Exclusive: Pols call on Catholic Charities to reopen senior center at former Angel Guardian Home property

August 26, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Exclusive: Pols call on Catholic Charities to reopen senior center at former Angel Guardian Home property
Share this:

Local elected officials have written a letter to Msgr. Alfred Lopinto of Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens, calling for the organization to reopen a senior center on the former Angel Guardian Home property.

The letter, obtained by this paper, was written by State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, Councilmember Justin Brannan and Assemblymember Peter Abbate.

“Recently we were notified that despite multiple offers from the current owner of the property, Catholic Charities has declined to commit to relocating on the property,” it stated. “These seniors have been expecting to return to this space, which for many is closest to their homes and where they made their friendships and memories. The space you occupy now is farther away, and we have received many complaints. We hope you will reconsider this decision and we will make sure to do all in our power to help facilitate the deal.”

Subscribe to our newsletters

In 2018, the Sisters of Mercy received $37.5 million from developer Scott Barone for the property, which occupies the square block bounded by 12th and 13th avenues and 63rd and 64th streets in Dyker Heights. Barone subsequently sold the 13th Avenue side of the property to the city’s School Construction Authority, which will be building a school on the site, and the central portion of the property to another developer who plans to erect condos there.

While the remainder of the campus has been leveled, the late-19th-century main building and the smaller, early-20th-century convent building have so far been preserved. Barone’s originally said he wanted to utilize the main building to develop an assisted living facility. However, it now appears that that portion of the property has been sold as well, to Borough Park-based Ger Talmud Torah Imrei Emes, for use as a school.

“I used to spend my days there (Narrows Senior Center) with my friends and enjoyed happy moments, it was my home away from home,” stated a local senior. “I wish a new senior center will replace the old center.”

“We need to bring Narrows Senior Center back to the Angel Guardian site as was promised and ensure the seniors have a home away from home where they can gather. Along with the landmarking of the Angel Guardian Home and the construction of a new school, this can be a win-win for the community,” said State Sen. Andrew Gounardes. “We urge Catholic Charities to come to the table and bring back the senior center.”

“We won’t forget those cold days back in January 2018 when the Sisters of No Mercy tried to kick the Narrows Seniors into the street,” added Councilmember Justin Brannan. “We won that fight and bought more time, but now we need to bring the Narrows Senior Center back to the Angel Guardian site like everyone promised they would. We are ready to sit down with Catholic Charities to do everything we can to make this happen. The Narrows Senior Center really was like a big, warm, happy family.”

—Additional reporting in previous article by Helen Klein

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment