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