By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) arrived at the Bay Ridge Center, a senior citizen facility, just before the start of lunch on Dec. 17. Even though they were hungry, the seniors didn’t mind Golden delaying the start of their meal. After all, he was delivering good news.
Golden came to the center, located in the basement of Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Ovington Avenue, to announce that he had secured $65,000 in state funding to allow the center to purchase a van to replace a vehicle that had been totaled in a serious car accident last March on Colonial Road.
The van had been transporting senior citizens from the center, dnainfo.com reported, and several of the passengers were injured in the crash. The victims eventually recovered from their injuries, Golden said.
The accident left the center with only one van at its disposal, Executive Director Marianne Nicolosi said. The center needs an additional van to bring more seniors back and forth so that they could enjoy the activities the facility has to offer, Golden said. The center also provides transportation to doctor’s appointments and shopping excursions.
“This has been a great center for many, many years,” Golden told the seniors. After the accident, “we were trying to figure out what to do. They took the Third Avenue bus away from us,” he said, referring to a 2010 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to eliminate the B37 bus line on the avenue. The R train services Bay Ridge, but all of the train stations require passengers to navigate stairs, something many seniors find difficult to do, Golden said.
“Right now, we came up with a solution,” Golden said. With help from John Quaglione, his deputy chief of staff, Golden said he found a way to “move money around” to find the funds to pay for the van.
The van will come in handy, Nicolosi said. “It will give us more flexibility to serve our members,” she said. The new vehicle is expected to ready by the spring. “You have purchase it from a company approved by the state,” she said. The van will have room for 14 seniors as well as four passengers in wheelchairs.
“We are grateful to the senator. He is a leader and he’s someone who really cares about seniors,” she said.
The Bay Ridge Center, formally known as the Bay Ridge Center for Older Adults, was established more than 35 years ago and operates under the auspices of the New York City Department for the Aging. The center offers hot meals, exercise classes, day trips, computer lessons, and other activities for senior citizens.
Golden presented Nicolosi with a giant replica of a check as the seniors smiled and applauded. Then, it was time for lunch.