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Center for the Women of New York Expands at Fort Totten

DDC: Shoshana Khan,

(Fort Totten, NY – December 31, 2019) The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that the City has completed a $3 million restoration of the historic Bachelor Officers’ Quarters in Fort Totten, Queens to house a new and larger headquarters for the Center for the Women of New York (CWNY).


At the Center for the Women of New York’s new headquarters, the hardwood flooring and fire place were restored to its original finish

“For over 30 years, the Center for the Women of New York has been serving and empowering women during economic, emotional and legal hardships and DDC is ecstatic to provide the organization with a permanent home,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “I can’t wait to see all of the opportunities and additional programs that thrive in this newly renovated location.”

“The Center for the Women of New York was created to help women attain equal opportunity in the workplace and record women’s history and culture,” said Center for the Women of New York Founder Ann Jawin. “By developing a women’s confidence, she is able make a change in society, especially when she is treated equally.”

“Since its founding in 1987, the Center for the Women of New York has done great work empowering women with the information, support and skills they need to succeed,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The Center will be able to do even greater work in its spacious, newly renovated headquarters in Fort Totten. It was a privilege to join with Assemblymembers Edward Braunstein and David Weprin, former Assemblymember Ann-Margaret Carrozza and Councilmember Paul Vallone in allocating funding to this important project.”

"It is great news that the City restored this historic building in Fort Totten,” said Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein. “The Center for the Women of New York’s new headquarters will now include a research center, conference center, career education center and a museum dedicated to women's rights."

“The opening of the Center for the Women of New York’s Fort Totten Facility is a significant moment for women in Queens and all of us who support gender equality and equity,” said Assemblyman David Weprin. “I’d like to applaud the founder of CWNY, Ann Jawin, on this accomplishment and would like to congratulate her on this momentous day.”

“After many years of fundraising, we are at the finish line,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “I am proud to have worked with Borough President Melinda Katz so that the Center for the Women of New York could receive critical funding to renovate the landmarked building within Fort Totten. This day is long overdue, and the community will benefit from the organization coming to Northeast Queens to assist women overcome incidences of abuse and offer programs that help victims develop life skills to become more independent.”

“I applaud Ann Jawin for her strategic vision and Herculean efforts to make this a reality,” said Former Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza. “With its beautiful new permanent home, CWNY can expand programs and help many more women to achieve their full potential.”

"This new headquarters for the Center for the Women of New York will be an extremely valuable resource for women, and I hope everyone in the community who supports women's equality will take advantage of their extensive programs, which are designed to empower women and assist in their achievements,” said State Senator John C. Liu. “It's a huge accomplishment for the organization and for our hero, Ann Jawin, that with this new space, they've created the most comprehensive center dedicated to women's equality in New York."


Energy efficient lights were installed and the ceilings received a fresh coat of paint while preserving the historic design

Fort Totten, originally known as the Fort at Willets Point, was funded by Congress in 1857 to guard the eastern entrance to the New York Harbor alongside Fort Schuyler. Soon after its completion, the Fort quickly became obsolete as a defensive structure with the advances made in fortification by battlefield engineers and commanders fighting the Civil War. The fort went through many changes in usage and is now occupied by non-profits, military personnel etc.

The building at 207 Totten Avenue in Fort Totten was known as the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters for military personnel stationed at the base until the 1960s and fell into disrepair after it was abandoned. NYC Parks acquired the land in 2001 and has been rehabilitating and developing the 93 acres. The new Center will be used to showcase women’s history, culture and achievements. The Center offers legal and financial advice, professional development and grant writing, classes to teach conversational English and public speaking and counseling for women in crisis and victims of domestic violence.

A new sprinkler system and boiler were installed for the Center for the Women of New York

To preserve the historic presence of the building, the interior and parts of the exterior were rehabilitated after damage that was caused by animals which took shelter at the property after it was abandoned in 1974. The fire place with the original stonework and the hardwood flooring were restored. The ceiling and walls were cleaned and received a fresh coat of paint. Three bathrooms on the ground floor received new plumbing and a new boiler and water main connection were installed.

New wiring and panels were installed to accommodate new, energy efficient lighting. On the exterior of the building minor repairs were made to the roof and the front porch and columns were rehabilitated. A code compliant comprehensive fire alarm and sprinkler system was installed throughout the entirety of the building.

The main level was also upgraded to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with the installation of an exterior lift to reach the front porch.

The $3 million for the project was provided through contributions from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Assembly Member Edward Braunstein, Assembly Member David Weprin, former Assembly Member Ann-Margaret Carrozza and Council Member Paul Vallone alongside private donors.

 Ninety-seven percent of the project’s restoration costs were designated to Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) contractor Siba Contracting Corp.

DDC is one of the leading mayoral agencies in the City’s M/WBE program, having made more than $1.9 billion in contract awards to M/WBEs since 2014. DDC’s M/WBE utilization rate in the City’s most recent fiscal year was 22.9%. Over the past four years the DDC Office of Diversity & Industry Relations has hosted 24 and attended more than 150 procurement events, engaging almost 13,085 vendors, including 6,567 M/WBEs.

Contractors or M/WBEs seeking more information about DDC programs and contracting opportunities should contact the DDC Office of Diversity & Industry Relations at

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit