Greenpoint Y: Offering one of Brooklyn’s richest histories and brightest futures

Annual fall gala brought out North Brooklyn’s best & brightest

November 7, 2023 Special from the North Brooklyn Gazette
The Honorees with the Greenpoint Y Board at October 2023 Greenpoint Y fundraiser. Photos: John McCarten/North Brooklyn Gazette
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Following a very successful gala fundraiser for the Greenpoint Y held Oct. 4 at Giando on the Water, the North Brooklyn Gazette interviewed Kendall Charter, president of the Greenpoint Y, for some insights into their history and future.


GAZETTE: Can you reveal some of the names of the founding civic leaders who started the Greenpoint Y, along with dates?


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CHARTER: The Greenpoint YMCA has served our community for more than a century. The Greenpoint Y opened at 752 Manhattan Avenue in 1885, under the leadership of Jacob Titus Bowne. In 1906, the branch moved to its current home at the corner of Meserole Avenue and Lorimer Street. The Greenpoint Y continues to be an integral part of the community, offering a wide range of programs including swimming, afterschool, summer camp, fitness classes and more for children, families, and adults, as well as countless opportunities for community members to connect.


GAZETTE: The whole community is excited about your move into a new facility. Can you give us an update on that?


CHARTER: The new YMCA location planned at River Ring, a mixed-use development, will enable the Y to expand and enhance our services in a state-of-the-art facility. The opening date is not yet confirmed, but we are working in partnership with Two Trees to design and build the River Ring Y as expeditiously as possible.

We look forward to sharing the full scope of this project with the community, as we are certain that it will positively impact the lives of the New Yorkers we serve.


GAZETTE: Please describe your membership diversity and vitality.


CHARTER: The Greenpoint YMCA serves a diverse group of children, families, and adults ranging in age from 6 months to 99 years old, mainly from the Greenpoint and Williamsburg communities. Our membership reflects the diversity of our community and includes community members from countries across the globe. Guided by our core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, the Y is dedicated to giving people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity.


GAZETTE: Give us some insights into why the Greenpoint Y is such a beloved part of the community, embraced by such a diverse group of leaders.


CHARTER: Since its inception, the YMCA has relied on the kindness and generosity of our supporters to thrive. The Greenpoint Y has been an integral part of the community, standing at its current location at 99 Meserole Avenue since 1906 for 117 years. 

Throughout the years, we’ve been fortunate to receive the support of thousands of compassionate donors who believe in our mission. Their generosity has allowed us to extend scholarships to countless individuals and families for YMCA membership and programs. These scholarships have allowed people from all walks of life to benefit from the Y’s services. At the YMCA, no one is turned away due to financial constraints. The Y is steadfast in its commitment to inclusivity and creating welcoming spaces for all New Yorkers.


Paul Samulski and others at October 2023 Greenpoint Y fundraiser.
Paul Samulski, Allyson Stone, AJ Kiehner, Norm and Elaine Brodsky, Jill Steinberg and Others

Paul Samulski

“As for the past five years, the Greenpoint Y’s Annual Spirit of Community awards event was once again both enjoyable and inspiring. You can’t walk away from this evening and not feel better about this community and totally respectful of the work the Y does.”


Elaine Brodsky, Debbie Hootam and Julia at at October 2023 Greenpoint Y fundraiser.
Elaine Brodsky, Debbie Hootam and Julia Moak

Elaine Brodsky

“The YMCA annual Spirit of Community event is always special.  Last night was especially so because they honored strong women and their passionate commitment to community involvement.  The weather was perfect and the skyline of NYC was spectacular.  The feelings of warmth and unity were evident in the speeches.  I was so proud to be a part of the celebration!”


Kendall Charter (left), head of Greenpoint Y, with Congressmember Nydia Velzquez with her Award, and Paul Pullo at October 2023 Greenpoint Y fundraiser. Photo: John McCarten/North Brooklyn Gazette
Kendall Charter (left), head of Greenpoint Y, with Congressmember Nydia Velzquez with her Award, and Paul Pullo

Kendall Charter

“The YMCA understands that a strong community lies in nurturing our youth, safeguarding our health, and uplifting our neighbors. The foundation of the Y’s strength, the diversity we celebrate, and the future we envision, all begin with a fundamental investment in our children. We thank all our supports for their unwavering support, no child or family is ever turned away from our programs and services due to financial constraints.”


Honoree Julia Moak at October 2023 Greenpoint Y fundraiser. Photo: John McCarten/North Brooklyn Gazette.
Honoree Julia Moak.

Julia Moak

“The evening was a beautiful celebration with the community and other incredible women who were being honored. I am so grateful for our Greenpointers team and the friends and family who gathered together.

My hope for Greenpointers is that it will keep on thriving in the spirit of trust and continue to serve our neighborhood with authentic reporting that is becoming increasingly hard to come by.”

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