Amity School Brooklyn Sheepshead Bay

Renderings of the new Brooklyn Amity School, at Knapp Street and Shore Boulevard

Rumors have been swirling since the close of Golden Gate Inn at the end of December, but Sheepshead Bites has confirmed the new use for the property – Brooklyn Amity School, a Turkish-owned private school currently located on Coney Island Avenue.

The deed transfers hit the net, and Amity unveiled a set of renderings of the new school on their website. It appears they’ll be using the established structure – with a few touch ups – while Department of Buildings records show that interior walls are being torn down to make space for classrooms. Amity’s website notes that classes will begin in the new location this year.

Amity School was founded in 1999 by Turkish businessmen, but that doesn’t mean its limited to students of Turkish background. They’re listed as a non-sectarian K-12 school on GreaterSchools.org, with a current student body of around 222 kids. With the larger location in the former Golden Gate Inn (3867 Shore Parkway), they’ll likely be growing that number.

Paranoia seems to have gripped the neighborhood after the hotel’s closing was announced, with rumors that the spot would be used for a number of purposes that some say would’ve sparked controversy – a center for homeless kids, a Muslim boys school, a Turkish establishment (not a school), and a charter school are just some examples.

As the rumors swirled, Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association hoped to discuss the topic at it’s meeting on February 1. The meeting was cancelled due to weather, but some members still wish they had the chance to hear about the project.

“I think there’s going to be a lot questions,” said Laura LaPlant, the group’s recording secretary. “[People] are going to have issues with who’s going in there. That’s always going to be the case.” She said she expects community concerns about the owners’ Turkish background, as well as issues about traffic and parking – but that, overall, it’s a “relief” to hear that it’s a private school.

Other SB/PB Civic boardmembers would’ve liked to have been involved in the project before it was a done deal.

“It’s nice in your neighborhood to find out what’s going to happen before it happens so we can talk about it,” said Tina Maffeo. “It would be nice being that we still live here and pay taxes.”

Maffeo, an employee at P.S. 52, said she still had concerns about the school since it wasn’t clear how truly mixed the student body is. She said she’s been disappointed by a trend in the neighborhood of increased segregation as the Muslim population increases.

“I work in a public school, and now all of a sudden all these seperate places [like ethnic-based charter schools and religious private schools] are popping up, and I’m sure that it’s not going to be open to everybody if it’s privately funded,” she said. “We’re shut out. That’s really my concern. After the fact it happens and we’re stuck with our tails between our legs.”

Maffeo and others are planning to invite the school’s leadership to a future SB/PB Civic meeting to, hopefully, put some of these concerns to rest.

Administrators at the school did not return phone calls for this story, but Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo said that the community needn’t worry. Scavo attended an event at the school and saw a diverse student body. And the location at 2727 Coney Island Avenue is well run.

“The only time during the course of the day you would know there’s a school there is at 4-ish when the buses are there. Other than that, they’re in the building all day, not in the streets, and it’s a quiet, neatly-run organization,” she said. “I really don’t think it’s going to cause a problem or be an upset to the neighborhood.”

She added that the traffic situation would likely be far safer for the students. Currently, buses leave kids curbside on traffic-packed Coney Island Avenue. But the Golden Gate location will allow buses to pull into the parking lot for boarding and unloading. Children will never have to set foot on Knapp Street or Shore Road, and buses won’t block traffic lanes.

For those keeping track, the building was sold by its former owner – Krishna Management – to Amity for $15.5 million, just $100,000 more than he paid for it in 2006.

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  • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

    A school there seems like a great idea. However, not an ethnic school. Enough segregation. An ethnic school will just be a target for bigots and crazy morons, it just adds to the animosity people already slightly feel.

    I’ve never noticed any problem with Amity on Coney Island. Their school bus congestion just blends in with everything else. So them moving to this location wouldn’t be an issue, but they should 100% be open to EVERYONE and have a mixed and balanced student body and curriculum.

    • levp

      It is open to everyone. When I was looking for a middle school for my son, I considered it and made calls – at that time they assured me that it is a secular school where English is spoken and any child is welcome.

    • Barkingspider7

      This school is not now, nor will it be just for Turkish students, anyone will be welcomed there. I think it’s a good thing. This will teach all children to be open to diversity.

      • Generaltamer

        I attended and graduated from Amity School in 2004 and everyone should be assured that it is open to every ethnicity.

