Sit on it! Reynoso and Rizzo arrested at senior center protest

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Rallying for a cause: District leader Nick Rizzo and Councilman Antonio Reynoso pump up the crowd during a protest to convince the city to take ownership of two buildings that house daycares and a senior center.
In the streets: Hundreds of seniors who use the Swinging Sixties senior center came out to support their hangout spot.
Kids’ stuff: Families of kids who attend Nuestros Ninos daycare came out to support the facility.
Sitting down for justice: District Leader Nick Rizzo, Councilman Antonio Reynoso, and four others sat down in the middle of the street to protest the pending closing of two daycares and a senior center.

They sat down for justice.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Democratic district leader Nick Rizzo, and four others got themselves arrested on March 24 during a rally to support two daycare centers and a senior center in Williamsburg that are in danger of imminent closure.

The firebrands sat in the intersection of Manhattan Avenue and Ainslie Street and chanted as hundreds of protestors egged them on from the sidewalk. They made the move — or lack thereof — to draw attention to their agenda of keeping the facilities open, they said.

“This is an incredibly important issue that affects hundreds of the most vulnerable people in our community, and unfortunately, one of the best ways to get attention as a politician is to get yourself arrested,” said Rizzo. “It is a sign that you are saying, ‘Enough. I am going to throw my body on the gears of this machine.’ ”

Police charged all six with disorderly conduct for obstructing traffic and failure to disperse.

They planned ahead of time to do what they could to get the police to arrest them, Rizzo said.

“We submitted our names and information days in advance to get processed faster,” he said.

The 40-year-old Swinging Sixties center, which offers activities for hundreds of seniors and also houses the Small World Daycare and Learning Center, has been on the chopping block since November of 2013, when father-and-son team Victor and Harry Einhorn bought the building for $4.5 million — $1.5 million less than the amount offered by housing-advocacy group Saint Nick’s Alliance, which has been trying to save the hub. The Einhorns quickly moved to raise the rent and sent their new tenants eviction notices the following month.

Advocates for the center have managed to keep the eviction tied up in court for the past year and Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) has proposed a bill that would allow the city to take the building under eminent domain. That bill is still working its way through the assembly, and Lentol said he expects the bill to be voted on in April.

Small World is not the only daycare in the area under threat. Nuestros Ninos Day Care Center on S. Fourth Street is also threatened by a landlord that wants to kick the kids out to build luxury housing. And the owners of a building on the corner of Manhattan Avenue at Meserole Street evicted the Bushwick United daycare in December 2014.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
Finally, the proper use of eminent domain. This should be the starting point for better governance and protecting vulnerable populations. If we cannot take care of put elderly and children, we will lose the cause of civility.
March 26, 2015, 8:57 am
John from Sunset Park says:
Assemblyman Lentols bill will go nowhere.

Rizzo should run for Assembly.
March 26, 2015, 9:44 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Politicians using the police as props. Gross.

Protest arrests should be reserved for people who don't actually have power, not people who've been elected to office.
March 26, 2015, 10:20 am
TOM from Brooklyn says:
Anyone can get themselves arrested, with no remedy for the problem. The Councilman should be up in Albany getting the legislation passed, or something with a chance of remedying the problem. That's what he promised the people to get elected and that's why he gets paid.
Perhaps the Councilman see his real problem as him not getting his picture in the news often enough.
March 26, 2015, 11:09 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Southside, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
The economic and social plague known as gentrification cannot stop. This event that I have been part of (even though I missed the sit-in protest) is one of hundreds of events that is trending in the past twenty plus years. This is the trend that affects everyone in neighborhoods that crime was rampant and opportunities was scarce in from the 1060s, the 1970s and the 1980s. Those cannot afford the cost of living, especially the rent, are evicted and moved on into one of four places: either 1) A different neighborhood where there is a lot of crime; 2) A homeless shelter; 3) The streets; 4) Another state. By the way, applying for Section 8 Public Housing was almost not an option because it will take several years to find out the decision, at the very least, in the considerable future. This phenomenon of gentrification affects all people, young and old, black and white, with or without a job, Hispanic or not, live in a short time or a long time. It all comes down how much income you and your family have. Remember what Jerry Maguire said: "Show me the money."
March 26, 2015, 12:14 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Unfortunately, these drawings don't do this event much justice. Of course, this is only the opinion of one man.
March 26, 2015, 12:59 pm
Schellie Hagan from Clinton Hill says:
Unlike in Williamsburg where the electeds have gone to the mat to save the senior center and day cares, our representatives in Clinton Hill have let the lease run out on the senior center and day care at 966-972 Fulton Street. They let the longterm lease run out in September and the six-month emergency lease on March 16. Instead of signing they held a "rally" at City Hall. When the rally was over the senior center and day care had lost their lease. Also different from Williamsburg, the landlord here wants to keep the center and day care but the City has balked at a rent increase that even the City admits is under market. Our electeds spoke at the rally while the emergency lease expired. They didn't get arrested. There's a big FOR LEASE sign on 966-972 now.
March 26, 2015, 5:14 pm
Jacob from Newburgh NY says:
Politicians & publicity stunts.

They should be like Joe Lentol and stay home watching TV.
March 26, 2015, 8:12 pm
Fran from East Williamsburg says:
Something is wrong here! A Community Organization offered to pay more for the building. Some father and son bought it and are trying to price everybody out. Is this father and son duo in cahoots with price gauging?
March 28, 2015, 4:24 pm
bkdude64 says:
Hipster spotted at 3 o clock
March 29, 2015, 6:08 pm
Gentrificant from Greenpoint says:
I had to point it out to you guys complaining about gentrification.

We live in a free market society. If people want to move into a neighborhood they can. Gentrification has helped out for example my friends mother. She paid almost nothing for her house in Williamsburg 30 years ago and recently sold it for over 2 million. Her Italian family that has lived here for several generations has been helped greatly by the sale of the home.

New York city changes all the time.......neighborhoods change every 15 years or so. You're just gonna have to deal with it just like countless people before you.
March 30, 2015, 9:55 am
Chi chi says:
I love Rizzo's Fonzie makeover. Smelly! It's so less hipster. Kid needs some sun though and some iron supplements.
March 31, 2015, 7:39 am

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