Bay Ridge Center opens new state-of-the-art facility for senior Brooklynites

new Bay Ridge Center facility
The Bay Ridge Center has opened its new senior facility at 15 Bay Ridge Ave. on Monday.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

The Bay Ridge Center, an organization dedicated to providing Brooklyn’s adults 60 and older with services and programs, officially opened its new state-of-the-art location on Monday after almost ten years of planning and coordination.

The BRC, which was founded in 1976, previously operated out of the basement of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, which restricted expansion of programming,

Now, with partnership the New York City Department for the Aging, the Center will offer members one hot meal a day, access to exercise equipment and instruction, art programing, a computer room and social services. 

The new Bay Ridge Center at 15 Bay Ridge Avenue with a state-of-the-art computer and instructors.
The new BRC facility offers a state-of-the-art computer room and tech instructors. Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

“We’d been in the basement of that church for 46 years,” the BRC’s executive director, Todd W. Fliedner told Brooklyn Paper. “Bethlehem Lutheran Church was wonderful, but we had very little space — we had about 4,000 square feet. So now we’ve moved to 15 Bay Ridge Ave. in a two-floor space with 21,000 square feet and it’s all brand new.”

The move to the new space was made possible in part by funding from the Department for the Aging, and membership is completely free and available to anyone over the age of 60. Additional funding and support came from numerous elected officials such as U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, of New York’s 11th congressional district. The congresswoman secured the final $2 million needed to complete construction at the BRC’s new location.

Bay Ridge Center executive director Todd W. Fliedner and Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Bay Ridge Center executive director Todd W. Fliedner and U.S. Rep Nicole Malliotakis. Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

“It was so exciting to see the final product,” Malliotakis said at the BRC’s grand opening celebration on Monday. “Our seniors deserve this center. They’ve worked hard their whole lives, and it’s important that they continue to have a place to socialize, play games, and to exercise their minds and bodies.”

Additional support came from Council Member Justin Brannan who represents Bay Ridge within the council’s 43rd district.

“The new Bay Ridge Center is absolutely magical and truly a dream come true for our community,” Brannan said. “I was proud to support it because this is what all senior centers in the greatest city in the world should look like! Our seniors helped build this city and this is what our architects deserve. This new facility should really be the model for all senior centers to come.” 

The new building allows for more expansive service, dramatically increasing the number of seniors served at the BRC from its humble beginnings.

The new Bay Ridge Center at 15 Bay Ridge Avenue with a state-of-the-art exercise equipment and instructors.
The Center offers myriad programs and services for seniors. Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

“We really feel that this is gonna be a game changer for the older adults in southwest Brooklyn,” Fliedner said. “We opened yesterday, we had our best numbers yet. We had 200 people show up, even with the wind. We did a St. Patrick’s Day party and had over 200 again, I mean these are very big numbers for us. When we were at the church we were averaging maybe 50, 75 people a day and now we’re serving over 200 a day and actually have the capacity to serve a lot more.”

With the celebration of the new center finally opening comes the excitement of the prospect of offering more comprehensive services to older New Yorkers, who often face major challenges in finding affordable housing, good quality healthcare and other social services.

“Our community is made up of a lot of ethnically diverse groups and we want to send the word out that this is a safe place for everybody,” said Fliedner. “We can do programming specific to the Muslim community, to the Asian community, in the Hispanic community, in the Black community. In other words, we have the room now where we can really serve the entirety of our community and it’s especially meaningful to me because these are my neighbors, this is my neighborhood.”