An embattled center for seniors and kids in Williamsburg is getting a shot in the arm from Mayor DeBlasio’s universal prekindergarten program.
The Swinging Sixties Center, which had been given till Jan. 31 to vacate its Ainslie Street home of 40 years, has gotten a fighting chance in a housing court battle thanks to a cash infusion from the Brooklynite in chief’s trademark school program. A longtime leader of the community hub said that it is going to survive whether its landlords want it to stay or not.
“We are moving ahead here no matter what the landlord is doing,” said Community Board 1 member Jan Peterson, who helped to open the place in the 1970s.
In November, Victor Einhorn purchased the building for $4.5 million. In the weeks after, he jacked up the rent and served the center with an eviction notice on Christmas Eve, according to center supporters.
Now advocates say the mayoral money, as well as the other public funds the outfit gets for its daycare program, will convince a judge that Einhorn has no standing to give it the boot.
Dire winter warnings about its imminent closure aside, the center seems to be in decent financial shape as this week it revealed a newly renovated basement, which contains a bocce court, a pool table, and a ceramics studio.
“There were bugs and mold down here. It was unusable for more than five years,” said Peterson. “Now it’s all fixed up, and that is a big victory.”
Most of the renovations were paid for by the housing advocacy group Saint Nick’s Alliance, whose $6-million offer to buy the building from the previous owner was rebuffed.
Swinging Sixties officials say they are not yet sure exactly how much money the city will give them for the prekindergarten program.
©2014 Community News Group
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