By Philip Newman
World War I was raging in Europe when Flushing House’s origins were no more than blueprints and good intentions and now its founding institution is throwing a party to celebrate its 100th birthday.
Flushing House officials said the party, “Celebrating 100 Years Serving Older Adults,” at 6 p.m. April 21, would also function as a fund-raiser for United Adult Ministries, the parent of Flushing House at 38-20 Bowne St. in Flushing.
It is New York City’s largest non-profit independent retirement community.
Flushing House officials said the institution’s origins could be traced to April 12, 1916 when incorporation papers were signed for the Brooklyn Presbyterian Home for the Aged.
“In spite of good intentions by the founders, years passed with no construction for lack of funds,” they said.
Nevertheless, the Presbyterian Home Women’s Auxiliary, which cared for widows of World War I veterans, persevered and continued to raise money for a home for the elderly.
In 1945 the Auxiliary board bought a guest house in Brooklyn and then in 1954 purchased an 11-acre estate in Woodbury, L.I. The first residents from the Presbyterian Home moved in the next year.
In 1969 the Congregational Reformed Church at Bowne Street and 38th Avenue in Flushing was destroyed by fire. The Presbyterians bought the site. Ground was broken in 1974 and Flushing House opened in 1975.
Friends of Flushing House said the party would take place in the grand ballroom of the Garden City Hotel in Garden City. Besides gourmet dining the evening will include live music and dancing as well as an art auction and raffle with proceeds to the nonprofit organization’s endowment for Flushing House.
Three people are to be given Rose Kryzak awards. Kryzak was a senior activist who fought for the rights of older adults. She died June 24, 1999 at the age of 99 after living at Flushing House for 13 years.
Charles and Christine Frank, the first co-administrators of Flushing House in its first years of operation, and Bruce Cunningham, executive director of Queens Interagency Council on Aging, will receive the Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. RSVP by April 4, sending your name and address with a $150 per person tax-deductible check payable to United Adult Ministeries to Robert Salant, Director of Community Relations Services, Flushing House, 38-20 Bowne St., Flushing, N.Y. 11354 or email rsala
The proceeds will go toward keeping Flushing House affordable.