Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York Executive Director Linda Lee spoke to the Northwest Bayside Civic Association last Thursday about the group’s plans to purchase the Bayside Jewish Center.
“We have the only Meals on Wheels program that serves Korean food in all of New York City,” Lee said, telling those in attendance about KCS at the meeting, which was held at the Grace Presbyterian Church of New York in Bayside. The agency, which has offices in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, mainly provides programs for seniors, and mostly serves the Korean diaspora of New York City.
When Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced last May that the School Construction Authority planned to purchase the Jewish center, the congregation of which has largely dwindled in recent years, the plan was not greeted warmly. Citing the effect that the proposed eight-story school would have on parking, traffic, property value and other worries, many community members were livid. After a fight led by the civic and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the SCA dropped the plans last November.
If KCS buys the building, according to Lee, it will use it from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. And most of the seniors served by the nonprofit, she added, use public transportation.
When a member of the civic asked Lee if KCS plans to build onto the building, the nonprofit executive director said that it was not likely. “In our conversations right now, that’s not on our radar,” she said, while not saying outright that the agency would agree never expand the structure. “I don’t think we would even make plans to do that because we would have to have a good reason for doing that.”
However, Lee said, the building would have to be brought up to compliance and its kitchen would have to be renovated. And because handicapped individuals are served by the nonprofit, other changes would have to be made to the inside of the building to make it easier for them to move through it.