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

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

«       Mar 2018       » loading...
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1. Easter Egg Hunt @ the Port Richmond Library

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    Port Richmond Library
    0 to 4 years @ 12 PM to 12:30 PM 5 years to 9 years @ 3:30 PM to 3:45 PM 10 years to 15 years @ 4 PM to 4:15 PM One winner from each age group will win
  2. Kidz Cook

    March 23 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Learn how the whipping technique adds volume to foods such as creams, eggs and cheeses.
  3. Wii Love Gaming

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Challenge your friends and other kids as you play cool Wii games!
  4. Game On!

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Get ready to play some of your favorite board & Wii games.
  5. Happy Pig Day! An Elephant and Piggie Party

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Great Kills Library
    For ages 4 and up. Pre-registration is recommended.
  6. St. Peters High School Heart Health for Athletes

    March 23 @ 6:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  6:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    St. Peter's High School
    Free BMI, EKG and Echo screenings for athletes  
  7. Political Issues Affecting our Youth Today

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Zimmer Club
    Please join us on Saturdays from January 20th to April 21st (except March 31st) at 9:00AM for the 2018 Zimmer Youth Conservation Classes. The classes are from 9AM – 12 Noon for approximately 13 weeks.  Each week we teach about
  8. Saint George Greenmarket

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    St. Mark's Place and Hyatt St
    Set on a hill overlooking New York Harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline, this market draws a dedicated following of neighborhood shoppers who line up each Saturday to get first dibs on the freshest seasonal fruit, produce, cheese, meat, seafood
  9. Eggstravagant Feast with the Bunny

    March 24 @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    Staten Island Zoo
    Join us for a special visit with breakfast AND lunch: hot buffet, Easter egg hunt, intimate animal encounters, ride our carousel with Chuck the Groundhog, take your own pictures with our Bunny (please bring your own camera), our cotton-tailed friend
  10. Sensory Storytime

    March 24 @ 10:30 am
    March 24, 2018  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    Tottenville Library
    An inclusive, 4-session program that combines the best practices from special education and traditional storytime to create an interactive, engaging program for children of all abilities! Limited to 12 children, best for ages 2 and older. Pre-registration begins one week