This is the history of this website.

Hi. My name is John Yianni Stamas and I am the co-founder of InwoodManhattan.com as well as have been a resident of Inwood Manhattan for over a decade.

The history of this website starts about a decade or so ago at the point when my wife Alison and I dressed up our then infant daughter Lily as a Peapod. Lily was in this costume to celebrate Harvest Festival NYC and All Hallow’s Eve.

It was our first Halloween in Inwood and we were ready for kids to come to our door asking for candy as well as were excited for Lily to be a part of a community experience. We live East of Broadway on Academy Street, and sadly no one came to our door.

Luke with PIA
High School Student Luke with his Platinum PIA at the Grand Central Branch of the New York Public Library

Fast forward a year. We formed a community group called Lights Camera Read as well as created an early incarnation of the InwoodManhattan.com site, both developed in conjunction with the Inwood branch of the New York Public Library. We decided to again try to celebrate Harvest Festival with Lily. But this time we contacted more than 100 Inwood parents and a slew of local Inwood businesses and created a parade starting at Grandpa’s Pizza, going down Broadway, then turning East and ending at the fire station. We had pre-arranged with the multitude of the businesses to have treats ready for the kids. Our daughter Lily (this year in a lamb costume) had a great time. As a special thank you to all the Inwood-ites who participated, soon thereafter in 2010 we held the First Annual Platinum PIAs Awards – to recognize those making a difference in the community. InwoodManhattan.com did some PIAs coverage at the time.

The Platinum PIAs and Lights Camera Read have grown a lot in the ensuing years, including having celebrity guests like pro football player Justin Tuck, being interviewed on camera to inspire the kids. Just Google “Platinum PIAs” and you’ll see what the PIAs have evolved into. But they’ve never lost touch with celebrating community and Inwood.

Case in point, as of this writing the entire “Community Entrepreneurship” category consists of three nominees all of whom are local Inwood businesses. The “School Platinum PIA” has an Inwood/Washington Heights resident, plus two of the five judges this year are from Inwood, including a beloved pediatrician. Also, the Washington Heights Y has been nominated in the Community Center Platinum Pia category.

Workshops for Teens at the New York Public Library
Workshops for Teens at the New York Public Library

But the Platinum PIAs is not just an annual awards show recognizing those making a difference. It has become a year round experience that includes the weekly NYC Create Newsletter for ArtisticPreneurs. This newsletter got its start in conjunction with the development of the ArtisticPreneur teen workshops at various branches of the New York Public Library. The early days of the newsletter consisted of the documentation of the library workshops.

The goal of these workshops were that even if a young person does not ultimately decide to become an ArtisticPreneur, he or she will have acquired and developed habits and qualities like responsibility, creativity and an entrepreneurial bent, that will be useful in any workplace scenario. And not only that, the activities are fun and engaging. InwoodManattan.com covered the workshops but aesthetically was falling apart.

An outgrowth of the workshops was the documentary “Lights Camera Read’s Celebrity Entrepreneurship” that includes John Amos (the father on the TV show “Good Times”), Victoria Price (daughter of horror icon Vincent Price who is the voice of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”), Gary Sohmers (of PBS’s “Antiques Road Show”) as well as Julie Newmar (the original Catwoman of the “Batman” TV series) plus more. All of these individuals were filmed by Lights Camera Read and ultimately were nominated for Platinum PIAs.

And years later in June, 2018, InwoodManhattan.com was fraying around the edges. No updates were being done. It was a website that was just withering away into cyber nothingness.

Then along came WP (WordPress). It gave this formerly html based site a new lease on life including a blog.

So we welcome you to what started out as the disappointment of no-show trick or treaters, that has grown into an Inwood Manhattan tradition along with an Inwood Manhattan internet destination to boot.