Best comeback of a Brooklyn landmark - 2006
YWCA on Atlantic Avenue
Resurrected like the Mets this year was a Brooklyn landmark, the YWCA on Atlantic Avenue, just off Flatbush, a borough symbol for decades. It was so broke, weighed down by years of debt, that this home for 214 women living in single-room-occupancy intimacy almost shut its doors. It's such a prime piece of real estate, a short distance away from Bruce Ratner's grandiose Atlantic Yards project, that some argued it should simply be sold. But executive director Barbara Turk defied her auditors, who said it was "no longer a going concern," and her suitors, who waved big bucks at her and told her to take the easy way out. Instead, Turk found a way to make the 78-year-old building even more of a welcoming home for low-income single women ages 19 through 95. The Y is converting four floors, including the pool and the fitness center, into real affordable housing, building 84 studio apartments for women. Two other floors have been redesigned as a community center for women. They've got breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease programs available. Instead of a bust-out, the Y is now a big help-out to hundreds of women, most of them elderly, in the heart of old Brooklyn.