By George Capsis
I recently got a call from what sounded like a very nice senior lady who read my February 2018 front-page proposal to build connected apartments with seniors on one side and young people on the other. The young occupants would be just out of college and would want to live in the Village but, of course, they wouldn’t be able to afford it. They would trade helping the adjoining seniors to shop, cook, and get to the doctor’s office for lower rent.
This was the only call I got and my nice lady asked when these apartments would be ready to move in. (Evidently, she was ready to do so.) I found my hair trigger cynicism replying, “Next Thursday.” The only other comment I received was from 35-year-old Greg Hamm who cited the proposal as an example of how I was preoccupied with senior causes.
I am disappointed that I did not get more feedback because I know this is a good idea. In a way, I am living it. Dusty resides upstairs and will, in an hour or so, come down to make breakfast and later shop for some prepared foods from Gourmet Garage. Dusty is not just out of school but she has inexhaustible energy and makes a good breakfast. (She always has some fresh fruit.) I can also talk to Dusty about what I am doing to help me think it through; you can’t do that with the television.
Now I am thinking: I certainly know Corey Johnson (now the Speaker of the City Council) who sent his mother and aunt to 69 Charles Street to convince me he was a nice boy and that I should back him. I also certainly know Bill de Blasio whom I interviewed when he was 80 points behind Christine Quinn. In an impassioned plea to keep a for-real hospital in the West Village, I grabbed him and said, “You’re younger than my son.”
A newspaper is, or should be, the voice of the public or at least the voice of the editor or publisher trying to speak for the public. Here I am, saying that people are getting older. They are trapped in rent-regulated apartments and can no longer make it to the supermarket or the doctor alone—period. That’s a fact and the Senior Share Apartment is one solution that Johnson and de Blasio should back.
But, I remember when, on the phone, I tried to get Corey to back a hospital to replace St. John’s Terminal, and he forcefully enunciated, “I will not back anything that’s not going to happen.”
I am not an elected official. I have just this one tool—a small, monthly community newspaper. But, hey, that is better than nothing. I know I am speaking for myself but you have to let me know if I am speaking for you too.