Tag Archives: Howard Beach Senior Center

Howard Beach seniors have reason to smile again


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

Sharon Goldfarb was sitting with some fellow members of the Howard Beach Senior Center on a recent morning, discussing the condition of their homes and how the recovery process was going.

Their temporary center reopened December 3 at Father Dooley Hall at St. Helen’s School in Lindenwood. Its original location was just across the street in the lower level of the Rockwood Park Jewish Center.

When the area started to flood during Sandy, however, much of the center was damaged, along with scores of files and other items. Goldfarb said as regular center members start coming to the temporary facility, life starts to return to normal and they can begin moving forward. “The people are feeling much better,” she said. “Slowly but surely it’s doing better.”

“We’re doing baby steps,” said Judy Ascherman, the center’s assistant director. “We’re working on improving.”

The State Department of the Aging said seniors could not return to the center in its current condition, Ascherman said.

But that hasn’t stopped the staff from getting things back up and running. Monsignor Alfred LoPinto told the staff they could use the school’s gymnasium as long as needed.

The staff members, elected officials and leaders at St. Helen’s worked together to return at least some services to the area’s seniors.

Members and non-members alike can use the new facility, open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone more than 60 years old can enjoy lunch once again, Ascherman said.

“We’re not limiting it to members,” she said. “Because there are people in the community who need us.”

The number of people coming in has not been as high as usual, something Ascherman expects to pick up as the center is able to function completely again.

On Tuesday, December 11, the center’s Chanukah/Christmas party, scheduled before the storm hit, featured dancing and a DJ. The party, among other small things, has been just one way Ascherman said will help get the seniors back on their feet and have something to smile about.

“We need to be happy about something,” she said.

Dolores Tavernese said now that the center has been open for more than a week, and recovery slowly picks up, more people will start coming back.

“They’re just coming out of it,” she said.

Talent on parade at Howard Beach Senior Center


| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by David Beltran

It was an afternoon full of laughs and smiles at The Howard Beach Senior Center as they held their first of two talent shows this year.

Over 200 people, including Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, attended the show, which featured a variety of acts, from singing to belly dancing to stand-up comedy.

Mark Frey, the executive director of the senior center, said it’s just one of many events that they hold throughout the year.

“We’re very active here,” he said. “Seniors over here play cards, belly dance, do Tai Chi and some even play Wii bowling.

The show began with much of the audience singing along with Jimmy Di Napoli as he sang the “Howard Beach Song,” a song about life in Howard Beach. 

The Tai Chi class led by Elaine Fleischman, who teaches Tai Chi for People with Arthritis – sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, performed a sequence of movements which were followed by the audience. According to Fleischman, some of the Tai Chi performers have been in the class for over three years.

The act that garnered a rousing ovation was the belly dancing performance of Anita Lombardo. Once her dance ended, many of the people in the audience cheered for more. One senior yelled, “Bring it on,” while another said he was going to definitely sign up for the belly dancing class.

Ninety-eight-year-old Max Stern, the center’s oldest senior, lit up the room as he told jokes and played songs on a ukulele. Even Frey took part in the show as he sang his rendition of the Beatles hit, “Let It Be.”

“It was excellent,” said Theresa Brodsky, who was at the senior center for the first time.

“The show was beautiful and all the performers were very good,” said Libby Schmier.