Inspiring Women of the Capital Region: Virginia Hammer

PINE HILLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – One inspiring woman has played a part in almost everything in the Pine Hills neighborhood. When something goes wrong, she’s one of the first to push for change.

Virginia Hammer has been at the forefront of a Pine Hills community renewal, from theater, to restaurants, to landscaping parks.

“I like to get ideas or take other people’s ideas,” says Virginia. “But whatever sounds good and doable, I try to take it on.”

Virginia Hammer is the kind of person that every neighborhood needs.

Pine Hills author Akum Norder is a historian who has written a book about the neighborhood to be published in February.

‘If there is a problem in the Pine Hills neighborhood, she is perfectly willing to be the thorn in everybody’s side until it gets fixed,” says Norder. “She is a strong voice for the neighborhood.”

When Virginia Hammer learned that the original Pine Hills library would be closing, she pushed hard, and the neighborhood ended up with a beautiful new library.

“People use it for tutoring, for meetings. It’s a community center,” says Hammer. “I’m always here because I love the library.”

When the Pine Hills Elementary School needed a new playground, Virginia Hammer organized the association to raise $6000 from a book sale.

Sunday, hundreds of UAlbany students turned out at Pine Hills’ Ridgefield Park and then scattered all over the neighborhood to pick up trash. The annual neighborhood cleanup is one of the association’s most successful new partner ventures.

Virginia also helped organize the cleaning of Pine Hills’ iconic mural and the World War II monument at the Point, now renamed DeWitt Park, after former Governor DeWitt Clinton.

Why does she do it? Because she doesn’t want to be bored. Virginia is retired, but by all accounts she just cares. And works harder than ever to make Pine Hills a better neighborhood.

“I’d like to have more people move into this area,” says Virginia. “I’d like for people to understand how great it is to live here. I mean how many neighborhoods have a movie theater.”

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