The Elephants in Elmont: Where is Our Community Center?

Valley Stream Community Center new york long island outdoor
Valley Stream Community Center at Hendrickson Park in Valley Stream, Long Island [Source: Incorporated Village of Valley Stream]
“Who cares about a community center anyway?” We do.

Written by Alexandria Harvey*

You may wonder what the point of a community center is. A community center is broad in scope because it reflects the needs and wants of the neighborhood.

Yes We Can community center newsday new cassel danielle finkelstein 141 garden street westbury 2 elmont excelsior long island
‘Yes We Can’ Community Center in Westbury, Long Island [Source: Danielle Finkelstein, Newsday]
What exactly this possible future center may hold is uncertain. However, we might have the chance to

  • take an indoor swim on an otherwise wintry night,
  • participate in a cooking class or art class with friends (old and new!),
  • attend events that celebrate the diverse culture reflected in the part of Long Island we call home,
  • educate the youth on local opportunities,
  • develop networking events shop for homemade crafts during the December holidays,
  • promote a neighborhood haunted house at Halloween, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I don’t know exactly what we will do because we do not have such a space.

Yes We Can community center newsday new cassel danielle finkelstein 141 garden street westbury
‘Yes We Can’ Community Center in Westbury, Long Island [Source: Danielle Finkelstein, Newsday]
I do know that we can finally participate in activities together that other communities—the non-marginalized ones—take for granted.

One of the problems is that I don’t know how to start a community center, at least not by myself. Sure, I can Google as well as the next person, and I can find a host of general sources suggesting that the neighbors gather together and develop a plan for a specific plot of land. Before that, however, I need to sell you on why a community center is important.

Yes We Can community center newsday new cassel danielle finkelstein 141 garden street westbury3 elmont excelsior long island basketball court
Yes We Can’ Community Center in Westbury, Long Island [Source: Danielle Finkelstein, Newsday]
ingersoll-community-center - downtown bk dot com
Ingersoll Community Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn [Source: University Settlement/Wall Street Journal]
ingersoll community center - university settlement - deandre rembert
Ingersoll Community Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn [Source: University Settlement/Wall Street Journal]
Aren’t you tired of constantly having to travel somewhere else to do something?

I just want to say, “I’m taking a cooking class in Elmont” or “I’m heading to the annual neighborhood Christmas sale.”

I’ll take a walk at the indoor track tonight since it’s cold out.

The community center is hosting Supermarket Bingo this week.

My friends from town and I are planning to meet for that lecture.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 1.35.43 AM
Senior Center of Taino Tower in East Harlem [Source: Unidos Si Se Puede/United Yes We Can/NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College]
If you are a leader and know how to assemble a community center, let’s talk. I want to follow your lead.

If you are a resident, consider vocally supporting the next desire for development that makes its presence known in the area.

If you have rejected previous such proposals, I want to know what your plans are for our future.

Our community center rests in the hands of people who have power, but if we can find a way to shift that power, then we can potentially manifest our desires for a central location for entertainment and education in Elmont.

Alexandria Harvey is a pseudonym.*

Stay tuned for Part Three of our brand-new original series, “The Elephants in Elmont,” with Contributing Writer and Elmont resident Alexandria Harvey.

#WeAreElmont #ElephantsInElmont #HigherHeights

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