For more than a decade, our New Yorkers of the Week have shown others that older age doesn't mean seniors can't experience new opportunities. NY1's John Schiumo filed this report.
Five days a week, one duo from Brooklyn takes center stage in Queens.
Jackie Stellato, 83, plays the piano. Esther Rabinowitz, 92, leads the dancing, and their fellow seniors love every moment.
“It’s something in me. I love the rhythm. I love the timing. I love being happy. When I make people, it makes me very happy," says Rabinowitz.
“I wish that my piano playing makes them feel the way I feel. To me music is like something heavenly coming down. Playing the piano here has been absolutely one of the best,” says Stellato.
The Rockaway Park Senior Center in Far Rockaway it's run by the Jewish Association Serving the Aging, or JASA.
The non-profit helps to enrich the lives of older adults across the city.
Stellato and Rabinowitz have been instrumental to that mission for a combined 15 years.
“My spirits are uplifted," says participant Linda Green. "When this place is closed we feel like it. OK? And when it’s open don’t think we don’t be here."
Many of the seniors rarely leave their homes or neighborhoods.
JASA is one of the few places where they feel a sense of community.
“I'd go batty if I stayed home. Absolutely, I look forward. It gives me a chance to get up in the morning and go some place," says participant Jeffrey Sobel.
“I think the hardest thing is for someone to grow old and feel as if he or she is put on the shelf and no longer relevant," says JASA Programs Director Amy Chalfy. "There’s so much that older adults bring to life, so much that we want to emphasize."
While Rabinowitz and Stellato are the stars of the show, they're grateful too.
“When I walk in here, I feel that all loving arms are around me," says Stellato.
“I get more back than I’m giving. Believe me," says Rabinowitz.
And so, for brightening the lives of their fellow seniors through music and dance, Esther Rabinowitz and Jackie Stellato are our New Yorkers of the Week.
For more information, visit jasa.org or call (212) 273-5272.