Updated 12/02/2012 04:27 PM
Building Used By YWCA In Coney Island Hit Hard By Sandy
Dozens of children could remain stuck for months without adequate day care after Hurricane Sandy trashed a building the YWCA operated from in Coney Island. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
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Workers and volunteers sweep out sea water, one month after it flooded a YWCA in Coney Island.
The playroom for the YWCA's Coney Island day care was completely submerged by water. It now looks like a beach, but it's actually a concrete floor, cracked.
"It's incredibly just overwhelming," said Danielle Mosslee, the chief executive officer of YWCA NYC.
Mosslee said 80 children, many who come from struggling families, found enrichment learning and fun at the day care.
"Some of the parents still don't have power themselves, so it's not just affecting the organization," she said. "But personally, everybody's world has been turned upside down."
YWCA worker Ida Rivera recently saw the facility in its condition for the first time.
"The first thing that comes to mind is the children, 'cause they're displaced as well," she said
Rivera can't live at home either. Like 12 YWCA employees in Coney Island, she's homeless for now. She's staying with a family friend until the city's Rapid Repairs crews make her home safe again, after the flood destroyed the first floor.
"It felt like seconds," she said. "The water just came into the house and it was, like, up to my ankle, and I panicked."
She ran upstairs the night of the storm and locked herself in a closet with a flashlight.
"I really thought that I was going to lose my life," she said.
Occasionally, she came out and used her light to communicate with her neighbors.
"That was kind of comforting," she said.
Now, believe it or not, she's trying provide comfort for others, volunteering with the YWCA, passing out donated toiletries to her neighbors in need.
"No matter what condition I am, I should help others," she said. "That's what it's all about."
The YWCA shares the building with the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, and the office shown in the piece was actually one of theirs.
The group says it sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to equipment alone, but the building sustained structural damage.
The rabbi in charge says the building is privately owned and leased through the city.
NY1 Update, 12/2/12: This updated version of the story clarifies who owns the building.