philius nicolas haitian pastor
Bishop Philius Nicolas, flanked by Mayor Bill de Blasio and community members, cuts the ribbon for the senior residence that bears his and his wife’s names. Photo by Leonardo March

On a bright afternoon following Sunday services at the Evangelical Crusade Christian Church in East Flatbush, more than 100 congregants, elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio, and community members took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Bishop Philius and Helene Nicolas Senior Residence.

Named after the founders of the prominent Haitian-American church, the 89-unit building at 1488 New York Ave. will soon house seniors ages 62 and older, including the formerly homeless. Church leaders, elected officials and building developers said during the April 18 ribbon-cutting that the building stands as a testament of the Haitian community’s impact on New York City. 

“Bishop Philius Nicolas [and] Helene Nicolas have been a rock to this community,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “They have done so much, starting decades and decades ago, to build up, in this community, opportunity for people ‒ spiritual support and material support.”

The $45 million building was developed by Brisa Builders and designed by Heritage Architecture and Rodney Leon Architects. It received support from numerous city and state elected officials, including District 45 Council Member Farah Louis, NYS District 42 Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. 

Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at or on Twitter @sambojarski.

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