For some home-bound seniors living in Mitchell-Lama housing, it's difficult to find cultural programming they can be a part of, but our latest New Yorker of the Week makes sure his neighbors don't get left behind. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
When Larry Vide puts on music, he doesn't just listen. This 90-year-old enlightens his fellow seniors. He shares the history and the emotions behind every song.
"Opera, we emphasize the drama, and of course the fancy singing that goes in," says Vide. "Show business, depends on the words, you know, 'I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night, and then have begged for more.' I mean, what more can you say?"
This World War II veteran, former actor and English teacher doesn't keep his love for music to himself. Every Friday since 2007, Larry hosts music appreciation classes to seniors at Mitchell-Lama's Southbridge Towers on the Lower East Side.
"Larry makes it so vibrant, and his explanations are vivid and colorful, and so, the music comes alive. That's why I can almost envision what's happening on stage when he explains at the beginning and the comments along the way," says Priscilla Wolf, a participant.
Many of the seniors rarely leave Southbridge. Larry's class is one of the few opportunities where they have a sense of community.
"It's not about perfection, it's about doing something that they enjoy, that they’re passionate about. These programs allow them to do just that to have one more thing that they can do instead of just staying at home, looking at the walls or watching TV," says Southbridge Towers Director of Social Services Julienne Jules.
"It helps us grow and that's very important for an older adult to you know be involved, period," says Wolf.
And it's important for Larry too, who considers himself one of the luckiest guys in town.
"I feel like I'm giving back to society in this case, old people like me. I'm giving them something that they might not have, and it's a sort of a thank you to life for making my life so nice," he says.
So, for sharing the music in his heart to seniors ready to listen, Larry Vide is our New Yorker of the Week.
For More Information
To learn more about the senior citizen activities center at the Southbridge Towers, visit southbridgetowers.com.