By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Diane Savino was standing in the middle of the street, surrounded by children, some of whom were jumping up and down and waving at her. They weren’t lobbying for her vote. They wanted ice cream!
Savino seemed more than happy to oblige the kids. She patiently handed each one a ticket for a free ice cream. After getting their tickets, the kids ran over to the ice cream truck parked nearby.
Savino (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst-Staten Island) was hosting a block party on June 23 to celebrate the reopening of her district office at 2872 West 15th Street in Coney Island. West 15th Street between Neptune and Mermaid avenues was closed to traffic so that the senator and her constituents could dance, eat ice cream, and enjoy the sunny day.
The office, which Savino and her staff had been working out of for years, sustained heavy damage in Super-storm Sandy and was closed for five months. The senator and her staff operated out of a temporary space until extensive repairs could be made. The office reopened and the senator and her staff moved back in April. The block party marked a grand reopening.
Pat Harris, the executive director of Teen Arts, a program in Coney Island, was serving as a DJ and leading a group of women in some fancy dance moves in the middle of the street.
The block party had music, face painting for kids, even a groundhog and a turtle. Savino invited representatives of the Staten Island Zoo to come to the event and bring a few of their friends. Zoo keeper Laura Bechtler was showing a turtle and a groundhog named Cilia to children. “Cilia is the daughter of Staten Island Chuck,” Savino explained. Staten Island Chuck is famous for his weather predictions on Groundhog Day.
Information tables were also set up at the block party with representatives from community organizations handing out brochures and pamphlets to visitors. Mathylde Frontus, executive director of Urban Neighborhood Services, Inc., a Coney Island-based organization that helps residents find jobs and housing, was seated at an information table handing out brochures with Elizabeth Flores, the program assistant.
Savino also maintains an office on the Staten Island side of her senate district, at 36 Richmond Terrace. For more information on the services her Brooklyn office provides, call 718-333-0311.