The challenges associated with growing old in some of the world's largest, fastest, most-intimidating cities are not new. Crumbling side-walks, inaccessible public restrooms, stoplights that favor cars over pedestrians are problems that can be found in most modern 21st century cities. It's for these reasons precisely that New York Cities most recent attempts to soften up its streets, making it a kinder, friendlier place for cities to live out their golden years. Though the initiative may be bold for a city that has long staked its reputation on it's fast-paced, young and pulsating energy, overall the initiative is incredibly smart; As New York's deputy mayor for Health and Human services puts it, “New York has become a safer city, and we have such richness of parks and culture that we’re becoming a senior retirement destination. They come not only with their minds and their bodies; they come with their pocketbooks.”
Though the city's modifications to infrastructure may seem menial, it seems that elderly residents are quite responsive. These include: extending walk time for pedestrians at more than 400 stoplights across the city, introducing senior-centered art classes in conjunction with city subsidized artist grant programs, providing school buses for common errands such as trips to the grocery store, and creating two specific aging-improvement districts that will be markedly safer and more accessible for seniors.
These improvements are just the tip of the iceberg of an initiative that hopes to drastically improve the daily life of seniors. As an outsider, I find the effort admirable. In recognizing that retiring to a old folks home to live the end of life years is a bit antiquated, the city itself is bearing up and taking on some of the responsibility.
Keen readers can learn more about the initiative here.