know from there (both of whom were adults), but I’m afraid to contact either of them.

I still think of the other teenagers I was there with, and often wonder what happened to them.

When I left there at 18, I began using heroin.  And spent the next 20 yrs in and out of rehabs, periods of sobriety and college, but eventually relapsing again.  I’m now clean for 7 yrs.  I live and work in NYC and have a seemingly normal life, though the nightmares have never stopped and I live the damage from that place each and every day in ways that just seem normal to me now, after so many years.

If anyone’s ever heard of Renaissance – especially from the early 1980s – I’d appreciate any info you have.  I remember the staff members names, and even have pictures still of most of them.  Rudimentary online searches yield very little info (I already know Felix Varela died some yrs ago)  Gerry Gerace, the ex-director, is still around.  That’s all I’ve been able to find, but I’d like to find out who actually owns the place  - now and back in the 80s.

Any help or info is appreciated.


--- End quote ---

I went through the house in Ellenville twice. I have no recolection of years. I know he first time Son of Sam was the story of the Summer, and that was 77. Vance Granby was residential director. Staff members Rodney (Papa Doc) Fowlkes, Jeffrey Rubin. I'm not sure if Marty Frano was my 1st or 2nd time. The 2nd time Jerry Gerace was R.D. we had Henry Perez, I'm pretty foggy on my 2nd trip.

I think I got alot from my time in the house. I learned how to deal with my feelings without acting out first. I learned to deal with extreme injustices (2nd time in the house they found a pill in center house, and said it was mine because I was Gi'ing center house. Got a shaved head, sign, spare-parts.

Things were insane in those days. To this day I have nerve damage in my legs from standing in the men's dynamics waiting for inspections (God help you if you leaned back on the wall). The house would get "tight" LOOK OUT you were in for it. Expediters are supposed to have growth right? Two female members of my expediter team ran down the road during a tight house. Things were brutal. I talk mostly about my first trip. The 2nd time things had tamed a little, but not much. Me, I would eat learning experiences for breakfast. The more you threw at me, the stronger I would became. I especially loved getting "shot down" as a high ranking status. I was Shingle, and Cheif Expediter, Guru,Trouble shooter, and a couple of different coordinators. When I got shot down, I would be the most humble thing going. I LOVED the dishpan! My first time, I was good friends with Vance and Rod (staff) we would sit up at night playing spades, and they would have this young lady Phyllis (perm) Thomas go up to the kitchen and cook stuff for us while we played (nice perk). I could tell stories for ever. Like the time my 2nd trip when I got fed up with something and walked down the road. Felix happened to be on the property. He sent somebody out for me. I came back, I was Dept head of the business office at the time. The next day, I was still department head of the business office. I had never before seen someone walk off the property, and get NOTHING! I'm sure Felix reemed some staff member a new a-hole for that one. I could tell stories for days. All in all I cherish both my times in the house. Even with the few ASSHOLES that did me wrong it was still positive, because they are the ones who ultimately taught me how to deal with the injustices you get in this world. I have been working for a major corporation for 25 years now, so I guess I turned out OK. By the way, when  I saw the buildings in the news story about the resident who killed the security gaurd I didnt recognize them at all. We had the Men's dynamics. The woman's dynamics was upstairs in the main house, and the casino where we ate etc. I didnt recognize that big building at all. We never had a security gaurd, just the Night man and Night owl


[0] Message Index

[*] Previous page

Go to full version