      • Teresa

        Interesting point there Barkingspider 7! Anyone can open a school. It does not mean it is an Ethnic School as Arthur Borko speaks about above. There are Greek Schools and all sorts of schools. People like to keep their culture, and that is what is so great about being an American. You can be an American and at the same time continue to practice your culture.
        I am an Italian American, and my children are actually half Turkish since their real father is Turkish, well actually of Laz origin, and that in itself is a long story. My children actually go to public schools. I think if anyone thinks it is a so called “Turkish only” school, then go ahead and get students enrolled.
        I actually might have a lot of Italian students to send them of Catholic background. However, naturally, the foreign language class of choice by parents would be to incorporate Italian into the curriculum, and after schools hours, on weekends or during school breaks, the Italian parents would love for their children to learn about Padre Pio. Speaking on behalf of the parents, they would love to have one of their children be chosen to meet with the Pope or visit the Vatican in Rome.
        IMAGINE how happy one’s Italian child would be when a Roman Cathoilic preacher starts to provide monetary gifts or gold bracelets to students. Of course parents would be curious as to why their children would receive such gifts. One might ask: Why? or What would be the underlying reason? These would not be trick questions as long as one knows how to make inferences and look for clues. Actually, you might have to be a Contract Linguist to actually analyze the words.
        Getting back to Mr. Bill Thacker now: You mentioned something about the school not hiring our own. There are massive amounts of teachers on unemployment that are highly qualified both in Math and Science and many other areas. They are like a dime a dozen all over the United States. To help our fellow Americans, go choose some teachers off of the list at the New York State Board of Labor.
        However when these teachers are hired, they MUST MAKE SURE that their PAYCHECKS are being paid in NEW YORK ONLY and not in four or five other states within the United States. Curiousity brings people together. Knowledge along with wisdom and listening to your inner-voices sometimes takes you to a place of higher heights. Through the skies and clouds above there once was a power so high that tumbled down and in looking deep, answers were found or were they really?

    • Samira

      Yes, they should be open to EVERYONE and you know what THEY ARE. No school is open to everyone as Amity is on Coney Island. I’m special education teacher and I took several times nonMuslim and nonTurkesh parents there as school has great teacher student ratio and guess what, “American” parents did not want their children in “Turkish” school. Maybe I would not put my child in example Polish or Russian school, since I don’t know much about their education. I’m very happy for Amity, such great teachers and administration does deserve better and bigger building; and students of course. Dear neighbors, don’t worry if students will be mostly Muslims. As you may notice no Muslim school has need for one single police officer on the block in dismissal time.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad to see they found a way to reuse the site for a good purpose. Something new is actually going to serve the community for a change.

    And so what if it’s a new “ethnic” school. Amity has grown from one small building to several on Coney Island Ave so the demand is already there.

    I’m really disappointed in Scavo’s and Maffeo’s comments. So what if it is a private Muslim based school? Like I said, I believe the demand is already there for them.

    Would there be this concern if it was an Orthodox Jewish school, a new Catholic School, or a fundamentalist Christian school? I don’t believe so.

    • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

      You know how I feel, I’m against religious ties to everything. Equally.

    • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

      Just to clarify – Scavo’s comments were reflecting on whether this would spark controversy among neighbors. In our conversation, she did not imply whether or not she thought such controversy would be justified. It’s nuance, but given your reaction I thought it important.

    • BrooklynGirl

      Absolutely. This is such an improvement over Golden Gate! Glad to see the place is becoming a school.

      • Neal alpert

        dont be a fool

    • Nealalpertshow

      wake up fool

  • Allanb

    I am looking forward to this. I had been considering Amity as a daycare center for my son. Prices are pretty good, and people that send their kids there we’ve talked to like it. Haven’t heard anything negative.

  • Hi5

    It’s sad to see this neighborhood go down the hill this way. S-Bay was a nice area, and will be missed.

    • Anonymous

      wtf?

      • Kon

        I was going to say 3 2 1 Cue Bigots but apparently they are already here. Posts that are to be expected: THIS IS A MUSLIM TERRORIST TRAINING CAMP, THEY ARE TEACHING THE KIDS TO BE ANTI AMERICAN, THEY ARE SUPPORTED BY TURKISH COMMIES (see 1947).

        Would be nice if this attracts a new halal place to the area.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          And Amity School is already here. Obviously it was phase one in Muslim takeover plan.

          And I hear that the President is going to place Sheepshead Bay under martial law, and then impose sharia next month.

          Wait, I’d better stop. We have some naive readers that are capable of actually taking stuff like that seriously.

