Model of civic mindedness to be honored with Cus D’Amato Award


By Lauren Dzura

The Union Square Partnership together with Washington Irving High School will present Eric Petterson with the 12th Annual Cus D’Amato Community Service Award. The reception will take place in the Great Room at the W Union Square Hotel on May 26.

A former model, Petterson has been a businessman for over 15 years in the Union Sq. area. In 1990, Petterson and two partners opened Coffee Shop, a risky investment at a time when Union Sq. was known for its high crime statistics. Petterson is now co-owner of three restaurants. A resident of the area with children, he has dedicated much of his time to volunteer work and providing financial support for the community.

As a member of the Union Square Partnership’s Education Committee, Petterson has shown special interest in programs at Washington Irving High School. He is using his personal connections to provide funding and additional resources for W.I.H.S., and has given high school students hands-on experience in the business world with jobs at Coffee Shop and his other area restaurant, Luna Park, as a member of the school’s Union Square Business Academy. He also secured resources from the Partnership for new science labs in the school. Petterson also serves on the boards of two other neighborhood organizations, the Vineyard Theatre and the McBurney YMCA.

The Cus D’Amato Community Service Award is given out every year to an individual who has been highly involved in the Union Sq. community and with the staff and students of W.I.H.S. The award is presented at the Cus D’Amato Community Service Award Luncheon, the Partnership’s main education fundraiser.

The Union Square Partnership is a nonprofit organization that oversees the community’s business, culture and education development. In 1994, the Partnership joined forces with Washington Irving High School to prepare students for success in higher education and the working world. The Partnership provides tutors, mentors, college prep programs and after-school programs for students of W.I.H.S.