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City Pulls Funding to Beloved Hamilton Heights Nursery

By Gustavo Solis | May 29, 2015 12:12pm
 The nursey may close after 35 years because ACS does not want to renew their contract.
Nasry Michelen Nursery
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HAMILTON HEIGHTS — A popular day care center that has been on 145th Street for more than 35 years may close after the city failed to renew their funding in favor of a larger provider. 

The Administration for Children’s Services yanked the funding for Nasry Michelen Day Care center on May 12 and awarded the contract to Lutheran Social Services.

The decision has supporters scratching their heads in light of the fact that the nursery earned a 91 out of 100 in its review, according to City Councilman Mark Levine.

“This should be the kind of program that we celebrate here in New York City,” he said. “But they have been subjected to a terrible and, in my opinion, profoundly unfair review process which may result in the loss of this fabulous program.”

The nursery, located at 510 W. 145th St. near Amsterdam Avenue, has filed an appeal.

“This is more than a daycare this is a family and a second home where generations have come,” said Nasry Michelen, the center's executive director.

Dominican families living in Hamilton Heights started the nursery in 1980. They offer free bilingual day care for more than 160 children, he said.

Many parents and alumni attended a rally in front of the nursery on Thursday to support the nursery.

“I came here when I was four years old,” said Yamilez Marte, 15. “I went to school knowing how to read because of this place. Without this place I wouldn’t be who I am now.”

State Senator Adriano Espaillat joined Levine in advocating to keep the nursery. Both penned letters to ACS commissioner Gladys Carrion asking her to side with the local nursery during their appeal.

The city agency did not respond to questions about the closure.

The state lawmaker also blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration for letting this happen to a local organization.

“This center has very deep roots and I know it’s a priority of the de Blasio administration to respect those kind of characteristics in any program, particular in a successful program like this one.”

Lutheran Social Services, which has a daycare center in the same building as Nasry Michelen, did not reply to calls for comment.