Almost a year after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, the YMCA of Greater New York has good news for two neighborhoods that were significantly affected by the storm.
Jack Lund, president and CEO of the Y, rang the NASDAQ opening bell Tuesday to celebrate the upcoming openings of new facilities in Rockaway, Queens, NY, and Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY.
"Ringing the NASDAQ stock market opening bell has long served as an important occasion for organizations to raise awareness of real and significant issues facing our communities," said Lund, who was accompanied by nearly 40 elementary school students from Rockaway. "By ringing in the opening of a new day of trading, we're also ringing in a new era for two of New York City's communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy."
Both facilities are around 40,000 square feet and will feature two large aquatic centers with lap and family pools, new wellness centers and large gymnasiums. The new Ys also will create hundreds of jobs for residents of both neighborhoods, according to a statement from the Y.
In an interview with NBC New York earlier this month, Lund said that both facilities were in the early stages of construction when Hurricane Sandy hit last year. There were no serious setbacks, but the hurricane did delay the openings by several months.
Lund said the Y aims to provide kids in both neighborhoods with safe places where they can receive academic support and learn healthy habits. Teaching kids how to swim also will be emphasized as both facilities are in beach communities.
"We want to meet with local community leaders to make sure that we're designing programs that meet the needs of these two neighborhoods," Lund added.
The Y of Greater New York is one of many organizations in the industry working to design programs that benefit their communities. Learn more about how other fitness facilities are going above and beyond to help members and their communities in this month's cover story.