Senior-Friendly City

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Linda Gibbs, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, talks about the city's initiative to make the Upper West Side and East Harlem more accomodating to senior citizens' needs.

The New York Academy of Medicine has several maps online showing where seniors live, the most convenient transportation, and the poverty rates for the elderly in New York City. Take a look, and tell us what you notice.

And tell us what New York City life is like for you if you're a senior citizen, and what could be done to make it better.




Linda Gibbs

Comments [36]

Daniel from Don't tell anyone :-)

Live happily in a NORC: Normally Occuring Retirement Community surrounded by active folks at all stages of life. Could use more front-porch style places to sit and chat and during cold weather, warm places to gather that don't cost. Please please -- need sit-down or lean-to rest spots both above and below ground, and safe clean toilets here and there.

Jul. 22 2010 10:12 PM
EugeniaRenskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

Hello, I would like to see people get up and offer their seat to a senior and or a disabled person. on the subway this almost never happens and I mean never. I see lots of young men (and young women) just look at their cellphone messages and not pay attention to a senior when he or she is standing right by their seat. Politeness and compassion should be taught. Those up and down stairs are bad too, especially for people using canes. Eugenia Renskoff

Jul. 21 2010 03:55 PM

To follow up on Sandy from Bkyn Hts, if there are subway service interruptions, place notice signs on entry level at least, if not on street level at every entrance.

My mother sold her home in suburbia and retired to Manhattan three years ago. The biggest complaint I hear from her is when the E train isn't running and she has walked down three flights only to see the no service signs down on the platform, causing her to walk up the stairs and find an alternate route.

Believe me, I've tried sending her the link to MTA's trip planner. She just want signs on street level.

Jul. 21 2010 02:39 PM
Zo from Co-op City

Some uneven sidewalks are caused by trees pushing up squares of the concrete with their roots. How about smoothing out the unevenness with a little asphalt or similar substance? Since this is an ongoing problem, repaving the square of sidewalk is inefficient and expensive.

Jul. 21 2010 12:10 PM
Gus Solomons jr from Union Square

The city would be a great deal safer for old and young, if there were stricter enforcement of traffic regulations for cars. I am a biker, who gives pedestrians right of way. But the inconsideration or just ignorance of drivers goes completely unchallenged. They don't yield to pedestrians or bikes, when making left turns across a bike lane; turn signals seem to have become completely optional or turned on after the driver has already begun to turn; cars still spill into intersections, tying up cross traffic; and virtually every driver speeds up on amber, instead of slowing down, trying to beat the red light.

These offenses often happen right in the face of traffic agents, who do nothing. It's time to start clamping down on dumb driving with moving violation citations, which would fatten city coffers and perhaps chasten drivers to obey -- and even learn -- the rules of safe and legal driving, of which they're presently either oblivious or contemptuous.

Jul. 21 2010 12:09 PM
Gene from NYC

The difference between a jaywalker and a car or bike is that the jaywalker isn't hurtling down the street on or in a potentially lethal weapon.

I see NO indication of enforcement of wrong-way bike riding, which is really life threatening--to pedestrians AND cars.

Last time I yelled at someone was at a wrong-way bike rider who almost got hit by a car. The rider yelled at the car driver(!) I yelled at the rider, "What are you yelling at? You were the one going the wrong way. We're going to REGULATE you as--s!"

These bike riders are SO arrogant.

It's time to regulate them.

Jul. 21 2010 12:01 PM

As the value of my apartment goes down and my fixed income looses it value, the city increases my Real Estate Taxes, this year up to 10,200 a year. The city gives no consideration to a 70 year old living in the city, and intends to drive me out with the cripling yearly real estate taxes. Again, my Apartment value goes down with age, and my Real Estated taxes go up.

Jul. 21 2010 11:59 AM
pete from brooklyn

Whether your old and infirm, young and single, married with a family New York is great, just bring money...lots and lots of money.

Jul. 21 2010 11:58 AM
Norman from NYC

The Bloomberg Administration is cutting back on library hours. Those were the best places for seniors (or anybody else) to hang out.

For example, they shut the Donnell library.

