Bay Ridge preps for first annual free Senior Sidewalk Social

For one day,  Bay Ridge is going back to the ’60s.

The Bay Ridge Center, the Merchants of Third Avenue and the Bay Ridge Age-Friendly Project will host the first annual Welcome to the ’60s: A Free Senior Sidewalk Social on Tuesday, May 17 from 2 to 7 p.m.

To prep for the event — which will include a variety of activities along Third Avenue between 83rd and 93rd Streets — a kickoff was held at Caffe Cafe, 8401 Third Avenue.

“The merchants between 83rd and 93rd are offering special promotions, discounts, entertainment and activities, geared at the senior consumer,” said Todd Fliedner, who does outreach and development for the Bay Ridge Center. “It’s going to be a great day. We named it Welcome to the ’60s because so many people are entering their 60s and we are going to do a theme of that decade as well.”

The day will include a vintage car show, karaoke, live music featuring the songs of Frank Sinatra and Motown, food tastings, arts and crafts, free prizes, giveaways and discounts for seniors.

Bay Ridge resident Doris Cruz is excited about the inaugural celebration. “I think it’s a wonderful event,” she said. “I think we are starting to reassess the needs of our seniors and varied activities that they’re interested in.”

“It came out of a year of us meeting together to talk about how can we help local businesses,” said Judith Grimaldi, an elder law attorney who is a partner in Grimaldi and Yeung LLP, and who noted that the Merchants of Third Avenue also was interested in exploring ways of meeting “the needs of older people.”

Besides discussing planned events, organizers introduced the “Neighborhood Needs Assessment” survey by the AdvantAge Initiative, designed to gather information about the living arrangements, health and general feelings of people over age 55 who live in Bay Ridge, which is a NORC, or Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, because of the large number of people who remain in the community as they get older, aging in place rather than moving. City Councilmember Vincent Gentile allocated funding for the survey.

The survey was also discussed and filled out by attendees, including longtime activist Jane Kelly. “The purpose of this survey is to find out which older adults in Bay Ridge need in terms of services,” said Fliedner. “Out of all the neighborhoods in the five boroughs, we have the highest concentration of seniors. We’re trying to get ahead of the curb and find out what our seniors need so that they can continue living in Bay Ridge and living successfully as a senior citizen.”

Kelly, who was 27 years old when she moved to Bay Ridge and is now 97, was brought up as prime example. “She’s a classic NORC story. She came here when she was young and married, raised her family here. Her children went elsewhere and she remained,” Fliedner said.

“We’re trying to think how the community is going to get ready to encourage more of the Jane Kelly’s of the world to stay,” added Grimaldi.

“I’m so excited about it. It’s a wonderful opportunity and I’ve told all my friends about it,” said Kelly.

Welcome to the ’60s: A Free Senior Sidewalk Social is sponsored by Empire State Bank. For more information, visit To fill out the survey online, visit

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