The Fort Hamilton Senior Recreation Center, 9941 Fort Hamilton Pkwy., which has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, will officially reopen for seniors on Monday, September 13.
According to council member Justin Brannan, it will be 100% senior-friendly, which means there will be no more after-school activities or summer camps, which used to take place at the facility during the months of summer.
In June, State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Brannan wrote a letter to former New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver urging the center to return to its goal of serving seniors in our districts at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in May that senior centers could open June 14 for indoor and outdoor activities. However, this did not apply to the Fort Hamilton Senior Recreation Center, as it is not funded by the city’s Department of Aging and is operated by NYC Parks.
“I am thrilled to see that the Fort Hamilton Senior Center will officially reopen for seniors on September 13, and I look forward to visiting our friends who frequent the center,” Gounardes told the Journalist at home. “Over the past year, I’ve heard so many seniors in South Brooklyn say how vital these centers are to their lives, and after such a difficult year, I can’t wait to see them return to a where they can socialize, participate in activities and access the quality of life improvements that these centers offer.
Brannan thanked the Parks Department for keeping their promise and reopening the center. “I miss spending time with our local elders and hearing the stories they tell,” he said. “Nothing keeps an elected official on their toes more than hearing what the greatest generation thinks. I can’t wait to see my good friends again.
There was a soft opening on Tuesday, September 7, much to the delight of locals. “The wait is finally over,” said neighborhood resident Mari Magaldi. “The seniors came back with their tap dancing and their smiles, and sang in front of an audience of older, happy New Yorkers. The smiles were real, the applause was loud. The elderly waited patiently as the center educated the children for 18 months, forcing them to leave their senior center and be left alone in their apartments. “Today was the coming out party and it will continue for weeks until all the seniors in Bay Ridge/Fort Hamilton are back to enjoy tap dancing, tai chi, paint oil, pickleball and everything else that is loved at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center,” she said.