CROWN HEIGHTS — It was supposed to unite Franklin Avenue’s factions, but a meeting planned as a way to bring the community together has locked out one of the neighborhood’s most significant populations because it occurs on a Saturday — or the Jewish Sabbath.
As tensions continue to simmer between old-timers and newcomers in Crown Heights’ rapidly gentrifying Franklin Avenue corridor, community activists are pinning their hopes for detente on next month’s Crow Hill Community Association Town Hall meeting.
“We wanted to be able to reach out to the biggest possible group,” said Crow Hill Community Association activist Susan Boyle of the March 23 event, which bills itself as bringing together landlords and renters, children and seniors, cyclists and drivers, old residents and new.
“It’s critical for the success of this meeting to have everybody have their voices heard,” she said.
Everybody, that is, except for Franklin Avenue’s Jewish population, whose members say they’re being unfairly excluded because the meeting is being held between noon and 3 p.m. on a Saturday.
“They say they want all voices to be heard, but in order to achieve that, everybody needs to be there or at least have the opportunity to be there. They can’t do that when it’s on [the Jewish Sabbath],” said Rabbi Ari Kirschenbaum of Congregation Kol Israel, a large and growing Orthodox synagogue near the intersection of St. Johns Place and Franklin Avenue in the heart of the Crow Hill corridor.
“It’s disappointing that in a community that’s evolving, that has so many diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, that they wouldn’t consider making it all-inclusive.”
Kirschenbaum and his flock are no strangers to the association. The Crown Heights native is a familiar face on Franklin Avenue, a booster for many local businesses and an avid supporter of previous association events.
“When it’s come to the Franklin Avenue Kids’ Day, we contribute and we participate,” Kirschenbaum said. “We have wonderful relations with all of our neighbors here and there’s mutual respect among everyone in this very diverse neighborhood.”
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For public housing resident Wanda Marte, losing city subsidized childcare at the Hudson Guild in Chelsea would mean parting with a service that gives her a fighting chance to get ahead.
“I don’t know what I would do,” Marte said recently at the nonprofit on W. 26th St. “It’s very good to have a place like this. It gives us parents an opportunity to go work and have a better life.”
Marte, 38, moved into the Elliott-Chelsea Houses next to the center — and a short walk from trendy cafes and galleries — in March after a year in a shelter.
Now, the program she depends on for childcare, and many others like it across the city, are imperiled by proposed cuts — simply because the providers are located in predominantly wealthy areas.
An analysis from United Neighborhood Houses released to the Daily News shows the Bloomberg administration is determining which nonprofits should get childcare funding based largely on a zip code’s affluence.
“In the absence of (budget) money, they are having to come up with these bizarre schemes,” said Nancy Wackstein, the advocacy group’s executive director.
Her organization said the cuts will mean the loss of 47,000 slots for children in childcare and after-school programs.
The Administration for Children’s Services, which funds subsidized daycare, created targeted and nontargeted zip codes based on income and other factors, officials said.
No childcare for Ann romney’s live-in maids, cooks, and butler!