Nicky Hopkins, Class of 2003
When you consider the level of planning and attention to detail that goes into Nicky Hopkins’ work restoring New York City’s most iconic historic buildings, it’s no surprise that a Stevens memory that really sticks out to him is the Egg Drop.
“I loved the Egg Drop,” Hopkins says. “I don’t remember what I built, but I remember my egg didn’t break. I guess that fed the sort of engineer-type mindset that really serves me well today.”
Hopkins, who graduated in 2003 as a member of Stevens’ first class of 8th graders, today works as a foreman for EverGreene Architectural Arts, where he has overseen projects restoring historic structures in New York
City, including the James A. Farley Building, the city’s longtime main branch of the U.S. Postal Service that now houses Moynihan Train Hall.
His other projects in the metropolitan area have included Grand Central Station, a landmarked theater in Times Square, and even a short stint restoring the original brownstone portico at Hoboken City Hall. Today, he often oversees crews of 30 workers assigned to 24-hour projects and is required to be as much a project manager as a restoration expert.
Last year, Hopkins received the Restoration & Remediation Magazine Ladder Award, which recognizes a restoration professional under 35 who exhibits “leadership, drive, innovation, care for clients and colleagues, community service and a clear passion for the industry.” He holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the Tulane School of Architecture.
Hopkins recalled Stevens’ emphasis on small group work and said it likely helped develop his skills as a leader and teammate.
“We always did a lot of group projects, so learning to work in teams and communicate in ways that were conducive to problem-solving definitely served me well,” Hopkins says.
He also credits the experience of growing up exploring the historic neighborhoods of Jersey City and Hoboken — plus field trips to places like Ellis Island — with developing his passion for appreciating and preserving old buildings.
Throughout his career, Hopkins has also used his skills to serve his communities. Living in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, he volunteered to rehabilitate gutted historic homes. He participated in similar projects in Staten Island and Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy. And he worked at Habitat for Humanity, where he salvaged homes in Brooklyn for affordable housing.
Going forward, Hopkins says he might move more in the direction of management than restoration in order to spend more time with his family. Still, he won’t be hanging up his tools too quickly; he and his longtime partner, Catherine, are currently in the process of restoring his historic childhood home in the Heights neighborhood of Jersey City.