331 West 42nd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues), New York, NY 10036
Phone: 646-545-4621| Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm
The Coffeehouse program has been serving the Hell’s Kitchen/Chelsea neighborhood since the early 1970’s—starting as a help desk in the Port Authority Bus Terminal where the elderly “sitters” congregated, and growing over time to become a full service senior center with funding from the NYC Department for the Aging.
For 30 years, the Coffeehouse operated in a building near Times Square, at 551 Ninth Avenue, owned by Port Authority. In 2012, with enormous assistance from the Port Authority, we were able to secure a new and even better home in the undercroft of the Holy Cross Church at 331 West 42nd Street.
The $1.1 million build out of McCaffrey Hall has taken a year to transform the space into a fully handicap-accessible center with a commercial grade kitchen. Designed by Charles Lauster Architect, the space will allow for greater programmatic diversity and can physically accommodate a greater number of individuals.
Coffeehouse provides breakfast and lunch five days week in addition to an expanding number of health and wellness activities. The center also provides a Thursday evening meal program (Dinner at Coffeehouse) and a take-away meal program (Day for Night) for individuals who are either homeless, indigent, or whose living quarters do not contain cooking facilities.
Augustine Brown, Director
The Coffeehouse Senior Center serves a varied population that includes many homeless people. Despite the hectic neighborhood, Augustine Brown watches over a facility that is remarkably calm and cozy.
Augustine began at Project FIND working as a Kitchen Aide at the Woodstock Senior Center. She proved to be a fast and enthusiastic learner and moved on to become Kitchen Supervisor at Coffeehouse. Soon after, she was promoted to Assistant Director of Coffeehouse, and three years later, Augustine became its director.
For Augustine, the best thing about the job is working with the seniors: touching base with them every day and keeping them on the right track. She knows who has a new grandchild and who plays the piano; who just got out of the hospital and who has been successfully battling an alcohol problem. Augustine keeps their confidences and tries quietly to help. The most satisfying aspect of the job is when homeless seniors find places to live. She refers them to the social worker at Coffeehouse, and together they work on getting them into an appropriate residence. Meanwhile, Sunday through Friday, Coffeehouse is full of people enjoying each other’s company, under Augustine’s watchful eye.