Life Is Grand: Staten Island Friendship Clubs

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?” In 1971, when James Taylor sang those lyrics, I’m sure he didn’t realize how true they would ring for thousands of seniors who have found fun, friendship, and even romance in Staten Island’s own Friendship Clubs.

So where can a mature lady or gentleman go for a reasonable breakfast, lunch, card playing, art lessons, bocce, or singing and dancing? How about one of the four Friendship clubs that operate daily from about 8:30am to 3:00pm?

The Friendship Clubs accept members 60 years and older. Members may be accompanied by an aide or family member. According to some clubs, youngsters under 60 are asking to join! For a small contribution (usually $1-$2), the four active Staten Island clubs serve breakfast and lunch five days a week.

According to Jeannie Agnello, coordinator at the Arrochar Friendship Club, the club is a hopping place where on any given day you may find members playing Mahjong, participating in a Glee Club, using computers, or dancing to the music of a DJ spinning discs.

“The center is a wonderful place for friendships, as well as a few romances,” but she warns that the ladies do outnumber the men. “Our members enjoy the indoor activities as well as our outings, which could be anything from a day trip to Atlantic City or a week vacation in the Ozark Mountains.”

Hundreds of seniors gather at Friendship Clubs throughout Staten Island, arriving by foot, car, Access-A-Ride, or via a fleet of buses that provide transportation to friends in the area of the clubs.

Anna Stout, the coordinator of the Mount Loretto Friendship Club, enjoys her job and takes great pride in the Club that hosts about 150 members a day. “We are a very active club, a great place for seniors to make friends and sometimes romances. We have had weddings and many birthday celebrations. People feel good here, and we welcome everyone. Our bocce courts and billiard tables are extremely popular. Socializing and keeping seniors active is good for the mind. It helps people to not become too depressed. We even have a stress management class, along with Tai Chi and outings.”

There are currently four Friendship Clubs operating: Arrochar, Great Kills, Mount Loretto and Todt Hill. The New Dorp Center has been out of commission since Hurricane Sandy. According to Marie Didato, Associate Director of SI Community Services Friendship Club, Inc., “We are working closely with the Department of Parks to refurbish and reopen the New Dorp Friendship Club. Many seniors are anxiously awaiting the reopening.” Some of those members have been attending the Great Kills and Arrochar Friendship Clubs in the interim.

For many vital seniors who are young at heart, the club is a place to meet friends, challenge their minds and bodies, and eat nutritious meals. For some, cooking has become difficult and shopping is quite an expense these days, so the nutritious meals are a blessing.

For information about the clubs, contact: Marie Didato at 718. 356.5050.

Note: In addition to Friendship Clubs, Staten Island is home to other senior centers, such as the Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center and The United Federation of Teachers Retired Teacher Center, where seniors and retirees can meet, take classes and enjoy life, For a list of other resources for seniors on Staten Island, visit siparent.com/seniors.

Marianna Randazzo is a Staten Island author and educator who is enjoying her new role of Grandmother.

Related Articles:
Staten Island Parent’s Grandparents Column: Life is Grand



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Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1. Movies Under the Stars: School of Rock

    June 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Corporal Thompson Park
    Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film. Know Before You Go: You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit
  2. Gentle Flow Yoga

    June 24 @ 10:00 am - July 22 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  10:00 am - 11:00 am
    Alice Austen House Museum
    Join us on the lawn of Clear Comfort for yoga every other Saturday this summer. Led by Be Yoga & Dance in partnership with Shape Up NYC.
  3. Day at the Races

    June 24 @ 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Monmouth Racetrack
    3rd Annual “Day at the Races,” a Jaimes’s LILAC foundation fundraiser at Monmouth Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. Saturday- June 24- 11am to 6pm; tickets are $40 adults- $20 children - includes entrance and all you can eat.
  4. Zentangle 101

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    South Beach Library
  5. Storytime: “The Rainbow Fish”

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Barnes & Noble
    This modern classic is celebrating its 25th year in print! With eye-catching foil stamping glittering on every page, it offers instant child appeal. But it is the universal message at the heart of this story about a beautiful fish who
  6. Homework Help

    June 24 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm High School volunteers are offering their services to help with reading and math! Reading:Prek -Third grade, Math: prek to eighth grade. First come first served. Sign up lists will start the day of each session when library
  7. Music & Movement

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    New Dorp Library
  8. FREE Family Fun Day

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Conference House Park
    Rain date June 25. Face painting, costume characters, giveaways, zumba, cotton candy, food, music, popcorn, ice cream, drinks. For more info call Tom Crimmins Realty 718-370-3200.
  9. Food Truck Festival at The Mount

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Mount Loretto
    Join us at Mount Loretto on June 24th and 25th from Noon-8pm each day for our Second Annual Food Truck Festival Presented by ShopRite! If you think last year’s event was big…you ain’t seen nothing yet! This event will feature
  10. Beehive and Honeycomb paintings

    June 24 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts Vocabulary; create mixed media Beehive and Honeycomb paintings.