          • Nealalpert

            go on & laugh gotta be a lib

        • Beginablarp

          I think you’d be hard pressed to find a lousy looking Turkish place of business that’s opened in recent years on the Bay or Brighton. So far, they’ve brought us great produce markets, all those shops with dried fruit and nuts and coffee and such, revived the bay with restaurants etc… I’m sure someone will find an exception, but overall, as a lifelong resident here, I’m really happy that the Turkish community has brought some attractive, useful and decent establishments. i thinks that trend bodes well for the school. I would welcome any community that is entrepeneurial, works hard , and is civic minded enough to invest their time and efforts in education, which is not an easy business.

          • Barkingspider7

            I enjoy shopping in the turkish stores. Great food, great prices. Did any of you know that there is a Halal Chinese take out in Brighton? Food is amazing. It’s called No Pork Halal – Coney Island Avenue, just before you get to Brighton Beach Avenue. There are also 2 halal grocers/butchers on Ocean Avenue and Ave W (Sultan and EFE), Bay Ridge also – 5th Ave/betw 79 & 80 Street, They are all very clean. Avoid the halal grocers in Brighton – the majority of them are FILTHY. The shops mentioned above – the people who work in all, very nice and friendly. Most Turks are not anywhere as religious as the Muslims from other countries. You very rarely see a Turkish Muslim woman “covered” or even attending the Mosque.

          • Samira

            So non-religious Muslim is ok? How about nonreligious Christian or Jews are they better than religious ones? So, my way is ONLY good way, right? Great
            Thank you for being honest.

          • Barkingspider7

            That is not what was said.  You know, Samira, whenever you have replied or commented, you have been on the defensive.  Knock it off because I am not saying anything bad about religious or non religious anyone. 

        • Nealalpert

          wake up & smell the coffee

  • Anonymous

    in 20 years or so sheepshead will be Turkish ghetto

    • levp

      That’s probably because “Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic”:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey

    • BrooklynBus

      Will it become like Orthodox Williamsburg where anyone wearing short sleeves in the summertime is frowned upon and is asked to cover up so as not to offend anyone? I think that is just as bad. It’s like saying that if you are not like the rest of us here, you are not welcome.

  • Courvasier2004

    Maybe the mosque should be built here instead? It is out of the way so parking / noise wont be a problem.

    • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

      I’ve already suggested the site as a location for the Mosque actually.

      • Anonymous

        Good suggestion, but it’s not going to happen.

        • Neal alpert

          what good about the prayers etc. It will turn into atlantic ave

      • Nealalpertshow

        dumb is dumb

  • Guest

    Too bad they can’t combine it with the Mosque project. This spot would have worked out so much better than Voorhies Avenue: plenty of parking, no private residences in the backyard, corner lot…

    • Neal alpert

      bullshit this is my backyard

  • Faba

    How about they build all girl college instead?
    Lesbian college grr
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ZjHUzo-TtBA/TRJuezrOc_I/AAAAAAAAANM/L_dOPxC99ME/s1600/homer_drool_1.png

    • CantWeAllJustGetAlong

      Sicko

    • Hotchick

      only if hot chicks were allowed to enrolled. will need separate school for the fat but gentle ones.

    • CantWeAllJustGetAlong

      Never seen hot Turkish ladies.

      • levp

        You are missing out! A lot!

        Example:

      • esespio

        go to Turkey

    • Tima

      Faba is such a creep, zOMG

  • nolastname

    It would be nice if they added a “how can we help preserve our beaches” class to their program. What with the great location for hands on learning.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D5YKRNKY26VZXY6ALIGFLDH5W4 Bill Thacker

    I would hihly recomend anyone who reads this article to google search, Gulen Charter Schools and start from there. Turkey is hardly a secular nation of peace and tolarance. I also recomend that the American people look deeper in to Turkey’s current event. This is what they ove about America; we know nothing about them and take there word at face value. So again do some research on Imam Prophet Mouhamad Fethulla Gulen and his golbal movement of schools. Here in America they deny any affiliation with Gulen but there is enough to connect the dots. Stealing tax money to promote the Turkification of American Students. So google search Gulen fraud, Gulen Charter Schools and Forignors fill ranks of charter schools, gulen hb-1 visa fruad…..

    • Guest

      Is that the same guy that has some kind of compound in PA where men and boys train with real weapons, shooting range and all? I have seen something like this before and name looks familiar, I do think it is the same guy, building training camps under school disguise. Niiiiiice, is this still America or is this Middle East?

    • levp

      And this relates to this specific Amity School how?

      Also, your school wasn’t that good (based on your writing skills). Should have gone to Amity, perhaps?

