Our New Yorker of the Week entertains us with the idea that you're never too old to be a magician. NY1’s John Schiumo has the story.
Wherever Gary Dreifus goes, the impossible becomes tangible. And every week, he shares his magical secrets with senior citizens.
"It provides the motivation to get over your problems, get over your sense of finality, and find something new in your life," Gary says. "You’re not old or young, you’re a magician.
That enchantment is all part of Gary’s program, "Magic for Mature Adults."
The Brooklyn native teaches seniors the art of his craft and, more importantly, its joy, all for free.
"It brings you back to your childhood, when everything is astonishing," Gary said. "There’s surprise everywhere you turn."
"The fun of being there is what makes life worth living," says Dan Lipsman, a program participant.
"I never thought I would learn magic and show magic to my grandchildren, and this opportunity is very valuable," says Kenneth Eng, another participant.
Whether it’s a great escape, a mind-reading technique or a disappearing act, seniors build their memory, dexterity and communication skills.
"It keeps you sharp. That’s really important to feeling young," says program participant Norman Danzig. "As long as I can fool my now six-year-old, the youngest grandkid, I’m happy."
"You get to be isolated, and you've lost a lot of people. Then you look forward to your new friends and your new way of life and learning a new skill, even if you don’t excel like your professor does," said Ursula Lipsman, another program participant.
Their professor has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers at dozens of senior centers since starting the program five years ago.
"He’s enthusiastic, he’s ambitious, and he just brings out the best in people," says Grace Brandi, supervising senior center director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island.
"When I can combine my love of teaching with my love of magic, it’s the perfect life," Dreifus says.
So, for inspiring seniors with magical moments, Gary Dreifus is the latest New Yorker of the Week.