Months after the closure of the Narrows Senior Center, senior citizens are still struggling with their upheaval.
On May 8, seniors were ousted from the Narrows Senior Center, the last remaining lease-holder within the Angel Guardian Home, 6301 12th Ave., which had been sold to a developer (who, it has been reported, is willing to offer the center a long-term lease once construction on his project is completed).
Seniors were offered two alternatives, the Moose Lodge, 7711 18th Ave., or Stedman Senior Housing, at 930 53rd St., both Catholic Charities locations. Catholic Charities could not be reached for comment on this story.
Many of the seniors began to transition to Stedman Housing, but there were murmurs of sub-par conditions at the facility, such as a lack of transportation and restrooms, poor ventilation and paltry food.
“I don’t feel good about the change. I think we went from good to bad; I understand they had to make the move but they made the wrong move,” said a senior who regularly visits Stedman, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Transportation — or the lack thereof — is proving to be a significant issue in the seniors’ uprooting. Parking at Stedman Housing is difficult, due to its proximity to Maimonides Medical Center. Additionally, though the Moose Lodge reportedly has overall superior conditions, there are limited transportation services offered by the facility, seniors say.
“I would rather go to the Moose. The only thing is, there’s no transportation to the Moose. I’ve been walking with my Rollator, because I can’t walk on my own. I’ll have to stop to sit down on the Rollator,” said Stella Varriale, who has frequented both centers.
As winter approaches, there is an increasing urgency for suitable transportation, as many seniors are not able to walk and do not drive.
According to longtime supporter of the Narrows, Pauline Castagna — who, in an effort to save the center, organized multiple protests in advance of the center’s closure — there is a simple solution.
“[Stedman Housing] has two vans. They should give one to the Moose. I don’t know why that isn’t happening. They’re both owned by Catholic Charities.”
Another pressing matter within Stedman Housing is the current state of the restrooms. Seniors report that there are only two stalls, one male and one female, both with poor locks.
Though the Department for the Aging said in a statement that the second phase of planned construction will include creating six bathroom stalls (three male and three female, with an accessible stall in each), seniors insist that the issue is pressing, especially given the population of the center.
“We need more bathrooms. They should have put more bathrooms in before we moved,” said another senior who wishes to remain anonymous. “I feel like we don’t count.”