Jul. 21 2010 11:58 AM
Rober from NYC

With regard to the bikers there really should be signs posted bikers should not be on sidewalk. Even when they deliver many get on the sidewalk waaaay before they reach the address they are going to. They should just stay in street until they get to that address. Also it's time to repost the "Curb Your Dog" signs which I see have disappeared. Seems lots of folks think it's ok to have the dog dump in the middle of the sidewalk even if they clean up it leaves residue. We used to have to curb our dogs or get a fine.

Jul. 21 2010 11:56 AM
Helen Hamlinb from New York

I am involved in the Age Friendly Iniative: I want to add that an age friendly New York is an AGES Friendly placel. What benefits older people benefits ALL generations - those with canes, walkers, strollers and wheelchairs and those with disabilities.
I am an older person, a native New Yorker -- the best place to live and retire in.

Jul. 21 2010 11:55 AM
William from Manhattan

I agree with the callers who encouraged the city to provide the basic infrastructure services that we support with our taxes, and to reframe the discussion as changes benefiting all New Yorkers, seniors included - safe sidewalks, affordable & accessible public transportation, traffic taming (vehicles and bikes), etc will help everyone.

Jul. 21 2010 11:55 AM
BrettG from Queens/LIC/Astoria

As a disabled man @61, I suggest opening this move below age 65.

During the past year, my application for a local senior residence was refused since my SSD in 2010 without a 2010 COLA made my income too LOW to qualify for an apartment renting for approx. $200/month less! Though I subscribe to the DHP affordable apts., the only units for which i'm eligible are in East NY/Cypress Hills away from medical facilities.

Even though I need a special diet due to T2DM, I have been refused additional food stamps because they don't recognize my Part D discount plan. After rent & utilities, my food $$ go in the first 2 weeks & Food Stamps for a single occupancy household are completely inadequate as they are based [as is SSD/public assistance/Medicaid] on an obsolete & inadequate cost model/COLA.

Needless to say, I have trouble paying my monthly medication/glucose monitor Rxs. I am totally unable to pay my current hospital bills without both asking for family support & applying for hospital financial aid.

Jul. 21 2010 11:55 AM
Alberto from Spain

I would suggest to your guest to travel to Europe and see how things are done here regarding the elderly.
Let's face it. This is not a country/city where spending taxpayer's money in social programs is welcome or popular. It's for this that I would never spend my retirement in this city or in this country.
It's kind of ludicrous that people are asking for insignificant things such as more benches in the streets.

Jul. 21 2010 11:53 AM
Sandy Cohen from Brooklyn Heights

Subways are awful for seniors, the many steps and heat in the stations make it difficult to get into Manhattan to enjoy cultural events. Also events are mostly in the evening and getting home to the boros at night is troublesome. Please improve Access-A-Ride. Wait time is awful for disabled people and seniors alike. Also each driver should have a GPS system so people are not driven around from boro to boro as the driver gets lost taking his passengers home from medical appointments and the like.

Jul. 21 2010 11:52 AM
Carrie from Flatbush

What is good for seniors is also good for pregnant women, young children, and the disabled. Climbing the city's many stairs with strollers or walkers is brutal. Public restrooms are practically nonexistent.

Jul. 21 2010 11:51 AM
Norman from NYC

From the NYT story:

"Some worry that what the Bloomberg administration is proposing is a menu of quick and dirty solutions for older residents while, in a tough economy, traditional services like senior centers and bus routes are being cut back."

Jul. 21 2010 11:50 AM


Jul. 21 2010 11:49 AM

As a waiter/bartender in the West Village I take care alot of elderly folks. When I find myself getting flustered with their slowness or fickleness I remind myself that they were once the cool poets and pioneers of thought. If you take time and listen to the seniors they can teach more about this city than anyone else.

Jul. 21 2010 11:48 AM
Mike from NYU

Seniors should be fined for blocking the sidewalk from skateboarders and cyclists who actually have somewhere to be.

Jul. 21 2010 11:47 AM
Norman from NYC

The New York Times article mentioned the difficulty of finding a bathroom.

Jul. 21 2010 11:47 AM
dboy from nyc

I am not a senior. I am a cyclist of 20 years.

