You are reading

Community Center to open in Hunters Point next month

47-20 11th Street

Dec. 16, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

A new community center is set to open up in Long Island City next month, offering programming and support to the neighborhood.

The facility, called Renew Queens Community Center, began as the brainchild of several community leaders last year, and will open for the first time at 47-20 11th Street in January. The center will occupy the ground floor, which has capacity for about about 75 people.

“We’re hoping to help a diverse and gentrifying neighborhood feel like there’s a little bit of sustainability, and offer resourcing, space, and opportunity to the community,” said board member and director Seth Bazacas. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or have programming that changes the neighborhood, but we want to support and create sustainability for what is already here.”

Bazacas said the center will offer programming for all ages, beginning with mom and pop groups, senior citizen lunches, ESL classes and music lessons for kids, but expanding its reach based on feedback and interest from the community.

The Center is also slated to help host the annual Easter egg hunts in Gantry Plaza State Park and in Queensbridge Park, and Bazacas said he hopes to have a wide reach through the community beyond the center itself.

“The idea of a community center has been longtime conversation for years in neighborhood,” Bazacas said. “There has always been the conversation about not having space for community, for people looking to make Long Island City a home beyond just a commuter community.”

That idea began to take shape about a year ago, when several community leaders formed the board. In addition to Bazacas, the board includes Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica, Jake and Sarah Zaske, both pastors at Trinity Grace Church, and Nathan Kamp, a Committee Chair with the Gantry Parent Association.

Since then, Renew Queens has been working to gather donations to have a budget to launch.

The space was leased at a favorable rate to the center, and Renew Queens has already partnered with several other organizations and begun gathering donations through its website to ensure it has the money to operate. Once it opens, it will run on a combination of donations and grant funding.

The name for the community center came from what the board hopes to bring to the community.

“The idea of renewal is the idea of bringing together old traditions and new beginnings, not changing what exists, but taking what is already there and bringing life and sustainability to it,” Bazacas said. “There are new components to the neighborhood and it is constantly changing, and we wanted to think about what it means to be part of that while also renewing what is already there, and give it a chance to thrive.”

Bazacas said that looking to the future, he hopes to turn the center in to whatever the community most needs, and hopes to hold events and programs, while also being a space for community groups to grow.

“I see it as having the staying power to be a vehicle that brings together opportunities in the neighborhood, Bazacas said. “I see it as being a hub for partnerships, and as a scalable model as construction continues to expand across neighborhoods, it can grow and can be used for under resourced folks who need the space and the community it brings.”

email the author: [email protected]

7 Comments

Click for Comments 
Sal Conti

I thought a community/Senior center was suppose to be part of the deal with the affordable housing Hunter’s Point South living? If I remember, that was one on the selling points to the community. This community center should be in THAT new beautiful building with plenty amenities and much space, and with support from DFTA.

Reply
D

A positive move. A senior center closed some years ago, and the years form more!
Reportage from LiC Post is excellent.

Reply
konyc

I’ve lived here since ’93, never saw any activity in that space. Used to have lettering that read Island City Theater or something like that.

Reply
Kristin J

So excited!! Thankful for the opportunity to come alongside the community and also learn from them. 🙂

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.