Day care center to be named for late Council staffer Reichbach

The Brooklyn Paper
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Boerum Hill’s Strong Place Day Care Center will soon be renamed in honor of Hope Reichbach, the City Council staffer who worked to save the facility from city budget cuts.

The center’s board of directors is poised to make the formal announcement because it was so moved by Reichbach’s advocacy, a source at the day care center said.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Boerum Hill), who was Reichbach’s boss, called the decision “incredible and meaningful tribute” to the woman who worked to secure funds for the center.

At her funeral on Sunday, Levin cited Reichbach’s dedication to helping constituents in brownstone Brooklyn, and her particular fervor toward childcare centers.

“She understood that your problems were her problems,” said Levin. “Hope made time and followed up with everyone. She made everybody feel special.”

Reichbach served as Levin’s communications director and a liaison to Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill until she was found dead in her Schermerhorn Street apartment last Thursday from an overdose of prescription drugs.

On Sunday, Reichbach received a funeral that drew nearly 1,000 mourners.

Strong Place Day Care is one of 16 centers, including 11 in Brooklyn, that have been targeted for closure by the city this year due to budget cuts — though it has survived closure in the past.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), who worked closely with Reichbach on the day care campaign, said that renaming Strong Place would be “quite appropriate.”

And Age Pjetergjoka, a staff member, called Reichbach a “clever, kind and determined young lady.”

“I know that she’ll forever be a part of Strong Place,” said Pjetergjoka. “She’s going to be missed not just from Strong Place, but by the community of Brooklyn.”

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

TL from Carroll Gardens says:
Hannah, nice to come to the most cynical conclusion possible without even knowing the decedent or the facts. As far as people close to her know, Hope did not have a drug problem. It appears, pending toxicology report from her autopsy, that the overdose was accidental. As for having "wealthy parents", wealth is relative but I don't think most people in NYC would consider her family wealthy.

Hope's parents had nothing to do with Strong Place Day Care Center's decision to rename the center in her honor. She worked very hard to help keep Strong Place open for the children it served. She didn't have to, she wanted to. The children she worked for don't reside in the brownstones and pre-war co-ops of Brooklyn Heights; many live in tenaments and public housing projects and are being raised by single mothers who are struggling to provide for their children.

To smear Hope as a drug addict whose "wealthy parents" can buy a false but happy ending is ignorant of the facts, disrespectful and pathetic at best.

Unfortunately, the annonymity of the web makes posts like yours all too common and most unwanted.
May 6, 2011, 8:32 am
Thomas Michael Laquercia from Cobble Hill says:
If anyone happened upon me last weekend, I wouldn't be surprised if you might have wondered what was on my mind--why so preoccupied looking. The answer is simple and sad.

Just before the weekend, I learned that Judge Gus Reichbach's daughter, Hope, has suddenly died and I, like all who knew this beautiful and talented young woman, was devastated at the news.

Subsequently, on Monday, May 2nd, the Strong Place Day Care Center held an emergency meeting about our imminent closure due to the cut off of funds from the Agency for Child Services of the City of New York (ACS). As president of the board of directors, at that meeting, I invited a motion from the floor to rename Strong Place Day Care to include Hope's name should we survive the fiscal year. The motion was unanimously carried. No one knew that I would ask for such a motion prior to the board meeting except our Director, Mrs. Lorrain Pennisi. I directed that Councilman Steven Levin be informed privately of the board's resolution as it was my intention that no one but he would know so as not to intrude on the parents' mourning the loss of their daughter.

Now, it appears that our name change resolution was truly a harbinger of hope as it has been reported that funds for day care for underprivileged chiildren in New York City have been returned to the City's budget. Time will tell, but if funding resumes from ACS and we do survive, I will personally do the honors in having our name reflect that unique hope that Hope Reichbach gave Strong Place Day Center.

Hope Reichbach will be sorely missed.


Thomas Michael Laquercia, Esq.
President, Strong Place Day Care Center, Inc.
May 6, 2011, 11:15 am
steve from bushwick says:
Hope probably was a fine girl but to start naming things after her for "doing her job" seems much. She was "doing her job" by advocating for child care center on behalf of her boss- councilman levin. If we named things after everyone for doing their jobs we would have nothing left to rename. Yeah she may have done it "passionately" or tirelessly" or "incedibly" but so do many other- doing their jobs. And maybe the overdose was accidental but that has not been proven yet.
May 6, 2011, 1:06 pm
Thomas Michael Laquercia from Cobble Hill says:
That vulgar, disgusting comment of 1:10 p.m. today, may 6th, is not mine but the work of a sick mind.
May 6, 2011, 1:20 pm
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
What did she die of drug overdose?
May 8, 2011, 1:01 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
The fact that these horrible and abusive anonymous comments are left up are a testament to the poor judgment of Gersh Kuntzman and the Brooklyn Paper.

