There is now a dynamic haven where children will have a chance to play, learn, and grow in Morris Heights.
Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club just opened its eighth location in the borough with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 18 officially inaugurating the Frederic & Margaret Coudert Clubhouse at 1835 University Avenue. The event included visits from the family of the deceased chairman of the organization’s board and from former Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., now Urban Affairs director in the Obama Administration.
The new community center, located in a completely renovated building that had been an eyesore in the community for 30 years, will focus onprograming for children. It includes a gym, auditorium and performance space, and game room. The goal is to enhance health, educational and recreation opportunities for kids in Morris Heights.
Old friends Adolfo Carrion Jr. and Daniel Quintero, the executive director of Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, talked of the need for children to feel that adults cared about them. Carrion said, in an emotional homecoming, that the center’s opening showed adults cared about the way the community’s children were progressing in life and helped them to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
Adolfo Carrion said in his keynote address that while representing the district in the City Council, he was pushing to get the building turned into a center for children. He said that the work of organizations like Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club is of vital importance.
“Obviously, it is very emotional to return [to this location] and to see the fruit of so much labor,” Carrion said. “Children do not wait for us to grow up.” Carrion added that in terms of this particular project, the city government was not as agile as it ought to be, adding that he first visited the building 20 years ago when it was a vacant city-owned building in ruins. There was talk of turning the building into a community center then.
“This is a part of the Bronx that has been neglected,” Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene said. “I want to thank Community Board 5 and all of the people whose struggle made this day possible.”
Qintero said that he believes that by partnering with community organizations already operating nearby, The Frederic & Margaret Coudert Clubhouse will reach many young people and have a lasting impact on their lives.
“It is great that Kips Bay is coming into an area in need of services,” Quintero said. “We hope to be a beacon in this community.”