Senior Center Relocates After Sandy
By Luis Gronda
The Howard Beach Senior Center is just another example of the many businesses and homeowners that are still feeling the after effects of Superstorm Sandy.
|The Howard Beach Senior Center was forced to relocate after Superstorm Sandy. Photo by Luis Gronda|
The center was based in the lower level of the Rockwood Park Jewish Center until the storm hit in late October. The flooding from the storm caused the center to close its doors and begin the rebuilding process.
Judy Ascherman, the program manager for the senior center, said that they were forced to close down for a month after the storm and after searching for a new place to call their temporary home, they were welcomed into Father Dooley Hall, located at 157 Avenue and across the street from their previous location.
Ascherman said that the center lost a lot of equipment from the storm, including refrigerators and their desks and, although she was not sure of the exact amount, Ascherman said it cost them thousands of dollars in damages.
"We also lost all of our history," she said. "All of the papers were gone; pictures had to be thrown out. Just like any family, we lost a lot."
The senior center has now set up in the gymnasium of Father Dooley Hall, which was formally a disaster recovery center in Howard Beach in the initial weeks after the storm.
Ascherman said that while they can still hold many activities for the seniors, like bingo, Wii Bowling league and a crochet class, she said they are limited because they only have one large room to host everything. Before, they had several activity rooms where they could spread out the activities and schedule them for around the same time.
Now, they must make sure they have room to fit everything in one place.
"When the exercise class is going on, it's little hard to do some of the other groups at the same time, everyone has to be in a different section of the room," she said. "It's a great room, it really is."
They also host a support group for people still dealing with the storm called Project Hope.
Tyronne Etwaroo and Andy Khan, two members of the project, said that they help seniors and any member of the community deal with the storm by letting people vocalize the problems they are going through and how its affected them physically and emotionally.
Etwaroo said that they have seen several people so far and they plan to be there for the foreseeable future.
Ascherman said that they will also remain at Father Dooley hall for now and they expect to move into a new apartment complex this summer being built at 155-55 Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at email@example.com.