Trolls will always be around to post things to try to upset people, but the Brooklyn Paper led by Mr. Kuntzman has a duty to make sure that Hope Reichbach's memory isn't defamed like this. She worked tirelessly to help people in our neighborhood, an her death is a loss to her friends family and the community. Shame on you Brooklyn Paper.
May 8, 2011, 7:22 am
Len Gonzales from Cobble Hill says:
If we read carefully some opinions for Hope starting from the name "Baby playschool" they just go to show you that this person has no life no education (she doesn't know to write) is jealous and must be mentally sick. View the time: Most of these absurd coments are written during the night becous this sick person doesn't work and has nothing better to do than to just use bad words obout Hope. Hope was an excellent girl. She came from a very good family and attended very good schools. She worked so hard for Levin's office and she helped a lot of people.She worked so much to allow Day Cares in her dictrict to remain open and one of them is Strong Place Day Care whch is known to be one of the best in Brooklyn and NYC. The board is making the right decision in renaming Strong Place after Hope. Hope will be part of the children, part of youth, and part of the entire comunity of Brooklyn.
May 8, 2011, 2:25 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
Just to be clear, while I wrote the comment at 8:22am, I didn't write the one at 12:25pm, and I won't be commenting again.
May 8, 2011, 8:40 pm
Puzzled in PS from Slope says:
I'm sure that this young (22-year-old) woman was a fine person, but I have to say: The level of public eulogizing (in all media) has been 'way 'WAY over-the-top ... as if she were a major public figure and-or as if her death doomed NYC. I'm truly puzzled.
May 9, 2011, 9:15 am
Sid from boerum Hill says:
To Puzzled in PS.
That is actually an interesting question and a thoughtful one. Perhaps its the fact that for someone so young she was recognized as someone who would go places. She had already run for elected office(yes its a party office but for the most part in NYC being on a democratic party line almost assures election). She had started young working on her father's campaign. she sued the government on an issue she felt strongly about. So even in her young life she had accomplished more than a lot of arm chair generals have in their many years. When young people die the media just goes all hog. The fact that 1000 people showed up at her funeral makes the media take notice as well.
To those who would defame her memory by calling her an addict, you must have access to information that no one else has and if its something your heard, your knowledge is suspect at best and biased at worst. When I was in college my parents thought I was an alcoholic. I don't believe Hope was ever arrested or summons by the PD. I know she was taking prescription drugs and its my understanding that the current thinking is she died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. I know the toxicology report isn't back so I can't be sure if that was all that was involved. Almost all young people try recreational drugs and alcohol that they shouldn't. I had my first drink in a bar in NY when I was 14. But my point is that you and I don't know for sure what happened and idle speculation is worse than gossip. While technically you can't defame the dead, your mother's would be really proud of you for posting this stuff about Hope on or about Mothers day.. I could have said if you really had one(a mother) but that would be wrong....
May 9, 2011, 11:58 am
harry from cobble hill says:
re puzzled's question - had same reaction that he? she? did. not only the media attention, but people's sky-high remarks were eye-popping, regardless of her work. however, i realize that a lot of it also was due to support for family, given circumstances of her death.
objectively speaking - when that much hyperbolic attention goes to someone that young, who was (frankly) mostly unknown outside of local political circles, it's going to raise other attention and curiosity, good and bad.
May 10, 2011, 1:16 am
harry from cobble hill says:
re puzzled's question - had same reaction that he? she? did. not only the media attention, but people's sky-high remarks were eye-popping, regardless of her work. however, i realize that a lot of it also was due to support for family, given circumstances of her death.
objectively speaking - when that much hyperbolic attention goes to someone that young, who was (frankly) mostly unknown outside of local political circles, it's going to raise other attention and curiosity, good and bad.
May 10, 2011, 1:16 am
ripe from williamsburgh says:
I hear that many staff members of council members, state senators, assemblymembers, congressmen, and borough presidents will be seeking to have something named after them for doing their jobs- as Hope did of course.
May 10, 2011, 11:19 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
yep all they need to do is die. No one from any electeds staff did anything to ask for this. You know there is a street co-named for every police officer and fire officer who died on 9-11. The RFK bridge, JFK Kennedy airport, now the Ed Koch 59th street Bridge. Lenny Briscoe got a street co-named after him in Manhattan
May 10, 2011, 12:29 pm
Ed from Park Slope says:
Uhhh, Koch is the exception to the "all they need to do is die" rule.

Beyond that, Koch, RFK, and JFK had major-figure status, and airport was renamed for JFK just months after assassination.

The 9-11 FD-PD honorees died in course of duty during an extraordinary event, and Jerry Orbach, a/k/a Briscoe, was a longtime NYC "character."

Anyway, most contemp street renamings aren't a big deal. They cover just a snippet of street and don't change mailing addresses. Eventually the only people who notice the renaming are lost newbies who wonder where 1,732nd St. went, since it suddenly became "Fred B. NewName Corner."
May 10, 2011, 9:05 pm
SJ from Cobble Hill says:
Not to be rude in any way but how do u "accidentally" overdose on your prescription meds? Wouldnt you call 911 if you "accidentally' took more pills than you were supposed to? Just saying...
May 20, 2011, 7:31 am

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