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Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center Reopens Two Months After Sandy

TRIBECA — Just as kids head back to school from winter break, the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center has managed to reopen after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy — with the majority of its after-school programs up and running.

On Wednesday, the Warren Street center, whose sub-basement was filled with more than 20 feet of floodwaters, opened its upper three floors, which includes Manhattan Youth's popular pool and dance studio.

Its first floor — home to art rooms, a digital editing room, teen lounge, kitchen and many classrooms — still requires extensive repairs, said Bob Townley, the center's executive director.

The nonprofit, which serves about 1,500 families each year, offers after-school classes, programs for seniors — including free swimming — along with a host of other activities for young people.

For now, most of the programs that were held on the first floor have been moved upstairs.

Townley said he hopes to see the bottom level, which has been gutted and cleaned, fully functional in the next couple of months.

"But it will take a lot of work," he admitted. "We still need to raise capital."

The center was able to reopen thanks to donations and what Townley calls a "significant loan" from the Non-Profit Finance Group.

It's cost the center more than $1 million to rebuild so far, and Townley estimates it'll need upwards of $600,000 more to complete the restoration.

"We're happy to see seniors, kids and families back at the center," Townley said. "And we're very thankful for the community's help."