After only five months of construction, a ribbon cutting on October 15, 2009 marked the official opening of new facilities at the 14th Street Y, operated by the Educational Alliance, at 344 East 14th Street just west of First Avenue. The project, which included the transformation of front offices into open reception space and complete renovation of the fitness room, was completed on time and within budget.
The elected officials, community members, and Y advocates and supporters who gathered for the opening called the new space a “beacon,” spilling light and warmth from inside the bright reception area onto 14th Street on a dank and dreary evening. Stephen Arnoff, the Y’s Executive Director, described the two-way effect intended in the new design: the large front windows bring life into the building from the street and share life from inside the building with the community outside.
An unofficial ribbon cutting was held first so that the children from the after-school program could participate. Once they had departed, the official ceremony began, and the audience took their seats on fluorescent yellow chairs while still enjoying their wine, fruit, and cheese. Cameron Peterson represented Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who could not be there in person because he was in Albany for a committee hearing. Assemblymember Deborah Glick offered memories of and best wishes for the community center, as did State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district, like Kavanagh’s, does not physically encompass the Y, though the facility resides so close to his district and serves so many of his constituents that he named it an honorary member.
Kavanagh greatly appreciates the benefits and sense of community that the Y provides for so many neighborhood residents and is proud to have it as such a close partner on 14th Street. He congratulates the Y management and staff on achieving such success with the renovation.