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Defunded Hamilton Heights Day Care Center Finds New Home

By Gustavo Solis | September 3, 2015 4:57pm
 Parents of children at the daycare protested the defunding outside Nasry Michelen Day Care in May. The center is set to open in a new, smaller, space by the end of September.
Parents of children at the daycare protested the defunding outside Nasry Michelen Day Care in May. The center is set to open in a new, smaller, space by the end of September.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

HAMILTON HEIGHTS — The city’s first Dominican-run daycare center has found a new home after the city forced it out of a space it had occupied for 35 years by defunding it.

Nasry Michelen Day Care stood at 510 W. 145th St. since the early 1980’s. In May, the Administration for Children’s Services declined to renew its funding opting to replace it with a corporate day care provider.

“We had to move out from there on the 18 [of August],” said director Nereida Cruz. “We found a place around the corner. It’s a small location for us.”

The new space, on the second floor of a mental health facility on 1727 Amsterdam Ave., is about a third the size of its previous spot.

Nasry’s summer program had 86 children. Their new space can accommodate 24, she added.

“The parents support us a lot,” Cruz said. “They expect us to be open again. We explained to them right now that we can just have 24 children but we are looking for other locations.”

Because of the smaller space, about half of the staff has been let go. Nasry plans to hire them back as soon as it finds a larger location, Cruz said.

City Councilman Mark Levine criticized ACS for what he called an unfair review process. He secured funding for the program and helped Nasry find a new location.

It was important that the center find a new space as quick as possible so that it can continue to serve the local community, he said.

“I’m thrilled that this day care will continue to be a part of the community and I will continue to push to ensure that they remain in the neighborhood for years to come,” he said in a statement.

The new center will open as soon as they receive their license from the Department of Health, which is expected to be in two to three weeks, Cruz said.

Nasry was also able to move its after-school program to PS 153 at 1750 Amsterdam Ave. nearby. The space is large enough to accommodate every child that participated in the program.

The opening of the new Nasry day care center does not mean the search for a permanent new home is over, said State Senator Adriano Espaillat.

“This solution allows the program to go forward,” he said. “My office will continue to work with Nasry to help them find a larger space for their daycare."