Your Voices | Aging in the East Village

Sunbrella HatLauren Carol Smith

A sampling of reader reactions to recent posts that have appeared on The Local.

Brendan Bernhard’s post about aging in the East Village — particularly his contention that our neighborhood is “one of the more trying places in which to grow old” — prompted a good deal of discussion in the blog’s forums.

Amelie wrote:

“I completely disagree with you. My father is 87 and has lived in the East Village all of his life. My father and his friend (who are old folks so called wondering around in the east village)… happen to love it here… they love the small cafes, they feel young and a lot of them do not want to accept their age. Being surrounded by young folks makes them feel young.”

Joelle Morrison said:

“I’m 72, a Lower East Side expatriate living in the wilds of Staten Island, but when I’m really old I intend to head back to my old nabe. If you can’t drive and want access to food, culture, books, parks, doctors, etc., you need Manhattan or Brooklyn. There are lots of older people living in my old nabe, you just don’t see them all over or out at night because they have a LIFE! They’re not tourists or students or dilettantes clogging the streets and barfing all over on weekends. They bring a sense of reality, solidity and presence to a neighborhood now in sore need of those things.”

Bill said:

“another terrific piece…i would submit that maybe there is a way in which there is very little ‘seeing’ of anything or anyone anymore…
visuals of any ilk have become mere ‘place markers’ …as has the citizenry perhaps…”

“East Villager” wrote:

“This is a sad fact of the East Village. There are indeed still elderly people here, but I often notice how they are indeed ignored, marginalized, dismissed, treated as invisible. There is no excuse for this. I make it a point to be courteous and respectful to my elders (as well as to everyone else, of course), and it is a pleasure to see an older face light up with a smile. When did being old become such a negative? I always find much to learn from those older than myself.”

Tim Milk added:

“Having worked on the Census in this neighborhood, I can attest that there are quite a few people over the age of fifty. There are, also, many college-aged people and visitors who have no intention of staying here. Their disregard is constant although they themselves are not.

I have also met college-aged people who would never choose to live in the East Village, mostly because they have no respect for the lifestyle prevalent here among their peers.”

And Bruce offered this:

“The young folks who just come here to have fun and be seen will soon move along to the next trend. The smart ones will look up from their smart phones long enough to actually see what’s around them and appreciate the Lower East Side for what it is and if they’re really smart they will still be here when they are no longer young.”

Join the conversation: Share your thoughts about Mr. Bernhard’s post or others in the comments section below.