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Aging In NYC: Photographer Captures Senior Life In The City

Patch logo Patch 8/19/2019 Herb Bardavid
a person standing on a sidewalk © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

I met Diana on Amsterdam Avenue near 83rd Street. She was walking her dog, Patty. I smiled and she said hello and she returned the greeting with a friendly smile. One of the things I look for before making an attempt to engage someone to photograph and interview is whether they are walking slowly or quickly seemingly intent on getting somewhere. Diana clearly was in no hurry to be anywhere quickly. She was out for a walk with Patty and was walking slowly, often stopping for a period of time so Patty could sniff out the area to her heart's content.

Diana is 70 years old, born in the Bronx and lived all of her life in New York City. She never married and has no children. I asked if she gets out often and she chuckled and pointed to her dog and said she has no choice she has to get out three times a day and sometimes four. I took a good look at Patty and to my surprise, she was sitting and shivering and looked too cold to be happy to be outside today. Diana asked me if I wanted to give her a treat but saw that she had a strap around her mouth. I was a little hesitant to say yes. If she has a strap around her mouth, I thought it was to keep her from biting. But I figured that the strap would keep her from biting me. So, I gave her the treat and scratched her behind the ears and now we were friends.

Diana worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brooklyn as an Ultrasound technician and retired several years ago. She said she is very much enjoying her retirement. I asked her what she likes most about living in New York City and without a moment's hesitation she replied saying that "we New Yorkers Hate Trump." Well, that was about all she had to say and we were both off to the races as to what is going on in a country that elects television personalities and movies actors (George Murphy and Ronald Reagan) and wrestlers (Jessie Ventura) to political office no matter their lack of ability or experience.

Anyone who knows me would know that this was not a short conversation. However, after a little while, I again noticed that Patty was still shivering and I suggested that Diana should take her home.

I told Diana that one of the things I like about New York City is that two strangers could stop on the street and have a friendly conversation as we had just done. As we parted, Diana agreed and of course, she will be getting out again this evening.

a man wearing a black hat © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

Herb Bardavid is a social worker with a passion for photography going back to his childhood years. When he was 12 years old, Bardavid commandeered his family's only bathroom to serve as a part-time dark room for developing photos. At his wife's suggestion, the Upper West Side resident chose to chronicle the lives of New York City senior citizens for a year-long photography project.

Bardavid, who's in his 70s, is inspired by New York City's elders who don't let their age get in the way of how they live their lives."Elderly people in New York City are sometimes invisible,"

Bardavid told Patch. "People walk by and nobody pays attention to them. So when I stop people they are not only surprised but also happy because people don't often talk to them."

Check out Bardavid's blog here.

Photos by Herb Bardavid

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