For 30 years since its founding, Shirley Brockway has been the director the JASA’s Throggs Neck Senior Center. She is bidding it farewell as its director, but has vowed to remain active in the center’s many functions.
Brockway officially retired on Friday, May 8, but has been back to the center over the past few weeks, and shows no signs of forgetting her home-away-from-home for the past three decades.
She said that she felt her greatest contribution to the center, and what drew so many people to it under her direction, was the fact that she was able to create so many one-day and overnight trips appealing to seniors citizens’ tastes.
“My people love trips and I gave it to them,” Brockway said. “We went for five-day trips to Wildwood, visited the Amish Country, went to Atlantic City overnight, as well as to Ocean City, Baltimore, and to colonial Williamsburg.”
Brockway was the founding director of the center, which is located at 2705 Schley Avenue. Originally called the “Golden Age Club,” and located in the basement of a New York City Housing Authority Building, the center has expanded over the years to include a comprehensive program for senior citizens in Throggs Neck.
Brockway said that the growth of the center was fueled by generous support from elected officials over the years.
“Councilman Jimmy Vacca was very good for me throughout all of these years,” Brockway said. “Assemblyman Benedetto, Borough President Carrion, and Senator Klein all gave us grants so that we could take those trips at low costs, only paying for the busses ourselves. We had very inexpensive trips and they had a great time.”
Vacca fondly remembered Brockway from his time as district manager of Community Board 10, “We all worked closely together when the senior citizen center opened,” Vacca said. “It was more than a nine to five job for her. She was really committed to the senior center, and really loved her job. I wish her all the best in her retirement.”
Vacca presented Brockway with a citation for all of her hard work during her retirement party, held on May 8.