The weather was perfect, sunny yet not too hot, as residents of Westbeth filled their courtyard. With happy community fanfare, Greenwich House ceremonially opened its newest older adult center, which is in partnership with Westbeth.
In a time of so much stressful news, the morning celebrated positivity—the affiliation of the two —Westbeth Artists Housing and Greenwich House.
Greenwich House (GH) is a Greenwich Village organization that has been active for 120 years serving children and adults of all ages. Its arts programs are recognized and its older adult services are noted as a model.
Westbeth Artists Housing, founded in 1970, is a nonprofit housing and commercial complex dedicated to provide NYC artists of all genres with affordable living and working spaces. Many artists and arts organizations have called Westbeth home for decades.
As its residents get older, Westbeth has become a NORC, a naturally occurring retirement community and a partnership between the two venerable Village entities is natural. The site marks the first new older adult center in the Village in roughly 20 years.
GH Associate Director of Older Adult Services, Laura Marceca welcomed the assembled on Tuesday morning. “We are so thrilled to bring an older adult center to Westbeth (to serve, as well, the neighborhood environs and West Village Houses). We are working with a team of professionals to create programs, build community, and form long-lasting relationships.”
Westbeth Board Chair Joe Versace noted how wonderful is the partnership of these two Village institutions.
Local pols known to all, BP Mark Levine, State Assembly Member Deborah Glick and State Senator Brad Hoylman opined on the value of this community collaboration.
City Council Member Erik Bottcher reported how the senior population is the largest growing population in NYC. He noted how the kind of older adult programming of the past doesn’t quite work. Older adults are still very active, he said. They’re often working, traveling, technology savvy and will participate in programming that is not what former senior programs provided. (He also mentioned his newly retired 77-year-old dad fitting —who nearly stole the show at Bottcher’s inauguration event earlier this year—as the breed of newly retired).
During the pandemic, Greenwich House professionals discussed innovative ways of bringing services to older adults. Part of the GH restructuring to meet needs of the older adult community includes adding this center, which now offers congregate in-house eating Tuesdays through Saturday along with classes and social services.
Among all its centers, Greenwich House offers older adults an abundance of fitness and wellness classes, outings, access and support to technology, cultural programs plus health, legal and safety support. The in-the-network centers’ other locations are on Washington Square North, Carmine and Bleecker, Greenwich Street in Tribeca and Barrow Street.
Late Tuesday morning, a ribbon cutting with the VIPs took place in the courtyard outside the new Center’s door. Then the assembly of Westbeth residents and visitors toured the 3,500 square-feet space—a noon movement class, already taking place and the first lunch readied to serve to new members.
Food service, a computer lab, events revolving around health, mobility and artistic pursuits are part of this site’s programs as well as social worker assistance.
Marceca reflects on this added location. “We’re bringing new energy into an established space.” She’s beaming with pride, happily looking forward to all the possibilities, “We’re all allies in aging.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.