Tell us about yourself and your work in music and entertainment.
My name is Scott Harding, and I am a musician/producer. I’ve been part of the New York music community since 1989. I have worked with a variety of artists, from Salif Keita to Wu Tang Clan. Over the past year I have produced and/or mixed records for Vijay Iyer (“Historicity,” named Jazz Album of the Year by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Chicago Tribune, Jazz Times, etc.), Medeski Martin & Wood, Anti-Pop Consortium, Mike Ladd, Lurdez da Luz (Brazil) and others. I am currently mixing the music for the HBO series Bored to Death and producing a collaborative project with a number of Brazilian and American artists called “Afro Futurismo Brasil.”
What were the circumstances around your accident?
I was involved in a car accident early on the morning of February 16, 2008. I was traveling in a car service two blocks from my studio after a late night session and was hit by a car which was abandoned at the scene, but thought to have been driven by drunken teens. I am paralyzed from my chest down and use a wheelchair full time.
How did you hear about The Schermerhorn in Brooklyn?
I had a group of friends looking for wheelchair accessible housing for me while I was still in the hospital, and someone told us about The Schermerhorn.
What were the challenges you faced and how did The Actors Fund help?
It is very difficult to find wheelchair compliant housing in New York that is affordable and well located to my work and therapy. The staff at The Actors Fund, worked tirelessly to help me get accepted into The Schermerhorn.
What is life like for you on a day-to-day basis and what it is like living at The Schermerhorn?
Up until two weeks ago, I was going to physical therapy twice a week at the Rusk Institute at NYU. I had been going there since September of 2008. So life has changed a fair amount in the last weeks. Now, I am working a few days a week on music, and learning more each day about living my life with a disability.
Living at The Schermerhorn has helped me a great deal to establish my independence, as it is so well-situated in downtown Brooklyn to any number of transit options and also to navigable streets that allow me a greater opportunity to get places independently. The first apartment I lived in when I got out of the hospital had an elevator, which made it accessible, but the bathroom and kitchen were very difficult to operate in and the streets were extremely difficult to impossible to travel on. And my transit options were negligible. Living at The Schermerhorn allows me to come and go as I please and lets me be far more spontaneous and flexible with my movements.
What is the best thing about living at The Schermerhorn?
The Schermerhorn community has not only enhanced and improved my daily life, but is also doing so for a great number of people in the building. I can tell that this living situation is unique and important to all the people that I encounter in the building.
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