Crack Down on rouge cyclists:



Have some respect. A fall can KILL a senior. The next time you're riding like a maniac, try to imagine the fear some people experience.


Jul. 21 2010 11:46 AM
Jim from Manhattan

Four Words:


Jul. 21 2010 11:46 AM
Ash in Chelsea

I am a 70-year-old retiree who lives two blocks from Penn Station in a subsidized co-op. I came here from the South in 1963. I retired in 2002.

I find NYC to be heavenly! There are all sorts of amenities ( a drug store on every corner, almost!) within walking distance or a bike ride away (yes, I ride my bike constantly!). Not to mention all the cultural activities within easy reach by bus or subway.

When I travel -- as I often do -- I wheel my luggage home from Penn Station. My co-op is full of seniors (we're the first NORC -- Naturally Occuring Retirement Community -- in the country ) so there is an active senior center (with a resident nurse) within our complex. The things I think of that would make NYC better for seniors (e.g., much less noise all around) would also make it better for Juniors.

Jul. 21 2010 11:43 AM
Norman from NYC

What about the benches?

Jul. 21 2010 11:42 AM

Bike, skooter etc riders should be fined when riding on sidewalks. Parents who are with their children should be fined for same. It is very dangerous for all pedistrians and especially for seniors.

Jul. 21 2010 11:42 AM
Sandra from Astoria

Ugh, I would never retire in NYC! The fast pace and high cost of living would be prohibitive--my elderly neighbor on a fixed income cannot afford air conditioning, which is tough during hot weather like this.

This is a city for the young.

Me, I plan on reitiring to a California beach town :)

Jul. 21 2010 11:42 AM
Norman from NYC

Oh, no! Their solution is to have more focus groups and surveys.

Jul. 21 2010 11:41 AM
Jarrod from UES

What about getting bike riders to follow traffic laws? I'm terrified for seniors every time a biker runs a redlight or weaves in and out of traffic.

Jul. 21 2010 11:40 AM
Chris from Manhattan

Please, please make the sidewalks level and safe to walk on. I've fallen twice in the past 2 months because the sidewalks are uneven and full of hazards. The first time I fell I was pretty badly hurt. The second time wasn't as bad but still painful.

Jul. 21 2010 11:37 AM
Norman from NYC

I second the benches.

A lot of elderly people can't walk more than half a mile at a time. There's no place to sit down.

They removed all the benches several years ago because the homeless people were sitting and sleeping on them.

Jul. 21 2010 11:36 AM

seniors may not know they are entitled to a half price metro card. a one time trip down to MTA down on ?Pine? st
is all it takes. very easy setup.

Jul. 21 2010 11:36 AM
Mike from NYU

Seniors should go to Florida. Its the millionaires of age 55+ that drive up the rents so much that young people and families can't live anywhere near the city they work in anymore.

Jul. 21 2010 11:33 AM
Romanie Baines from Upper East Side, Manhattan.

Safer roads and sidewalks! A person can hardly walk around here (upper-mid-town -beginning of upper east side,) without encountering a speeding delivery cyclist on the sidewalk. Traffic on Second and Third Avenues within about ten blocks of the 59th Street bridge is such that you literally take your life in your hands attempting to cross from one side to the other. There is very little enforcement of the rules around vehicles actually stopping when there is a red light, and almost none to keep the vehicle behind the white lines so that there is a clear crosswalk for pedestrians to use.

Jul. 21 2010 11:30 AM
Sharon Mast from New York City

A quiet car in every subway train!
I don't want to hear other people's music blasting - I don't even want to hear the tinny overspill of their music from their earphones. Preserving the city for seniors means respecting the values that they grew up with and making some accommodations to these in a world largely given over to the very different values of many younger people.

Jul. 21 2010 11:04 AM
JJones from West Village

Benches! We need more benches - to be able to stop and rest for a moment. Every bus shelter should have a bench, since many seniors take buses instead of the subways (stairs are a problem and the escalators rarely work).
And make landlords remove those metal spikes and barriers they put up on low walls, designed to prevent people from sitting on them.

Jul. 21 2010 10:24 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.