    • Deniz Sidali

      Fetullah Gulen is Kurdish not Turkish. In Turkey, we try not to discriminate against others because our country is very mixed in terms of its ethnicities. Although I do not like Gulen, I wouldn’t implicate him having anything to do with this school. In order to be abreast of these matters you should really ask Turks that are educated on them. And the internet much like the media is not always or mostly accurate. 

    • Teresa

      Who are you Mr. Bill Thacker? I am quite interested to know.

  • wassupsheepsheadbay

    This Institution is a joke.

    • levp

      You mean this blog? Why?!

  • EndofDaze

    The Turks in general, are good people, and good Americans. Anything they do is normally responsible, and should be welcomed. However, I am concerned about what I percieve to be the continuing fragmentation of our community, and southern Brooklyn in general. Our Public Schools did not become great because most Jews decided to send their children to Yeshivahs, and most Catholics decided to send their children to Parochial Schools. To the contrary, they came here with the realization, that indeed united we stand and divided we fall, and to all potential cynics, when a child is exposed to a variety of cultures, the chances of that child succeeding in life increase exponetially as witnessed by the fact, that our best and brightest are still products of our Public Schools, and although the private schools do have a place, don’t expect your child to win any Nobel or Pulitzer prizes, and on the whole, become a more well rounded educated person! What is happening to E Pluribus Unum?!

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Most of what is happening in these times is passive. There’s a disconnect with what being an American means. A small number take it to the extreme (notice how our latest bunch of bigoted trolls have to compensate for their small number by making the loudest and most noise) but most merely follow whatever crowd they happen to be part of it. We’re losing a lot that way, hopefully this trend will eventually reverse itself.

    • levp

      This is a sentiment I can certainly agree with.

    • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

      People today are too selfish and have an increased sense of entitlement, maybe it’s the media enforcing the negative values as being the prized traits to carry, it’s bad parenting (if any) and so on. People are too proud of their cultural and ethnic identity or ashamed of it, that they hold onto it and attack anything that threatens it. It’s all about I’m _____ and how dare you question my beliefs and/or culture, instead of how can I bring positive aspects of my culture/ethnicity to today’s society.

      I know when I was growing up I was taught in schools on what positive influences Chinese culture could bring to American society, from the hard-working ethic to strong familial ties to the flavorful spices of the different cuisines, but nowadays it’s all about defending minor criticisms such as how parents raise their children in that culture.

      Instead of trying to integrates cultures, nowadays it’s more about keeping them distinct, but in the course of keeping them so distinct, what was the point of immigrating in the first place then? If you’re going to move here, but not change, then why come here if you’re going to keep life difficult for yourself by not adapting to your new surroundings? People need to adapt, but also understand not to force their beliefs down the throats of others.

      Today’s ethnic/cultural identities are like a guy’s penis! We know you have one, but not everyone wants to see you whip it out, and we’ll hate you for trying to force it down our throats!

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  • Anonymous

    We have heard this story before (yawn) there are 122 Charter schools in the USA managed by the Gulen Movement under the direction of exiled Islamic Imam Fethullah Gulen. Same story (Turkish businessmen opened them all) same “agenda” worldwide with Gulen schools. Don’t know who Fethullah Gulen is? or why he was exiled from Turkey? start your research and find out what his grand ambition is and about his “getting into the arteries speech” Learn why Ex-FBI Turkish Translator calls Gulen “100% threat to American security”
    http://www.gulencharterschools.weebly.com
    http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com
    http://www.charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com (list of USA schools here)
    http://www.gulencharterschoolsUSA.blogspot.com
    http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com

    • levp

      Except that Amity is NOT a charter school – it is a private school:
      http://www.greatschools.org/new-york/brooklyn/7602-Brooklyn-Amity-School/

      So how is it different from Big Apple Academy, for example:
      http://www.greatschools.org/new-york/brooklyn/5952-Big-Apple-Academy/

      Same description: “private school in Brooklyn, New York. It is coed and nonsectarian, serving students in grades K-12″, emphasis on math and sciences, with Russian being the only foreign language offered.

      I agree that a good public school would be much preferred, but aren’t these schools the private enterprise we hold so dear? (Are you a socialist?)

