GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 47 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

District 47
Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Gravesend, Bensonhurst



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District 47, Domenic Recchia
445 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn 11224
City Hall: (212) 788-7045
District: (718) 373- 9673
Fax: (718) 373-0195
Email: recchia@council.nyc.ny.us

Committee Assignments:
Small Business, Retail & Emerging Industries (Economic Development), Chair of Subcommittee Aging, member
Economic Development, member
Education, member
Oversight & Investigations, member


Losing A Home

By Joanna Sufin

Ninety-five year old Irene Gotlin waits for dinner at the end of a table, resting her wrinkled hands on a white napkin. Everyday Gotlin comes to the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged's Scheuer House senior center in Coney Island, Brooklyn to eat and socialize. Gotlin says the senior center is "her life," but for the last few months she has been worried that it will be taken away.

"I have lived my whole life. I was very useful in my time. I have paid taxes all these years, and now they want to close this place down," she says with tears in her eyes. "I have nothing if I don't have this."

Mayor Bloomberg's proposed budget would cut the Department of Aging budget by $26 million. If the budget is adopted, the Scheuer House senior center is one of the seven senior centers in the city that would have to shut down by July 1.

Director Mary Marooney says this would be devastating since many of the 500 registered members are physically unable to even cross the street and are too emotionally attached to the center to feel comfortable elsewhere.

"Here they know that someone cares. Everybody becomes one family," says Marooney. "If the mayor closes this center he will save $ 99,000 -- and look what's he's doing to the seniors."

"We understand the mayor's predicaments," adds Bob Weber of the Jewish Association for the Services for the Aged, an organization that oversees 26 centers around the city. "He is trying to make the ends meet, but the seniors are a very vulnerable population."

There are currently 1.3 million senior citizens over the age of 60 living in New York City. Half of those who use senior centers live on a fixed income of $12,000 a year.

Over a hundred seniors recently gathered for dinner at the Scheur House for an afternoon meal of meatloaf, noodles and vegetables, and their reaction to the possible closing of their center ranged from dismay to anger.

"If Bloomberg is looking to cut the budget, this is not the place to start, or to end," said Al Feleman, 78. "We depend on it and I mean we depend on it. If they take it away, they will shorten our lives."

"If they close this center, where would we go?" asked Blanch Cole, 84, who is wheelchair bound and lives in the building. "There are no restaurants around here."

About 40 percent of the seniors who visit the center live in the building's upper floors, but because it is located near a bus stop the center is also convenient for many in the area.

The Scheuer House senior center serves between up to 150 meals a day. The center also offers a schedule of events. The month of May is filled with sing-alongs, folk dancing, basic English lessons, arts and crafts, stamp club, old time movies, bingo, and a trip to Atlantic City.

According to Pat Wilks, the director of public affairs at the Department for the Aging, the Scheuer House and the other six centers are slated for closure because they are underutilized and located near other senior centers.

Marooney of the Scheuer House replies that the Surf Solomon senior center ac ross the street already serves about 300 people a day and can not accommodate everyone in the area.

"The city should not assume that someone else should help these citizens," said Bobbie Sackman of the Council of Senior Centers and Services, an advocacy group. "The seniors' mobility is limited and their world is ten blocks in radius. If the center were to close, the seniors would stay home rather to look for a new place."


Community Boards for District 47
Community Board No. 11
2214 Bath Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 266-8800
Mr. Wm. Guarinello, Chair
Mr. Howard Feuer, District Manager
http://www.brooklyncb11.org/
Community Board No. 13
2900 W. 8th St., Brooklyn, NY 11224
(718) 266-3001
Mr. Mitchell Wesson, Chair
Mr. Chuck Reichenthal, District Manager
http://www.communityboard13.org/
Community Board No. 15
Kingborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., F. Cluster, Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 332-3008
Ms. Anne M. Dietrich, Chair
Ms. Paula Lupka, District Manager



Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration


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City Parks
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Historic Districts and Landmarks
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The Waterfront

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map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
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