There was a nice feature in yesterday's Times on the Halloween party at the Educational Alliance's Sirovich Senior Center on 12th Street. Reporter Susan Dominus begins by marveling that the East Village,the "youth capitol of the island," has an "elderly population, people who have seen more in their time than a bustling coffee shop’s worth of twenty-something stylists." But if you get past the odd premise, the story's a good read:
… a group of 100 or so people, many of them over 80, demanded the
visual attention of anyone in the vicinity. There was no ignoring the
blinking lights on a woman’s visor or the glittery cat-eye sunglasses
on another woman. The Statue of Liberty graced the crowd with her
presence, as did Charlie Chaplin, in the form of an 82-year-old woman,
originally from Shanghai, with a fake mustache and a black sequined
top. It was noted to one tiny woman, 86, that she had a stuffed puppy
lodged in the brim of her silver hat. “I know,” she said. “I put it there.” She was going for a look inspired by Dorothy… Leave it to young people to dress up as ghosts, ghouls and other forms
of the unliving; this crowd was injecting pure flash into their
regalia. “Who am I?” said Ricarda Torrez, 72, dressed like a movie star
at the spa, with a pink towel wrapped turban-style around her head.
No doubt about it, the Times concludes, this place has a certain flair:
The center did not reek in any obvious way of its East Village
location — there were no aging punk rockers or transsexuals with canes. But the director, Terry Gregory, will occasionally let it slip
that he is a former playwright — he said his work was performed in
experimental theaters in the neighborhood in the ’70s — and his
sensibility infects the place… Glenn Miller plays at some dance classes, but also
a mix tape that the instructor, Kerry Ann King, calls “English People
and Their Problems” — Coldplay and the Verve. “And they love it,” Ms.
The article points out that, in Community Board 3 (encompassing the LES & Chinatown), about a third of seniors live at or below the poverty level (second highest in the city). The Sirovich Center is one of three senior centers run by the Educational Alliance, offering low and no-cost services (classes, activities, meals). Here's a link with more information on what they have to offer.