Brief Biography in Photos and Words

JUAN PAGÁN in 2009


Juan is a cancer survivor who, despite dealing with three years of treatment fighting cancer and depression, found new meaning and renewed vigor for life when he was declared in remission, again confirmed in November 2016. Juan is a published author participating in the Write Treatment Writing Workshops for cancer survivors at Mt. Sinai, New York City. His stories are published in "The Write Treatment Anthology, Volume 1: 2011 - 2016."

From The Community - For The Community

JUAN PAGÁN in 2018

Juan is the former director of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos and the Bernard M. Baruch Houses Community Centers, a New York State (NYS) Credentialed School-Age Child Care Provider. There he oversaw the NYCHA Children’s After School and Summer Day Camp Programs, and the Teen-Age Evening Programs where he served as an administrator, and guitar & music teacher. City supervisors recognized Juan’s persevering concern for the children in his care designating the Baruch Center as an official haven for high-risk children.

Juan is a life-long community member – a citizen representative of the East Village and our District. He has lived in NYCHA’s Housing Developments well over 45 years.

Juan, a former correction officer, worked in prisons in upstate NY and in New York City (circa 1985).

Juan fought alongside parents, students, and teachers against the deterioration and closing of Legacy High School, and other public schools throughout the city threatened with closings.


After Hurricane Sandy, Juan (like thousands of other residents who live in Zone 1) lost heat, hot water, and electricity for nine days. He spent the days in the aftermath of the disaster volunteering at the relief center to help his neighbors.

For the first seven years Juan and his family lived in a tenement on the Lower East Side. Thereafter, the family moved a few blocks north to the East Village where he lives in the enclave known as ‘Loisaida’.

Juan (on the left, mom at the center) graduated from kindergarten at the Educational Alliance on East  Broadway, NYC (circa 1961).

Juan is the parent of two children born, raised, and still living in the East Village. His daughter, Hannah, makes her home with her father, Juan.

Juan served as president of the Legacy High School Parents Association where his daughter Hannah attended.

Juan is a former Correction Officer with the NYS Department of Correctional Services, and a youth counselor with the NYS Division for Youth (a State governed institution of detention facilities for youthful felony offenders). Juan also worked at the Federal Reserve selling certificates and bonds, and interpreting regulations to the public; and as Administrative Assistant to the Associate Provost at Baruch College.

JUAN PAGÁN in 2018


Juan served as Manhattan Representative with the NYC Department of Education’s Citywide Council on High Schools, a position he was elected to by parents whose children attended public high schools in Manhattan.

Juan at the steps of City Hall exposing the inequities inflicted upon the New York City public school system (spring 2011).

Juan volunteered as a music instructor at a NYS prison facility, and through his efforts, Juan secured funds from Albany to purchase new musical instruments and hire a music teacher to teach at the prison.

Juan sitting on mother’s lap and his sibling sitting with father in the living room of the six-story tenement on East Broadway off Montgomery Street (circa 1959).

Juan’s parents, Rosa and Ramón, each migrated from Puerto Rico to the Lower East Side where they met and married. Rosa gave birth to identical twins at Bellevue Hospital, Juan being her first born.


Juan is a former small business owner who understands firsthand the hardships of owning a small business in New York City. To give back to the community and help restore lives, Juan hired four ex-offenders released from State prison; one was his neighbor, a resident of NYCHA’s Jacob Riis housing.


Tuesday NOV 6

Juan was educated in New York City public schools beginning in kindergarten at the Educational Alliance on East Broadway, and public schools throughout the Lower East Side (PS 134, PS 15, JHS 71), and then attending the High School of Music & Art, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

While visiting family in Puerto Rico rehabilitating from cancer treatment, Juan’s family urged him to stay and live out the rest of his years in a house a short drive from Jobos Beach… Juan’s response:

“One of my favorite poets and patriots, Jose Martí, was hiding in the mountains from the oppressor; not because of fear, but to heal from the wounds inflicted by his enemy as he fought alongside the people who were so afflicted… but the outcry of the people had become more painful than the wounds he sustained in battle; and although his wounds were not completely healed, and his injuries still fresh, he came out of the mountains and fight! I would find it so hard to die knowing that I left my community no better than if I had never lived for it. If we are to thrive as a community, we must make sacrifices for our children, our families, and our neighbors. I look forward to serving my community as member of the State Assembly.”

Juan witnessed the Lower East Side’s transformation from a struggling, impoverished, and neglected neighborhood to a still diverse, but continually gentrifying community.

Juan with his daughter, Hannah, Father’s Day 2012.

Juan is a life-long community member, a citizen representative of the East Village and our District – his loyalty is unparalleled – he understands the importance of community and will ensure that our District has the best political representation.