An average of more than 60 seniors from the Rockaways in Queens, N.Y. came to visit the newly-opened facility on Beach 94th street.
On Monday, Sept. 30, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens re-opened the doors to the Seaside Senior Center at a new location in Rockaway, N.Y., nearly one year after Super Storm Sandy destroyed its previous facility at the St. John’s Residence and School for Boys.
With the help of New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, District 32, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens was able to find a new facility at the First Congregational Church Meeting Hall on Beach 94th Street in Far Rockaway.
On Thursday, Oct. 3, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and the Seaside Senior Center staff and guests welcomed Councilman Ulrich to the center for the first time to see the progress and thank him for his efforts. Ulrich was also on hand to meet the seniors individually and take photos.
Click here for a photo gallery from Thursday's event.
Ulrich was instrumental in the finding the location for the Senior Center, which is funded by the New York City Department for the Aging. After speaking with the pastor of the First Congregational Church, Ulrich deemed the location the perfect new home for Catholic Charities and the seniors. The church itself was also destroyed in last October’s storm, but was rebuilt with a brand-new basement and redone floors in the meeting hall.
“It feels fantastic to re-open our Seaside Senior Center because many of these seniors were victims of Sandy and this is like a homecoming for them,” remarked Judith Kleve, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Vice President for Older Adult Services. “It is wonderful for them to come back, to see all their friends, because this really has been like a second home. The first day we re-opened was such a joyous occasion, as they were hugging and greeting each other. This is a great way to continue the ‘re-birth’ of the Rockaways.”
The previous location for the Seaside Senior Center was located a block off the beach and was in use for just six months before the super storm destroyed the facility.
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Photo caption (from L to R): STANDING - Seaside senior center staff member Andra Daniel and Denise Turkvan, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Vice President for Older Adult Services Judith Kleve, Seaside Senior Center Program Manager Nadine Aspilaire, NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Project Director Robin Apparicio, Seaside senior center staff member Margarita Spruils; SEATED - local seniors in attendance: Michelle Hylan, Diane Graham, Lillian Monroe.