This year’s traditional barbecue—held in collaboration with the grand opening of the newly renovated Center—drew a slew of state, county, village and town officials, all marking the end of summer together in what turned out to be a festive occasion.
In addition to local government, over 180 senior citizens turned out to feast on TOM Administrator Steve Altieri’s renowned barbecue.
On Monday’s menu were hotdogs, hamburgers, steaks, sausage and peppers, salads and ice cream for dessert.
Westchester County Legislator Judy Myers, who declared September 12 as Larchmont-Mamaroneck Senior Center Day, described the center as a place for the elderly to share relationships, citing seniors’ invaluable place in the community.
“It’s an important resource, because it’s a gathering place for people and we don’t have a lot of gathering places that are public and easily accessible and open,” she said.
New upgrades to the Center included a new kitchen, handicap accessible men’s and women’s bathrooms and new windows on the front porch.
“I think it will probably not only increase the attendance [and] increase the number of people coming into the senior center, because they’ve really beautified it, but, I think it’ll make people feel good about being here,” said Myers of the renovations.
New York State Assemblyman George Latimer put in an appearance not only to mingle with locals and sample the barbecue, but survey the upgrades made to the Center.
“You’re looking at a society where people are living longer . . . so to have a facility like this and the services that go with it are going to be more essential in the years to come,” Latimer said.
And not only will it be necessary, but also beneficial to those that may have been marginalized in the past.
“The bottom line is. . . it’s a statement. That [seniors] matter,” said Latimer, continuing, “If you’re a senior coming here and you see that there’s been an investment of money. . . then you know that you’re being thought of in the community.”
Village of Mamaroneck (VOM) Mayor Norm Rosenblum echoed a similar sentiment.
“I think it’s a very important aspect of American life where you take care of your own,” he said.
VOM Trustee Toni Ryan—who plans to run against Rosenblum in the next Mayoral election—said that her own mother, now 91, is a member of the Center and draws enormous benefit from it.
“When she comes to the senior center, we notice she’s much more engaged in the evenings,” said Ryan. “She has a sense of community here, a sense of belonging.”
Last year’s barbecue was held close to July 4th, according to Senior Center Coordinator Maria Gallagher, and this year it was timed in conjunction with last Friday’s grand opening of the senior center at the original Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) location.
“It’s the traditional barbecue and to be able to have it in their beautiful new home with all their friends means even more to them,” Gallagher said.