“For Sydney Weinberg, a 78-year-old living on her own in New York City, the idea of moving after retirement didn’t really make sense.
After all, unlike some of her peers, many of whom have relocated to warmer climates or assisted-care facilities, Weinberg has deep roots—she’s spent the last 60 years in Morningside Heights, a residential neighborhood in northwest Manhattan near Columbia University, raising her family.
She opened up about her life at the opening of the new community center for the Morningside Retirement & Health Services (MRHS), a sleek gathering and group-activity space for older residents, like Weinberg, who live in the adjacent Morningside Gardens co-op apartments, a complex of six high-rises.
A former history professor with multiple degrees from Columbia, Weinberg is part of the neighborhood’s unique community of older adult residents, one designated a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community by the city.
Weinberg and her friends love their new community space. Designed by Hollwich Kushner and Wagner Interior Design & Consulting, the airy gathering place—with its floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, light-filled interior, and bright green-and-yellow curtains—resembles a tech company’s meeting space or a dorm’s common room. The wraparound handrail built into the walls and non-slip, cushioned rubber flooring signify the interiors as a space designed for older adult.
For Weinberg, the MRHS—which is celebrating its 50th anniversary—and the friendships formed and supported here through events and programming have been her lifeline. When her husband died last year, she was sustained by longtime friends, buoyed by the community, and even offered needed assistance. She says she couldn’t have stayed here without their help.
‘If it wasn’t for this place, staying in this neighborhood, on my own, would have been impossible,’ she says.”