What started as a memorial for Darryl Ferguson from Brownsville on August 2, 1980, is now an annual family day for residents of the Breukelen Houses, which spans from East 103rd Street to Williams Avenue, from Flatlands to Stanley Avenues. It’s home to thousands of NYCHA residents, and each year many return home to celebrate their life at Breukelen Houses.
Since that first event in 1980, so much has changed. Tales from former residents about growing up in Breukelen were the general topic of conversation as some played cards, some worked the grill and others just sat back and observed. Anthony Barnes, founder of Breukelen Day, told the Canarsie Courier he’s thankful to see the event continue this long. To keep things going, he wants to see more youth involvement because he knows that youth are the ones who can keep the community together. When asked about the most memorable event, he said it was when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his organization came to Breukelen and conducted a special show for the residents. That day and the first day honoring his friend Darryl Ferguson will forever be in his heart and mind.
Also in attendance were several local business vendors, spreading awareness about their programs. The Canarsie Library handed out free books and information on their return-to-work program for men and women recently released from prison, and Rosalie from Access Telecom said that anyone receiving SNAP or Medicaid can speak with one of their representatives to see if they qualify for either a free phone or tablet. The program is also available to college students who receive financial aid. Call Rosalie at 914-349-0038 to see if you qualify.
NYC Rise, a college fund for NYC students who want to go to college, was also on hand. Every child in NYC can receive a savings account for college, starting with $100. Residents of the Breukelen Houses are allotted a little extra through various scholarships.