The New York Times has an excellent article on the famous little shack located at the edge of the Ceasar’s Bay Bazaar (8973 Bay Parkway) parking lot, updating the progress made since our last report on the center. According to the Times, the center has raised the necessary funds needed to bring a in a new spacious trailer to replace the small wooden shack.
In the article, the Times also tracks the origins and progress of the center, which has been an invaluable resource to immigrant laborers since its formation in 2001.
Since its founding, the center has found jobs for approximately 5,000 day laborers.
When Superstorm Sandy swept into the region late last October, the 8-by-12 wooden shack was blown off its foundation 120 feet and there was an immediate effort to restore its place at the corner of 18th Avenue and 69th Street due to the immense symbolism the shack has come to represent to people in the community:
The center has served not only as a physical space where immigrants find work, but also as a rare symbol of empowerment in a city where day laborers, usually illegal immigrants, often find themselves tethered to the lowest rung of the social totem pole.
“This center has provided for me,” said Victoriano de la Cruz, 35, who first came to the job center 10 years ago. “We didn’t want it to disappear.”
Through grants gathered from three foundations, the center was able to raise the $20,000 needed to bring in a 40-foot trailer that now serves as the center’s new headquarters. The trailer was painted bright red.
With the new trailer in place, the beloved original shack’s days are numbered, according to community organizer Yadira Sanchez.
“The house means that there are many things that we can do together,” Sanchez told the Times. “Only when the other one is ready, then this old one is going to be completely destroyed.”