Schumer To NYC Park Commissoner Benepe: Dont Throw In The Towel On Sunset Park Boxing Gym
Founded and Run By Off-Duty NYPDers, Sunset Park Boxing Gym Offers City Youth Exercise, Guidance and Protection from Crime, Drugs and Gangs
Schumer Letter Calls on Parks Department to Either Stop Eviction Orders on Gym or Find it a New Home
Following a recent decision by Commissioner Adrian Benepe of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to evict the Sunset Park Boxing Club from its current home at 4302 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Parks Department to repeal the eviction order and reinstate the valuable afterschool program at its current location. For the past twenty years, the boxing gym based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and run by the Police Athletic League has offered neighborhood children a safe outlet to exercise, socialize and develop discipline under the supervision and instruction of New York City Police Officers. Benepe, however, recently ordered the boxing gym to leave its twentyyear old home in order to make room for a new program that will be housed there. Concerned that the children of Sunset Park could lose an invaluable afterschool program that is vital to protecting them from crime, gangs, and violence, Schumer called on the Parks Department to either stop the eviction process or, at the very least, find the boxing gym a new location nearby.
No one wins if the Sunset Park Boxing Club is evicted from its current location, and, sadly, it will be a knockout blow for many children who have come to rely on the gym as a place for both exercise and guidance, said Senator Schumer. Therefore, I strongly urge Commissioner Benepe to reinstate the Sunset Park Boxing Club at the address it has called home for the past twenty years.
The Sunset Park Boxing Club, founded twentyyears ago by retired cop Patrick Patty Russo and other police officers determined to contribute to their local community, offers Sunset Park children extracurricular activities in a neighborhood where positive outlets are scarce. The club has trained several Golden Gloves champions and a U.S. Junior Olympic champion, and today continues to be managed and financed by police officers and firefighters at virtually no expense to New York City taxpayers.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation recently announced it will evict the boxing gym in order to make way for an alternative afterschool program. Despite having enough space to house both programs, the Sunset Park Boxing Club was ordered to leave the address its been at for twenty years. While the Senator commends Commissioner Benepes efforts to offer additional opportunities to city children who all too often lack recreational activities, he is troubled that the livelihood of the boxing club is threatened under the new arrangement.
By introducing an afterschool program at the expense of an existing one, you will be punishing a program that has been so effective in inoculating our citys young minds against the temptations of drugs, crime and gangs, said Senator Schumer. Thanks to the efforts of the NYPD and the FDNY, The Sunset Park Boxing Club has been an inspirational archetype for afterschool programs across the city. We must protect it.
Because there is enough available space for both afterschool programs, Senator Schumer is urging Commissioner Benepe to reinstate the Sunset Park Boxing Club at the address it has called home for the past twenty years. If Commissioner Benepe can offer the Senator and other concerned individuals involved a compelling argument on why the Sunset Park Boxing Club needs to be evicted, the Senator requests he at least find an alternative location for the club nearby.
The sport of boxing has long been a celebrated part of Brooklyn athletics and the entire citys competitive nature. Historically a vital source of opportunity for immigrants and native born alike, boxing has rallied New Yorkers behind homegrown legends including: Rocky Graziano, Riddick Bowe, Jake LaMotta, Mark Breland, Floyd Patterson and Zab Juddah. Boxing is credited with keeping countless numbers of kids out of the streets, teaching discipline and creating a positive outlet for youthful energy.
Attached is the letter Senator Schumer sent to Commissioner Benepe.