73rd AD Candidates: The Knickerbocker Greys Must Stay

| 08 May 2022 | 11:22

Rhymes are in – Memes are the rage, so the Knickerbocker Greys must stay stands. And there’s consensus from the candidates vying for the 73rd Assembly seat being vacated by Dan Quart that the SRAC (Seventh Regiment Armory Conservancy), which is located in the 73rd AD, should not be allowed to evict the Greys from the Armory where they have been located for over a hundred years. The feisty field of five candidates – Alex Bores, Kellie Leeson, May Malik, Adam Roberts, Russell Squire – agrees. And they are not alone. There has been significant support from local elected officials as well as the public. And David Menegon, who has been a part of the Greys for almost 25 years, gets credit and kudos for galvanizing local public officials and the community to rally support for the Greys being able to continue their residence at the Armory and for getting media attention to the cause. SRAC’s egregious conduct in trying to evict the Greys should not be tolerated.

Community Board 8 is holding a public hearing on the issue on Wed., May 18, at 6:30 p.m. It’s on Zoom and the link is https://forms.gle/qhJvXW28XUPyNH6A9. Go. Show public support. The Armory should not have the power or the discretion to remove the Knickerbocker Greys from the Armory.

Candidate statements in support of the Knickerbocker Greys:

Alex Bores: “I strongly support the Knickerbocker Greys’ push to stay at their historic home in the Armory.

“My sincere hope is that the Conservancy can work out a way for the Greys to stay permanently. If they cannot, Governor Hochul should mediate the situation, exploring all options including granting the Greys a lease.

“The Greys are the oldest afterschool program in the country. They are a valued and cherished part of our East Side Community.”

Kellie Leeson: “What bothers me most about this is the blatant disregard Ms. Robertson seems to have for the Greys. The Knickerbocker Greys have called the Park Avenue Armory home for over a century, and yet they are somehow being termed as an ‘organization to accommodate.’ This shows me that, while planning for future art events and programs that now have the Armory ‘bursting at the seams,’ Robertson and everyone else involved in the scheduling didn’t even think about the Greys. Why was their program not included in the scheduling? It is also extremely disingenuous for Ms. Robertson to say the Greys do not have any agreement with the Armory; implicit agreements are a real thing, and it’s clear there is one here.

“If the Governor does in fact have the authority to lease space within the Armory to the Greys, I believe she should. But my hope is that Ms. Robertson and the rest of the board will not let it get that far, and instead reevaluate their decision and allow the Greys to continue practicing at the Armory.”

May Malik: “The Knickerbocker Greys have been a historical and spiritual part of the Park Ave Armory for over a century. The Greys have positively shaped the lives of kids my daughter’s age all over the East Side, and the community has made it clear that they want the Greys to stay. The State and the Park Avenue Conservancy must find a resolution that allows the Greys to make the Armory their permanent home.”

Adam Roberts: “I strongly condemn the decision to evict the Knickerbocker Greys. The Greys have been in the Park Avenue Armory for 120 years, during that time providing our community’s youth with essential programming. As someone who works in the arts, I respect the needs of arts facilities like the Armory. However, the Greys take up less than one percent of the Armory’s space, so I strongly urge the Armory to find a way to accommodate the Greys.”

Russell Squire: The Knickerbocker Greys are a living landmark with a 120-year tradition of enriching the lives of young people. If they are evicted from the armory, it will have a detrimental impact not only on the many families that will be directly affected, but also on the community more broadly that has long cherished the Greys as an institution and been gratified by their participation in civic and community events. I have called for New York State to grant them a lease directly to be able to use the armory, and the Greys should be permitted to return to the armory for drilling as soon as possible. I commend and thank Congresswoman Maloney, Senator Krueger, Assembly Member Seawright, Borough President Levine, and Council Member Menin for standing with the community in support of the Greys, and I continue to hold out hope that the Greys and the armory will be able to come to an agreement for the Greys to stay in the armory.”