The Fort Hamilton Senior Recreation Center, 9941 Fort Hamilton Pkwy., which has been closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, will officially reopen for seniors on Monday, Sept. 13.
According to Councilmember Justin Brannan, it will be 100 percent for the use of seniors, which means no more after-school or summer camp activities, which were held at the facility over the summer months.
Back in June, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Brannan wrote a letter to former NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver urging the center be returned to its intended purpose of serving the seniors in our districts at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 academic school year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in May that senior centers could open on June 14 for both indoor and outdoor activities. However, it didn’t apply to the Fort Hamilton Senior Recreation Center because it is not funded by the city Department of Aging and is operated by NYC Parks.
“I’m thrilled to see that the Fort Hamilton Senior Center will officially reopen for seniors on Sept 13, and I can’t wait to visit with our friends who frequent the center,” Gounardes told the Home Reporter. “Over the last year, I’ve heard from so many seniors across southern Brooklyn about how vital these centers are to their lives, and after such a difficult year, I look forward to seeing them return to a place where they can socialize, participate in activities, and access the quality-of-life enhancements that these centers provide.”
Brannan thanked the Parks Department for keeping their promise and reopening the center. “I miss hanging out with our local seniors and hearing the stories they tell,” he said. “Nothing keeps an elected official on their toes more than hearing what the Greatest Generation is thinking. I can’t wait to see my good friends again.”
There was a soft opening on Tuesday, Sept. 7, much to the delight of locals. “The wait is finally over,” said neighborhood resident Mari Magaldi. “Seniors returned with their tap shoes and smiles, and sang for an audience of happy older New Yorkers. The smiles were real, the clapping was loud. The seniors waited patiently while the center schooled children for 18 months forcing them to leave their senior center and remain alone in their apartments. “Today was the coming-out party and it will continue for weeks until all the Seniors of Bay Ridge/Fort Hamilton are back enjoying tap dancing, tai chi, oil painting, pickleball and all the rest that is loved at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center,” she said.