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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  1. Opera Classes

    October 18
    October 18, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm
    Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
    Lou Barrella. Class meets weekly from October 11 to November 15. Please contact the museum for more details.
  2. Evening Group Hike

    October 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Please note that this event has moved back to the Greenbelt Nature Center Most Wednesdays – Check the Facebook page – “The Greenbelt Conservancy” for updates. The hike is moderately paced, Bring a headlamp along as it is beginning to
  3. It’s My Park at Northerleigh Park

    October 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Northerleigh Park
    This It’s My Park season, please join Westerleigh Parks Coalition to clean and beautify Northerleigh Park. We look forward to cleaning up the park with you!
  4. THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow

    October 18 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Staten Island Mall
    Staten Island Mall in New Springville will host THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow, a highly visual, educational and free traveling installation of larger than life LEGO replicas of some of our nation’s most beloved landmarks. Ten one-of-a-kind, large scale models of
  5. Staten Island Babywearers

    October 18 @ 11:15 am
    October 18, 2017  |  11:15 am - 11:15 am
    West New Brighton Library
    Want to learn the skills to being a good babywearer? Join us as we host Staten Island’s first peer to peer babywearing group, led by a certified babywearing educator! For parents and caregivers. Feel free to bring your babies!
  6. Clay Day

    October 18 @ 1:30 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  1:30 pm - 1:30 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Satisfy a “knead” by working with some air-dry clay and create a tactile piece.
  7. Science Time

    October 18 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program on problem solving, inquiry and creative thinking. Activities include meetings animals from our Bugs exhibit, playing with solar cars, solving puzzle and games or building structures. Time is subject to change each day
  8. Children Craft

    October 18 @ 3:30 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    South Beach Library
  9. Slime Making!

    October 18 @ 3:30 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Huguenot Library
    Pre-register
  10. Picture Book Time

    October 18 @ 4:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    Enjoy hearing books read aloud, finger plays action rhymes and coloring.