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September 2014
In this Issue:
Senior News - Main Page
SNAP Benefits Put Food on the Table
DFTA Mourns Passing of Senior Advisory Committee Chair
Growing, Connecting and Having Fun through Art
"Stylin' Seniors" A Facebook Hit
The Brooklyn Public Library Beckons Seniors
Where the Action is: Senior Programs Liven It Up
Where the Action is: Senior Programs Liven It Up

This is a new feature of Senior News. If your program is doing – or has done – something exciting, let us know at

Photo Mural - Carter Burden Leonard Covello Seniors Center


Growing ArugularMembers of the Lennox Hill Innovative Senior Center are eating seasonally and locally – very locally! The Center’s own Roof Garden is the source. Summer meals have featured arugula and other lettuces for salads; basil; cilantro; sweet Melissa; dill and tarragon for salad dressings; blueberries; blackberries; Japanese eggplants; pole beans; beets; and bell peppers. Yum! The center’s rooftop nutrition workshops also focus on healthy eating.

Stanley Isaacs Senior Center and NORC Program in Manhattan worked together with Grow NYC to plant a sustainable garden behind their building in an area that had been not much more than an abandoned lot. With help from Grow NYC’s Open Space Greening Program, volunteers from White and Case law firm, students from a local middle school and of course the seniors themselves, the garden now boasts $2,000 worth of donated soil, mulch, plants and flowers, a garden path of small stones (the middle schoolers worked on that) and outdoor chairs where seniors enjoy their fresh green space. “It has literally changed the air,” says Center Director Brenda Westphalen.

On every floor of Manhattan’s newly renovated Carter Burden Leonard Covello Innovative Senior Center works of art - some created by center members, some donated through the Carter Burden art gallery - delight the eye. The walls of the windowed second floor dining area, for example, display a remarkable photo mural that measures about 69 feet in length and 6 feet across. Printed on vinyl, the mural is comprised entirely of “portrait-type” photos of objects that have great meaning and significance to individual Covello members, who brought them from home to be photographed for the mural over a three day period last spring. Among the objects evoking memories on the lunchroom walls is an old-fashioned iron from the owner’s slave ancestors; a first letter from a grand-daughter; the cover of 1960 yearbook; a child’s boots; an old radio; a school notebook; a box of almond kisses; a teapot that belonged to a grandfather who had been in WWI; and a typewriter used on a senior’s first job. “When the seniors come in, they see a part of their lives,” says Covello director Esther Sanchez Polanco. William Dionne, Executive Director of the Carter Burden Center for Aging, credits graphic designer Carin Goldberg, who conceived the project, and NYC Department of Design and Construction Chief Change Officer Lonni Tanner, along with Biber Architects and Artist photographer William Coupon with phenomenal ability to work creatively with a nearly non-existent budget and a narrow timeframe.


In late spring, at Brooklyn’s Warbasse Cares NORC Program, an animated group of between 12-18 seniors was joined by four Kingsborough Community College Students for a four-week Intergenerational Theater Workshop. The Workshop was facilitated by the Roots and Branches Theater Ensemble and supported by UJA’s Jeanette Solomon Fund. Students and seniors interviewed each other about their life experiences and created improvisations which evolved into a performance that illuminated a variety of cultural, aging and societal issues.

An intergenerational art class flourished this past spring at Spring Creek NORC Program in Brooklyn. Eight to ten teenagers worked side by side with ten to twelve seniors under the guidance of an artist provided by the Carter Burden Center on Aging. The project was funded by a grant from UJA’s Jeanette Solomon Fund. The sessions culminated in a gallery show.

On June 17th, seniors from JASA Trump 4 Us joined 4th and 5th graders from P.S. 100 in Coney Island to sing, shimmy and shine in a performance of “Grease. The enthusiastic audience consisted of kindergartners, nonagenarians, and all ages in between.


The bi-weekly dance class with live music at Peter Cardella Neighborhood Senior Center has become a citywide attraction for seniors. Each event draws 80 to 90 participants. The center’s dance room is set up like an actual dance hall. Seniors often come dressed in their best finery to rumba, waltz, tango and Peabody – and to participate in 20 minutes of line dancing. “The class even attracts seniors who refuse to participate in any other form of physical activity,” says director Barbara Tuscano. “After all, this was how they got their exercise when they were young.”

Seniors are also dancing up a storm at Queens’ Benjamin Rosenthal Center. One day recently in a big room with a high stage, blue velvet curtains and a large flat screen, a professional tango competition was underway. Many women wore customary tango attire of flowing dresses, long skirts and dancing shoes, though others opted to dance in sneakers. Although there was a professional DJ, few were there for listening. Most of the 50 or 60 people in the room were engaged in their own tango, swirling around the room, smiling and laughing with their partners and friends. Some were teaching each other the dance moves. One woman bashfully showed her friends a few flamenco steps and succeeded in getting another woman to imitate her, arms curving over her head and framing her face while she clicked imaginary castanets and giggled. Said an enchanted observer, “I had a front and center seat at what I thought was the best entertainment in town.”

JASA Roy Reuther Neighborhood Senior Center in Queens offers a yoga class that would be hard to beat for its setting. The center has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the beach front and the yoga classroom offers a direct view of the serene shoreline. Ocean sounds and the instructor’s calm, reassuring voice further promote a tranquil mindset.


Bingo at New Lane Senior Center New Lane Senior Center has offered “intergenerational bingo” with special needs children who attend the Hungerford School since 2006. Every Wednesday during the school year an average of 18 students of various ages come to the center to “partner” at Bingo with center members. Seniors assist the children in manipulating their Bingo boards and help them to read and identify their numbers. Each child has the opportunity to experience interaction with a “grandparent” figure, while learning and having fun. Following the game session, seniors and kids enjoy refreshments together before the kids head back to school.

Anderson Neighborhood Senior Center (also known as CYO Senior Guild) has long been famous on Staten Island for serving delicious meals. Now, it also getting raves for a pre-lunch stretch class that started in March, 2013. More and more seniors want to participate in the class, according to Marni Caruso, the center’s director. “They love the spirit, and we even have our own CYO cheer that we do during this exercise.”


Through grants from Council Member Oliver Koppell and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., JASA Van Cortland Senior Center held evening and lunchtime cultural events for community and center members this past spring and summer.

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