This is Andy
Andy was sitting on a bench in Verdi Park on an 89-degree day, enjoying the last warm days of a New York City summer. I sat down next to him and asked if we could talk a bit which was okay with him. Andy is 94 years old and retired from construction work at the age of 63. He worked on many of the skyscrapers in the city. His job involved pouring concrete which was tough and difficult work. He was very happy to be able to stop work at an early age.
Andy was born and raised in New York and has never lived any place else. He is married for 74 years and his wife is 92 years old. They have no children. They live together on the Upper West Side in a co-op purchased 30 years ago. He said that they were fortunate to be able to buy the co-op at what he described as a very reasonable price and if he had to buy it today, he couldn't afford it. He and his wife are able to live in the city on a small pension that they each receive from their work, plus Social Security.
However, Andy said their lives have changed dramatically over the past decade as prices of everything have gone up, but their income has not. At one time, they would attend plays on Broadway and go to the movies. It is now too expensive. He spoke of some of the plays they had seen, including Oklahoma and the original South Pacific.
Andy is lonely. Although he and his wife still have each other, their friends have all died. He makes sure to get out every day, weather permitting, but these are lonely walks. He realizes the importance of walking every day. He recently had surgery for an aneurysm. As a result, he is on water pills which forces him to keep his walks short, needing to stay close to home in case he needs the bathroom. He also showed me his left arm which was red and discolored and appeared to have some type of clear protective covering on it. He has sun posioning the result of the many years of working outside in the sun.
As Andy spoke about the changes in his lifestyle due to increased costs, he became angry and animated. His anger was directed at politicians, especially the Democrats. He doesn't like the Mayor of the City or the Governor of New York or the President. He said the last good mayor of the city was Giuliani, that Giuliani cleaned up the city and the Democrats have just ruined everything. He showed a great deal of animosity toward President Biden, saying his cabinet is the dumbest cabinet ever. He said he remembers FDR who was the last good Democrat. He likes Trump and said he would vote for him again because he tried to stop immigrants from coming to the United States. He talked about Texas and Florida sending immigrants to New York and Massachusetts and thought it was a great idea.
Although Andy said he likes living in New York City, he is lonely without his friends. He recognizes the need to walk every day. He expressed tremendous pride in having lived to be a mostly healthy 94-year-old and looks forward to getting old and getting out every day he can.