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PR- 410-05
October 28, 2005


“Flagship” Center Combines Cutting-edge Design with Function and Utility

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department for the Aging Commissioner Edwin Méndez-Santiago today announced the opening of a new senior center, a $7.3 million facility at 240 Centre Street in Manhattan. Project Open Door, a program dedicated to the mental and physical well being of seniors in Chinatown, will administer the center's programs which will range from the delivery of congregate meals to mental health services, recreational activities and other social services. At 19,000 square feet, the new center is three times larger than the senior center it replaces on Chrystie Street and can serve twice as many seniors. Approximately 650 seniors can now enjoy a library, computer, recreational rooms and other multi-use facilities that were not available to them at the previous facility. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at the announcement by Department for Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Martha K. Hirst, Department for Design and Construction Commissioner David J. Burney, AIA, Project Open Door Senior Center Director Po Ling Ng and Chinese-American Planning Council/Open Door Senior Center Founder Allen Cohen.

"We are working everyday to ensure that New Yorkers - whether on their first day here in this great City and everyday from that point - can receive the care that they need so that they can lead fulfilling lives," said Mayor Bloomberg. "As we open this modern and vibrant facility, we are making good on our commitment to provide the seniors in Chinatown with a place to receive their meals and enjoy their lives."

"Without the dedication of Mayor Bloomberg, the support of the Commissioners here today, our community partners like the Chinese-American Planning Council, and members of the condo board, our newest and boldest senior center could not have been realized," said Commissioner Méndez-Santiago. "The Department for the Aging is delighted that our seniors have a new center that provides the space necessary for all the activities that support healthy aging. This center will serve its seniors well."

"Our new center is a jewel that will allow us to better serve our seniors in this community," said Project Open Door Senior Center Director Ng. "Through the dedication and assistance of all the partners that have supported this project our new center is now a reality. We began our programs serving seniors in Chinatown over 30 years ago and I am looking forward to another wonderful 30 years in our new home."

The construction of the new senior center was conceived as a "flagship" example of how a senior center could incorporate lively, cutting-edge design with function and utility. The goal was to eschew an institutional atmosphere and imbue the center with lively architecture while retaining the necessary functions of a senior center. Housed within a City Landmark, the old Police Headquarters, the center was designed by Edward I. Mills & Associates Architects and features artwork commissioned through the Percent for Art Program administered by the Department of Cultural Affairs. "Migration Series" by John Brekke is a group of ten hand blown glass discs, sandblasted with images of fish and birds. They comprise a series of pictorial vignettes that reflect upon the idea of migration.

Project Open Door is sponsored by the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). The Council's mission is to improve the quality of life of Chinese-Americans in New York City by providing access to services, skills and resources toward the goal of economic self sufficiency. CPC is the largest human services organization in the Chinese-American community serving up to 6,000 people daily in 50 programs throughout Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Project Open Door opened the first Asian-American senior center in New York City back in August 1972.

The New York City Department for the Aging is the largest Area Agency on Aging in the United States. The Department is federally mandated to plan, coordinate and fund services for the 1.3 million elderly New Yorkers in the city's five boroughs. It administers New York City's 329 senior centers and an array of other senior programs, benefits, and entitlements.


Edward Skyler/Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

Christopher Miller   (Department for the Aging)
(212) 442-1111

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