If you are new to Flatbush, you’ve probably passed it a dozen times and never even noticed it: Crystal Manor, located at 1460 Flatbush Ave, between Farragut and Glenwood roads, from the outside is a quiet and seemingly unoccupied building nestled between a takeout restaurant, a deli and other small mom-and-pop businesses.
But for those Flatbush residents “in the know,” Crystal Manor is so much more. It is the go-to event hall for social happenings, from weddings and banquets, to political events and even concerts.
Started by Executive Director Steven Metelsky, Sundance creates a trusted and warm place for retired adults to socialize and exercise, while promoting healthy and independent living.
“Adults can find it all here,” said Marguerite Zampini, marketing and outreach representative. “Every morning there’s a prayer service, there are computer classes, we do exercises with them and if they feel like doing nothing,” Zampini paused to indicate the crowded room, “They’re not alone doing nothing.”
Saving people from isolation is just one of the benefits. As one Sundance participant, Joyce of Flatlands, recounted, “I was lonely; I was just eating, watching TV, struggling with diabetes– I’ve only been coming for a month, and already I feel better.”
Adults who come to socialize are also treated with breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day, computers access, games and regular meetings with healthcare professionals.
An undeniable draw of Sundance is its location at Crystal Manor. “It’s a very well-respected establishment,” Zampini said, “It’s accessible and it’s familiar, so people are already excited to come to this spot.”
And despite the many functions hosted by Crystal Manor during evenings and weekends, Sundance has become a welcomed and permanent fixture. Excluding holidays it operates five days a week, 52 weeks a year.
“I’ve been coming for years, and I tell all my friends, ‘You need to know about Sundance!’” Barbara said, adding, “Everyday there are new people wanting to see Sundance.”
While many participants live in, on or around Flatbush, others come from as far as Canarsie. The transportation is key, as Sundance has hired drivers to pick up and drop off participants at set times, and travel nearly anywhere a member is located.
“We have enough staff and enough of a structure that everyone is accounted for and every need is met,” said Paul Sol, assistant to the executive director. “But the participants take care of each other, and we encourage that.”
“We’re planning a bowling trip that participants can sign up for,” Zampini said. “We do a recreation evaluation and because of that, we’ve gone to a casino, we’ve gone to thrift shops– a surprisingly popular destination– and we’ve even gone to stores in the area…”
While participants must sign release forms to become a regular participant, all membership and services are free, and people are always welcome to come and try Sundance for the day or even for the week.
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