Dyker Heights

Narrows Senior Citizens Center in Dyker Heights facing eviction

January 18, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Angel Guardian Home has been sold and a senior citizens center that rents space on the property has been told to vacate. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

The multimillion-dollar sale of the Angel Guardian Home property in Dyker Heights is causing major ramifications throughout the neighborhood and part of the fallout involves the impending closure of a senior citizens center that has been operating on the property for several years. 

The Narrows Senior Center, which operates in the Angel Guardian Home property at 6301 12th Ave., received a letter in early December from the Sisters of Mercy, the Catholic order of nuns that founded the Angel Guardian Home, ordering the senior center to vacate the premises by Feb. 2. 

The Sisters of Mercy sold the Angel Guardian Home property to a developer in 2017. It’s not clear what the new owners plan to do with the land. The Angel Guardian Home, established in 1899, takes up an entire city block and is roughly the same size as three football fields. 

The sale of the Angel Guardian Home and the pending eviction of the Narrows Senior Center were first reported by The Brooklyn Paper.

On Tuesday, Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) stepped into the fray to try to convince the Sisters of Mercy to show the senior center some mercy. 

“We have to do everything we can for our seniors and I would assume the Sisters of Mercy would agree. Unfortunately, it seems like a real estate deal, that may be no good for the neighborhood anyway, has clouded the mission that once made the Angel Guardian Home such a great place in our community,” Brannan said in a statement.

The Brooklyn Paper reported that the Narrow Senior Center’s lease doesn’t expire until June, but that a provision in the lease allows the Sisters of Mercy to terminate the agreement as long as 60 days notice is given.

In a letter to the Sisters of Mercy, Brannan also expressed his frustration with the sale of the property, which he said is shrouded in mystery. 

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“The Sisters of Mercy want the Narrows out. We get that. But not only is it not fair to ask them to leave early, it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than potentially fulfilling the request of their mystery buyer. The community doesn’t like how this real estate deal is going down. Let’s not make it worse by throwing seniors out into the cold,” Brannan stated.

Brannan added that his immediate goal is to buy enough time for the Narrows Senior Center to enable it find a new home.

In December, it was learned that the Sisters of Mercy was in the process of selling the Angel Guardian Home property for approximately $23 million. The Sisters of Mercy operated an orphanage at the site for more than 80 years.

The name of the buyer has not been publicly revealed.

The vast property where the Catholic nuns looked after orphaned children should be converted into a housing complex for senior citizens, according to neighbors living near the site who formed an advocacy group, Guardians of the Guardian, to promote their idea.

The Guardians of the Guardian group was seeking to turn the property’s stately 100-year-old building and luscious green space into a “multistage senior housing complex” for area residents who would like to “retire-in-place,” said Frank Grassi, a leader of the group. 

The Angel Guardian Home has a long history of charitable endeavors.

The Sisters of Mercy established an orphanage at the site in 1899 and found homes for thousands of children over the ensuing decades. The orphanage closed in the 1970s.

MercyFirst, a nonprofit social services organization, moved onto the property a few years ago and operated a foster care program from the site, sharing space with the Narrows Senior Center. MercyFirst moved out of the Angel Guardian site in 2017. 

At press time, The Sisters of Mercy did not return the Brooklyn Eagle’s phone calls.

 

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