PRESS POINTS

Senior center reopens as New Beginnings

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The Riverdale Y Senior Center has reopened, and it has a new name — one befitting the very times we now live in.

New Beginnings has welcomed back neighbors 60 and older to its 5625 Arlington Ave., facility. It’s just they can’t all come back at once.

“We’ve waited anxiously for this day,” said Sharon Asherman, New Beginnings’ director, in a release. We “are thrilled to be able to throw our doors open and welcome back our members.”

Although a vast majority of senior citizens living in New York are vaccinated against the coronavirus, New Beginnings will still take special precautions to protect its members, Asherman said.

That means indoor capacity will be reduced to 25 percent, and six-foot distance requirements will be enforced. There also will be daily temperature checks and screening questions, and face coverings will be required at all times, except when seated at lunch, or in the swimming pool.

Members are also required to register in advance online for all New Beginnings classes and lunch at RiverdaleY.org.

Over the past year of the coronavirus, New Beginnings offered virtual classes and more than 116,000 home-delivered meals.

Some online activities will continue, typically Monday through Friday.

 

Subways now eligible for 311 service

Getting help on the subway may have become a bit easier.

The city has expanded the reach of 311 to include straphangers trying to traverse the tunnels underneath New York City.

The 311 system can now report a number of things on trains, including finding assistance for those who have become homeless, or who may be experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a release.

Subway riders can use the 311 app or web portal, as well as call the system, or text for assistance.

Prior to the latest upgrade, 311 did not recognize subway stations as part of the city’s geography, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“Transit has been asking for this upgrade for years,” said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit, in a release. “We are grateful to the city for giving our riders and our employees the ability to request critical city services and assistance on behalf of those who are in the subway system and are in need.”

New York launched its 311 service in 2003, following the lead of other cities like Baltimore in the late 1990s.

It handles upward of 44 million calls each year, according to published reports.

It’s available at Portal.311.nyc.gov, or by dialing 311, or texting 311-692.

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