After two years, Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) with support from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President Eric Adams finally cut the ribbon on the new New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Marcy Houses Community Center today, Friday, November 6, at 492 Marcy Avenue in Bed-Stuy.
“While a pandemic has exacerbated every inequity in this city. The inequities in health care, the inequities in education, the inequities in affordable housing, we are turning that on a dime,” said Cornegy. “This is the epitome of recovery and resiliency.”
Brooklyn electeds along with Marcy Houses residents, old, new, and famous, like comedian Tracy Morgan (Morgan grew up in NYCHA’s Tompkins Houses across the street from Marcy), came out to celebrate the opening of the community center and tour the state of the art facilities.
“Success is not real, purpose is,” said Morgan. “You don’t have to get hit by a truck, don’t have to have cancer, get shot or stabbed. You could lay your healthy [self] down in the bed and not wake up. When your room is ready, your room is ready. So while you are here, let’s make it happen.”
Groundbreaking for the new community center began in July 2018, and it’s completion marks the end of 20 years of Marcy Houses lacking a dedicated community center, said Cornegy. He said that it’s a marvel that the center was invested in and built so quickly. The center was constructed from an old police station that used to be on the ground floor of the NYCHA building.
Cornegy thanked Tahirah Moore, a former staffer in his office and now staffer in the Mayor’s office, for being integral to moving the project forward in her childhood neighborhood.
“I am from the sixth building, fifth floor, 5A,” said Moore, who was visibly emotional about the project. “I stand here a little emotional because when I was younger the community centers that we had were closed and that’s when I felt my first ping of injustice. I remember saying to my friends when we were playing in the big park we are going to get our community center back.”
Moore also thanked the community for teaching her how to be “NYCHA strong” and contributing to the project.
The new center will provide educational opportunities for children and adults, as well as a space for events and community engagement led by the Grand Street Settlement organization. Collectively, $7 million in capital funding were allocated by Cornegy, De Blasio and BP Adams for this project.
“A lot of people said it would be impossible to have this progress happen in the middle of a pandemic,” said De Blasio. “Everyone kept moving because they understood how important it was to this community. How long people fought for this.”
U.S Rep Nydia Velazquez (D-07), speaking about the community center and the ongoing national elections, said, “We’re going to have an administration in Washington that will recognize that investing in public housing is the right thing to do. As the government we have a role to play in providing public housing, but not only that, investing in making sure that our public housing stock is one message of dignity and respect for hard-working Americans.”