Block Party Celebrates 211 Win!

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Small World / Singing Sixties community center block party. St Nicks Alliance. Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY/ photo by STefano Giovannini

The nearly five year campaign to keep 211 Ainslie in community hands included:

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Small World children watch Penny and the Puppeteers’ puppet show

multiple demonstrations in freezing temperatures outside City Hall and Brooklyn Supreme Court, a community rally where dedicated community members and Council Member Reynoso sit-in the street protest got them arrested to bring Mayor de Blasio’s attention to the cause, the day to day expertise of the legal team of Marc Aronson, Greg Messer, and Brooklyn Legal Services.  Then came the glorious day, on June 22nd, when St. Nicks Alliance and Conselyea Street Block Association closed on the acquisition of the building. On August 17th it was time to celebrate this victory properly, by having a block party for the community.

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Dancing Danny leads Swinging Sixties Seniors in an exhibition of his full-range of motion movement.

Ainslie Street was closed from Manhattan Avenue to Graham Avenue and filled with a bouncy castle, games,  a puppet show, and a stage where Dancing Danny with the Swinging Sixites Seniors performed a fitness routine and community leaders would relay their congratulations. Afterwards an Italian dinner was served inside the center.

“All the elected officials did their jobs in saving the center, but our community’s passion for these facilities really got this done. There’s so much passion that went into saving the center. Especially all those seniors and children that came out to court, they really turned the judges thinking and put a face on what would happen if the landlord was able to evict us,” said Michael Rochford, St. Nicks Alliance Exec. Dir.

 

 

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“I want to be clear during a gentrification process of our community, a lot of these spaces, community spaces take care of our most vulnerable. Our children, our seniors are the first ones to go from residential development. They want to build housing, they don’t want to provide resources,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who provided capital to purchase the property and funds to operate Swinging Sixties and Small World
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“We saved Small World and Swinging Sixties! How ‘bout that? And [Council Member Antonio Reynoso is] right, [our community] did it! The kids, the seniors, and all of you who wouldn’t allow this center to close,” said Assembly Member Joe Lentol
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Conselyea Street Block Association President, Phil Caponegro thanked his board, St. Nicks Alliance, and the community
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“I remember [residents] in front of City Hall. I remember you when it was freezing cold in front of the Center. I know all the hard work that you all put into this,” said Assembly Woman Maritza Davila to community members and fellow elected officials.

 

 

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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