The get-together served as a fundraiser, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to benefit Sunset Park Landmark Committee, whose purpose is to preserve the neighborhood’s historic homes, and 50 percent going to tenant advocacy agency Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN), which is attempting to preserve 400 units of Section 8 Housing in Sunset.
“We feel very strongly about this fundraiser,” said Lynn Massimo of the Landmarks Committee, who stressed the importance of residents being able to preserve Sunset’s identity. “We came to Sunset to remain a diverse neighborhood and that means it has to have affordable housing. NHN is currently engaged in trying to preserve 400 units of section 8 housing that is due to expire. We want to support their efforts in affordable housing.”
The event included acoustic guitar performances from Salvo Hugo, food catered by local eateries such as Johnny’s Pizzeria, Sunset Bagels, and Generoso’s Bakery, dancing, raffles and plenty of conversing regarding the current status of Sunset Park.
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca attended the party to discuss the cause.
“Today’s celebration honors the hard work Sunset Park residents from so many different cultures and backgrounds and languages have been fighting for,” he said, stressing that the benefit was more than just preserving landmarks. “We’re talking about quality of life here. You could understand it from the stories we hear tonight. They’re all focused on quality of life. That’s why I’m in full support of what this committee is doing.”
“We’re under threat from developers from all kinds of changes and we’re saying there are pieces we need to hang onto,” explained Lynn Tondrick, also a member of the committee. “We know development is going to happen. But we can’t let it all develop.
“We need to hang on to some really crucial elements. Our economic, religious, social and ethnic diversity is a really important piece,” Tondrick said. “And the affordable housing is really key to that so we need to hang onto that, otherwise we’re going to turn into Manhattan.”
New Sunset Park resident Michael Hays was happy to help the cause. “I’m an advocate for affordable units,” he said. “Brooklyn is a tough place to live. So anything to boost the affordable housing is great. It’s important to keep units in this neighborhood and have a good mix of housing in all Brooklyn neighborhoods.”
“The diversity and the turnout have been incredible,” added Menchaca. “And just the vibrancy of that is beyond alive and well in Sunset Park.”