They got scrooged.
Williamsburg’s Swinging Sixties Center got a big dose of bah humbug on Christmas Eve in the form of an eviction notice from its new landlord, according to activists. The paperwork, dated Dec. 19, gives the hundreds of kids and seniors who use its services until the end of January to clear out and center leaders say the timing of the delivery shows a calculated meanness best encapsulated by Dr. Seuss’s famous green grouch.
“He knew what he was doing when he served these papers on Christmas Eve,” said Community Board 1 member Jan Peterson of building owner Victor Einhorn. “He’s a grinch.”
Peterson spent the late 1960s and early 1970s working to open the center, finally succeeding in 1974, and is also a member of its board.
Peterson is convinced that the Einhorns plan to demolish the community center and build condos.
“They are trying to tear down a place that is an institution,” she said.
Current zoning allows for a six or seven-story residential building to go up on the lot.
Center supporters say there is no way the Einhorns will be able to get the daycare, after-school, and senior operations out so quickly, given that the programs have received city funding for decades.
“There’s absolutely no chance that they will kick these seniors and toddlers out in 30 days,” said Saint Nick’s Alliance spokesman Greg Hanlon. “We are confident they will be there for years to come.”
A lawyer for the center said there is a lot working against the landlords, including their consciences.
“We believe that the city’s investment in the property, as well as its agreements with the prior owner, not to mention moral mandates, obligate the new owners to maintain this property as the home of the day care and senior centers that have occupied it for some 40 years,” said Marty Needelman, a lawyer working on behalf of the Conselyea Street Block Association, which runs the center.
The hub has been without a lease for more than a year. Peterson said she plans to continue getting city politicians on board to fight for it and to organize those who use its services to launch letter and phone campaigns.
The building hosted Community Board 1’s meetings until mid-December, when the panel decided to cut and run ahead of the feared eviction.
The Einhorns and their attorney did not return calls for comment.