      • Teresa

        Who said it is private? It is a Nonpublic school, and that is a 100% fact. They have a BEDS number with New York State Department of Education, and they are eligible to take State Assessments. If you ask me, “How do I know this?” I worked as the Assistant Principal/teacher, uncertified at the time, from 1999 to 2001 approximately. In the year 2000, I was the one that applied for their BEDS for the location on Coney Island Avenue between X and Y. Mr. Pete Caruso from the New York State Department of Education advised me how to go about obtaining this BEDS number. It was a charter school, and their status switched over to NONPUBLIC. I am no longer working for them. However, if it is an interest to anyone. I always had a passion for education since birth. I consider myself a lifelong learner. Everyone around me was an inspiration for me to further my education so I went back to school to obtain all of the following certifications: ESL K-12 BA Applied Linguistics: Queens College (CUNY) Multi-Suject Elementary Master of Science 1-6: Five Town’s Dowling College: School Building Leader/District and Business Hofstra University: Literacy B-6 and 2 Doctorates in ESL and Early Childhood. I will be doing another doctorate at St. John’s in Higher Ed. I lived in Turkey for approximately 6 years or more, was a teacher and survived the 1999 earthquake. I can probably write a whole book on my experiences. Maybe perhaps one day I will.

        • Teresa

          Oh I almost forgot: I speak Italian, Spanish and Turkish fluently. I am also FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School Certified upon submitting paperwork) I have basic knowledge in French, German, Laz and know some prayers in Arabic since I was once married to a Turkish citizen whose family is religious overseas. However, you must know that I am a Catholic, Roman Catholic. I respect all religions, and I know a low about the Moslem faith through reading and observing and at times participating. I know a lot about EFL as well. I left my position at the Brooklyn Amity School due to furthering my studies, having a child and moving back to Long Island. I studied in Perugia, Italy as well in 2005.

          • ShellyBear

            HI Teresa,

            I just came across your post and would be very interested in speaking with you. Is there a way we could connect via Facebook, email etc outside of the discussion group? Please let me know, I very much look forward to speaking.

            Best,

            M

          • Teresa

            Yes, hello there ! Do we know each other? You may write to me here on my private E-mail address.
            Teresa

          • ShellyBear

            HI Teresa, So sorry its taken me a while to respond. I can’t seem to find your email…is there another way we can connect on this site?

          • Teresa

            Hi there, my E-mail address is Tesoltp@aol.com

          • Teresa

            Actually ! Hello ShellyBear ! Send me your E-mail address if you do not have mine. Check in your inbox, and you will see the “From” up top. Check where it says hide details. Click on that, and you will see my E-mail address. Thank you.

  • rae

    I had a fantastic experience in Turkey, and I was in the central and Western part of the country for over a month. There were Christmas trees in all the malls while people walked around in Western dress, and some women in head scarves but it was a mixed bag. I was treated with respect and kindness, and my appearance is not even remotely Turk – I’m a tall, very fair complexioned redhead and I was traveling with members of the US, Greek and Turkish military. They are an *extremely* secular state. The only issues Turks have are with Kurds because of the KPP violence so there is a lot of security in public places.

    • Deniz Sidali

      Thank you as a Turk for this positive feedback. Most ppl that have negative things to say about Turks or Turkey have never met nor interacted with us and I find your comments refreshing and appreciate them. 

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  • Deniz Sidali

    It use to be a motel for people having illicit sexual encounters, yet the community had no concerns. Now all of a sudden a Turkish person buys it and they have bloody concerns. A bunch of rascists if you ask me. How many Yeshivas and Jewish schools are in that saturated area, yet no one raises an eyebrow. Could a muslim or Turk study there? I think not. The Amity school has a better reputation than a din of sin which is what that cheap, dirty hotel was. These people they interviewed are not only Anti-Turkish but ignorant and rascist. 

    • BrooklynBus

      The Board should have concerns. They have concerns when there is any change. Where did you get the impression that they opposed the school? To the best of my recollection, they supported it. Get your facts together before you start calling people racists. You are the one who sounds like the racist. Why shouldn’t anyone who wants to study Judaism not be allowed to study at a Jewish school? There is no requirement at you have to be Jewish.

      • Deniz Sidali

        The facts I need to derive are from the article posted. And the people they interviewed made rascist remarks. Anytime anyone who is muslim opens a mosque or a school individualized to their ethnicity its a problem. That is a heavily Turkish area. The Turks their are responsible shop owners. And the article cites that they had concerns in the community when they found out the background of the owner was Turkish quote unquote. The article further states the concerns of people in the community as to whether or not any person of non-Turkish background can attend this school. Its only one school compared to all the other schools individualized towards other ethnicities like the Jewish community. Why is this concern being raised? Turks are tax paying citizens, and they bought the property. End of story. Does anyone have concerns about a Greek school in Astoria? The Sheepshead Bay Area is the hub of the Turkish community so it shouldn’t even be questioned or a concern for anyone especially you BrooklynBus. And it is rascist even to be commenting about it. Such rubbish.