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$6M Wellness/Health Hub Coming To “Rocky’s Corner” in Bed-Stuy, Thanks to State Lawmakers Heastie, Zinerman Push; Rodney Leon is Architect

by Joe Gonzalez
with Bernice Elizabeth Green
Friday May 10, 2024 was a day to remember for many Brooklyn Residents.
That day, longtime Bed-Stuy Resident and current New York State Assemblymember Stefanie L. Zinerman delivered on her promise to Brooklyn citizens. Ms. Zinerman worked very hard and was able to do what no past or present elected public official has done before—she secured a New York State Treasury check for the sum of six million dollars ($6,000,000.) to fund the construction of a new building and the operations of the Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corp (BSVAC). The BSVAC is widely known as the Vollies—a nod to their volunteer work. For many years the Vollies labored out of a rag-tag trailer at 727 Greene Avenue, corner of Marcus Garvey Blvd in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed-Stuy.

Not much longer—very soon, the Vollies will have their own brand-new building.

Brooklyn-based internationally known architect Rodney Leon to design new Bed-Stuy Health Hub (Image:

The BSVAC was started in 1988 by the late great Commander James ‘Rocky’ Robinson, who became a blessed memory in September 2019. Commander Robinson started the BSVAC because the crack epidemic was in full bloom, and the streets of Bed-Stuy were seemingly consumed by street violence; bodies were dropping on every block, and drug overdoses were commonplace.

Commander Robinson noted that the New York City Emergency Medical Service (EMS) was either very slow to respond to calls requesting emergency medical service in Bed-Stuy or, worse, non-existent. And the rest is history. The BSVAC has been lauded by New York City Mayors, the past and current Governor, and various federal government officials. But the most passionate praise comes from the residents of Bed-Stuy.

Following the demise of Commander Rocky Robinson, the BSVAC was excited to learn that his son, one Antoine Robinson agreed to step up to continue his late father’s work. The person selected for the proposed new building will be noted architect Rodney Leon. Mr. Leon is best known for his work in designing the Ark of Return and the New York City African Burial Ground National Monument. The building will house the BSVAC, the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) Inc., and the Central Brooklyn Birthing Center by Ancient Song, Inc., a group that provides doula services.