NYC’s First NYPD Community Center Will Open in East New York in October

A city-owned building in East New York is currently undergoing a $10 million renovation, and will open this fall as the New York Police Department’s first-ever stand-alone community center. 127 Pennsylvania Avenue will be open to all, but programming will be geared towards kids ages 12-19. The NYPD is partnering with The Child Center of New York to provide programming. The success of the center, a WNYC article reports, hinges on whether the NYPD can build trust in a community where its target audience might not trust the police. Renovations have been underway for three years.

The three-story center will have basketball courts, a gym with cardio equipment and free weights, a music studio, a dance studio, counseling rooms, and classrooms for after-school programs like SAT prep. According to WNYC, the building will be furnished with bright, fun furniture geared toward teens. In meetings with focus precincts, teenagers have been saying that they would like more opportunities and spaces designed for them, which might have spurred the decision to break ground on the center, according to WNYC.

The NYPD and East New York have a turbulent past. 80 percent of ENY residents are Black or Latino, and the crime rate is more than twice as high as the city’s, according to data from the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York. According to WNYC, many young people in the neighborhood and nearby Brownsville report having negative interactions with police officers. East New York’s Councilman Rafael Espinal told WNYC that breaking down barriers and building trust in the community will be a “large task,” but that community leaders can help bridge the gap. 

The community center should be open by the end of October, and the public will be able to access services and programming seven days a week.

Main Image: Credit to WNYC.

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