2014-01-17 / Top Stories

RYTF Calls On NYCHA To Fix Centers

By Miriam Rosenberg


The RYTF and community leader John Cori on the steps of the Beach 41st Street community center on January 11. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg The RYTF and community leader John Cori on the steps of the Beach 41st Street community center on January 11. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg The Rockaway Youth Task Force (RYTF)is calling on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to finally fix two community centers damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

On January 11th, RYTF members and supporters gathered on the steps of the Beach 41st Street Houses community center – located on Beach 40th Street – to call attention to the disrepair there and at the center at Ocean Bay Houses.

“There’s no wood on the gym floor,” said Milan Taylor, the founder of the RYTF, about the Beach 40th Street location. “They’ve totally uplifted the wood and it’s just concrete. Jagged concrete.”

Taylor added that the Beach 57th Street center “has a lot of problems including leaks and no computer lab.”


The gym floor at Beach 41st Street Houses Community Center is jagged concrete. Photo courtesy RYTF The gym floor at Beach 41st Street Houses Community Center is jagged concrete. Photo courtesy RYTF Friends of Rockaway Beach founder John Cori joined the teens and lauded them for bringing the issue to the forefront.

“It’s very unfair to this community that the city has put on hold a gym floor that the young people need,” said Cori. “The young adults cannot use the basketball court for indoors – especially during the cold weather months.”

The condition of the gym floor was discovered during a site visit to determine funding for local community centers as part of Council District 31’s participatory budget process.

NYCHA transferred the operation of the Beach 40th Street Teen Center this month to the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) who hired the Child Center of NY to manage it.

It reopened January 13th, but Taylor said the lack of a gym will deter many young people from coming to the center.

“This is no fault of the Child Center of NY, because they just took over the center as of last week,” continued Taylor, who added that all the computers in the center do not work. “This is NYCHA giving the center over to the Child Center of NY in sub-par condition. This is totally unacceptable.”

In a statement the director of Youth Development for the Child Center of NY, Deepmalya Ghosh, said, “We are very excited to have this opportunity to work with DYCD and NYCHA to open a Cornerstone Program at Beach 41st Street. Obviously this can’t happen with major parts of the center requiring repair. Youth and families of the community need these places open.”

On Tuesday, January 14th, NYCHA responded to The Wave’s inquiries with the following statement: “The New York City Housing Authority has plans for extensive updates to these centers to make them more functional and resilient and to also make them a place for residents to go in times of storms. However, implementation of these plans is subject to the requested funding being made available through FEMA and HUD CDBG program. To date, NYCHA has not received any funding for these purposes.”

Taylor said, “What this is all about is the lack of transparency and openness on behalf of NYCHA,” said Taylor. “Because young people are asking every day when is this going to be repaired and no one’s getting any answers.”

Despite a previous report that the centers have not been open since Sandy, they have operated, but in limited capacity.

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