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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | On Feb. 28, more than 300 people partied at the Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St., in space that had been flooded and turned to rubble by Superstorm Sandy.
As guests descended two flights of stairs to the level where food was served, they passed a blue line painted on the wall showing the height of the water and a photograph of executive director, Bob Townley, looking at it in dismay.
After the 20-foot storm surge receded, Sandy left behind an estimated $2 million in damage. Manhattan Youth had no flood insurance and does not yet know how much the Federal Emergency Management Agency will contribute toward the cost of rebuilding. So far, work on the mechanical systems and restoration of the upper floors of the community center has cost $750,000
The party netted around $75,000 plus ongoing sponsorship for the capital rebuilding program.
Using this money plus bank loans and some of Manhattan Youth’s assets, work started on March 4 to repair the community center’s classrooms.
Townley said that he was pleased at the turnout for the party. It was “to celebrate community and the spirit of Downtown,” he said.
Bands played in every room as some people danced. Next to the swimming pool, whose mechanisms had been damaged by Sandy, high-school student Yuri Kennelly played Bach on her cello.
The food was donated by a number of restaurants and shops including Bouley, Super Linda, The Palm Tribeca, T. Edward Wines, Maslow 6, Reade Street Pub & Kitchen, Brushstroke Restaurant, City Hall Restaurant, City Winery, Locanda Verde and Whole Foods Market.
Bobby and Mary Taylor, former parents at the center, donated furnishings and decorations for the party from their business, Taylor Creative, which usually supplies rentals for photo shoots, movie premieres and product launches.
“People have been unbelievably generous,” said Townley. “More than 700 people have donated money and in-kind support. It’s amazing.”